An excerpt from my new book

Over the last year I have been working on a new book. In it I share my experience with central pain syndrome, from when it began to a diagnosis.

The purpose of this book is to raise awareness and give a sufferers perspective of a rare neurological disorder. It explains the connection between pain and stress and also offers a solution to dealing with the pressures involved with living with a chronic pain condition.

The following is taken from my new book, currently titled ‘On Fire – An early journey with CPS’. (Available early 2021)

‘It also felt like I had finally grown to manage my symptoms with less of a sense of negativity. It is easy to fall into a trap of resentment, which I had done over and over again.

The monster was a part of me I could not evict, he was well and truly here to stay, and whatever else may be happening with me health wise, I saw it as my job to live alongside him without holding anger towards him.

I had also stopped feeling so victimised in my situation. Having CPS is bizarre. It takes everything from you, from friends to your livelihood. It is like living with a vacuum that sucks everything worthwhile into it and leaves the sufferer with a draining sense of loss and fear.

It almost felt as if I had to start my life again. From scratch, and in a way I did. I had to learn to accept my limitations, which I eventually did, and a sense of peace came from giving up fighting it.’

My first publication ‘From triples to triplets’ is available now on Amazon.

Parenting – best friends or worst enemies

I have discovered first-hand over the last five years what is involved in parenting. From problem solving, nurturing, to discipline and encouragement. The job is huge and ever evolving (the Frankie we have now is not the same daughter we had a couple of years ago) . It is a role that needs a special approach, such as my willingness to grow with my children’s changes, and to give my full attention as a father.

There were times in the past I felt my own emotional pulls from Frankie’s attachment and talk of her ‘real Dad’. As understandable as it is for her to have that attachment, my pride took little hits occasionally as a step parent providing for her and stepping up to the role of Dad. That pride was just a fear of losing her approval down the road, a self-centred fear.

I was aware of how creeping doubts can create divisions in any relationship. So I needed to be aware of that fear in myself and not give it any attention. The last thing a child needs is a parent putting the untold weight of their need for emotional approval on them. It’s a suffocating burden of a void that a child can never fulfil. It’s why many children grow to resent the people who they are not supposed to feel that way towards. It creates deep conflicts.

I have always encouraged Frankie to talk to me about her Dad, I don’t want her to suppress anything that emotional, through fear of upsetting me, and Frankie carries that type of consciousness with her. She hates to see people upset, especially if she’s involved at all. We have a good relationship, one of respect, love and trust.

My relationship with my children requires it to be unlike any other relationship I will have. Especially as they grow and develop in their formative years.

My Dad sat me down on more than one occasion and explained that I could either be his best friend, or worst enemy. Those talks have stuck in my memory because I wanted neither of those choices as a child. I wanted someone in my life to guide and encourage me safely into the big wide world. Someone who believed in me.

I am not a Father to be a best friend, I don’t need my children’s approval. Love will be a natural side effect of my consistency and outgoing love, rather than any need my ego may want.

As a Father I also don’t have the right to force any prideful will into my children. I have been entrusted with them. They are not me and their paths will be different ones, as their own personalities begin to develop. I can only guide them and show them a path of love and courage in their early years while under my care. Nor am I here to assert control through self-will. But teach right from wrong with loving discipline. There’s a big difference.

I am here as their Father, to be just that. An example of loving, caring authority in their lives. To practice patience, kindness and virtue. Not to take anything from them emotionally but only provide, so they may discover themselves with a confidence.

A parent is a role like no other. And I must treat it as such.

Back to school

Firstly I hope you are all well and safe.

After a bizzare few months we are now getting ready for the girl’s to go back to school.

We managed to keep a structured routine in place for Frankie whilst she has been home. She has worked hard to keep up with the work provided by the school.

Frankie

The triplets will be starting at their new school which is a minutes walk from our house. And with other children from our estate starting too they will make friends close to home which will great for them as they grow up.

Ava

We’ve done well to survive lockdown as a family through the added stresses and pressures that have been added to our lives. Stacey especially has been instrumental in keeping the triplets entertained. I’ve enjoyed taking them for walks and seeing the changes that come with the end of summer.

Lacey

The trio are fully active now and for the most play well together. Blakely still gets left out at times her frustration shows. Lacey and Ava tend to stick together as they are ahead of Blakely in their development, not by much but enough that they make games together. Blakely has her own way of playing.

Blakely

I will hopefully be returning to work in October, so with the triplets and Frankie at school Stacey and I will have some free time to ourselves for the first time since March. We have worked hard to keep our relationship afloat and to work together. It’s time we will make the most of.

So as we return to a bit of normality we run into my favourite time of the year. Autumn. Where the landscape changes and the leaves turn to burst into colour. We have much to look forward to this Autumn from birthdays to Halloween and the run up to Christmas.

It’s been a surreal year. Let’s hope it ends a little better than it began.

Thank you

It’s been three years since I began this blog. I originally wanted to keep it a place of honesty and positivity. To share my experience as a new dad trying my best to raise a family under the principles of love and tolerance and to help others who may be struggling.

So much has happened looking back over those years. From publishing a book to having to deal with a chronic health condition. There are times life has been difficult which I know has reflected in some of my posts. Especially over the last year where deppresion has had a grip on me.

I feel now as though the clouds are clearing a little. I didn’t want to use my blog as a platform to complain but the truth is that I have struggled to remain conscious and present. This last year has been a real test on my mental health.

We dads have a lot to deal with, from providing for a family to bringing emotional stability under our roofs. I feel as though I have failed in these areas since central pain syndrome became a permanent condition in my life. I haven’t coped all that well.

It humbles me to admit I have been defeated by depression again. A black cloud that I thought had gone forever returned as I battled with my condition.

I have questioned whether or not to continue writing (I probably will for my sanity). The truth is that I will have highs and lows and at times I will wobble. With my health condition it’s unavoidable.

My focus is almost always on my role as a dad. It’s tough going at times and inspiration can be hard to find. It’s not always easy to write posts that are without complaint. Parenthood as I have discovered is a mixed bag of emotions and trials.

So whatever I decided to do I just want to thank you all for taking the time to share in my journey over the last few years . It’s been one hell of a ride so far

Si x

Love is all that matters

When my wife fell pregnant with the triplets my purpose in life was cemented. To be a stable presence in my family and to grow in patience and tolerance.
The girls are three now and I still question if I am doing enough to contribute to their wellbeing.

Life has got tough over the last two years since being diagnosed with central pain syndrome. My patience has been shorter and my tolerance has been thin at times as I I deal with toddlers who are a law unto themselves.

I have buckled at times and given in to deppresion as I have had to give up full time work for a part time role. I guess I’m grateful to still have a job, and we have all felt the sting of Covid-19 and the pressures that has brought with it.

What I have learned as a relatively new dad is that dealing in the kids is easy. It’s the external pressures I have faced as a dad that has brought the difficulties but we are surviving as a family.

At home love patience and tolerance from me is the only real thing that matters to my daughters. It is those principles at the centre of my life that allow my family to thrive. And when practicing those principles everything else becomes easier to manage.

My job as dad has always been to bring emotional stability to under my roof. And I see from the confidence and kindness of my daughters that those principles are paying off.

At the end of the day, love is all that really matters at home.

Three times the back-chat

There are many times as a parent I feel I’m banging my head against a brick wall. None more so than now.

The triplets have crashed their way into the three’s and show zero sign of improvement when It comes to doing what they are told. At least with out back-chat, snarling faces, massive tantrums and several trips to the naughty corner.

They are a force

Being new to this gig, I have naturally gone into each phase of the triplets development with expectations of what may be coming. Like the ‘terrible two’s’ that were shaken at me as a warning from other dads. Like teething was before it. It was a time to dread! Well I can report they were wrong. Because so far the terrible two’s have nothing on the completely irrational three’s.

They are demanding, intolerant and have little patience with each other and all I can do is wonder if there are mistakes I’ve made that have contributed to their total lack of respect for anyone who tells them what to do. It may be normal behaviour for toddlers but it’s all new to me.

We are on the ball with discipline, and even so, they often frequent the naughty corner, screaming back because they aren’t allowed to hit their sisters with toy dinosaurs. All the while practicing calm and patience whilst being shouted at that I am being a ‘Naughty Daddy’.

To say it’s frustrating would be an understatement.

Back chat and telling tales on each other is the in thing

Even though we are quite strict with them it has little effect. Partly because they are toddlers, and largely because they bounce off each other. Some days it’s like losing a battle by the time they have gone to bed.

They are exhausting, fired up with energy and hormones and living their lives to the full regardless of what us, their parents want. They are like short teenager’s with less of a vocabulary to argue back with. Thankfully.

I’m told it’s just a phase. I guess I just wasn’t ready for the even more terrible three’s, where the attitude is one of ‘don’t tell me what to do’ without any fear of any consequences. And they are fearless, which one day will come I in handy for them. It’s just not that easy to deal with right now.

My book ‘From triples to triplets’ is available now on Amazon.

Resentment & pain

Living with a chronic pain condition drags a hoard of negative emotions along with it. Fear and frustration go hand in hand with cps (central pain syndrome).

Before I developed this bizzare and rare nerve disorder my focus was on dealing with work and raising my family. Being a dad to triplets brought enough pressure and stress. Weight that I had adjusted to since the triplets came home. I felt as though I was managing well, considering I was a first time parent.

Then came the accident just in time for the triplets first birthday. I wasn’t even remotely prepared for such a huge physical upheaval. And I soon discovered that there was more to the pain than just the pain.

I immediately fell into frustration as I struggled to do my job. Being a welder and with much of the pain centred in my head and face, and having to work a physical job with random back spasms I started getting overwhelmed with fear that I could no longer do my duties at work. Then came the fear of how I would support my family if I couldn’t work. I ended up on the vicious cycle of stress flaring up the pain, and the pain causing me stress.

Having an invisible illness is tough going

I fought through it for a couple of months but it became too much of an aggravating trigger for my nerve pain. Fairly soon I was off work and unable to earn. Not a great position for a man with a young family to support.

I quickly sank into resentment. I resented the pain, I got lost in self pity in between the trips to A&E and neurology appointments. With no clear diagnosis of a cause of the cps I became overwhelmed with negativity. Life became a struggle, one I had to face. If you have followed my blog you will know I haven’t always posted from a place of positivity this last year.

Lately though, I finally feel I’ve made some progress in managing my pain. And it lies in not resenting it. That’s it! There is nothing more I need to do than observe the pain without reacting to it. After all it is stress that dials the pain levels. So the solution to flare ups is to remain free from resentment and fear. I do this by way of non contemplative meditation. The answer was with me all along. I had to stop struggling with a problem beyond my control.

I figured early on that there was no way of avoiding my condition. That I was going to have to live with it somehow without it overwhelming me to the point of insanity. And I’ve come pretty close over this last year to losing a grip on my mental wellbeing.

There is always a simple solution to be found, and for the secondary pain such as the emotional battering of constant nerve pain all I need to do is stay mentally well. Conscious awareness helps me achieve a state of mental neutrality. It needs to be experienced to be understood, and I know a few of you have already began using this meditation and are having life changing results from it.

Life is hard enough without chronic pain to contend with. So whatever you find useful grab on to it and know you’re not alone in your suffering.

https://tripletdad.blog/2019/01/19/the-meditation-2/

Fatherhood, meditation and growth

As I am discovering, this journey of fatherhood is a mix bag of emotions. There are times I am on the ball and time’s I struggle with the pressures. But through it all there has been one constant practice I have kept up. Meditation.

Dealing with the stresses involved with parenting has always been my top priority. The ability to stay out of anger that comes with non contemplative meditation is a vital ingredient in my life.

If you have followed this blog or read my book you will be aware of the problems I suffered in the past. From alcoholism to serious mental illness. Those experiences have been the driving force in my need to improve as a husband and father. My present and my future can be nothing like my past.

I had no idea that becoming a dad would bring such intense emotions with it. Since the accident I have had to deal with chronic nerve pain on top of parenting triplets and Frankie. I haven’t always lived up to the man I want to be, but there is always room to improve. My failings become lessons as long as I am willing to learn.

The free meditation exersise I practice is like no other. There are no mantras, no getting lost in thoughts or replacing negative thinking with positivity. There is only stillness and practicing observing my thoughts and negative emotions. Which some days are relentless as I try to stay afloat.

It takes a willingness and a commitment. And it has changed my life. I don’t believe there is a better way to improve and grow as a human with such responsibility.

Men need to be present in the lives of their children, and if you are struggling with negativity, deppresion, anxiety or just need something to help you deal with life in a different and more concious way, this meditation may be just what you have been looking for.

https://schwarzhoffmedia.com/non-contemplative-meditation/

My book is also available on Amazon

Fighting fatigue

I often wonder how well I would deal with cps if I didn’t also have triplets to contend with. Not that I would wish for that situation, in fact the triplets are probably a blessing in that I’m forced to find balance and solutions to managing chronic pain. I need to constantly look to improve the way I approach my illness.

Although I’ve slipped with the diet since being away on holiday this last week, I had definitely felt an improvement from a simple change in diet. There seems to be an ongoing issue though when it comes to fatigue. No matter what I try to do to beat it I find myself continually exhausted.

I wake up tired and stay that way all day. If I sit down for more than 5 minutes i drop off. Until I get rudely awoken by a toddler or my wife who is tired herself from my complaining.

For the better part of the last two years I have been sleeping every afternoon when the triplets took their afternoon nap. But now they have dropped it, I am no longer able to sneak off to bed for a few hours.

I’ve tried vitamins, light exercise and early nights but I can’t shake the weight of the fatigue. It’s like wearing led boots all day and my brain can barely function at times. I’m the guy that makes old man noises when I move. The pain is constant and difficult to hide at times. My body feels too old.

CPS is a vicious illness that I am in a constant battle with to manage. As for the fatigue, if you have any tips or suggestions please leave a comment. I’d love to hear your experience.

Dad doubts – the heavy reality of multiples

On the ever spinning roundabout of fatherhood it can be easy to question myself in as far as being a dad goes.

We are taking a break with family at the moment, a welcomed trip away from our little house that has been our lockdown centre. I’ve been needing this break after feeling run down a little from the relentless routine at home.

When I’m not running on all cylinders, negativity has a way of creeping in. I begin to question myself as a dad. How I’m doing and more importantly how can I improve.

The triplets are at a full on, energetic stage in their lives. They demand constant attention which can be draining as we do our best to keep patience and tolerance at the centre of our home. I find myself teetering on depression. Partly from the pain and partly out of sheer exhaustion and being locked in a situation where my presence is needed 100%.

There are times I feel deflated in the evenings, emptied by the knowledge that tomorrow will be the same routine. I do my best to stay out of resentment, I cannot change the situation I’m, only roll with it in the hope i am doing enough as a dad to raise them in a way that will benefit them.

This post my seem like a bit of a whinge, and perhaps it is. In all honesty I struggle sometimes to stay afloat. But I will, because as exhausting as it is I have a job to do and my family need me.

The reality of being a multiple parent is just heavy going at times.