Coming out of the shadows
Updated: Apr 14, 2018
This is one of the posts that I started the blog for and yet it's one that I've been putting off writing.
I suppose it's because being unfiltered and not cherry picking what I present to the world is actually a lot harder than I thought it would be. Going public with the blog and knowing that there are a few people actually reading this is a very scary thing for me, and I don't want to come across as too negative, depressed, sad and draining to be around - even if it's virtually.
If I don't write it though, I'm not fulfilling my purpose for doing this in the first place am I? Which means I've only got to bloody well do it, don't I?
So the thing is, I am depressed. I think it's a situational depression, one that's come about because of events in my life, which hopefully means it will go away at some point. However I'm a few years in now and it's not showing much signs of shifting. Time, as they say, is a great healer and it's definitely lessening some of the pain. I'm also having counselling and I've been on anti-depressants, although I'm trying life without them right now.
But mainly I think it's a case of reconstructing not only my life but my enthusiasm for living. Both of which took huge knocks in successive years. First up in 2012 when, after a lot of unhappiness and soul searching (and I'm talking years here), I finally decided to end a long term relationship and leave the father of my children.
I think the reason that it took me so long to end the relationship was because it had taken me almost as long to put my faith and trust in both this man and the relationship. I'm not one of those people who grew up knowing I was going to get married and have a family. Quite the opposite; I knew from pretty early on that wasn't the life from me and I stuck to that until a good couple of years into this relationship. Having made the mental commitment, it was incredibly hard for me to let go of the dream. Add children to the mix and perhaps you can understand why it took for me to have a small breakdown to put my happiness up there with my partner's and my childrens'.
Christmas 2012 then was a very sad and uncomfortable affair and spending New Year's Eve with my sister, decorating the house I was about to move into with my children, felt like I'd hit rock bottom. What I didn't know was that the following New Year would see me struggling to come to terms with an even bigger loss.
I grew up with 2 sisters: my older sister Anna, with whom I've always had a difficult relationship, and my younger sister Sarah. Being my baby sister, I saw Sarah as someone to look after. Yes she could be a pain and we fought, as siblings do, when we were kids but we were quite similar in taste and temperament and had a relatively easy and loving relationship. As adults we talked to each other about our lives, shared clothes (usually me taking her cast-offs; man that girl could shop), spent time together when we could and generally treated each other like, well, sisters.
In May 2013, Sarah was rushed to hospital and had a cancerous tumour removed from her bowels, as well as a third of her bowels. The cancer had spread to her
lymph nodes so, once she was well enough, she started chemotherapy. Almost immediately she became very unwell and spent the summer in and out of hospital, spiralling down until, in September, the doctor said they could do no more for her. She moved to a hospice and 2 weeks later, on Sunday 13th October 2013, she died.
She was 35.
I don't know if losing Sarah felt so traumatic because she was so young, because it was such a fast and scary illness, because it happened when I was still reeling from my life derailing or perhaps it was a combination of those things. Or maybe this is however everyone feels when they lose someone close to them. Whatever it was, Sarah's death pretty much sent me over the edge.
The month before she died, I moved from Brighton (my home of 20 years) back to Essex. Along with that I changed to working from home, so that I could keep my career with the company I'd worked hard for in Brighton. Knowing virtually no one, working at home by myself and, through my grief, feeling unable to reach out to anyone, it was a very lonely time. I felt that if Sarah could die, anyone could and, in my eyes having failed at marriage and therefore motherhood, I honestly thought it would be better for everyone if I wasn't around.
Picking myself up from that point and moving on has been really hard. Really really hard. Some days I still don't think I can do it. I used to think I was a strong person. I don't think that anymore. People sometimes say I'm strong but I don't feel it; I feel tired and worn down and very, very lost. But I don't want to feel like that any more and the only way I can think of to change it is to face it head on: acknowledge it's my reality and try anything I can to change it.
Which is why I'm writing this blog - I'm not good at talking to people face to face so I thought that writing might help the process of sorting my shit out. I'm hoping that somewhere along the way I'll figure stuff out in my head by myself and by maybe finding people to talk about it too.
So there, I've done it. It feels a bit like coming out of the shadows; admitting and having the light shined on the real me. I'll probably be walking around with my shades on for a while, trying to hide from anyone who may have read this. Please don't be offended! It's nothing personal, it really is about how I feel about myself than anyone else. Maybe, in time, I'll grow in confidence again but, for now, this is me.
Thanks for reading.