Cry

I have learnt that sometimes there is nothing else to do but cry.

I am so well, my new job (3 months in!) is going brilliantly – it felt like it came with a lot of pressure in the beginning but now that I feel as though I know what I’m doing there is really no stress involved; it does come with a lot of new responsibilities but I am taking each day at a time and coping better than I would have ever imagined possible.

I’m also working with mostly men – this would have been impossible for me a few years ago. I have had such issues around men and so I was often reduced to a simpering idiot when put in any situation with them. Yet, here I am thriving – I am proud of the confident and professional woman I have fought to become.

I also feel more accomplished as a parent. I certainly don’t get everything right but I don’t feel as though I am doing too bad a job – and at almost 14 and 11 I can see the wonderful people my children are blossoming into.

Mundane tasks are no longer mountains that I have to climb. I manage my self and my home with ease…

My mental health is very stable. My moods still swing but I have a very tight hold on them; I have learned so many management techniques that help me to cope when the big stuff inevitably happens… I still work hard every day to maintain my mental health – it will never be a natural thing, but it is less of a chore now. I am so incredibly proud of how far I’ve come.

I suppose there will never be any management techniques to stop me from feeling when the big and truly disastrous things happen. Maybe those raw, painful emotions are what make us human and sometimes you just have to cry until you can’t cry anymore.

There are such a lot of things not quite right with my world. Many things to think through and so many recent tragedies dropping at my feet. So I will let the tears fall for they water the flowers of tomorrow, but I’ll hold my head up high and keep searching for the sun…

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New things!

Life has been moving and changing as it invariably always does. The most immensely sad things have happened and in equal measure the most beautiful and wonderful things have occurred.

To detail all of the pain or celebration of the past few months would be to spill the pain and joy of not just myself but also others; perhaps I have finally learnt that the world and all its misery does not revolve around me… So instead of deconstructing and analysing the swing of events, as I feel so compelled to do, I will simply say that I survived it all once again.

I changed my hours at work a few months ago, I felt ready for a new challenge and the monotony of what I was doing previously had me feeling dangerously close to destruction. My brain needed some stimuli and the Open University course that I am doing didn’t really feel like the right fit – though I am dedicated to finishing it.

When a position came up in work that meant I could take on some overtime I thought it would be ideal – I start early in the morning and can take on a later shift too. I thought it would be the perfect way to help me transition from part time to full time hours. I applied for it, had an interview and got the job. I was so proud of myself! I would never have had the confidence to even apply for something like this a few years ago let alone make it through the interview process.

Change is always stressful, management of my moods and the strategies I have developed rely on very little change happening – when I moved house almost two years ago it hit me hard and took me a really long time to re-balance my moods, my foundation and security had been taken away from me. Work is the same, it is familiar – the people mostly stay the same, the routine is the same, the building is the same… it is safe. I found moving my hours stressful but because the change was minimal, in that it was within the same building and with familiar people, I managed to balance myself fairly quickly.

It was not the wondrous thing I was hoping for though… I wanted to be challenged, I needed to feel as if I could progress but all I felt was a looming dead end. I was put in a small and isolated area of the store and once I had managed to tidy and organise it, there was nothing left to do. I am proud that I managed to run it so efficiently by myself but being isolated in a quiet area of a busy store is not healthy for me at all, my paranoia has blossomed in my time there and my social skills have declined.

This would usually be the perfect excuse for a downward spiral, a deep decline into woe brought on by the misery that, despite my best efforts, I have not managed to make anything better for myself.

I didn’t give in to the decline, this is quite a feat for me! As my moods started swinging a little more frequently and both paranoia and anxiety got bored of whispering and began to shout – I began to consider applying for something new and happened to see an ad for a job that seemed pretty perfect for me, I applied, I went through a dreaded and difficult group interview, I got the job and handed in my notice.

I start in just over a week and I am so excited about this new job, I really think it will be a challenge for me – it’ll engage my brain and hopefully boost my confidence. I’m proud of myself for grasping hold of this opportunity despite now also feeling utterly terrified of having to build a new foundation of security on which to build my management techniques and the inevitable swing of moods this massive change will bring.

I feel as though this is the start of great things for me, though I am sad to leave all that I have built and the people I have come to socialise with behind.

I didn’t give up when progression didn’t work the first time… perhaps I’m still learning after all.

Reclaiming my soul

You should know that I’m a dreamer; I am whimsical and ever so slightly odd. I am woefully socially inept but I try hard to get involved anyway. I am passionate and probably a little too rash. I long ago banished bitterness, hate and negativity from my life and from my soul and I do not invite it near me anymore. I practice painful honesty because secrets kept do more damage than the momentary discomfort of truth.  I care very little for material possessions which is lucky because I’m abysmal with money. I love my children more than anything they are the reason I am alive and I have worked hard to be more deserving of their unconditional love for me. I don’t like confrontation and will always strive to treat people with kindness. I am a thinker, an aspiring poet and an avid reader. I’m a hopeless romantic but sometimes I struggle with emotional intimacy. I am flawed. I am me. 

I have not always been this person. In fact I feel as though I have lived a great number of lives, each equipped with their own persona, in my relatively short time on this earth.

Somewhere, in the mess of lives that I have lived, I forgot who I really was. Or perhaps I didn’t ever really exist. I have sculpted this person from all the experiences of my past selves, I have moulded the mistakes into lessons and fashioned lessons into blessings. I have not created a perfect person – I have become a real one.

Living with the weight of mental illness is not easy but I have learnt that though some things are always going to be out with my control, I cannot use this affliction as an excuse. It does not justify bad behaviour or selfishness and it does not give me reason not to try. These are beliefs easier said than put into practice but I have made it my mission to push through the instinct to fester, to recline and revel in the misery that is mental illness. It is, after all, far easier to allow yourself to remain stagnant than to fight against the swelling, impossible tides of despair and hopelessness.

I didn’t realise when beginning this quest for balance and wellbeing that instead of pretending to be someone that I’m not once again, instead of another front or carefully constructed mask – I would actually uncover the person I was always meant to be. It lends a certain vulnerability to be you in every way and that is what I both love and despise about it but despite my reservations and discomfort I will endeavour to never be any less than me again.

I have worked hard to reclaim my soul, to live for the first time, to breathe. It is liberating to finally meet the me I should always have been.

Reminiscing

I quite often would describe myself as an open book – if I am asked a direct question I would certainly answer it honestly and succinctly and I lay myself bare here often; but I am learning that in fact I am not an open book – I am an intensely private person, closely guarded.

I have been reminiscing of late. Someone recognised my accent (which is the amalgamation of many an accent!) as that of the place I grew up and it set my mind whirring – am I happy or sad that this piece of history still clings to me?

I don’t reminisce about my childhood often, there is nothing there that I haven’t long ago processed and dealt with in my own way and it is no longer a subject I really discuss with anyone. My father and I did not have a happy relationship. The older I get the more I understand about our skewed existence alongside one another and I hold no bitterness or hatred but regardless we brought each other only negativity. It was a toxic union. I used to dote upon him though, I thought he knew everything (as we all so often think of our parents) I craved his attention and the affirmation that I was good enough – I rebelled too, horribly, but mostly I sought his approval. So, when he began to make fun of my budding Devon accent I set about changing it. In my effort to change my accent I became a magnet for those of other people and now, subconsciously, I draw upon the accent of whoever I happen to be talking to at the time. Though, recently, I have noticed that when I’m at my most comfortable this doesn’t happen and I use what I assume is my actual accent… though I don’t really know if that is true.

So, when someone heard my childhood home in my accent I was instantly happy – I hadn’t lost that sliver of my younger being – I hadn’t fully succeeded in changing myself to meet some impossible expectation that in reality I created for myself as I’m certain my Father’s intention wasn’t to have me change it.

After the elation came the inevitable sorrow.

Life has moved so far beyond the endless feeling of loneliness and desperation. The growing tendrils of deep and deadly depression. I miss the childhood I didn’t have – because I lived too far inside my mind to grasp it, I miss the home I didn’t value or feel at home in. I miss the friends I didn’t cherish, I miss the moments never shared.

I didn’t live a day in my old home.

After another milestone event last week I realised that I don’t need the approval of anyone. I don’t need the attention of anyone and I can be content in my own self. I changed myself before because I didn’t value myself, I didn’t believe that I was enough and so it was easy for others to make me feel worthless. I am not that insecure girl anymore; I will never change myself to meet what I perceive to be the expectations of others again. I like who I am. I am enough.

And so whether I feel sad or happy or indifferent at holding on to a tiny piece of my childhood, processing it has been another life lesson to tuck under my belt, another moment of growth, a realisation that only I can give myself the acceptance I crave and that surely, is a good thing.

2016 and fighting regression

2016 has been an awful year for me, there have been moments of light in the gloom but overall the darkness has pervaded so profusely that it has encompassed most anything it came across. Only now; in October, am I starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and enjoying the race to the end of this year of regression, loss and massive change.

I had taken myself back to my psychiatrist after some of the worst regression since my breakdown this year. People think that I am so strong – they tell me as much, they worry but in the same token they do not… and considering I am still here and fighting I suppose they are right to do so but during this episode I really was concerned, terrified even, about whether I would make it out of the other end and if I was capable of enduring, it was a struggle even to  get home safely on some days after work and how I even continued to go to work every day is beyond me.

I have now been discharged from my psychiatrist again – no doubt I will be back but I hope that it is in the distant future and that now I can begin to rebuild my management structure and find a new sense of contentment. I am pleased that I did not take the offer of medication this time – even though I was in some desperate situations and faced some tough circumstances once the circumstance was removed the depression was not so dire that I can’t fight my way out.. though had my circumstance lasted longer I am certain medication would have been invaluable to my staying mental wellbeing.

Having to move home 4 months ago played a large part in my regression and struggle and since moving it has been hard to follow the management techniques I once used to stay stable. I have realised that moving into a new environment has negated a lot of the methods I used to use to find calm and restore order in the cataclysm of biology that is my brain. I have lost my ‘safe place’ lost my anchor and place to hide. I feel vulnerable here and as though I need to face the world a little more than I did previously. I was angry at first – furious, in fact, that my previous years of work to find the ever elusive balance meant nothing in the face of these new challenges and that I was essentially thrust back to square one, back to being lost.

However, once I had accepted that I needed to start again and build new management techniques and find new ways to cope I began to see a change – it is gradual and I am still woefully depressed, my anxiety is higher than usual but I can feel the control returning to me and logic is beginning to come in to play where it had no power before. Frustratingly it even seems that I may be building a stronger foundation of coping mechanisms than I had hastily constructed before and so it would seem that all things really do happen for a reason and that there is a positive to come out of all that has happened this year.

I now just wish for a little peace in what has been such a riot of storms.

The glorious fall

Every year I forget; but that only adds to the awe I feel – I love this time of year, I love it with a passion that I feel in every inch of my being.

It seems rather illogical, when you think of the cold, the shorter days, the dark, dark nights and even darker mornings… it would seem as though that should be detrimental to me rather than bringing so much joy.

Regardless, I love it because no matter where you look there is a riot of colour just waiting to grab your attention – it is almost as though the world is putting on a show; its like fireworks without the noise, like a painting, its surreal, its anticipation, its the visual representation of poetry, emotion and the hopeless romantic inside my soul… The crunch of those leaves under your feet is utterly sublime, many a time me and my children have played amongst them and doesn’t it just feel so magical with those leaves falling all around you, like a cascade of nature. I love that crisp chill that fills the air, its so fresh and clean and beautiful; it fills me with a child-like excitement that I can barely explain – I love wrapping up warm in a cosy coat, gloves, scarf and hat, I love hot chocolates and hot water bottles and cosy blankets while the world rages outside the windows and there is something fiercely delicious about the low autumn sun beating down on you as the bitter wind wars to chill your bones, it makes me feel alive. Walking is a sheer pleasure in this weather and somehow, despite the world dying to hibernate for winter, it feels more of a time for nature than any other to me. In fact, just a few weeks ago I spotted my first robin of the year and got so excited I think people were quite worried about me!!

Why is it that I feel healthier and happier at this time of year? All my research would suggest that the sun (or lack of) should play a large part in my mental health and wellbeing – but this is my time, this is when I thrive.

I must say that life is better than it has ever been for me and it just keeps improving as time goes on; though I still stumble and live through peaks and troughs, I survive, I carry on and nothing seems so impossible anymore, what everyone said would happen, has happened and now all my mental health management doesn’t feel as though it is such a conscious battle; more and more it is becoming second nature to me.

I’ve noticed that I’ve started practicing mindfulness a lot more – ironically, not purposefully, it is simply coming naturally. For example – when waiting to cross the road; instead of feeling the impatience at my wait and debating whether to cross early; I feel the wind, I notice the sky, I smell the air, I hear the trees rustle in the breeze, I feel my feet where I stand – it sounds almost silly but I truly believe it has been healing for my soul to find patience in my life and a sense of calm and peace. There is no rush; nothing will implode if I do not rush across the road – I have time to wait, I have time for peace. There are many issues that we with Bipolar disorder suffer and I would hate to narrow it down to one point and spout the lie that this is the cure because the truth is that it is different for everyone, we all find peace in different ways; but I do believe that we need to take more time to listen to what our own mind and body is telling us. If you have a million thoughts inside your mind and it will not calm enough to let you rest; don’t attempt to block it out or ignore – grab a pen and some paper and write each thing down; dissect why they are in your mind, embrace your feelings and calm that mind with time, show yourself the courtesy of listening.

I’ve also started noticing that nobody is as together as we all assume; I’ve started seeing people properly instead of seeing them all as above me and believing that they had something that I didn’t. You may not have a degree, but they don’t brush their teeth. You may not have made it out of the house today but they forgot to remind their son to do his homework. You may have had an argument with your mum/dad/sister/uncle but they have realised they’re unhappy in their marriage. Perhaps you have smelly feet, they have debts up to their eyeballs. You’re addicted to gambling, they’re addicted to online shopping. You didn’t iron your shirt this morning, they’re wearing yesterdays underwear; this is life, this is humanity… our problems are different but they’re the same because no matter the scale of severity they feel hopeless to us. This is ok; this is as normal as it gets.

This time last year I couldn’t have imagined being as healthy as I am now. I often say that to myself in times that feel dire and unbearable ‘this time next year it’ll all be different and there will be progress; things will be better’ and though it changes nothing in that moment; it gives me a goal to strive for and when I reach that year I can look back on all that I have done and see through clear eyes that yes, nothing is quite so dire anymore.

So much  has changed for me and yet nothing has really changed; it is almost an imperceptible change but it is there nonetheless. I have a job, I have a boyfriend, I enjoy life more, I am more positive, I am calmer and more accepting of others, I am more confident, I am happier, I am healthier and I know myself inside and out.

Perhaps that is why I love the autumn with such a passion. Because it mirrors my own sense of renewal; shed the old, the negative, the unnecessary baggage – spend some time, alone, bare, naked in the sense that you strip back the façade, the mask that says ‘I’m ok’ and then, when the time is right, bloom.

The crossroads

I have come to many a crossroads within my life; I believe that we all do – some we notice and others we don’t but a choice is inevitably made nonetheless.

Here I stand at another crossroad; blurred vision and confusion marring my ability to make informed choices and all the while wishing someone would take it out of my hands – release me of this burden of free will. Oppress me so that I no longer have to make choices that hurt no matter which way I turn.

I am tired of watching the happiness seep out of my life whilst I contemplate what I ‘should’ be doing or thinking or feeling… When did I become so afraid of doing what I want and like to do? When did I equate my personal choices as those that bring me to the feet of mental illness? I have come to realise that even after all the progress I have made, all the soul searching and self improvement – I don’t trust myself. I view my choices through the lense of my past mistakes; I judge myself and I deem myself unworthy.

I spout affirmations ‘I am not Bipolar’ ‘I am a warrior’ … but what does it mean if I never make my own choices? If I always second guess my instinct and go with what I believe others will say or think, then who am I? Do I exist at all?

The ‘what if’s’ are eating me alive… they whisper doubt and suspicion and it is my great downfall to listen to their blackened words… What if I am wrong? What if I end up alone? What if I can’t cope? What if…

Is it sensible to look at a story from every angle? Does it just make sense to see the potential in every situation? Or do I doom myself to misery and torment in essentially, mentally at least, ending the good before it has even begun…

I feel isolated. Isolation breeds desolation.

How disappointing to be feeling this way when so many things are happening right now that make me feel blissfully happy. I feel almost as though I am doing something wrong in pursuing this facet of my life; I feel as though I am making mistakes at every turn and yet I have no way in which I can correct it… I want it all and that doesn’t seem to be within my grasp.

Routine has fallen by the wayside. A new relationship is posing a lot of new challenges and obstacles in the management of my mental health; and yet the new focus and emotional support makes it all seem easier to navigate and I am certain that, given time, I will reach a state of mental stability once again.

I think I know the meaning of life… finding glimpses of joy and bliss within the earth shattering pain and anguish or mutinous monotony that plagues us all.

Spring forward

I wonder how often our lives fall into sync with the earth. The petals fall from fragrant cherry blossoms, flowers begin to bloom and leaves appear – animals prepare to bring forth new life and April showers leave the earth fresh and cleansed. How keenly the spring mirrors the events of my own life… The ending of things past and the beginning of new, fresh adventures; How difficult it is not to sully the now with memories and fears of the past.

Today I had my very last appointment with my support worker and a couple of weeks ago I was discharged from under my psychiatrist’s care. I knew this was coming and I know it is the right time to sever these elements of support – they have done all they can for me – and yet, it leaves me with mixed emotions nonetheless. I say goodbye to what was essentially a very empowering, yet difficult, piece of my life (seeking and seeing through the help I so desperately needed) with a heavy heart and move forward with hope and the faith that I am able to maintain this wonderful level of stability. I also hold a great amount of fear and doubt though… What if I fall once again? Do I have the strength to get up again? Would I even want to? I suppose my fear has heightened now because there is no fall back – I am responsible for me, I must manage this condition alone and that is a scary prospect regardless of whatever support I may have around me.

I was thinking just the other day about the difference a small passage of time can make to a person… I am well aware of the difference I have made in my own life and even my personality over the past ten years but even the past two years hold a great significance and many accomplishments – My life now, but my outlook on life especially, is vastly different to what it was then. In 2012 I was watching myself begin to crumble again – I had to give up my English degree and accept that it was just too much pressure for me at that time… I sought help for my illness properly for the very first time, I did battle with family members who weren’t ready or able to accept my illness and realised exactly who I could rely on. I was officially diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and sent into therapy… I was a mass of anger, bitterness and pain.

Life is eons away from that now. I hold no anger or bitterness – Its often hard to remember the massive strides I have taken into health and the work that it took just to get me to a place where I could get up and out of bed every morning – take pride in my appearance and really love and respect the person that I am. I may not have a big career, I may not have money or any of the other things that other people use to judge success and happiness by but I have health, stability, I have the support of those who love me, self respect, two fabulous children and a future that doesn’t look quite so gloomy…

And so, like the spring, some things must end and others are just beginning. I am in a new relationship – one that feels healthy and right and wonderful. I am looking to maintain my management techniques in stepping up my meditation times and keeping busy – among other things. I remain painfully honest about anything and everything; even within my new relationship… it is not always easy to bare your soul for others to judge but the liberation that comes with knowing that you never need to be anything less than your authentic self and nothing is ever going to crop up an ruin your happiness, that freedom, is worth any awkwardness.

I move on; to new challenges, new adventures – and I take you with me Bipolar disorder – wherever I go, but on I move regardless…

The end of innocence

*Trigger warning*

Tonight I watched a film; I don’t often watch much of anything but sleep was not forthcoming, loneliness permeated the walls and so I sought the company of the small screen – what I received was so much more than I bargained for.

The main story was not what caught my interest as much as that of a small backstory about a so called ‘mother who never should have taken up the job of being a mother’ – married to an alcoholic who cannot hold down a job, living in the middle of nowhere with three children and unable to cope. Her husband sickens and is on his death bed and one night she creeps into the bedroom of her children ‘I know you prefer your father… one day you’ll understand’ she states, off she walks into the night and wades into a river with the intent of drowning her sorrows – literally. Her eldest daughter, of around eight years old, follows her and pleads with her to come back until eventually the mother breaks into wracks of sobs and apologies.

I am captivated by this story and moved to tears. It hits me within my very soul and it seems clear to me that this is because it so keenly mirrors my own past experiences.

I was that mother. My husband was a good one, but immature and unequipped to support me in much the same way as the husband in the story and at 21 I found myself living in the middle of nowhere with two children and a house to manage and no idea of where to start nor how to cope. I had always suffered with what I thought at the time was a crippling depression but since the births of my children it had worsened considerably and as I strived to be all that, to my mind, a mother and wife should be I felt failure from every direction and judgement closing in. I could not keep up to the high standards that I had set myself and I struggled with my two young children who, due to my miserable state, preferred the company of anyone but me – and so I never felt as though I were doing quite well enough at being me…

I talk about many things to do with my illness and the dire moments within my most desperate times but there are some subjects I seldom approach… This subject is one that I haven’t gone near. Mainly because I was not in a healthy enough place to think through and share my experiences without spurring dark thoughts and dismal temptations. I have never really spoken with anyone about these times in my life, it is unpleasant for them to hear and still such a taboo topic that it is difficult to know where to start.

Six years ago, I was in the midst of what I am now told was a complete psychotic break. The name does it more than justice; I was anger personified, rage and misery. I was not in control, I seldom slept leading to near insanity and as far as I was concerned the world was against me… There was no logic to my actions, no reason for the way I behaved or felt or thought… no excuse good enough. I don’t remember many things about that time, times with my children are lost forever and any experiences I might have had in those years are also lost to me… I do remember being an abysmal human being, I remember the hatred and the absolute frustration. Some moments stand out more than others, above all, I remember clearly my strong and passionate desire to die.

I made many attempts to end my life and spent many a day imagining ways to do it, even so far as researching ‘easy ways to die’ online… if it wasn’t so painfully pitiful it would almost be laughable. I felt strongly that everyone, but most importantly my children, would be better off without me… I imagined, in my twisted and illogical way, how happy they would be when I was out of their lives – as far as I was concerned, I was a burden, a plague… worthless. I used to try and get my husband to take the children out alone often so that it would give me a chance to devise ways of dying, I felt that it was ok as long as they weren’t in the house – as though it would not affect them if they weren’t there to see it.

I even remember one day writing out my suicide notes; one to each of my children – I don’t remember much of what I wrote but I do remember clearly one line ‘…This world was just not for me…’ as if that would make it alright, as if that explained it all. I don’t know how serious I was in my attempts to die – I never really got close to succeeding and so I wonder if, in some place within my mind, I knew it was wrong.

I remember a brush with someone’s attempted suicide when I was a little girl and my mother describing it as ‘such a selfish thing’ I was never convinced – it is my life; it will better others lives if I were gone and so surely it is almost selfless to die? Oh, the flawed and self-serving logic of someone on the lowly track to doom.

I have often looked back upon that time in my life but never as clearly as I do now and I suppose that can be attributed to the fact that suicide is not an option I even consider anymore – my mental health is such that I am content in the knowledge that I am wanted, loved and needed and that regardless of those facts, I am worthwhile. Death holds no appeal anymore… and so, now when I look back on that time all I see are my children. What if I had succeeded in my plan to rid the world of me – where would they be now? Who would they be? Why did I think I had the right to end their magical innocence – did I truly believe I could remove myself and leave them unscathed. Yes, it is indeed a selfish thing.

I think of them one day opening those letters full of empty words that I wrote in an attempt to redeem and excuse myself and I break inside at the thought of their reactions and at the thought of inflicting such pain upon them simply to run from my own agony.

I was not a natural mother and still now I need to work hard at being the best I can for my children, as we all do. I was a dreadful housewife and I still am; I wish someone had told me that some people are just not made to keep a perfect house and that in the grand scheme of things it is of little importance how high your washing is piled and how long it takes you to wash a dish… Life is about more. I wish I had known that it was ok that I didn’t immediately bond with my children – that it was normal for it to feel akin the banging my head against a wall the majority of the time… I wish I had let life happen instead of trying to mould it into my perception of perfection because when perfection didn’t come I felt personal failure and misery.

I wonder when I lost my innocence. When did I lose those rose tinted glasses that never left my face as a child and start seeing the world in tones of grey. I don’t remember when it happened or why… I wish I did, merely so I could avoid doing it to my children.

I am always so happy when something prompts me to look at things from another angle and so I am grateful to this seemingly innocuous film that has brought about such a new tone of reflection for me; I am grateful that I did not steal the innocence of my children and that I get to see them blossom and grow into young people that I love with all my heart and am proud of with every inch of my soul. I am grateful for the life lessons that have taught me that perfection and whether or not the carpets have been hovered are not what children remember of their childhood nor what is important.

I am still learning; aren’t we all? I am learning to let life flow – a difficult lesson… I am learning to love, to care, to notice and feel joy… learning to live within the moment and cherish every day. I hope to always be learning.

Back then, in my darkest days, I felt incapable. I never dreamt that I could do what I do now. Be a single parent, provide and care for my children alone – make them happy all by myself, keep a functioning (if not always clean) house and feel healthy and content in myself… feel pride in myself. If these things felt impossible to me then I wonder what is to come in the future – anything might happen, dreams might come true.

And so now, this version of me, will strive to preserve innocence where the me of the past once sought to eradicate it.

At the risk of happiness…

I have been remarkably well balanced of late and it is both enthralling and worrying – I feel as though both myself and everyone around me is waiting for the inevitable fall… how bad will it be this time around?

Or maybe, just maybe; this is me coming out the other end of all the work I put into learning about my illness and the techniques and coping methods that would aid in me in living my version of a normal life… Maybe the time for learning and analysing is past and it is finally time to put all of these skills into practice and begin to live once again – I don’t think I have ever hoped for something to be true as much as I do for that.

I have found different things to focus my energies on – positive things, good things… and so I find myself dwelling in the pit of despair and illness less and less every day and though I wouldn’t have believed it before, it is true what they say; these coping methods do become second nature more and more as each day passes…

I had a day of clumsiness and mass anxiety on Tuesday and it didn’t floor me, I coped with humour, I coped by talking through each incident and giving voice to the irrational anxiety within me and then I made time for things that made me feel good – people that made me feel good; even though I would readily have closed my eyes on the world. I awoke the next day to a better mood, a better day and I realised that it is all about how I choose to view the things happening to me. I don’t believe that I will always be capable of overcoming a day like that, the nature of this illness is that sometimes it is just beyond our control – but, I do see now, that not all of these days and incidents are beyond my control… I could have sent myself on a downward spiral using that day as reason enough and in the past I probably would have and once you have made the trip into that well of depression it is not so easy to bring yourself back.

I have also realised how blessed I am with the support and understanding that I have around me. I am in the position at the moment that I worry about the judgements new people in my life may make on my illness and other eccentricities; not everyone finds so many wonderful people around them ready to learn, listen and understand, as I have around me.