Half way through March... How did we get here? Why does my December visit to my dad feel like it was a life time ago? How have our lives become such a crazy rush from one day to the next?
The last six months have been intense... I have cried and wished and fought harder than ever before. I have experienced some of the highest highs and lowest lows of the past years, but through it all, have continued to learn important lessons about life, about myself, and about the people around me.
In October 2016, I had a big health scare. I spent a week so ill I didn't want to leave the bed, and to make matters worse, J was sick that whole week too. Knowing he felt as cruddy as I did, I felt so sorry for the poor little guy! In between us all being ill, I had to pack up our flat, and prepare for the big move into a new house with E. We went from our little family of 3, to a full family of 4. Getting used to sharing 'my' space with someone was a challenge in and of itself. And to crown off that week of sickness and stress, I walked into the office on Monday 31 October, only to be told that I was being retrenched. It felt as if the ground had been torn out from under my feet, and it was the beginning of a very bad downward spiral for me.
Luckily, with the help of friends, family and E, I found a new job within a little over a week, and I started working again less than 2 weeks after being retrenched. But, some times I get reminded that nothing in my life ever comes that easy. That weekend, I learnt a very hard lesson about trust,forgiveness, and inner strength. I can look back now and realise in what bad shape I really was during those weeks and the weeks that followed.
You see, I suffer from anxiety and depression. I replay scenarios in my head for months, even years after they occurred, analysing my every move and word. I practice phone calls and conversations in my mind long before I even open my mouth to say a word. I worry about things that probably will never happen. I jump to the worst possible conclusion whenever I am unsure about what is going on. I spend hours analysing who said what and how they said it and what people think of me and if I'm good enough and if I tried enough and what if no-one loves me and what if people aren't pleased with me.... If I'm being a good enough mother, a good enough girlfriend, a good enough daughter and sister and friend and employee. There is a voice in the back of my mind that never shuts up... I hear it gossiping about me, wondering about how I'm shaping up compared to other people, guessing if I'm good enough to be wanted, to be needed, to be accepted. I avoid confrontation, to the point of allowing people to emotionally, mentally and verbally abuse me. I get myself so worked up, that eventually I can't breathe, that my heart races and my palms sweat and my scalp crawls. I take calming tablets before going to events where people might be looking at me. Although I 'like' people, the idea of introducing myself to someone new and striking up a conversation gives me heart palpitations.
I don't talk about it, very few close friends and family know, and I grew up being told that mental illness is 'all in your head'. Reaching out and getting the help I needed was tough, it still isn't easy. Looking back now, I don't think I've ever been in such a dark and ugly place in my life before, and the idea that I could so easily spiral back into that dark void of nothingness fills me with horror. In truth, publishing this post fills me with horror, but that's the point isn't it? To unashamedly write what I'm thinking and feeling, to stop caring so much about what people think, to spend more time doing what makes me happy.