Tag Archives: life

Why don’t you all just fuck off?

Goady fucker aren’t I?

I’m not sure yet as to who exactly that is aimed at.

It might be aimed at the spectres in my dreams. The ones that are keeping me awake, yet asleep. The ones that have me dreading bed time, yet so exhausted I feel physically sick. The ones that make me relieve my worst memories, my darkest fears and my saddest moments.

It might be aimed at all the people making demands on my time, yet offering me nothing in return. Every relationship is transactional, and I’m beginning to feel the effects of the negative equity. It sucks to be honest.

It might be aimed at the people who have every right to make demands of me, the ones that offer me unwavering love and support, the ones I brought into the world, the ones who pay my wages. The ones I owe. The ones I want to be there for and to love and cherish…but the ones I end up fucking over…time  after time.

It might be aimed at the duo on my shoulder, known to me as rejection and loss. Some people have the devil and the angel. I don’t. My decisions are governed by my fear of rejection and loss.

It might be aimed at the racing thoughts, combined with the racing pulse. Culminating in the ultimate headache and body aches. That articulated truck just won’t fuck off and I really, really wish it would.

It’s definitely aimed at the people who wrote the first ten search results in my latest search for research on BPD.

Emotional vampire, empty martyr, cruel, abusive….all words used to describe people like me.

Even fucking worse was using the term “A Borderline” I am not a Borderline. I am not a fucking mental illness. I am a fucking person, with many many attributes. Call me a cunt, thats fine…I am one. A bitch….a daughter, a mother…etc I am all of these things. I am not a Borderline….anymore than I am the Loch Ness Fucking Monster.

I also wouldn’t say I’m an emotional vampire. If anything, I give off more emotions than I take in. I require a lot of maintenance, and I feed off peoples negativity, but no in a way that damages them. More in a way, that punishes myself. But if people around me are happy, then I’m happy. If people around me are sad, I find ways to alleviate that sadness for them, be it with bizarre riddles, hugs, presents…anything…I just want them to feel better.

I’m definitely not abusive. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I actively avoid confrontation, choosing instead to go without or be uncomfortable in order to avoid calling people out on their bad behavior. I spend my days building people up.

Yes, I can be cruel. Of course I am. By mere virtue of being human, the ability to be cruel comes with ease. But I genuinely don’t think cruelty is my first response, contrary to what google results would suggest.

I am screwed up. I do have a disproportionate negative view of myself. I do need to reengage with therapy. I do take a increasingly strong dosage of medication. I  do keep to the shadows. I do feel deeply. Love, happiness, hope…that stains me to my core. As does the darkness. I tiptoe and dance along a tightrope, never sure which side I’m going to come crashing down on. But it’s my dance and my tightrope. I own that. I find happiness in the smallest of things, I find joy in nothing more strenuous than a rainbow. I find peace in being by the sea….

I am not this carcrash of a human, waiting to hurt and destroy people. I am not this person to be avoided because of fear of me somehow infecting you with my, frankly, bizarre views.

I am messed up, I don’t see myself the way others see me. I don’t see the world in ways other people do. I’m not jaded or full of cynicism. I’m the eternal optimist. Because I have to be. I’ve experienced the worst of what the world has to offer. I’ve been the domestic abuse victim. I’ve been the sexual abuse victim. I’ve been the one who reached out to tell my story, and get the support I needed so badly….and found that there was none when I needed it. Yet still, I look around me and see the goodness in people. See the kindness. Offer my support, my help….when many others would have already turned their backs. I give that second, third and fourth chance.

So why exactly, am I lumped in with the dregs of society? The ones who take out more than they give back…the ones who won’t help themselves let alone other people?

I have fought, endlessly, tirelessly, relentlessly….

I have fought other people. I have fought the system. I have fought myself. I have fought for other people.

And because whilst I have BPD  and goddamn am I aware of that… it’s not all I am. My paranoia, my weird tangenty thoughts, my cyclical moods, my lack of “emotional regulation”, my fear of rejection and loss, my love, my hope, my whimsy….they’re all just facets of who I am.

I am not a borderline. I am not an abuser.

I’m just me….weird, crazy, ugly little me.

If that isn’t enough. If you will still insist on my changing…this is my invitation to you…

Go, and don’t come back. I do not have time or inclination for anyone who doesn’t accept who I am. I do not have time, or patience to convince you that I am worthy. How can I, when I still have to convince myself of that every day.

I do have time to reeducate. I have time to fight for the cause. To fight for people to actually understand mental health, genuinely understand it.

I do not have time to explain, again, that I do not have depression. That I’m not “going through a phase” (it’s been 20 years…I’m fairly sure this is who I am). I do not have time to convince you of what I can’t begin to explain adequately.

But, I will, always, have time to listen and to love. Because that’s who I am.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

time I wake up?

 

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Why do people never believe you when you say you’re crazy?

 

I’m allowed to say I’m crazy. You’re not. Lets start with that.

I keep being told that “you seem so normal” and “you don’t act like there is anything wrong with you”. Obviously, not out of the blue; that would be weird. And kind of offensive. But in the parameters of a conversation whereupon it is acceptable to make that kind of comment.

But the thing is, I am legitimately crazy. And people trying to rationalise my crazy with well meant, but ill informed, intentions with follow up comments such as “but everyone feels like that sometimes” pisses me off….because that’s the difference, everyone feels like it sometimes, but I feel like it all of the time.

I visited with my psychiatrist this week, for the first time in…too long to be frank. I’ve had the odd telephone conversation, where I’ve requested to come off of the antidepressant. Or where they’ve checked in with me because other, unrelated medication, has been added to my concoction. But I’ve not had a sit down, face to face appointment in too long. But last week I reached out and said, I’m not okay. 

Because, I wasn’t. And I am crazy.

In terms of life, I’ve had a hard, so hard, last 12 months. Half of it has been my doing, a quarter down to other people, and the other quarter, well that’s how life works isn’t it. I’m not saying I’ve had it harder than anyone else, not for one second. But for me, as I wrote ages ago, I’ve had my coping mechanisms tested, and some failed. The waltzers were getting faster, and I had no point of reference.  I had no sense of control. I had nothing but the pervasive feeling of dread and fear. I was running to stand still, but running through knee deep mud in the process.

My thoughts were, at best, haphazard, disjointed and never stopping. I couldn’t breathe. I knew everyone was going to see through the facade and to the fraud I am. I had no belief in myself, no confidence. I was paranoid that people that make decisions that affect my life, were lying to me about the decisions they were making, and indeed lying about how they were going to proceed with the decisions they’ve made. I’ve been insecure, in my looks and my personality. I’ve been convinced that everything around me is just stained glass and it’s all going to come shattering down, in the most beautiful but devastating way.

And I’ve had to go to work, family and friends, and have to convince everyone that I’m okay. Clearly, it was succeeding. No one could see the fact I couldn’t use language effectively, in fact just writing this has taken 14 attempts (it tells you when you hover over “status”). No one could see the obsessive thoughts starting. No one else could taste the metallic taste of fear on my tongue. No one else was witnessing the debilitating panic attacks. No one could see my brain calculating all possible exits, real and metaphorical.

And by no one, I include myself in most of that.

But then, in a rare moment of clarity, it did become clear to me. As I peered into a magnification mirror, pen in hand, ready to circle every flaw that was thrown up at me. It dawned on me. I wasn’t okay.  So it wasn’t the obsessing over the washing up (which was noticed and commented on) or the return to nightmares, or the failing of my Everest that prompted me into action. It was one, red biro pen.

And I fucking cried, I cried until my eyes were so sore it felt like I was blinking over sandpaper, my fingers itching to start nipping the tops of my arms until they bruised, my heart breaking because I’d failed. Me. The person who claims to control her illness, was being brought back into the fold by the devil and hadn’t even realised.

Thanks to all that is holy, that a passing cult leader didn’t notice me…..

 

Anyway.

 

I didn’t self harm. What I did was. I made a plan. I stopped avoiding. I called my psychiatrist and booked the appointment. I told my husband. I spoke to uni. I told a friend. I took my own advice and I reached out.

So now, here I sit. Re-referred to talking therapy. So much for 28 and all talked out. Self care plans back in place. Mindfulness being employed again (it’s a way of life and I forgot that).

I had to admit to the shrink, that I had failed. That me, the one who was determined to beat the statistics, had been so cruelly claimed by them. That my personal journey had taken me almost full circle.

And as I sat there, and told the good doctor about the last 12 months. As I poured my heart out, all the dirtiest secrets, my deepest shame….as he wrote it down, to keep forever in my ever growing file…two things happened.

I realised I was a goddamn hypocrite.

And the good doctor pointed out, that some things I was describing, that wasn’t even my illness, it was just me being a twat.

Both helped.

was being a hypocrite. I know what is wrong with me is incurable. I know that was is wrong with me means I need help and support. It means I have to be brave and strong even when I’m scared and weak. I know everything I have to do. I preach it. I breathe it. I live it.

But I’d stopped. I’d gotten so secure and so sure of myself, I’d stopped taking my own advice. I’d stopped being as honest as I had to be.

So here I am, dealing with the thing I hate most. The feeling of failure.

But, to fail, means we’ve succeeded before and we can do again.  So three days past appointment, I might be back at square one. But that’s fine. I know I can get out of this again. This is just a relapse. I will be okay.

And the other thing? It’s always good to be told you’re acting like a twat and you have no excuse, snaps you into being a better person.

 

So here I am. Terrified, tired, mind spinning, unable to utilize language correctly. Dreaming of the worst of the worse. Paranoid that at any minute I’m going to be exposed. Feeling like a fraud.

 

But, as with all things, this too shall pass.

So, here goes battle…..battle god knows what. But it’s still not beaten me.

 

Mental health illness is a cunt of the highest order. And fuck me I’m sick of it. But it’ll be okay. I’ll be okay.

 

And with that, I’m out. Remember, the first step to being okay, is admitting when you’re not.

 

 

 

 

Can I have a do-over?

Or at least that’s what I text my friend the other day.

These last….six months have been relentless. I haven’t been able to catch my breath from one moment to the next. And that has been exhausting.

For someone who requires stability and routine in order to function from one day to the next….the last few months have left me spinning. My very own waltzers have been increasing in momentum….my homing beacon isn’t only just switched off…it’s in a different universe from what I can tell…my swans wings have been flapping almost as hard as my feet have been paddling and still…..the war of attrition has sucked me back in.

I’ve changed jobs, to one that whilst…requires less hours…it requires much more head space and much more mask wearing. I’m on my own for great swathes of the day. That’s a long time to be with my own thoughts.

My very own Everest has beaten me for now. I could see the summit…and then I slipped back too far to reach it this year.

Childcare has been a nightmare, I get that having kids and going to work was my choice. And I did it for all the right reasons. But its a minefield. And mines are detonating everywhere I turn.

There’s been a bereavement…which I found out about…by accident it would appear. Actually there is no appear about it. That’s exactly how I found out.

I’ve had to meet loads of new people. In fact its a prerequisite of my job – forming relationships. The irony of someone like me having to form and build relationships for a job. That’s hilarious.

And perhaps most concerning….I’ve come off my antidepressant.

Not my anti psychotic. We increased the dose of that and removed the antidepressant. At first it was accidentally. In the maelstrom of changing jobs and all the drama that ensued with the big green kitchen company….I forgot to take it. My sleep didn’t change, I woke up in a good mood….so I ran with it…..

The first month was amazing. Everything was fantastic. No withdrawal….no sleep issues…I was happier and more content…awesome right?

Then the second month happened…the nightmares came back, the insomnia came back. I was so tired I cried in a car park because someone snapped at me…I felt physically ill with exhaustion. My bones hurt. I was so tired….but I just couldn’t sleep….and when I did sleep….back to the beginning…back to the violence of past relationships, back to seeing my girls die before my eyes….back to waking up screaming and drenched in sweat…there was just no respite.

Then the third month came….the nightmares are less. I still dream. I still have exhausting dreams, but the antipsychs are keeping me….well sane I guess. My sleep pattern is some bizarre version of fucked up. I’ll sleep for 10 hours one night and not at all two nights later. I’m assuming it’s just my body trying to work out its own thing….I’ll ride it out. I don’t want to go back on the anti depressants.

Not because I have anything against them….but because…the benefits of not being on them are now outweighing the benefits of taking them. And thats part of taking control of my own health….learning when I need the boost and when I can manage on my own….

But in saying this….it’s not been all bad.

It’s kept me on my voyage of learning who I am.

I swapped jobs to another role within an international company…and I love it. It pushes me, it engages me…this could be a career. So I’m passionate about it….the big green company job is another post entirely. And one I will be writing, and one I will tag them in. Because that was a soulless,destroying company and hell will rain down on the heads of the management before I’m through with them…..

I’ve maintained some good relationships with people I thought I’d lose over the natural course of time. But now it’s like, because we don’t have work binding us together…we have to make the effort….and that’s nice. It’s reinforcing the lack of scarlet in me at the moment.

The bereavement…I genuinely…I don’t care. And thats not my BPD. It sounds horrible, but the woman who died….she hadn’t engaged with me for years prior to that, and her son – my father, well he was no better. So finding out by accident was a bit cruel, but hey….so what?

 

So overall, no I don’t want a do over. I’ve learnt lots about myself in the last 6 months. I’ve learnt how resillient I am. How strong I am. How I can adapt as needed.

I’ve learnt that actually, I really am in control of my BPD. And that, that’s amazing. Thats real progress. I really love some aspects of my mental health illness… I still love the empathy I have because of it. I really love how it means I can help people. I love the way I see sounds and taste words. I’m fascinated by the way my mind works.

 

I hate the way I don’t have that much control over my emotions. So I’ve taught myself to control how I react to my emotions. Thats a life skill, even neurotypical people struggle with.

 

So fuck it, overall…I’m still winning this battle. Or at least…I’m keeping from being overthrown. And for now. That’ll do.

This kid’s not alright.

So young. Sat on a bench, her short legs just hanging there listlessly, unable to reach the ground. But without engergy enough to swing. Her scuffed shoes just there. 

All encompassing, pervading every facet of my being. Darker than the blackest black. The stuff emo kids can only dream off. So thick it’s a relative forcefield around me. Ironically the one thing keeping me together was the same thing that was destroying me.

Loneliness.

Not the kind that a text from a friend, or a smile from a stranger can help stave off. But the kind where you know you’ll never be free of it. The type where you’re surrounded by people, quite literally, but no one can reach you and, most crucially, you can’t reach any one.

It’s only now, in my stronger self, with my new learnt techniques and medication, that I can look back on my darker times and start pinpointing what the emotions I had were.  I can identify fear well now, that was an emotion I only really felt in my mid to late teens, other periods of my  life seem to be conspicuous in the absence of fear. Sadness, I was never sad, I was always…..melancholy. Sad implies a cause and therefore a solution. Acceptance, not from people, or even myself, but acceptance of the way I was/am (interchangeable at times). Etcetera…I felt happy at times…like on journeys with my step dad to watch the football, or getting a good mark on a piece of work I’d really worked on, or when I completed prose that I felt told the story….

I’m painting the picture of a very unhappy child, but I wasn’t. I was certainly grumpy or crabby or mardy. Now it’s pretty obvious that actually it could have all been avoided pretty easily.

No, I wasn’t unhappy. That darkness I was speaking of? That’s loneliness.

It is only with time and hindsight I have learnt that. It’s still something I battle with now. Which is tedious given the fact from the minute I wake til the minute I sleep I’m with people. And even when asleep, I’m not alone. I’ve got the good old night mares to keep me company.

We all know my back story, I’m 27, had 5 different psychiatrists, 6 different counsellors, 3 psychologists, 2 overdoses, 5 different anti-depressants, 2 anti-anxiety drugs, and now a lovely cocktail of happy pills and none crazy pills, 4 diagnosis’ (Depression, General Anxiety Disorder, Chronic  Anxiety and now Borderline Personality disorder with an addition of dissociative and schizophrenia behaviours thrown in for good measure).

So what does that have to do with the price of fish?

Simple really. As a child, I couldn’t name my emotions. I didn’t understand them. Even now as an adult, I have to focus to see what the cause behind the emotion is. I mean, happiness is easy to determine, as is melancholy. But anything beyond those two, well thats harder. I feel anger, immense anger. But only temporarily, very fleetingly. The only emotions that seem to take hold and stay are loneliness and melancholy.

But admitting to that, isn’t allowed. How can I be lonely when I’m married and surrounded by friends?

Well I’ve figured it out now.

How can you not be lonely, when you don’t like being alone?

Which sounds absurd, because I love alone time. But never silence. I can’t sit in silence. Which is difficult, because too much noise overstimulates me and makes me cranky. But when I’m alone, I have to have music. Always music. It acts as a dampener to my thoughts. I can’t think too much when I’m concentrating on lyrics can I?

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this. Loads of people can identify with the feeling of being alone when at a party.

My problem is, I can’t take being alone for what it is.

I have to over analyse. I have to over think. The ball of neuroris that is my brain can’t tolerate too long without input from other sources. Otherwise it takes off at a tangent and colours everything green.

Remember, everything has a taste, colour or sound. Thursdays taste of bacon, my teeth itch, lonliness is green.

Back to that kid. That young girl on the bench in her playground. She was eight. Eight. One year younger than my eldest is now. I still remember it. Clearly. As if it was frozen in time, an image I get to replay every day. That young kid. She wanted it all to stop. All to go away.  Her heart hurt, her brain hurt. All she wanted was for it to stop. To stop and end for ever ever.

See, I’ve been battling this for longer than I can’t remember.

I’m okay now. But acutely aware of the fact I’m still in this war of attrition. Knowing that I’m only okay because my medication stop me being anything else. Knowing that too long without the tablets and it all comes back. Knowing that I still don’t have the energy to fight it again. Not yet. I don’t think I ever will.

I don’t have the energy to fight and still be a good mother. To fight and still be a good friend. A good wife. A good person.

But that’s fine. At least I’m honest about my crutch. I’m honest that I need the pills. I’m all talked out. All lessons learnt. All opposing thoughts done. I’ve done the years of therapy, and psychiatry. Time served. I’ve spent over half my life in therapy. Therapy can’t change who I am.

And I am that neurotic mess who hides behind a face of makeup, hard walls, sarcasm and apathy. I am that person who will say something cutting just because she can. I am that person who will always be there for my friends. I am that person who will burst into tears because her hot bread has been toasted too much. I am that person who will learn, learn and learn some more. I will set myself unachievable targets and hate myself for failing. I will always be my harshest critic. I will always be battling my own brain.

Because I have no choice. I can’t be anything but who I am. I can’t be that happy, easy going person I want to be. I can’t wake up in a good mood when I’m coming round from a drug induced sleep. I can’t be that person who always has a kind word. I can’t be that person that other people gravitate to, because she makes them feel good.

 

I’ll forever be that person, that makes most people feel slightly uncomfortable, despite them not even knowing why. I’ll forever be that person who’s more spikey than cuddly. I’ll always be that person, who people think is joking because no one can be that mean.

But, I’ll also always be that person, who is the first to help. The first to offer solace and comfort. The first to empathise. The first, and last, to stop caring.

Me and my resting bitch face, may be unapproachable. We may make people feel uncomfortable.

 

But, something I’ve learnt over the years? That’s usually because in me, they see parts of themselves they don’t like. They see in me, the chance of the battle they will have to face. And no one likes that. No one wants to admit that mental health illness can, and will, attack anyone. They want to think its only the weak. It’s only the lazy.

.

And in me, they see that unfortunately, its indiscriminate. It will take anyone it desires. It will render even the strongest, warmest, move loving of people. And turn them into a shell. It will make them feel that lonliness I live with. It will make them feel like no one around them wants them or needs them. It will twist your own brain so much you can’t trust it. So by extension, you don’t trust anyone.

 

 

Oh. And I’m a total bitch…..

If it’s not the dreams it’s the reality.

Screams rent the stillness of the night. Blackness surrounds, a crushing weight lays on her chest. Wrapped in a prison of sheets, her legs kick as the sweat trickles down her back. The screams stop, the panting begins….on her feet looking for her nearest exit…her mouth tastes of pre-vomit acid, her stomach roiling against the images her mind conjures for her. Memories, half embellished, half true to life…horror movies playing relentlessly whenever she sleeps.
At night, the fears and anxieties she manages to gloss over during the day: they fight back. Whilst she lies sleeping, her conscious mind switches off….none of her defences are there. The armed guards have stood down for the duration. The deflective humour, the scathing sarcasm, the self-deprecation…is all gone. All that is left is her imagination…an imagination that appears to be determined to do what her illness couldn’t: send her insane.
For her dreams, some: they’re just memories. 1080P HD images of her worst times, on an endless loop. Other times; well they’re tricks her own brain plays on her. Her own brain becomes her tormentor (not unlike it is during the day). It plays terrifying fiction videos of half buried bodies down the side of the mountain, each face being someone she loves…Pup 1 …Pup 2….Mum….Sister…and on and on….all the way to the bottom where she’s greeted by a masked man ….. or sometimes, perhaps worse…the dreams….they’re so real she can taste them…and it’s just fear after fear being realised. How many times must she watch her children die?
See, even when I’m sleeping my BPD is against me. Right now, surrounded by trigger after trigger….I’m wondering how I manage to get through it. How I manage to stay one step ahead of the battle and one step ahead of my own mind that is working tirelessly, relentlessly against me. It’s like I’m in a whole other world where I can smell the food….but can’t touch the silver wear.
I fight all the time, especially at the moment…the weather…work…university…everything seems like an uphill fight. I’ll win. I always do. But I can see my behaviours starting to manifest again…keeping exits to my back, or standing in the corner, making hot drinks just for something to occupy my hands, black humour, procrastination…all my little coping mechanisms. And sure they make me odd…but they do something to stem the tide of noise and sensory overload.
Do you know what it’s like to lay in bed with your eyes closed, waiting for sleep and suddenly feel dizzyingly sick as in your mind’s eye your rushing into the back of an articulated lorry and you’ve no way to stop? An adrenaline rush as I lay there doing nothing more than practising mindfulness?
It’s funny really. All my plates are still spinning, yet I can hear them crashing to the ground. The panic is raw in my throat, the blood pounding in my ears…yet still…I’m fine. I’m always fine. Like a swan gliding effortlessly on the surface, beneath it…my feet are paddling madly and my internal GPS system is switched off. I have no homing beacon, so I’ll keep paddling away aimlessly until I happen upon where I’m meant to be. And when I reach there; I’ll take a breath. I’ll stop. I’ll stop to smell the roses.
But in the meantime, my resting bitch face is in situe, I’ll be quiet around people I don’t know, and exuberant with people I do. But all the while my mind is like the waltzers that have been spinning too long and too fast. I’m dizzy and I want to get off.
But as ever this is a journey I’ll never finish, an end I’ll never see. And whilst most of the time, it’s fun and exciting, because hey! Who doesn’t like to be surprised by themselves? At the moment, I’m wading through mud in flip flops.

Life doesn’t stop because you have children.

What’s it really like to do it all?

It’s hard work. It’s guilt inducing. It’s never sleeping properly unmedicated because your brain can’t shut off from everything you’ve forgotten to do. It’s an open door to negativity. It’s leaving an open goal for judgement. It’s failing at everything at some point. It’s a slog. A long, hard, tedious, never ending slog.

But? It’s also the best of all words. Whilst being the best of none.

Going back to work as a mother of two young children was a daunting task. What at times seemed insurmountable. Getting a job after 6 years of being out of work, with only 3 years valid experience before that break. Working out how childcare was going to happen. What would happen if one of the children was ill. How I’d find the time to fit in everything. How the home was going to run smoothly. How would I cope with leaving the children. How would they cope with suddenly not having me there all the time. How would it still be possible to maintain a happy relationship with us both working full time. How to afford to work and pay for childcare.

And all that without taking into account completing a degree that I desperately want. And my well documented mental health problems.

At times it felt like it just wouldn’t be worth it. And when I have to leave my daughter when she’s vomiting into the toilet, it still seems like that. Handing the reigns to my husband, who is a wonderful father and contributes fully to the running of the home… but knowing that it wouldn’t be quite my way….it’s hard stepping back from that.

But I did it. Because the positives are always higher. More money coming in was actually the least important part of going to work. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face. There is more to being a woman than being a mother. And more to being a mother than wiping noses and holding hands. The top three reasons to return to work? Me. Me and again Me.

Selfish? Yes. Essential? Definitely.

I want my daughters to grow up knowing that in this life you work for what you want. A car? Work for it. A good job? Work for it. A nice home? Work for it. Nice clothes? Work for it. Weekends away? Work for it. Latest technology? Work for it. See a theme here? Everything worth having is worth working for. And it’s not about working hard, it’s about working smart.

I want to know that when my girls leave home, that that isn’t it for me. That’s not my whole lifes work gone and left. I don’t want to be 50 and suddenly starting my life. I want to be 50 and handing my girls the money for the air fare for a trip around the world. Money they’ve already gone and earnt, but now they can do it in style. I want to be able to have a discussion with them about interesting places we’ve visited, and know I’ve given them that thirst for life which so many seem to lack. I want to be able to smile at my husband and say “see you later, I’m off to Tuscany with the girls” (okay so probably not Tuscany, I plan on growing old disgracefully.) I want to be able to come in from a day at work and say to my husband “wow, today was so interesting.”  Not. “How was your day dear? I’ve sat and stared at four walls all day.”

I want to contribute to the world. And not just financially. For me, doing my degree and working in the area I do means that I can go onto get my Masters, and my Doctorate. It means that one day I’ll be contributing to the endless research into mental health. I’ll be helping people who, like I have, have needed meds and therapy. I want to give back what I’ve taken out.

So those nights when I come in from work, and smile tiredly at my long-suffering husband, and go upstairs and kiss the sleeping heads of my children who I’ve not seen since the day before, and I take my shoes off and take a long awaited decent cup-of-tea and just want to sleep and wonder why I bother. I think of all the things I’ve said and remember why I do it.

Why I work full time, complete a degree and raise two beautiful, intelligent, well mannered girls.  Why I accept the mumblings from so called friends about how I’m an awful person for leaving my children. Why I have working mother induced guilt, which can bring me to my knees. Oh god that guilt is a hard one.

Because for all my well thought out reasons and beliefs I genuinely hold. Leaving my girls tears my heart out. Every single time. Because of course I want to be the one wiping their noses and holding their hands. Of course I miss them. Of course I want to be cuddling them and reading with them. Of course I want to be a full time mummy. But unfortunately, time doesn’t stop running whilst they grow. In fact it goes quicker. Which is why it’s vital, for me to be a well rounded and happy adult, I have to work. And I have to complete my degree.

Because in 11 years, when my degree is complete, and my masters and doctorate are mine….suddenly I’ll have all this free time. I’ll have a good job. Which means in 20 years, when its my daughters turns to be facing this same juggling act I can be there to support them, and I can tell them it’ll be okay, and it means the time you spend with the loved ones in your life is cherished. Every second. That it means that okay, it’s hard now, but it will get easier. That the guilt will end, that you’ll see your children thrive with the independence.

Because when my girls are older, they’ll look back on their childhoods and go “okay, so mum wasn’t there 100% of the time, but when she was we had fun. We went out and did things. We saw the world. We visited our aunt on the other side of the world. We did stupid things like have paint fights, and upside down picnics. She wasn’t there in person all the time, but when she wasn’t, she was out grafting to make the world a better place for us and for our children.”

So when you take into account all the negatives to working, getting your qualifications and having a family, and their are a veritable legion of negatives. The positives and the reasons for working are much much more.

So to all the people that slag me, and any other working mother off, what ever. When your children have grown up and left home. What are you going to have for you? Because that’s the thing, we are a sum of all our parts. And to me, having children is just one of the facets of my life.

I work. I study. I parent. I wife (what’s the verb for wife?). And I don’t get it right all of the time. Probably not most of the time. But my reasons are good. My hearts in the right place. And I try to get the balance right.

So to any mother out there, who can identify with anything I’ve said. Just remind yourself, you’re doing well. You’re doing a good thing. And ignore all the negativity other people throw your way.

Lose your dignity….save your life.

About 6 months ago I was called in for my routine smear test. My first one, at the age of 25.

Despite knowing all I knew about cervical cancer and how delaying the test can end up killing you (Jade Goody? The young 26yr old recently?) I did just that. I delayed it, always thinking I had something more important and better to be doing. The first time was meeting Jacqueline Gold. The second time, napping. Napping? What the actual eff? And then weird things started happening.

I was permanently bloated, I looked like I was six months pregnant! I was bleeding after sex. I was getting random pain. I was constantly lethargic. Couldn’t pass water properly.

I went to the doctor, she sent me for a scan. “Oh it’s fine, it’s just your coil isn’t working and is in the wrong place. Lets remove that.”

Three weeks after that none of my symptoms had changed. I went back to the doctor. She took swabs. “Oh it’s fine you’ve just got Bacterial Vaginosis, but you need a smear. Go to the nurse.” I went to the nurse the same day (in fact immiediately after, the doctor called through.

After the usual rigmarole of falling over when trying to remove my jeans, falling onto the couch and generally making a prat of my self, the dreaded words came “Put your ankles together and drop your knees.”

And then the most terrifying thing happened. My heart pounded so hard it hurt, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up, the room span and my mouth went dry.

“There’s something wrong. Something isn’t right. You will need to see a specialist.”

I walked out, called the husband and nearly broke down there and then. Me? Cervical cancer? I’m 25! I have two children. It can’t be me!

For the next two weeks, waiting for the results of my smear test, I cried, I denied, I lied. I would tell myself that it was fine and just an over cautious nurse. I’d google my symptoms and all of them were massive red flags. I’d wait for the post every day, always waiting for the letter to come to tell me I was being over dramatic and a hypochondriac. I’d look at my two wonderful angels and wonder if I’d live to see them start secondary school. See their first loves. Watch them go to prom. I’d look at my husband and wonder how long we had left, was my cervix a ticking time bomb? Was I going to leave him? I’d stare in the mirror and brush my hair wondering if I’d lose it. All these thoughts, it was tearing me apart.

They were the worst two weeks of my life.

Then the letter came. Abnormal. Inconclusive. Blood contaminated it. My heart stopped again.

I saw the specialist the next day. I went with a heavy heart, shaking, nervous, scared.

I gowned up, sat on the chair, placed my legs in the stirrups and thought of England. And my girls. My beautiful angels who still needed their mummy.

Then the specialist looked at me, smiled and said “I can see the problem. It’s not cancer.”

I could have hugged her. All that stress for nothing. Turns out I had cervical etropcian. It simply needed cauterizing, but to be safe she biopsied me and sent them for testing.

I have had the cauterization done now, and whilst that REALLY hurt, and I really hurt afterwards too, I’m fine.

So why have I written this? Because it dawned on me, if I, usually really sensible when it comes to my body (I even get my moles checked) would delay a smear until it could have been too late, any one will and can. And I’m imploring you, begging you even, to just go and get it done. For two minutes of slight uncomfort you could avoid all my stress and worry. Cervical cancer when caught early enough (which it usually is with regular smears, and being in tune with your own body) won’t kill you, it won’t rip apart your loved ones. But when it’s left to grow and spread, which it will be if you avoid your smears and don’t know what is normal for you, it will. It will decimate your life and the lives of those you love. Why are we happy enough to have bikini waxes for aesthetic reasons but won’t see a professional for our health? It’s absurd. So book your smears, get the swabs, and continue for the next 3/5 years. And know that you’re doing the best by your body that you can.