Journey to fix the camel’s back

Today has been a great day. It has been so great that it has made me want to blog and share some of my life experiences over the past few months. Some things I have only shared with some of my closest friends so I’m a little nervous about how this is going to be received. I’m tempted to just write it and not share it on Twitter and Facebook but I will see how I feel when I finish writing.

For those who know me, my life is pretty good. I am close to my family, my friends and I have a lovely husband who means the world to me. I have had some ‘difficult’ times in the past but generally have come through things virtually unscathed. Or so I thought.

About June last year I started to feel differently. It’s really difficult to explain but I began to feel really emotional and life seemed like I was in a fog sometimes. To work colleagues and those who saw my Facebook and Twitter statuses, it may seem like life was normal for me and I became extremely adept at putting on a smiley face in public when in private I couldn’t understand why I felt so numb. Looking back it may well have been a delayed reaction to a number of changes in my life. My grandma had died in January and I also moved jobs. I love my job but think it may have been one change too many at that time. I was close to my grandma, she was my mum’s mum and provided a link to my mum’s memories, having lost my mum in an accident when I was 9. Don’t get me wrong, I had lots of support at the time and I think part of the support unfortunately led to ‘bandaging’ my true feelings.

So in June I started feeling differently and by August (the anniversary of my mum’s death) things were not going too well. I wasn’t speaking to anybody about my feelings and my poor husband didn’t know what to do as his wife turned into someone who could lose their temper at any minute. My saving grace came from two very special friends, one of whom is on Twitter. I honestly don’t know what could have happened if I didn’t have them in my life. From Facetiming to whatsapping random photos to leaving voicemails to sending messages and letters, the fact that they were there helped me. The feelings passed and I felt like life was back to normal. Looking back I should have clearly stepped back before going back into life at full steam ahead.

So in April this year the feelings started to come back. At this stage I became scared because I honestly couldn’t see how I could get past my feelings once August hit (as it has always been a difficult time for me). Work became my saviour in a way as things were busy and kept me focused but unfortunately it meant that outside of work things started to fall to pieces. I didn’t have suicidal feelings but didn’t want to be ‘here’ anymore. When I said that to my husband he didn’t know what to say as he equated that sentence with wanting to die. I definitely did not want to die. I just didn’t want to have the feelings of pain and despair and couldn’t work out a way to get past them. Again my two friends were there for me and I shared some more of my thoughts with other close friends who were all shocked that I had these feelings, obviously I had done a better job than I thought at hiding them! I spent a long time talking to my nan, one of the most inspirational women I have ever met. She was really good at telling me how it was and challenging my viewpoints and perceptions. Then she died in June. For the first month I kept it together through shock but then gradually the feelings started to overwhelm me.

I had previously taken some time off from volunteering as life became more hectic but when my nan died, I had to face the real possibility that I would not be able to return as a volunteer which made my feelings even worse as I felt I was letting people down. I called a counselling service and kept putting the phone down. I made excuses and I was very careful to avoid talking about my nan.

I had been having a few emails from my volunteer supervisor checking how I was and asking whether I needed anything. I never felt pressure to return, just a sense of someone being concerned about me. I also had some other close friends who kept messaging me about random things to make me smile and gradually I could start to talk about my nan. I started to write things down and most of all I started to talk about my feelings. I’m an incredibly ugly crier but I cried. Lots.

Then one of my best friends visited for the weekend. I have known her since I was 5 and she recently lost her grandma too. We talked. A lot. From 4:30pm when I met her to 1:30am the following day. We laughed, cried, talked and I shared everything. The best thing? She didn’t look shocked at anything I said. She just accepted my feelings and shared her experiences. I then went to see my supervisor today. An hour later and I felt like I had been given my own unique counselling experience. I talked her head off and nearly cried when I said thank you and she said ‘You’re worth it’. I do feel appreciated but now I feel like it’s okay not to be a bionic woman. It’s okay to have scary feelings. It’s okay to take the time to share those feelings. I’m not alone with my feelings and I have lots of support around me. It’s just taken me a few years to reach out and accept that support. I don’t think I can ever thank my friends and family enough for being there. They probably don’t know everything that I have said here but I think it’s important to write this blog for me, to draw a line and move on. My supervisor talked today about a book which talks about the importance of living in the now. I’m living in the now and although I can’t say I won’t have wobbles, my head space is so much tidier now and better.

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