Monthly Archives: February 2015

The day has come

Last week I did something which I probably should have done a while ago. I listened to some of my closest friends who have been telling me for years that I need to see someone, that I need someone to talk to and that, quite frankly, I’m not invincible.

I went to the doctors. I have been struggling for some years now. It’s really painful for me to admit that or even write the words. This is not a post that I want people to read and pity me. In fact it’s a post I would rather secrete away in the corners of my memory but they say writing is therapeutic so here goes!

For the past few years I’ve relied on the fact that I have an amazing family, brilliant friends and a pretty great life. It surprises me when people refer to ‘what I have had to cope with in the past’ because the things I have had to cope with are about bereavement and sadly people do die.

I lost my mum at a relatively young age but I’m very lucky in that my dad is a pretty amazing dad. He makes me challenge the view that 1 parent families are ‘not normal’ because I think (or thought!) I was a relatively well balanced person and that was down to him. I had close female relatives who guided me through the perils of being a teenager and I thought that I had ‘got through it’.

Over the past few years I’ve always experienced a slight ‘down time’ around August (the anniversary of my mum’s death). Usually surrounding myself with friends and family has enabled me to ward off the feelings and perhaps hide them from those that know me the best. Then a couple of years ago my gran (my mum’s mum) passed away after a short battle with cancer.

That summer was pretty tough. I’m not going to go through the rollercoaster of emotions but suffice it to say that it was NOT FUN. My husband had to cope with a basic wreck and could not understand how I could function at work yet resulted in a teary mess at home. Every day. It was pretty exhausting, probably more for him than me! But he stuck with me and despite being confronted with some pretty scary sentences explaining what the heck was going on in my head, we got through it.

Then last June my nan (dad’s mum died). I always knew it would be tough as she was THE ONE. The one who was always there for me and could ‘sort my head out’. Her death brought along some emotions I just wasn’t ready to deal with but all I can say is I definitely underestimated it. I went through some pretty dark days. Two of my closest friends were by my side every day and I could share anything with me. They mentioned counselling but I dismissed the idea. After all, I was the strong one right?

Despite doing a role where I counsel others about being strong and asking for help, somehow that didn’t translate to me! I refused to confront my feelings and as a result did a pretty good job (I think!) of hiding things.

Then the other week I snapped. I convinced myself my husband was better off without me (he isn’t). He basically gave me an ultimatum. He loved me but he could see what I was constantly denying to myself, that I needed someone else to talk to and if I didn’t do something about it, then he couldn’t see a future for us.

Now, I don’t go on and on about my husband but he’s pretty awesome and I definitely did not want to lose him so I did something about it. I went to the doctors, sat down in his office and promptly started weeping. He was amazing. He didn’t make me feel like I shouldn’t be there, he accepted me as I was and did a test. The result? Moderately depressed.

He sent me for some blood tests and I’m due to go back there next week. He’s already suggested medication which is fine. I’m due to have an assessment chat for a counselling session this Friday and my manager, who is pretty awesome too) has already got me sorted with an occupational health referral.

Oddly, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief knowing that I can be ‘fixed’. It’s not just me. I have good days and I have bad days. But I hope never to have ‘those’ days again.

My name is Cherry and I’m a Christian

This blog post is a bit unusual as I thought about it for a few days before settling down to write it. Like most of my blog posts, this one is prompted by something I saw recently.

Someone posted a video clip on Facebook which saw Stephen Fry talking about God. The link is here. It really made me think about my own views on religion. if you have a strong faith, you may find it offensive as it talks about the questions Stephen Fry would ask God and thinks about God.

I was brought up as a Christian. I went to Sunday School every week with my mum. I think my dad went too but I can’t really remember. Then when I was 9 my mum died and things changed. I never went to church regularly again and instead associated Sunday with visiting my mum’s grave in the churchyard. I think my dad would have taken me to church if I had asked but I never did.

As I got older, I believed in God but never felt the pull to go to church. As time went on and I was exposed to death, war and pain, some of the things that Stephen Fry raise in his video clip are thoughts that I had. I couldn’t understand why God had taken my mum away so suddenly. No amount of people saying that the good ones always go first didn’t change the fact that I felt angry at God for taking someone away who meant such a lot to me. Over the next few years I lost a few more close relatives. I lost relations quickly and others slowly. I watched my strong auntie slowly weaken and whither because of cancer. I experienced one of my closest childhood friends dying at the age of 16 in a car crash.

I spoke a lot to my nan about faith during this time. I struggled because I started feeling the pull about going to church but still felt incredibly angry and confused about why things happened in the world like war, natural disasters wiping out entire communities and everything else.My nan had stopped going to church at the same time as my mum dying because, in her words, she couldn’t imagine how a God could have taken someone like my mum away so early in her lifetime .

I met my husband and discovered he had a very different view about religion. His faith is absolute, he is Mohamed but Islam is very much a part of him. He has tried to explain this to me on a number of occasions and on one level I began to envy his faith. On the other hand he doesn’t question his faith. I do understand that but it’s something that I personally have struggled with as there are so many questions I want to ask, many of which Stephen Fry asked. When we married I always thought I would feel upset about not getting married in a church but it didn’t bother me at all, my mind being mainly focused on those who couldn’t be with me at the wedding. I always wondered why people who didn’t go to church wanted to get married in a church.

I question my faith everyday. I believe in God and accept I’m a Christian and yet I continuously question. My view is that God gave free will to people and an inquisitive mind therefore it is acceptable. I know many devout Christians would view me as a non Christian because I do doubt. Didn’t the Bible have a Doubting Thomas though?

I question my faith when other people raise things that Christians shouldn’t follow or accept. I question my husband in similar ways. Someone once told me I was being disrespectful by raising questions about my husband’s faith. My argument was that if we have a family and my children choose not to follow Islam, I want to make sure that he will accept them. I have raised homosexuality and asking whether my husband would accept a child who is homosexual. Even though his religion talks about being against homosexuality, he says he would accept his children’s choices whatever because ultimately they are his children.

My husband has made me want to explore my faith again. It’s one of those things I am cautious about exploring as it might raise some questions that make me think about painful things. I would like to pull different parts of all religions, put them all together and follow that faith. I think I will do it as I believe that all religions can be traced back to each other at some point. I’ll carry on thinking, questioning and talking. Yes, I’m a Christian but I’m a work in progress.