The Struggle Is Real…
Feeling so sad recently has sometimes given me the inability to write. Because writing is a therapy for me and often how I ‘switch off’. When writing my blog, it gives me such joy and recently I have felt that I cant find the happiness to do that, even though I know it would really do me good. I keep thinking, how can I possibly do things that make me feel good? That doesn’t feel ‘right’. It soon came to me that pushing through and doing things to make you feel good are what keep you from falling into oblivion, which is a very easy thing to do when you are feeling such sadness.
Some days, my head actually feels so full, like I cant think clearly because it’s trying to process so many things at once. The day before I started writing this post, I actually felt like I was losing my mind, it is the strangest feeling. I wanted to run, literally run. I wanted to get in my car, drive to an airport, get on a plane to wherever and just sit somewhere and cry. I remember feeling like this when my Mum was ill. I remember feeling like I just wanted to bundle her up in a lovely big fluffy throw, put her in my car and go somewhere together she loved to make her happy. To make the pain go away, to make her smile and to run away from the hurt we were feeling and to somehow escape the pain of the reality of what we were facing and make it normal again. To be us, to be happy and to be the normal giggly pair we always are.
Some days I appear ok, and people will say “oh you seem ok” or “yeah you are doing really well” but inside you think no I am bloody not, and when they say it you feel guilty for appearing to be ok. On one of the days I was writing this post, I was having a conversation with someone and I was “appearing to be ok”. I actually felt like I wanted to get through the conversation very quickly, stop smiling and retreat back to quietness. Somehow, the noise of our conversation made me feel like I couldn’t breathe and I wanted to stop ‘appearing to be ok’ as quickly as possible. Fucked up? Yep! So…trigger…blog post – rather than a panic attack.
When I first started writing this post, I was about to to go to charity event for Cornwall Hospice. A wonderful cause and something very close to my heart. It was so very hard, but it did do me good to be surrounded by good people, be social and to even talk about the very thing that makes my heart feel so heavy. The one thing that struck me the most was that I couldn’t believe I was now someone who had a story to tell about my own immediate family. I think that it’s times like that when it hits you the most. At times it feels surreal and those times the rawness and reality of it hits you like a tonne of bricks, almost like the first time you were told.
What also prompted me to write this post is because I should talk about the way I am feeling, because for me, writing and getting things in ink (or the modern day ‘type’) is a way to release. I have found that it makes me feel the same way as running does, like it’s the only thing which gives me clarity somehow. The more I tap away or the more I pound the pavement, the better I feel and the more re-energised I am. Its like you are getting all your words in order in your mind by letting them out. It’s very personal, more like a diary but I think it’s important.
I want to talk candidly about this, I want to talk openly about these feelings. So many times I hear people say that they didn’t deal with how they felt, that they pushed it away and far away from the front of their mind. I never used to understand this, I never ever understood how you could physically and emotionally do it. Unfortunately now I do. At times, you feel absolutely so broken, like you could literally crumble into 1000 pieces.
When I first started writing this post, my Mum flew away about a month before. I know now that I was in absolute shock, so much so that I was in autopilot. The whirlwind of seeing her, holding her and making the most of every moment, to seeing and supporting my family to making arrangements, it was all distracting my mind and now its stopped, I have literally gone “oh fuck, I now have to deal with this”. And I am not doing well at all. Publicly, I seem “ok”. I am the girl who will try and have a laugh, want to make people laugh, make conversation, have banter, have a flirt and try and make people feel good. Privately, I don’t mind admitting, I am an absolute fucking mess. I literally cannot believe my Mum really is gone, I can’t even bring myself to say the ‘D’ word and whenever I think I wont see her, my whole body feels like its going to go into meltdown, all I literally feel is panic.
It’s a terrible thing, a tragic thing. To happen to anyone no matter who it is. It feels like a physical pain that wont heal and you feel like you will never feel ok again. A good friend said to me very honestly (which I liked) that it’s absolute bollox that time is a healer. I believe her. She said that instead time moves on and what happened to you will always be huge, but it wont be magnified and other things will surround it. It’s a very good way to describe it and it does make a lot of sense.
I miss my Mum so much. I miss her all the time, I think about her all the time and even though I am engaging with people, I’m not really there. It’s getting harder and people have also started to notice that. I have started to see people less, I want to retract and I need some time to heal. I realise it is actually impossible to sit with people and try and be who you were before, without being absolutely inconsolable either right there and then or afterwards.
On the occasions where I have tried to be strong, socialise and put a brave face on it, I feel absolutely exhausted by the end and I am literally a sobbing mess by the time I leave or they go home. This is also weird territory for me. I am normally a very social person, but at the moment I feel I only want to be around those that know me really well, well enough that I can sit there and cry if I need to or talk through things. Not be unnecessarily strong and ok.
I am talking about my Mum a lot, the situation, the experience and I can honestly say it really helps me. I find it harder when I don’t. Right now, I am just rolling with my emotions and letting everything in and out when it comes. If I cry at work, so be it. If I cry at my desk, at the shops, at the gym so be it. I will make no excuses and just explain that I have had a bad day. I will not put a bottle stopper on this. Everyone is different, and I really don’t judge, everyone has to deal with things how it fits with them.
I however, used to bottle things up as a kid, my emotions, my problems, everything. But I learnt quickly that it comes out, it always does and I can proudly say I dealt with it well and my confidence grew from that point, albeit it took a VERY long time. Ironically and quite tragically, it was my Mum that was my biggest rock to get through it. Around her I felt safe, she was my safety net and made me feel beautiful and that I should have the confidence to be just as good as everyone else because I deserve things as much as them.
We had a hard time, I wont go into detail here as it’s not fair, but lets just say when I was a kid, my home life, family life and school life at times were volatile.
My Mum sheltered me, we bonded even more because of it and as I got older I wanted to protect her and make her feel just as beautiful, happy and safe like she did for me. It now seems impossible and quite cruel that I now have to face this without her, she was my buddy and we are so alike For example we could browse shops and nik naks for hours, and be the only 2 people in the world who would put up with each other! I miss my buddy. I told her everything, she was my confidant, my best friend. She would often say to me, “if soulmates exist in anyone and not just a partner, then you are my soulmate” I will never forget that. I do believe it exists in many forms too, just like she did.
Writing this post has kind of turned into a feelings diary. At times I think I am good at articulating how I feel and other times I get so overwhelmed and sad that I can’t put it into words, it’s just an extreme depth of sadness. Sometimes when I try to talk, the feelings are so un-explainable that I literally cant find the words. It’s a funny one with me, because at times I also am very conscious of talking too much. Some people like to listen and others find it hard to even ask, and at times I get so conscious that I am in danger of sounding so miserable and upset that I quickly change the subject, I get it in my head that people don’t want to listen and I feel very un-easy all of a sudden.
I don’t think thats a reflection of them, more me. I am normally quite a bubbly person and like to find the good and positive in every situation, so when I am stressed or sad or upset, I normally try to cover it up and and only share with those closest to me. In this situation, even I am not capable of that, smiles and laughter are quickly replaced in my head with guilt and opening up feels so painful that I feel like when I talk I wont be able to stop crying and I will break, so that way, its easier to cut the conversation short.
I live in a different part of the country to my immediate family and 2 weeks ago was my first visit back since…reality has hit me incredibly hard. It was lovely to see everyone and have cuddles and comfort time, but the reality of my Mum not being there was almost unbearable. Looking at her belongings, seeing her stuff, her home, her familiarities, it was so real. There were also many poignant moments, my parents wedding anniversary and her birthday. On a day I should be taking her out and celebrating, instead I am toasting to her memory – how is this possible?
I cried almost all the way up on the train, cried when I saw my best friend and other friends, when I saw my Dad, my Sister, My Niece and Nephew. You go for dinner and there is someone missing. Not having her there to cuddle, to chat to, I cant believe it. She would always hold my face, my arm, she was always so loving and I loved that, she loved to make people feel loved and we need more of those people in the world. If we did, it would be a completely different place.
As tough as these past two week have been, the one thing it has shown me is that it is ok to be sad. This amazing woman, who I was privileged enough to be able to call my Mum, was absolutely monumental in my life. She was a pillar, she was part of my foundation, my bedrock, part of my very make up, I am her. And so, this Deb (I am talking to myself here) is going to take an extremely long time to sink in, to adjust and thats ok because I will never get over this, I just have to learn to see life different now that she isn’t here and adjust to that.
I don’t know how that happens, I can imagine that there will always be days when it feels like it happened yesterday, but thats ok too. I need to give myself a break, stop expecting myself to feel strong and if I want to show the world I am upset, thats fine. No-one is expecting me to be ok with this, whoever could?
As mentioned in the earlier part of my post, the charity event went really really well. It was so tough I’m not going to lie and to be standing there now with my very own story seemed very surreal, to the point you don’t want to be saying it. But it was humbling and I was so proud of the ladies for raising so much money and putting on such a fab night. Thats the thing, some things are too soon and you never know how you are going to be until you do it. As I mentioned earlier, I have retracted quite a lot over the last few months. I wasn’t ready and to some degree I am still not, but I am taking each day as it comes.
One big Huge MASSIVE piece of advice I can give is, if you can, to try and turn the sadness into gratefulness of the memories and moments you had. I know and completely understand that everyone and every relationship is different. Also, I am even finding it hard to follow this advice at the moment because thinking about memories makes me feel too sad, because of the shock factor and because I am in denial, anger and pain that this has even happened. It’s too soon. BUT I am trying to almost teach myself to think differently. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy they call it, I know too well! Another blog post perhaps! To be grateful, to be thankful and to be happy that the relationship, moments and memories were created with the most loving, beautiful and amazing woman that I am lucky enough to call my Mum. My Mumma Bear.
Perspective is everything, a grateful heart is everything even in the most sadness and stressful of times. It sounds like bullshit, it sounds like something from a Hollywood film that in reality just doesn’t work, but trust me it really does help if you can do this.
I said to my Dad, I would never have wanted to experience this, but we cant change whats happened and I would rather feel this pain knowing its because I loved my Mum as much as I do and because we had the best relationship and I was loved by her so very much, than never having experienced or feeling that love in my life at all. She has given me that level of happiness, love, and contentment to carry me through and for that I love her even more.
I will keep writing about this, its cathartic. And if you are feeling blue, have experienced similar, message me. I would love to hear from you and above everything keep strong.
Love Debs Xo