What you don’t see – Part One

This Tuesday was World Mental Health Day, and I guess I’ve been deciding whether or not I wanted to share my Mental Health Journey with so many!

I have thought long and hard about this and decided it can only be a good thing to show that you can hit rock bottom and you can come back from it, though when I went through it – I tried so hard to keep it from people around me.

Looking back I probably have had a touch of depression going right  back into my teenage years and then another spat around the time I was due to get married, I think then I put it down to stress, or I blamed my hormones, it was at this time, I tried medication which I think helped, but I remember not staying on it long as there was such a stigma attached to mental health that I think being a newly wed, buying and decorating a new house I put all of that behind me, I remember being really conscious that after having Maisy, that I didn’t want to show any signs of it coming back or even to allow it too, I had survived a horrendous birth with her – so I think I was just so grateful we were both alive that life was ok.

It was in 2010, three years after the birth of Ruby my second child, that my life took a downward spiral, to most I acted and looked like the same Kirsty.

Kirsty – Kevs wife (he’s been by my side through thick and thin), Kirsty – Maisy and Ruby’s Mummmy, Kirsty – Deputy Manager of a thriving Nursey Pre – School, Kirsty daughter to Guy and Mary (my absolute rocks throughout this time, and always). Kirsty – Michaels sister (poor boy lol).

I was trying to be all of those Kirsty’s and not show that inside I wasn’t coping, now if you have been kind enough to follow my blog you will know that Ruby was/is a poorly child, she took up a lot of my time and a lot of my focus, it was around this time that she received her diagnosis, this was such a relief to me because I had been so strong for so long pushing for someone to listen to me, though the diagnosis took the pressure off of me – it also left me exhausted, washed out and really really low, it had drained all life out of me.

I put on a brave front or what I thought was  a brave front did everything as normal, running a home, looking after my family, working and still doing social things. So many people will have a pre conceived image of someone with Mental Health issues, that we could be unwashed,unkept, we don’t leave our beds, we neglect those around us – and this simply isn’t the case.

Depression comes at you in so many various ways, it is more than just feeling sadness all the time, symptoms vary in type, duration, number and severity – you can feel sadness, lack of enjoyment, anxiety, hopelessness, guilt, tiredness, change in eating habits, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, sucidal thoughts. 

I know how it is to feel all of this, and no I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, Each day would be as if I were on autopilot – get up, sort the children, go to work, cry with my mum before work started (we worked together), I would cry because I felt so sad, so tired, and like the whole world hated me, then work the day, then children, tea, be with Kevin.

I am the first to admit, I was a nightmare to live with, if you were close to me watch out,  my emotions were mixed, sad, happy, grumpy, irrational at this point I was still in denial that anything was wrong, so yes I would cry to Mum, she would constantly tell me that she thought I was unwell and maybe I needed to see a Doctor, to which she would of probably got a short, sharp reply.
I did not have Mental Health issues – I was just tired (well that’s what I was constantly telling myself )until …

We went away to Cornwall only for a couple of days –  Kev, the girls and my parents – I remember it as clear as day (sadly).

I had lost weight both my Parents and Kev were worried, My moods were up and down, more down but I remember us having a lovely few days the girls were happy, when I felt really low I only really wanted Kev or my parents, so this was perfect to me – I was always normal for my girls never shunning them and always giving love and affection to them – showing the world I wasn’t ill I was still a good Mum, no matter how unwell I felt in my mind I had to be a good Mummy as they deserved nothing less.

My parents had to leave a day early than us, and what’s the big deal in this? I would see them the next day as we lived next door so why was it breaking my heart? Why did I sob so hard on my Mum that I thought my heart would break, I literally didn’t want to let her go..it was because I had hit rock bottom – the lack of hope had become inescapable – all I could see was blackness.

Kev said we needed to go for a walk to blow away the cobwebs, it was a nice day, my parents had gone, so off we went it was a coastal walk, the girls chattering away – I was blessed I had a man who adored me, and two beautiful children, but in the moments that happened next I could not see that – all I could see or feel was that the world would be a better place without me.

I would hope no one ever has to feel that – I’m sorry if this upsets you for what I am about to write – some will say how selfish was she – how could she even think that – people who think like that are so selfish – by all means think what you like, but I was in a dark place I couldn’t see a way out of..

With Kev and the girls some way behind I walked towards the cliff edge, I then stood looking down at waves crashing onto the rocks and I thought if I just take one step out, I will not have to feel like this pain, this sadness, no one will have to put up with this disappointment of a person –  I felt like I had let every one down, I was so dispondant to life. 

Kevin took my hand – maybe he read my mind – and he led me away, he held me as sobs wracked through my body, there and then I promised to see a Doctor the very next day, and to admit to my Parents that they were right.

I have heard people say when someone has taken their own life – that it’s incrediably selfish but until you have been in that situation, where all you see is blackness and despair I would ask that we don’t judge. But I can also say that mental health problems make you incredibly self-absorbed (and I mean that in a non-value laden way, you literally become caught up in your own head and your own world and there is less space for others).

I can only imagine the hurt, the pain, the devastation that is caused by such an action such as taking your own life – but as that person who feels the world is better off without you, you are totally blinded by these overwhelming emotions that are in overdrive and you only have one focus.

My heart goes out to those families left behind, hearts breaking for their loss – never ever would I condone such an action, all that  I mean is we must take the time to look at the bigger picture.
So after agreeing that I would visit the Doctor to get help, in my mind – I thought the road to recovery would  be smoother than the path I had taken to get there.

How wrong could I be……

To be continued 

 

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Grief is a suitcase

It has been said –  Grief is a suitcase that sits at the bottom of your bed, and no matter what, without failure, you have to pick it up every day, take it with you. Some days it will be filled with rocks, and you don’t think you can carry it, and then other days, light as a feather.

When my Nan passed away during my teenage years, I thought then I knew what grief really was, I was young, but old enough to know in my mind that I was sad, devastated, and going to miss her forever, I remember thinking I would never stop crying,  that life wouldn’t be the same without her. I can remember hearing family members cry and thinking this is what heartbroken really meant.

When you are younger I think you have some understanding of death and grief, teenagers grieve differently than adults. moving in and out of strong emotions. They are often not able to express in words, how they are feeling or what they need, I think looking back I was quite selfish, probably carried on with my life not taking into account the feeling of others, now I’m older and I think what my own mother must of gone through I wish that I could of been more supportive.

This week marked the anniversary of my Grandfathers death in 2011, 


As I said before I thought I had already experienced grief for someone I loved deeply, when nan (his wife) passed away, but nothing in the world could of prepared me for the feeling of loss, emptiness and sadness I felt when he died.

Grandad was one of my best friends, one of my most favourite humans, I spent a lot of time with him throughout my life, once or twice a week, more if I was passing through his village, he knew nearly every thing there was to know about me, he was a massive part of our lives, he was so close to my Mum and Aunty who were heavily involved in most aspects of his life, we knew he adored us all, and he knew we thought the same of him. 

Grief hits you in many ways, I literally felt I would never be able to say his name and not cry ever again, I would yearn just to talk to him, a constant feeling in the pit of my stomach because I couldn’t , I think it was the hardest thing I have ever experienced in my life, it’s difficult to understand why these things happen, why we have to experience such pain, why those we adore can be here one day then gone the next.

Grief is a journey, being a journey unique to each one of us, I found grief  to me was a raw wound, bitterness, anger and denial, it’s the realisation that you will never hear, see or speak to that person again. I am blessed I have so many  treasured memories with him, Mum and I often reminisce about him with great affection some days you can laugh, others your heart hurts because you still miss him so much and tears fill in your eyes,there are so many things in day to day life that remind us of him, his love for really crusty fresh loaves from a baker, If I see a really burnt one I think how much he would of  loved it, and custard creams, the hundreds of custard creams I’m must of shared with him, We all have our many memories of those we have loved and lost.   I know my grief at times overwhelmed me, I couldn’t control it I would just go with it, I was so lucky I was able to support my mum, the family and they did me, each one of us understanding what the other was feeling and going through. I wanted to ensure I was there for my Mum supporting her through it, as we just ‘Got’ what the other was feeling, and still do.

There is no doubt, there is a massive hole left by him in our lives now that he is no longer in it, he was a great man, our journey still continues people say time is a healer, I guess this is true, I treasure the times we had together, I am thankful for all he taught me,  blessed to have known such an amazing man, most of all I’m thankful for the relationship we had, he knew I adored him, I really did, along with my parents he made me the person I am today. 

The pain of losing someone doesn’t go away, as painful as the process is, grief will guide you eventually back to the normality of life, you do survive it, sanity intact, and eventually go on to reclaim your life and enjoyment  despite your loss.

As yet another anniversary of his death passes, I think to myself this is just a date, a date that my family suffered a great a loss, because what followed on from that day ensured that we remembered, loved and missed him daily,  and the date just signified he had gone.

Here are a few lines from David Hawkins – He is gone, which I used when he died, I often read it, as I feel it says what I need at times.

You can shed tears that he is gone,

or you can smile because he lived,

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back, 

Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

 Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him 

Or you can be full of the love that you shared

And we did share a lot of love.

Remember to share your love, as you never know what’s around the corner, treasure all and who you have.

Loads of ❤️ ASIBTAF