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Silent Moments
Posted by AliceRitaK
27th Sep 2014

It's been a while since I've written on here.

I've been processing, reminiscing, grieving so many moments in my life, I am 57. There have been varying emotions in that time, joy, anger, sadness, grief, love but they've almost come flooding in. Today I feel depressed and tearful. I seem to be extra sensitive at the moment to memories triggered by the smallest of things - butter biscuits on the shelf in Sainsbury that remind me of mum, a blackbird's song that reminds me of dad. I've also recently connected with an old uni friend that I haven't seen for years, not since the early 1980s and the affection that we feel for each other as friends has taken me by surprise.

It's been good to share what's gone on in between - we spent Saturday together last week and both laughed so much. I almost didn't want to let her go, to let the moment go and return to the predictability of my now lifestyle. We shared stories about old friends, old boyfriends, she knew my ex husband and me when we fell in love. That's sad but lovely at the same time, to have had that experience. Our uni group we've all had our fair share of troubles, selves, partners and children with addictions, depression and mental health issues. In some way it helps carry the load and makes me think, you know this mental health stuff, it's a normal part of life so why is not normalised?

This week I watched New Tricks and was really pissed off with the portrayal of the mentally ill wife, who couldn't be suffering, had to be harming her child, attacking her husband and the poor guy needed solace in the arms or soon to be the arms of someone else. Have we not gone past this point? Still. I find it so frustrating.

I've recently had to share my illness or the facts around my illness at work and the reaction has been interesting to see, from ooh, what do I do, how do I respond to her to patronising comments and blaming.
I'm still me. Still here. At the moment still well…how do you all think that feels? To see who you are reflected in the eyes of someone who doesn't know? I don't shout it from the rooftops but I do take the opportunity to promote recovery, to quietly say well you may think you know but until you have something you really don't know, to don't worry I won't jump on you, no need to be scared.

Because I've released the secrecy I've made myself more vulnerable so it's scary, but I have to remind myself that courage is my greatest ally. I use it every day to get out of bed, wash, iron my clothes, not overeat, earn a living, phone friends and walk my dog. It would be easier some days to stay in bed and sleep but I don't - I don't want pity and I don't want to be made to feel different. I want to be able to live, with what I've got to the best of my ability. My disease does not define me, I define me.

I love what you do on here. I am looking for new work as a translator. It's what I trained for a long time ago before this illness robbed me, in a sense, of my youth. I think it's time I picked up my life and moved on. Fear is my worst enemy if I am frozen in fear I can do nothing. I used to feel that but I re-educate myself, retrain my brain every time I say inside my head, sometimes scream inside my head, you can do it, they're only a person, it's only a cup of tea no need to shake.

So I'm now going to eat my healthy lunch, walk my beloved dog, clean my house and carry on.
I thank the Sane helpline for texting me these past few weeks when I've trembled at certain situations. It has been an anchor to me. It's much appreciated. Together we can do what we could not do alone. <3


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