It is more than apparent that I have neglected this space for the longest time, the same has happened with the social media attached to it. This has not happened because I was struggling to find content, nor was it unintentional, life did not get busier than normal leaving me no time. There are many in the blogging community who say if you have a break you do not need to explain yourself when you return, and I understand that viewpoint, I really do, but on the other hand this is my job. Or at least it leads me to paid opportunities that pay my bills. Now in my book If you do not show up for work for over a month you should probably explain where the hell you have been.
For the past few months I have been struggling with depression, I know why I am depressed, it is causal so in the strictest sense I am not sure that it could be classed as clinical depression but it is still just as debilitating. Let me begin by myth busting here. Depressed people are sad, or appear sad, they are unkempt, they do not make eye contact, they let hygiene slip, they cannot cope with their children. These were some of the things we were told by clinicians to look out for when I was a social worker, and whilst in some cases they may well be indicators there are multitudes of people walking around who would not even consider to be depressed. Kate Spade is a prime example, on the surface she had everything to live for and her father was quoted as saying he had just spoken with her and she was happy and planning a trip but she was far from okay and she took her own life. Suicide is a hard thing to comprehend for many people, I have 2 failed suicide attempts in my past, the last one was 12 years ago, I do not plan to ever go down that path again now I have children but I am certain Kate felt the same way.
With all of this going on in my head every time I sat down to share a recipe or talk about decor or gardening on the blog I felt that it was pointless, pathetic, mere frivolity. Now I know that is not true that life does, and should exist outside of dismal and deep confines, that art, aesthetics, food and entertainment are important to humans, I sat down and those were the thoughts that consumed my brain. You are pointless. You are pathetic. What you do is frivolous bullshit.
I considered these thoughts and at first assessed if they needed a practical solution, I like to think of things that way, perhaps these thoughts were an indication I should change career. I looked back to when I worked in development and social care, when I managed huge project budgets, when I was working with young homeless people and wondered if I should move back to charity work. Then I remembered I had these thoughts then. That I was lacking in some way, that I was not enough. Then it made sense the alarm bells went off and I realised that these thoughts were linked to the reason I had been locking myself in the bathroom and crying in the middle of the night so the children would not see or hear me for months. It was the because my parents do not want me. That may sound overly dramatic but they have wavered between indifferent and cruel for a good portion of my life. Of course that was not the case 100% of the time every day but as my husband points out even a shit comedian will make you laugh at least once.
Here I am a fully functional adult with no real need for active parenting, something that has been the case for many years, but my id will never grow up and my id wants mummy and daddy. All logic and reason has left the building and all I can see is two people who never married, never lived together, never really liked one another, independently reaching the same conclusion that I am not worth their time and effort. For years I thought that I had worked through this in terms of my father until I had Sebastian, you see now I was a parent and that made me different, it also gave me a different perspective on life. I reached out to him when Sebastian was born only to find out that nothing had changed and I was still the black sheep, the outsider and not really welcome.
My relationship with my mother is far more complex and tempestuous but in summary things came to a head when earlier this year I stated that if she wanted a relationship with my children she could not bypass me, we come as a package. These terms were not okay with her and she has not tried to see them for months meaning that having to have a relationship with me was too abhorrent to her. Now we can sit there and say that says more about them than me but I am the common denominator and there is no power on this universe that would keep me from my boys so I must be pretty awful to not inspire that in either parent.
Most of the time I have been outwardly fine, I work hard to do that but I have fallen down and desperately called a friend to help me when I was crippled by the gravitas of motherhood. I can see what my parents have done to me and my mother said “lets see how you are in 20 years and then tell me you will always fight for your boys”, and I was broken. I sat in the corner and sobbed and my beautiful Sebastian held me and hugged me and told me not to be sad and all I could think is she was right I am doing a bad job putting them through this, letting them see this, I am a failure but then something was different. This time I am not alone crying in a corner struggling to find self worth I had to get up because I had 2 people depending on me so I called that friend and I said please help, and she came. I have never done this before, I have always turned help away.
So that is where I have been since March really so why am I writing this now? Well something happened today, Wednesday 4th July, (I have only just noticed that this is independence day, oddly poignant), I saw someone I know. I saw someone who is not a close friend, although we have shared moments of closeness, I do not have her number, we have not hung out extensively and she saw me and she said “How are you? Are you well?” and I said “No I am not good”. Now I live in Britain for goodness sake we all know the answer to how are you is I am fine thanks but I told the truth and I said no. I told her briefly the situation, as I have with all of you and she said I need to take ownership of this situation. So this is me taking ownership, saying this is how life is.
Then I looked back at some of the emails I have received from readers over the years when I have spoken about miscarriage and breast cancer and I thought perhaps being open on this forum, my forum is not pointless after all, that perhaps breaking down the stigma of mental health issues goes beyond a hashtag or sharing a status on Facebook.
When I started this blog it was a hobby to take my mind off breast cancer and it is something that I have built from nothing that has millions of page views and something that I should be proud of, and I am proud of it and will continue to write about any damn frivolous thing I choose.
I am not naive this does not fix it, in fact on the home front it may make life worse to begin with but I am on a road to recovery and I want to reach out to anyone else out there who wants to say no I am not fine and say I will answer your email, all of your emails personally, you are not alone.