Oops, sorry [face palm]. I started this post in May 2016, and time, circumstance, an attention-deficit brain, the sheer monotony and hard work of dealing with all of the minutiae and massiveness of caring and advocating, depression, subsequent recovery and ACTUAL HAPPINESS stopped me writing. I don’t know why I stopped, to start again feels like a hug from an old friend (which is a bit of a sexy hug too).
But what I do know is that I opened up my page yesterday after over three years, and a bit of a rough time of late, and decided I still had loads to say, and I really want to say it. Let’s call returning to this blog my own personal haircut after a breakup.
I also decided that the post I had last been working on was worth still posting, even after three years.
As I read back over it and edited it a little, it seemed to me a good illustration of how much has changed, how far I have come, what has transpired since. Believe me, I have a fairly good amount of material to glean from for the foreseeable future. Expect to read about violence, love, prescription drugs, police and social services involvement, diagnosis, the joy of CAMHS [cough], EHCPs, 40th birthdays, exhaustion, escapism, existential crises and crises of confidence, and yet more love.
Things did get worse since my last post, but things have got stupidly, amazingly better too. Leo is 11 now and currently in a good place. Olive is 8 and the most amazing miniature person I have ever come across, but we have had a rough ride along the way. There is no doubt my children are growing up to be superstars in their own rights, and I am stronger and more sure than ever before, and always learning….. And one thing I am learning is, broken hearts really do heal in time, even if they do go on to get broken again.
4th May 2016 It’s over two months now since I last posted here. There’s been flu, there’s been serious-level Leo stuff to deal with, oh, an Easter holiday, and it is not as freeing as I thought stopping work; other mundane shit has crept in to fill the free hours, like sand poured between rocks.
Also an unwelcome visitor has turned up, for how long I don’t know. Some people call it the black dog, or the descending fog, but for me depression feels like a searing cut to the chest, pulling my heart out in bits through the messy, jagged hole. It is grief. It feels totally like a broken heart, how I remember them when I was younger, and the sheer shock leaves me gasping and turns my world slow, effort-full and painfully glaring.
I am not usually a depressive person; a stressed one, yes, prone to worrying. I have suffered depressive episodes three times before; once in the 90s after a particularly sustained bout of ecstasy taking, another in the noughties after a remarkably damaging relationship in a nuts and lonely city, and again a few years later after a spectacular rejection that left me homeless (I am terrible at rejection, and homelessness it would seem), but after a fifteen year break I was pretty sure I had overcome it for good. Now it it is evident that what is happening for my children and me, rather than being stressful, is actually breaking my heart.
Its not autism breaking my heart (not ever); I know enough about it now to know it is no life sentence in itself, but the shit and circumstance it has pulled into my home has me trapped in a life I see no escape from for the forseeable future. It is the crack in my chest when my son punches me in the school playground because he is so desperate not to go into a school that doesn’t work for him. It is the lump in my throat when my daughter shows me a picture she has drawn of a broken heart, it is the dragging sadness I feel when I think about Leo refusing to spend any time with his Dad anymore, it is the pain of seeing Leo’s life not blossoming as it should be at the moment. It is depression born of family rupture, a lack of basic services to support us, the grinding slowness of the NHS cogs, the realisation that there is really no-one carrying the baton but me.
My first depressive episode in 1997 is represented visually in my memory bank by a full moon through a bedroom window at 3am, my second a soak in a tepid bath with the radio blaring Coldplay at midday in February, the third a crumple on a kitchen floor. I wonder what my visual memory for this time will be in the future. I haven’t got the time or energy to wonder about shit like that, because this time I have to hold it together and not wallow or lie down on my kitchen floor. All I can really do, as a Mum, is keep on keeping on.