By Cheryl Norton
She has always had the power to floor me, and she has once before. But not like this.
I can’t really pin point what did it. There were so many things going on in my life at the time she rugby tackled me to the floor and held me down in a citizen’s arrest.
Power to Floor Me
The year was 2015, I had been in a loving yet unconventional relationship for 11 years with my best friend. He had nearly finished renovating our new home (which had taken him away from me for two years, the home that I now call, “The House that ruined my life”). My father, who had been ill for years was diagnosed with Liver Cancer and put on the transplant list.
Separately these events didn’t make me crumble. But slowly, unbeknownst to me, she was creeping further and further into my subconscious, tearing my usual reasoning and rational thinking further away from reality.
From the start of my relationship with the LOML, I didn’t really lean on him for emotional support. But that worked for me. I got it elsewhere with my closest friends. And because it started that way, it ended that way. When I needed him the most, I didn’t turn to him, and I didn’t open up to him. This, along with other events, made me more isolated.
When we discovered my father had cancer, I turned to the LOML for one of the first times in our relationship and he didn’t show me the support I wanted or expected. So I never asked again, which again made me feel more alone.
One of the only things that could save my father was a transplant, he had an inoperable tumour nearly at maximum size. It was at this point that I decided to be tested to be a live Donor. Three months of test ensued. MRI scans, X-Rays, blood tests. I was a match. During this time my mind was solely on my father and my end goal, giving my dad the chance to see his grandchildren grow up.
And Then it Hit Me
It wasn’t until after he had undergone the transplant (from a wonderful donor card carrier) that the enormity of what I had endured over the months hit me. I was deflated and felt utterly useless after I wasn’t needed anymore to save my dad’s life. I’d psyched myself up to put my life at risk to give the ultimate gift. I was prepared to die for my dad. And it was taken away from me. Now I realise this was the best outcome, as my family need me alive.
I felt resentful towards everything, my relationship with the LOML was non-existent. We didn’t spend anytime together, didn’t touch each other, didn’t talk. My family were so consumed with their grief that they couldn’t see me struggling and my best friend was like the Scarlett Pimpernel. Elusive and silent.
Waiting in the Shadows
Come December 2015 I couldn’t cope anymore. I couldn’t live in the “House that ruined my life”, I couldn’t bare another silent night with the LOML, so I left. Left the man that I adored, our home we had built together and “her” behind. Or so I thought. I thought that being away from that house, away from the acrid atmosphere and having a little place of my own for a while would dissolve all the irrational and dark thoughts I was having. Little did I know “she” would follow me where ever I went.
It did work for a long while, building my own little home in an idyllic setting for me and my bunnies. I spent time cooking, socialising, spending occasional evenings with the LOML. But to truly recover I couldn’t hold onto him any longer. It was hurting me having him in the back ground. Saying all the right words but not proving it. At first it was devastating. But it seemed to ease in the coming weeks. I could smile and laugh. Spend time with friends, do the things that I enjoyed. “She” didn’t have the power over me to floor me anymore.
I built a single life for myself, surrounded myself with people I loved and cared for, but “she” was waiting in the shadows. Waiting to engulf me again. And she did, there wasn’t any light left in my life. I carried myself through the day to day like I was a person that had all her shit together. But behind closed doors I’d crumble to the floor feeling every ounce of darkness and pain that she threw at me. In those dark days she felt like my best friend. The only thing that stuck with me, she was with me through everything. The loneliness I felt, the way I was treated, the all consuming numbness.
I’d suffer with anxiety attacks, deep dark moods that would make me have thoughts that could be dangerous, then to feeling absolutely nothing, No sadness, no happiness, just total numbness.
It all came to a crashing stop. No one in my life so far had been tough with me, mainly because I had not opened up to many. Only one to be exact. This person had been there for me from afar to begin with through the major events of my life of the past two years, seen me at my worst and at my best. But this person couldn’t help fix my mind as they didn’t understand what was causing all my pain.
This person was patient with me, held me when I cried, laughed with me when things were good and gave me the tough talking to I needed. Opened my eyes to what I was doing to myself. Repeating the same cycle day in day out and not doing anything to help myself.
After that day in March 2017 I resolved to work at getting that demon out of my life. I booked sessions with a counsellor, read some self help books, started writing, named my depression, made her into a real person that I could refuse to spend time with.
Then I started to recognise my triggers , like “her” favourite place to hang out was the kitchen floor. So I changed my way of thinking and related that place to happier times, playing with my bunny rabbits. I haven’t sat on that floor since.
Challenging the Irrational
If irrational thoughts entered my head, I would take a minute or two out to write an actual rational reaction to the situation I was in. This would calm my mind and I wouldn’t stress out.
It is all a work in progress but I am happier than I have been in a long time. I’m still writing, but I don’t battle with the depression any where near as much. I can handle situations without having anxiety attacks and upsetting thoughts.
Everything I have done in the last six months has been hard but so worth it. The tears, bringing up feelings that I hadn’t wanted to face because they were too painful. Confronting the people that I felt weren’t there for me during the hardest times.
Mrs F Fadgeface has won many a battles, she may win a few more, but she will not win the war.