I’m going to take some time out with my wonderful family and friends. I’m going to enjoy and reflect – I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown by…
There is a lot to celebrate, as well as Christmas and New Year, two 72nd birthdays, our 7 year wedding anniversary, our son’s 3rd birthday…
But today marks an anniversary for me – not one I’m particularly proud of – but one that changed a lot for me and those around me. I broke my wrist at last year’s Christmas party. I was a mess, not just at the party but throughout 2012.
When I left the hospital in October 2011 I had thought everything was going to be great, straight away, probably because it couldn’t be any worse, right?!?
So my maternity leave came to an end and I went back to work, as that was what was always going to happen… It was the plan.
Looking back now it was the wrong decision but that’s only with hindsight. In future I’ll never return to a mapped out plan if everything has changed… In fact I don’t actually map out plans anymore…
I spent 7 months in hospital out of my 13 months maternity leave – that’s over half the time. Putting it in writing makes me shake my head (I know you can’t see that) but it’s important. If it had happened to a friend, I’d have probably been more questioning – “are you sure you’re ready? do you think maybe you need a bit more time?”. But instead and in spite of everything I wanted to be “normal”. I wanted to slip back in to life and just carry on – those around me wanted it too.
But when something has happened that’s changed parts of your core you can’t just go back, like it never happened but you equally can’t let it become all that you are.
Throughout 2012 I really struggled with this and honestly, it made me so angry. It simmered under the surface. The grief of not being able to enjoy those first 10 months of my son’s life mixed with the lack of support and understanding that I needed to be different. I was offered help but my pride and damn obsession with being “normal” wouldn’t let me accept. I had to get back on track.
And then I broke my wrist…
The party was on a Tuesday and thankfully I had pre booked the Wednesday off work – I was meant to be spending time with a friend and her son who were home from Thailand for Christmas.
What actually ended up happening was that by 8:30 with a dreadful hangover, I realised I couldn’t look after my son and had to phone another friend – she came like a shot, at 30+ months pregnant and with a 23 month old to take to nursery first, it was amazing! She held my hand and sat with me whilst I sobbed – we were then joined by my other friend. I cherish friendships so much and I was so lucky to spend the day with two amazing inspirational friends.
Things were not working out for me at work or at home. I couldn’t fathom why – I’d got better what more could be needed from me… So on the Thursday I tried to go to work – it took my Mum and my manager clearly saying that I needed to go to hospital, to convince me. And it was a break and I was put in plaster…
I was signed off work for nearly six weeks – I’m right-handed and you guessed it, right wrist. I felt huge guilt not being at work. Nothing was easy. My son went to nursery and my husband to work. And I was on my own but it was ok.
Since depression entered my life as a teenager I have never felt comfortable in my own company – there are a myriad of reasons but I guess the single most important was that it gave the negative tickertape in my mind an opportunity to take over.
Over the 6 weeks I slowly started to heal. I sat, read a lot and I thought. I didn’t plan but I did decide on a number of things.
I decided that I would start to treat myself the way I would a friend.
I decided to be myself. (In many ways I have only returned to being how I was before the depression muddled everything but it is part of me.)
I decided that love and truth would guide me.
I decided to keep on learning.
So this year has been remarkable! I often have to pinch myself that I am actually living the life I imagined.
There have been such sad times – close friends have lost relatives and illness has struck – the dignity and strength shown has been inspiring.
There have also been happy times – new babies, amazing achievements and general life!
I found accepting that this will always be the case has helped – the only constant is change. There will be sad and happy times.
With a very open heart, I have taken opportunities, met amazing people, read inspiring things, supported others and been supported.
But most of all I have realised how beautiful it is not to be “normal”!
Love and light at this festive time and always – here’s to 2014.