Look at my beautiful cat 😍. I will explain why I have posted a picture of him, momentarily. (And yes, that is a black cat Halloween sticker, in memory of my other cat who recently died 😢)
I’ve had a strange afternoon. Strange, because I don’t really have another word to explain how I feel right now.
The past 36 hours I came down with stomach flu. I spent most of Tuesday night being sick, Wednesday I slept and then was just on the couch with no energy and aching all over.
This morning, I felt weak and achy. By lunch time I had finally eaten some homemade soup, had showered and felt a little better.
My house was clean (enough), washing was on the line and I didn’t feel well enough to do anything else strenuous.
I’d had some errant thoughts, as you sometimes do when you lie around with nothing to do. I’d thought about what I’d said in my birthday post, about not being able to have Wildcard’s baby. Whilst the passing of one day probably hasn’t made much of a difference, it marked the passing of a deadline I’d given myself.
And, of course, as is often the way, this thought then cascaded into so many others. I wanted answers, insight. And it resulted in me deciding to read my journal- my blog, right from the beginning. Whilst I’d re-read my time with Wildcard some months ago, I’ve never gone back to the beginning.
I started writing on WordPress the day my marriage ended in 2016.
It’s been an amazing read. And I’m not talking about the quality of my writing here, I’m talking about my life.
There were posts I remembered that I thought I had written much more recently. That was weird. There were many posts where I barely recognised myself. There were posts which described a life I haven’t lived for a very long time (Covid??).
But what a life. I always feel bad saying this, because I know my life is so much better than some people have to deal with. But my life has been tough.
I read about the end of my marriage and how, despite knowing it was the right decision, my grief in the months that followed. The beginning of a depression which fluctuated over a year and then ended in 2017 with my breakdown/burnout. I hadn’t realised it had started so long before that. The burnout I remember, vividly. There is a post where I document just sitting and staring out the window each morning, just me and my coffee and my cat (yup, that beauty up there ❤️ who helped me through it all. I’d forgotten.)
I read through my slow recovery and my gradual return to a workplace which- I can see now – had become toxic in my absence. And then my Dad’s slow decline and death months later.
Then grief, grief, grief.
There are many tales of Lost Soul. My goodness. I can see why I am so anxious in love now, I really can. It’s no wonder! Everything I went through – and I can’t say ‘what he put me through’ – because I went beyond my better judgement every time and allowed it.
Slowly, slowly, in 2019, you start to see me returning – my grief settling, my infatuation with Lost Soul burnt out, my depression subdued. And then I meet Wildcard.
I stopped reading at that point. Mainly because my eldest son has now started vomiting 🤢.
I feel…so sorry for myself and yet so proud. When you’re living through it, hard as it was, you don’t see the interconnectivity of things. How quickly my grief over the end of my marriage and struggling as a full time working mum with work issues, met the devastation of a rapidly declining Dad. Betrayals in love, betrayals in friendships. It’s no wonder I’ve been how I am, no wonder at all.
There is beauty there too. I saw just how much I tried to do. I was a good mum, even when I thought I wasn’t. I was a good mum through those years of no support from my ex, and with my Dad being ill in this house. I did my best, I really did.
I saw the real self depreciation. Post after post about my weight. Whilst it’s true, I’m nearly 5 stone lighter than that now (and have no wish to get back there), the self hatred is hard to take.
The following was particularly poignant:
To be honest, in just writing this I have summed up the cause of all that I am feeling. There is no time in my life where I don’t feel pressured by outside influences; my roles as mother, daughter, sister, homeowner, teacher. I need to unpick all this, refine and define my roles and carve out a new role as caretaker for ME. That is the one area I am truly failing at, not the others like I believe. I need to keep telling myself that. My one, and only one, failure in my life so far is not caring for myself.
If I have done one thing this past few years, unbeknownst to myself or not, I have battled this. I still do. I don’t feel the pressures so much as the guilt when I neglect one or other but im working on it. Something to unpick with my new counsellor, I think.
I’ve realised something else too. I’m not as bad now as I have been. There is a fight in me that wasn’t there before. My depression never really left me, I think. But I have learnt to fight it and knowingly too now, want to defeat it for good.
This evening, I’ve had laughter with Wildcard (amongst trips upstairs with sick bags for my son.) I feel a certain peace.
Yes, it’s important to look back. For those of you whose blog serves as a journal: I strongly recommend it.
And for those few on here that have stuck by me through all this: thank you. 😊