Oh dear, I seem to have been remiss in my intention to write more since I arrived home. In my defence, I have been otherwise engaged in painting my house and hanging out with my family down at home, amongst other things, all of which have been positive, fun and not stressing me out.
There have been quite a few new followers to the blog and the Facebook page of late and I’m guessing a lot of what I post doesn’t make total sense to those joining the crazy after ten months of blogging. Believe me, it doesn’t all make sense to me either and I’m the one writing it, and the one living it. But I guess that’s the thing about life – nobody’s ever really makes sense and if it all seems to fit perfectly into an eighty five year jigsaw, then you’ve devoted too much time to smoothing the edges and not enough time to taking in the view.
I decided that I should write a brief synopsis of my year to date: not my calendar year but my year since Episode One (which you should find here if I’ve linked it properly). It’s been an absolutely mental year (yes, pun intended) and I still don’t feel ready to read back over any of what I’ve written for fear of recognising the broken heap of vomiting bones in the words thrown onto the screen.
This blog began as a feeble attempt to describe to my family and friends how I felt because my voice couldn’t find the words and, being an English graduate and teacher, writing always seemed to be the most natural form of self-expression. Then, as I began to find the process of writing out my every psychotic and suicidal thought cathartic, blogging became a purely selfish exercise as it shaped itself into a crutch on which I could lean during the day if I was struggling, and I was often struggling. Eventually, it became clear that my (over)sharing was helping other people who were too scared, confused and angry with themselves to admit to those close to them that they were in a similar position. I have had countless messages from people I know well, some not so well and some from people I’ve never met, nor will ever meet, who just needed to tell someone that they were having the same kind of thoughts and feelings of utter despair, panic and, worst of all, that they just didn’t give a fuck about anything or anyone anymore.
To say that I know I’ve helped people goes against every fibre of my self-doubting, ultra self-critical being but, as advised by my Cousin Like A Brother’s beautiful wife, who I mistakenly referred to as my sister-in-law recently, I need to stop putting myself down. So yes, by telling the world how batshit crazy and/or suicidal I’ve been, I’ve helped people. Go me. See, it’s good to talk.
For a brief recap then…
I’m 34. I’m a still-technically-married-single-mother of a 15 year old girl who still likes me despite me being a. clinically unhinged b. old and c. her mother. She is the coolest, most together kid I’ve ever met. I love her, lots. I am a sort of ex step mother to another awesome girl who is 16, has battled health problems with grace and determination since she was teeny tiny and who also still doesn’t mind hanging out with me. My father fucked up many things during my childhood and my mother was often difficult and distant as a result. I love her dearly and admire the mother and grandmother she has become despite having bucketloads of shit thrown at her.
I was raped when I was 16, by a guy I still see around when I go home to the medium sized town I grew up in and called home until 5 years ago when I moved to Dublin. That fateful night, I was drunk and wearing a short skirt. Yes, I blame myself. No, I wasn’t asking for it. I didn’t tell my parents for 6 months, they still don’t know who it was. I did my degree in English and French in UCD and graduated in 2001, having got knocked up during the summer of first year when we were young and could drink our body weight in cider every night. I didn’t tell my parents until I was nearly 5 months pregnant and had everything organised. See a pattern of silence emerging?
I went back to college when she, my daughter, was three weeks old: still bleeding, lactating and wobbly bellied (I like bragging about this) and passed my second year exams. I finished my degree, somehow with honours (barely – I think my professors admired my resolve to complete my course moreso than my academic submissions) and I fell into teaching, covering a maternity leave in the school my dad taught in. Yes, this smacks of good old Irish civil service nepotism but I proved I could do the job by being kept on for the next seven years and being successful enough to become the TY and LCVP coordinator and encouraging many of my students to go on and study English at third level.
My dad left my mam three weeks before my 21st. I still had a birthday party.
I took a career break to do my MA in Anglo-Irish Literature in 2007-2008, again in UCD and of course, in my spare time, I married the father of my child, and left him; thought I’d found the one (twice), and ended up broken hearted and alone (twice) having pushed each of them to the brink of their own nervous breakdowns. I miscarried, not knowing I was five weeks pregnant after drinking four bottles of Coors Light the night before. I didn’t want a baby and the guilt did more damage than the loss. During one relationship, the sex often got, how to put it… forceful, coercive and I think I was “sort of raped” again. But I’m still trying to figure this one out as I loved him, or thought I did, and I never told him how I felt about it.
Since failing to secure a PhD supervisor; selling bras as a lingerie retail manager; trying to fit back into teaching and adopting two dogs, I’ve also cracked up, majorly: twice; taken far too many painkillers; starved and puked my way to a sub-size 6; run two marathons; bolloxed up my knee; spent my summers in the States with the American branch of the family; fallen deeper into the debt inherited from my marriage; gone back up to size 12; slept my way through half of Dublin and twisted my cysty ovaries. I also managed to completely ransack an ex’s bedroom and destroy all his expensive gadgets; left some pretty nifty scars on my thighs and been refused a bed in a psychiatric ward due to overcrowding; completed a 6 week day hospital programme; been saved by Pieta House and painted my house, twice. I have been diagnosed with delayed onset PTSD, BPD, chronic depression and suicide ideation tendencies. I take Venlafaxine and Amitriptyline. I’ve never been late with my rent despite often having to scrape a couple of euro together for a dinner and I’m starting counselling with the Rape Crisis Centre next week. I got home from Texas/Washington State ten days ago, having had a the summer of a lifetime with my family and friends there and despite dreading the re-entry into Irish life, I’ve surprised myself with how well I am. I am busy, energised, sociable and level. I will not be back to teaching this year as I will not be signed fit until at least February but I am on the road to recovery. Hopefully this time, a permanent one.
So there you go, newbies. You’re all caught up.
The photo is me at about age 5, it’s the only photo of me I’ve posted here.
This is a story about depression, anxiety and the shitty side of life but it’s also the tale of recovery, love and life.
Welcome to Rockerville. 💋