Living in the north of england now, for the past 6.5 years, I find travelling ‘home’ to the south west bittersweet. My most recent journey to see some of my best friends in the world was full of huge emotions, missing my children in the north but pining for my life long friends in the South, missing working with horses and being frozen to the bone, going out every weekend, and thinking I could not be arsed to do that now with kids, all just before I hit rock bottom.
Sometimes I think going down south reminds me of the person I used to be, who I’ve lost and am in the process of finding again. I was the fun one, the loud one, the anti establishment and rules one, the one who threw excellent parties (and still can albeit generally for under 5’s now) and the sociable one. I had lots of friends, a busy social life and girlfriends I would kill for (that I have also found up North). I find myself thinking, what happened to her? But then I take off my rose tinted glasses and remember I wasn’t happy. My self esteem was always extremely low, I did not know what I wanted from my life and was never encouraged to think about it, and I tried to please others at my own expense.
The time I am taking out to reflect, heal, love and learn is giving me more clarity than I expected. I am sure I have suffered on and off with depression or whatever label you want to give it throughout my childhood. I clearly remember being 9 years old and crying all day at school for no apparent reason, not eating or going out to play all day. I will never understand why the teachers didn’t follow it up. There was literally no reason. So why would a 9 year old do that? My brother often referred to me as a ‘miserable b***h’ because let’s face it, I was. I also remember being 16/17years old and having a boyfriend who would come round and play FIFA on the PlayStation for HOURS with my brother no matter how many times I complained. Why did I allow myself to be treated this way in a relationship? Where was my self worth? What sort of value did I allow myself?
At least over the years I’ve made some good decisions. My husband whole heartedly supports me while I do what I need to do for me. The journey that got me to need to take this time is less relevant than the path I take moving forward.
One of the biggest changes over the past few weeks is that I no longer feel like there is a ‘problem’ that needs fixed. I’m not / wasn’t miserable because my kids are a pain in the butt (which they are) or I didn’t like my life or anything else. I wasn’t happy because of my own personal feelings and choices and pressures I put on myself, and I became very unwell. It is true though that you need to see these things for yourself, it doesn’t matter how many times someone else tells you. Friends, family and professionals have told me for years that being a mum, wife or anything is enough, but I never felt it. Plus I didn’t want it.
I am beginning to find clarity now in my own head – I am enough. Looking after the kids and all our health is enough. Being the person who organises the house and life admin, spending time on myself and being a wife is enough. I feel no guilt spending time at the gym or out a walk while my husband works. I can get back to being the fun one – but who isn’t being fun to disguise being miserable. Right now, I want to exercise, go for walks and begin to socialise again. So I will, for me.
I don’t know what path the immediate and long term future will take. I want to give myself time for these decisions to form and not to force them. Right now I still want to travel (which I regularly wish I did younger and didn’t have babas instead), I want to do amazing things, want to help others, (maybe even write a book like a stereotypical yummy mummy), but not do these things through regret of settling down with kids. It can all happen because that’s the path I want my life to take. And I want my family on my path with me. In order for it to happen I know I need to let go of the path that got me to this place and look forward.
Don’t get me wrong. I am feeling a lot better but also very fragile. I still don’t want to face the world when I wake up each morning – but hubby faces the first half hour of grumpy kids which is amazing. And I feel like I am walking on a very long egg shell covered tight rope, 400,000 feet above a shark infested sea. But I am walking along it, when just a few weeks ago I was hanging off it with one finger wanting to let go.