I Must Have Tried A Thousand Times

I wanted to write a post about a moment that my sister Mandy was hoping would cheer me up…but it actually had the opposite effect. So, although I am no expert in mental health, I am only describing my own experience, this post describes the emotions I dealt with within the first few weeks after I was attacked. How just a silly little thing can knock you all the way back to Square One, well, it knocked me anyway. I had never been so sensitive and exposed emotionally (and I am glad it did not last long, because frankly it was exhausting!)

For those who don’t know much about the past few years for me…here it is in a very quick nutshell:

Life was pretty perfect…a male friend (Jack) and I seemed to be getting on well, lots of other people took an interest in us and started teasing us, then rumours started, then he moved into the flat I was living in, more rumours, now we were very awkward, more rumours and gossip, then we had a chat…he said he loved me.

Woah! Then we were less awkward, then the rumours and gossip went wild, then I found out he may have been feeding the rumours, then we had a kind of argument, then we became really awkward, then I moved out of the flat, then the rumours became even worse and became nasty, we were more awkward and then were more rumours. Then the rumours changed, gossip spread that I was having an affair with another man, a married man, his wife screamed at me at a very public occasion.

I tried again and again to sort things out with my ex-flatmate, he was very hostile, I started sinking into despair. I went to a park on night because I did not want to see him, a stranger with ill intent was also there that night, the next morning I woke up in an ambulance after a security guard had found me.

Now…if you did not know that had happened, you might not have understood what I am going to describe next..

After I left hospital in London I went up north to stay with family members. At first I was just sleeping and sleeping and sleeping. But when I started to feel I was up to a more normal routine, my sister Mandy was eager to plan activities that would distract me. I appreciate how well meaning she was.

I wanted to show some enthusiasm for her ideas. She wanted to take me to all sorts of places to visit, beautiful parks and gardens, farms, zoos, quaint cafes, all sorts of places. And eventually we did go to some of those places. We went for walks in the countryside and National Trust properties in the North of England.

Those activities did help in some ways, although that was a very strange time for me emotionally. I was not at all myself. Not at all. I remember PTSD being a subject for the counsellors I spent time with. To be honest, I never concerned myself with labels and diagnosis – I just thought I would heed the practical advice I had been given and take one day at a time.

I ended the counsellor appointments after a couple of months because I didn’t think they were helping at all. I might or might not write a post about the counsellor that made me determined that nobody was going to come to see me anymore. He was such an idiot. Honestly, it makes me cross even now to think of how unprofessional he was. What they did do, and I am glad of it, is help me to recognize that I was more traumatised by what they described as bullying (the taunting and rumours that had developed around the relationship with my flatmate for over two years and his hostility when I tried to resolve the misunderstanding between us), than I was the physical attack I had been a victim of.

As Mandy was going through her list of suggestions for days out she decided she would share with me the new album her husband just bought her. She told me enthusiastically how fantastic this singer was and this was her latest album. She selected her favourite song and pressed play and asked me to listen to it.

I listened. I looked at her and I think she saw what was happening to me. It was an awful awful feeling of someone else, someone with an amazing voice, singing words that cut your heart to ribbons of pain. She realized that had happened as she saw me break down in heaving wheezing cries of agony. That sent me back to bed for several more days in outbreaks of distraught sobbing.

Poor Mandy. I think she realized that when you have someone who has been through such a traumatic experience – you just can’t introduce intense emotion in any form at first. Well, at least that was my experience – I could not handle those intense emotions. For a while I had to be allowed to be numb. It took me time to be able to deal with emotions again. For some time, I found just busying myself with housework and household laundry and reading information books was all I could do. Exposing myself to emotions came slowly and carefully.

That level of intensity and those powerful lyrics that touched on such a terribly raw nerve completely debilitated me.

It’s funny, because three and a half years later I can actually enjoy that song, (after all it is a beautiful song by an amazing singer) but I remember the first time I heard it – it was totally the wrong time for me!

….Hello Jack!

Hello from the other side!

I must have tried a thousand times….

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Wild Thing… I Think I Love You!

For several days after Goldfinch flew away, my sadness was manifest by weepy moments and leaky eye episodes. But this week, it has been harder. Now…my emotions are becoming wildly unpredictable! They can swing one way or another within a few seconds! The reality is sinking in.

I could not sleep last night – which is very very unlike me. I sleep like a log. I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. Last night I was sobbing and so distraught I was still awake at four o’clock in the morning, so in the end I had to get myself up and make myself some honey soya milk and eat some of the chocolate Goldfinch gave me before he left. I haven’t eaten properly since the weekend. I ate all the leftovers I had from cooking and baking for Goldfinch last week and then when I ran out of food, I was too gloomy to go food shopping. So this week I have been eating carrot sticks and drinking coffee.

I was chatting with my parents and they want me to eat properly, but said at least they know I will be eating well next week when I am with my family. Mum said it is normal and natural to lose your appetite when you are down-hearted. Dad said it sounds like I have all the symptoms of being love-sick. They told me to keep an eye on myself ,and keep talking about how I feel, so that others can be supportive, and my sadness does not become extreme.

I bought posh bread (as in three times the price of the bread in the super-market and a very strange shape and full of holes) tonight from one of the five artisan bakeries which are now on the high street round the corner from the little nest. It smells delicious. I am going to have some for breakfast tomorrow – it’s much too late to eat now.

I worked from 8am – 5pm  (cooking for a client) and then this evening I went to help out on a project I am regularly involved in – so much work to do there! I was rushed off my feet. I was tired, and, as I have come to realize, that is when I’m at my weakest. I started to cry. Tears pouring down my face.

bvlgariJust then I felt a little vibration against my hip…I pulled out the little Nokia phone I have, and it was a message from Goldfinch!!!! It felt like a little miracle! A message all the way from Adelaide when I needed him the most! He was on his way to an interview and he was wearing the after shave I gave him!

That scent is so gorgeous – I can smell it now…there is a faint residue on the robe I always lent to Goldfinch when he came here to the little nest. I was even thinking of buying a small bottle just so that I can breathe in the scent of him when I miss him.

Suddenly the clouds broke and warm golden sunshine, Adelaide sunshine all the way from Australia, sent by Goldfinch himself, poured into my heart!

I have realized that I have a lot of this to come…I think they call it “mood swings”!!! One moment I am sobbing, the next moment, my heart is singing and I am excitedly telling everyone about what Goldfinch is up to.

My emotions are going to be a bit wild and unruly for a while I feel. Being with family next week will be a great help. But every time I hear from Goldfinch my heart is going to sing! I think I love him!

Just A Little Something

I read so many posts about the challenges others have had, either on a short term basis, or, in some cases, for an entire life-time, with their emotional or mental health. I truly appreciate the honesty and courage of many posts.

Well…I have to say it sometimes makes me very tearful hearing or reading about the enormous challenges others have faced.  I read a post the other day which had me sobbing about a blogger who had lost her beloved husband…ay ay ay! But there are many others who refer to crushing blows to their emotional health.

Sometimes, I wish I could run around giving out hugs and boxing up rays of sunshine, rainbows, cupcakes, daisies and fluffy bunnies or literally whatever it would take to sooth a heart crushed with pain or warm a spirit frozen by despair.

But for most, there is no easy answer…no quick fix solution.

I still think that for each one of us…it is a mighty good thing to do something, even if it is a very little something.  I remember a very annoying goofy twenty two year old lad who was nowhere near the top of my list of wanted visitors after I left hospital over three years ago. In fact at one stage I felt edgy around any men. He did something…a very little something. Three little somethings actually. One was a daisy, one solitary daisy that he had picked for me because he knew I like them, one was a packet of peanut M&Ms because he thought I would like them, and the other was a recording on his mobile phone of his brother singing a crooner in the shower, which was frankly the little something that clinched it for me and made me smile and then laugh.

There is no quick fix solution, but I still think it a mighty good thing to do something, whether it is goofy or seems insignificant, to show someone you are worried about, that you wish there was something you could give to take away their pain. But more than anything, to show you care, you might not truly understand, but you care.

It’s clear that the chap below cared and did something for someone he cared about:

I have had one major challenge to deal with myself…as I have referred to in some posts. I feel a million times better now I have had a chance to distance myself from that situation for some time.  The pain is there but I am winning!

I made a dreadful mistake, I didn’t know how harmful it was to bottle up all the hurt that situation was causing me and try to deal with it on my own. In my case, it was the drip drip effect of constant taunting for over two years and then the animosity of one person, that intensified during the year before I was the victim of a crime. It wore me down, to the point I made at least one unwise decision and put myself in danger.

I have said it before and I will say it again, what happened to me in the park has not really been so hard to get over. It’s there, but it is in a box with the lid firmly sealed tight shut and I keep that box on the very top shelf.  I do feel as if I have conquered that threat to my peace of mind and joyful disposition.  The other challenge…it has not been so easy.

I am very grateful for all of the little tiny somethings that others did.  Nobody could undo what had happened to me. At the time there was certainly no way I was going to just wake up and forget everything that was hurting and “get over it” with the click of my fingers. I was not always able to cope with visitors or anything that excited or tired me too much. But all those little somethings from others mean so much to me!

FOWC with Fandango — Bottle