Tuesday, 28 November 2017

On Reflection

Ah, the Facebook 'On This Day' app: you have to love it, right? Most days, I'm met by glorious photos of my children when they were squidgy and largely immobile or tales of bravely fought hangovers from the days before children and enormous debt, but today was different. Today I was faced with several years' worth of melancholy as I dealt with what was essentially an enormous comedown from an unexpectedly large weekend, and a house that looked a bit like Ground Zero before the clean up.

Maybe this pattern has developed in response to the close proximity of a Christmas that I can never afford, but it seems like more than coincidence that, after the always traumatic school run, I went back to bed and stayed there until lunchtime. I was not feeling today at all.

But then I got thinking about the ghost of Novembers past and the last year in general, and I realised that this year is quite different after all.

November 2016 was the worst one (and that's compared to the three Novembers that saw me unexpectedly unemployed as the sound of Christmas songs drew nearer). I had a two- and a one-year-old and I was drowning in postnatal depression and as-yet undiagnosed Primarily Obsessive OCD, and I spent every day hiding from chores that I couldn't cope with, bills that I couldn't pay and relationships that I couldn't maintain. We were facing the fact that this Christmas would be the last with my beloved father-in-law and I had taken on far more work than I could realistically deal with. I had been at home with the children all day while my husband worked late, and went to bed alone when he text me that he had been tied up due to a fault in the alarm system and would not be home for ages (he was doing nothing of the sort, as it turns out). I was at what I thought was rock bottom at the time, but I had no idea what the next twelve months were going to throw at me. 

It has, in short, been a complete fucking car crash, but I am still here. Five hundred, twenty five thousand and six hundred minutes that have brought separation, death, sexual assault, coming out, glandular fever, the consumption of more substances than necessary, my own rejection of something that made me happy because it was different and I didn't understand it, a mental health diagnosis that hit me like a bullet train, and I am still standing. 

My children are happy and healthy, and my relationship is finally blossoming in a healthy, controlled and balanced way. I have made the conscious decision to stop drinking on a regular basis, but I won't torture myself if I decide to have a couple on special occasions, and the treatment plan to beat the finally identified demon in my head is in place.

I have always thought myself weak, but the last year has shown me that I'm anything but. I am stronger than I would have ever imagined because I'm living in a head that keeps telling me I'd be better off dead and I'm defying it. I am fighting myself every single day and I'm still managing to hold down my family, my home, my job, my relationship, my degree work and my sanity. Every session with my therapist or doctor sees them ask me if I feel able to keep myself safe and the answer is always a proud yes. I can always do it, despite the fact that it sometimes feels like I'm pushing a boulder up a mountain.

I get up every single day and I manage to get through it. I get through it in a different way from other people; we don't necessarily leave the house as much as other families because sometimes getting us all out of our pyjamas is more than I can cope with, but I get through it. We get through it.

I am alive and that is enough to make me a warrior.

Because some things are worth living for