On the whole I’d say those were two weeks of not a very good place, and they coincided with the lack of my anxiety pills. I’m keeping mental track to see what does it and what doesn’t.
Things are back to really good with my husband, and as usual I look back and think just how much I overreacted… but I guess it’s no longer a surprise now. Last night as we were making up, I had a little moment, a moment of dawning: “You know how I used to tell you that I would really try not to be so excessive? I really meant it. The thing now is, I know I can’t even begin to make that promise. I know I’ll never be..”
And I couldn’t say it.
Then yesterday I started on a self-portrait of myself. I, who cannot draw to save my life, but the initiative is very worthy and by someone I respect, so I thought I’d give it a go.
The process was interesting in itself: here I was, using my preferred black cardboard book, and those colourful chalks… aptly my daughter also brought me the charcoal, just shades of grey.
The I began. My eldest boy (18) and my 8 yr old were in the same room, so I thought, I’ll start with the happy side. And to be honest the portrait that came out looked pretty crazy and manic. Due to my lack of skills, no doubt, and they tried to help me to fix it. But still I couldn’t help think how accurate that might have been in itself: there was the manic smile, a metaphor for my “I can do ANYTHING” state of mind, and the crazy-sad grey eyes. But it was frankly hideous and fortunately my kids think I look better than that, so I destroyed it. I realised I have to do it whilst hidden away. Unlike the cool financial expert lady in Fry’s documentary, I can’t bring myself to tell the kids there is anything wrong with me beyond anxiety.
I have happily received more work requests so I will be very busy for a while. But today I also received the letter with the questionnaire to prepare for the phone interview with Derbyshire Talking Mental Health (thank you guys for sparing me having to go through the GP like in Cambridge!). I realised two things: a) I needed to hide the letter and b) The phone call will happen while my sister is here, visiting from Italy with her husband and her teenage son. Should I postpone once again? Should I keep it, grab the landline phone and go hide somewhere where they can’t hear me through the walls? Or, the scariest of all, tell them all what I’m doing?
If I were a friend of mine, I know what I’d say: be honest with those who love you, with your family. It’s for the best. These are all people whom I trust, and yet. The stigma starts with me. I’m not quite ready with it yet. I am reminded of a very dear friend of mine who has MS. She said she waited a whole year to tell anybody, because she had to be ok with it first, she had to be there to reassure and “protect” her loved ones when she told them. And her dear ones of course berated her and said “I can’t believe you went through this alone”.
I can’t help but think there is no comparison between what I have and what she has. I can’t help feeling, though I know it is wrong, that I can help what I do, what I say, how I think. She can make her illness worse or better with sheer attitude, but she cannot escape it. The thing to come to terms is, I guess, nor can I. I can, like Fry says, try and adapt to prepare for all types of weather, but I cannot stop the weather from happening.
A scary thought, but we’re moving along, and we’ll get somewhere and that’s what matters 🙂