Monday, 21 March 2016

Bad Poem.

Opening my mouth
I start to speak
But no words come out
They ask why
And I say, I
Miss you
I miss you
I miss you
I miss you
They ask why
And I say, I
Love you
I love you
I love you
It feels
The way it feels sometimes
I will never again speak.

I will never ever say your name
Not to your face
I will never say “Dad, look at this,”
“Dad, I’m getting married.”
“Dad, I’m loved. I’m here. I’m happy.”
So many times I said: “See you later.”
I could’ve looked you in the eye
And said
“Dad, whatever and whenever we have together
Know this.
I love you and I always will.”

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Fifteen years.

Fifteen years ago this very night I went to bed for the very last time as a person with an unbroken heart. 

I didn't know I was born, I tell you. All those years wasted mithering about nonsense, when I should have been fully enjoying not being grief-stricken. 

I would give anything to go back to then. To have my dad back. I'd like to just talk to him. Just for five minutes. But, on a more selfish level, I'd like to be able to just breathe properly. To sleep properly. To not be carrying around this sludgy mass of grief everywhere I go. 

I can't actually remember what it was like to not see the world through the gauze of grief. 

This is all I know now. It's my life now. And it has been since 16 March 2001 at 5am. 

The positives in this are that I didn't think I would survive without my dad. I genuinely didn't think I could live without him. And yet, here I am. Definitely existing. Lately, even living a bit. So I guess yay me, for realising that there is nothing that will actually break me completely. That's good. I guess. 

Other than that, I see nothing good or noble in grief. 

I saw a ridiculous meme somewhere or other talking about grief 'warming you in its rays'. 

And I thought to myself, 'grief rays'. What the ever-living buggery is that about. 

Anyone who tries to extract something positive from grief is an idiot. Grief is black and it's sticky. It's painful and it's exhausting. It doesn't make you a better person for suffering. It doesn't make you a worse person. It doesn't mean anything at all. It just is. 

When someone you love dies, then you can never do anything major in your life again, without a stab of pain. 

I am somewhere I never thought I'd be. I've met someone who I adore. And who adores me. We've bought a home. We're getting married. We're adopting another dog (YES WE ARE). 

Every bit of this I do without my dad. 

I want him to see my new house. I want him to come round for dinner. I want him to walk me down the aisle. I want him to see that I did get my shit together eventually. I want him to know how much he was loved. 

But grief is more about the person suffering it. I want to hear that he still loves me. That I have become someone he would, at least, be vaguely proud of. 

Even after 15 years it takes very little for me to be right back there, early morning on 16 March 2001 taking the call from my mum. 

"Your dad's dead."

I fancy now I could hear my heart shattering into a million tiny pieces. Right then and there. 

Shortly afterwards, I remember saying to my Cruse Bereavement Counsellor that I couldn't imagine getting to the 10 year anniversary. It was inconceivable to me then that I would be able to survive 10 years without him. 

And here I am at 15. 

So I guess I was wrong again. 

I've read a lot of books about grieving. I've read a lot of quotes about grieving. I have no pithy, comforting bon mot to share. 

Grief is unlike any other emotion or feeling. It is a realm all of its own and if you've been there you know it. If you haven't, you should fear it. Because it's very likely to be worse than you can imagine.

Best I can do is heartily recommend being open, honest and fulsome with your love for your loved ones. Whether they're your dad, your mum, your mate, your sister or your pet canary. Because it just takes one day for it to all change and you don't get to say it again. 


Thursday, 10 March 2016

Depression and me

I wrote this in June 2013. 

It's got better than this.

Three months ago I stopped taking SSRIs. For the first time in 23 years I am not taking anti-depressants. 

But it's still a truth snapping at my heels  

And it probably always will be. 

“You just need to think positively, like I do.”/“You always dwell on the negative. You’re just making it worse for yourself.”/“Pretend you’re happy and then people will want to be around you again.”/“There’s nothing wrong with your life. Just snap out of it.”

Yeah, it’s true. You’re right. You who live in a world where depression is something to be sneered at or pitied. You who lives in a world free of this. There is nothing wrong with my life. I shouldn’t wake up feeling like I’m caught in a vice. I shouldn’t stumble through each day a second away from tears, with a knot of tension in my stomach that never eases, afraid of everything and everyone.

I am alive, not destitute, not in severe pain every day, I can move my limbs, I am cognisant, I am smart. I’m a middle class, white, privileged English woman. What the hell do I have to be depressed about?

But on a semi-regular basis my world fades to black. And it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what you say to me. It doesn’t matter that you think I’m pathetic, or self-pitying or hysterical or overly dramatic or selfish or self-pitying or wanting attention or boring or needy or any of those things I’ve been called and told over the years. My world remains black, whatever you think of me.  

I’m good at hiding it, for the most part. Some people only see me as short tempered and moody and all the rest of that hilarious stuff. What they don’t know is that I spend days at a time choking back tears, that my amusingly low tolerance for teasing and banter makes me cry till I choke when I’m in private, that the simplest noise, like someone talking loudly or the phone ringing, can make me jump out of my skin because I am so tense, that I wake up in the morning with my heart racing and my limbs aching from clenching muscles, even in my sleep, that I wake up and cry, that I cry myself to sleep, that I can only see, hear, think and feel black and dark and despair and blank terror at the pointlessness of existence. That during the bad times I feel rudderless, so that I am floating, untethered through uncertainty and fear and every face I see is blank and every person I meet wants to hurt me and every path I choose is blocked.

My depression traps me, it smothers me, it makes it hard to breathe, it makes it hard to think, it makes it hard for me to look at my own face in the mirror, to talk to my own mother, to set foot outside my door. I want to crawl away from the world. And not stop. Just keep going until I die or the world ends. Whichever comes first.

Depression is insidious, it is without logic, it is without charm and it is without romance. It twists everything you see, you feel and you do. Depression has robbed me of relationships, friends, jobs and opportunities. As the years go by, the web of despair may flex and change - sometimes it’s way in the horizon and I can breathe and live, and sometimes it is clinging to my very skin, a damp, stultifying gauze between me and the world - but it never leaves me. And it most likely never will.