“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”
Hey there everyone! It’s hard to believe that it’s been just over a year since my 50th birthday blog and despite my intentions to put ‘pen to paper’ or rather ‘finger to keyboard’ and write regularly, life ‘happened’ and I was well and truly derailed in pretty much every single area of my life – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I have never ever in my entire life felt as challenged as I have felt over the last year. I was functioning (still going to work, still looking after mom) and looked very well, so many people would not have recognised or realised what I was going through but I had unravelled on the inside and it was affecting some areas of my life on the outside.
To put some context to what I’m saying, let me explain a little.
Following on from the mention I made in my blog last year regarding my father’s ill health, his health declined pretty rapidly in the subsequent months and sadly he passed away in Oct 2018. Caring for dad in the last six months of his life was extremely challenging not only physically but more so mentally and emotionally. It took its toll on us all. Sidenote: Although it is a privilege to look after one’s parents, it is not without its own challenges. But that’s for another blog!
Anyway, given all that I had already experienced in the previous five years (since 2013), my father’s death was like the straw that broke the camel’s back. Up until that point I had been holding my life together and I had ‘coped’ with so many different levels of loss and/or life challenges… but this one hit hard. I had to be signed off work for four weeks (that’s a biggie for me as I’m never off sick!).
Summary of ‘life blows’ from 2013-2018
- Told by ex husband that he wanted a divorce
- Ex husband left the marital home
- Death of ex father in law following an accident
- Unexpected death of ex brother in law following an illness
- My mother’s health declined (signs of a TIA)
- My mother suffers a massive stroke (Subarachnoid haemorrhage) and spends 15 weeks in hospital
- Mom returns home disabled requiring 24/7 care
- Mom had a 2nd stroke in March 2017
- Death of ex mother in law, ironically following a stroke
- Divorce finalised
- Dad’s health began to decline (multiple hospital admissions, significant loss of independence)
- My dad passed away
In addition to the effect of those things on me, they also directly affected my children, in ways that one would never have expected (but that’s for another blog). They also had their individual challenges. One of my sons experienced a relationship break up (engagement broken off) and the other son was unfairly dismissed from work and had two car accidents. My heartbeat (my daughter) shared that she was struggling with depression including suicidal thoughts.
I’m sharing all of this with you, not for you to feel sorry for me but to just get a flavour of the ‘life blows’ that I was experiencing. I know that I’m not the only one and I know that there are people experiencing far worse.
I have always considered myself to be a strong, resilient individual who copes well under pressure… However even I had a breaking point and around August 2018 I began to crumble and unravel on the inside. I stopped walking (my favourite exercise), I comfort ate and put on (more) weight, I was struggling with my workload at work after I returned from my time off. Even worse, was that I was hardly attending church so I felt even more disconnected and spiritually depleted. Looking back on that 8 month period of darkness I realise that I was ‘a mess’.
It’s ironic, yet apt, that I’m sharing this at the tail-end of Mental Health Awareness month because every single one of us has a breaking point or a point at which we begin to ‘not cope’… no one is exempt… and everyone’s reactions to that ‘point’ is different. Please check on your ‘strong’ friend… he/she may not really be okay.
Thankfully for me there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel and I can see it… I’m walking towards it and I will share that experience with you in my next blog post.