And then my father died…

This week see’s me talking about living in cloud cuckoo land. Open and frank talking about a life pestered by mental illness. Don’t fear I don’t go out at night painting badgers pink or ‘owt like that. I’m doing this to raise awareness of  Black Dog Tribe, a community network set up by Ruby Wax to promote amongst other things the open discussion of mental health issues. Go visit them, check them out and spread the word be it with a tweet or a mention to a friend over a cuppa.

Yesterday I wrote about my teenage years and so now I am moving on to the early half of my twenties.

I got married at 19 years of age to a man who is to this day probably my best friend. I had my first, much wanted child when I was twenty. I found childbirth rather horrific, there was no drama during the birth apart from some *eeeek* slight tearing *crosses legs*. I went from a sloth like being who slept till noon every day to a sleep deprived new-mother. I need my sleep, lack of it effects me negatively.

A few weeks into my first born childs life I climbed into the loft and hid. No one knew where I was and to be honest I wasn’t fussed on coming down. I was told by those around me to ‘pull myself together’ and that I was ‘attention seeking’. I don’t blame those who said that to me, if you haven’t experience a negative mental experience before then you really cannot begin to relate to how it feels. My heart goes out to any family member of anyone suffering with any sort of depression.

There followed  five years of mayhem, big highs and huge lows. I can only apologise to anyone who knew me around that time. Highs were the birth of my second and third children. The lowest low of the time came simultaneously as I embarked upon an affair with someone and my marriage began to collapse – my father died. A postman, aged 54, he was taken very ill during his postal rounds and rushed to hospital. I was called by a nurse who told me I needed to get to the hospital a.s.a.p. My strong dad was led there, pale and tired and told me that he thought that ‘this is it’. He died a few hours later en route to Frenchay Hospital from an aortic aneurysm.

I lost the plot at the worse time for my mother and those around me. Everything is a blur from that era these days. I really said and did some terrible things. It’s made worse by only partially remembering it myself.

In 1999  I met a chap that was to become my second husband and divorced my first husband. Over the following 3 years I gave birth to another three children. A year after that my life changed dramatically for the worse and has never fully recovered…

Sorry but tomorrow will get rather sad…

In the meantime please check out my Ho Ho Ho Ha Ha Ha page  which will tell you all about how you can join in a video I’m putting together of ‘stills’, photos, images, drawings sent by normal folk of something festive and funny for a festive finale of support for Black Dog Tribe. It is so easy to join in x

If you’d like to show some support for Black Dog Tribe then you can follow them on Twitter and send them a tweet of support, like them on Facebook or go one step further and add this ‘badge’ to your blog.

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  1. says

    i read this on the way to work today and it make me weep! you are so brave for talking about everything. i wish i was as brave as you and talk about my dark periods as well. There are still things in my life that i can’t share… i am just afraid to do it. i love how sincere you are. i will definately check the Black Dog Tribe page now and i will look forward to read your post tomorrow too.
    Kisses and hugs

  2. says

    Powerful stuff, Mamma, and stuff I can relate to, as my wife suffers from depression and had a terrible bout of it that lasted for two years. Hard times, but one gets on with it. I wrote a feature for the Mail on Sunday about my experiences of living with depression and the awful powerlessness you feel. You can read it here if you like (ghastly headline and photos though!):

    Thanks for this painful but wonderful series of posts, and for all you do to cheer up Twitter and keep the blogosphere on track!!

    • says

      Oh super – I’ll read that now. Apologies for such a delay in replying to your comment but to be honest I’ve been lying low a bit – it’s been a painful week for me. I underestimated how hard it is to write about something so personal as I fully appreciate that not everyone will have a positive view on it and so I dreaded a negative response.

      Lady luck has been smiling on me and I’ve had nothing but supportive folk getting in touch. Thanks for being one of them x

  3. says

    I’m now following the Black Dog Tribe and have been following & supporting similar organisations here in Oz for quite a while. The work they do is so incredible and very worthwhile. And without beautifully articulated, heartfelt stories like yours to share, how can those organisations raise awareness? They can’t. Or at least, not as well. Which is why your blog is such a powerful agent for change. Keep it up!

    • says

      Thanks Misha, I have to say that it’s nice to do something on my little piece of the web for ‘good’. Not that I usually use my blog for evil but you know what I mean. I’m not going to get all preachy about bloggers using their outreach for positive things but it is a ‘perk’ and has helped me more so than Black Dog Tribe even x

  4. says

    You’re narrating this journey very compellingly (and grammatically!!). My only worry is that it must be a singularly painful task. You are making an invaluable contribution to the Black Dog Tribe, but don’t, in your admirable zeal to help others, let the cost to you get too high. I’ve bought in an extra stash of gin and Bourbon Creams in case you’ll be needing it.

    • says

      GIN! Sorry you set my gin-dar off there…

      Thank you very much. I rate you as one of the best writers in the blogosphere and you are a joy to read so for you to pay me that compliment really knocks my socks off with pride.

      I’m coming through the other end of a painful week now – I’m feeling all the stronger for it too x

  5. Floydsdad says

    This is hard hitting stuff! At the same time a compelling read. Hats of to your ability to revisit these times hopefully without opening up any old scars….

    • says

      Yes sorry it should have come with a flashing warning!

      It’s been emotional but I’m starting to feeling better about it all already which is really positive as this is always a hard time of year for me. People always comment on how it must be lovely having all my family round me at Xmas and then I have to explain they won’t be…which is followed by questions and ultimately I feel totally ashamed to have to explain the whole story.

      Hopefully no longer!

  6. says

    Bravo for talking about this very hard time, it must be a great relief to be able to talk about it and maybe put it behind you. I’ll be back tomorrow to read the rest of your story. I love your blog, you are a great writer.

    • says

      Wowsers, I read lots of blogs and lots of them by really great writers so to think that you think that really has made my week. Thank you very much indeed.

      It’s been hard to write and subsequently a really emotionally hard week for me but I’m coming through it now feeling stronger and much more ‘at one’ with myself.

  7. says

    If you had been suffering from the flu or cancer those around you would have been sympathetic etc but when it comes to mental illness you are told to pull yourself together and treated with impatience. There is no diference between mental or physical sufferring. I have effectively been banned from staying at my fathers house because I was down in the dumps and suffering from PTSD symptoms when I last stayed at his this Easterand my step mums. He wants the ‘nice’ me and wont accept anything else. Its rather hurtful to say the least. Those that aren’t suffering find it difficult to understand that its often very difficult to control your behaviour when you are so totally caught up in the web of any mental disturbance. X

    • says

      This is so true and such a great way of looking at things – seriously I do feel like this week has been just like therapy for me. It’s been so beneficial getting peoples feedback and thoughts. thank you for being a person who has helped me feel better about myself x


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