It’s been a very quiet weekend. The youngest flew to the city her brother is at university at yesterday. The uni has its Open Day tomorrow, and she and a friend went together to check it out. So, Mother’s Day weekend has been spent doing my final two interviews and transcribing them. I have a bloody sore typing wrist! So, I will try to keep it brief.
I guess, from what I have posted on this funny little piece of online real estate, I looked like I had a blissfully unaware, spoilt rotten life prior to the affair? Right? Well, not quite.
I had fairly brief periods over the years when my mood would be pretty low. I think it was probably mild depression that would hit from nowhere. It would be years apart, and usually I could shake it off within a month or two. It hit particularly badly when my eldest was about eight months old, and I ended up in tears in my GPs surgery, with his older practice nurse being SOOO amazing, and saying that she had suffered with post natal depression, and had some numbers of good counsellors. They prescribed meds for me. I never filled the prescription, and battled away until around the eighteen month mark, when it seemed to lift. I have no idea why? I had stopped breastfeeding her a couple of months earlier, and I mostly enjoyed that. I think just talking in the doctor’s office that day helped ease the burden a bit. I think it may have had something to do with the fact that I was a bit isolated, in a way. I was only 25 when I had her, and none of my friends were partnered up, let alone mothers yet. I think I felt I had failed a little at life, a two time university dropout, had to return early from her OE due to a unplanned for baby on the way. Bit of a lemon really. I knew I wasn’t, that those narratives were in my head, and that I loved and was loved. And I made a huge effort. If I had to be a mother, I was going to be the BEST damn mother I could be. I had a great role model in my own mother, but I hadn’t ever really thought too hard about parenthood. I assumed the urge, if it ever came – and to be honest, I hoped it wouldn’t – would hit somewhere in my 30s. My girl short circuited all of that. And I have no real regrets. Motherhood was the making of me in many ways. And don’t get me wrong, I adore my kids. Totally.
A couple more times in the next couple of decades, I recall some lowish moments. The worst was when I started to have suicidal ideations, or basically, I went and sorted out how to make the practicalities of a car gassing work. That was absolutely (by far and away) the worst I ever got, and I never went through with any attempts. It seems almost surreal to tell the story now. Like only crazy and terribly messed up people get that low, right? (Answer: of course not!)
I recall a friend having a real struggle in dealing with her teenage step-daughter being diagnosed with depression. Like it was pretty stigmatic (to her.) I remember asking a few questions, like is she getting help, is the ‘help’ actually helping, etc. Then I made a remark that may seem flippant here. I said, “well, you do remember that it is a teenager’s job to be depressed, right?” I didn’t mean it to sound as harsh and as dismissive as it no doubt did. The friend looked at me like I had taken a dump on her white carpet! “What the hell are you talking about?” I answered, “well, we’ve all listened to too much sad music and taken it to heart, felt completely heart broken and misunderstood as teenagers, haven’t we?” She was sure I had dropped from another planet. “NO!!! I never felt like that.” Boy, did I feel like a weirdo, and I realised, for the first time, that maybe not everyone DID feel like that a lot in their teens? I mean, I had a great childhood, there was plenty to do, see, eat, play, etc. I was pretty privileged, but never over-indulged. It floored me. Did I do my teenage years all wrong? I thought her step-daughter (who is my god-daughter, I was good friends with her mother before their divorce) was just having a tough, but pretty ‘normal’ time of those late teen years. She was, but did require some medical help for a while, maybe she still does, she’s 25 now, and it matters not, as long as she is okay. But maybe it isn’t always like that? A revelation. And not a pretty one. I was somehow a ‘deficient’ model off the assembly line. Damn! I LOVED all that emotional music. As an 80s child, I LOVED listening to Morrissey speak my truths. Michael Stipe, Robert Smith, yes, Prince, Bowie, Siouxsie Sioux, Billy Bragg, so, so many more, all of my musical loves, they KNEW how it felt to be me, to not fit the round hole as this square peg. And she was telling me I was wrong.
I figure that I was given an incredible capacity to feel. Mostly is has been an amazing gift. I loved, I laughed, I empathised, I supported, and I mourned with those I care about. But, the flipside of that special coin, is that you feel pain (and anger!) more intensely than most. You are usually a loyal and fierce person. You will FIGHT anyone who hurts ANYONE you care about. It might not be physical, but you will form whatever barriers you can. I would bloody well near die for you if I love you! Even if you were nice to me once, lol! I spent a great deal of my younger life learning to rein the anger, and indignation at injustice in – to a societally acceptable level. I met a very calm and loving man, and he helped me in this endeavour. Interestingly, he sort of understood it, even though he rarely feels the heights and depths that I always have. He knows it dwells in him, having watched his father, who is not a bad man in any way, shape or form, instead is a pretty sweet and caring man, but who had an explosive temper – never directed at animals or humans. I have been checked twice to see if I fit a bipolar profile. Apparently not, but I believe I may sail pretty close to that ley line at times. And I knew it. I recognised my passions were possibly a bit more intense than many.
So, a friend posted about a song that moved her as it always reminded her of a family member who lived with the torment of addiction, and who, sadly, eventually took his own life. It set off some triggers, but not in that heart-stopping, awful way of the immediate period of post D-day. More just led me down this rabbit hole. I have blogged earlier about my affinity with music, and the themes and lyrics that give me goosebumps, and plumb the depths of my soul. I know I am not alone in that. And it reminded me that I didn’t have a picture perfect life before the affair (ha! I already knew that, but…) that I had had a moment where I really did contemplate ending my life, because I was not coping with the pain of … life. I know I am susceptible to depression, but have never really had a severe episode of prolonged, deep depression, more my – self-diagnosed, I admit – dysthymia, where I just can’t feel content. And this is what has set in after the affair, and after the first years of being pretty sure we would manage to climb out of the shitty place he put us in. Dysthymia, it’s a shit of a place to live, and I can’t seem to raise a mortgage to get out of it!
All that said, it has been a productive weekend, but I need to exercise. I have the last two interviews completed for my dissertation paper done this weekend, but yet to transcribe, and I was hoping I would have made a start on the coding and writing by now. The joys of what seems like permanent studenthood!
So, (not a real) dog, WALKIES!!!