This week has been amazing. It started with me still feeling pretty groggy from a cold and stressed with some family stuff that has been going on. I went to London on Tuesday to visit my son and some friends, we had a great time with them, but I felt sad.
It really hit me that 25 years ago, I owned my own flat, I was living in London, if things had gone well I would be mortage free this year and here we are walking miles and miles because we are needing to find a restaurant that we can afford. Past some restaurants that at one time I would not have thought twice about going into. It is not what I had in mind for when I turned 50. I was grateful to have the talks I did with my son, to have the closeness that he wants to share his world with me and to ask for my support emotionally. I am grateful to get on so well with his visitors and it really touched me to feel so comfortable with these people.
The sadness I feel is grief, some call it self pity, but for me it is a process I have to go through, I know that my mental illness stole a lot of my life and that makes me feel very very sad. It also makes me very very angry that I did not get the help I needed when I needed it, because that made me worse.
Now I have to do something about it. I still get bad days, so does my son and we are having to face a huge truth about his father, he does not want to know. This is a truth my son is really struggling with and I am powerless to do anything about, as much as I want to, or am I?
I walked along Notting Hill and remembered how I love being there, I long to live in London again, it is a case of how. So I keep writing, praying and moving forward. I felt a failure actually, a complete and utter failure that I had not been able to provide in the way I wanted to. Thank goodness that out of this we are close, money cannot buy that. I feel sad that at the age of 50 I am on welfare, still signed off sick. The impact of mental health on my whole life cannot be underestimated, together with the impact on my sons life. I am changing things slowly and I need a lot of support.
Two other things have happened to confirm my mental state this week, one past, one present. I was helping a friend move today and we went to visit a place he used to work and I was a client of approx 12 years ago, Creative Response. The man who worked there when I was there came up and said I recognise you, were you at college with me. I said no I was one of the clients when you were at the other place and he was really shocked. He asked if I liked it and I said no, I found it really distressing, and as we talked he remembered me. He told me they felt unable to help me because I was so distressed, how he tried to get me to focus and draw, how I told them I needed someone to sit with me and they just did not have the funding to help me in a way I needed to be helped. He told me they were all really concerned about me and often talked about me, because I was so fragile.
I have to say I felt really sad, again, because I did not think anyone could see me or understand me, I was obviously in a bad way. I used to walk past him in the street and really resent him for not being able to help me, I felt so scared and lost and I wanted some help not to just get on with it, I was so shut down I needed someone to help me get in touch with my feelings and for some reason it didn’t happen for me. Nowadays they have more funding and it is better, but it just shows how vital it is for people to get the help.
I also went for an assessment at Oakleaf Enterprises. The man was amazing, he has had several breakdowns himself, commented on the psychiatrists writing being illegible and was able to see that he had commented on my state as fragile, which I was surprised with but also relieved. We went on to talk about experiences with mental illness and how their funding is being cut, how they cannot provide as much as they would like due to it. Most people there are on benefits and they are now restricted as to what they can do as they now have to pay their own travel there and also pay £5.00 per session, which makes it very difficult for some.
When we were talking about our states of mind he said how difficult it is when you are having a breakdown and you believe what you believe is real and that nobody can convince you otherwise, I found his way of being so open and sharing a real comfort. I know that feeling so well but I had not known it so clearly as all being part of the breakdown if that makes sense. The loss of reality is something I am only really begining to come to terms with.