A year on…

As it is mental health awareness week I thought it was time I write my next blog.

Granted it has been a while since my last one but if there’s a perfect time to talk surely it’s now?!

As most of you will know (as I twitter on about it a lot) it has recently been my birthday. Usually I am counting down the days and sending 5608278 WhatsApp’s to my family of things I want ha ha. Then I end up buying them myself and telling them they owe me. I am a nightmare! But bar Christmas it’s my favourite time of year. This year I was a little nervous as my birthday week reminded me that the previous year some of the most horrific experiences I have ever lived through happened.

However … I am here to tell the tale.

That week seems like years ago and unfortunately I was unable to look after myself my mam had to babysit me, danni had to physically wash my hair as I was in too much of a state and I ended up like a fully grown up human baby. So to think a year on I’m holding my life together, happy house, puppy, and engaged is bizzare!!

Anyone who has had a mental health illness probably wants me to say after that things get ok and we all live happily ever after skipping through Flimby like we’re on the wizard of oz.

Unfortunately that doesn’t happen. Granted I am much better but I still have up and down days and will never be “cured” for the rest of my life. And that is the sad truth for most of us.

What doesn’t help is people’s perception of others lives. If you looked on my Instagram this time last year you would think things were perfect. I am trying so hard to be more honest on social media and not put out an image that we’re all constantly walking round with perfect brows and lashes sipping gin with a butterfly crown around our heads. – DREAM OR WHAT?!

As most people know coronation street has really highlighted the importance of talking to each other and everyone if facing battles we may not know as we’re so skilled at painting on a brave face as part of our morning routine.

For obvious reasons I found this really hard to watch yet it brought lightness to a very dark situation.

The harsh reality is every one we pass in the street, the man who goes to the shop every morning for his paper, the mother who jokes about being worn out with kids, your partner, friend, mother, brother, may end facing these same demons and all they could need is someone to say “are you ok, want to talk?”.

This may seem like a really depressing rant that Eeyore could have wrote and that really isn’t my intention.

I want to let you all know good days or bad let’s talk. Surely that’s what we’re all here for. And we can all fight the same battles together. Let’s be here for each other for the good moments and the bad. Whether it’s a trauma or you have one of them days where you wake up feeling shit.

If anyone at all reading this feels like this good or bad please know that I will listen anytime. I will happily talk rubbish to help someone avoid dark thoughts or listen to rambling and getting thoughts out of your own head. I hope some of you can do this too.

Be kind.

💚

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The beginning

Let’s start at the very beginning.

A very good place to start. When you read you begin with A,B,C…..

If by now you’re not in full Julie Andrews on a hill mode then we can’t be friends and you may as well stop reading now.

So, on the 5th May 94 I graced the world with my presence, late as per but I arrived. My mam was only a kid herself so to begin with I was brought up in the Thompson household. Grandma and Granda to oversee the upbringing. My Granda loves telling people how I had a mint moses basket with a hood on and he wouldn’t allow the hood to be up as then nobody could see my face. He’s still as proud of me to this day.

Not long after this my Mam and Dad began the rollercoaster of their relationship adding a son and a wedding to the list.

To the outside world we were now a “normal” family. A Mam, Dad, a girl and a boy, the house, a dog and even a little cat. Both parents worked full time. The children were never in trouble or causing havoc. Never allowed to play past the back yard and when they dared to they would only go where they could be seen. Nothing out of the ordinary here right?

Wrong!

As I write this I’m sat in a cafe on my lunch break and they’re playing Pink – Family portrait. I remember getting this cd when I was around 7. I’d won a Walkman.. yes a Walkman of all things, by colouring a picture in Safeway. My grandma did work there mind and was the judge but I totally won fair and square. 😂.

Over and over I would play this song and although I haven’t heard it in 15 years or so it feels like a sign as I’m writing this.

“It ain’t easy growing up in world war three”

It wasn’t easy. The minute the door would close on our “perfect” family home reality would kick in.

I had bruises, bones broken as I didn’t clear my polly pockets away in time. Watching my younger brother cry as his xbox has been thrown out of the window onto the concrete. My mam, she seemed bubbly and full of life. She was cuddly and loved me and strong. Yet inside she was breaking. Physical and mental abuse and torture for 16 years took it’s toll on her big brown owl like eyes. She’s lost her sparkle.

This would go on day in day out. Me trying to pack the toothbrushes in the night and tigger so my brother wouldn’t cry. But we couldn’t leave. Ever.

The sun would come up, uniforms on, a bowl of ready brek (does that even still exist?!) off to school, work on with daily lives. Back to looking normal. Nothing for anyone to expect.

We were always presentable, on time, parents always came to school when needed, no shouting or trouble. Why would anyone think we were living in a nightmare?

The reason I’m writing this is to show. You never know what’s going on behind a closed door. Whether it’s abuse, stress, mental illness. Us as humans are amazing at painting on a smile and convincing the world were ok. So good in fact we often convince ourselves.

As you’re going about your normal daily tasks just think that person who you make a remark to might be suffering so much and may need someone. We need to stick together and open up.<<
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Be your own lighthouse

I’ve never wrote a blog before. I’m not 100% sure what one is.

But I’m going to interpret it as a way to express my experiences, emotions and difficulties all on this little page. Hopefully to help others to speak up or find some comfort.

I won’t lie, I’m scared to put it all out there. Terrified in fact. And I feel very alone when doing so. But I hope that by speaking out others can come forwards with their experience and continue to share.

If by me airing my “dirty laundry” will help one person then I am happy to do so.

I’ve always been scared to be honest, I’m a bit of a woss. I was a scared little girl. Not all the time granted. But often if I heard a person’s footsteps coming up the stairs I was terrified I would be made to watch something or do something I didn’t want to nor did I understand. I would lie on my cabin bed, face tucked into a cabbage patch doll as tight as possible hoping if I could pretend I was asleep nothing would happen.

I would be terrified my mam would never escape. Packing her toothbrush in the night as a toddler. I wanted to save her. At the age of 23 I still do want to save her.

I was scared at school. Of not fitting in. Of always being left out. Always on the outside edge of friendship groups. The nerdy girl with the pink clarinet and the frizzy hair always clicking down the corridor like an extra from Glee! (I didn’t fit in)

I was scared of failure of not doing my mam and my Granda proud. They needed some good news.

As a teenager I was terrified I was always being whispered about. Emily the girl whose father hung himself. I heard these whispers so many times and thought I’m never going to amount to anything else other than an add on to a bit of gossip.

Being loved. Being broken. A massive fear and they probably still are to this day. I have longed to feel loved by anyone, someone. And due to this and living in denial of accepting that I’ve stayed on violent abusive and torturous relationships and others where I knew, and was told, I wasn’t loved back.

If anyone has ever suffered abuse or a mental illness you will probably know how it feels to be stripped of your identity. To many in surrounding towns I have often been thought of as the chubby funny girl with a top knot. Always joking, making a fool of herself. Having a kerfuffle. I held down a good job working my way up the ladder. Got houses, a dog. Yet inside I felt lost, empty. As though I was floating through life. I just wanted a purpose. I would fill this void with determination.

Maybe my purpose is to be successful. So I would take on as many jobs and as many hours as I could. And still I would lay at night wishing I didn’t exist.

Maybe my purpose is to love and be loved. So I would throw myself at a man devoting every aspect of my life to him. Yet still I would sit on the shore for hours crying. Wanting the sea to take me to a better place.

One day I had lost the lot. We had reached the end of the story.
The illness and the things I have gone through won. They took it all. The boyfriend, the friends, the job, the money, and myself. I had nothing left and knew I had been avoiding these demons for too long. I had reached tipping point.

Unfortunately, didn’t win any 2ps either! Shame.

I lay day after day night after night my family on constant Emily watch. My younger sister having to shower me and brush my hair whilst I was in a trance. Re living the trauma and the nightmares in my head like a bad episode of Corrie!

Then it hit me.

I needed to save myself. I needed to be my lighthouse. Something clicked on my head. I sought help from family. Reading online posts like this one. Speaking openly to my gp and professionals. And bit by bit I found myself again.

I realised it’s so easy to be swallowed up by the demons and the negative thoughts wanting to be saved or it to end. And often it’s yourself that needs to be the hero. It hasn’t been easy but I am now in the best place mentally I have probably been in years. I am happy. Truly.

And I want to win. I want you to win (yes you) be your own lighthouse. Praise yourself for the achievements that seem “regular” to others. Whether it’s reading this post, managing to get dressed or out of bed, eat a meal without feeling guilty, seeking help, volunteering, finding a hobby. You are a lot stronger than you think. And trust me there is a reason you’re here. Let’s find it.

I will win. We will win. Together.

💚