I’ve written “A life less ordinary” because I feel it’s important for my readers to understand my story, it is personal but it is also necessary.
So this is where it really begins, in my previous blogs you can see that I’m practising living a positive life and by writing about it I’m hoping to inspire others to try to do the same!
Why? Because I’ve been to hell and it wasn’t for me!
I’ve reached a point in my life where I know myself, does that make sense? No? right ok let me put it another way, I understand who I am and I understand how I got to this point, it’s become a real journey so I feel it’s important to write it down, sharing it, well that’s something else and I can assure you it takes a certain amount of guts, I mean to put your personal experiences on show for all to see has caused some nervousness I can tell you, no doubt I’ll hear some people say why do it then? Because I just feel compelled to share these experiences, I know for a fact that there are other people who are going through or have been through similar situations in life and they might not know how to cope and they might not have a network of great friends like I have to lean on, ok it’s a small network of friends but they are strong and supportive and they have picked me up off the floor a thousand times if not more! As with most things in life it’s about quality not quantity, right!
I didn’t always have that network of friends though, for a lot of years I fought these battles on my own and coming from a broken family at the age of 5 with a manic-depressive mother, let’s face it, this was never going to be an easy ride!
So how did I end up here, attempting to inspire others by writing blogs! Because no matter how dark the tunnel got I eventually saw the light at the end of it! “A life less ordinary” brought me here, I’m not talking a privileged life either I’m talking about a life that could have turned out so differently, looking back now is when I realise how blessed I am to have come this far and that’s why I’m here writing this today. I suppose you could describe it almost like an out-of-body experience, I can look back at my life now as a series of lessons and maybe you could even call them tests, however you look at it the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” couldn’t be more true! At the time they didn’t feel like lessons they felt more like punishments, what had I done so terrible that I deserved this? Was a question I often asked myself! So I do feel a sense of achievement now, I don’t have qualifications of the academic kind but I sure as hell am qualified at this mad, crazy thing called life and I can honestly say that I am proud of myself! I hope my blogs are going to give you an insight of what I’ve encountered, there’s been tears, pain, fear and struggle but also love, laughter, fun, satisfaction and at long last there is peace of mind, I hope that you will stick with me on this journey that really does have a happy ending.
Whilst I don’t want to bore my audience with every traumatic situation that I have endured I do want to show you what was once underneath the smiling face and the confident personality, otherwise what is the point of doing this in the first place? I’ve spent many years keeping these things hidden behind closed doors feeling ashamed, insecure and vulnerable but I don’t need to do that any longer because I survived it, I reached that light at the end of the tunnel and I can think, talk and write about my experiences now without feeling the pain they once caused me. The smiling face these days is genuine happiness and the confident personality is the real deal not just a façade!
Now earlier I mentioned my mother who was a manic-depressive, I think the term now is Bipolar, one of my earliest memories of her was the flashing lights of the ambulance that had arrived after an attempted suicide, this was the night that my father had reached the end of his tether and left! Needless to say there are quite a lot of blanks from my early childhood since then, I just don’t remember or perhaps never wanted to remember, but the effects of this had already taken hold, the wheels were in motion and a life of turmoil had begun without me even being aware of it, I was 5 after all! As children you just expect your parents to take care of you, to protect you, to guide you, to love you and well to do right by you, that’s what being a parent is all about right? When you’re a young child you don’t question whether the family environment that you’re growing up in is normal, you just accept it because all your trust is in your parents, it’s not until you start getting a little older that perhaps you notice that things might be a bit out of the ordinary!
I often wonder if there had been more awareness of mental health issues back then as there is today if things maybe wouldn’t have been quite so bad, maybe she would have coped with life a lot better, and been a better mum, who knows! That’s why it’s important to be aware of mental health issues it needs to be spoken about more openly, to better understand it, from both the sufferers and the loved ones that live in its shadows point of view.
So there I was along with my 3 siblings born to a mother who was mentally ill. What followed was a childhood of uncertainty, vulnerability, fear and desperation! I had to grow up pretty damn quick, I had to learn fast if I was going to get through this! I saw many things growing up and experienced things that in my opinion children should not have to cope with however the most prominent turning point in my life came in the form of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!
Leading up to the age of 17 my childhood saw a stream of men come and go from my mother’s life some of which became my “stepfather” now I use this term very loosely the title gained only by the fact that a marriage had taken place and no more I can assure you, a note on the kitchen table on my arrival home from school saying “Gone to get married” was about as much consideration as I had and of course no say in the matter whatsoever! So between the ages of 10 and 16 I experienced domestic violence and mental abuse on a daily basis at the hands of my so-called “Stepfather” number 3. I’m not going to go into great detail about what I experienced during those 6 years but the day that my mother invited him into our lives was the day she sentenced us to hell!
Up until that point my childhood had been reasonably normal, well, once my mother had remarried after my dad leaving that is, “stepfather” number 1 was actually really kind and we didn’t go without, but for some unknown reason this bored my mother and she craved excitement any way so good get it, I don’t think however what followed was quite what she had in mind, I don’t remember where he came from but he was suddenly there every day and she soon made it clear that he was going nowhere! The first time the signs of a violent temperament reared its ugly head was probably one of the most terrifying moments of my life and that’s how I reacted, terrified! But that’s not what you do, I quickly learnt that you hold back the tears and keep your mouth shut! Your only focus now is to survive without a beating, one wrong look or misinterpreted comment could instantly change the moment and be the difference between a “normal” day or a day filled with fear, sadness and pain, I was quite literally living a life on eggshells!
And that’s how it continued for six years! The implications on my mother’s mental health were catastrophic, now convinced that if she got a beating she must have deserved it!! Obviously this had also taken its toll on me, I became unwell, lost weight and started to be disruptive at school the knock on effects of this one person’s behaviour had completely changed our lives!
Would this nightmare ever end and if so how? I guess how, was my worst fear of all!