1 in 4.

So here I am laying it all out on the table. It’s not unknown that I’ve suffered under the hands of mental illness in the past – I lost the very man that made me because of it, however, over the last few months I’ve found myself not ‘okay’ in my thoughts.

Living with anxiety is a daily battle of feeling like you’re choking, that everyone’s looking at you, judging you and you feel alone, always. I’ve tried looking around and piecing together all the things that could make me feel this way but just like everything else, there’s nothing. I feel nothing and numb – with life.

It’s like every little good thing you’ve done, everything you should be proud of, every little spurt of goodness you have inside of you means nothing and you feel like the dregs at the bottom of the barrell. You feel useless, unproductive and that you’ll never be good enough for the world around you.

If anything, you feel scared all the time. You feel like everyone’s watching you. You feel like the walls are closing in and there’s no way out of your thoughts. You feel like you’re stuck in a lift with a thousand voices screaming at you, telling you you’ll never quite make the fit and that you should just give up now and run back into the hole you’ve attempted to get out of.

After all that, you feel tired. Tired of feeling nothing, doing nothing and being nothing. Tired of feeling not ‘okay’, tired of the walls closing in and tired of never feeling good about yourself. You get tired of not being able to form friendships with people because your brain is going like the clappers, tired of having to make out that you’re having a good time when all you want to do is sit and scream and be okay again.

For me, feeling like this scares the living hell out of me. Being faced with the same old demons that my dad once faced terrifies me. Life terrifies me. Not achieving what I want to do terrifies me. Most of all, my brain terrifies me.

I hate having to cry myself out of the bed in the morning because I can’t bear the thought of being alone on the train. I hate having to pretend that I’m ‘oh happy bubbly’ Sammy all the time. I hate feeling like all my goals and dreams are out of reach but most of all, I hate knowing that my Dad went through the very same feeling that I have. That terrifies me.

I’m 1 in 4 but I’ll be okay.

 

 

 

The things I wish I could tell you right now…

Dear Pa,

This coming week marks your 50th birthday. It marks another milestone on my calendar, another day missing your face and another year without you by my side. You’ve missed over half of my life by now so I guess we have some catching up to do.

Here are the things I wish you knew about me, that I wish I could tell you and that I wish you knew before you did what you did.

I wish I could tell you how loved you were, how through whatever crazy, stupid and plain evil thing you did, you were always my main man, my dysfunctional super hero; you always will be.

I wish you knew that I spent my childhood Christmases sat on the bottom stair waiting for you to waltz through the door. More so, I wish you knew how your absence, how you not ever walking through that door ruined me. I hate Christmas for that very reason.

I wish you knew that I take two sugars in my tea, I put the milk in first and I must have it in my russian doll mug. 

I wish I could tell you I’m sorry for saying the things I did, for cutting you off and feeding you to your mental demons. I’ll forever feel guilty for abandoning you and not giving you the time of day. I’m sorry for not being there.

I want you to know I still go up the mountain. I miss the times you used to take us walking up there. I remember the day you saved that guy from the river and how you held my hand as I got to the ‘rocky’ bit. Your birthday, just like every year since, will be spent at that spot with L. I can see the mountain from my bedroom window now.

I wish you could see the amazing man your son has grown to be. How protective he is over me and mum, how thoughtful he is and just how damn awesome he is. You’d be so proud of the gentleman he’s grown to become.

I wish you could meet my fur babies – Jesse & Bobby. I remember telling you that I was going to live on top of the mountain with all the animals and struck off any person that came near. That plan’s still in the pipeline.

Remember when you bought me those Princess Leia pjs for Christmas? The velvet ones? They were my favourite. However, I still haven’t seen Star Wars. Soz Dad.

I want you to know how strong you’ve made me. How you’ve inspired me, enlightened me and reminded me that there’s support out there. I learn from you every single day. You’re my biggest life lesson. You’ve had the biggest impact.

You should know that I still have a phobia of fish and it’s getting worse now. It makes me physically ill. I still can’t watch Finding Nemo on my own.

So all those times you told me to eat my carrots because I’d be able to see in the dark? I now know you were playing me. I still can’t see in the dark. However, I still eat the crusts on my sandwiches and I still have curly hair, so I guess you were right about that one.

Remember that time you told me you stole the local park? Yeah, I believed that up until about three years ago. Mam told me at the age of 21 that you worked for the council and that they’d given it to you. You won that one.

I want you to know that I don’t think you’re selfish for doing what you did. I don’t hate you and I’ve come to realise that it would be selfish of me for wanting you to live a life that was eating you alive. I’m content with your decision; although I’ll forever wish you were here to sail through life with me. 

I wish you were around so we could bask in your love of punk, beer and Dr Martens. We’d be the perfect little duo.

I want to thank you for introducing me to writing. When I lost you, I poured every little bit of me into it. It was my coping mechanism and it was the one thing that made me feel better. So I thank you for helping me find my niche, helping me find my first love and for helping me find a career. 

I want you to know that you didn’t deserve the blood you were born into. You were better than that. They’ve not bothered with us since you left and I don’t plan on ever doing so either. I lost them, when they lost you and I’m completely fine with that now.

Although I don’t hate you for what you did, it will forever make me feel like I’m not good enough for anyone. I guess my confidence issues came when you left. Wanting you to live a life you hated would have been selfish of me but there will always be something in the back of my brain, telling me I wasn’t good enough for my own Dad, let alone anyone else. I’m working on that though. 

Last of all, I want you to know that there will forever be a list of things you’ll never know about me. A list of Christmases you’ve missed, there will forever be another birthday without you and there will be more milestones like this where you’ll never know me.

I’d like to think that you’re looking down at us. I’d like to think you cared. I wish you were here so I could spoil you. I wish I could give you some balloons and have a few beers with you, but instead your birthday will be spent thinking what could have been of us; what could have been of you.

Time is supposedly a healer, yet time just adds to the list of things you’ve missed out on; the things you don’t know about me.

Everyday is a day that’s spent thinking about how things could be.

So Happy 50th birthday Pa.

I wish we weren’t strangers like this.

 

Love you always,

6249241644703041012151 xox

Get yourself out of the post-graduate life hangover…

SO I’ve been a bit quiet on here recently which is a bit weird because I am never ever quiet! but hey, I’ve been a bit of a busy girl!

A couple of months ago, you heard how hard graduate life is. How you’re bombarded with emails of ‘you’re over qualified soz’ or ‘sorry you don’t have enough experience for this position’, and you feel incredibly stuck. You feel like you’ve cried, eaten and read your life away at uni just to be met with big fat nothing at the end of it.  Continue reading

I’ve come through the calm, only to be hit by the storm.

So the last few months have been really weird. We all have this idea of what life is going to be like once we’ve graduated with our very expensive piece of paper, once we’ve moved home and once we’ve caught up on all that sleep that we lost during dissertation hand in week. I guess we all think we can walk into a job (some have), most of all, I guess we all think we know what we want to do. That’s why we’ve studied a subject for so long, right?

Nah, wrong mate.

For the last few months I’ve been living on cloud ‘cuckoo’. I’ve quit my part-time bar job, taken an internship for less than half the money, I’ve started a whole lot of voluntary positions and seen my bank balance cry at me everytime I’ve gone to buy myself a packet of Haribos as a ‘pick me up’.  Continue reading

Dear Dad,

On this day 12 years ago, I got up, chucked my new bright red uniform on, grabbed my new polka dot backpack and scraped my hair back into the tightest of ponytails. I went about my regular morning routine singing Busted in the bathroom mirror, arguing with my sister as to who was most deserving of the first shower and just like usual, I didn’t think about you at all. I was to be that ‘cute’ little naive Year 7 kid, or so I hoped my day would pan out that way. Continue reading

Chapter Closed.

SO you wouldn’t believe it if you tried, but I am officially a graduate!

WORLD REJOICE!

I guess you’ve all heard how the last five years have shaped, killed, tested and motivated me more than ever; yesterday marked the end of an era.

Yesterday marked the end of my student journey, end of my student loan handouts and most importantly the end of me feeling like my life had run off course.

Yesterday was such a special day for me; one that I could never have imagined in more ways than one.  Continue reading

Goodbye university… Next step graduation day!

There is nothing more rewarding than getting to your end destination; especially when the journey has been more than a rocky one.

Five years ago (yes it’s taken me half a bloody decade!) I decided that I was going to study journalism and that I was going to someday get my first class honours, move to good ole London Town and someday present the BBC Radio 1 breakfast show. If only things were so easy. Continue reading

Keeping your head above the waves

By Sammy Jenkins

 

There is a silent illness amongst the thought waves of our young, our old, our women, our men and our children. There is a silent killer amongst the streets of our cities, our parks, our villages and behind the closed doors of our neighbours. It is suicide and it is silent because we don’t talk about it. Suicide is hitting men under the age of forty-five the hardest here in the UK.

Continue reading