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Life is What Happens

“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

The thing with life is – like the famous saying goes ‘Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans’.. that when you think everything is about to get better. It can hit you with another life issue and quite easily knock you off balance. Alice Herz Somme r in her documentary says that life goes UP and.. down UP and down and that’s life (she lived til 106!).

Sometimes I tell myself to ‘be like the oak tree that weathers the storms… strong, powerful and unwavering’. But. Quite frankly that can be quite hard to do sometimes. For the past year my mobility has gotten severely worse. And as a usually active person it has been a hard pill to swallow. It has taken a little over two years to get a proper diagnosis. It was put down to a sports injury by medical professionals and therefore the battle to be heard commenced. Friends who invited me out thought I was exaggerating when I replied saying ‘I can’t walk very well so won’t be able to’. A cloud of depression covered my world like a dark cloud, as I felt like all my own efforts to not drown were being ignored as I didn’t feel like I was being taken seriously. 

Unfortunately some of us in life do not have support from family. Which can be hard to disclose to others – I’ve spent many a Christmas alone. But. To be honest, I never really liked Christmas anyway. As a child my grandma would come to visit.  Well. She was a grumpy old bag… (honestly she really was)…. And of course she used to get my bed when she came to visit. In my room. And well you know what that means don’t you?

No you don’t. Oh I forget that. I forget, sometimes that people cannot read my mind. That we didn’t all have the same dark childhood that I had. 

Ok. Well it meant I had to sleep in my parents bedroom. And considering I was being abused by my biological father of course I dreaded being anywhere near him. I did not want to make the access to me any easier for him. In those days I used to pretend I was deaf a lot (I must of been around 8/9 at this point). Unfortunately, one day, when I was taken to the hearing specialist. The man who was examining me blew my cover. I wasn’t too happy about that as he finished the examination on my ears exclaiming “there’s nothing wrong with her!” to my mother. Tsk. Fucking idiot. Thanks for that. Now I can see why people are labelled as ‘survivors’. I never used to like that term much. But it’s true really isn’t it. You develop as a child – strategies to survive. 

Anyway I’ve digressed. Sometimes – the avoidance of thinking about my past has meant that it has come back two fold in adulthood. The memories and the flashbacks. Like a whole other world that has come back to haunt me. Like waking up from a very bad dream. But that was then. And this is now. 

So it wasn’t until I went to a hospital appointment – and decided to take a Boris bike as I needed to gain some fitness back taking the route across Hyde Park. The bike was so heavy. And I was probably moving at about 1 mile per hour. ‘Oh my god!’… ‘I’ve gotten so unfit’ I thought to myself as a hot guy on his racer sped past me giving me the most quizzical look. So embarrassing.

But now I was stuck in the middle of the huge park with not a bloody parking bay in sight so I had to continue. Over the December period I had been emailing my Rheumatology team – ‘I can’t walk!’ I had declared miserably to them. So when I finally waddled in to my hospital appointment, n a huge amount of pain – the nurse looked gobsmacked. I saw her. And burst into tears. And that was the beginning of hopefully the end of this shitty journey! I was heard. She took me seriously. And I was immediately sent for an X-Ray.

I have found that the worst thing in life – is when you don’t have any hope.

Shawshank Redemption: Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies…

And to be honest by the end of that year – 2018 – I was starting to lose it. I was spending weeks at a time not leaving my flat. I’d had to drop out of my Masters. And I was not seeing anybody at all. Becoming more and more isolated. And to be honest I was embarrassed really. To let others know what was really going on. And scared.

There is nothing worse in life – than reaching out – for help and the door being firmly closed, locked and bolted. The trust one has to develop to actually reach out can be quite painful. For some. For me. The fear of rejection. And I guess as someone who couldn’t rely on parents or family to be there for me – I’ve had to be an island. 

I was at the hospital on Wednesday when the nurse had to ask me about my parents health.

“Do you have anyone to come and check in on you. What about your Dad where is he?”. I was in a good mood weirdly enough, hopeful to be finally being able to bounce about again on my legs. So when I was asked that question it took me by surprise. I gave in and disclosed what and why I do not have that sort of support system. The thing is. I’m used to it. I’ve lived with it my whole life. But the fear of how others receive it can sometimes be worse. The look of pity. The judgement? What is it they’re thinking?

“Sorry too much information!” I declared worrying about the feelings of the recipient. A behaviour I must have learnt as a child. To take care of the adults feelings around me and not my own. Eurgh.

But it’s not very nice is it. Not being able to be authentic. It gets exhausting no? The fear of judgment, or being shamed by other people who don’t want to hear the realities of what it is one is going through. The fear of being put in ‘that’ box. Feeling/being different to everyone else. Or people become some sort of pyschologist. Or they ask you if you’ve thought of visiting one (like one hasn’t thought of that one after how many years??? Hilar!) But surely it’s easier to look at someone else than oneself. Or. They shut you down because they don’t want to hear it/can’t cope with it or it makes them uncomfortable. 

Sometimes… sometimes I wonder if I’m still being encouraged by society to hide. Hide how I feel. Hide my life experiences. Like I’ve done something wrong? And you know. It’s exhausting carrying other people’s shame. And if I’m an adult and still struggle with sharing my truth – then how might a child feel about sharing theirs?

I had a good friend hang himself last year. He and his wife had written me a wonderful card a few days beforehand. And I thought. How can I tell others to be open and not to care what others think if I’m not doing the same?! What a contradiction. 

So this post is me not giving a fuck. Of me sharing my truth. About what I’m going though. About the isolation of having a chronic disease. About how sometimes I have felt jealous of Age Uk because they have so many cool workshops for people over 50 to go and connect – but I didn’t know where I fitted in. But life is getting better. And I feel hopeful as I have a hip operation date coming up. I feel hopeful. And I feel scared. And I suspect that is normal.

Have a great day! Becki Xx

ps if anyone knows/could recommend a designer that might want to help me improve my site please do let me know! 

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