“What are you good at?” That is what I was asked today. In an unexpected, random chat with an old friend. First thing that sprung to mind was “feeling sorry for myself.” I’ve become a bloody expert at that in the past year. I didn’t answer like that obviously out of fear of looking pitiful, attention seekingly needy or ridiculous but it was flipping spot on, truly how I felt the second she asked me.
Flooded in panic, I spat out…….”writing, I love to write, I used to write all the time.” Of course my writing was always based on some hilarious scenario I had just been part of or at least witnessed. Like a flying ironing board in the country’s capital or being skipped in the queue at the Convenience Store (Not very convenient I can tell you) by a semi sloshed old geezer with the breath of a sailor. When politely pointing out that I was actually in fact before him in the queue, his reply was ” ħobbha l-mummy ta’ għax m’ hemmx bħalha” Meaning, love your mum because there’s no one quite like her. He had a valid point! Even though he didn’t know my mum and it had nothing to do with him sneaking in before me, he got me thinking, crafty bugger, senseless yet effective…confuse her and you will get your way…….. and get his way he did.
Story of my life it seems…..
So, here I am, once again, confused. Confused as to why I’m sitting uncomfortably at my kitchen table, dog making my left foot numb, traces of the kids lunch still sprinkled unfashionably on the place mats, yet I’m furiously scribbling down all that is coming into my head in complete and utter disarray, as if my life depended on it.
Now are there coincidences in life? I’m not quite sure. The jury is still out on that one. However, today is exactly one year. One year since my entire life flipped upside down, did a cartwheel, back flip, moonwalked and “trampolined” me into this new, definitely unimproved version of myself. And the question is…drumroll please…. Who the bloody hell am I? Looking in the mirror I don’t recognise a single feature. Where is that happy, assertive, excited about life, ball of energy that once called itself by my name? Is she gone? That I doubt. Is she buried? Possibly! Is there any chance of digging her out? Wellies, spades and wheelbarrows to help, maybe. But one thing is clear, it’s going to take a whole lot of effort.
Back to that year ago.. oh yes.. laying on the sofa, reading some complete and utter non-sense, rubbish yet entertaining, when I was overcome with a feeling of trippy-ness :). The room was spinning. Beautiful colours I couldn’t make out were flashing before my very eyes- now if I’d had a few drinks I would’ve called this an eventful night but I hadn’t Then BOOM. I was out. BOOM. I was taken to hospital.. BOOM I confused and baffled numerous people. BOOM. Scared the shit out of loved ones, then BOOM. I’m signing myself out of hospital. Entered as a pretty damn wacky female with a life all planned out and an exciting one it was going to be. Exited…… Walking like a drunk, needing help to shuffle and balance, speaking like someone who just had the shit beaten out of her. Hyper sensitive to noise, yet deaf, in constant pain and not knowing what in God’s name was going to happen to her from there. A few weeks along….. Home was safety. Everywhere else, not where I belong or wanted to be. Was told to venture out slowly, get my confidence back. Sounded right…. so tried it. Went to the grocer’s, the humming of the old lady’s fridges almost ripped through my brain like a well sharpened blade. Leaving gashes on my will to ever try anything like that again. My ears were throbbing, yep that was a NO NO.
A few weeks along….. let’s try again. My sister was ecstatic about buying a new house and of course wanted me to be part of her very important day. Stepped in the house….. Five people talking at the same time and that very familiar rip through my ears and head was back and back to make me suffer. I politely excused myself – shuffled to the car and bawled my eyes out in complete and utter despair. Tears and drool coming out of my eyes, nose and mouth, I looked like a real treat! What an attractive mess I was. Note to self…….. Refrain from leaving the house ever again. Who needed money, food, essentials, social interaction or a life anyway? I could just lay there and exist on my bed, forever getting by on the entertainment of watching Friends with subtitles for the rest of my life.
Literally, thrusting everyone who gives a shit about me away. Not wanting any interaction. My answer to everything was ‘just leave me alone’ and eventually they did because I made it impossible for them to do otherwise. It’s what I needed wasn’t it?
With all my will and a few less loved ones to egg me on (my fault of course) I started back at work. As a youth-worker, it was literally impossible not to interact and be around noise. I took baby steps to attempt to get back on track. When I say baby steps it was more like elephant on roller-skate steps to fit right back in where I left off.
Was it a piece of cake? More like a stick of rock from Bournemouth Pier. It was hard, yet good. Good to be back with those familiar faces. Nerve-racking knowing things would be different but essential to my recovery.
One year on…… Yep one year on…. Have things improved? Absolutely. Am I still in pain on a daily basis? YES. Do I feel left out? YES. Do I feel insecure and uncertain about the future? YES. Am I still upset that my social life is almost non existent? Yes… Am I going to give in to this? NO. Am I going to let this experience dictate my life? Hopefully not.
Will things get better? They bloody have to.
So what am I good at?
Hmm – Lets see:
I’m good at being chaos, I’m good at adapting and understanding that even with a piece of me missing I am still very much whole.