I am very pleased to report that teengirl is back to normal. Her smile has returned, her easy laugh and quick chatter is back. The only difference in the teengirl before and the teengirl now is that every so often she has a sad faraway look on her face and I know the questions that have flitted through her mind: why would she take her own life and could she have stopped her.
And I understand that those questions will flit through her mind for the rest of her life.
Teengirl seems to be doing ok, but I’m not.
When Teengirl was a baby she was very, very sick and was in hospital for six weeks. It was 13 years ago now, but it really took it’s toll on me and since then I’ve been unable to deal with the aftermath of stressful events.
While the stresser is happening, I’m there. I’m strong, I’m resilient, I’m whatever you need me to be to get you or me through it. But when the stresser moves away I’m left an emotional and physical wreck. And it takes me far too long to find my equilibrium again.
My automatic reaction to stress is to shop. Again a residual from when teengirl was in hospital.
They opened a new shopping centre right next door to the hospital she was in and whenever I got a break (for example when my dad came in to sit with her a few hours) I would go to this new shopping centre for coffee and to buy things.
And this made me happy for the few hours I was doing this. So now, after a period of stress I shop. Unfortunately, as with then, it still only makes me happy while I’m actually shopping.
Sure the kids and I got some lovely things this weekend, babyboy got some gorgeous M&S pj’s and a Darth Vader dressing gown and teengirl got a beautiful leather biker jacket from H&M and I got a nice Urban Outfitters dress, but my emotions are still all over the place.
What I’m trying to say is that the shopping did not and never does fix the way I feel inside when stress takes hold of my throat and squeezes.
So now, I feel ill. I feel as thought I have a cold, maybe even man flu. And I want to scream and shout at everybody and everything. And then I want to cry and sob and scream some more. I want to punch things and kick things until I fall down onto the floor in an exhausted heap.
I am so sad and so angry and so hurt, but not by teengirl’s friend’s suicide, but by my life and all the pain that lives in my scarred heart.
But I don’t let go because I’m afraid that after holding it all in for so many years, that if I open the doors I’ll never get them shut again.
I’m afraid to cry in case I never stop. I’m scared to scream in case I can’t stop. And I’m scared to let it all out of me in case once I do there’s nothing left of me.
Because the only me I know anymore is the me riddled with stress and anxiety.
Children are a parents source of happiness, joy and anxiety. Hug them as often as you can.