On May the 11th 2012 a knock on the door would change my life forever. It was the British transport police, their job was to inform me of my Dad’s death, after learning that my father had the night before laid on the train tracks and waited for the oncoming freight train to take his life, I thanked the police and excused myself from the room. Although the inquest closed on an open verdict the impact of his death left a gaping hole and only those who had lost someone in this way understood what I was going through.
I realised that there wasn’t much support out there, online resources were mostly American based, Support groups were just that – groups with actual people (A brilliant resource for some people, but I could think of nothing worse), bereavement counselling wasn’t really geared up to meet my needs and almost everyone in my immediate circle felt like I should get a grip and move on with my life… I couldn’t, I needed to go through a process, I wanted to reach out to others so that his death wasn’t in vain, if one person could be “saved” then his death had something to show for, but first I needed to work on me, my issues and how to live my life without being dragged down by guilt and grief.
For the next 4 years I was wrapped up in a cycle of grief and self destruction, alcohol abuse fueled me and not a lot inspired me. I was broken and it took a hell of a lot more breaking to make me to open my eyes and see what was around me. After the break up of a long term relationship, followed by a relationship with an un-medicated schizophrenic narcissist, I reached my absolute bottom, the only way from there for me was UP or OUT, I tried to get out and was close to succeeding, it was a wake up call I needed and is no longer an option for me.
Between 2012 and early 2015 my life was a blur, my grief closed me down, making me appear selfish and self centred when in reality I needed time and support to heal. 2015 held my turning point, I met someone who taught me who I was, how my anxiety and depression was triggered, she taught me what wasn’t OK, inadvertently this self destructive character taught me how to use my empathy to the max, but that journey started with ME.
Late 2015 was to be my actual turning point, I had met my now partner earlier in the year and we had become very good friends, she was someone I trusted fully and for some reason she supported me through everything and trust me when I say, it would have been easier to turn and walk away. 2016 has been clearing the way for where I am today, I had a complete de-clutter, I removed all negative draining influences from my life, whether it was online or in person, the type of people who do nothing but drain you… Gone, deleted… The result was worth it and I hold no guilt on focusing on ME.
My breakthrough came this year, I was already in a great place, I was clear and my focus was returning with a vengeance, then I read an article that asked “Fast forward 10 years, now look back, what have you achieved?” It struck me that I wasn’t really going anywhere, I didn’t want the norm, I didn’t want to be average, I wanted to inspire, create, love and ultimately I wanted to help people! Knowing what I wanted made it easier to choose a path to follow, I’m not one to follow the masses so my path is one I’ve created with the love and guidance of my partner, we have both embarked on an incredible journey, together. Having someone to rationalize my thoughts and allow me to spread my wings has been invaluable to me.
One of the best pieces of advice I was given came from a very good friend, who has sadly passed away from cancer since, she told me that there would be days that I’d be fine and suddenly burst into tears for seemingly no reason, she told me to go with it and not to suppress the emotion, I still have day’s like that now, although they are rare and in those moments I’m never alone, either my Dad is by my side or one of the countless guides I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by.
It’s taken me a long time to get to a place I’m happy with, in 2012 I cycled the length of the UK in his memory and raised in excess of £2000 with the help of friends, I’ve done other long distance rides for both myself and the experience and to raise funds and awareness surrounding depression, especially important to me is getting our men talking about mental health, rather than displaying the stereotypical “hard man” act, depression is a treatable illness.
Suicide statistics for men are twice the rate of women’s, women reach out and talk, men need to learn that this is an option for them too.
In the early days my Dad made his presence very well known, he tucked the cats into their blankets, he placed my son’s medicine spoons in the same place everyday, he moved things I didn’t want moving, he would comfort me. It was strange as he’d never believed in anything remotely spiritual in life, now he had passed I saw more of him than ever. I re-call coming home from the school run one day and I was crying on my sons bed, I felt a hand on my shoulder and the shock snapped me out of it. Another time I thought someone had broken into our flat as there was a torch being flashed about in the kitchen of our upstairs flat, of course there was nothing there when we cautiously walked in.
I’ve found my light, I’ve found my courage and I’ve found my OOMPH, I still miss my dad, we had a funny relationship but I was always Daddy’s little girl, his little princess and both of us would have moved the world if we thought it would have helped the other, but I’ve learnt to live again, I’ve finally learnt the lesson from this horrific life event and I am now in a position to help others, there’s nothing that will quench that fire.
If you feel in need of immediate help please contact your local mental health team, other available resources include….
http://www.mind.org.uk/ or http://www.samaritans.org/