This is not an easy post to write. I’ve had a couple of false starts and being open and honest, whilst it’s great and what I preach and teach, it’s not easy. Some of you will remember from past posts that I suffer with depression and anxiety. It’s a fact, a fact I don’t like but it’s my life. To those who are new to my site then I should tell you I have no medical training whatsoever and my way of dealing with axniety is my personal way. If you need medical help then I suggest you seek it out. If my story helps you then I’m pleased and my heart goes out to you. Helping people is what I love to do. However, solmetimes I find it hard to just help myself. I feel a bit broken. Like my ipad which I managed to drop on our lovely tiled floor the other day and smash the screen to bits.
I fear I’m not making much sense so I shall try and explain. This week the kids went to school for the first time since our big move to France. It was hard and the best way I can show how it affected me is to give you a break down of my week. I keep a journal and here to show you that, in a week which contained Mental Health Awareness Day
, anyone can have issues are some extracts.
Monday 9th October
And so Mum and Dad have returned to England. After dropping them off and shedding a tear we went shopping for the kids new school stationary. In France they need a lot. It took an hour but we got most things on our list. On the way out Merida and I had an argument which sent me into a panic attack because I was desperate not to shout or lash out and we were in a car park. After much deep breathing we got over it and had a hug.
I’ve had a few moments of anxiety today and it makes me feel like I’ve failed, mainly that I’ve failed as a mother. I know everyone feels like they’ve failed as a parent at some point but I get worked up over the little things and then the big things seems huge. Like if we’ve bought Finn the wrong ruler will the teacher tell him off? Because it will be my fault and he won’t understand. BUT my most important job is to keep these things to myself and not let the kids know. I tell Frank so he can tell me I’m stupid! (It helps!!) Today the kids proved positive to me. They enjoyed choosing their stationary and putting it in different pencil cases. Merida said she was quite excited about starting school
I’ve realised all I can do is make sure they have everything they need, give them a big hug and kiss, reassure them it’ll be fine and send my amazing, independent, clever, sociable children on their way and I will quietly sob and hope the language barrier won’t be a barrier for long.
Tuesday 10th October
Today is Mental Health Awareness Day and it seems relevant as my anxiety is high. I’m nervous I’ll get something wrong for school. I’m reassured by admitting to myself that I am suffering at the moment. Friends have reached out with support which helps. Sometimes I just want to hide though as I’m ashamed that I can’t cope. I’ve passed on anxieties about how school will be to the kids as the schools attitude is quite different here. It upsets me that I’ve passed this on to the kids. This is my one big thing to work on in the future: watch my mouth. There was a breakthrough in shoe lace tying though which relieved some pressure a bit. We read the schools rules (which a friend translated for us) and this helped reassure us all. There wasn’t anything unusual and how I wouldn’t expect my kids to behave anyway.
After a day of craziness and rushing to Drs to get a form signed and a plethora of other things Frank comes home and admits that he struggles some days too. At first I felt so guilty. I’d be so tangled up in sorting the kids and myself that I had hardly asked him how the new job was going. I really tie myself in knots when it comes to guilt. I can’t shake it even when I know Frank’s reassurances are real and not just empty words.
Wednesday 11th October – The first day of school
They did it and did it well. They trusted the teachers, were good about going and loved the lunchtime finish. I’m collapsing in exhaustion.
I’ll stop with the journal notes there. I waffle about trivial day-to-day stuff a lot to get it out of my head. But one thing that comes up again and again is anxiety and guilt. One day I got really cross with the kids and shouted at them, they shouted back and it was horrible. Mostly people were tired and hungry which never helps. But long after others have let it go and left everything in the past I can’t shake it off. That for me is hard. The guilt sits around my neck for days after everybody else has forgotten about it and moved on.
Keeping a journal is one of my coping mechanisms. It helps me see how trivial things are and gets things out of my head. It’s my version of a pensieve. I wrote this week “But I feel guilty, oh so guilty and that is difficult to shake off. It stops me seeing the good this week.”
I should be like my dog and live life in the sunshine every day
Now I always knew that moving to a different country may trigger my anxiety and depression, in fact Frank said that was always the thing that held him back for years. Now we’re here and we love it but that doesn’t mean it’s been easy. But despite a broken car and a broken ipad I’m determined to write about the positive. It’s easy to be negative. It’s easy to let it win so I fight the good fight and tell it to bugger off!
- The kids have done really well at school and are adapting already. I’m so proud of them and have told them so. They’ve made new friends and Finn has taken his own anxiety and quelled it with a simple game of ‘touch’ (tag).
- Frank has been as strong and supportive as ever. Yes, he’s had stressed moments too but he lets me chew his ear off every night as I brain dump on him about my day before he can get a word in edgeways!
- Objects can be fixed – ok so our car that needs major repairs and a broken ipad screen aren’t god but they’re objects and can be repaired. It’s not the end of the world, just an annoyance.
- I’ve had quality time with Rose. The little one and I have enjoyed some time together this week, just the two of us.
- Some crochet has been done and whilst it’s not as much as I would like I’m pleased about taking my time and getting the birthday turtle right.
So after a tough week full of anxiety and guilt I can feel the weight lift. Only one full week of school and then half term and we get to explore the area again. I sometimes look at our beautiful blue sky and hear of storms back in Blightly and feel guilty for a moment but then the blue takes over. The beautiful blue that says “It’s alright hun. It can be tough but that helps you appreciate the good things in life.”
I fair thee well from my seat next to a window with a cloudless sky. And I hope the clouds in your head disappear as mine are starting to.