It’s been a funny old month, October. For a number of reasons.
The light is going. And the twinkly Christmas ones to replace it are still a long way off. Dark days often breed dark thoughts…
It was, of course, mental health awareness day, an issue close to my heart (and head), but that I’ve struggled to write about, because I’m… struggling.
It’s also baby loss awareness month (and day earlier this week) and like so many others I’m remembering, keenly, my miscarriage. Perhaps because my Big baby turns 7 this month, perhaps because my Small baby is losing her squidge, perhaps because of the increasing certainty she is indeed my last baby – perhaps because it’s the birthday month of the baby inbetween, that never was.
But perhaps mostly because I can trace the rot in my marriage back to this loss… Which meant everything to me, maybe too much. And not enough to him.
This is also the month Dadoffthenetherege officially left, a year ago. It has been the very fastest and tortuously slow year of my life. And things are currently more uncertain than ever. I still don’t know where we’ll live, how to make it all work, how to support the kids through it, how I’ll support us going forward, or what to do for the best.
The common theme that draws all of this October stuff together is the loss of a vision for the future.
I didn’t lose a baby, you see. I lost an empty egg sac. But it was real to me – I yearned for it, I invested in it. And when it was gone, I grieved it. The same for my rotten relationship. I lost a future – and a family I wanted so badly that I hung on to the false vision for far too damn long. I still pine for it.
This loss of future vision is the crux of mental ill-health, for me. The source of the very darkest days. As a child, my OCD left me without being able to see a future for myself that didn’t include debilitating rituals – where I could only see the gloom and falling doom of not completing them. Similarly my depression and anxiety are all about interrupted vision – not being able to see clearly through the fog, the wood for the trees – or only being able to see potential disaster, and choking on it daily.
I have never yet reached a stage where my vision for the future is so distorted or obscured that it looks better without me in it. But I can feel and understand how that pathway unfolds. And that is frightening enough.
People are built on their visions for themselves, their families, and their futures. And when something rocks that, blocks that – whether it’s loss or life or something else – that’s when we struggle. That’s when the dark creeps in round the edges, or rushes in all at once.
The thing I’ve learned, I suppose, is that your vision can’t always be trusted. What you see or can’t see, in front of your face or into your future, isn’t always real.
Sometimes it’s idealistic, and just isn’t true or achievable.
Sometimes it’s catastrophic, and that isn’t true either.
Sometimes it’s just blurred, and you need to give your eyes a good rub and your glasses a good clean.
Sometimes it’s a dream, and you need to wake up.
Sometimes it’s a mirage, an hallucination, and you need medical intervention – or at the very least a bit of a lie down.
Sometimes you’re just looking at it from the wrong angle, so you can’t see it properly.
Sometimes everything you can see really IS completely awful and empty and black – but it’s not really everything. There are still some good bits underneath the big bad bits.
The point is, you can’t always believe what you see. And you can’t always see what you believe. Vision changes. And if you can wait it out you will see things differently. There will be a new vision. Always. You just have to live through the loss of the old one. And be brave enough to look again.
Right now, I am between visions. And I’m not going to lie to you, it is a scary place. I daren’t look at anything in too much detail, or look too far around or down – in case I fall.
So I’m going from day to day hoping for the best, refusing to worry about the worst, and trusting it will all work out in the end – or that someone will catch me before I hit the bottom. I’m living for the light days. And there are more of them.
And one day, I know there will be enough light to see a new future, and enough stability to build it.
It just probably won’t be a day in October.