I have just re-read my last blog post. It has been 2 months since I last blogged and I cannot believe how much has changed, in both my life and in my head. My last post I seemed quite together; thriving rather than surviving. Lately I don’t know how to describe what I am…
There’s a song by a band called Joy Division – a band I grew up listening to. Not everyone’s cup of tea but a band who were to influence most of the bands and music I listen to. Their song ‘Disorder’ is how my head feels at the moment. There are lots of interpretations of what the song is about; some say it’s about depression, some say it’s about Curtis’ epilepsy, some think it’s about drugs – who knows. The only person who ever knew will sadly no longer be able to tell us as Ian Curtis took his own life in 1980.
At the moment my head feels like the song sounds. To most people (especially my mother), the song is just ‘noise’ it’s not a tune – a melody that you can singalong too. I spent many hours walking across my bedroom to my stereo to ‘turn that crap down cos I can’t hear myself think through that nonsense!’ When my head is in a better place I can listen to it and appreciate the masterfully composed song. The bass, the guitar riff throughout each have their own part to play, combined with the seemingly detached and desperate sounding lyrics by Curtis makes the song a true masterpiece, but right now it resembles what it must look like inside my head.
Disjointed, confused, chaotic, unsettled, disturbed; disorderly.
A few days after my last blog post my Grandad – my real one whom I loved dearly like the father I never really had – sadly and unexpectedly passed away. This has been the start of my spiralling into chaos. I have eventually agreed to be signed off work for a couple of weeks whilst I get my head back together. There’s too much going on in there for me to deal with each issue successfully. I have shut down both physically and emotionally. I need to rest and recover and this is the start of the journey.
Normally I retreat into myself and have a day (or 2) which I call hoodie days. Days when you stay in your PJ bottoms and wear a big old comfy hoodie and feel sorry for yourself. I have gone past this point. I have been sleeping all night, waking up and then sleeping all day. The littlest thing wipes me out. I have been to the doctor who has done lots of tests and he said everything is ok and it is my head/mind that needs to heal. Tomorrow starts my counselling journey. I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t a little worried or apprehensive about it as you never know what feelings it may uncover.
Not only do I have the stresses and pressures of my day to day life – which people tell me is more than what most have to cope with, I live with what happened to me by my Step-Grandad. In my last blog post I posted he had gone out to visit my Mum and Step-Dad where they live. When my Grandad passed away my Mum immediately made arrangements to come home. It was only when I was getting ready to pick her up from the airport did I realise that she was going through the worst period of her life alone, without her husband, because he had to stay with his Father. My step-dad sent me a beautiful email (for a man who never expresses his emotions) saying he was devastated he couldn’t be there and that my Grandad had been more of a Dad to him than his own father, for obvious reasons. The realisation was that this man who tried to destroy my childhood and adulthood was once again doing it. He has got some control over what happened during the hardest time of my life once again.
I struggled a lot with my relationship with my mother whilst she was here. We spent 2 weeks together emptying my Grandad’s house. We laughed/cried and supported each other through our grief. I watched in awe as she carried my Grandad’s coffin into the chapel with her brothers, she hugged me after I read out the eulogy I had wrote. We went to see him in the chapel of rest together, we shared memories, stories. We were like a mother and daughter should be, but rarely are and I’ve never had. All because of him. We’ll call him ‘John’. John stole my relationship with my Mum and stepdad. I was given a rubbish choice when I eventually told my Mum what had happened to me for years. I was told I could go to the police and she would support me but it would affect the whole family – my Gran and Grandad included. It was never really a choice. Lately I’ve been thinking now my Gran and Grandad are no longer here, there is nothing stopping me going to the police and reporting it.
My Mum said when he was with them, for the few days she saw him, he was now becoming very old and starting to become forgetful and confused; a bit like how my head feels now. I have always thought it’s over, it’s done with and I should let it go now as he has to live with what he has done everyday, but is that enough for me anymore? Is he sorry? Does he know what he did was wrong? Yes, I’m sure he does. At the time when I told my parents, they confronted him one day when I was at school. He admitted what he had done to me. I know if I was to go to the police it is my word against his and I don’t know who they would believe – although I can vividly recall the registration of his brand new Astra he used to take me out in, which will be long gone in the scrap yard by now. If he has dementia he will die probably not knowing and remembering what he has done and he won’t have the constant fear/worry of what ‘might’ happen if I was to tell someone. I would never wish an awful disease like dementia on anyone, I certainly do not want him to have it…. I want him to worry and to suffer.
The things I am saying are awful and they are not me. I actually cannot believe I am saying/thinking these things. If you knew me, you would know this isn’t me. I am Catholic and my faith means a lot to me. I am certainly not behaving in a faith-filled, compassionate or discerning way, although I am being truthful. I am torn between my faith and (selfishly) wanting some kind of justice or comeuppance. That’s not christian. I know I should put my trust in God to heal me and help me through this.
I think my Grandad’s death symbolised and finalised everything and that is why I am in chaos and disorder. I am true to my roots. There are no airs or graces about me. What you see is what you get. I am open and honest and caring – sometimes I care a little bit too much. I don’t consider myself to be highly-educated. I didn’t have a fancy schooling, I don’t use big educated words in my writing. I grew up on a council estate, raised in a single-parent family. My Grandad lived on the same (now quite a notoriously bad) estate until he died. As we emptied his 2.5 bedroom house in which he had lived in for over 60 years, it was with such sadness as anyone who has been in this situation knows. The house was nothing special. He didn’t have expensive heirlooms to pass down. He had a humble and comfortable life – more importantly it was happy and loving. The house was where I was always safe. Nothing bad had ever happened to me there. I was loved, treated and protected like any child/teenager should be.
I went to counselling years ago and was taught to ‘go there’ when things were difficult. I can’t do that now as when I close my eyes I see the empty house stripped of its possessions. The table by the window where my Grandparents would sit and drink tea or eat their lunch is no longer there. The bed my brother and I lay on with Grandad while he made a story up in his head isn’t there anymore. The 16 stone framed manual worker who would carry me all the way home from school on his shoulders is no longer here… all I see now when I close my eyes is his slight frame, grey face, sunken eyes lay in the narrow coffin.
I had no idea my Grandad’s death would stir up emotions of my abuse and at the moment I am finding it hard to understand why it has. Maybe I’ll never know why. I know I am going to counselling tomorrow despite all my reservations. It’s not something I am looking forward to but I am also open to try it and give it a go. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as it’s been in the past – I think things have moved on from the time I had to pick stones, shells and pebbles and assign them to a person in my life…. that doesn’t really work for me. I just need honesty and openness. Noone else can get me out of this except me, I need to make the changes in my mindset. I need to push myself to go out and talk to people and be the person I was, not the insular and withdrawn person I’ve become.
As the song says, ‘I’ve been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand.’ That isn’t going to happen. In the grand scheme of things people don’t really care – they have their own problems and I understand that. There will be no guide to come and take my hand. I have to do it myself. I know I have the spirit, but I’ve just lost the feeling…