It’s Mother’s Day here in the UK, and a day that is really very hard for me. My mum died when I was 18, you see, and even now, 15 years on, I still miss her and wish that today of all days, I could spend some time with her. Thing is, I’m not even sure how we’d spend the day, I didn’t know her as an adult. I can only imagine that I’d have bought her some flowers and we’d probably go for lunch somewhere and we’d talk about things, like how my baby son, Franz, cries all night and I can’t seem to settle him. She’d smile and nod and tell me that everything will be ok in the end. At least that’s what I think she’d say. But who knows.
My mum suffered from depression for a very long time, and it got really bad towards the end. So bad, in fact, that she took her own life. I sank into a very dark hole when she died, and I shut down from everyone and everything. I didn’t really know what to do with my grief and so I put it in a box in my head and kicked it into a corner for years. I spent my twenties as I’m sure some of you spent your twenties: Getting drunk, making questionable life choices and traveling (I lived in the French Alps and spent most of my time on a snowboard or in a bar).
I also spent a lot of my twenties pretending that everything was a-ok.
Everything wasn’t a-ok though, and well, after 10 years of keeping it all together and being ‘strong’, I fell apart, big time. The grief, that had been locked in the box in my head for so long, finally exploded and it manifested itself not by crying and keening and grieving, but in horrific anxiety and OCD and really weird thoughts that freaked me out.
It was a long road back to normal (what the fuck is normal anyway?), and I deep-dove into therapy, talking about my experience, telling my story and learning who I was all over again.
It’s important to talk.
It really is.
If we keep it all in; the shit and the trauma and the stuff that happened that you never really talk about, begins to eat away at you and it leaks out, even if you can’t quite see where the leak is. Sometimes, we put our finger over the leak by drinking too much, or leaning on and loving others who are perhaps not so great for us or by simply switching off and numbing out.
If you’re feeling like this, if everything is feeling far from a-ok, know this: You are human and life is really fucking hard at times. No-one ever truly has it all together (and if the say they do, they’re lying). Sometimes we fall apart and everything just gets too much.
I bet every single person reading this has felt this way, or currently feels this way.
Just know this: You’re not alone.
And things do get better.
Not perfect, but better.