We never had wedding vows of in sickness and in health. Instead our Elvis minister asked us if we swore never to leave each others blue suede shoes out in the rain.
But he’s aways there by my side.
He puts my tablets in shot glasses with little stickers with times written on them.
He kisses me and holds me close when I cry through pain, frustration or sadness.
He goes to all my hospital appointments with me because he knows I forget what they’ve said as soon as I walk out.
He doesn’t mind when I’m too tired to do anything but lay in bed. And will lay right there with me.
He runs me a bath, sits on the floor and washes me when it’s all just too much.
He makes me laugh when I am sad.
He comes to my events to support me and never complains about the hours waiting for me.
He works so damn hard to make sure our family has all we need.
Through every surgery he is there.
Through every recovery, he does it all.
Through the toughest of times, he sticks fast by my side.
Through the darkest of times, he sits under a duvet cave with me whispering and kissing.
He washes the sheets and my clothes when my bag leaks.
He helps me do my hair when my arms don’t have the strength.
He loves me even when I don’t feel worthy of love.
He wants me to be the best version of me that I can.
He runs around Ikea with me playing and making fake photo shoots.
He brings McDonald’s and makes a picnic on our bed with all the kids when I’m too sick and tired to cook.
He tells me I’m beautiful even when my hair is falling out and I’m too tired to shower and I’m wearing pyjamas.
He cries with me and tells me that no, it’s not fucking fair.
He listens to my crazy plans and never tells m they’re crazy, he tells me to get planning.
At night when I can’t sleep, he gives me his hand so I can lay with my fingers on the pulse in his wrist because though it’s batty, he knows it calms me down.
When I’m too tired to go out on Valentines Day, he orders room service and beers and we have them in bed.
He once stole a wheelchair and kidnapped my from hospital so I could sit with the sun on my face.
This year, we will celebrate being together for 20 years, and though I never thought it possible, I love him more every day.
This boy. He is my everything.
And he’s never, ever left my blue suede shoes out in the rain.
I saw this quote today and it felt very apt. It’s been a rough old road at times but I finally feel like I’m conquering those demons and feeling pride in my scarred body.
Chronic illness has taken it’s toll on me over the years, there are times when I just feel so defeated. I have this happy and positive online persona and in real life I always try and see the best in any situation but sometimes my heart breaks at the life that has been thrust upon me.
I was once asked at an event, if I could wave a wand and make my illness all go away, would I?
I felt a huge pressure to say no, that I would keep the life I have, but in reality, I would do it in a heartbeat.
I know that my illness and what I’ve gone through has made me the person I am, it’s shown me I’m stronger than I ever imagined, it’s brought a bond with friends and family that can’t be surpassed and it’s also shown me other people’s true colours.
Its led me to having a blog that’s been read almost 3 million times (!) and has given me some amazing opportunities to be on TV, the radio anc in newspapers and magazines all over the world. I’ve spoken at events the length and breadth of the UK and travelled to Spain and soon Germany.
Its brought new people into my life who I’d never have met otherwise. I’ve been to parliament. It led me to a job with Scope that I adore. I’ve met Philip Schofield for Christ’s sake!!!
But it has stolen so much from me.
It robbed me of precious hours, days and weeks with my babies. It’s taken it’s toll on my relationship. It forced me into missing days out, nights with the girls, holidays, events. It took my career.
It made me weak and fearful and exhausted. It stole a part of me, both physically and emotionally. It hardened me to the fuckwittery of others (wait, that’s actually a good thing!) but it also toughened my armour and made me push people away.
It caused my babies to be stressed and scared, making them fearful yet far too familiar with hospitals. It made them into young carers and forced them to face worries way beyond their tender years.
But we are here and we still stand strong.
Those feelings of guilt, fear, depression, anxiety, anger and a deep sadness that took a tight grip on my soul, all those feelings still linger yet they don’t have a hold over me.
My body that changed so much bears the scars of multiple surgeries but you know, I kind of love it. My scars show my journey, they are the proof that I survived. My ostomy bag is not worn with shame but pride and love and hope.
My demons will be waiting in the shadows for the rest of my life, but I’m finally feeling strong enough to face them, to fight them and to win.
Today is #TimeeToTalk day, a day of awareness of mental health challenges.
It’s a day that brings the nation together to get talking and break the silence around mental health problems.
“Too often, people who experience a mental health problem are also expected to take the lead on talking about mental health in the wider sense. Time to Talk Day encourages everyone to talk about mental health.
Mental health problems affect one in four of us yet people are still afraid to talk about it. For people with mental health problems not being able to talk about it can be one of the worst parts of the illness.
So by getting people talking about mental health we can break down stereotypes, improve relationships, aid recovery and take the stigma out of something that affects us all.”
Ive been quite open and honest about my struggles with mental health, though at times it was really hard to find the words.
After years of chronic illness and surgeries, my mental health took a real battering. I knew it and I tried seeking help through some talking therapy, this did help me sort out a lot of things from my childhood and past and I thought I was getting better.
Then in August last year, I fell into a pit. It snuck up on me until I realised that I was not well. I am in two minds whether to admit this but I felt so low that I considered ways to kill myself.
I felt worthless. Worse than worthless, I felt like a burden to everyone around me, I felt that my very being made life worse for all the people I love. I felt like ending it all was the wisest decision.
What is scary now is that at that time, this felt like a totally rational and sensible decision. I remember googling ‘can you be suicidal and not depressed?’ as I really couldn’t see that these weren’t normal feelings.
It actually scares me to think back on this time, I could see no light, I felt stuck in this quicksand that pulled me down and held me fast but still allowed my head to be up in the real world so I could see everyone around me feeling happy and living wonderful lives.
I thought about running away from home a lot, about just packing a bag and disappearing, I fantasised about just going and leaving everything behind. And then I felt extreme guilt about thinking about leaving my beautiful family.
I was in a cycle of bad thoughts and guilt.
It came to a head one day when it all came tumbling out, I cried and screamed and shouted at Timm. I lost it, pushing him away and telling him the horrible things that were going through my head.
I had 100% convinced myself that he was having an affair. I couldn’t imagine why he would want to be with me and I was so paranoid and lost that it became the truth.
I feel so sad now thinking back on this, I barely recognise myself in my own words.
The one thing that kept me going was my kids, my amazing children who I knew I would hurt more than I was hurting myself if I wasn’t here.
I read a quote once that said:
Suicide doesn’t take away the pain, it just passes it on to someone else.
And that quote kept me going.
I eventually went to the doctors and I was faced with the most caring and compassionate GP who put all my fears to one side. He took his time and talked through everything, he listened and told me it was all ok. That the feelings I was having were frightening but that lots of people have them.
He told me that my thoughts of running away or ending it were my brain going through options but the fact that I’d made the decision to be there in his office showed that I had chosen the right option.
I started on antidepressants last year and the difference is amazing. This imbalance in my head was addressed and slowly, those feeling ebbed away.
There was no switch, no instant recovery. But one day I realised that I hadn’t had bad thoughts for a few days. My GP said it’s like the sun rising in the morning, if you keep watch it takes so long, but if you turn away to make a brew, you come back and realise that the sun is here.
Im still taking my tablets, they have been life changing but the other thing that has helped so much is opening up and talking to the people I love.
Its hard to admit you’re struggling, but my husband and my close friends listened, loved and didn’t judge and I’m forever grateful.
So there we go, today was my #timetotalk I hope you can find someone to talk to if you are having a tough time right now.
Thanks for taking the time to read