All you have to do is step out of the shadows.
This time last year I was on the brink of completing what felt like one of the most important tasks of my life. I still didn’t believe I could do it, but I didn’t want to fail. Especially as He believed in my ability to complete the task, He wouldn’t have set it for me otherwise. Study was full speed ahead, parenting was a joy and my mental health was really well managed. There were dips on the roller coaster of life, as there always are. I had come to recognise that this was completely ‘normal’.
Life was looking good!
And while things were going so well everywhere else I wanted to push forward with my blog. I had reached the point where I had moved towns with my boys and started to explore the local scene with existing friends. And in all honesty life was about to get really interesting! But with the exciting changes came an equal and opposite darkness. For months I lost focus on the reason behind my blog. To tell the story of how I became the woman I am today. Not because I didn’t want to share the wonder of the 12 months that follow, but because I couldn’t extract the positives from the negatives and, rightly or wrongly, I didn’t want to have to face the dark. Not then. Not now really either. So I started to write some erotica and began working with photographers on a Time-For basis.
Now though, I am feeling brave and it feels like time to continue.
Firstly I want to share a little of the dark, for an overview. And then I can get started on the exciting times. The friendships, the new skills and my immersion into a world that I still have to pinch myself to believe I am a part of.
When I moved away from the claustrophobic town that I had spent the last 6 years of my married life I had been separated for 18 months. I had needed to be clear and concise in my dealings with P and anyone else who had known us, including my mum who tried to see the best in everyone. I hadn’t been able to tell her about the abuse, but he had been able to drip feed her poisonous lies about me. I had protected myself and built up walls, vey much giving the impression of a strong, confident and resilient woman.
And that is very much how I felt on the inside too.
But when I moved, M and I had broken up, my role at work was a far cry from what I was used to and I barely knew anyone. The boys took a little while to settle, and though I never wondered if I had made the right decision I was struggling. With the emotional space from the past I had worked so hard to free myself from I found my brain was like a pressure cooker with the lid opened too soon. The darkness and pain spewed out in thick hot jets of torment. A bout of flu took everything I had left, my strength had been stripped away and all that was left was a brittle shell of a broken woman. My manager at work informed me that all I had to do was put myself back together again. As I worked in mental health this was advice that smacked me in the face, why couldn’t I just get my life back on track? What was wrong with me? Feelings of inadequacy and shame that I couldn’t get better were only overshadowed by PTSD triggered by men with beards, accidental touch and loud noises. During this time I embarked on an 18 month introspection through counselling.
This was hard, dark and stormy at times, but ultimately a valuable investment.
I had a short relationship, making an effort to be normal! But failed at this, I wasn’t attracted to him and found his touch sickening at times. I received such a lot of support from my GP. I was referred to the community mental health team as I was a single, vulnerable woman with no local support. The medication change was brutal, but as the synapses flicked back on I was once more able to feel emotions. Watching fireworks in floods of tears as I had never seen anything quite so beautiful is a memory that I will cherish forever.
Even if I do chortle at that sobbing woman who sat on the grassy bank in awe of the brightly lit explosions.
The darkest moment came a little later, on the monday after my birthday. I had lost my job due to my illness, and was utterly exhausted from fighting my demons all of the time. It was the first (and fortunately only) time that my children haven’t been a beacon of light. Nor was my beloved Dartmoor. It was the loan of some rope from a friend which brought me back to reality. I didn’t want to tarnish her rope, and ruin that wonderful past-time for her. I couldn’t be responsible for her pain too. I don’t recall how I got home, but I slept when I got there, waking in time for the school run.
This was my rock bottom.
But it doesn’t do to dwell. I find it helpful to reflect and learn, but also, ultimately, to move on. Growth doesn’t happen standing still, it comes through pushing boundaries. Gently stretching myself. If I had learnt anything through kink, submission and Sir it was that anything was possible. If I could just stop focussing on the negative, on the dark.
And there was so much light in my world… I just had to open my eyes to it.
Check out the other writings at #sexbloggers4mentalhealth