I realised that this week is pretty much a year on from when I sank to the lowest place I have ever been. If I’d hit rock bottom, I wouldn’t have minded: at least I’d know that I would inevitably rise back to the surface in time. The horror and the fear I felt was that I was continuing to freefall down a never-ending rabbit hole and would just keep going until I brought myself to a stop.
Memories of last summer are foggy and fragmented
I’m asked by a motorist if I’m ok. I realise I’m standing at a pedestrian crossing with my buggy, waiting for the Green Man, long since been and gone, and I’m crying.
I’m sitting on the sofa. Tilly is crying upstairs. I am anything but controlled.
I’m crocheting a blanket. I’m crocheting a blanket. If I keep crocheting the blanket, my life will have meaning, I will be useful and I will be a worthwhile presence.
The Boy and I smile at the bad interior design of the hotel I am taken to in the crisis time. I immediately feel guilty for laughing, as if betraying the obvious truth that I’m actually ‘fine’ and just making a fuss.
I’m in a small room with uncomfortable chairs, upholstered for no discernable reason except to be itchy, with three professionals looking at me. I’m asked questions. I know they’re only doing their job.
I’m at a table outside a pub with a good friend. Her lips are moving and I’m smiling. I drink my wine. She stops and tells me to talk. I’m crying.
Looking at these photos, it’s almost impossible to place myself in my memory anywhere near this child, this smiling little chubster, who clearly just wanted to have fun all the time.
And then I found this picture. Taken this weekend last year, and there is nothing behind my eyes. And I know why I can’t put myself in those memories. I wasn’t there. I didn’t exist. For those few months, a shadow of a person who looked like me occupied my space in the world.
She was the worst version of me but she was all I had to offer at that time.
And now I’m here.
And my daughter is keeping me up at night shouting Muuuuuu-MA from her cot.
And answering the phone with a polite AaaaRrrrrrrOoooooW?
And dropping things – anything – in order to have the opportunity to look at me with a grin of regret and an Uh Oh.
And follows my morning makeup routine to the letter, offering the back of her left hand for ‘foundation’ (with the lid left on, if she’s not concentrating too hard), and then the blusher brush and an empty old blusher pot to cheek.
And I’m sad that I missed all those moments last year when my shadow came to stay.
But I’m so glad that I’m here to see all these other moments.
Even if she is emptying my sewing box while I type these words.
Thank you to everyone who made sure that I would be here.
And the beat goes on…