“We cannot even imagine the complex forces behind every event that occurs in our lives.”
Deepak Chopra (Synchrodestiny)
So you might have guessed in my absence that mentally I had been struggling. After my last post I teetered (in fact I had one leg in) on the edge of the rabbit hole. After writing how I felt at that time I then felt even more lonely when people who I had been there for many times in the past, made no attempt to contact me to see if I had disappeared down that rabbit hole entirely. That is apart from my sister, who rang me the morning after I wrote it, as she always does when I am in need.
It compounded my grief when I realised just how lonely a place grief really is.
There were no expectations of anyone. But in the frame of mind I was in I started to ask myself what was the point in trying with people? I realised just how shallow and pointless social media really is (but hey that is no mean thing) and took a big step back. I felt no joy in life, and despite all the things I have learned and written about over the years I started to feel as if I was living in the ‘Truman Show.’
But the week before last ‘Life’ decided to intervene. On the Thursday of that week I had two debilitating attacks of Vertgo. And I mean truly debilitating. Add to that, my late father died of a stroke, and it made what was happening to me truly terrifying.
A rare thing for me that I went to the Doctor, who carried out a thorough examination and gave me medication. But despite taking my first tablet within an hour I had the second attack and could not walk at all. RD had to put me to bed in a darkened room. Thankfully when I woke the next day the vertigo had gone, but as is so often the case it left me with a confused and fuzzy head.
The Doctor had asked me immediately if I had been taking it easy since the attack. Had I? Of course not, this is me! I realised then that I had to take this seriously, I am sixty in January and whilst I don’t act it, I needed to start to take my health seriously. During the period I was debilitated it shook me to the core. So much so that I told RD, as the pain seared through my head, that if I ended up disabled to book my one way ticket to the clinic. It made me realise just how my late father must have felt after a series of strokes left him in a wheelchair, unable to care for himself. It must have been absolute torture given that I do take after him in so many ways,
But the biggest thing was that the Doctor asked me how I had been mentally. By this point I had obviously read up about Vertigo and knew that stress and depression are huge contributing factors. I told her about Wiglet and Diddies and she immediately said ‘ That will do it.’
On the Friday, as I sat on the sofa afraid to move, with strict instructions from RD NOT to move, I thought about what I had learned from this experience. I had learned that I was turning into my Father and, as my sister said, does it matter if something doesn’t get done? What is more important? She was right. It was ‘Life’ sending me a wake up call.
I wondered that given I am nearly sixty is it time to review the people sitting on my mini bus? Surely those we have around us are those that care enough to just pick up the phone when your hanging on for dear life trying to stop yourself from going down that rabbit hole. I think so anyway. There have been two friends who have called me since, and have remained in touch since what happened. They care enough to know that I am going to look at those in my life, and one cares enough to know that they want to be in it.
But more than anything I realised that I HAD to pull myself out of this depression. My career in the NHS taught me that mental health is the main contributor to physical health. I have often said that if we focused on mental health then we would not need as many hospitals as we have now. I knew and know that nobody else was going to be able to pull myself back from the brink, but me.
Of course the huge driving impetus was that I do not want to have a stroke, or anything else that will disable me in the future. So since then whenever I feel low I have thought of a little voice in my head telling me that they would not want me to be down or ill because they love me still. And I am listening to it.
I have also made myself stop filling every minute of my day getting things done. As my son pointed out to me today: in seven years I have moved to two different countries, moved house four times between rentals and purchases, as well as renovating, getting new puppies, losing beloved furry family, and so much more. It is time to realise all of that. So I am.
This Sunday ‘Life’ sent me another message when I was reading about Richard E. Grant’s new book called ” ‘A Pocketful Of Happiness.’ Inspired by the recent loss of his beloved wife it’s title is based on a conversation she had with him and his daughter before she sadly died. She made him and their daughter promise to find a ‘pocketful of happiness’ every day, amongst their grief. Wonderful advice.
So yesterday as I watched Elfie running around the paddock like a thing possessed, so happy with life, I smiled and said to myself ‘and there is a pocketful of happiness right there.’