A temporary distraction…

I feel like I have been caught up in the middle of a tornado for the last few weeks.

I have experienced so many highs and lows, but mainly lows as situations and people around me have caused or added to my sudden chaotic daily life.  I have been feeling the weight of stupid mistakes as well as good decisions, and I have been crippled by the stress of outside forces, that have played a good game, but have only served to try and undermine my intelligence and good nature.

I have not been in the proverbial “good place”, so to speak.

I’m not even sure what triggered this Ferris wheel into action, but I do know that I have learned another great lesson, or should `I say had one reinforced.  Which perhaps was not what I needed at this time, but it happened all the same.  And just like the wheel, I have been spun this way and that, making me feel dizzy with all sorts of different thoughts and emotions going through my mind.

But bad things, happen to nice people…

July was an angry month.  I have had to argue/heatedly debate with so many people, in so many conversations, just because they continually took my kindness and manners for granted.  And I guess I am still feeling angry, because I just can’t understand why people have to behave so badly.  This feeling was the inspiration behind the poem “I’m done”, because I have come to realise that, I just can’t do this with people anymore.

I have been in contact with so many selfish souls of late, that I have feared their traits might rub off on me.  But I can’t decipher if it’s the disappointment, the loss of faith, the being let down or the emotionally attachment that has hurt me the most.  Maybe, it’s a combination of all these things, but there has been this big cloud of confusion hanging over my head, and silently I am still asking the question, “why?”

I feel muddled, emotional, my brain is addled, and physically I am dealing with more pain than I can really bear.

In truth, I am happy within myself.  My personal journey of discovery for last three years has reached a good conclusion. I have closure on many things.  But it would appear that there are still rocks from my not too distant past; that are throwing themselves in front of me to block my onward path.

I am just hoping that writing this is going to press the “RESTART” button, and begin the process of me yet again, getting back up, dusting myself down and hey, you know the rest…

Sharon Carter-Wray

(4thAugust 2018)

When is enough finally enough?

I guess this a question that we all have to face at some time in our lives, with jobs, houses and problems etc.  But what about when we have to face that question when it’s on a really personally level?  Like staying with the person you have shared a whole life with, loved or married?

How easy is it then?

Because when you are in a close relationship, it generally goes without saying, (and I think maybe more so for women than men) that we; already tolerate too much, compromise ourselves too much, bite our tongue too much and make sacrifices at a personal cost too frequently.Sometimes it hurts

For me, I realised several years ago that I had to save myself, or I would face remaining unhappy for the foreseeable future.  The decision was pretty clear-cut, once I made it.  But as the saying goes, “Hindsight is always a better advantage point.”

It was a very long and dark road that I took to get here, and only now can I openly confess that I should have brought things to an end, way way back.  But I took my commitment to my marriage seriously.  It had never been on my list of 1-10 things I had to achieve in my life…  But I did it all the same.

Our relationship before marriage was not always perfect, but our relationship after marriage was not exactly what I had pictured, and eventually only hi-lighted the huge crevices between us.  “We grew apart” is such an appropriate phrase, as that is what had happened, but we also grew in completely opposite directions.  We became more of our real selves.  He became more selfish, and self assured; I became more confident and assertive.

Though out my marriage/partnership/relationship, I had always felt so alone.  But a few years back, it became quite apparent that this was not just an emotional state of mind, it was indeed a physical fact.  Any quality time that we could have had for us, was completely consumed by his own constant need for self, whether that be his work, sailing, Playstation or motor bike.  So I had to make do with whatever was left over.

I became a widow to them all!

Believe me, I had serious doubts on my wedding day, and I suppose I had been silently grieving ever since.  Things had changed, for the worse.  I wasn’t meant to have such an empty marriage, it just wasn’t meant to be that way; I thought I’d married for all the right reasons, but of course it was 2nd time round for him.  He’d been there, done that, and had his kids, blah blah blah.  I never appreciated just how important that was at the time, or in fact the size of the monster I had ‘really’ taken on.

There are many instances where I should have drawn a line, but I didn’t.  But the final blow was after a discussion with his daughter, who was visiting for the first time in ages.  It wasn’t an argument, or disagreement, it was more that I would no longer bite my tongue and just listen to bullshit anymore.

But anyway, something minor grew into something major, very quickly and gathered enough momentum to take aim and strike. This was furthermore compounded by the fact that my husband, without 2nd thought sided with his daughter; even though he was fast asleep when she kicked off.   They both left the house just after midnight, and returned some 90 minutes later, I could feel the rage enter through the door.  No questions were asked, but many assumptions had been made, doubt had been cast and blame was placed squarely on my shoulders.  And I, looked at my husband in absolute disbelief.

Only then did I truly see what had been in front of me all these years.  I had always said, that no matter what the situation, if ever there were a problem between his family and I, he would always side with his family.  Regardless.

And in those few short moments, I realised just how right I was, that I didn’t have a husband or in fact a marriage anymore.

Initially he’d claimed that he couldn’t remember what had happened, this was after his daughter was safely shipped back home.  But needless to say, I was so disgusted by him, I packed his bags and told him to leave.  But even my simple request of giving me a couple of weeks, could not be respected, as he hassled me virtually every day. Sometimes you need to fall

Months later, I learnt the truth about that night, during that day he had discussed with his daughter everything I had said to him about being unhappy, and what needed to be done to address things, and then turned the tables saying everything was my fault.  So he’d discussed our private life with his daughter, some one he hadn’t seen for 18 months, someone who had frequently demonstrated little regard or respect for him at the best of times.

But that night was the end of many things.

That night he lost everything…

 

Sharon Carter-Wray

(6thNovember 2014)

 

9. You have to learn…

“You have to learn to get up from the table, when love is no longer being served”.  Nina Simone

Ever have that feeling?

Well it’s not nice.

I have spent so long with one person, just to find years later that love didn’t live here any more.

Worse still, I began to question whether real love was there to start off with.

I looked so deep within myself, wanting to know when I lost my love for him, was it before or after that realisation?  I felt gutted, wounded and let down, each recollection of those words being said and memories of actions that didn’t quite match, only served as another blow to already cheek.

Each time I reeled back from the shockwaves, as I delved deeper into my psyche. Realisation kicked in, in a big way, I had to face the fact that I had been blinded by choice.  It was my choice, that all those niggles about our relationship, (or the things that I was unhappy with), had been pushed to one side.  I had carried on regardless. Boldly bowing down to my vows as a married woman, for richer for poorer, for better or worse, in sickness and in health etc, etc.

More fool me, when it dawned on me that instead of being loved and cared for, I had been ruthlessly taken for granted, manipulated, used, abused and abandoned.

I guess I always knew that something wasn’t quite right, it all seemed one-sided – I was doing all the giving, and he was doing all the taking.  But I had denied that fact to myself so long, that I almost didn’t believe it.

It was only when I started to look at the woman I had become, because of him, that the true damage became apparent… ‘I was running on empty’.  I felt completely stripped down to the bone, naked of even flesh.  I didn’t know who I was anymore.

I had been craving for the very things that he couldn’t or wouldn’t show or give to me.  I was indeed empty.  The ‘belief’ that he loved and appreciated me, had been based on the frequently used three words, that he used to keep me going.   However, there were seldom any ‘facts or acts’ to support them, they were quite simply just empty words.

The more I thought about it, the more my own true feelings toward him emerged. In my heart I had nothing left for him, and I had no idea when those feelings had left me.  But once again, I found myself in a very lonely place, it was hard justifying my reasons, to those who were also blinded by his charms.

Everything changed after that revelation.

I had woken up!

Finally I accepted that I wanted to start living ‘my’ life over again, but for ‘me’ this time.

Throughout all of this, I had blamed myself, I took on the responsibility, I think maybe because it was easier to deal with that way. After all had I not accepted and allowed his behaviour to continue?   So it was also down to me to stop it.

But all I want right now, is to find my smile and be happy again, because it’s way overdue!

 

Sharon Carter-Wray

(15thOctober 2014)

 

Note:

This was written a week before my Decree Absolute came through, unfortunately, I still had to spend another 6 months under the same roof as the waster I married! Sx J

 

 

 

8. Time to take a closer look

I realised, that I had been unhappy for quite some time, but it was not only because of my health issues.  I had suffered great loss, with the death of both my mum and my sister within two months of each other 5 years ago; the complete breakdown of my marriage, and life in general threw down a few challenges, that I had no choice but to accept.

My life changed again, and in a funny kind of way I was struck by the fact that

“life really is too short”.

The phrase became my mantra almost, I applied it to everything – people, situations, opportunities and arguments.  It was time to face the facts, and stand up and be counted.  The loss of my mum was tragic and unexpected.  The loss of my sister, well though expected, knocked the stuffing out of me.  I was with both of them when they took their last breaths, something I will forever be grateful for.  I don’t know why, but somehow, I was meant to be there, and couldn’t have possibly been anywhere else.Who's going to miss me

For my mum, she took her last breath, having her wish come true, not to die in a hospice where she was literally about to moved, but at the same time she was too ill to be at home.  I was alone with her for her final moments, having contacted all family members telling them to hurry.

They were very precious moments, a time I will never forget for as long as I live.

In a strange way, it was as if she knew, that I knew, that I would be the next in line to fill part of the hole that she would leave behind.  It still pains me so much every time I think of my ma, and even though I have had small snippets of grieving, I know there is a well so deep in my soul, just filled with tears for the person I truly lost, she can never be replaced by anyone.

So many times I ask myself, if she had purposely waited for me to get to the hospital, so she could finally let go.

My dear sister, had been ill for so many years, and she had fought her illness with all her might.  She never complained, or asked why she was chosen, she accepted it with all the graciousness you would have expected of a lady.  And she was a lady to her very last day.  She however, was in a hospice of and by her choice, she had picked where she wanted to end her days, because her home and sanctuary was no longer a piece of her heart.

You will find the need to let goShe gave us time to prepare for her leaving, she pulled us altogether so that we were all on the same page.  Some of us however, were a few pages ahead already.

She had kept her illness secret from my parents and other relatives, only saying what she wanted them to know.  But on the flip side, between brother and sisters, we had been tasked with some kind of strict pact.  We knew more about the depth, treatment and severity of her illness, but were sworn not to reveal anything.  I think she knew how hard it was for us to do so, but we all loved and respected her way too much, so we had to honour her choices.

I sat with my darling sister at her bedside, for 6 days and five nights, being there for every waking moment, and watching her as she slept. Each day, I would sit and make jewellery quietly, and talk to her when she was lucid.  There was nowhere else for me to be, I was right were I was supposed to be, right where I wanted to be.

I remember something she had said to me on one of my previous weekly visits, she knew of my unhappiness, the pressure I was under from having sorted our mums’ funeral.  But yet she said something to encourage and assure me that she believed in me, and that my life would be better.  She also understood that I had a few choice decisions to make, in order to bring about the improvements.

She was a huge part of my life, and God only knows the void that was left in me, from her passing.  From talking to her 2 or 3 times daily to nothing, had such a devastating impact on me.  There are still days now, when I wish I could call her, just to have a chat, and laugh about seeing the funny side of life.  Living this life

There is not a day goes by that I don’t see, think or talk to my ma, sister and brother who passed many years before.  When I am stuck, I talk out loud.  I have a deep conversation with them, telling them my thoughts, asking for guidance or support.  But the truth of the matter is that I feel them, they hold me close, they enwrap me, they are forever watching over me.  They are my angels, the stars in the night sky, and I still miss them all dreadfully, even as I write this I am so choked up and tearful.

I did the best I could for both of their send offs, both were beautiful days for two very beautiful women.

There has been so much to grieve for, including the loss of my husbands’ family, and my life losses.  One day will be the right day, when I can finally release all the grief inside of me, but for now I need to hold it together for just a bit longer.

I know for myself that writing this blog, is another doorway into my future.  I am at last giving myself permission to experience and explore my varying emotions and feelings.

 

Sharon Carter-Wray

(15thOctober 2014)

Note

I wish I could say that I didn’t still miss them, but last year – which was such a transitional year for me, was very difficult to get through.  I so needed their actual presence, but I got through it in the end.  Those who think that grieving is over and done within a couple of weeks are mistaken, it can take many many years to finally get over losing someone, and it is not a process that can be hurried.  Sx 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. All good things must come to an end…

All good things must come to an end…

For something better to begin!

Well. I guess I ought to give an explanation for my previous blog, ‘Journey through a painful body and a depressed mind’, the title says it all really, but that’s who I was, and still am to some degree.

The ‘painful body’ is all about an illness I suffer with called Fibromyalgia, which is a horrible condition to live with, as it entails being in chronic pain anywhere throughout your body.

Basically ‘Fibro” refers to the fibrous tissue surrounding joints and muscles, and ‘Myalgia’ relates to the pain.  But this is chronic pain, not just a few aches.

The severity, duration and locality of pain is different for each person, but things can be so bad, a person can be completely incapacitated or even bed ridden.  There is no cure for this condition, the only relief are strong pain killing drugs, which only dampen the pain down.

The problems are not in our heads, and it doesn’t just affect the physical body, it also grabs hold of your mind, emotions and daily activity.

Other ways it can affect a person:

Forgetfulness – being easily stressed – lacked concentration or focus –
confusion (Brain fog) – clumsiness – lack of sleep – being unsteady on your feet – muscles spasms – lack of sleep – reproduction – blood pressure – being easily tired or exhausted by the simplest of tasks – lack of sleep through constantly waking up – constantly being fatigued or drained of energy

This list could go on and on.

So, how does it affect me?  I suffer with symptoms from head to toe on a daily basis, even in my face, I don’t sleep well, I am always in pain, full stop. I am always worn out, it takes me forever to do things, and it has robbed me of many simple joys in life.  But I have no choice, I have to live with it just like everyone else, who suffers with this.

The last 6 years or so, have been the worse, I now understand that this is something I have probably had for most of my life, but something triggered it off and now it is full blown.  I only received a full diagnosis about two and a half years ago, at least it gave me a name for this monster.

What also doesn’t help me is that I also suffer with recurring Sciatica, I have spinal degeneration going on in my upper and lower back, and a whole host of other health problems.

But to look at me, I am the picture of perfect health!

As for the depression, that really took hold of me about 12 years ago, I literally skidded to a halt, then crashed and burned.  It is a strange sensation when you body takes over the decision making process, when your mind is still wanting to speed along.

I have often said:

“It was the best thing that could have happened to me’, as had I carried on with my life the way it was, then things would have truly ended up being a lot worse”.

In just a short space of time, my life changed forever, I was plunged into the darkness of a sound-proofed arena, where I could hear everything, but nobody heard me. It was the start of ‘My incredible journey’, that helped me revisit my life, my present, my past, my past past, eventually leading me to look at my new future.   I’ve had decisions to make, and many other issues to deal with along the way, but one thing was for sure, changes had to be made.

So here I am, this is where I’m at now aged 49, about to embark on possibly the most exciting time of my life…starting over again.  I am not out of the woods yet, but I can clearly see a bright light ahead of me.

I have stopped writing the other blog, because I decided that, that was not the person I wanted to be anymore, it’s not who I am now, I’m in a whole different place.
All good things must come to an end...

 

Sharon Carter-Wray

(29thSeptember 2014)

Note: Unfortunately, 5 weeks after writing this I was involved in a non-fault accident, which wrote my car off, and pulled the rug from under my feet and my life. Sx 🙂

 

6. And so the story continues.

I hope I haven’t made this whole thing about depression and healing myself, sound as if it were so easy.   Far from it.  What a lot of people don’t understand about depression is that there no magic cure, it is not about “picking yourself up”, or just “getting over it”.

10343534_750725918303441_1962090757916454038_n

People with real depression only wish that they could do just that, but it’s not a choice that we have.  People, who ask:

“What have you got to be depressed about?”, or “I’ve got a “friend” with the same problem and they did this”, or “You need to be getting out more and enjoying yourself”. And so on and so on.  Etcetera, etcetera…

These people, who can voice such incredible words of thoughtlessness, and insensitivity, have absolutely no fucking idea what they are saying to a depressed mind, or in fact to the person suffering.Contollers and abusers

In my life, they were people who knew me, until I realised they knew nothing about me.  And they knew even less about my life.

 

 

 

They merely saw the material things I had gathered all the chattels that should make me happy.

They saw the confidence I held in myself, the way I would always be the one to speak up, and who also always got the job done.

They didn’t see the pain I was in, or bear the pressure I was under, or notice my gradual decline. They didn’t know what was coming and neither did I.

But then one day it all stopped. 

Everything ceased to function. 

Everything shut down.

Not by my choice.  I had nothing to do with it.  My body decided it simply couldn’t take anymore, it was burnt out, exhausted, it needed to rest and be quiet.  And for a while, in such a weakened state I had tried to defend myself against these people and their words.

But, no matter how many times I tried to explain, why this had happened to me, it fell on deaf ears.

10363854_10152367627086413_535147839283016885_n

All they wanted was to find something else to blame it on; buying an new house, building work that was going on, my evening studies and my recent marriage.  Never, did anyone think that they personally, could be even remotely responsible.

That’s when I realised, that I had to emotionally remove these people from my life.  They caused me more damage and more pain than I needed or could cope with, and they used up all of what little energy I still had.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(5thMarch 2012)

 

5. Why oh why?

Why is it that the people who are close to you and should care about you, are the ones that actually don’t understand or give a shit?

I am almost lost for words to speak, but I think I have the ability to voice my utter disbelief and anger in this way.

What is it about people, that as soon as you open your mouth to express something, they are straight down your throat biting and spitting venom, before the words or sounds are formed.  Why are they always on the attack, and so defensive first, before they give it a moments thought that you may have something important or earnest to say?  Why do they always think that they are about to be blamed for something, or they’ve done something wrong, and are therefore protecting themselves just in case.

It kills me some times, when I think that I have spent 15 years of my life with someone that is so selfish and conceited, who is only happy when we are talking about him, his interests, his hobbies, his work, his problems, his family issues, his hang-ups, and his many needs.You didn't love her

He is content with his selfish existence, because he can mock or block whatever or who ever, he feels is not important or worthwhile at that moment in time.  Which by the way, is usually me.  As usual, I will just pick up the pieces, and repair them once again, or I will make anew and ensure that each time the mend is stronger. Sometimes I really wonder why I keep doing this.  Does it make me happy, feel more secure, feel cared for or loved, something special, or listened to?

“The answer is no, because, all I do is wait for the next time, and wonder if next time, will be my last time”.

Why does he only remember at the last minute, that if it were not for me he would not have the very things that he enjoys so much, and yet can be so selfish about?  Why does he take for granted, the one thing he should hold closest to his heart and nurture, because I, unlike many others believe in him, no matter what?  He gives me no real thanks or recognition, there is no real appreciation.  There are always only words and more words, that essentially mean nothing or have been so devalued since the first time they were spoken with sincerity.

The poison is spat with such anger, but with no thought – that will come later.  Later, when he realises what he is possibly or most likely sacrificing.

You think you know herWhy does he not understand that by then, it’s too late, his words cannot be unspoken, his unkindness cannot be replaced by care, and no soothing words he has to offer will ever heal the damage he has just caused.  All he has achieved is to confirm what I already knew and believed, further compounded by what I saw in his actions, his behaviour and his mood, every single day.

I know that that will never change, as he lacks the respect within himself, to look into the mirror and see who he really is, and what he has become.  It has been a long time since he really took a good at himself.  Perhaps, it’s time for him to do it again, before he causes any more long term, irreparable pain and damage.

It is the same blood that courses through his veins, as the people – his so called family, who constantly torment and abuse him. But no matter what – it will always be my fault.  It’s always my fault because I can see the answers that he cannot, I can see the damaged soul that he carries around with him in the bag he slings over his shoulder. I can put in the words what he is too weak to speak for himself.  But most of all, I know the man he hides behind and pretends to be; even though he will never admit that, even to himself.  I had began calling him Jekyll and Hyde, a very long time ago…

You lost me

It is always my fault.  Which is why it is easier for him to do battle with me, someone he feels is week, vulnerable and accepting of more abuse – even though he knows the bare truth.

It is easier for him to feel some sense of triumph, to beat his chest and parade his fantastic feathers, because he believes he has conquered me, but again, he knows the bare truth.

Without me, he would never have been enabled enough to do this in the first place.  I gave him the chest to swell with pride, I repaired the wings for him to fly again, and I bandaged his wounds for him to heal… so how I can I still be at fault?  How can I be so wrong again?

So now I have to decide what happens next.You didn't break her

Do I let him off the hook again and pretend that all is as it was, so he can carry on with his apparent “happy” life?

Or do I stand up yet again, and prove to him that he has no right to do war with me, because I am his saviour and not his enemy?

Or do I add it to the list of unforgivable things that he has done or said in the past, which has been building my armour and has made the reasons and readiness in me to do battle with him even stronger?

But you see, I am a patient and kind sort -until someone completely abuses my good nature.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(5thMarch 2012)

Note:  It wasn’t too long after I wrote this, that I began divorce proceedings against him, he finally went too far…  Sx 🙂

4. Retracing my steps

After the realisation of how little my employers cared for me hit home, it made me look at my career to date.  I was always after self-betterment and I had wanted a ladder to climb, to achieve things.  But, I now know that all my employers had seen that trait in me, knew my ambition and had wanted to make the most of me, while they had me.

I spent 10 years of my life travelling the length and breadth of this country, doing store openings or refits for major retailers.  Each time, staying away from home for months at a time, until a job was completed. After that I would finally return home or go onto the next job.  It was not an easy job by any means, it was 12 hours a day or night, seven days a week, for up to 3 months at a time; living in some hotel or B&B.

After a couple of years I was no longer doing the groundwork, I was a team coordinator, organising and managing a team of up to 35 people.  I was responsible for making sure that the job was done well and done right on which ever shift I was working on.  My colleague and I, who covered the other shift, were accountable if things went wrong, after all time is always equivalent to money.

After that, I began to run the jobs, organising my teams, sorting transport and accommodation, interviewing and recruiting new staff, dealing direct with the clients, and still travelling to do site visits, which was always rife with some complaint or other, which I had to deal with.  When I was not in the office, which was the majority of the time, I would be in my car and it became a very lonely job.

With a team of core people, plus locally employed general assistants, we worked hard and played hard.  I used to say:

“that it took a strange breed of fish to do the job, either people were running away from something; or they were trying to find something”.

I am still not sure which category I fell into, but eventually the need arose for me to find a permanent place, where I could finally hang my hat, and empty my suitcase.

This coincided with the death of my brother, who had been very ill for years.  It was at that point, that I knew that I had to move on.  I had always said to myself, that by the age of 30, I wanted to own my first home, and have real independence, and a few days short of my 30th birthday I finally managed to achieve just that.

Sharon Carter-Wray

 

(9thSeptember 2011)

Note:  It is only now when I look back, I realise that buying my first home on my own back then, really was a big achievement.  But for me, it was something that came naturally and I just took it in my stride.  Sx 🙂

 

3. Picking up the pieces

When my doctor signed me off from work for two weeks with depression, his words of advice were:

“Some people suffer differently, some will feel better after a couple of weeks, and for some it could take years”.

I remember thinking ‘it’s not going to take that long for me, I had things to do, I had a life to live, I had to work, I was going places…  How little I knew then, and here I am 9 years later, still depressed, still on pills, but somehow life is better.

Within the second week, I experienced another panic attack, though not as bad as the first, it was enough to frighten me.  Things that I would have been willing to do before, now scared me, and over the years I experienced many more attacks.  However, these seemed to be brought on by people and their actions, rather than any self-based anxiety.

Over the next few months, I took a long hard look at myself, and my life to date.  During my silent years, I began the healing process.  I was still very angry, very anxious and very fragile.  This close scrutiny helped me to understand that I hadn’t only been depressed from the date of diagnosis, but instead had been depressed for most of my life.  And the shadow of that thought engulfed me for quite a while.Don't quit

It was a real revelation, recognising that it had sprung from my childhood, continued into my adolescence, and then my adult life, up to now.  Rekindled painful reminders of the things that had happened or been said to me, things I had tucked away, resurfaced.

My little demons, that I had hugged so closely, and carried around for so long, had one by one again presented themselves, for me to face, to overcome or deal with.  It took me a while to understand, but then I realised that unless I addressed each and every one of them, they would never go away, and would always crop up again at any point in my life.

I had been so angry with my ex employers for the way they had treated me, they had overloaded me with work, and just expected me to cope; in spite of my real tears, and cries for help.  They had allowed me to work under extreme pressure, still producing the goods for them, being the honest spokesperson that I was.

Always listen to your heart...But what they had not expected was that I would fight back.  The lies they told, and the ignorance they hid behind to protect themselves, astounded me.  Each time they called me in for a “back to work” chat, was just another opportunity for them to have another go, and undermine my self-confidence.  They knew what they had done and it had been witnessed over and over by my colleagues.

And so though I felt physically weakened, my resolve grew stronger, I was not about to let them off the hook that easily. So after 12 months of this coming & going, I had my last meeting and walked away feeling a minor triumph.

That was indeed the last straw that finally broke my back.  But in all fairness, looking back I realised that all my previous employers were equally guilty.  As all of them had in one way or another, exploited my ambition, my skills, hardworking attitude, and had abused my good nature.

The trouble was, I always gave 110%, and they fed me with empty promises, which I Stop looking for the lightfoolishly kept on eating.

As I chipped away at myself, this anger was in turn also directed to people much closer to me, the one’s who should have noticed.  But that in itself, is another story…

Sharon Carter-Wray

 

(18thAugust 2011)

Note: Originally written for my previous blog “Journey through a painful body and a depressed mind”.  A blog I created as part of my healing process.  Sx 🙂

2. What happened next..

The day my body said “enough!”….

I remember it all so clearly.  That morning when I went to work, I could feel the tension and anxiety building up in me, as I walked down that long corridor to the office where I worked.  I was physically unstable, I was short of breath and I knew my blood pressure was rising, I knew something was wrong.

By the time I sat at my desk, I felt exhausted, I couldn’t think straight, and at that point I knew I had to see my doctor.  So, I told to my team leader, that I wasn’t feeling too good and needed to go to the doctors.  I got an appointment for an hour later.  However, as soon as I put the phone down, the panic attack kicked in.  I found myself gasping for air, burning up, with shooting pains in my chest.  I was terrified of what was happening to me.  But my team leader, didn’t get me an first aider,  didn’t take me to my doctors, or call an ambulance, she drove me home!  It was then down to my husband to take me to the doctors.

Crying is how your heart speaks...
Only someone who’s felt real pain could have written this!

As soon as we arrived, I was wired up, attached to a machine, which thankfully confirmed that I wasn’t suffering from a heart attack, but it did show that my blood pressure was a dangerous level.

After about an hour, I finally calmed down enough to see my doctor, who diagnosed depression, gave me some strong tranquilisers and signed me off for 2 weeks.  During that time, I got to know my sofa very well, I hardly spoke or did anything else for that matter.  I never did get back to work.

That one day changed the rest of my life, and even now when I think about it, it still hurts.  It was a very scary and painful event, but I also have to admit that it was perhaps the best thing that could have happened to me.  As it made me slow right down and take a good long hard look at my life.  I was no longer that strong, confident, straight talking person, I had instead become a delicate and fragile being.

After a few weeks of being off, the local authority that I worked for referred me to Occupational Health and also appointed a Counsellor for me to see.  Now, I have completed a Counselling course, and I know the rules about the client/Counsellor relationship.  My God, that woman they sent me to see broke every single one of them.  She didn’t listen to me, but instead talked too much, she was opinionated and tried to offer advice.  She opened up a whole can of worms and had no idea how to deal with the contents.  I was so glad when the six weeks were finally up and that I didn’t fully open up with her.

I think we’ve all been here at some point…

It took me a couple of years before I before I really started to talk again, I had become so quiet and withdrawn, I hardly recognised myself.  I gave into the idea that if no one actually listened to me, then I had nothing to say.  And the so called do-gooders, who always thought they knew the answer to my illness, was one by one struck off the list of people I cared for or cared for me.

I didn’t know it at the time, but later learned that depression makes you lose your confidence, and restricts the ability to do simple things like food shopping, driving a car, getting on a train, being with lots of people just to name a few things.  It can also last for years, can affect anyone young or old, and is caused by a variety of issues.  But most importantly it takes away the desire to do, and the pleasure away from anything you might normally enjoy.  It is like walking around with your own personal black cloud constantly over your head, everything loses its colour and just turns grey.

I hope that my fellow sufferers, who may be reading this, will agree with this description, because the list is extensive and this is just a brief overview.

I have often described it as being at the top of a series of steps.

Depression

Most people will suffer from some sort of depression at some time in their life, and will only fall down the first step or two; so it’s pretty easy to get back up to the top.  But when you’re clinically depressed (falling down the rabbit hole), you fall down many, many steps, maybe right down into the abyss.  That’s when it’s a real struggle to get back up, yet alone begin the climb back up the steps.

Again, I can really only comment on my experience, but somehow, I believe that others like me are nodding their heads.  Chronic depression is a real illness caused by a chemical imbalance, and so it is important to understand, that when you are suffering with it, you cannot get over it on your own.  You need to have medical intervention, you need all the help you can get and not be deterred by pill-hating well wishers, who have absolutely no idea of what you are dealing with.

Sharon Carter-Wray

 

(22ndJuly 2011)

A brief history… Where it all began – July 2011

Hey there,

Let me introduce myself to those of you that do not already know me.  My name is Sharon, and I have just recently turned 46; I have been married for eight years; I have no children of my own, but I do have 2 cats, 1 dog and a very well loved and cuddled teddy bear, and all have proved to be absolute lifesavers at various times in my life.  Sixteen years ago, I lost one of my brothers, and then two years ago, two months apart, I lost my mum and one of my sisters.  Since then, life really has not been, and will not be the same again.

You have everything in you

I wouldn’t like to state a time and date, when my depression really began, but I do know it was well before it was diagnosed, just over 8 years ago.  When I was told what the problem was, I was completely shocked, and no doubt said and thought the same things as many others before me “depressed?  I’m not depressed I am just tired and worn out!” I hadn’t realised it at the time, but later when I had a chance to really review my life all the signs were there, they had been for years, I just hadn’t seen them.

I had continued to be hard working, loyal, aspiring and always looked for new challenges.  I was Sharon, the one who would roll up her sleeves and just get on with it, without complaint.  All the time I was being “Super Woman”, my body and mind were slowly shutting themselves down, bit by bit, completely burnt out, until one day – enough was enough.  So the person that everyone knew as being a rock, confident and out-spoken protagonist dissolved in to a pile of sand, broken pieces so small; that a world full of glue could never stick back together again.  I could never be fully restored.  People close to me had no idea what had hit me, and had no understanding whatsoever.  All they could see, was that the person they knew was somehow no longer there.

A brief history
Where it all began… I believed

To be honest, I was eventually glad, I was thankful for having the opportunity to be released from my life and fall apart.  I no longer needed to seek permission to feel and think the way I did.  I was being given a rare chance to get to the root of myself and figure out what went wrong and why.  But more importantly, I was being given time to re-assess absolutely everything in my life, and this is still on-going.  The end result of starting to find some of the keys was that I viewed my family and friends in a very different light, and then I withdrew into my solid, tranquil shell.  A place, where no one could find or touch me, unless I wanted them to – the visits were few and short; and I stayed there for quite some time.

For a long period of time, I felt useless, damaged, deflated, dysfunctional, I was a heap, and I knew that I would need every ounce of strength that I could muster, to repair and rebuild.  I have learned so much more from my self, about myself.  I have learned from other people in the same sized boat, and I know there is still more knowledge and understanding to come.  But more importantly I had to learn how to heal myself, and that is where my story begins.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(8th July 2011)

(Where I used to be)

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