It’s true what they say, certain moments stay with you. Sometimes they’re huge life changing events like the day the man you love gets down on one knee and asks you to be his wife, or the cry of a baby that pierces the air after spending all night trying to push it from your body. And sometimes it’s the moment your heart breaks when a hand goes limp in yours and you know that the person holding it has taken their last breath. I’ve only experienced two of the above, one filled me with a happiness and love I didn’t know existed in me, the other filled me with something I have no words for, it’s left me reaching out for something I know isn’t there.
It comes out of nowhere, a sense of dread pressing down on me, smothering me as I desperately look for a way out. It’s a golf ball that forms in my throat when I try to recall his voice and a pain in my heart when I realise that’s long forgotten. Stored somewhere dark and dusty that I can’t quite reach. It’s the moment I realise he left this earth 7 years ago, and in some ways the pain makes it feel like it was only yesterday, but in another it makes it feel like a lifetime as I try to recall the features of his face and sound of his laugh.
It’s the anger I feel at myself when I wish I could have done more, could do more, but lack the motivation or energy to do it. The empty promises I’ve made myself to make the most of each day and live life to the fullest and enjoy it whilst I’m here, when really there’s that dark shadow always floating in the background lying in wait to reach out its hand and hold it on my shoulder. It’s reminding me that I’m too tired or busy or skint to do that thing that I swore I’d do before it was too late. It’s the loss of breath and blur of vision, the thin layer of sweat that breaks out on the palms of my hands as I try to stop the anxiety attack that stops me in my tracks, when all I wanted to do that day was to go for a walk and enjoy the sun.
It’s the smell of rain on grass, in warm summer air, that makes me recall the small details I’d like to forget, the hands clasped and cold. It’s the gaping hole I’ve carried with me every day. I struggle to hide it all the time, painting a false expression of happiness on my face on the worse days, in the hope that if I try hard enough it will work. The colours are less vibrant now, my breathing more laboured. I’m struggling and I don’t know how to explain it or what to do but I’m scared and I hate myself and right now all I want to do is vanish. I know that’s a selfish idea, because he can’t be here and even now that’s something I cannot comprehend. I look at his photo across the room and I want an answer about why he can’t just be here. I’m 30 years old and I still can’t grasp what’s happened. All I know is that it hurts to breathe most days and that pushing back the duvet and getting out of bed is a struggle on a daily basis, its a constant static fuzz in my head. When people ask me what my anxiety and depression feels like I don’t know what to say. My tongue swells up and I lack the ability to vocalise it, so I wrote this instead. It’s smothering, all consuming, terrifying dread. A fear of something that’s already happened, things that are yet to happen and plenty of things that are out of my control, I know it’s not rational but I can’t control it, I can’t stop it. I wish I could.
I always knew growing up that I would have to lose people, but I never knew or considered how the death of my father would impact on me, thoughts of the night he slipped from this world sharp in my mind. I mean, I was holding his hand as he died. That stays with you, you know..I was 24 years old. After all this time..I don’t know what to do; it’s getting harder as the memories of him seem to grow more distant and I desperately scramble to remember them.
I’m tired. I’m tired. I’m tired. One person fraying at the edges and desperately trying to keep it together. So please, to the people who tell me to just ‘not stress’ or ask ‘why are you getting so wound up’ tell me what I’m supposed to do? I’m doing all I can and it doesn’t feel enough. So tell me…What should I do? Because honestly I can’t continue this way.