this whole thing has taught me many lessons, although I’m not in unversity I seem to be learning new things every day. This weeks lesson has been about myself. Since 2009, when I began to feel ill, I’d picked up little tricks to hide how I really felt. I only realise now how many tricks I’d picked up. At school I would keep myself busy so I didn’t have to eat lunch. I’d leave the house in the morning without eating breakfast, then I’d practice my violin, or go and see Matthew at lunch time, so no one had to see my eat. I’d go to after school classes to keep my mind occupied and then go to the gym for an hour, and then go swimming for an hour, simply to keep my mind off of the pain. I was so competely and utterly shattered, but it didn’t seem to matter. Looking back on it now, I have no idea how I managed to keep it up!
I often wonder what those two/three years would have been like if I wasn’t so ill. I look back on a few moments and I feel upset that I didn’t get to live them to their full potential. My 6th year dance was wonderful, but it was tainted with pain. I’d lost my sparkle and seemed to just blend into the background. I smiled for the cameras, but when I look at my face in the pictures, I can see that I wasn’t completely happy. I look back at the little tricks that I had learned and wonder how I managed to get by! At my 6th year dance, instead of joining in with the fun, I sat at the table and watched everyone. I pushed my food around my plate and told everyone I didnt like what was on the menu. When people offered to buy me drinks I’d kindly refuse and say I already had one, when really alcohol made my stomach ache, so i avoided it at all costs. On the bus journey home, I remember feeling sad, all my friends looked beautiful, they were all happily intoxicated and singing songs and I was taking deep breathes, trying to conceal the pain I was in. For the few of you who were in my higher psychology class, you will remember the day of our final exam, I was very ill. I’d spent the night in agony, and hadn’t eaten anything all day. I remember that day so vividly, i was in so much pain. I raced through the exam and walked out 45 minutes early because I knew I was going to throw up. After calling Matthew to pick me up, I went home and threw up, crawled into bed and went to sleep. I have no idea how I managed to get a B in that exam. One memory I wish I could re-live was a day trip my family and i took to Bruges. It was a beautiful city with such an amazing history, but i can’t remember any of it, the only thing I remember is walking around behind my family, trying my hardest to hide the pain I was in. I remember at one point bending over in the street to try and ease the pain, and Christy asked me what was wrong, this was the time that I now realise things were starting to get dangerous.
Another moment that is still quite raw for me even now, is my uncles wedding. It was such a lovely time. All our family were together, everyone looked beautiful and my baby cousins were so gorgeous, but again, it was tainted with how much pain I was in. I remember waking up on the day and I knew it was going to be a sore day. I didn’t eat breakfast, and had to sit down to put my dress on because my stomach was just consistently sore. After the service we went to a little resturant near the sea front, and we went the wrong way and had to walk a little bit more, I walked the hole way in almost complete silence, begging my body not to throw up or pass out. When we reached the venue, I immediatly walked straight to the toilets and threw up, baring in mind that I hadn’t eaten anything in almost three days, so I was now throwing up the water I was surviving on. looking back now I don’t understand how I managed to go on for so long, but I’d found so many little tricks to help me get through the day.
At work I had developed a routine; I’d make sure that everyone else had their lunch before me, so I could go last. My boss is a lovely woman, who always made sure everyone had a break and had a sandwich, this was good for everyone else, but hell for me! How was I going to hide this!? So I devised a plan…I would tell people I wasn’t hungry, and make sure they had all had their lunch before me. I tried to have my lunch as late in the day as I could, as I knew I was going to be in too much pain after eating, that I would be useless. I’d then sit down and squish my sandwich with my fingers, to make it look like I’d eaten more than I had and I’d then put most of it in the bin. When it came to the clean down, I’d ask to do the jobs that you could do by yourself. I often offered to clean the conservatory because it only took one person, and when i swept the floor, I could bend over without it looking too odd. This was the only way I could get some sort of relief from the pain. I can’t believe I just carried on with my life as best as I could, but hindsight is a great thing and at the time, it was the only way I could cope.
A few days ago I was having a bad day. I was in a lot of pain, even tramadol wasn’t touching it and I was missing Matthew like crazy. I felt useless, jobless, I couldn’t go to uni…I was bored, sore and missing my man, so I did what my body was telling me to do. I had a good old cry. All these old feelings came rushing out, I realised I needed to stop hiding how I really felt, if I was sad, I was going to have a good old cry! For once in almost three years, I didn’t have to hide how I really felt any more. I texted a few close friends and told them I needed them, which was extremely hard for me, but very theraputic and I realised it was what I’d been needing the whole time. As I said previously, I’m learning something new every day, and this weeks lesson has been that it is okay to be sad. It is okay to feel sorry for yourself and it’s okay to just have a day in your pyjamas feeling awful, but it’s how you go about changing that feeling that matters the most. For three years of my life I was terrified of showing my loved ones how vulnerable I felt, so now I knew what I had to do…mid sob I texted them telling them I was terrifed to ask for their help, even though I needed it. Pressing send took me about half an hour, but it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I know now that your true friends are there to share your happiness but also to hold you and comfort you when you’re at your saddest. I will always be so grateful to the people that have opened their arms for me. They have helped me realise what truely matters in life.
“crying doesn’t show someone who is weak, but someone who has been strong for too long.”