Not Getting Easier

Haven’t written a blog in ages. I also haven’t donned my running trainers for ages. What’s happened since my last one? Loads really, so I won’t get into it all but here’s a few highlights.

I managed to pick up another injury. This time from cycling. Someone in a car pulled out in front of me, without warning and after a quick somersault over the handlebars I had a broken elbow.
Labour picked a new leader, an old man who before the leadership vote, had no chance of winning a UK election, but immediately became a ‘National security threat’ once he had won. Go figure.

(On a topical note, Mr Corbyn does seem to be making the right noises about tackling mental health issues.)
I helped out a local foodbank for the first time, which was a real eye opener, not just in terms of the kind of people who are having to use them but also the volunteers themselves. Some of the folk there had barely anything themselves and yet here they were on a Saturday morning giving up their time to help others. Proper inspirational folk. I really would implore everyone to have a read on here Trussel Trust and see how you can help out in your own locality.

What else? Aberdeen FC had a record breaking winning start to the new Scottish football season and as I type this, almost in October, we’re still top of the league. And not just on alphabetical order! As much as I’ve tried to change my glass half empty approach to life, when it comes to Aberdeen that is ingrained in my soul so I know this run can’t last till the end of the season and I’m just enjoying it while it lasts.

Been to 2 weddings, including an usher role at 2 of my closest mates from Glasgow which was both an honour and a brilliant laugh to be involved in. The other wedding featured one of the best groom speeches I’ve heard, from an adoptee turned British army hero about the importance of family.

All in all, it’s been a busy few months and fairly positive all round. 2 milestones stand out though; My 3rd son had his 1st birthday & my 1st son got 75% of the exam results he had hoped for. Both of these were reasons to celebrate (No 1 son is already working hard to make up for the one exam he missed out on).

The next milestone is the only one that stands out as one that I can’t dress up as positive no matter how I try to spin it.
Tomorrow, 30th September, would have been my 2nd son’s 3rd birthday.
Neither my wife nor I can remember what we did to mark this day last year, which seems strange. I know that I had a lot of other things going on at the time, but I don’t remember it being an especially dark day. Clearly it wouldn’t have been an enjoyable time but The raw pain of the 1st anniversary had certainly subsided. Was the cliche of time being a great healer in effect here? Both Ann-Marie and I discussed this year’s impending birthday and both of us agreed that this year seems to have been looming up for quite a while. I don’t know what other people’s view are, but in my own head I reckoned people will see that we have Milo now and that this will, not completely replace our loss, but give us a focus that means we can look forward and concentrate on all that we have, not what we don’t have. (Don’t worry if you did think this, it’s a fairly natural point of view from the outside and I won’t hold it against you!)
I guess it’s another take on glass half full/half empty.

In truth, both of us agree that this has been the hardest year yet. The inescapable reality of having Milo almost say 1st words, or take first steps in the past month or so is that we wonder how Dexter would have been at this stage.
  • Would Milo be walking sooner, to try keep up with his big brother?
  • Would they get on famously or be a small strawberry blonde tinted version of itchy & scratchy?
  • Would Dexter have been of similar temperament or completely different?
  • Would Sergei our cat have moved out by now, faced with not one but two excitable toddlers?
The longing for an answer to questions that will forever remain unfulfilled borders on a physical pain at times. I’m sure some folk would say we’re torturing ourselves to even entertain a comparison between them both but believe me there’s nothing voluntary about these thoughts.
So as I’ve got more and more consumed by this date approaching, I’ve decided that while I’m not gonna be able to brush it off with a grin or stiff upper lip or whatever else people do when they internalise some brutal emotions, I’m at least recognising I need to address it. The tell tale signs were all there, tiredness, easily irritable with folk as well as some others that I think are peculiar to me! I’ve probably said this a few times on here  by now but this recognition is a big victory to me. Being able to break the spell before you completely withdraw into yourself is absolutely the crux of my particular mental health challenge.

Speaking to AM was a big part of that. This blog is a huge source of catharsis but if I constantly posted here and didn’t speak to her it’d just not work. There’s 2 of us in this and she’s not got write access to Pavement Therapy so she needs an outlet too! The very fact that we both admitted to feeling the same this year I think validated and disarmed the situation, at least partly, for both of us.

So instead of going to reunion drinks with old colleagues that I really wanted to catch up with, I’m sniffling my way through this blog on a train home through South East London. It sounds like a failure but it’s anything but. Tonight I’ll be looking up half marathons/cycle sportives* to take part in, as my lazy ass needs a reason to get back into shape. Thats a little step on the road to half full again I reckon.

I fully expect tonight’s sleep to be awful & tomorrow to be mostly despair with a few outbreaks of cheery defiance. But as long as I/we don’t let it own us completely then hopefully we’ll come through the other side.

Graeme

*I’ve been trying to do more cycling than running lately. partly to give me knees a break, partly because I’ve rediscovered my love of cycling. The only issue is it doesn’t quite fit in with my blog title but I’ll worry about that another time.
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