Hi, sorry for another post. I guess I just want to discuss me abit more. I am feeling so overwhelmed and lost. I have been on anti depressants for a while, not that I think they help. I kind of accepted them as a box ticking exercise for the doctor. I think they have a placebo affect. I suppose I grew up knowing about mental health problems and seeing my mum on medication made me realise that they don’t work.
I also grew up witnessing my mum in psychiatric wards every few years, christmases were she wasn’t there. As a kid I didn’t really understand, but as I have got older I realised I saw things that no one should witness. I was accepting what was going on and presenting it as normal. I grew up thinking it’s fine all mums go to hospital for MH problems, it’s only as I got older I knew that wasn’t the case.
I was very lucky to have my dad, he was an amazing man and even though the relationship with some relatives was a little different, they always had so much praise for him. He was the man of many talents and always wanted to use those talents to help people. He was a brilliant photographer, and taught me from the age of 10 years old. He was also a brilliant model maker. One time I was doing an animation project at college, we had to plan this sequence but could source materials however we liked. My dad helped me build my set. I ended up getting the equivalent of 3 A*s for that course earning me a scholarship to uni. He always joked that he got those grades too.
He also used to use his photography to help family and friends. After my good aunts husband died, he made her a huge portrait by touching up an old photograph. She still has it pride and place now. He also recognised that alot of people struggled when it came to school picture day. He wanted to help friends who couldn’t afford it. He would set up our living room as a studio, usually pinning a sheet to the wall, and invite people to have a photoshoot.
He would then print them for people, and they were brilliant. He never asked for a penny. I’m often reminded of that at work, and those photography skills remain with me. I sometimes go to schools and once a year I have to travel to half the schools in the papers catchment area to take photos of all the reception classes. It’s always very emotional doing that.
I don’t often cry over the loss of my dad, but recently I have. I feel like I have lost sense of him and the man he was, the man who taught his kids to be anything they wanted to be, the man who always encouraged us. I miss that. He was the man who didn’t care about tradition and thought it was completely acceptable to buy his 8 year old daughter toy daleks for Christmas and play with train sets. It’s easy to forget that when everyone views him as the caregiver who died.
I always remember telling him about a model hogwarts express in a shop. We both had an eye for good quality models, this thing was amazing. I remember going home and showing my dad a picture of it online. He loved it, and he told me. One day when I can afford it, I will get you it. I was in my first year of uni at this point, I had abit of money in the bank and I just went out and bought it. I think it was about £100. I took it home and showed him, he was amazed by it. It is still pride of place now.
He always loved Christmas too, and like his models was very particular about Christmas decorations. He used to go around shops commenting on things saying “that looks like it was made by blue Peter.” He loved model villages and always wanted one. Me and my sister always say we developed our eye for decorations from him.
During the December when he was sick in hospital, me and my sister would go for drives. It was our way of getting out a hectic household. We stumbled upon a certain shop which had a huge Christmas section. We were in awe at some of the decorations, they were exactly what dad liked. Between us we bought a few items including model village with light up houses and a really nice snow globe. We also bought a few extra bits. We never told him about them until he came home and we gave them to him. He loved them, I never saw my dad cry, but he shed a tear that evening over them. We told him when he was better, we would take him to see those decorations. That was the final Christmas we had with him, a month later he died. He never went. I can’t go to that shop anymore, it literally panics me to go. I have tried and I hate it. I see things I like, but never buy them. In my head I will only associate them. My sister likes to go for craft supplies but I tell her I can’t. It doesn’t help that it is on a busy dual carriageway, so it’s quite easy to get trapped at a junction for ages. It just panics me more. Even driving on the M1 for the first time caused less panic than that does and I was terrified of the 4 lanes instead of three.
The reason I am so sentimental about my car too is because it holds one of the final memories I have of my dad. It was just after I passed my test in December 2019. I waited a couple of weeks to get a car and he came with me. Obviously, it was January 2020 by then and we’ll covid was looking but everything was normal at that point. We really struggled to find a nice one and I remember being sat on a bench with him, and he said the words. “We’re going to need to find you one, because I’m not going to be around for much longer you know.” To me then those words were just my dad being cynical. He was right though, literally a year later he died.
That car went through covid with me. When the panic buying started it became clear that the car would have to be used to do a big weekly shop and I would have to go with dad obviously because he has the money, I had the car. He never drove, but when the panic buying set in he was concerned about going to the supermarket multiple times a week. I later got a job at said supermarket. As the lockdown rules changed, I used to see him come in everyday. Then he became ill and bedridden and stopped. I then became the one to do the whole shop.
I continued to work; but my head could never stop thinking I would see him waking around those isles. When he went into a coma, that night I had the worst dream of my life. It sounds stupid to say out loud but that dream traumatised me. In it we were in that supermarket near the tills, and he collapsed. I distinctly remember something saying he didn’t have long left to live which was true in the real world. In dream world that equated to minutes. In the dream he was slowly drifting in and out of consciousness and everytime he closed his eyes all I could think was “ has he gone.” I have never got over that. To this date I go in that supermarket, and I hope to see him.
I also have issues with going into supermarkets which are unfamiliar, it causes me panic. On the way to a story recently I went in a Sainsbury’s, I’ve driven by it many times but never been in. This occasion I needed something, I walked in, panicked, and walked straight out again. This is why I think I have PTSD I tried to explain it to a doctor, but it’s so hard to get someone to listen when you say you are afraid of certain shops. It sounds daft when a doctor sees you as a fully capacitied adult.
It’s like I’m not sad all the time about my dad, but I am. It’s hard to explain, but anyone who’s experienced it will know. It’s always there but you live with it. I can still laugh and be so contempt, but it’s there. It’s there when I wish I could tell my dad something. It’s there when I achieve something and want to run home and say look at this. Now there is no one celebrating. I never went to my masters graduation, I figured what would be the point. My abusive aunt told me I brought shame on the family because i didn’t fail. Instead I’m now showing her up.
I really miss how things used to be. It occurred to me recently, that it’s nearly three years since lockdown happened and things never went back. Not all bad, I know. A week before covid I was on a work experience placement, I was still in third year of uni at the time. I had to travel to the nearest big city on train there and back every day. It was a train journey I was used to since I used to go the theatre there all the time. I would leave uni, get bus to station, catch the train, see the show, get the latest train home, and then get a taxi to my house. Home by 1am. I have never been back there since.
There is a comic con taking place there in June, and I kind of want to go to try and capture some of that back. I know I can drive but I wanted to go by train. I looked at prices the other day and my god they have doubled. It used to be £15 return and now it is £30. I have already booked tickets to see my favourite band about a week after so I don’t think I can afford it. ( the tickets were bought before I knew I had to move out of my ex’s).
Above all I can’t help but feel so ashamed of myself. I feel like I have to be the strong big sister, but then how can I be strong when I say I can’t go in that shop it causes me to panic, it makes me feel weak. I also feel terrible, because I’m supposed to be this confident journalist. I can speak to anybody in the right setting, put me in an unfamiliar supermarket. I run. It is so hard.
Lately I don’t feel like I am accomplishing anything. Even throughout the day I keep thinking, I will have this for tea and then play on a certain game or watch a certain series. I never do. At the moment I am struggling to play games which require more thought and strategy, instead I am opting to play spyro, and just seeming to find satisfaction in collecting every single gem in the game even though they are literally everywhere. It’s a trilogy and I already completed the first one, however some nights I can’t do that. It’s so hard.
At the moment I have once monthly mental health check ups from my doctor. I tried to tell him last time about my traumas ie going to certain places, but I felt like I was being shut off. I can’t remember what it is called, but I know there is a term for those who have ptsd, not caused by a singular event, but a series of events. It was hard to describe without saying the classic, I was in a car crash. Instead I found myself saying I hate going in said shop because I had a bad dream, or I hate going in there because they sell Christmas decorations which my dead dad would have loved. I don’t think the doctor got it, it’s not so much the event but the emotional trauma and it’s very hard to describe emotions. I then find myself saying I hate unfamiliar supermarkets, but mostly other shops are fine. Take me to london and I can go in any shop there as long as it’s not Asda, because I will panic. It sounds completely bonkers but it’s so true. Unfamiliar supermarkets just bring me out in such a cold sweat, I feel vulnerable and exposed.
He told me to speak to a counsellor about it, but even then that is hard. I find when I speak to a counsellor, they give me a questionaire about the past two weeks for me to fill out. It then becomes a question an answer session about those points. I feel like I need more in depth therapy for that sort of thing