Tonight.

This has been started and restarted too many times to count tonight.  Always trying to find the right words, always trying to make sense, trying to direct it at a certain person or in a certain way.  I shouldn’t try so hard.  All I really need is to get it out of my head in a more harmless way…who cares how it reads.  So here it is. Bare-faced honesty.  Tonight I am not OK.  Tonight I have cried, I have realised that no matter how broken I am there are still fractions, pockets, shards of me that can break further.  I thought I was stronger now, I thought I was through the storm.  I thought maybe I could leave depression and all its nastiness behind me like a bad dream and awaken stronger and more alive than ever.  But tonight I was dragged under again by the relentless pounding of unwanted words, left floundering out of my depth in feelings I thought were long gone. 

I have been fearful this week; concerned I may be losing my already tentative footing and slipping back into the murky reality of depression.  Invitations to socialise have gone unanswered as I have slowly disengaged myself from those around me in favour of early nights and silent lonely tears.  Raising a child alone is hard; raising one whilst wrestling with the inner demons that come with post-natal depression is a never-ending battle of wills.  I don’t want to regress to the place I was eighteen months ago, I barely made it back the first time.  And yet even as I realise the dangers of where I am headed, still I maintain my façade to the world, using my smile as a smokescreen and my words as a barrier to perception.  Tomorrow the childminder will hear “I’m fine” as I silently curse myself for leaving my baby all day.  Tomorrow my colleagues will hear “I’m fine” as I inwardly berate myself for being shit at my job and letting my team down.  Tomorrow my family will hear “I’m fine” as I wonder for the millionth time if they would be happier without me here.  My ex won’t hear my silent “I love you”, my sister won’t hear my silent “help me”, my friends won’t be privy to my silent “please don’t leave me alone tonight”.  They will all hear that I am fine.  I will back it up with a reassuring smile.  And I will leave them to battle my demons alone once more. 

Perhaps this is the time to swallow my pride and ask for help.  I appreciate that it is for my daughter as much as it is for me.  It’s not fair to expect a one year old to be my saviour every day.  It’s not fair on her for me to entertain the thought – even if it is just a fleeting thought – that she would be better off with another mother, no matter how saint-like that other mother may be in comparison to me.  It’s not fair for those who do still love me to watch me self-destruct again while they are powerless to intervene. 

Why does it have to be so damn hard.  I am grateful, every single day, for what I have. For the daughter I wanted so much, for the love she has for me, for the love I have for her.  For the future memories we are going to make, for the laughter we are going to share.  I am grateful.  I cherish every minute, even the shitty tantrums that almost make my ears bleed, and the poo explosions that make my eyes water and the endless requests for Wheels On The Bus.  I am thankful for it all.  Why can’t that be enough?  Why can’t I let go of what was to make room for what will be?  Why can’t I shake this constant barrage of negativity in my head?

I’ve rambled enough tonight.  Time to sleep.  Those demons aren’t going to fight themselves tomorrow….

 

  

 

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Whispers of a life past 

Where to start tonight. Sometimes, as has been the case lately, my inner voice is silent, preoccupied with work, house moves, friendships and of course motherhood.  Then there are nights like tonight when I feel so much, I think so much, I hurt so much, that the need to offload some of it is almost a physical pull; gravity isn’t holding me down anymore it’s pulling me to my laptop, it’s making my fingers fly across the keys faster and faster with an urgency bordering on frantic.

This week my baby and I moved house. We left the home I moved into the day after my wedding, the home in which I discovered I was pregnant, the home I brought my baby back to after she was born.  We also left the home in which my husband told me he no longer loved me, the house I sat in crying every day for a year, the rooms I decorated for my new baby whilst secretly wondering how long it would take for that much-publicised maternal love to grip me like a vice. That house that was both a comfort and a torture; that I longed to leave and yet couldn’t bear to be parted from….is now just a memory.  And it was both as wonderful and terrible as I knew it would be. My new house is lovely, and I count my blessings that I am able to live here with my little girl (and our very grumpy cat!) I don’t look at any of the walls and see the shadow of my loved-up wedding photos. I don’t look at the back door and see the ghost of my ex’s face light up as he walks in and sees me.  I don’t walk into my baby’s room and hear the echo of laughter as he and I waltzed around singing our wedding song to break up the painting.  I don’t feel him – or us – in this house.  It’s surprisingly lonely.  The house feels like a stark reflection of me – an empty shell.

I’m trying to concentrate on filling this house with new memories; my angel’s laughter as I chase her through the rooms when we play monsters.  The warm smiles of my friends when they come over for dinner. The long awaited leap of love in my stomach when I look at the perfect baby snuggled into me during her afternoon nap.

And yet for the time being this house remains exactly that for me – a house.  Not a home.  And with that realisation the all-too-familiar feeling of guilt returns. Here I have this wonderful child, someone I longed for, prayed for for so long, someone who has literally saved my life in ways  that she will never know…and what have I given her?  What am I giving her?  The first year of her life passed me by in a haze of depression.  I promised myself after her birthday that things would change, that I would devote my life to making her happy, to being the best mum I could be.  And still, still I find myself struggling to connect with her at times, struggling to accept that I really am her mother, struggling so much with my inner voice that I allow it time and time again to overshadow all else.  Again and again and again it tells me I’m failing, tells me my baby would be better off without me. Moving house was supposed to be our new start, calmer seas. Instead I feel like I’m still floundering in a stormy ocean; just as my head clears the water another wave crashes over me and I’m under again.  I really thought I was almost at the shore, but tonight those waves are a hundred feet high again.  For the past year my baby has been like a lighthouse; whether just a faint glimmer or a strong beacon she has been the light I needed to see. Isn’t it time I was my own lighthouse now?  Isn’t it time I stopped floundering and found my way to shore?

Maybe that’s what this blog serves as. Maybe each outpouring of emotion brings me one step closer to solid footing.  If so, thank you, thank you for listening, thank you for helping me find myself again.

For now, as always, sweet dreams all
Xxx

Denial as a defence

I know I haven’t written anything on here for a while now.  Maybe because I haven’t really felt the need to.  Maybe I’ve been too busy.  Or maybe (and if I’m honest far more likely) because I’ve retreated back to that wonderful world of denial, where pain doesn’t exist because I don’t think past the next hour; where the wonder of numbness collides with the terrible loneliness of alienating myself from those around me.

We recently celebrated my little girl’s first birthday.  I had dreaded the day for months; put it out of my head, brushed over it whenever the topic came up amongst friends.  It wasn’t the passing of time that concerned me, or the fact that (as one lovely friend suggested) I must feel so old seeing my baby celebrating her birthday (after all, I’ll always be twenty-one in my head!)  It was just too hard to imagine celebrating my baby girl’s birthday without her father’s hand in mine; too nerve-wracking to think about how I was going to manage the friction caused by our two families being in the same room for the first time in almost a year; unthinkable to think that at the end of the day the love of my life would be going home to someone else instead of curling up in bed with me and our daughter taking stupid but memorable first-birthday selfies.  In short – nothing about the day was going to be the way I had always imagined it and I just couldn’t bear it.  So I ignored it.  Party plans were made a couple of days beforehand, the cake was only chosen days before, and I spoke about it with no-one, save a few texts sent out to close family and friends to invite them to “the small gathering”.  It was just one more thing for me to ‘get through’ rather than savour and enjoy.  I wonder – how many more of these are there going to be?  When will I reach a point where I enjoy these parts of motherhood; where I look forward to Christmas’ and birthdays and holidays without the inevitable feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach?  And of course that all-consuming feeling of disgust at myself – what kind of a mother does this, ignores her child’s upcoming birthday, doesn’t excitedly gush about what she’s buying the child, what she’s going to wear, how the cake will look.  Once again I felt I’d failed at yet another important milestone in my baby’s life.

Despite my fears the day itself was a relative success.  A wonderful cake, lots of toys and laughter from the children, no arguments or cattiness between the adults (that I heard anyway!): just our closest friends and family and a one year old who relished the attention that being the birthday girl brings.  She wore her beautiful party dress and a smile that lit up the room.  I smiled for photos and mingled with all of the guests…and breathed a sigh of relief when the two of us were home alone again.  I thought back to that moment 365 days ago when she was born, to how different my life was, how different I was.  And of course the tears came.  For myself, for my little girl, for our ‘family’, for our future.

Reflection is not my friend at the moment; it still has the power to strip me of my defences, bring me out of denial, weaken me.  I know it won’t always be this way.  Denial for me is a little like being in the eye of the storm, where – for just a moment – it’s quiet and still.  I think I have conquered my demons, I think the storm is behind me.  And then I realise: it’s not behind me.  It’s still raging all around me.  I may have found a moment of peace and stillness but it’s not over.  Not yet.  If I want to get home, if I want to get to the other side where the sun is shining and my life is ablaze with colour instead of the monochrome of the past year, I still have to walk through the raging hurricane.  Sometimes I feel like I’m getting somewhere with the battle, and then I retreat back to the eye again, to the shelter of numbness and denial.  I’m safe here, I don’t have to face my feelings of inadequacy or worthlessness.  I don’t question whether I am a good mum, or a good friend or a good daughter.  I don’t worry that I’m letting everyone down, that I’ll never have true, all-consuming love in my life again.  I just plan what my baby and I are going to do for the next hour.  And then the next.  And the next.  And then…we sleep.

I know this post has been a little wishy-washy; more a jumble of mixed up feelings and analogies than any real descriptive piece.  But it’s what I need today, just a place to get the jumble out of my head.  I know it’s doing some sort of good; every entry hurts to write, brings me to tears that will burn long after I log off, but ultimately is healing me piece by piece.  And you – my invisible audience – you are still easier for me to talk to than my friends and family.  There’s no pity or irritation in your eyes.  My ramblings and tears are not an inconvenience to you, won’t be held against me for years to come.

You are the tiny patch of blue sky that helps me navigate through this storm.

Sweet dreams all

xxx

 

 

Can I trust these instincts?

This week I have mainly been trying not to give in to the crippling self-doubt I often have over whether I am raising my little girl ‘right’.  ( I hate that word, how can there possibly be a right way to raise a child?)  I’ve been an avid reader my whole life; I love the freedom I feel when I lose myself in a fictional world for a couple of hours; I love the quiet satisfaction I feel when I learn something new from a textbook.  So when I fell pregnant of course I turned to my oldest friends – books.  And for the first time in my life the literary world failed me.  Everything I read held conflicting advice on how to raise a child; it seemed for every theory on feeding/sleeping/hygiene/mental development/the other billion factors involved in looking after a small human – there were three conflicting ones.  It was a minefield of opinions and studies and first-hand experiences.  For the first time in my life I shunned the books and decided to ‘wing it’.  Surely a mother’s intuition had to be the best way forward?

Fast forward a year and here I sit, trying desperately to focus on that intuition, attempting to ignore the little voice that’s telling me I’m doing it all wrong.  It’s hard, it’s so hard to believe in myself right now; to really trust that I am doing the best for her, that I’m not somehow inadvertently contributing to an unhealthy relationship in the future, or a lack of self-esteem, or raising a completely spoilt brat.

There are times when I think I’m actually doing OK.  She’s such a happy little girl, she loves being around people, she loves interacting with everyone, she doesn’t cry when I leave the room to use the bathroom and leave her with friends/family; if I tell her no (and manage not to laugh with it!) she will stop whatever she’s not supposed to be doing.  She’s clever, she’s interested in the world, she’s affectionate, she’s entertaining and receptive to entertainment…in short (of course) she’s perfect.  But my mind still zooms straight in like a laser to focus on the tiniest perceived criticism I hear.  “Her hands are cold, maybe you should put her coat on”.  “It’s windy, shame you forgot the windbreaker hood for her pram”.  “She’s nine months old, shouldn’t she be eating more solid food now?”  “Don’t pick her up if she’s coming to you for a cuddle, she’ll always expect you to hold her”.  Nine times out of ten the rational part of me recognises these comments for what they are; offhand non-judgemental observations/questions/comments, and I’ll respond in a similarly flippant manner, whilst silently cursing myself for being such a shit mum that I didn’t foresee that problem myself.  Every now and then I’ll respond a little more snottily, and then spend the rest of the day feeling an inordinate amount of guilt, and cursing myself for being such a shit friend/daughter/sister for biting the head off those that care.  Either way – I feel like shit.  And for what?  For a throwaway comment from a loved one.  I know, I know they’re not judging me.  I know that what works for one baby won’t be right for another, and that no amount of experience or child-raising qualifies someone to know what’s best for my child.  I know I’m just in a particular head space at the moment that makes me see things negatively and gloss over the praise.  I know that probably if I told my friends and family how I feel they’d make a conscious effort not to say these silly little things.  But I feel like they’d be so afraid of me taking anything the wrong way that they’d barely say anything around me, and it’s not fair for me to put that pressure on them.  So for now I’ll put up with the ‘jokes’ about how I’m depriving her of warm clothing and good food, and spoiling her with cuddles/attention and I’ll try – really really try – to trust in my instincts and believe in myself.

Because actually when I look at how far we’ve come and how amazing this little girl is, I can’t possibly deny that I must be doing something right.  I just need to focus on those things, store up the moments of sunshine so that when the negativity creeps in I can banish it.  I’m excited to greet the day when I finally realise I’ve silenced that little voice, when I can stand tall and be confident in my abilities as a mother.  It will come, of course it will.  Rainbows can be created in the darkest of storms after all.

Until next time then, sweet dreams all

xxx

Making memories

Today should have been perfect.  It should have been the kind of day that makes me grateful for everything I have, excited for what is to come, optimistic that I can put the pain of the past year firmly behind me.  And that’s how it started.

Thanks to hubby (can I call him that still?  We’re separated, not divorced…he’s in another relationship and yet I still can’t bring myself to call him my ex) having baby for the night, I slept – not deeply, not even unbrokenly, but well enough to sustain me for another week of what I’m certain will be laughable attempts at getting her to sleep solidly for a decent number of hours.

Following a long hot shower (a novelty most days!) the three of us were off to the local zoo.  And it was great.  We laughed, we joked, we took selfies of the three of us, we argued over whether or not it was ok to sit the baby on the back of a goat for ‘an epic photo opp’.  All in all it was exactly how it should have been, a wonderful family outing with smiles and fun all round.

So why am I sitting here now crying into my (almost empty) family-sized bag of chocolate buttons?  Not because I know I’ll pay for my shameless binge eating session by having to add another button hole to my jeans.  Not because there’s now a video out there of me shrieking and running away from the world’s biggest chicken (I swear, bigger than me).  But because today is exactly how I always pictured my family spending our time…only without hubby going home to another woman at the end of the day.  Without me questioning whether or not I’m the best parent to be looking after the baby.  Without all of my self-doubts crowding my mind, pushing away the sunshine of today’s adventures and replacing it with grey clouds of self-loathing.  I look at our amazing little bundle of joy and all I can think is – I’m so sorry.  I’m sorry that you’re not growing up in a house where mummy and daddy begin and end each day with a kiss like they used to.  I’m sorry that you spend your time being shuffled back and forth between two houses.  I’m so sorry that you have already seen mummy cry more than anyone should ever have to witness.  I’m sorry I can’t be the mother I always thought I’d be, because all the happiness in me died the day he left me; all the colour that infused my life melted away and left nothing but murky shades of grey.  Don’t get me wrong, this beautiful little soul makes me laugh every day, she makes me smile, she makes me yell, she makes me…..feel; she’s become the sunshine that chases away some of the clouds.  But I still don’t see the world in colour anymore.  Surely that’s wrong, surely my feelings of love for my baby are supposed to infuse everything with colour and happiness; surely they’re supposed to make everything and everyone else seem insignificant in comparison.  Surely everything I do is supposed to be for her now, and that is supposed to be enough to ignite passion and joy in me again.  Why isn’t it enough?  What kind of mother allows her feelings of despair over her relationship with another to overshadow the time spent with her child?  Sometimes the guilt of this overwhelms me, pulls me further and further down into total darkness until I wonder how I’m ever going to crawl out.  Am I ruining her childhood already?  Will she remember mummy curled up in a ball crying at night?  Am I subconsciously stopping the ‘normal’ mother/daughter attachment developing?  Will that screw up all her future relationships?  So many questions, worries, feelings of guilt swirling around my head every day – how can I not wonder the one thing mother’s aren’t supposed to wonder: would she be better off living with her dad?  Would I be doing her a favour if I left?

And then there she is.  Waiting for me with just the biggest smile on her face – all for me.  Every morning, no matter what.  Her arms reach out for a cuddle and for a moment everything else does fade away.  And the tears stop.  And my mind is still.  And without even knowing it, this amazing little human has saved me for yet another day, and I think maybe – just maybe – there’s an end in sight to all this pain and anguish and guilt.

Of course this won’t be the last night I sit here crying over the injustice of it all.  Hubby and I agreed from the start that we’ll do whatever we can to ensure our baby grows up with two parents who put her first no matter what, who get along, who can spend time together with her as a family.  I know one day it won’t hurt like it does tonight to think of what we’re all missing out on by not being together in the conventional sense.  And I’ll be grateful that we managed to make memories like we did today.

Even if I did almost lose my baby to a mother wallaby just for “another amazing photo opp!”

Sweet dreams all

xxx

Birth story

I debated for a while over whether or not to publish this post.  A part of me is still reluctant to share my thoughts – even with strangers.  Sometimes they are so raw, so painful, so wrong to me, that to even formulate sentences from them is almost unbearable.  But then I realised that as long as these thoughts are silent and only in my head, they have power.  Power to make me bow my head and cry, power to make me silently apologise to my baby for thinking things that shouldn’t be thought.  Power to make me doubt my ability to be a great mother to my wonderful little girl.  So I turn to you, my invisible audience, in the hope that by forming (hopefully!) coherent sentences about these feelings I can snatch back that power and hold my head up with pride at what I manage to achieve every day.

Tonight I cried –  for longer than I care to admit – over a Facebook quiz.  You know, the ones that pop up on your timeline every now and then…’what animal were you in a past life’…’what will your status read ten years from now’…’which friend is your evil twin’.  I generally skip past these with a hint of exasperated derision for the people that come up with this junk, but tonight for some reason one caught my eye.  ‘What kind of mother are you’.  So I clicked the link, and I answered the ridiculous questions about which pop song best summed up my pregnancy,  what my favourite play-date snack is, and how my day is going so far (really?! This question is going to tell you what kind of mother I am?!)

The result?  I’m a ‘natural mother’.  With some spiel about how loving and nurturing and emotional I am, how I’ll always be there for my child (as I imagine most mothers would be) and how every child should be lucky to have me (as I imagine most children would feel about their mothers).  Anyway obviously this is all a load of baloney.  So why have I sat here silently crying for the past hour?  Because of one line in that pointless babble: “From the very first moment your baby came into this world and your life, you felt an endless amount of love.”  That was it.  One little sentence in an otherwise completely meaningless and contrived paragraph.  Because that isn’t how I felt at all.  That’s how I feel I should have felt, and I didn’t.  And even though my feelings now have changed, I’ll never be able to truthfully tell my little girl that from the moment I laid eyes on her, from the moment I heard her first cry, all I felt was love.

Her birth was by no means the worst in history, but it wasn’t pleasant.  Twenty-six hours of labour ended with an emergency C-section when I was told that the baby was much too big to pass through my pelvis (I’m quite petite myself) – something the numerous other doctors and midwives had managed to miss while they were having a good old poke and prod at my cervix over the past day or two.  I had already had two epidurals (not handled well by my needle-fearing self!), as well as drugs to bring on stronger contractions, anti-nausea drugs and the obligatory gas and air.  A lot for someone who rarely takes even the mildest of painkillers.  By the time my little chunk arrived I was so drugged up I barely remember the actual moment of her arrival, and the two days following that I was no better; at one point I was almost hysterical as I tried to convince the nurse I’d had twins and someone must have stolen my other baby in the night (this absolutely wasn’t true, but I do remember feeling absolutely convinced I was missing a baby, and so confused as to why no one else was concerned).  I was tired, scared, alone (my husband wasn’t allowed to stay in the hospital with me overnight) and suddenly overwhelmed by the fact that this tiny human was now solely dependent on me, and I couldn’t even go to the toilet unassisted.

Like I said, it’s hardly the birthing horror story of the year, but neither was it the magical experience I had dreamed of.  I also can’t say it’s the reason for my depression, as I had had concerns over my lack of feelings for the baby before she was born.  But it’s something that brings me a lot of guilt now, and I wish more than anything that I could look back and say “yes, I had a traumatic birth, but it was all worth it when I held my baby for the first time”.  Unfortunately that’s not the case.  How do I make my peace with that?

Sometimes, when the storm is raging and that little bitch in my head is particularly malicious, she tells me how I failed at the very first motherhood hurdle.  That my little one deserves a mother who loved her even before she met her.  Sometimes, like tonight, that voice is really hard to silence.  Does it make me a bad mother to admit that I didn’t love my baby in her first moments of life?  I truly hope not.  But just in case, every minute of every day I try to make up for it by loving her with all I am.  I know she won’t remember a time when I didn’t love her fiercely and unconditionally.  I suppose that’s my silver lining this time, my hint of the rainbow.  Hopefully that knowledge will be enough to silence the bitch for a while.  Or maybe, maybe voicing the unspeakable here, acknowledging these thoughts that I am so ashamed to think, maybe that will silence her.  We live in hope.

 

Sweet dreams all.

XXX

 

First thoughts and expectations

I’m going to jump right in.  I’m a first time mother with a beautiful, funny, intriguing, animated, cheeky, smart, incredible nine month old daughter.  And I have post-natal depression.  It’s almost a relief to write that here; I’ve spent the past nine months avidly trying to avoid saying it out loud for fear of  – what?  Fear of appearing too dramatic?  Fear of people questioning my ability to raise her?  Fear of what people will think of me?  Fear of what it really means?  All of the above.  And perhaps one more – fear of failure.  Admitting to this…condition…feels like admitting that I have failed at the one thing I thought would come naturally.  I don’t fail at things.  At anything.  Ever.  Even when things aren’t going exactly to plan I still succeed at whatever I put my mind to.  And it never occurred to me that motherhood would be anything different.  But here I am.

I’m not naïve; of course I expected the sleepless nights, the seemingly endless crying fits, the nappies that would make me want to simultaneously lose my lunch and run out the door screaming (tally 1: two so far today), the frantic trip to the docs for every little bump and spot.  I expected the sleep-deprived arguments, the puke-stained clothes and hair, the baby’s uncanny ability to sense when I was about to eat something and take that as her cue to cry for food/nappy change/cuddles.

What I didn’t expect was that I would look at her for the very first time with anything less than adoration and overwhelming love.  I didn’t expect to spend the first few months of her life ‘on the outside’ struggling to feel any connection to her.  I didn’t expect to find it so easy to leave her with her father/grandparent/auntie so I could have some ‘me’ time.  I didn’t expect to feel so un-mumsy (yes, I like to make up words).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m getting there.  My connection to my glorious little chunk (9lb at birth!!) grows stronger every day, I don’t have to pretend I’ve fallen in love with her anymore.  Because that’s all it was in the beginning – pretence.  And it’s awful to say it out loud, and in fact I think this is the only time I’ve admitted it.  Who wants to hear that a mother doesn’t feel love for her child?  I’m not saying I bore any ill feelings towards her, not at all.  I suppose I felt the way you do when you see a friend’s baby.  “Awww she’s cute….OK now take her back”.  Except I couldn’t return her to anyone after a cuddle.

When asked, I acknowledged the miracle of birth, of creating such a tiny human; I agreed that she was adorable in her tiny babygrows and hats; I outwardly agreed that she was worth the discomfort of pregnancy, the pains of labour.  But inwardly – inwardly I felt nothing.  Every day I prayed the love would come, and every day I felt worse when it didn’t.  I did everything I was supposed to; I fed her, changed her, bathed her, cuddled her, sang to her…but that rush of love just didn’t happen.

Fast forward nine months and we’re there.  Her personality is so beautiful I would defy anyone not to have fallen in love with her.  I still have work to do, there are days when I question absolutely everything about my abilities as a mother – and I’m sure I’m not alone in that.  There are days when I wonder if she wouldn’t be better off raised by someone else.  And I’m sure I’m not alone in that either.  Because that’s the thing about post-natal depression, it’s so very much more common that I ever realised.  And even though everyone’s experience will be different, sometimes it’s just a relief to know that you’re not the only one who’s struggling.  Not everyone has that movie-quality instant rush of unwavering love; sometimes it takes time to get there.

So that’s it for my first entry.  A random jumble of thoughts about my journey through this crazy jungle of motherhood.  I have no intended direction for this page, no grand plan or schedule.  For me, it’s simply a space to say what’s in my head without the pressure of seeing someone else react to my words.  Sometimes I might go back, regale you with delightful tales from the pregnancy/birth (haha, I love how I can say that with so little sarcasm), sometimes it might just be offloading my thoughts in the present.  While I am blessed with an incredibly supportive network of family and friends, I’m not ready for them to hear how I really feel.  Not yet.  Not because I worry that they won’t love me.  But I know there’s nothing they can say to make this little voice in my mind go away.  It’s all on me.  And maybe because I want to prove myself wrong; I want to look back at this chapter of my life and say…I didn’t fail.  Yes, I went through some shit.  Yes, things went off kilter for a bit.  But I didn’t give up.  I came through the storm.

I found the rainbow.