I left home when I was 15. Before then I had actually been living alone for around six months (long story short – mum moved in with her boyfriend but there wasn’t room for me…so I stayed alone in our flat). I was quite happy on my own. After a horrible few years complete autonomy felt amazing. I did whatever I wanted and it only ever affected me.
When I met my husband two and a half years things changed, though not really. He was quite happy to let me do what ever I wanted as long as I was happy. He wasn’t jealous or over protective or clingy. It was perfect. Of course marriage and lots of babies followed (early parenting was hard for me…babies love attention and I crave solitude and silence). I pretty quickly became the working parent and he LOVED being a kept man and a stay at home dad. It was fantastic.
But life happens. As I became more and more unwell I became more and more dependant on my husband. He was happy to do it (I think he had actually been just waiting for a chance to show he could look after me…) but it drove me insane (and still does). But then came the big one. I spent three months in hospital – and at the time he had a job and we were homeschooling our girls. There was no way we could do it just the two of us…not all of it. We had to ask for help.
This was especially hard as we are both used to fending for ourselves and we are not close at all to our parents. When we did ask family for help their only offer was to drive the girls to school and back … meaning we had to put them back in school, which wasn’t going to happen. We were both at a loss as to what to do.
I remember sitting in my room in hospital trying to write an SOS email to everyone we knew. I really did feel sick about it. Funny as I am totally ok with sharing the ins and outs of my life, just not so happy admitting we ever need help. It felt awkward and embarrassing and I just felt like we failed at life. But I sent it anyway.
The emails started flooding in straight away. Before hubby knew it people were showing up with food so he didn’t have to cook, other home ed families offered to take the girls some days so hubby could go in to work, his work offered to let him work some days from home, my brothers school gave him more flexibility so he could also help out. It was overwhelming, and wonderful.
Things have been rough these last few weeks – mental illness is a roller coaster. Some days are just fine, and others … suck. I felt so alone. I tried to connect with friends without saying anything was wrong. I didn’t want to cause a fuss. Without any sense of urgency (and given that they all have busy lives) I found myself feeling worse as I have a terrible fear of being rejected (aka it’s much safer to just be independent). Exhausted and emotional I tweeted just how I felt, then went to bed.
I woke up to emails, texts, IMs and tweets. All I had to do was ask for help and it was there.
I am so lucky to have amazing people in my life that love me just as I am. They love my kids just as they are. They will always be there, I just need to ask.
So lovelies, today I remind you that there is no shame in asking for help. If you really feel you have no one else just email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Miss Fairchild xoxo