The past 8 months have been the hardest I have had to endure. What’s worst – I wasn’t alone in my suffering.
10 days before Christmas we were evicted from our home. Our options were the street (well we had all our Christmas money so we would have been fine for quite awhile) or the floor of my brothers loungeroom. Then we were told we would only have one 3hr block to pack up and move our entire house when we hadn’t packed a single thing. Thankfully twitter came to the rescue and people I have never met showed up with hands and cars and vans and the whole house was packed and most of the boxes moved to my brothers garage. Thankfully Consumer Affairs informed us they had to give us “reasonable” time to pack and move so we were “generously” (snarl) given another 3 hours where movers came and did all the furniture. And a few days before Christmas we were officially living on my brothers floor. Seeing as how we had money that would go toward rent and all our Christmas money and a chunk of centrelink backpay we decided if everything else was fucked we would give the kids one hell of a Christmas.
My brother is an angry guy. He is incredibly loyal but he had the same violent abusive childhood I had. The very first night we were there he came home drunk and started picking at me telling me I am a terrible parent and how could I let my kids down like this and I am so irresponsible (note: we were not behind on our rent or bad tenants….) and I lost my shit. 20 years of anger at me giving up my own childhood to raise him and protect him from said violent childhood. I packed my shit and was ready to leave before he came and appologised.
Then my mother came to visit. My mum (I literally started shaking the second I wrote that) causes me so much anxiety I give her anything just to avoid the violent outburts that come at the most unexpected times. Of course she was going to stay with my brother too. The day before she arrived I was such a mess hubby packed me up and shipped me to Benalla to stay with the gorgeous Vanessa. Who kept me from melting down completely. A day later hubby and the kids came down too (we WON’T expose our kids to my toxic mother for more than a few hours) and we spent New Years with her. We pretended we were on holidays as the estate agents were all closed and we literally could not do anything about anything until then.
We thought we would be at my brothers for 6 weeks max. But after hundreds of applications we still didn’t have a house until 4 weeks ago.
Things just kept getting worse. Miss A (one of our 10yo twins) had been diagnosed with depression before we moved. She was withdrawn and angry. My younger three are introverts and all are on the autism spectrum. Then her twin started to show the same symptoms. Before we knew it they were both full on screaming for hours every night. My brother would yell. His girlfriend would yell. I would cry.
My depression which had been really well controlled started to spiral. My kids were hurting. My husband was overwhelmed now looking after all of our emotional well being while looking at houses on foot (we don’t drive). Calling people constantly.
The kids were in therapy – but my therapist was on maternity leave. I was fighting with my brother a lot. Every night I went to sleep to the sounds of him and his 2 room mates yelling obscenties into the gaming headsets.
Then came the plan. I was ready to kill myself so I asked for help. I got none. Not long after my post about me doing better I attempted suicide. I took entire packets of sleepers, valium, antidepressants, antipsycotics and pain killers. It all started with me being just so overwhelmed I open up the medicine box to take some valium and a sleeper so I could have a nap as the house with 10 people was empty and I could have a proper rest and cry. But I just didn’t stop taking pills. I kept going until I was so sleepy I couldn’t swallow anymore and lay down and went to sleep. Next thing I remember is yelling, crying and paramedics. I spent the night in hospital and they discharged me. No psych eval, no support plan – nothing except being told I would be visited by a social worker.
I was struggling at TAFE, I was struggling at “home”, hubby was furious with me, the kids had to see me taken away by ambulance in an already horrible situation, they were in therapy and now the threat of the social worker I knew they were sending her in to evaluate whether or not we got to keep our babies.
Oh and did I mention throughout all of this I was bleeding heavily from February- July? I had Ultrasounds telling me that there were still bits left inside me from previous miscarriages. Appointments at doctors, ultrasounds, blood tests (which showed my blood count and iron levels were low so I had no energy or immune system so I kept getting sick), gynecologists ect. which eventually led to me being put on the waiting list at the womens hospital for surgery.
That’s when Daisy entered our life, My big snuggable Maori social worker showed up on our door. The kids were playing outside and I was in a dirty torn old shirt barely holding it together. She asked to meet the kids and they came running in introduced themselves then politely asked to go play back outside. She took out her clipboard and said “well that covers that” and stuck out “contact DHS”. She could see despite everything our children were still being looked after. They were clean, fed, happy for the most part and loved. She then focused on us. She drove hubby to open houses. Followed up with real estate agents and the housing support group we were using got quite frequent calls from her yelling at them to do something. Then in June she turned up and said a friend of hers was renting a property – it was only 3 bedrooms but it could get us out. We got it and moved in at the end of July.
BUT there was still one horrible stressful thing left to go. My end of year “soiree” at TAFE. The second year students host it and do all the organising – so not only was our class of just 7 organising the whole thing but I had to make lots of hats for it. While I was trying to unpack I was also trying to make hats. I was stressed to the max and then I was informed I had a date for the surgery….my last class before the soiree (where we would finalise everything) and one week prior to the event. CRAP.
I went into surgery in the morning and I was seriously contemplating going to class afterwards (it’s at night) as it was just suppose to be exploratory surgery. I was only suppose to be under for 10-15 mins. I was in surgery for 1.5 hours. They found lots of endometriosis and had to cut and cauterise. I was in so much pain when I was sent home…but then I had an allergic reaction to the oxycodone. SO I stopped taking pain killers entirely and kept working too hard. I saw my doctor 5 days post surgery and I hadn’t healed at all. One of my incisions was slightly infected and I could barely walk. My fingers had been stabbed repeatedly and I thought I had torn something in my shoulder while blocking. I didn’t sleep at all for the next 48 hours and was still making hats in the carpark before the show.
Taken by my secret identity friend
Then after months and months of horribleness I had nothing left to do except sit and watch the show with my wonderful family beside me.
One of the hats that will be in the spring/summer collection (It seems my secret identity has slipped a little)
Taken by Lilli from Frocks & Frou Frou
I had felt so alone all year I cried at how many people turned out to support me. The only 3 classmates who talked to me hadn’t come back for second year so I spent entire classes having no one talk to me but the teacher. I missed so many classes I thought I would fail and yet each time a hat would appear on it’s due date. The event went incredibly smoothly even though I forgot to do pretty much every single job that was mine (I actually fully expect to fail the “work as a team” unit). I was surrounded by people who loved me and who literally (in a semi circle around me) shielded me from the horribleness.
Me & my mini b&w collection for the exhibition part of the soiree (again taken by Lilli)
My family, My hats & Me….
It was that night that I realised how lucky I was. I have had an amazing support team this year who have literally kept me alive…despite depressions best efforts to kill me. I slept the last 3 days straight and have been taking pain killers regularly. I can walk again. The sores on my fingers from sharp sewing needles are healing. My hands hurt a little bit less and I am actually…kind of….happy? I think…it’s not a feeling I am all that familiar with. My girls are happier. Miss A and Miss H have been discharged by their therapists. We all have our own space. We have been eating yummy food like we used too. The tv is never on and the house is silent after 9pm. I fall asleep to the sounds of a quiet happy house. In my own bed. With beautiful 1000 thread count sheets that I could never afford (a housewarming present from a very kind friend). When I get cold I wrap my electric blanket throw around myself (another housewarming present from another awesome friend). I light my beautiful candles each night, no longer mass produced glasshouse ones but beautiful TANDA Modern ones made in a just for me scent by a friend who started a new business of hand poured soy wax candles with wood wicks. Hubby has taken to making sure there is a new bunch of fresh flowers on my bedside table each week.
I can’t wait to run again. To lift again. (no exercise allowed til at least 6 weeks post surgery) To do outfit shots in front of my beautiful new lemon tree that fruits all year round. To blog the weird and whacky and wonderful from my book collection which is finally all unpacked. I will also be launching my new business “Miss Fairchild: Milliner” which will commence with a small spring/summer collection of vintage reproduction pieces made almost entirely of vintage millinery supplies.
I survived. Now it’s time to thrive.
Taken the morning after the soiree….well not technically morning… about 5pm when I woke up
Miss Fairchild xoxo