I am going to start this by apologising to anyone who has contacted Made at Burngate Farm over the last few weeks and hope this in some way explains what has or not happened.
In February I was visited by Black Dog, It may have arrived before and may have lingered longer but February was the month when I functioned, not lived but functioned. For those of you who don’t know what Black Dog is, it is a metaphor for depression. Many, many people get visited by it, some more often than others. Some drink to try and get rid of it, some take medication to help, some talk about it, and some don’t. But it is around more often then you are aware of.
I have always been aware that I have had days and months when I haven’t felt myself, starting way back when I was about 14 or 15. It is a chemical imbalance in the brain, nothing to be ashamed off which is what we were led to believe. As women we were meant to suck it up, just had to keep on going, manage the house, raise children, provide a home for our husbands. If we had mental health issues then it was either ignored or women were hospitalised. And although now mental health is talked about more openly now there is still such a stigma attached to it and the funding nationally is very poor. I am not sure how it effects anyone else but for me I struggle to do more than everyday tasks to keep us clean, fed, watered and paid.
I put this current blip down to the quiet after a very busy few weeks, finding out my husband’s life is limited, organising a holiday, Christmas, New Year, end of shooting season, daughters birthday, husbands birthday, organising a few days in London and then it went quiet. And where most people would use this time to breathe and reflect it gave me time to think and panic about the future. How will I cope being on my own with two children, what if he goes before they are at the same school and I have to cope with getting them to different schools in the morning, When they scream and shout at each other how am I going to cope the I don’t have anyone else to hand them over to. Stupid everyday things that most of us take for granted but can cause serious stress. How will I earn enough money to support everyone.
I caught an edition of Desert Island Discs a few months ago and the guest was a lady whose husband had died very suddenly. The one sentence which stood out for me is that now she never says how are you to the person she is speaking to, she ask how are you today, and that one 5 letter word makes such a difference. Today I may be fine but yesterday and tomorrow might have brought forth/ bring all the plagues which God can send forth but today I may be fine. And this is where I need to start to learn not to say fine when people ask me how I am and not to say I will when they say let us know if we can help at all. This is when I need to say that today I am ok but yesterday wasn’t good and when my friends and family need to say I have a couple of hours spare on Wednesday, do you want a coffee/dog walk/help with packing. But it’s not just me who can benefit from this, it is all of us, whatever our situations. And just because you haven’t heard from me in a few months does not mean I am OK, it just means that I am afraid to ask for help, and I may not be on your radar to ask and the opposite works as well.
At this moment in time I would also like to thank Penny, Becky, Liz, Tyrell and all in the financial accounts team at Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust who allow me to float in and out on days that I can be there which gives me something else to focus on apart from candles kids and terminal cancer and lets me have a pay packet at the end of the month and a toehold in maybe getting back into permanent work whether full or part time depending on how the candles work out! I would also like to thank everyone at The Purbeck Artisan Yard for their support over the last few months.
in the immortal words of The Four Tops, Reach Out and I Will Be There but please also understand that for some of us reaching out is difficult.