Day 19/30 Your biggest fears

I have many silly fears, but my biggest one right at this moment in time is not getting the funding for my place at uni.

Since my teens I have always known that my career would be working with people. At 22 I started a degree in nursing. I wasn’t crap at it, but it didn’t fit me. I loved certain aspects of it and I could have made it work but it wasn’t to be because of my then husband. He made it impossible to do my placements and work. He was violent and aggressive with me and his use of skunk did little to help things.

In 2009 having been at home for 11 years pretty much as a full time mum I couldn’t do it any more. I love my children and my now husband but I have a brain inside my head and I needed to stimulate it. I needed company with people who were interested in the same things, bounce ideas off each other. Just learn about things again. So I embarked on an access course.

Wow, I felt so alive! I had my family but now I had something which was all mine. I went twice a week for 3 hours in the evening. It was my freedom. It was in social sciences so it would open the door to nursing, counselling, teaching, law, social work etc. Suddenly where doors had been shut I was finding that my options were extensive. I graduated from the course with a distinction! My proudest moment as it was all my hard work! Not only did I do well but it also meant that applying for courses at university wasn’t going to be as hard.

I found that during the course I became very interested in sociology, law and how social work was applied in the real world. I pushed aside the plans to be a counsellor and decided to pursue a career in social work. I could always add counselling skills into my skill set at a later date.

Starting at uni in 2011 was terrifying! I knew a lot but knew so little at the same time. I felt completely in over my head and wondered if I had made a mistake. Academically I did well in my first year but the content of what we were taught and the general standard of lectures was really disappointing. There was no room for being inexperienced or overexperienced. I hadn’t worked in social work so I was in a lot of ways inexperienced, but my life experience was something which would be my downfall. Whilst it’s good to have life experience it’s not necessarily good if it’s unresolved.

I had the breakdown in my second year. I literally fell apart whilst I was on my placement. I tried desperately to get support from the university but found that they really couldn’t have given a shit. I became more unwell using drugs and alcohol to just get through each day. I felt completely overwhelmed and trapped. I didn’t know what to do and as I became more tangled in the issues of uni and placement my head was also becoming more messed up and traumatised by the things from my past. I wanted out, I couldn’t bear to breathe and I felt so alone.

I was suspended because of something I did when I was at my worst and following fitness to work hearings the university allowed me to decide what I wanted to do under mental health conditions. In June this year, they found a loop hole and basically kicked me out. They lied to me and discriminated against me. I was going to leave any way but they told me I had to submit my placement portfolio whether I stayed or left. I wasted my time giving a shit about it. I wish I hadn’t.

My second year was a disaster because of my mental health, but it was made infinitely worse by the lack of support from the uni. From the end of February they knew I was unwell and they didn’t meet with me or discuss what my options were. I could have deferred my year and started over. Instead I have two years of funded university education one of which was a complete waste. I still have two more years that I can have funded but this will only pay for the second and third years.

I have to write a letter to student finance  explaining my ‘exceptional circumstances’ in order to basically beg for the funding of an extra year at uni. I’m essentially asking for them to fund my first year and give me back the second year that was wasted. I have to explain the situation as it happened and provide them with evidence. The evidence is not an issue as I have lots. But I have to now rehash over all the crap that happened two years ago and send it to a complete stranger who will then decide whether or not I deserve to have my chance of completing a degree. My dream degree.

My fear is what am I going to do if I can’t get the funding. The degree is in psychology and counselling, I want this more than anything. I don’t want to just be a housewife. I find it triggering to be just be this role. I feel trapped and unhappy. I need to do more and with my kids on school I want that chance. I know I can do it and more importantly I know that i need to do it.

What will I do with my life if i can’t get the funding? I want to help my husband financially and I want to use my brain, my experience and skills to do something good.

I was explaining this to someone the other day and he understood better than I could have hoped for how scared I am of not being able to go. I’m not qualified to do anything and there is nothing else on this world that I want to do. I can’t hold down a job right now but with time and a chance to study and qualify I know that eventually I will get to a point where I can work.

Yes I am a mother and a wife. I wouldn’t change those for anything. But I am also Lib…someone who needs to do something more just for me. My brain feels like it’s dying. I am bored and frustrated. I want to learn. I am curious and want to do something with my life.

I’m trying to keep myself calm and focus on the fact that I won’t know anything until I’ve written this letter and provided the evidence in support. But I’m terrified…I literally don’t know what I will do. It might sound drastic, but I really don’t see where my life will go if I can’t go. It makes me feel suicidal the thought that I won’t be able to go. The fact I fucked up my second year and have been a complete mess ever since.

Not going will make me a bigger failure and loser than I am already am. This fear paralyses me inside. I’m so scared. I don’t know if this makes any sense. I can’t explain any more how much the fear of not going effects me.

It would be so much easier if I could win the lottery and just pay the £9,000 for the first year!

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Day 18/30 Something you’re proud of

This really is a no brainer. I’m exceptionally proud of my children.

My eldest is almost 17. It feels insane to think she’s almost as old as I was when I had her. It has most definitely not been an easy journey for us and she isn’t flawless. However, despite the pitfalls, the mistakes i have made, she is someone who I am very proud of.

She has a fierce loyalty to her friends, warm and compassionate. She is always there during times of trouble and has often gone out to show support to a friend even when she’s not feeling great herself.

She may be moody and bad tempered at home, but if anyone upsets any of us she is there being protective and defending with all she has. If one of the little ones is hurt she is there with a hug and empathy.

Whilst I have been unwell she has been incredibly supportive and understanding. I know it’s not easy for her, but she makes my life a little easier just by being here. When things have been bad between my husband and I she has been there for me with such huge strength and love that it has overwhelmed me how much she really does care…I’m so proud of who she is as a person. She has a beautiful soul with huge amounts of love to give. She and I have grown up together and I would have to say that despite the tantrums and rows she is my very best friend.

My second daughter is 9 and so different from her sister. She is academically a hard worker and enjoys reading which her big sister doesn’t. She is incredibly outgoing and bubbly. She’s funny and creative. At school she is really sporty playing football and rugby as well as doing karate. She loves singing and dancing and is actually really quite impressive.

At parents evenings I get told what a delight she is to have in the class. How helpful and respectful she is. She has a smile that can literally make the sun shine even on the cloudiest of days.

At almost 10 she is very much her own little person. She doesn’t follow a crowd, does her own thing and is the biggest Tom boy I know! Frills and dresses are a huge no-no. She doesn’t play with barbies or dolls and keep pink well away from her!

Despite her Tom boy behaviour she is a very sensitive child and we often have lots of tears. She likes to be in control of things and tends to bottle things up. These past few months she has been getting some additional support at school and they have been helping her to let go and open up more.

Like her big sister she is loyal and deeply caring to her friends and to us as her family. She’s changing all the time and is a delight to hang out with. I’m very proud of her and the person she is becoming.

Finally there is my son. He is so different from the girls yet so similar too. He was born with the cord around his neck and was bright blue/purple. He didn’t make a sound and I thought he had been still born. He was tiny. He blew my mind from the moment he was born and continues to do so everyday.

He wants to be independent and grown up. No kisses at school, at least not so anyone can see! But at home he is more than happy to have lots of kisses and cuddles. He’s a real softy.

He likes his computer games and lego etc, but he’s also really into history and science. He reads really well and is doing better at school than I imagined he could.

He is like his sisters with his friends and is a good boy most of the time.

Tomorrow is his 8th birthday. I can’t believe how time has flown. He was such a tiny little thing with a horrible reflux. He never complains about being sick or having to take medicine. He just gets on with it. He’s a tough little thing that’s for sure.

Being my only son he is my favourite boy in all the world! I cannot imagine my life without my little man and when he went missing for those 45 mins it was more than I could bear. He’s the baby of the family too which makes the milestones bittersweet. It’s great to reach them but knowing that we won’t do them again makes me feel sad. I wish I could freeze time and keep them all as they are.

My children are by far the very best thing I have ever done. They are hard work at times and I could bash their heads together. But they are also the people who can make me smile through my tears and with a hug can make me feel safe again.

I’m proud of who they are, the fact that they are good children with strong morals and such fierce loyalty to their friends and to each other. They may fight but deep inside I know they will always be there for one another.

Just thinking of each of them as I write this has me smiling and my heart swells with pride for each of them. I feel incredibly lucky to have them.

Day 17/30 – What if

There are so many “what ifs” that I could write about.

But what if I hadn’t been left to the care of nanny’s and child minders? What if I had never been touched as a child and grown up without any of that happening?

I would like to think that I would be really close to my mother and siblings. That my education wasn’t a disaster and that I achieved whatever it was that I wanted to do.

It would be nice to think that I would have been more settled with myself. When I was younger I always imagined having my own place and how I would have set it up. I would have wanted to travel. I’ve got loads of things that interest me and have been possible career paths. It would be nice to think that I would have followed one of these and made a success of it.

I probably wouldn’t have had a baby at 18, I would have been more focused on building a secure life for myself. I’m fiercely independent and I think that this would be more apparent if i didn’t have all my issues.

But this is when my what if makes me feel sad because I wouldn’t want to not have my children. If my what ifs had happened I wouldn’t know the people I do know, I wouldn’t be me. And although I may dislike many aspects of my life and past, i feel that it’s these experiences and the people who have come and gone or still here who have shaped the person I have become.

What if I wasn’t sick? Chances are I would have completed the social work degree and would now be working in a job which was unfulfilling to me. I would be searching for a way out. More training. Chances are I’d be miserable and feel trapped by the life I had created for myself.

What if I wasn’t married? This one is more loaded because whilst I do love my husband I know that i would chose not to be tied down. Right now this is a big part of how I am feeling and my identity. But I wouldn’t want to be without my husband regardless of the what ifs.

I spend more of my life not thinking of the what ifs because although life is hard the way it is, I can’t imagine my life being any other way. Even my mental health is something which I think I need to have as frustrating as it is. But I think that all the things that have happened and where I am today were all meant to be.

Inside I am a fighter, I’ve been through a lot and seen more than many people do in their entire lives and I’m really not all that far through mine. I think that the important things in life are those things I’ve had to deal with so far. I’m far from being anywhere near the person I desire to be, but I wouldn’t want to lose what I have gained and learnt.

I feel crazy to say that, but given the alternative roads and possibilities it’s hard to imagine being any happier. The fact is I’ve got my amazing kids and a husband who loves me. I wouldn’t want to lose them for anything and if being mentally vulnerable and dependent is part of my journey then there are no what ifs possible.

Day 16/30 Things you would like to say to an ex

It says an ex, but I have two whom I would like to say something to.

The first is the father of my first child and the first boy I ‘loved’.

To A.,

You were like my soul mate, the best friend anyone could wish for. You made me laugh uncontrollably, we got ourselves into all sorts of jams and managed to find a way of getting ourselves out of trouble. You made me feel safe and happy. Accepted and I loved spending time with you just listening to music.

But there was also that incredible sexual chemistry that got us into so much trouble. It was addictive and fun, I know that we both found it hard to resist and failed more times than we succeeded.

Despite all this, you turned out to be a nasty piece of work. Someone who I came to not recognise. You became selfish, your ego taking over. You didn’t see me and our daughter for what we were and you trampled all over us. Your behaviour was scary and not something I ever thought you were capable of being.

I know you loved me. I know that at times what we had was good, but why did you turn your back on me and our baby? Why was it ok to make contact on your terms and expect to be included in her life. Its been almost 16 years since you saw her. She is beautiful, inside and out. BUT you had nothing to do with it. You believed the bullshit your family told you and let something so amazing slip through your fingers.

You didn’t have to love me and be with me, but you could have accepted the truth that she was your daughter and be a father to her. Love her and cherish her and take pride in something that you were a part of. YOU have no rights to this now. She doesn’t need or want you in her life. She doesn’t need someone who comes and goes as they please, who can’t control their temper and who is more concerned with meeting their own needs than being generous and caring.

What happened to that boy I knew? Why did you change so much? Where did you go?

I hope that you will always remember that you had a chance to be a father to your eldest daughter, I never stopped you. You were the one who walked away. You were the selfish one and you are the one who has ultimately lost out.

 

The second Ex to write to is my ex husband.

To L.,

This is so much harder to write because you caused me so much harm. I never saw it at the time, I never realised what was happening. Even now I don’t understand it.

I tried to be a good wife to you, I loved you and wanted our marriage to work. But you were so unkind and vicious. You scared me when you slammed your fist into the door or wall just by my head. You called me nasty things, you were unpleasant when people came round and so they stopped. You didn’t like me going out, you didn’t support me when I tried to work to help with money. I was just a pain, you hated it. You shouted at me, made it impossible and so I had to give it up whilst you got us into debt with you horrible skunk.

You made me feel I wasn’t good enough for anyone, you were allowed a life, but I wasn’t. I was to be at home tied to the kitchen sink, there are your beck and call. You hurt me again and again and again. You made me feel worthless and empty, made me believe that no one else would want me.

My home became a prison and I came to believe that everything you said was true. You destroyed me by the things you said and the way you were. I walked on eggshells every day, I was scared when you came home from work because I never knew what to expect. I panicked a lot and became fearful of everyone and everything. Nothing was ever right. You put me down, you were indifferent to the child who called you daddy and knew only of you as a father. You were cruel to us both.

You are one of the reasons I am scared at night now, why I am scared of my own shadow. I still walk on eggshells because I walked on them for so long I no longer know how not to. I have shrunk inside myself and lost my voice. I find it hard to trust men more than ever and that is your fault. The strong 20-year-old girl you met, you destroyed her daily, bit by bit with your emotional and violent abuse and then your sexual abuse. You never cared about me, you lied from the moment we met until the day you finally left.

I was so relieved when you walked out the door and later told me you wanted a divorce. I never cheated on you, I was loyal and faithful to you from the minute we got together. You were sleeping with another girl within the first couple of weeks after we split up.

There are so many things I would like to say but just don’t think that you are worth bothering with. I think that you are a cunt. I think you always were but I was blind to seeing that.

You once wrote me a Christmas card where you said that you were sorry, that you missed me  and that you did love us both….You were sorry for how you behaved and what you said. Well, I don’t forgive you for what you did. I don’t forgive you because you scarred not just me, but my beautiful innocent little girl who cannot talk about that time. You are a bastard through and through. You made me feel sad for you, told me all about this tough life you had led and made me want to make your life better. What a fool I was to believe all your lies.

Well, I am glad you left. Glad you chose your disgusting drugs over me. Life may not be perfect now but it is a thousand times better than it ever was with you. I hope that you never have to feel all those things you made me feel, but I also hope that you never hurt another person in the way that you hurt me and my little girl. We have managed fine without you and we will continue to do so. We never really needed you in the first place and the fact you left meant that our house became a safe place to be again and we were finally free. The day you left was the best gift you could have ever given us and for that, thank you.

Day 15/30 Your reflection in the mirror

TRIGGER WARNING – Scars from self harming – Pics towards the end.

ARRRRGGGGHHHHH!!!

Nothing that I like.

My hair is dark colour which when the light shines on it is purple. I like my hair colour. I have an eyebrow piercing on the left side and my tongue is pierced. I have lots of ear piercings too and when I look in the mirror I feel that the desired look is unfinished. I also want to get my lip pierced.

I have a scar on my forehead above my right eyebrow where I had a nightmare and scratched myself. I also have a scar above my lip which is from a fight I got into when I was 13. Took ages to heal and took a small bit from the top of my lip. I also have a birth mark on my forehead which becomes more visible when I am not well, otherwise you can’t see it.

My face is thinner than it used to be and I can see that I no longer have the fat cheeks I did have. But I don’t like looking at myself as I feel that I am really ugly. I don’t wear makeup because I am just not a girly girl, but I do take care of my skin so I don’t look 35 – which i am thankful for!

I used to have no collar bones, they were hidden by the layers of fat that I had, now I have collar bones which kind of sometimes make me feel better about myself, my arms are skinnier than they were and I can see that I have lost a lot of the fat….but then the rest of my body just makes me feel huge. I hate it. I can’t bear to look in the mirror.

My arms have scars from where i have cut and picked. My stomach has hot water bottle burns which are horrible and wont matter how thin I could get, I will never wear a bikini.

These two pics are what my stomach looks like now.

wpid-dsc_0274.jpg                               wpid-dsc_0272.jpg

Sorry if they upset anyone…

I hate the way I look. I know I have lost weight, but at the same time I still see a huge person looking back at me. I try to rationalise it to myself, but there is always something which will make me see myself differently.

I admit that I avoid looking in the mirror because I despise what I see. I truly think that I am ugly and cannot believe that anyone would ever be attracted to me. I know I am married, but he never calls me anything nice. He never says that he thinks I am pretty or beautiful or anything. So if he doesn’t why should anyone else think of me any differently.

And now my stomach is so scarred I am ashamed of how I look. I am ashamed of how my arms look with their scars and if we were to go away on holiday it would have to be to a place where no one would need to see me in swim wear – not that I actually have any because I don’t go swimming any more…but its all just too much and I can’t write any more so going to leave it here.