It is always so easy to talk about the Good memories in your life, but such a hard thing to actually speak openly about those dark times. But in actual fact, it makes you the person you are today and actually I shouldn't feel ashamed about it. Some times when people are down, or depressed, it is easy to try and hide that you got to that stage, like it was a time of weakness, when actual fact, it takes a stronger person to come out of it the other end.
The time at Lioness in 2010 was coming to a close and I was spending the last few days just trying to take in every moment. It was hard to think that I would have to say yet another 'Goodbye' to the children. I decided then it was never going to be 'Goodbye' it would be from that very moment 'till next time - farewell'.
I spent the last two days having to reach a decision about what I was going back to in my home life. The time at Lioness gave me new perspective and that the person that was there at the beginning of the time there certainly wasn't the person I wanted to return home like.
I was self absorbed with an unhappy relationship that had become a way of life and a life we had both 'settled' into. He had betrayed me in the worst way possible. He had cheated on me. Six years together and six years married. I look back now and it was a rocky relationship with lack of respect for one another and lack of communication which lead to where we ended up. It was not a 'marriage' of sorts that would be successful but a distinct lack of trust which came from both sides, and I reached a decision in Kenya which would mean ending our relationship when I returned. When I found out I was besides myself and packed a bag off to Kenya.
Hugs all round with the children and lots of tears of both happiness and sadness because I realised this is where I was meant to be. I just had a real sense of peace at Lioness, and that it would make me smile the second I think of the children.
I returned home and told my then 'husband' my decision, and for the weeks after it was seriously rocky. Casting aspersions on each others character became very ugly and cross words said to each other in anger. Although I felt at peace with my decision in Kenya, it was much harder to face it head on.
I soon moved out to a one bedroom house on my own. Here is the time that I had to find myself. Not to rely on anyone, but me, myself and I. I had never actually been on my own to this day. I had gone from one unhappy relationship to another and this time I was seriously alone. I tried to busy myself and spent time partying or making plans to try and stay out of the house. I thought to myself, I am actually doing this. I CAN cope on my own. I didn't need anyone, but then the downward spiral started.
A family member had found a lump and it felt like my world had caved in. See even now, I hate mentioning the C word….yes Cancer. Panic ensued and he started treatment. What could I do? I felt helpless really. I didn't have the words to take away his anguish. I just couldn't comprehend it really. I guess I could just hope for the best. It only heightened my Anger towards this 'God' that the children had prayed too. More selfishly, more dark thoughts and anger took hold. Why me? Why was this happening to my family? I didn't have the words to say and could only really say 'am thinking of you, and that if you wanted to talk then you know where I am'.
The darkness crept in. I found myself constantly thinking about it and hoping and just feeling so bitter.
It just seemed that my family had been dealt a really bad hand, with my parents who had their own ill health to try and battle with each day, and I just found myself being so very angry towards the world. My parents are inspirational in their own right. They have suffered throughout their lives with awful ailments which won't be cured but have never moaned about it. They just live each day at a time. It has been like this as long as I remember since I was very young. At this time my father was being taken into hospital several times within weeks and it was hard to try and stay optimistic when you're feeling so down inside. It was hard going.
Going to work and keeping a brave face on and also having to listen to problems from members of the public. I thought I had it all handled until I got the shout at work….the one none of my colleagues would ever want to hear on the radio….Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The journey there was the longest drive ever…yet it was only minutes away. Walking in staying calm and seeing the parents faces for the first time. They see you as that person that knows what to do in this situation. The person who can help and guide them. Yes I remained calm, and I did so for several hours, talking to the parents through every step of what was to happen. But all the time in this situation, I just wanted to scream, cry and be human about it. I remained professional throughout and when returning to the station, it was hard to try and act 'normal'. A de-brief took place, but my head was completely muddled.
I went home and didn't sleep and continued to do a shift the following day, which was my breaking point.
I went to work and went to a couple of jobs, and as I was driving around alone in my car, I saw a baby with a mother in her pram, and thought to myself. Why on earth did this world have to be so cruel. The feelings that I had, penetrated that Uniform that day, and got to my heart. Its sometimes to easy to don that uniform and forget you are actually human.
I got back to the station and burst into tears on fellow colleagues who were absolutely brilliant at that point. I actually couldn't take much more of anything really. It was the lowest point of my life. I couldn't comprehend anything. The couple of days that followed are a blur really. I found myself drinking alot more than I should it helped me sleep and forget.
I remember sitting in my little house, on my sofa wondering what an earth was going on. I had felt at peace in Kenya before I had come back to the UK. I started to cry as I thought of the children in Kenya. I cried for everything that was happening and went to my knees. I was saying ' Why? Why Me? Why my family? Why that family? I was shouting at him through clenched teeth, angry that he would put my family through such pain, and that he was putting me through all of this. It was in this moment that I became a Christian.
These questions were not rhetorical, I knew he was there and I needed some answers. I was despairing. I realised at that time, that I was asking for help to God. It was my weakest moment. I know I could have turned further away from God, but I remembered the strength that Maurice in Kenya had drawn from the bible, so I started to read. As I did, I prayed. As I prayed, things became clearer and I started to gain a sense of calm. Like I didn't need to do everything on my own anymore. I felt by opening up my heart, I could rely on God to give me strength and I knew he was with me there in that very moment. I slept through that night and part way through the next day. It was like I had gained clarity in my life. I knew then that I couldn't be that low again, for I didn't know what could happen. I didn't like the darkness that had swamped me. I started focussing on the light that was given to me in my darkest moment, so I asked for help.
There is no shame in asking for help. One of the hardest steps you can do is to ask for help when you are at that moment in your life because it makes you feel that you are weak and that you can't do anything for yourself. But unless you accept that you need help, there is no going forward. The darkness will just creep in and take you over. In actual fact, the moment you ask for help, is the moment you gain a little dignity, and control in your life. The light became brighter for me for the weeks to come.