That sixth sense

I sit, I look, blanket folded, knees wrapped up. I watch the morning unfold as I let my body wake. It’s doing a good job at this – buzzing and anxiety ridden within seconds of my eyelids opening. It’s those two faces of life I’ve spoken of before, except this morning it is the two faces of my body: the stable calm and connected self that wants to gently rise, battling with the anxiety spannered one ready to leap out of the bed and hit the day with at million miles an hour.

I sit here and wonder where I’m headed. I sit here and for a millisecond, wonder whether all that has been will not follow me here – perhaps this new place will be somewhere new by every account. But then I remember: “Wherever you go, there you are”. All these things follow you wherever your feet take you. It’s just wrapping yourself in an environment that can hold you in whatever comes your way in life.  Think of it like nutrition. Nutrition comes from every angle in your life, and your home being one big fat chunk of it. Following that, so do the people, the music, the time you give to yourself and what you do with/in it, and lastly (and obviously) the FOOD.  Speaking of which, my breakfasts just keep getting better and better. It seems to be becoming a natural thing of mine – I cant just nibble on a banana and a handful of almonds like I used to. I wake up dreary eyed, head to the kitchen expecting to leave with something like that in my mits, and end up twenty minutes later having cooked myself something or created a bowl of goodness. I rather like this habit that’s forming. Although sometimes I do just wish I could say ‘fuck it’, and eat a packet of donuts. But I hate donuts.

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Last night as I moved I felt numb. And I still do today. I feel in a slight bubble of survival. A numbness. Maybe it’s the ptsd, maybe it’s the meds, but I feel like I could sit and stare at a wall all morning. These kind of states I always analyse and evaluate (which is SO ANNOYING) and actually, I do the rest of my bloody states too. Be it anxiety, trauma, depression, happiness, joy, there is always a voice in the back of my head checking whether it is okay to feel this: “hang on, are you crazy? Woah girl, you’re being weird. Why are you feeling like this? You shouldn’t be like this…” UGH. Shut the hell up already.

Last night I felt in a haze of memories and flashbacks to my ma. Sometimes I feel like I can’t switch off that voice I speak of above, in the form of analysing each and every move and thought of my own and comparing it to that of my mothers. And crikey does it get tiring. Last nights blip came from the fact I was using a sleeping bag to sleep under (yes, I need to buy a bloody duvet). The last time I saw a sleeping bag properly was the night of my mother attempting to hang herself. This is something that has been creeping into my mind in the form of flashbacks and all its glory. Only when I began therapy in January of this year, did I realise quite how momentous this event was in my life. And that’s the shocking thing – shit like that just felt totally normal. Until that bubble of norm was popped.

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That night I walked in and found her tip toeing on a stool, with the rope around her neck, hanging from the steps outside the kitchen. She was in a state of mild psychosis. I knew something was up, as I stepped foot into the house and the back door was open. The light on, and the nights dark rays floating in. Something inside me just knew. Over the years both my sister and I seemed to have developed a six sense for my mum’s psychosis: you just had that feeling it was all about to happen. And it always did. But no sixth sense could prepare myself for what I was about to find.

My stomach was tight as I shut the front door behind me. And that’s when I saw her, through the kitchen I saw her on the other side of the steps headed out into the garden. I’m not quite sure which way round the following happened, but all I know is that it did. I walked down the stairs and stood in front of her. This woman who is supposed to be my mother, was there. Hanging. Tip toeing within inches of a full bodied attempt to end her life. Grass was stuffed in her mouth, her eyes on a different planet to mine. Hazed over and terrifying. This image haunted me for coming days, and still does. My only words upon finding her were that of “for fucks sake mum”. That’s it. A daughter, full of love for this woman could only bring herself to say this. But I know why. It’s because this kind of thing was the norm. This kind of thing I was completely sick and tired of. The hanging was a one off, but the rest of this shit was not. I had had 23 years of it, in particular the last three. I hesitated for a moment and took in the situation. This later brought me a lot of guilt which still swims around at times. I hesitated and contemplated the cutting of the rope. Cutting the rope of your own mother – how could you even pause for a second? But was it better to let her do what she has been wanting to do for eternity? Should I let her do what I know would bring us, (as hideous as it sounds to type but I believe in honesty), a gigantic break in our lives? I will never know the answer to those questions, and truthfully I am glad I don’t. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that sometimes I didn’t wonder.

I kicked into action. I found a pair of scissors, cut the rope and stepped back inside the kitchen. I found the note she had left. A note full of so much hatred towards me, I feel the words would burn to just type them on here. But a note full of love for my sister. Even as I type it spins me to think that this was just so normal. And it also shows me that emotional abuse  and trauma, can be a lot more than literal, physical, trauma. The hanging itself was trauma in a big gigantic way. A way in which I am only just, and still not quite fully, realising. But the emotional trauma hit me HARD in the stomach, the heart, and soul, right then. No time was wasted in absorbing quite how traumatic that was. To find a note from your mother whom you have tried with every inch of your soul to nurture, be there for, be the best for, be as low maintenance as possible, put up with the most hideous abusive, traumatic, chaotic events throughout the course of my life and still kept smiling, to be full of hate beyond hate is indescribable. To think this could have been the last I would have read from her continues to take my breath away when I sit with it. But, again, this was normal. This hate.

She tied the rope back up and stood back on the stool, attempting again. But this time it was quite clearly half hearted. I think I came out with another blunt comment empty of any compassion, yet a heart full of it. It was just masked by survival and shock. I cut the rope again so there was no hope of her stringing it up in its numerous pieces, and went to my room. I stayed there until I could hear her finishing up in the kitchen. I don’t know what you do after you have just tried to hang yourself. The night is a bit of a blur to be honest. A haze of forgetfulness and lack of specific details. But one thing I do know is she came downstairs and hurled some obscenities at me and went outside. I was simply sat on my bed. Crying or not crying, I’m not sure. But I do remember the deep and raw sense of isolation, shock, pain, sorrow and desperation. A feeling that I was so used to feeling throughout my life in the eve of trauma; it became second nature. She spent the night outside, on a camp bed under the stars. She told me why in her bombardment of hate, but I can’t remember.

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I slept. She slept. I remember wondering whether to go and check on her. Check she is still alive. But then I remember, I made the decision. She can now do whatever she wants. I did my duty of saving her life in that moment by the stairs, but if she wants to end it during the night, then I will let her. Something inside me knew to step back from her. It felt weird – the sixth sense was in motion, knowing that she wasn’t really going to do anything anyway. I woke early and got dressed. As the summer morning unfolded, the sun rose in the clouds and the dew was settling on the grass, I went outside to check on her. She was still there. The sleeping bag pulled tightly around her face. She was fast asleep.

I packed up my things and left for Wales. I drove for seven hours to where I call home, and had the nicest ten days of sunshine, surf and friends. I told a few, but most I didn’t. It was just a regular mishap in the life of me so those kind of things I tended not to share. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I didn’t think they were a big deal.

Some have asked me whether I think she was just pulling this as a stunt for attention. Did she know I was going to find her? The answer is always no. And I really do believe that. I was visiting home for a few days during that summer that I was spending floating around the UK. We had spent the day together but it ended nastily, as it so often did. She made me stop my car, she got out and walked home. I told her I wouldn’t be coming back that night, and I was going to stay at a friends. She knew that and I always did that at times like that, so there was no reason for me to head back home. And I still don’t really know why I did – it must have been that sixth sense kicking in.

I hope some day I can use this sixth sense for something less traumatic and terrifying as knowing when to go home to cut the rope of your mother.

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The heartbreak and heartache I have as I type this is huge. The hate, shock, anger and trauma is merely a blanket weighing down on the love I have for my mum. I know it is wonky, it is lopsided and reversed, but I love her the way I imagine loving a child. The pain of not being able to make everything okay. The pain of knowing she wanted to do that to herself. The pain of seeing her in such a state. The pain of not being able to just be there for her always. The pain of her holding so much hatred for me in her twisted way. All these pains just add more love to the mix and end up, in a weird way, masking the trauma I have deep inside.

As I sit here I realise this is the first time I have ever typed this out. And throughout, it has felt like a huge relief and weight off my shoulders and onto my fingertips that have typed it away. Maybe this is the beginning of a new chapter of healing – a new chapter in which my trust of myself grows again, to be able to type and share and story-tell from my past. My whole life has been feeling way too raw, too painful, too FRESH, to bring into words the last six months, no matter how much I long to. Yet today it feels different. It feels the importance of writing is coming back. Maybe this is just today but maybe this is how it will be for a while. My soul wants to share, and so I hope my heart finds that trust of itself again to be able to deal with whatever this healing brings with it.

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Love.

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One thought on “That sixth sense

  1. Sweetpea, that is a traumatic tale, and it is a bit of a trust-shaker when someone in the family has attempted, or has committed suicide. I have probably missed a lot of your life story, as I am wondering, where was your dad when all this was happening? (If it’s okay to ask?) It’s hard work typing up the trauma… take care, dear one.

    (by the way, the pomegranate and almond breakfast looks wonderful… as does the rest of your beautiful photography.)

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