Mint

“How are you, Cassandra? How can I help you today?” she says while looking at the screen as I sit on the orange padded chair I wonder if there’s any point in going through with this well rehearsed ordeal again and briefly flirt with the idea of heading straight out of the door.

“Erm, I just need some more pills. Please.”

“This is for your depression? How are you getting on with that?”

Yep. Fail. I should have left while I still had a chance.

I’m in the most excruciating pain you can imagine and soul crushingly numb simultaneously. I feel as if I’m floating and made completely of stone all at once. I’m wishing for nothing else but for someone to give me the permission to just not exist for a little while. I want to scream every single word polluting my thoughts and am not able to say a single word. I want to find comfort in anything I can to only discover that I’m not worth it anyway. They keep telling me that I need to fight and I don’t have any left. They keep saying that this doesn’t define me when I know nothing but. The shame of my child seeing the cuts and asking me what they are with fear in his eyes is haunting me by the minute. It’s the constant headache and shakes and ticks. It’s wanting to destroy everything I love because I don’t deserve to keep any of it. It’s ignoring the texts and emails and voicemails, because what’s the point? It’s collapsing on the floor and repeatedly banging my head until I pass out from pain and tears. It’s crying so hard that I’m sick and that I can’t remember why I started. It’s wishing I didn’t have to keep going and knowing that I can’t do anything to stop.

Obvs I can’t actually say any of that stuff out loud. I give a noncommittal shrug, “Not good.”

She looks at me blankly before scrolling through endless notes on the screen. I see words I don’t understand flash past and I desperately try to remember them, they feel important. I wonder if it’d be inappropriate to get my phone out to take a photo.

  • Dysthymia disorder.
  • Refusal to take antipsychotics.
  • Major depressive disorder.
  • Suicidal.
  • Self harm.

Dysthymia. Dysthymia. Dysthymia. Dysthymia… I think again and again so I can Google it when I finally get home. There’s mention of a drug called Minta-something too. I imagine a box of mint green capsules that taste like Tic Tacs.

She asks more questions, I have no idea what, and makes more scribbly notes on some headed paper, I begin to forget where I am and think to myself that she has nice nails. She mumbles something at me before hurriedly leaving the room.

Oh.

This is it, I think. This is when they make that phone call and take me away somewhere.

It should strike me as very wrong when I begin to question if there’s anything in the room I can hurt myself with but of course it doesn’t. Faced with boxes of sample bottles and wooden tongue depressors. Maybe I could break one? Or jab one in my eye really hard?

The tick carries on where it left off just as I was leaving home, sending my head back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

I have the urge to leave to see if anyone notices.

Fifteen more painful minutes lapse before she returns.

“Are you able to cope with your son?”

I stare at her drunkly. My head shouts YES. NO. YES. NO and all I’m able to do is shrug.

“Would you like me to contact Social Services?”

“No.”

“They might be able to just – ,”

“No.”

“OK, if you have any thoughts to harm yourself you must come straight back.”

“But I have those thoughts right now - you’re still going to let me leave in thirty seconds, aren’t you?”

She looks at me seriously and wheels her chair a little too close, “I’ll see you again in two weeks, Cassandra.”

 

All the Small Things #9

Tbh I didn’t think I was going to be writing this post, I thought I’d be hiding under a duvet with my phone switched off and the laptop closed. There’s something pretty sickening about trying to come across as cheery when you’re feeling anything but.

Turns out I am writing it, and I’m forcing my antisocial carcass to London today instead. I know, right? That’s what happens when I have four sugars in my coffee and there’s a big stick with the possibility of having a massage dangling on the end.

Then again, I guess that’s what this is for innit, it most definitely ain’t about false pretence and brave faces. I’ll say it’s been a rough one and leave it at that.

But where’s the good shit, Cas? Sod the impending doom, where’s the happy clappy shizz?

Don’t judge me.

Again, don’t judge me.

And yesterday, after a short and sweet email, a mini anxiety attack - the sort where I was pretty sure my heart and lungs were gonna fall out my arse, you’re welcome –  and a quick phone call, I’ve been given a weekly column in the local paper. In actual print. I’m certain someone’s made a mistake but I’m fucking running with it before the people in charge realise exactly what they’ve done. 600 words every Tuesday, I’m not allowed to swear and have to use, like, proper words and stuff.

Bloody bonkers.

@FeaturesDave – thank you for making my week. For real.

Feel free to add your link to the dooby-doo below, pop the badge on your blog post if you fancy it and try to comment on the other posts linking up so we can spread the happy vibes! And you can read what I’m going on about with all this “Small Things” waffle here.

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Divine Intervention

There’s an overwhelming sense that I’ve been here before, dozens of times if not more, I’ve thought the same things, answered the same questions, ignored the same phone calls and written the same words, again and again and again.

With the same certainty as the seasons changing or the phases of the moon; hopeless, veins full of paralysing indifference and a stomach weighed down with nightmarish despair to at least being able to pretend it’s OK, to smile and laugh and fool myself into thinking that it won’t return. Refusing to see the footprints, the whispers of unease, the moments that can’t be shrugged off as just feeling tired or hormonal.

And bam.

It’s back.

The next episode, bigger and better than ever before with Dolby surround sound and special FX. I watch it unfold in third person, unable to control what happens next and what’s said. I know the script from memory, but I’m not delivering the lines. Something else is, it’s running away from them, it’s ad-libbing with reckless abandon and all I can do is watch from the back on the cinema and scream for it to stop.

Frozen by thoughts of where I’d stab myself in the wrist. Would it even matter where? And what would I use? I know it won’t happen, I know we’ll cut to another scene before it gets that far, I’ll be sat in another waiting room, somewhere, desperately trying to remember how to behave in public and whether I’ve been taking those fat chalky pills. But I’m stuck, somewhere between here and there and all I can do is gaze at the three blue veins visible beneath the skin, two darker and one a shade of turquoise I’m sure would be called Summer Skies or some such bollocks on a Dulux paint chart.

Maybe I should Google it.

Where to do it, not the colour, obvs.

My mind wanders to the kitchen cupboard, full of pills, of his pain medication and I find myself curiously thinking how many I’d have to swallow before this pain goes away.

All the while the phone rings, another voicemail flashes on the screen and I wait. I wait for something to happen, for someone to step in and take me somewhere I’ve not been before because I don’t know how many more times I can watch the same episode and hear the same words delivered with the same tone of urgency and pity and “It’ll be OK, I promise.”

And while I wait, the screen fades to black.

All the Small Things #8

So erm… Yeah. I totally fell asleep on the sofa while under the guise of “thinking” about what to write for my Small Things post. All I know was that it was 11.30pm and now I’m back at my desk, somewhat bewildered at 6am and still none the bloody wiser.

I think it’s fair to say my All the Small Things will be somewhat tenuous this week. I’ll be more on the ball next week, or I’ll at least have some pretty photos for insurance purposes.

Apologies.

This week I shall being getting very sentimental about the fact Tuesdays are fast becoming my favourite day of the week as I can’t quite get over how supportive you lot are being over my slightly wayward linky. It’s a truly lovely thing. Anyway, enough about me, let’s get down to what you’re really here for… Let’s get linky! What’s been your Small Thing this week?

Feel free to add your link to the dooby-doo below, pop the badge on your blog post if you fancy it and try to comment on the other posts linking up so we can spread the happy vibes! And you can read what I’m going on about with all this “Small Things” waffle here.

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The One Where You Realise All Parents Are Dicks

Now first things first, don’t take it personally, I’m not calling you a dick.

OK, I am. But it’s OK, because to you, I’m a dick too.

We’re all dicks.

I spent this afternoon in a building the size of an aircraft hanger in the arse end of fucking nowhere rather dubiously named the Fun Factory for a birthday party. Which is fine, as long as you class the Hunger Games for under 10′s with added hysteria, plenty of padded foam so the little ones can give each other frontal lobe damage with and ridiculously marked up refreshments as erm, fun.

May the odds be ever in your favour, kiddo.

Yeah, it’s a soft play nightmare. Run by teenage staff that send daggers into your very soul while they serve you a thimbleful of shady latte that costs over two quid and you decide it’s probably wise to not ask whether they have any contraband booze under the counter.

There’s a vast seated area where spectators parents can sit and watch pandemonium unfold and judge whether their kid is winning or not. Occasionally throwing them a towel to mop up the sweat and / or blood, a drink that’s so brightly coloured it’s verging on neon and despite the advertisements, no piece of real fruit has ever been anywhere near. A quick shoulder rub, some fight talk whispered in their ear before slinging the little ones back in so they can get back to discussing the parking at Waitrose and complain that the Easter holidays are coming too quickly.

And that’s when the realisation crashes down around me.

All parents are dicks.

The parents of the birthday boy are dicks, as lovely as they are, because why, why would you spend hundreds and hundreds of actual British pounds on this hell on earth. Where you get unlimited jugs of squash for free and a visit from Leo the Lion, the shoddy soft play mascot, is just an added extra of £9.99! Yep. They’re dicks.

The dad who’s chosen to throw himself into the pit of fury with an army of ragamuffins trailing behind him, secretly plotting his demise, who keeps shouting from the netted tower – “Ange! Ange! ANGIE! LOOK!” while he displays his I’m fucking mental, me! inane grin while army crawling through a series of padded tunnels. He’s a dick.

The crowd of middle class parents, full of hopeless enthusiasm, ”Now, children, I know this isn’t like Centre Parcs but let’s try to have fun, shall we?” Dicks.

You my friend, over there, yes you, you’re a dick for naming your spawn that with absolutely no sense of irony.

The lady over there is a dick because she ordered cheesy chips and granted they probably cost her a fiver in this place but now I can’t order cheesy chips without the awkward “HAH! Oh I know! Yours just looked SO GOOD - I couldn’t resist!” *insert tragic nervous laugh* And if anything sullies a cheesy chip, it’s the sense that an entire table of adults who have nothing better to do are watching your every move. Dicks.

The mother who keeps trying to engage me in conversation to damn our kid’s teacher and form some kind of parental mutiny against her. Mega dick.

And the worst bit?

Realising I’ll be the almighty dick in three months when Bean breaks me down into handing over hundreds and hundreds of pounds for his birthday party in the house of all evil for two hours of screaming, florescent lighting and as much free squash as he can bloody well fit in his face.

 

International Women’s Day #lastingchange

This year has so far zoomed by with a flash of red and a buzz of excitement. Yes, that’s right, Team Honk is back, bigger and better than ever before. Storming through the country with Mr B the baton held proudly aloft by Mr Blobby, elephants, he’s been on boats, planes, trains and automobiles and even a fleet of mobility scooters.

Hundreds of bloggers plus their friends and families, all headed by some incredibly inspiring women in their own right, Annie, T & Penny. Who’ve not only managed the logistical nightmare of getting the baton from Lands End to John O’Groats in the Team Honk Relay but have sent out emails every single day for almost three months, spent over twelve hours a day on social media supporting the teams on their epic journeys and have been a constant source of tireless encouragement and never-ending determination for us all to do as much as we possibly can – for Comic Relief.

The ladies surprised us on Tuesday evening that they’d be flying out with Comic Relief to Tanzania, to coincide with International Women’s Day and see first hand all the lasting change that money raised by Comic Relief with help from projects such as the Gatsby Trust makes to so many lives and how far reaching that change really goes.

I received a digital postcard from T of a beautiful lady called Lucy. Here’s Lucy…

SAMSUNG CSC“Through mentoring and training the Gatsby Trust gave Lucy the confidence to develop her business and to network after moving from the countryside to the city, She is an inspirational creative who brought out so many beautiful, imaginative handcrafted items to show us. More than that she is a teacher and looks forward to expanding her business by training other women who want to start up craft and textile businesses.”

Not only has Lucy got the confidence and support to make a living for herself with her skills, she’s now passing it on to other women like her to make a huge difference and because of that, I reckon she’s totally inspirational and also very special.

So dear reader, please RT, share and support any updates you see with the #lastingchange hashtag. You can also help create #lastingchange yourself, right this second, by sponsoring #teamhonkrelay for Sport Relief.

If You’re Still Here

Dear Cas,

I don’t know how else to write this, because it’s just not something I can dress up with clever words and descriptive imagery, it’s just what it is. I get through the endless seconds and minutes by thinking to myself that it won’t be forever. I’m not referring to the current tantrum being thrown before me, or the rain, or the shit day that stretches in front of me all the way to the horizon and beyond. I mean this. Being here.

The thought of just thinking about it is too much, because it quickly turns into a ferocious whirlpool of it won’t be forever, I don’t want to be here, fuck - that’s so messed up, I know - but I don’t know how else to cope, I really don’t, you need help – seriously, I know I do - but how? My ribcage tightens. My head floats and floats until all I can do is stare and remember to breathe occasionally. My body begins to shake violently as I swim through a haze of shame and anger. Anger at myself. At all this time wasted and lost and totally gone forever, and all I have left is blurred memories where everything merges into one mass of chaos.

A monochrome painting, still wet to the touch on canvas, shaking hands, smearing the brushstrokes, until the black and white dissolves to grey.

I’m writing this because, well because unless I sit here and pretend you’re a real person, alive and reading this in 25 years, I can’t imagine how I’ll ever get there, to where you are now. I cannot picture the future. It’s just not there. I can’t commit to anything. An outburst, a breakdown, an attack or a bog standard world ending moment, can happen in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, and rather inconveniently, I cannot see them coming and they knock me sideways as much as anyone else unlucky enough to witness me crumbling into something I just don’t know or understand.

The other stuff that should be grounding me, making me see, giving me that purpose, that fight, just isn’t. It isn’t working. I wish every single day that they made me want to stay, more than anything else. But they don’t.

It’s perpetually behind me, right on top of me, whenever I have a moment of OKness, it’s hovering, telling me I’m being fake, that I’m mimicking how I think I should behave. That the words that come out of my mouth and through my fingers don’t mean anything more than what drifts through my head – absolutely nothing. It tells me that what I do or don’t do today doesn’t matter either way and that it won’t be forever.

And I need something, anything to believe that I’ll eventually be where you are now, in 25 years, hopefully with enough fortitude to read this and realise how far you’ve come because nothing else is working and I’m so tired of this constant carousel of making progress only to realise that not a single thing has changed at all. The meds, the talking and the nodding along to everything that they’re all saying to me.

So ya know, if you’re still here all the way in the future, a little sign would be good. A space postcard made from stardust or whatever you lot are using in 2039 would be good. Or a pet unicorn. Just something.

Your 26 year old self,

Cas

All the Small Things #7

Shit the bed, is it that time of the week already?!

Yes, I did just start this positivity fuelled post with the word shit. Soz.

I could go on about how shit is cleansing for the body and soul and blah blah blah, but I shan’t. Because that’s gross. And hugely innapropriate.

This is going horribly wrong.

The past week’s been a bit fraught, tbh. What with battling with anxiety attacks, everything breaking – again and a small boy who is making it known, very loudly, that he ain’t best pleased to be back at school because he’s absolutely knackered.

Which makes me very thankful to have this linky -  Screw you last week, have some Small Things in yo’ face. I’m sat here racking my grey matter for something, anything and pop!

There it is!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I can feel the tiniest glimmer of spring, timidly poking up it’s head above the parapet in the never-ending rain. It’s there. I promise. If you stay really still and stay very, very quiet you just might be lucky enough to see it too. The air seems clearer, as if someone’s played around with the exposure settings, the greens are just that little bit brighter and the flowers. Oh the flowers…

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My gorgeous and hugely talented friend Jenny from Cheetahs In My Shoes very kindly let me use these beautiful photos she took last week while she sat in wet grass. Just having a big pop of colour punch me between the eyes (in a good way, obvs) is the perfect antidote to the endless grey and brown.

Now. Your turn. What’s been your Small Thing this week?

Feel free to add your link to the dooby-doo below, pop the badge on your blog post if you fancy it and try to comment on the other posts linking up so we can spread the happy vibes! And you can read what I’m going on about with all this “Small Things” waffle here.

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All the Small Things #6

small things

Rewind, two weeks ago:

Oh shit. Half term. Three days left.

Crap. What the hell are we going to do?

What you always do; disappear into a pool of denial, make sure you have all the Toy Storys on the Sky Planner and pray for a miracle.

Now:

My small thing could be that despite my fears, and let’s face it, realistic view that half term would be an unmitigated disaster. Half termaggedon, if you will. What with Noah’s potent defiance mixed with sheer exhaustion, and my meds making me an emotional enigma, oh and the weather, there was no other outcome tbh.

I’m sat here a few hours after dropping him off at school, his first day back, his little body dragging in his PE kit, his lunch bag and book bag, in his newly polished shoes. I can’t help thinking… Was that it? The relief I was expecting to feel is nowhere to be found, instead I’m sad to see that it’s back to reality, with the 6pm bedtimes and missing my little boy.

That can’t be a small thing though can it? Cos I’m pretty sure having an OK, alright alright, a good half term, is a big deal.

We went out last week to the seafront, we walked miles and miles along the beach, stopping every so often to look at something new, listen to a new sound, discovering things together, Noah asking questions constantly and me only pretending to know the answers. My small things are all the things we found together. Oh. And the fact it didn’t piss it down until we were going home anyway.

atst8

atst9

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atst10

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atst7

yacht club

Please feel free to add your linky in the dooby-doo below, pop the badge on your blog post if you fancy it and try to comment on the other posts linking up so we can spread the happy vibes! And you can read what I’m going on about with all this “Small Things” waffle here.

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All the Small Things #5

1

I find it proper hard to be all in the moment. I’m forever worrying, panicking, fretting (they are all different, honestly) about something that’ll most likely never, ever happen. Or berating myself over something that did happen 15 years ago. And everything in between. Occasionally it’s a entire smorgasbord of different little anxieties, dancing around like dust motes in the sunlight, repeatedly hitting me where it hurts, ya know, if I’m lucky.

3

I don’t do present. I’m fucking ace at past and I’m getting better and better at future.

At the weekend, a mini perfect storm occurred right on my dining table. Some harsh winter sunshine, a bit of fiddling with my camera and a vase of fresh flowers, before I knew it I was here, now, taking photos, and the whispers from the past just weren’t there for a few minutes.

5

4

They ain’t wonderful, but they’re good enough for me.

Please feel free to add your linky in the dooby-doo below, pop the badge on your blog post if you fancy it and try to comment on the other posts linking up so we can spread the happy vibes! And you can read what I’m going on about with all this “Small Things” waffle here.

2

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