I sat in my seat on the train yesterday, looking out of the window. As the scenery raced by, my mind wandered. From time to time, I’d catch my own reflection in the glass, looking back blankly at me.
My son sat opposite, in his own wee world, earphones in, eyes closed, listening to whatever tosh he claims is music… that’s beside the point though.
This time last year, I was beginning to fall apart at the seams. There was trouble with the boy’s school, issues with his weight and behaviour as well; I was suffering with some health problems too that I don’t want to go into (my waterworks are fine, that’s the main thing) and there was the doom and gloom of financial worries hanging over me as well. Add to this my parents health also suffering a bit, and just some general isolation problems, and what I didn’t realise at the time was a crumbling relationship and it’s a lot to deal with.
I didn’t cope well. I retreated into myself. I blamed myself, cursed myself for everything that was going wrong. It was my fault, all of it. No matter what, my psyche had convinced me that I was wrong, and bad, and a horrible person.
Of course, I carried on as normal the best I could. I put on the smile, and the brave face, and the act that everything was hunky dory. That would be my downfall, as when things did crumble, it looked for all the world like it happened overnight because I seemed fine.
A year ago, I would have looked at my reflection in that glass, and closed my eyes to avoid it. I would have sighed at the sight of myself. I wasn’t happy, or comfortable with who I was. I convinced myself that I was the lowest of the low, and that I was “punching above my weight” in everything I did.
Things came to a head over the next few months. By November, I was single. I was seeking help for my health problems, physical and mental.
Before I got that help, something changed in me. Maybe I reached rock bottom (the anxiety attack I suffered at a gig in Glasgow will stay in my memory forever) and levelled out? I don’t know. My mindset changed. My attitude lifted. I wasn’t prepared to play the victim any more – to anyone else, or to my own mind.
Some of the troubles cleared – the school problems were cleared; my son’s health improved, and changes to his care made things a little easier. The financial problems, didn’t go away, but did clear and have stayed clear. My parents health cleared too, as did mine. All those things easing off slightly made such a difference.
I stopped fighting my moods; letting them go rather than keeping them with me. I learnt that it’s fine to have a bad day, or a bad mood – it’s letting go of that and starting afresh the next day that counts.
I figured that maybe I wasn’t such a bad person after all. The relationship I had falling apart wasn’t totally my doing, and it wasn’t something “I deserved” for being a bad person. Shit happens. Deal with it, move on, move up and keep going. I stopped trying to be someone I wasn’t.
I may not be totally fixed – is anyone ever? – but for the first time in a long, long time – I’m happy with myself. I’m happy with who I am, and how I cope with things. I’m happy within myself. I feel brighter, happier, more like… myself than I have in years, maybe even ever.
On this journey, when I caught sight of my reflection? I smiled. I was content. The face looking back was someone I could live with. Sometimes, that’s all you need…