The Mercurial Whirlwind..

*Content warning – suicide

On Monday 19th February it was eleven years since my Dad phoned me early one evening to tell me that my younger sister Mary had died. She was 35.

You hear people say things like “I knew it was bad news when the phone rang” but I genuinely went cold on the first ring – I’ve no idea how to explain it, but I swear I somehow knew it was really bad news about Mel.
Unfortunately she had ended her own life. I could speculate for hours (and did initially) on exactly why, but it serves no purpose. The simple truth is that at that moment in time she needed to stop. Undiagnosed depression certainly impacted her actions.
But that was how she ended, it wasn’t who she was. I’m not sure I have the words to capture the mercurial whirlwind that was my little sister. No one else has ever made me laugh (or cry) so hard. She was beautiful, funny, kind, generous, quixotic. She was also stubborn, defensive, argumentative and had a flash temper that raged white hot then just as quickly was gone.

She’d unexpectedly turn that megawatt smile on you and you had no choice but to grin back.

As kids we fought so much, but had each others back, always. I have loads of fabulous memories, good and bad, and that’s how it should be, saintly she wasn’t!

I remember at the time she died being unexpectedly angry with her, simply because we were supposed to grow old together. Losing her was hard, but it was almost as tough dealing with the loss of both past and future memories.

There is no-one else who remembers how to play “mummies, daddies & little darlings”, who knows how you had to step over the second floorboard from the bathroom door because it creaked so loudly, who swears she saw a ghost in our kitchen, who could play connect four for hours, who can remind me how I taught her all the basic swear words after she begged me to! Who was my partner in crime on teenage hair and makeup, and my best friend even when we ‘hated’ each other.

It’s like I lost some of the vibrancy from my past memories when she died, they’re still there, but without her to help me take them out and polish them or argue over them they’ve faded.

Of course we should also already have another eleven years of adult sisterhood to mull over. But she’ll never make a new memory in this life, as much as I carry her with me always.

There’s simply a Mel shaped hole missing from the second half of my life.

So I want to use this post to let anyone who is feeling like they want to stop know they are not alone. You are worthwhile, you are seen, you are loved. This really will pass, so please reach out for support in whatever form feels comfortable. I promise help is out there.

UK & ROI Samaritans – 116 123

USA – Lifeline Chat – 1-800-273-8255.

Australia – Lifeline – 13-11-14

Canada – The Canada Suicide Prevention Service – 1-833-456-4566

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The Loss of Me

The weather is matching my mood this morning.  It’s dark and raining heavily and the wind is howling.  Much like inside my head today.

I occasionally get melancholic, it doesn’t last for long but it was here to greet me when I woke up this morning and it will probably stick around for the day.

I just feel a little overwhelmed.  I know this will pass, that it’s actually part of my mental process, I sometimes deal with things by diving into the sadness then finding the positives as my way out.

I know this has been brought on by RA, and the impact it’s currently having on my life.  It’s fair to say the last time I went through this much of a life change I was getting divorced.  And I wanted that!

What makes this harder is that I’m not feeling in control, RA is.  That’s very hard for me.  In simple terms RA impacts my health; impacts my ability to work; impacts my finances; impacts my accommodation; etc, you get the the picture.

I am currently under notice on my rental home, that makes this very real.  But it’s not about bricks and mortar, it’s about loss and grieving.  It’s very likely RA will impact on the rest of my life, as an independent female that grates a lot.

It has already taken my previous pain free existence, my social life, my enjoyment of silly alcoholic drinks on occasion, smoking (not a bad thing),  my gym membership, my working routine, my enjoyment in driving, and my enjoyment in cooking.  It’s also taken away my ability to employ a cleaner which frankly is a disaster!

Will I overcome these losses? Of course.  I will learn to find alternative things to fill my life, learn hacks to make things like cooking easier, learn to turn the losses into positives and make that climb back to ‘normal’.

But today, today I’m grieving and I’m ok with that.