I have written and rewritten this post a thousand times and still don't know how to word it. What to say and what to not say, what to admit and not to admit and how I can possibly explain what has happened or put into words 27 years of trouble. But I really needed to write this prior to launching the new Chestnut Ridge site so all that positivity doesn't get caught up in lots of negativity.
The fact of the matter is the reason these things have always been kept hidden is because I have no desire to share them. I have hidden them from the world not out of some form of shame or embarassment but more out of a sense of not wanting people's pity but also out of a sense of wanting to protect those who are incredibly close to me and whome I love dearly from something really horrible. It's bad enough that I have to subject my immediate family to it, I really don't want to subject others to it as well.
Things haven't really changed, I have no real desire to publicly talk about it, suffice to say that I am not well. Some people know, and I've never hidden it from those who ask, but I have never really talked about it publicly because I don't want to and that hasn't changed. This is my battle and my journey, it is not a public spectacle and it does not help me to expose these things to the world around me.
Which begs the question of what really changed last June. For almost my entire life I have survived on work, I have worked so hard I don't have to think, I've worked so hard I've passed out. Prior to moving house I was working five jobs and studying. I didn't have to think, or to accept it. If I just kept working I would keep surviving. And then something changed, something broke inside me and I couldn't keep going any more. It was like the moment I stopped this demon inside that I had been fighting back through sheer will power since I was a child was let out, it took over and took control in a way it had never done before and now I can't hold it back. I can't fight it anymore, giving in and accepting it has been the hardest thing I've ever had to done. It's so easy to see me as having run away from my problems but actually for the first time in my life I ran towards them. In giving in I faced them head on and accepted how unwell I really am. I accepted this thing as a real living thing, I accepted that I was not superhuman, for the first time in my life I accepted that I was unwell.
But a whole life of pretending to be OK is hard to undo. It's hard to let other people see what is going on inside, I've always wanted to protect people around me and nothing has changed. I don't want to expose people to this. Please don't see me ignoring you as a sign I don't love or care about you, it is because I love and care about you that I've backed away.
Going forward I have no real desire to go back to using things like Facebook on a daily basis anymore. For two main reasons (1) It does not make me a good person, it makes a horrible nasty angry hateful person and that isn't who I am and (2) I don't want to become seriously unwell and have the option of exposing others to it. I want to protect people and I don't want to lose friends who I love and cherish. That said I am going to download messenger onto my phone again, because I miss people :( and I want to talk to people who don't have Instagram or WhatsApp. But please don't send me crappy spam messages, I will block you! Seriously I don't want 3am pings because you are sending a chain message...
I have enough sense to take myself away and I am lucky that I have a husband who recognises when I need to be taken away and close friends who work so hard to protect me.
I am well aware of my own limitations, I cannot leave the house alone, I have panic attacks in public, I can't cope with most things and am terrified of a public episode. I am terrified of myself and what I know I'm capable of. I'm so scared of hurting those around me or pushing them away. I know its going to be a long time before I can work again properly, I know that my business has to survive more as a hobby than a full time job and in a state where Brendon can manage things if I get sick. I am aware that choosing to go and do a PhD is probably not wise, but academia has always made me happy, it's always been my escape and I need that part of life back again.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has sent me messages. I think I have messaged most people back. Your messages have meant the world to me, I love you guys so much. I don't know where I would be without the friends I have made through this hobby, your support and love knows no bounds. You are incredible people and deserve so many hugs. I can't hug all of you in real life so please accept my virtual love and know that in messaging me you have given me hope. And if I see you at BMECS remind me I owe you a hug :)
I want to say thank you to Dani and the rest of the BMECS team who took my sudden departure so well (I'm totes replaceable :p). I love you guys xxx
I want to say thank you to Donna and Becky who both visited/allowed me to visit when I was sick. They allowed me to pretend to be normal for a few hours and forget what was going on. Also I got some pretty ponies and pretty ponies make me happy.
I want to say an incredibly special thank you to Laura who not for the first time has been my rock. She is an incredible person and a wonderful friend. She has messaged me so much random useless crap over the last few months but it has kept me grounded. She puts up with my shit and she really doesn't need to. She's an amazing person and no number of small plastic dinosaurs will say thank you enough for the support she has given me (and yes I do know every single piece of hobby news and gossip thanks to her).
Finally there is a very very special thank you to my incredible husband. He has stuck with me through so much shit. He has supported me in a way that nobody else could. He is there for me every single day and is the only one who can really help me fight the demons. He has cared for me when I'm seriously ill, dealt with literally everything on a practical level and supported me so much. I don't know where I would be without him. I don't know what I did to deserve him but I thank God everyday for his blessing, he is the most wonderful thing in my life and I know I could never repay what he has done to support me over the last few months.
I have come to accept that this is not a curse, it is just a part of who I am, yes one day this may kill me, it may harm me, it my hurt and the battle may be hard but I have faith that God would never give me a battle I cannot fight. Thank you to everyone who has given me so much love and support. I'm sorry that I have chosen to continue my partial isolation from the world but I'm sure it won't last for long once I'm tempted back into conversations and cute cat pictures and all those other dark things that seduce me to spend all day on Facebook when I really should be doing something productive with my life...
Finally I am going to make three promises:
(1) I'll set my Instagram to share to Facebook again (btw I now have a personal Instagram as well which is @catriona_harris and has images of Caesar on...)
(2) I will download messenger again and respond to people's messages
(3) I will check Facebook once a day, respond to some stuff and I promise to share at least one picture of a cute animal a day. Because I know you guys miss Caesar and Brandy far more than you miss me!
Doing this does not mean I am better. It does not mean I am well and it does not mean it will continue. If I choose to disappear again that is my choice, but trust that it was made for very good reasons and it is to protect others not because I'm being selfish, attention seeking or running away from anything. It is because I love everyone so much I choose to do this, not for any other reason. I will never win this battle, I simply have to accept that this is who I am and be grateful for what I do have and that I have so much support and love. I don't know whether this post makes sense or whether it really explains things, but it is the best I can offer people. It is the best my brain can come up with right now. I am going to put it as a Blog post so that I can share it in various groups which contain people to whom I owe some form of explanation and probably a huge apology.
All my love, hugs and kisses
P.S. Here is a bit of eye candy for you :) My beautiful new RubberNedz Circus Horse.