What messes you up the most is the picture in your head of how it’s supposed to be.

Summer 2020.

The year that the summer holidays were meant to be the best.

Treatment was due to be over, PICC line out and I was determined to have as much fun as possible to make up for the last 9 months.

But in reality, it doesn’t work out like that. It never does. Things very rarely go as you planned, especially when you put so much pressure on yourself to achieve it.

I felt as if I had something to prove almost, not to anyone else but to myself. I felt like I had let them all down with this disaster of a year and wanted to make it up to them.

This resulted in me nearly having a breakdown last week. Ironically, I have never felt so low.

This summer in reality has been more tests than we’ve had since January, the uncertainty of potential blood transfusions, another call from the cardiologist asking to see him because something has shown up in his last echocardiogram. It’s been a mixture of relief, guilt, anger, sadness.

Someone close to me last week helped me verbalise why I am feeling this way.

Imagine you are at a Theme Park. You queue up for the biggest, scariest ride. You know it’s going to make you shit your pants but you are already in the queue so you have no choice other than to ride it. You build yourself up with all of these emotions, you are terrified but pretend to act cool like you’ve got your shit together. You can’t back out as the queue is one way, so you have to just carry on. As you get closer, the fear intensifies. The ride itself goes relatively quickly… you just go through the motions and accept it for what it is. As long as there are no complications that is. Then once the ride has finished, you get off. Back to the same place you were before, but with a tonne of emotions and adrenaline rushing through your body. You try to walk but your legs feel like jelly and you’re heart is pounding. That’s where I am.

During last week, when I was already feeling low, someone from my past contacted me. I was told that I was a joke plastering my life all over social media. I was told that Ellis would grow up embarrassed by me because I share his life.

That sat with me for a few days, eating me up inside.

It made me really question everything. Was he right? Was I bad Mum? It very nearly was the straw that broke the camels back. I nearly deleted all my blogs and social media thinking he was right when he said everyone is laughing at me.

I spoke to Ellis about it. He reads all my blogs anyway so knows what I share. I have never shared the intimate details, it has always been my account of what has happened. He looked at me and said “He’s not even important, just ignore him. I don’t know why you even reply.”

He is right. As always. This man, a man who hasn’t been in my life for 13 years, his opinion actually didn’t matter. Pretty sad to think that after so long he still sees satisfaction in trying to bring me down. Why anyone would take pleasure in tearing someone down is something I will never understand, especially when its very clear that they are already struggling. But last week, I was doing more damage to myself than you ever could, so nice try.

But I am worth more than some random mans opinion.

My kids are proud of me, my family and friends are proud of me. It took his comments to make me sort myself out.

My blogs have been read over 11,000 times worldwide.

Not that I have to justify myself to anyone. Especially a sad lonely man with anger issues.

I don’t seek validity in others anymore, I make sure that I am true to myself. If you don’t like me, don’t talk to me. It’s simple. But I will never change based on someones opinion.

I am slowly learning to be honest with people too. We had a great day Saturday with a picnic to celebrate Ellis’ 13th birthday and his end of treatment. So many amazing people came to celebrate with us, it was very humbling.

I was asked by lots how I was and I answered honestly. Im not great, I am struggling, but I’m getting there.

What I have learnt this summer is that things take time. You can’t box feelings up in a neatly organised time frame. Feelings fluctuate, one day I feel on top of the world, the next I am googling self admission to mental homes because I feel like I am losing my shit.

We all paint this ideal picture in our heads about how life should be. When we meet someone new it’s always the same questions. Are you married? What job do you do? Do you drive? We suss each other out based on a made up scale of success that is rooted deeply in our society.

But when was the last time you asked someone if they are happy? Surely that’s a much more accurate scale of success?

To be happy in life is successful.

To be successful is not necessarily happy.

Think about it.




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