The Art of Getting Lost

Eighteen months ago I found myself sat in the middle of a street, crying my eyes out & having a panic attack. These had happened for as long as I can remember whenever I got lost. I think it was part of the depression because as a teenager I would go all over to music concerts, to see penpals with only a vague idea of where I was heading with no cares in the world. Then at some point it all changed.

After reading Feel the Fear and do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers (self explanatory) and F**k It by John C Parkin I’ve done a fair bit of work on myself in regards to letting go and achieving all the things I want in life.To be honest I’ve done so much work there’s not many things left to deal with but the weird fear of getting lost was a biggie. I’m not even sure what I was afraid of – thanks to google maps you’ll always find your way eventually. I think it’s more a case of not being in control.

You can’t exactly feel the fear and do it anyway with getting lost. Why would you deliberately put yourself in that position. But in a way I did. As part of my new job I have had to travel (by bus and walking, I don’t drive) to various charities and homeless shelters across the city most of which I’ve never been before. I’ve got my map print out but as I have no sense of direction the inevitable has happened and I’ve wandered off target.

The first time I got upset but determined not to panic. Instead I made a joke on Facebook. And wow bye bye fear just like that. People laughed, we made jokes back at the office and the next time it happened I just laughed and shared again. I’ve managed to get loset about 6 times over the last 2 months and you know what it’s fine. I’m The Girl Who Gets Lost (and then jokes about it) but it’s much better than being the girl who can’t-breath-for-crying-too-much.

Demons can be beat, you just need to find their weakness.

A Child of Alcoholism

I knew it was too good to be true. This year started off as such a positive with a job I love, my finances finally in a good place and lots to look forward to. My inner pessimist was just waiting for something to come along and ruin it but even with my imagination I never pictured the events of the last week.

I was at a recruitment event minding my own business when in walks one of my long lost half sisters (and her mum) who I haven’t seen in about 10 years. I’ve not really had much to do with that side of the family and have seen them only now and again. But I went to say hello and have a little catch up intending to arrange a real meeting at a more appropriate time. So there we were catching up: who’s getting married, who’s divorced, how many kids do we each have etc etc etc and then her mum says “Oh you know your dad is dead don’t  you?” ……………………………….

Er no actually I didn’t.

I barely knew my natural father. He was a heavy drinker before I was born (nearly 42 years ago) turning into alcoholism over time and he could never hold down a relationship or a job and I ended up calling someone else “dad”. He would enter your life for a while but then drift back out again as the drink took hold. But still to find out he’d died was a huge shock and still distressing, no matter how estranged this is the guy that created me.

But the worst of the tale is he died alone of liver disease two years as a result of the drink having alienated all of his friends and the rest of his family. Only one person went to his funeral and that was the half-sister I bumped into and she kind of went by default only finding out she was next of kin on his death. I don’t know who I feel sorry for the most; him for being all alone or her for having to plan to attend on her own.

I can’t imagine dying alone. I have a difference of opinion to my mother who believes we all die alone but to me you may die in your house with no one around but if you die on your own in your house knowing that you are loved then you’re not truly alone. To die on your own in a flat knowing that no one will mourn you is one of the saddest things to me.

I’m not sure how I feel now. I’ve been through the run of emotions: devastation knowing he won’t randomly appear ever again, anger that someone could choose alcohol over family, confusion as well over the same thing. I accept it’s a disease but it’s one I don’t understand. I even went through a weird phase of being angry at alcohol for luring him in like it did.

It’s been a few weeks where I’m grateful for all the pebbles of support I mentioned in a previous post. As exhausting as it’s been talking and grieving this is the first major issue (work stress of last year pales into insignificance now) I’ve had to face since my breakdown in 2010 and I can see how far I’ve come. I used to bury these things and say everything was fine or just simply not talk. This time I’ve talked to everyone and I feel better for it although I do need to learn not to apologise to people for needing to talk. Having a sense of humour helps too. I’ve laughed a lot in between the tears and that has helped too.

But to try and see a positive I’ve swapped phone numbers with the half-sister and we’ve promised to meet up and see if we can forge a relationship however late in the day. I don’t know if you can just say don’t let go of people however badly their behaviour because you never know when you may lose them but maybe if we have people with issues maybe we can all research and learn a little more and try and understand. If it saves at least one person it’s worth it