The creation of a charity, from the very beginning.
The last weekend of January, ten days after the diagnosis, I was supposed to go to Bratislava with University friends but I just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t the shock that stopped me but rather the fact that I couldn’t leave Mum’s side. I was terrified. Even at home, if she went in to a different room for a few seconds I felt overcome with panic. I couldn’t let her out of my site.
When I look back, I think it was a combination of knowing that every moment was precious but also the acute awareness that death was around every corner. Not that I could mention death. I couldn’t even say the word. All I knew was that if Mum was here with me, right now, in this moment, then everything would be okay.
That Saturday, I had to leave her for the first time. My notes from that day are a little garbled and written as if addressing an audience. I’m not sure why I wrote it like that. Reading it back to myself, I get so annoyed that I managed to turn Mum’s illness in to my problem but I recognize now that it marked the start of me failing to cope and slowly falling apart:
“The non-suicide attempt, 26th January 2013.
Ten days after Mum’s diagnosis, I was coping well but not great. Tired, drained, exhausted.
I went for lunch time drinks with my friends. My first contact with other people. I still had no appetite so I decided upon just drinking Sangria. It is fruit juice after all.
The lunch was to say goodbye to my best friend who was leaving to live abroad. She had planned to leave months ago. She feels guilty for going. I’d feel guilty if she stayed. I’m happy for her.
Went home and took two sleeping pills as I just wanted to go to sleep. Maybe two pills. Maybe three. It was 7pm. I wasn’t thinking straight- genuinely.
Mum came in to my room about 10pm and found me making very little sense- which isn’t totally out of the ordinary- but when she realized I hadn’t eaten, she knew something was wrong. You can always judge a northern girl’s mood by her stomach. Long story short, I found myself in hospital four hours later trying to convince my Mum, Dad and sleep-deprived Doctor that I hadn’t tried to commit suicide.
The Doctor kept looking at me with such pity and every answer I gave made him more convinced that I’d tried to end it all with a bottle of sangria and a couple of sleeping pills.
How very Bell Jar.
I hope I go out with a bit more of a bang than that.”
To be continued…