Fanfiction…

Growing up writing was one of my passions. It was a form of escapism from my reality, to create stories to play out in my mind and put those images to paper. But as an adult, with a job and responsibilities, finding the time to sit and write something got harder. During this time away from work I realised just how long it had been since I wrote something. So to wake up my writer instincts I started on a short piece of fan fiction, a section of the popular Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy told from the perspective of a side character Taylor.

 

In all the years I have worked here I had never seen anything like this. The things I have seen here. Insurmountable wealth, relationships with terms and conditions, a room of pain, but none of it shocked me as much as the sight before me now. My boss sitting on the floor next to the elevator, head held in his hands.

“Miss Steele is home, Mr Grey.”

“How was she?” He asks feigning dispassion but his grey eyes betray him. I remember Ana’s tear stained face in the rear-view, body convulsing from her silent sobs.

“Upset sir,” is all I can say. For a few seconds he just stares, lost in emotions that I doubt he’s ever experienced before, then he nods silently dismissing me.

Christian Grey may be a lot of things. A billionaire CEO, a domineering sadistic megalomaniac, but today all I see is a broken man.

 

Back in my office I turn my attention to Leila Williams. Scanning through the security footage for the fourth time searching for a missed detail, something to explain how she got past the security. I feel my body stiffen as I watch her appear in the kitchen just metres from Gale, knife in hand. I hit the power button plunging the image into darkness unable to bear the terror in Gale’s eyes, like a deer caught in the headlights. She wasn’t safe. And it was my fault. The buzzing of my cellphone against the desk distracts me.

“Mr Grey?”

“I need some modelling glue.”

I pause for a moment intrigued. “For what sort of model, sir?”

“A model glider.”

Where did he get a model glider? Of course, Anastasia.

 “Balsa wood or plastic?”  I ask riffling through the drawer.

“Plastic.”

“I have some. I’ll bring it down now, sir.”

 

I knock on the heavy oak door of his study and wait for his response before entering.

“Why do you have this?” He asks as I place the small plastic container on his desk.

“I build the odd plane. Flying was my first love, sir.” I can feel a small smile lifting up the corner of my mouth as I recall childhood memories of flying, dreams of joining the Air Force. He just stares at me, confused by my statement.

“Colour-blind,” I say by way of an explanation.

He nods signalling he understands. “Thank you for this.”

I glance out the huge windows that look out over Seattle and notice the orange sun hanging low in the sky.

“No problem, Mr Grey. Have you eaten?” He stares at me both surprised and annoyed by my concern.

“I’m not hungry, Taylor. Please go, enjoy the afternoon with your daughter. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Sir.” I nod heading for the door. Pausing for a few seconds in the doorway I look back watching him completely engrossed in carefully arranging the pieces of plastic, as if he were trying to piece together his heart.

 

When the alarm sounds at 6am I feel too exhausted to move. His nightmares Ana kept at bay are back with a vengeance, filling the night with desperate screams and haunting piano melodies. In just a few weeks she’d had such a profound effect on him.

A reminder pops into my mind in flashing neon lights. Today Gail was back from her sisters. I hadn’t set eyes on her since Grey’s decision to follow Ana to Savannah. The decision that had left Gail here alone. Suddenly I’m anxious to be near her.

 

Spotting Mr Grey heading into the kitchen I wait behind the corner out of sight, eavesdropping like a child. The sound of her gentle voice like music to my ears.

“Good morning, Mr Grey.”

“Hi, Gail. How are you feeling?” I hear him ask, voice strained from fatigue.

“I’m good, Mr Grey. It was just a shock.”

“Thank you for not involving the police.”

“The police are not what that girl needs. She needs help.”

Gail is right. She does need help. My mind flashes back to when he first met Leila. She was lively, mischievous, so different from the desperate broken girl on the CCTV.

“What would you like for breakfast, sir?”

“Just coffee, Gail.”

Still not eating, like a dog pining for its owner.

“Sir, you didn’t eat dinner last night. Maybe you are coming down with something?”

“Gail, just coffee. Please.” His impatient tone brings the conversation to a halt and a few moments later he is retreating to his office.

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Depression Doesn’t Stay Home When You Go To Work..

Tired all the time. Interacting with colleagues is an enormous effort. You keep headphones on in the hopes no one will talk to you. Deadlines don’t hold any motivation for you. Trips to the toilets to let out a few tears. You are late most days. Lunch breaks, what’s the point.

This is what it is like, working during a depressive episode. Recently this has been my life. And although I am ashamed of it, I reached breaking point and my Doctor has signed me off work for 2 weeks. I feel guilty at home in the sunshine, but I keep reminding myself I need this time to step back from everything and try to get myself into a better place mentally. I often feel so much like I’m juggling everything. Supporting my partner through his illness, looking after my nan with dementia, holding down a job, the never-ending list of housework, looking for a place I can rent. And sooner or later you drop everything.

To be honest with you guys. I hate my job. When I started I loved it, but 2 years later everyone I liked has left, it’s become a place where I have no friendly faces. Every year is more and more boring work for no more money. I thought in the NHS I could make a difference, but I can’t. No recognition, no appreciation. I feel worthless, underestimated. And these 2 weeks have become a countdown until I’m back there.

Guilt & Blame

This week was my Kitty’s annual check up and vaccinations. She really hates the vets so luckily she’s always been healthy, but during this appointment something was not right.

Her front fangs have always been too big for her mouth, which I think is adorable! And I had never had any signs it was impacting her eating or causing her any pain. So I was surprised to be told her gums had become infected, the tooth root was exposed and it needed to be extracted ASAP!!

Being a tad untrusting I got a second opinion. And while one fang might be savable with daily mouthwash treatment, the other was too far gone.

Being the highly emotional human I am I went home and cried my eyes out. The idea of her going through surgery, of it impacting her eating and playing. Everyone around me couldn’t understand. It’s only a tooth, people and animals have them removed all the time.

I’ve raised my little fur baby since kitten and she means the world to me but I suddenly felt like a terrible owner. Why didn’t I know it was infected. Sure she hates having her mouth examined and our attempts at teeth cleaning failed but I should have tried harder. Was it something in her food? Did I give her too many treats? Were there signs I missed? My mind kept cycling, convincing me it was all my fault.

When people think of mental illness they think depression, mania. But emotions like guilt can be just as hard to deal with for us. Mental illness affects all elements of my life, and it can only take something small to trigger an episode.

Loving Someone With A Chronic Illness..

Hi everyone!

I’ve just returned from the beautiful city of Amsterdam where me & my man were celebrating our anniversary 🙂 I still cannot believe it has been a year already!

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So I have spoken a lot about my own struggles with my mental health, but being in a relationship with someone who has their own illness has been a whole different challenge. Today I want to talk about loving someone with a chronic illness.

1.Plans will change

One thing you can count on is things will change at a moments notice. You could have planned a day out, then when the day comes they just aren’t well enough. For me change is difficult to deal with so this is a big challenge. But one way to manage it is always have more than one plan. Plan to go walk around a castle 3 hour away, but also plan something closer to home. That way if they are having a bad day then you have a plan B.

2.Memories matter

When you are having a good day together, take photos, collect receipts and tickets. It seems like such a small thing, but when they are stuck in a flare up and thinking f**k my life those memories are the proof of all the fun you have had together and a reminder that it won’t always be sucky.

3.It gets emotional

I’m not going to lie watching someone you love in pain and not being able to help them is one of the worst feelings. If like me you struggle with depression anyway it can be a real struggle not to drown in your emotions. But try to remember it isn’t going to help them. Seeing you upset is probably only going to make them feel bad.

4.Being their rock…whilst taking care of you

Being there for them is super important. Living with a chronic illness is physically and emotionally draining and having a strong support system makes all the difference. That said it’s important to look after you, especially if you have a mental illness to contend with! If you aren’t careful you’ll drain yourself and have no energy left when you need it.

5.You aren’t like other couples

It is easy to look at other ‘normal’ couples and notice how different your relationship is. Yes things are not as easy for you, maybe you cannot do all the things others can, but you are a stronger couple. You enjoy the good days so much more when they aren’t guaranteed. You know each others bodies and minds, you can read them without the need for words. Their illness is a part of them, but it does not define them.

 

 

 

 

No Place Like Home..

At the end of a long day all most of us want is to go home. But what do you do when you don’t have a place to call home?

Those of you who followed my blog from its infantcy will have known I lived with my mother after my brother went to university. Now he’s gone and got his expensive piece of paper he moves back here to join the hoards of unemployed postgrads. As most siblings we do not get on. He has such a negative impact on my mental health and self esteem. And after a series of dramatic family arguments I wound up here. Living in my car. Sofa surfing between what few friends I have. And understandably my mental health is suffering. Each day becomes a struggle to just get through work. Thank God I still have a job. When I think about all those living on the streets with nothing it makes me realise hey it could be so much worse. This situation is temporary.

This week I am facing up to the realisation I will have to start viewing bedsits I can afford to rent. I will have to live by myself for the first time and deal with the anxiety that will no doubt follow. But this will be a good thing.

Gone in a puff of smoke..

One thing I had always been sure of was that I never wanted to date someone who smoked. So it was a shock to myself that I fell for someone who not only smoked tobacco but other substances as well.

When I met him he was in chronic pain most days, smoking helped relax his body and ease the constant pain. Could I blame him? If I was in pain and found something that would give me a small respite surely I would take it too.

After the surgery I had been sure without the need for constantly pain relief he would stop, and for a while he did. But as time passed I saw him slip back into old habits. We argued. Every time I spoke to him about quitting he would accuse me of trying to control him. Soon I started to realise I was wrong, he wasn’t going to stop. I thought about our future, living together in a home full of smoke that clung to everything. My asthma worsening. Me years later, belly swollen with our baby, breathing it in.

An impossible decision. The man I love, or the life I dreamed of. What did it say about his love for me, that he wouldn’t give this up for us. It gave him a high that my love could never compete with. It gave me a list of songs I can’t listen to. Sore eyes and wet pillows. It broke both our hearts.

Bad At Love..

Love isn’t easy. And when you are living with Bipolar II love is god damn hard.

For me feeling emotions so intensely is both a blessing and a curse. Falling in love is a beautiful euphoria, but for someone who has known so much pain and darkness, that feeling is addictive. I crave it, more than food more than the sweet release of alcohol poisoning my veins. It’s absence like the crippling withdrawals of a heroin addictive. I can love fiercely, but like a forest fire it burns consuming everything until I don’t know who I am anymore.

Someone once told me nothing ruins happiness like the images we create in our minds. Somehow my mind is capable of creating intricate pictures of exactly how things should be. The problem being I am the only one who can see them! 

If I have learnt anything through my mental health journey, it’s that I am not easy to love. I have crippling depressions and crazy mania that cause me to push people away. I get anxious, and insecure and paranoid and no matter what there is always a part of me that thinks you will cheat. I am stubborn as hell and more complicated than algebra. 

Even in my current relationship I cause arguments all the time, I can’t stand disappointment or changes and I overthink all the time worrying we aren’t right for each other. But I keep trying to remind myself that while we don’t like all the same things, while there are little things about each other that annoy the hell out of us, we love each other without conditions. We learn to compromise and grow together. And no one has ever treated me like he does, like he would move the moon to make me smile. Everytime I push him away he comes back with understanding and love. And really that’s all that matters isn’t it. 

I am not good at love, but I want to be. So if anyone has any words of wisdom on managing a relationship with a mental illness please feel free to share in the comments 🙂