When ‘I’llness Becomes ‘We’llness

When ‘I’llness Becomes ‘We’llness

This morning as I was driving to an appointment in Dorchester, I was listening to Chris Evans’ Breakfast Show and, as always, at around 9.25am ‘Pause for Thought’ came on. It usually resonates with me but this morning it did so more than usual.

Reverend Sharon Grenham Thompson was speaking about one of our biggest fears in this day and age. Being a failure. In a world where success is so much more prominent (likely down to social media and the internet in my honest opinion), failure has never been more obvious. She explained that she found herself on a psychiatric ward being treated for depression. She lost a number of friends and family but also during that time she had wonderful gestures of friendship and kindness. The kindness of strangers who accepted her for who she was. She said:

Just this week I read that, if you replace ‘I’ with ‘We’ then illness becomes wellness.

Since the failure of our treatment back on 22nd March 2016, I have been in a really low place. Lower than I can remember in a long time. But I felt that I shouldn’t be there. That I should ‘nut up’ and get on with it. What did I have to be low about? What did I have have to complain about? I have a freelance job, no commute, a gorgeous daughter and a kind, loving fiance. How on earth could I be unhappy? Sometimes though, there is no explaining how you come to feel the way you do. 

I haven’t wanted to go out or see anyone. I haven’t really wanted to communicate with anyone and I have only vlogged twice since we found out I wasn’t pregnant. I have been self-concious – not liking who I am or the way I looked. I haven’t felt like putting on make-up or being happy or enjoying life…even though I was trying so hard to be that person. If I am honest I have not really felt ‘well’ or the me I was since our first miscarriage way back in October 2013. The vivacious person I had become since I had left Grace’s father had all but up and left. 

Back then, I was happy. I was always laughing and full of energy. I was happy to exercise and spend time with Grace and Ross. I felt that everything in life was going my way. Exactly how I wanted it. Everything was under control. Until it wasn’t.

If I now look back at the last two and a half years I can see the rollercoaster I have been on. The first miscarriage, followed by the ectopic pregnancy the next year, followed by the court action taken by Grace’s father last year, followed by the excitement of the egg donor treatment at the end of that year followed by the failure of us not getting pregnant this year. 

In all of this though, there are a number of things that have kept me going. Other people. That is where the ‘we’ comes in. This is what has stopped me continuing into the mire and that is what is helping me to get out of the pit of despair. 

Firstly, there are the words of support and encouragement. Mainly here, on my blog and over on my Conception Diary vlogs. Then there are the ones who have messaged me privately. Who have shared their stories with me, helped me to see that I am not the only one. Helped me to see that being low is justified and you aren’t just ‘being silly’. 

There are other women all of whom have shared their situations. This has helped me see that there is a way through. People like Helen from Actually Mummy, Suzanne from 3 Children and It, Anya from Older Single Mum, Becky from Diary of a Fat Bottomed Girl and many, many others who are getting through difficult times each and every day.

Anya wrote an article at just the right time for me. She helped me realise that I did have a right to carry on trying for this baby. I turn 45 in less than two weeks but it is circumstance that has brought me to where I am now. Ross and I are right for each other and he is prepared to stick with me through all of this. There have been a number of times where I have said to him that I don’t understand why he doesn’t go and find a younger woman to have a baby with. He doesn’t want to. He wants to be with me. It is ‘we’ not ‘I’.

Smallest Acts quote

Finally, the biggest rocks of all are my family. Ross and Grace. They love me, they take the mickey out of me, they are there for each other and they are there for me, and, even though I have felt like I am on the sidelines, the ‘ostracised one’, they have never stopped trying. We are together through all of this. 

I am pleased to say that things are starting to improve. For the first time in forever, I got ready to go out on Saturday night and I was actually looking forward to it. I put on a full face of make-up and enjoyed choosing something to wear. I had a great time. It didn’t stop there. On Sunday I enjoyed doing some gardening and then yesterday, whilst Ross was out on business, I picked up Grace and we had fun together. Real, proper fun. She baked and I helped, she played the piano to me, we watched one of our tv shows with dinner and she asked me to come and sit in the bathroom whilst she had a bath so we could chat. And I did. And it was good.

I know that this is going to take time but WE know I am going to be just fine. Because sometimes the smallest acts can give someone the strength to carry on.

And then the fun began...
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  1. May 22, 2016 / 10:15 pm

    So sorry you are having such a hard time, but at least you have a great man standing alongside you changing that I to we xxx

  2. May 16, 2016 / 11:43 am

    Such beautiful words Vic. I remember the fears and hopes trying to have children as an older mother and angry when I was called a geriatric. We’re here for you xxx

  3. May 15, 2016 / 12:26 pm

    A beautiful and honest post. You’ve been through so much over the past couple of years that it’s only human that you have felt despondent at times and that it takes time to regain an even keel. But, as you say, one of the great things about the blogging community is the ability to share problems and know that there are people out there who will listen sympathetically without passing judgement.

    • May 16, 2016 / 12:00 pm

      Thank you so much Tim, I really appreciate your words of support 🙂
      Victoria recently posted..Sights in FlightMy Profile

  4. May 14, 2016 / 12:17 pm

    This is a beautiful post. I think you should definitely write something on this theme and submit to The Mighty!

  5. May 12, 2016 / 11:56 am

    I admire your strength, Victoria, I truly do. I know what it’s like to shoulder pain so big it overwhelms you, but this sentiment of going from I to We is a great reminder that no one can truly do it alone. Whether it’s pain or joy–nothing is worthy of going through without help from others, and like you said: every little bit helps. Thank you for being so transparent and honest with this piece. Hoping that some way, some how you’ll get your wish will come true soon.

    • May 12, 2016 / 9:09 pm

      Thank you so much Maria. I am getting stronger right now so it really helps – but you don’t realise how much certain people mean to you until difficulty strikes. I really appreciate your supportive comment xx
      Victoria recently posted..Prose for Thought Thursday 12th May 2016My Profile

  6. May 11, 2016 / 11:08 am

    Awww, have just seen this as I hadn’t got around to my inbox for a while… happy to hear you turned a corner, sorry that you were feeling so low, but you have every right to be feeling the way you are. I think 99% of people understand that and you shouldn’t care about the other 1%. There’s been a lot going on for you; hope you carry on enjoying the moments as they come. Hope I can see you somewhere soon for a big hug – wish you lived nearer! xx
    Steph Curtis recently posted..Little things can lead to breakdownsMy Profile

    • May 11, 2016 / 8:59 pm

      Thank you so much Steph. It hasn’t been easy – and you are right about the 1%! Hope to be able to hug you soon too – so do I! I think we both need a cuppa and a hug xx
      Victoria recently posted..Three Acrostic Poems by GraceMy Profile

  7. May 11, 2016 / 9:49 am

    Vicky, this really has brought tears to my eyes. It built up from the start and then when you said Ross and Grace take the mickey out of you, it made me smile. Because ‘they’ treat you like Vicky, not stepping on egg shells. They are your normality and we all need some of that! Lovely that you and Grace spent some quality time together and that as any mum would, you dropped everything to sit and chat with her. Like she was bringing you back to the ‘you’ that you are getting close to being again. Life is really, truly tough at times. At the time ‘we’ are in a fog and not sure how to get out but we get through it, and then we can reflect, take stock and writing may sometimes become therapy… #TruthAbout
    Carol Cameleon recently posted..How to run a blog ~ getting things doneMy Profile

    • May 11, 2016 / 8:58 pm

      Thank you for reading and commenting Carol. You are right! They do treat me like me! You said some wise words here x
      Victoria recently posted..Three Acrostic Poems by GraceMy Profile

  8. May 11, 2016 / 9:03 am

    Such a beautiful post. There are no rights and wrongs about feeling down. Yes, you’ve got a lot of good things in your life, but you’ve also been through a tough time lately and most people would be feeling down. So glad you are starting to come through it and you have the love and support of Ross and Grace. X

  9. May 10, 2016 / 9:48 pm

    Gosh, this post has really reminded me too that there are so many of us going through our own versions of trauma right now and I guess we are all trying to grapple with massive life changes which have a negative impact. I read that article Anya wrote as well (I was a huge Janet Jackson fan when I was younger!) and it reminds me that when I went for my 12 week ulstrasound at Royal Surrey (aged 40) I was told not to worry too much about being classified as ‘geriatric’ because they were regularly seeing pregnant women aged 49. I think it’s true that spending really mindful time with the kids helps as well — it’s different for you because I’m sure Grace is nothing like grappling with the box of frogs which the 3 & 6 year old boy combo is (:-) ) but I did actually spend some one on one time with JJ earlier today and helped him with a painting activity which he really appreciated. It definitely helped me to feel like a better mum if nothing else! Thanks so much for linking up to #thetruthabout this week Vic Xx
    Sam recently posted..The Truth about… #74My Profile

    • May 11, 2016 / 8:57 pm

      I am totally with you on that Sam. Grace was born at the Royal Surrey! I was classed as an ‘old’ mother at 36 so I guess that is one of the things I can’t shake off! Thank you for hosting. I know you are going through your own difficulties and I hope you are OK xx
      Victoria recently posted..Three Acrostic Poems by GraceMy Profile

  10. May 10, 2016 / 7:49 pm

    I’m so sorry Vic this must be exhausting and soul destroying. It’s bound to take a toll and it is difficult to to shake until you have some kind of resolution. Stay strong lovely, it’s the only way forward xx
    Helen Wills recently posted..I wish I could be happyMy Profile

  11. May 10, 2016 / 7:39 pm

    Sorry you’ve been going through a bad time recently. I’m going through my own struggles right now but I want to reach out and let you know, you’re not alone.

  12. May 10, 2016 / 7:04 pm

    I was also listening this morning and I think it is nice that people who appear ( for want of a better way of putting it) normal and holding down a job they enjoy and outwardly successful are happy to admit they use to have issues and they have been through a lot and that people can and do recover. It gives others hope to know that they too can overcome their problems with love and support and that they can move on and be happy again.
    I am not making light of depression or any other mental illness, have but rock bottom myself, and have to say if I had not had children that needed me maybe I would not be here now writing this.
    I hope things work out for you as well.

  13. May 10, 2016 / 4:01 pm

    This is very inspiring and touching. I wish you nothing but luck going forwards, wherever that journey may take you.
    Ps you looked beautiful in the picture you tweeted of you going out.

  14. May 10, 2016 / 2:33 pm

    oh I do hope those clouds clear for you soon. I do understand how you feel, I went through a lot myself when I was trying to conceive. It’s a tough journey, but we never know what is in store for us. I’ve know women older than you achieve success with treatment, they never gave up. I also know women who felt the time was right to stop trying and came to terms with it all eventually. It’s never easy but so long as you have a loving family behind you, you will get through and I can see you realise this. Stay strong, you never know what life has in store for you. xxx (Anne, 50yr old mum of a 5 yr old)

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