It's been a desperate year, filled with pain and grief, but now, there's some sun breaking through.
At the beginning of the year, my husband was signed off sick from work with work related stress. His clinical depression came back full force. We had a matter of months to get him better before his salary would be cut by half, a few more months before it would be stopped altogether.
Everything I learned as a therapist was called into play. Every last bit of research - and all the help that research provided - got put into place. It was a very dark period, desperately trying everything to get him better, quickly.
Sadly the place of work were as helpful as a parasol in a hurricane. In fact, dealing with them was just as nasty as dealing with the depression. Human resources does not mean humane.
At one point, I stood in the garden and gave voice to an old Irish curse, which kind of involves giving certain souls to the Devil. There was a problem with this; it presumed the Devil didn't know his own! I can laugh about it now, because now I'm pretty sure he knows his own, precisely. I have every confidence he will claim them.
In all the darkness, we had some bright light.
The medical profession were fantastic; true rays of sunshine and respite. From the General Practitioner who was both appalled at work and so supportive of OH; to the Occupational Health Dr., who said that our GP hadn't gone far enough in supporting OH; he recommended the work did more and he sent that report to them.
He also said that 18 months to 2 years is the usual recovery time from such a deep depression - and he said to me, that I was the reason that OH was recovering so quickly. He said he'd never seen such a level of support and effort, from CBT to Reflexology, to diet and exercise therapy. To his mind, it was a shame that work hadn't matched it. With his intervention, he hoped they would.
Then, as OH was recovering, we lost our darling Missy. That on top of the six months of hell, nearly broke me. The pain and grief was immeasurable. I succumbed to a massive infection and had to be treated with umpteen rounds of antibiotics. What did I do at this point? The only thing which I think my darling Missy would have wanted. We went back to Battersea and adopted another in need of a home. At first, I wasn't bonding to Paddy, because I was still grieving. I consoled myself with the fact at least he had a home, where he would know nothing but kindness. After a few months, as I trained him, as he rested on my lap and snuggled next to me for comfort, I came to love him. It's simply the best tribute to Missy, that I wanted to give another what she had. We held a fundraising tea party for Battersea - and were overwhelmed at the support we received, that translated into over £500 in aid for the Home which cared so well for Missy and Paddy. Pure sunshine.
Paddy became a ray of sunshine and is greatly loved.
The other rays of sunshine included one of my neighbours, who, knowing what I was going through, used a bake a cake of soda bread for me, regularly, knowing that in the link to my Irish side, I would find some comfort.
The quiet support from people in his workplace. You know who you are and how you've helped. I thank God for you.
The people at Painting Friends, who allowed me a private space to rant and offered their virtual shoulders. You're priceless.
My reflexology friends, who never failed to cheer. Thank you.
My friends in far flung places, who wrote emails to me daily. Pure sunshine.
My book blogging friends, who kindly read and reviewed All in the Leaves. They hadn't a clue exactly what I was going through, but their kindness to a self published author touched me greatly. All rays of sunshine.
Writing Leaves for Chloe was a spell in the sunshine amidst the murk. Writing took me away from this reality, into one where I had total control. I loved it - and I hope when you get to read it, you will too.
I couldn't talk publicly about the ins and outs, I still can't. I simply wanted to say, it's been a desperate year, but we're coming out of it, with help from our friends.
Christmas is nearly here, the time of miracles. My favourite time of year. I thank God we've got through this year, and are now standing in the sunshine. That's a miracle, all to itself.
Thank you, for reading this. For your support. You too are rays of sunshine and priceless. Don't ever forget it. Cheers!