After a rather long break I am attempting to make a return to posting. My self-inflicted ‘break’ was due to the Eldest’s illness. Anorexia has taken much from her over the last two years and she has spent over a year as an inpatient. It has been unbelievably hard for all our family and I cannot even begin to imagine how she has felt having been taken away from us for some of the most shocking ‘care’ imaginable. All those stories we read in the press about abuse in the system, well we have seen the ‘dark side’ and it’s not pretty. Mental health is without a doubt the NHS’s Cinderella service and patients and their families are suffering because of it. So added to the evils of an eating disorder, throw some PTSD into the mix due to some of the ‘treatment’ she has received. There are many, many staff who have been outstanding – caring, compassionate, insightful and pragmatic. But you only need a couple of bad apples to wreck someone’s recovery. We have also discovered how mental health is still seen by so many as a ‘choice’ – I wish. It has been quite isolating but those handful of people – family and friends – was who have shared coffees, meals, walks, wine, gin, laughter, a listening ear, picking up children at late notice, leaving homemade meals, continually sending texts and messages even when I never respond, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And the handful of the Eldest’s friends who have stuck by her – writing to her, calling her, visiting her – you have been completely amazing and the difference you have made has been immense. You have made her realise that she is still herself; she is NOT her illness. And her siblings? Well, they are quite simply, extraordinary. I am so proud of how they have navigated their way through this nightmare. Our home is still very ordinary – there is love, laughter, bickering, a bit of yelling (normal with 2 – sometimes 3 – teenagers in the house!) and a few tears – a ‘normal’, busy family home I think. But, my god, it has sometimes been so hard.
And now we find ourselves in even more unknown territory with a worldwide pandemic. As a family we self isolated two weeks ago as the Boy had a continuing dry cough – in normal circumstances this would most definitely not be a reason to stay off school – but normal does not exist right now. Two days into our self imposed ‘exile’ I had a call from an intensive care doctor in Southampton to inform me that the Eldest had been brought into the ICU overnight – we obviously couldn’t go and see her, so life at home kept going; because it has to. The Littlest did the work that had been sent home from school, GD kept up with her schoolwork through the VLE, the Boy slept, FotT worked from home. On Friday I finally spoke to the Eldest when she’d been moved onto a ward. Relief. She is now in a specialist psychiatric hospital. Again. And the country is finally closing down.
So we got through a weird, at times slightly terrifying couple of weeks. I feel that some of what we have experienced over the last 20 months is being played out on the world’s stage – there is some horrendous, irresponsible and selfish behaviour with individuals ignoring the government’s plea and medical advice of social distancing, the ridiculous and aggressive stockpiling, the covid 19 scams ….. but against that there is an increase in kindness and community, individuals pulling together to help those needing help, nature is fighting back, China has banned all wildlife trade and consumption, the pollution in China has dropped between 30% and 40%, in Venice the waterways are running clear and there are shoals of small fish, in other Italian ports dolphins have been seen. If you really don’t understand how you as an individual can help by social distancing, take a look at this brilliant piece from the Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/ – the graphics show the different scenarios and it’s not rocket science which we should follow.
So on the basis that I am going to be at home with most of my family for the foreseeable future, as the rest of the country will be, I will have the time to return to filling these pages with a little bit of our very small world concentrating on the good stuff of life, sharing any ideas for living our more limited lives and maybe the occasional rant. Be kind and keep safe.