And the words came pouring out of me…

Something that really resonated with me while on a cinema date to see ‘A Star is Born’ a few weeks ago.

Everyone has their own little things they do as ways to maintain a good mental state. One thing I do is write. Not as often as I would like, but occasionally the words come pouring out of me. Sometimes it’s about beautiful moments that I want to remember every detail of. Other times I’m in a place of such muddy water that I need to just put my thoughts and feelings on paper to make sense of them. Sometimes emotional, sometimes factual, always functional.

It’s therapeutic for me, and knowing how therapeutic it is for me gives me the motivation to pick up the pen. I’ve been learning a lot about privilege and I’ve come to appreciate the privilege of education and learning about about my own head works. It’s really helped me understand and appreciate that of which I have. I’ve had quite an intense time of emotion recently, and during this time I have really appreciated the insight I have to understand my own mental health.

I’ve toyed with the idea of writing a series of essays about how I maintain good mental health. There is so much we can learn from one another by sharing perspective. During the last few weeks I’ve been delving further into the study of neuroscience and mental health — one of my huge passions. I recognised years ago how much my passion for this subject has been a key tool I have used in navigating through my own experiences. Learning about the science behind behaviour is one of the most powerful tools I have when looking at my own mental health. It is one of the drives for having good mental habits through the understanding of what happens when we dont look after our heads.

In a nutshell, since September I have started studying again, got engaged and lost one my most important people. A testing time of resilience, joy and sorrow all rolled into a few short weeks. Huge amounts of physical, mental and emotional labour, and within it some of the most defining moments of my life.

One night recently as my grandmother lay in hospital and I was counting the hours until I could see her again I sat with a pen and paper and poured myself onto the page. Everything I wanted her to know, every thought going through my head, every piece of love I wanted to send her was captured in those words. The pages of my notebook will forever have the bumpy texture of paper that has been wet in teary patches and dried again. My heart was breaking as I wrote and a lump in my throat has just formed as I write these words now too. I cried and wrote and cried and wrote and during the crying and writing, I processed.

Two weeks later I rewrote the ending and read it at her funeral maintaining composure purely powered by the strength of the will to say the words I had wrote for her. I’m proud of what I wrote to her. I was able to share a piece of her so many of my family members could relate to, and it brought us closer together as we shared the memories of those moments in nanny’s little house.

There were times over the last few weeks I really felt I had fallen to a very dark place. Like I had rolled right back to the bottom of the hill. But, I bounced back. The little pieces of resilience I have been storing up helped me back onto my feet. Everyone processes in their own ways, and here’s one of mine. I think it’s worthwhile exploring how we process, trying new things, practicing what works, and passing on our learnings. Someone else might take from your story.

Peace

Peace is all I want for you. Now and always, all I’ve ever wanted for you is a bit of peace.

I remember I tried to comfort you after Grandad Pete passed away. I told you how I was sad when our dog Penny died, but I got over it! I remember holding your hand and saying it. There’s so many memories of us holding hands. Leaning our foreheads on each other.

All the years of card games in front of the fire, watching Father Ted or Brendan Grace, conversations trying to figure out if we had seen this film before. Telling each other about our weird dreams over breakfast while we’d race our porridge and having fresh brown bread you’d made on Friday with half an inch of butter on it. Lena and I know it’s best when Nanny Peg butters your bread for you.

I love being the birthday princess to your birthday queen. Our birthday is always worthy of a fuss. Always holding each other’s hands as we blow out the candles.
Your little house will always be home. I sleep best in my room, but I don’t mind when Mrs. Maher’s B and B needs to be open for other visitors. There’s plenty of high up bikkies, Jaffa cakes and fudge for all of us. We all love getting to hold Nanny’s hand.

We took turns holding your hand as you fought your toughest fight. And when one of us was leaving, you’d still be reminding us to double check we had everything, and to let you know we got home safe.

Peace now, my love. We know already you got there safe. I’ve no doubt Pete picked you up. He gets to hold your hand now, and we’ll hold each other’s, the way you taught us.

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