If you've been reading this blog for any length of time then you'll know that I like to keep things positive around here. I pride myself on being an upbeat, optimistic, glass half full kind of girl. I can usually always find the rainbows and the silver linings, no matter how difficult the situation may seem. It's who I am and it's what I do.
But recently, I don't feel that way at all. I'm struggling.
And in the spirit of being open, I thought it was important to write about that. It's all too easy to build a pretty picture online, to emphasise the good and skim over the hard stuff. But I've found brave and honest posts like this one incredibly comforting while I've been feeling low, and I figured that if me sharing my experience helped one other person feel a little bit less lonely, then it would be worthwhile.
Some of you know that my family and I have had a really hard time of things recently. But if I'm being totally honest, I haven't been feeling myself for quite a while.
This year has been full on - we've bought a house, started to renovate it, thrown ourselves into wedding planning. Work has been busy and intense, and I had a little health scare which, thankfully, turned out to be nothing, but was quite daunting to deal with at the time. My brain has been full and foggy since the start of the summer and our family holiday was supposed to be the light at the end of the tunnel. It was what I was counting down to and what I was hoping would help me to rebalance a little bit.
But then of course, our lovely family holiday turned into a thing of nightmares. I can't begin to put into words what we went through that week and the affect that it has had on us all. I can still feel that instant agony in the pit of my stomach when I think back, and the pain is still so very raw and real.
Losing our beautiful Blossom has turned our lives upside down, and trying to come to terms with that has drained me emotionally and physically. Trying to cope with my own grief while watching the hearts of my loved ones break has been the most difficult thing I have ever had to do.
And to be honest with you, everything is starting to take it's toll. My anxiety, which I haven't really suffered with since I was 18, is out of control. I'm not sleeping well and I can't concentrate on anything for longer than 5 minutes. By the time I finish work I have so little energy that I can't bring myself to do anything other than put my PJs on and climb into bed.
And, the thing that scares me the most is that my positivity, the thing that usually defines me, seems so hard to come by. I'm finding it hard to feel passionate about things, to make plans or get excited. And that's not like me at all.
I don't really know whether these feelings I am experiencing are symptoms of grief and worry, or whether they're a sign of something more deep rooted. I suppose it will be a little while until I can make that distinction. But what I do know is that talking helps, that talking is imperative to gaining perspective and being able to cope.
I'm lucky enough to have been raised in an open and encouraging family, where talking about how you feel is not a taboo subject, but I know that not everybody has had the same experience that I have. I'm lucky enough that I have an incredibly supportive partner and colleagues who check in with how I'm feeling regularly, but not everybody has that privilege.
There was no question in my mind that as soon as I started to feel this way, I needed to go and see my GP, to talk things through and see what help was available. Seeking help felt like a totally normal thing for me to do, and I felt no shame in asking for it, but I know that this isn't the case for lots of people.
So that's why I wanted to write this post today. We read so much online about people's perfect lives and relationships and jobs and experiences. But life isn't always like that. Sometimes it's difficult and messy and scary and sad. And that's okay. The sooner we accept that we all go through difficult times, that we all have vulnerabilities, the easier it will be for us to talk.
And the more we talk, the easier those difficult times get.