Who are you? Who am I? Who knows? I have always prided myself in having a very strong sense of self. I always thought that I was totally aware of who I am. Over the years I have had lots of things that I felt defined me externally, be it a job, a fashion style or hair colour, my tattoos, my hobbies and passions or my relationships. The people who know me well would say my kindness, patience, dry sense of humour and my overly trusting nature.
The older that I have become the less some of these things have meant to me and the less they have been something that I feel defines who I am. For years I was Aimee with the pink hair, I enjoyed that very much, but now I am Aimee with the ever changing hair as I can’t make up my mind what suits me or what I feel confident with. I did like being Aimee with the pink hair though, it made me feel like I was alternative and different, which is something that I have always wanted. I choose not to follow mainstream fashion and I am only ever accidentally “on trend”. I have found that being like this has made people prejudge me as a person a lot though, more often than not in completely the wrong way.
I have found myself questioning my sense of self a lot this year. I went from having such a clear picture in my head of who I was and what that meant to me, to hiding in the kitchen in front of a biscuit barrel not really knowing how to process my thoughts. I had my second child, which is obviously a huge blessing for me and my family but has also been one of the most stressful times in my life. Her birth was traumatic for me, not so much for her,(she seemed totally fine with it actually) but I was knocked sideways by having an emergency cesarean section. When I felt like I was just starting to come to terms with what had happened my daughter was then diagnosed with hip dysplasia, this was hard for both of us. I cried over her clothes as I packed them away because she wouldn’t be able to wear most of them due to being in a harness, she had terrible colic and trying to wind a baby in a harness is near on impossible, she couldn’t get comfortable so her sleep was never for long, if at all, meaning that I couldn’t sleep much either and it felt like I was never far from the hospital as we had weekly appointments.
I found that with one very grumpy and uncomfortable baby and a whirlwind of a toddler that I was spending most of my time alone with them. I couldn’t put the baby down without her screaming and the toddler can not be trusted without eagle eye supervision so going to a friends house for coffee felt like far too much stress and I wouldn’t actually be able to make conversation anyway. I went from being incredibly social to a recluse. This was mostly self imposed, although if you ask anyone with children they will tell you that with each baby you can more than halve the amount of people that come and spend time with you, or message you, or invite you places.
For the first time since my teenage years I felt lonely and like nobody really understood me. I joined online groups for parents who had children with hip dysplasia, I found the stories where things weren’t going well too hard to read and I tried to reach out for support from parents in similar positions to me but with not much luck. I stopped checking the group after a while because I needed someone to engage with me but it just hadn’t happened. I had been attending local baby and toddler groups with the hope of making a mum friend who lived near by that I could have coffee with whilst our children played (or most likely beat each other with expensive plastic things), this has bore me no fruit at all. I am a social pariah in my local mum group, I don’t know if I am doing it wrong or if because there isn’t a bar there (seriously someone should think about a sensible way to make that happen) that I am not in my usual boozy happy mood that I have been in when I made a lot of my friendships in the past and therefore rubbish at social interactions.
Since social media entered our lives we are not all as good at being friends as we used to be. I don’t need to call up most of my friends to see how they are doing because I already know, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have already shown me. Or have they? Why are we all so quick to think that this is a true picture of how peoples lives are? Because I have looked back at mine over the last year and I don’t think that it is a true representation of life at all. Obviously all of the pictures that I have taken are of real things that have happened but you can’t see the loneliness or the sadness that is happening behind them. Some people have totally made up personalities online and aren’t even the person that we think we are talking to. I have spent most of the last year feeling like I have been maintaining and even making friendships via the internet, but I don’t know how much stock we can put in this because unless you can look a person in the eye and talk to them how can we know that we are being told any truth at all? Or just the nice truth that is palatable and all of the ugly bits glossed over for the sake of looking good?
Anyone taking a cursory glance at my profiles to see how I am doing can not be blamed for thinking that I am living the dream. Not to say that I am not in lots of ways. I have a wonderful lovely boyfriend, two adorable children, two fluffy doggies, a super cute bunny and lots of hilarious and awesome friends. I have a fun job that I enjoy and we are financially well off enough to live a comfortable life and never run out of food.
So with so many positives, how can I have been feeling so crap? The human brain is a strange thing and can only cope with so much before it decides to stop doing things quite right. Hormones are only your friend if they behave themselves properly and having babies sends them a bit off course. So if you have enough stress, worry and upset coupled with a load of hormones then things may not stay on the straight and narrow, and in my case they have not.
That is a hard thing for me to say. I have always been the person that everyone comes to with problems, I am a good listener and I think that I can give out some pretty great advice (although I have always been awful at applying this to myself and my own life). I have always been proud of this about me, being a strong person is something that I admire in other people and that I like about myself. I have not been feeling strong lately.
I was wrong not to feel strong though. Because even though I have been under a cloud that doesn’t make me weak. My weakness was not being brave enough to tell people what was going on in my head and thinking that being alone in my stress and sadness was the right path to go down. Unless I open up my mouth and tell the people who love me that I need help then I can not expect them to know and come and help me can I. Asking for help is not weakness either, it is good to know your limits when you reach them.
I really enjoy writing but I have found myself unable to for months. On the rare occasions when I have had the time my head has been too jumbled to get anything out, or a child wakes up, or dinner needs to be cooked. So this is why I am writing this, not only to get this out of my head and into the world so that it is less of a weight on my shoulders but to have written something. So that the next time I sit to write this isn’t hovering over me. I don’t expect writing a blog about this to sort everything out, but talking about this sort of thing is always a good step for me to actually face up to things and go and get the help that I need from wherever it comes from. I am going to be fine. I will feel better. But I am also allowed to say when I am not fine too and get some help to get my head back in order.
Instead of hiding in plain sight online, I am actually baring all to you (not in a nude picture kind of way though don’t worry.) because sharing is caring. I had a conversation with someone over the weekend who told me that me telling her that motherhood was making me want to poke my eyes out was such a relief for her, because she feels like that too. It is the strangest thing to love someone so much that you would give your life for them but also wonder what would happen some days if you left them out for the bin men because they are acting like such giant knobheads. They are the best and worst thing that can ever happen to you and they flip from best to worst a million times in a day, one second you can just be looking at them with your heart bursting with love and a second later one of them is hitting the other one with a tractor and screaming the house down and it makes you question all of your life choices. To be clear I am very happy to have my children and wouldn’t be without them even though they are the single most difficult challenge that I have ever decided to undertake in my life, but I am allowed to come here and tell you all that it is really bloody hard sometimes.