There has been a lot of times in my life where I have needed support. Not just for my mental health, but also for my physical health. I have been through life saving surgeries, deep depression, misdiagnosed mental health conditions, chronic pain as well as a serious incident at work that has compounded all of the above.
When I first went to hospital because of my depression, I felt anger towards my mum – she was abandoning me, she was forcing me to do something that I didn’t want to do so that she could get me out of her house. She shut me out and didn’t care what happened to me, as long as my younger sister got everything that she wanted. I truly felt that my mother was the worst thing that ever happened to me.
Until she wasn’t. It didn’t take long. Of the four weeks that I was hospitalised in a location an hour and a half from my home, my mum selflessly took every Wednesday off so that she could bring my dog (and hers) down to see me. She would take me out, we would have lunch and sit down by the sea. She sent me flowers to brighten up my room. She paid the exorbitant excess so that I could attend a private psychiatric hospital and have a private space.
During this time, I posted the most vitriolic social media post blasting my mum. What I didn’t know was that she read it (I thought I had blocked her), she called my nurses, they told her not to react to it because it was just fuelling the situation. So she didn’t. I will never know how much that post hurt my mum – who had raised me and my two siblings by herself – working a job where she would often work 16 hour days. I regret it, I can’t even express how much.
Today, my mum is my anchor. While I am dealing with a situation at work that I never thought I would have to deal with, she has been there to listen to my going around in circles while I try and work out what the best thing is to do. She has answered multiple (about 4) phone calls today and has spent hours on the phone with me. She has lent me money in the past to pay for my doctors appointment when it ran longer than a normal consultation.
It took me a long time to realise that it wasn’t my mum that was the problem, it was me. She gave up so much of her life to make my life better. She has worked to better understand my situation, she is the first person that I turn to for support because I know she will always be there. It took me years to recognise that my sidekick was there, and always would be there. I love my Mum.
To learn more about the Embrace Your Sidekick campaign and how you can get involved, click here.