FTD & Me was born over 2 years ago on April 13th, 2020. I quickly realised how writing helped me organise my thoughts, and today I need a little organisation.
You'll notice I haven't published in 6 months, and I thought this was because I had nothing to say. Mum is still in the care home, she's the worst she's ever been but the best she'll ever be. What else can I say?
Then I remembered; this blog is called FTD & Me.
Whilst nothing has changed in mum's world, a lot has changed in mine and that gives me a reason to write. 6 months ago, my blog was titled 'I'm back, and depressed'. Christ - having a bad day, Jess? In all honestly, I was depressed and it was an awful chapter of my life. I rocked up to work one day having a mental breakdown, in floods of tears whilst forgetting I was still in my pyjamas. I mean, come on. I've named that day 'Pyjama Day' and it's one I will never forget (for all the wrong reasons).
Since Pyjama Day, I've been receiving psychotherapy and it's the best thing I have ever done. My Private Medical Insurance entitled me to 20 sessions which I've completed, but I now pay privately and meet with my therapist every 2 weeks. I see this as part of regular life now, it's been groundbreaking and I feel like I'm on a little path of self-discovery. The top things I've learnt about myself are:
I have very little self-worth (something I'm working on)
I try and help sad people too much, leaving myself exposed and victim to vicarious trauma (google it)
I always do what I think I 'should' do, rather than what I 'want' to do
I feel obliged all the time (this explains why I felt I had to care for mum, or why I had to help others going through a similar journey)
When my own needs aren't met, I go bat-shit crazy (hence Pyjama Day)
These are just a few things, but I feel like I'm starting to understand myself. It's surprising what a positive difference self-understanding makes. I am a work in progress, but a million miles away from Pyjama Day. It feels good and I'm proud of how far I have come so far.
On the day I received my genetic results, there was only one thing I realised about myself which still stands true today, and that's my outlook on life. You may recall me saying 'finding out just means I should say 'yes' more, make memories now and enjoy life before FTD changes me'. I am so thankful for this outlook, since my last blog I've had some adventures of a lifetime.
The above photo is from a trip in January 2022. I had a call from my best friend saying 'I've been invited on a cruise ship departing from Miami, heading to the Caribbean. Do you want to come?'. Of course, I said yes and within 8 hours I applied for an ESTA, booked my COVID tests and was on my way to Heathrow airport. It was certainly one to remember, it turned out to be a gay cruise and I was the only female onboard a ship with 4,800 other passengers! This was probably the safest photo to share...
A few weeks later, we spent a week in France with the kids. We nearly died whilst skiing down a mountain in a blizzard, but hey ho, at least we've got a story to tell. We also made new friends, drank Aperol Spritz and watched in amazement as the kids became 10x better at skiing than us.
A couple of weeks ago, Gregg and I then headed to NYC to watch my best friend perform at Radio City Hall. We explored, became top tourists and kissed under the lights of Times Square. Aren't we romantic?
The point is, my unfortunate genetic results haven't stopped me from living life. Sure, it's been a rocky road and taken some time to digest (with a lil help from therapy), but it's pushed me to enjoy the time I have. Depression was real, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and things do get easier.
Obviously, I still have bad days. Depression tries to trick me like that. I've made so much progress that I'm often afraid to admit when I'm feeling low. I'm so scared of going backwards that I forget it's okay to have a bad day and it doesn't destroy the progress I've made. Today is one of those days. I don't know why, I'm just feeling a little lost. Feeling this way reminds me of why I started blogging in the first place. So here I am - back writing, organising my thoughts and admitting I'm feeling a little low. Just as I expected though, my thoughts don't feel so heavy now I've written them down. Jess 1 - 0 Depression.
Before I leave, here are some pics of me and mum. I've only seen her 4 times since my last blog due to COVID restrictions. It's been tough but what can I do? No point trying to control the uncontrollable!
PS - Everyone (and I mean everyone) should have therapy. It's ridiculously healthy!