I`m the sort of girl who looks you in the face when you ask, `are you alright?` and I will turn, smile and say, `yes.` I will then turn and ask how you are and then concentrate on you and your problems.
I am not selfless, and nor am I perfect as a friend, we all have our failings and i`m no exception, and have no idea why I do this, it is very much a female trait I think.
Ever since I can remember, I had a feeling that I had to be independent. I spent a great deal of time in Hospital where visiting times were few and short and then it was just me and strangers that became new friends for a few weeks, but I had to be brave and overcome my natural shyness.
I love my Mother dearly but she`s typical of her generation, where they didn`t talk about their problems; I learnt not to too and so worries, fears and problems I learnt to overcome alone. I never felt I could turn to her, I do try now but it`s still the same, she can`t change how she too was raised.
Certain members of my family had a problem with my disability and were always very vocal about my `always going to need looking after,` and spoke about me as if I was a lifetime burden, they would leave me out of Family holidays and so on. This gave me an inner determination to prove them wrong and I grew in inner strength with a fire in my belly that drove me to leave home early, marry, have a child and live a full life and this lead to mistakes a long the way.
Being disabled, we are forever being told how brave we are, and I grew up being aware that I should live up to that expectation as well.
So, I have felt this need to cope alone, solve my problems alone, and apart from bringing in the odd stranger in the form of counsellors, I have always had this brave outer face, that turns the attention onto the other person.
This has worked for me for years, and I pride myself on always pulling through all the uphill struggles I have encountered in life, no matter what they have been, it sometimes took time but I always came through the same person I was before.
This time though it has been hard, lonely and I sometimes don`t feel I am winning this battle to cope, and sometimes it has scared me.
It wasn`t losing my Husband so much, yes I loved him, but looking back it wasn`t about him. It was the loss of the `Family` I had for a few years, they gave me purpose, normality and something to get up for each day. I still had problems with my previous ex over my Son, and I fought with all that, I had to keep my dignity and my Son, but with the help of Friends, I could cope with that and did.
With my Ex and our boys, I went out for drives, holidays, and weekends away with my man, and life seemed full and purposeful. Life wasn`t perfect, and nor was my Ex, nothing ever is, but I enjoyed having the experiences and life around them all.
Suddenly, nothing, all gone, and it was like ten steps back. The fire in my belly turned into anger and hurt, and like a cornered kitten I wanted to lash out. At this point my Son told me that he thought something was wrong as `you`re always so angry,` he was right and I think I had a sort of breakdown, because for years I fought uphill and this was the last straw.
Here I was in my mid 40s, back to being alone, now fulltime in a wheelchair, back to just me and my Son. Now though, he was almost off my hands and had his own social life and relationship, he didn`t need me so much. I was trapped in my home as I couldn`t drive, sometimes for weeks on end, no-ones fault, but never the less hard.
I was left with depts, but less money coming in now that the Ex took his wages, and I wasn`t entitled to anything as the marriage was so short before he left, so money is tight and another struggle.
I made plans, Id learn to drive, Id go back to being a student, Id meet someone else in time and I tried. We all know though that the best laid plans don`t always go to plan.
I had trouble with my car for over 12 months, and fought against Motability, by which time my nerves were gone and my enthusiasm blown away. I still have the car, still hope to pass but the last problem was the wheelchair I drive from breaking and months of raising money for a new one, etc.
I did do a course with the open university and I passed, and that is my best achievement so far.
I have tried to get counselling, but was struck off after only telephone counselling was offered, which was pointless and I refused. How can I talk with a teenager at home? Talk from the home where I am surrounded by the problems that I wish to talk about? Talk from a place where door bells or telephones ring, that dogs bark and people knock? I tried again and went to see a man at our local surgery, but he turned out not to be a counsellor at all, just someone who spoke on their behalf and all he could offer me was a self-help site on the computer and recommend a book!
My Son, back home for good now and no longer in touch with other parent, his own choice. His own problems, stem from his own childhood with his domineering Father, and I have had to endure his temper, tears and help guide him whilst trying to stay afloat myself. We tried to get him counselling, but he too was offered telephone counselling at the home where his Mum is around, and he too was struck off for refusing.
I have tried to date, but my self-image and trust in men has been blown to bits and though I am a firm believer that you can`t base the future on the past, it looms over me in the shape of many abusive, painful relationships that I escaped.
I am the sort of girl who will listen to you, give you sensible advice from my own experiences but then i`ll lay in bed alone and be scared at night that i`ll not cope with anything else life throws at me; Now I am tired, worn down both mentally and physically and just smile on the outside, because the inside has forgotten how.
Sleep evades me, my patterns are all over the place. I get every bug flying around, coughs, colds, chest infections and so on. I look tired, with dark bags beneath my eyes and am forgetful and don`t concentrate. I am impatient or disinterested and yet, I am the same girl inside, just she needs a change in luck and someone to look after her for a change.