This week has been brought to you by a feeling of sadness

Sad.

It’s hardly a new feeling for me: I have felt sadness every single day of every single week since Hugo died.

‘Sad’ has been in contention as the word to sum up my week for some months now. While I have always been open and honest about my feelings in my posts I have always hesitated to title a post ‘sad’. I have often replaced it with a more positive word.

So, why a ‘sad’ post now? I am no more sad than I was than when I began blogging about Hugo; nor am I less sad.

The difference is I am now feel more able to say I am feeling sad. I know that might seem strange to read: of course I am sad about my baby’s death, and why should I not say I am sad?

The answer is complex. Hugo was born so prematurely, which led to his death, because I was so sick. I nearly died: my sadness is interlinked with my guilt about failing to protect my son (however irrational that may be). I also feel guilty about being sad, thinking that giving myself over to sadness means ‘wasting’ days because when I give myself over to that feeling I am no use to man or beast. Nearly dying, as well as my son’s death means that I feel I cannot waste a day feeling sorry for myself. Paradoxically, I can also feel guilty about being happy.

What a mess.

A long-awaited appointment with a psychologist is helping me review this sentiment. I was apprehensive before the first appointment because of having to explain my story to the gazillionth professional (believe me, there is only a small amount of exaggeration here), but she cleverly teased the story out of me without me feeling like I was recounting it all over again (though it is not to say the process was easy).

I have some goals that she is going to help me achieve, which include working towards feeling comfortable with whatever I am feeling. Feeling comfortable about feeling sad without feeling guilty. Feeling comfortable about feeling happy without feeling guilty. And feeling comfortable about everything in between.

The sessions and the work involved will be challenging as it means returning to moments from February and March that remain terrifying and heartbreaking. My brain has been hiding the worst of the trauma to protect me, but little snippets – flashbacks – pop out every now and then. I quickly put these flashbacks back in my brain because they are so upsetting and scary.

The psychologist, and the psychiatrist I saw this week (as a welcome relief from my last psychiatrist appointment, this one was kind, compassionate, made eye contact, was reassuring, listened to me and answered my questions) have gone to great lengths to explain to me that everything I am feeling is understandable and natural in the circumstances.

I know that rationally, but the first psychiatrist telling me I am ‘unwell’ and saying that my initial refusal to take medication, and not feeling suicidal was not sufficient grounds to section me has been ringing in my ears. In retrospect, I think he meant that last comment in a light-hearted way, but I was not in the mood for jokes. I felt like I was broken, that something was wrong with me, and in response felt I had to be strong.

Now, I am being encouraged to see that saying I am sad is not bad, nor is it a weakness. It is a natural part of grief, of course, and I need to not feel guilty about experiencing it.

Feeling comfortable about these feelings will not be achieved by tomorrow, next week or next months. It is all about small steps.

This post is the first.

 

The Reading Residence

32 thoughts on “This week has been brought to you by a feeling of sadness

  1. Tim says:

    Good God, how could anyone have diagnosed what you’ve felt as being ‘unwell’. Surely grief and sadness and guilt are only natural given what you’ve been through this year? Honestly, I’d have been more inclined to say you were unwell if you hadn’t had those feelings.

    Whenever I read about your emotions in what you write, it seems to me that you’re processing things just fine. That doesn’t make it any easier, but sometimes time and a little understanding is what you need more than anything else.

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thanks Tim. It’s been a right old mess and muddle. You’re right, it is time and understanding I have needed most. I have had that from many quarters along the way, but the main problem has been not knowing the right place to get the help I need, and mixed messages about what that right place was. I’m getting there now though, which is the main thing to focus on. Thanks for your kindness and support, as ever x

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  2. thenthefunbegan says:

    I think everyone who knows your story will be happy to read that you feel you are finally moving forwards, with the help of this new psychologist, towards a place where you can at least accept and embrace your feelings without the guilt. Hugs Xx #wotw

    Like

  3. Debbie says:

    I am glad you’ve found the support you need. I am glad (if that makes sense) that you have been able to be true about your feelings. I hope you continue to get the right support, and you find your way forward. x

    Like

  4. Serotiny says:

    It is not easy to find the right words of comfort or solace, as a stranger it’s totally overwhelming emotionally reading what you have delt with let alone for you being the person dealing & living with everything you must feel.
    I hope in the new year you will start to feel as you so accordingly put it comfortable in feeling how you do at any given point, you deserve such peace.
    Sx

    Like

  5. thereadingresidence says:

    I know it sounds weird, given the word you’ve chosen, but reading the story behind it, I’m pleased that it’s your word. Of course you feel sad every single day, but the burden of feeling like you have to stay strong, not slow down or waste a moment sounds utterly overwhelming, so I think ‘just being sad’ is a good thing, and saying it and sharing it. That psychologist sounds helpful, which must be a huge relief, too. As always, my thoughts are with you, and thank you for sharing with #WotW x

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  6. Honest Mum says:

    So relieved you now have a psychologist who understands who can help you, the other one sounds shockingly bad. You have made the first brave step, sending you love and strength to be able to feel more comfortable (and kind to yourself) in whatever you are feeling xx

    Like

  7. SingleMotherAhoy says:

    Well done for saying it. Everyone feels sad sometimes, and with everything you’ve been through this last year it’s completely understandable. I know what you mean though; you don’t want to admit to it a lot of the time.
    I also get the whole flashback thing. It can take a long time to process something that traumatic, and I’m sure it will take time. The only thing I can say is, if you resist it, it’ll take longer and hurt more. But often resistance is something we do automatically. Have you tried meditation? I’ve found it’s helped me with lots of things.
    I’m glad your new psychologist is better than the last one, who was clearly not the right one for you!

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you Vicky. It’s useful to know that resisting thinking about certain things will hurt more in the long run – as horrid as it is. Meditation is something to think about, I’ve been considering yoga – it may help. Thanks for your kind comment xxx

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  8. Tara says:

    So glad you’ve finally found people to help you. I completely agree that it’s vital to acknowledge your emotions, whatever they may be. I locked mine away for a year but they came back to bite in the end. I hope your sessions carry on being useful and that you also use your blog as a way to explore how you’re feeling.

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  9. beautwins says:

    Hello lovely, I firstly wanted to say how wonderful it was to meet you at blogfest. Whilst you shared a small part of your story at the round table, I couldn’t help but cry. The reason we cry is to release our own frustrations. I felt helpless sat there not being able to fling myself over to give you a great big hug. You must hear this all the time but I would like to say to me you are so brave to share your feelings through your wonderful blog. I can’t and wouldn’t want to imagine what you went through and what you are going through. No mother should have to experience your loss. I was told once, your baby chooses you. In the few days Hugo blessed your lives on earth you can see he was truly and utterly loved by you and your husband. I just wanted you to know you have touched my heart. xxxx

    Like

    • Leigh Kendall says:

      What beautiful, kind words. I’m touched our story has moved you so much. Hugo was such a special boy, who Martin and I were so blessed to have in our lives, and there is nothing in the world I could wish for more than for Hugo to still be here with us. It’s so important to me to talk about Hugo through my blog, and give an insight in to my world that I hope most do gave to experience themselves. It was lovely to meet you at blogfest too, I’m looking forward to catching up more at the next event. Xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • beautwins says:

        My absolute pleasure. As long as you write I will read. If there’s anything I can do shout. Always happy to support and raise awareness. My brother has autism and had a form of brain damage. So always trying to raise the profile there too. Would love to see you at another event and hopefully have a good catch up with you. Xxxx

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