Supposing you have tried and failed again and again. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.
Sometimes you read a quotation and think ‘pretentious rubbish’ and sometimes you read one and think ‘that’s it! Perfect.’ For me, the above quote is one of the latter.
If I had read it a few years ago I probably would have been in the other camp.
What happened between then and now was a lot of things, including for a time, being a total failure on many levels.
I had a bit of a rocky break-up with my childhood sweetheart at uni, I forced myself to go out there and feel good and found a new person to share my life with, got carried away with the emotion of it all, got engaged, got pregnant. I battled my way through final year of uni getting bumpier and bumpier and see-sawing from ecstatically happy to pathetic and miserable as the rollercoasters of university life and pregnancy met and multiplied. Liberty dragged me through the crap bits and kept me laughing so I finished on a high, ready to face the world when Baby arrived and determined to live the life I dreamed of, now I was accustomed to the idea of motherhood.
Then PND hit. At about the same time that the fuzzy honeymoon period of my new relationship ran out. I crashed and burned and cried and fell apart, picked Tori up and walked out of the flat.
But I got up, brushed myself down, walked back in and determined to make the best of it for our baby girl. In hindsight, I probably should have stayed out but I can’t go back and I can’t change the past so there’s no point dwelling on it.
I went back and slowly but steadily sank further and further into the fog of depression, setting aside who I was in order to keep my partner and my baby happy. I thought that would fix everything.
I was determined for a number of reasons that Tori wouldn’t be an only child and so, despite everything, I got pregnant again. Ready for this to be a whole new start.
It wasn’t. It made it worse.
I lost my desire for life. I didn’t want to play with the kids, I didn’t want to talk to or see anyone, I couldn’t focus on anything, I let everything in the house pile up til it was at a point that both depressed me even further and overwhelmed me too much to fix. I just stared at Facebook all day because I could click through lots of things not having to concentrate for longer than a few seconds.
I made sure the kids were clean and fed and safe. I never dropped that responsibility, but I didn’t enhance it. I didn’t want to sit on the floor and be silly or colour in or anything. No urge to at all.
So I went on anti-depressants. What people often don’t realise is that anti-depressants don’t make you happy. They just make you numb.
I wasn’t sad anymore but I wasn’t anything else either. I still didn’t want to play with the kids and I simply didn’t care about the washing up or the cobwebs.
And I wallowed and I didn’t get back up.
I failed at a million little things and I let that failure define me.
Then I cracked. I thought some dark, depressing things and a voice in my head said ‘enough’.
I had friends and family who loved me and it wasn’t doing any of the four of us in the household any good me being the way I was.
So I left.
And in doing so I stopped failing.
I took the kids and me out of an unhealthy situation and started over.
I found my way through, not on my own, but with help. I got myself and the kids a flat and started to pick myself up.
I play with the kids, I colour in, we go to the park and play silly games. I can focus on things for longer than forty seconds. I laugh. I still suck at housework but I try and I do enough for the place to be clean, even if it’s messy (and I genuinely don’t own an iron…).
I still fail. But I am not a failure.
I keep trying. That’s the difference.