He sat across from me, the very first comment he made was “ I was expecting you to be badly burned, I am happy you are not”
I smiled. Yes, I was happy I wasn’t burned too.
Inside though, I was a ball of anxiety . Inside I felt like every inch of me was burned. I could feel the inferno all around me , even days later.
I continued seeing this councillor for many months. He was a straight shooter and talked and talked with me about my fears regardless of how irrational they were or how many times I talked about the same fear.
It’s funny how our society see things like this.
Not ‘ha ha’ funny but more ‘odd’ I suppose .
I was just a cutting in a newspaper at the time, a sideline, a cliff note ‘ Mother saves children from burning house’ – a catchy headline followed by a paragraph explaining how we had a house fire.
And days later it was yesterday’s news. For us though, especially me, it was far from yesterday’s news.
Why especially me? D was at work at the time. I had heard a crash in the kitchen and when I opened the door the hallway was full of smoke. My baby (J) was asleep upstairs while Ethan was in the sitting room with me.
I can still close my eyes and remember the feelings which came rushing through my body.
Panic being the main one; fear came later.
It has been nine years since that fire, yet I can still feel everything I felt and the smell, I can smell it still…panic can still engulf me when I can smell unexpected smoke – like when your neighbour lights their fire and you can smell it in your house.
I go back to my cognitive behaviour therapy and I force myself to remember all the work I had done to overcome these feelings, which thankfully are fleeting these days.
But they are still there.
The ‘if’ ‘buts’ and ‘ands’ of these kind of life events don’t just disappear – they ease but I doubt they will ever disappear.
It was one of the most frightening experiences of my life and because of this event plus Ethan’s diagnosis of Hunter Syndrome( a year later) ,I have some mental health issues- anxiety, depression and panic attacks mainly.
I am not ashamed nor looking for sympathy ,my point is they are being treated and can be treated.
I have bad days, sad days, OK days, good days and great days and I feel ‘normal’ whatever the heck that really means, I don’t know – but I feel without treatment I would have sank into a deep depression never leaving my house and never feeling ‘normal’ again.
Mental health issues are as real as physical health issues and everyone with any type of illness should seek help.
It isn’t easy to talk about mental health issues but that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.
There is currently a campaign going on – Take a ‘selfie’ with the ‘a-ok’ symbol and donate 4 euro to Mental Health Ireland using the hashtag ITSOKTOTALK .
And it is, it is ok to talk or type …just open up — like I have done and continue to do when I feel those feelings building up in me – there’s no cure but there is help.
Open up to someone, anyone – please.
You can text MHI to 50300 to donate 4 euro.
This was originally published on FamilyfriendlyHQ