The Night That Ends a Heavy Chapter

The late afternoon sun is blinding. I have to shut my eyes against the glare, though I don’t bother moving my chair away from the fierce rays. It is, at best, a mediocre excuse in case my kids happen to notice that I’m crying.

They don’t. They’re having too much fun playing mermaid and pirate games in the deck-top spa. Today, this is by far the easiest option for their bath-time. The easiest option to avoid tantrums. I have been surviving on empty for too many weeks now, although this is the first time my body actually gives in to its tears. The first time Continue reading

Forecasting the Storms of PTSD

Sometimes you can feel the change in the air while the sun still shines. You see the colours shift in the sky, the clouds getting darker, growing heavier. Sometimes you hear the distant low rumbles long before the storm hits. And then, when you see the first flash of lightning, you know that the storm has finally found you. But you can still breathe. You understand that the storm has its own journey to travel, and it will soon pass you by.

And then there are the times when the storm gives no warning at all. The sudden clap of thunder overhead reverberates deep into your Continue reading

No One Can Run Away from Their Problems, so Why Are We Packing up Our Life?

The clerk at the post office gives me a strange look as she processes my paperwork. A look I’ve seen before. One that outwardly appears politely positive, but inwardly hides her surprise, her puzzlement, and her questions. Because when you live in such a sought-after coastal town, a town that people from all over the country flock to for their holidays, why on earth would you ever consider moving far away?

Then, as she stamps my mail redirection forms, the clerk can’t help but ask me why. And I give her the one brief answer that I know, with my youngest child in tow, will satisfy her. Continue reading

Where Does the Mental Illness End and the Marriage Begin?

Don’t listen to the songs. Don’t hold on to the stories. Don’t watch the movies, and don’t believe the fairytales. Because in the real world, nobody gets a happily ever after. The real world is full of real people, and real people are never perfect. Marriage is never perfect.

Yet so many of us continue to idolise a happily ever after, and we even think we see it in some of our friends, but every marriage will have conflict. Every marriage will know frustration and experience anger. Every marriage will face adversity. There is no happily ever after.

We had known each other for four years when we married, and lived together for three. Time enough to discover our flaws. Time enough to see the cracks. Honest enough to accept what was manageable. Secure enough to know our foundation was strong. And when Post Traumatic Stress Disorder entered our lives, shortly after our fifth wedding anniversary, it certainly wasn’t Continue reading

Balancing Fear Between Husband and Child

It likes to visit in the early hours after midnight, cutting through the hush of night so abruptly, so intensely, it will not be ignored for a second.

But ignoring it never crosses our minds when we wake suddenly to the cries of his distress. With three children, it’s far from the first time we’ve been through this. But even after three children, it’s by far the worst we’ve encountered when we haul our toddler from his bed, gasping for breath.

Many parents know the tell-tale barking cough of croup, but whereas in its mildest form it will guarantee a disturbed and sleepless night, the other extreme can be frighteningly critical. As my husband and I try to reassure our frantic child, there are three things I immediately know  Continue reading