I always imagined the healing moment of my life to happen on the top of a mountain doing yoga overlooking breathtaking vistas of the sun setting over the olive tree encrusted mountains whilst gently being coached by a spiritual guide to allow peace to engulf me whilst I waved goodbye to the demons that visit me. I’d Googled yoga retreats frequently in pursuit of my dream and if it wasn’t for all the mundane shit like buying new brake pads and block paved driveways and the small matter of the tiny army… I would have been off like a shot. So the reality is the beginning of this journey occurred in a much more routine setting this spring, on a cold grey morning at home in my bathroom. The sound of cars in the distance thudding along on the wet road causing the gentle hiss of spray to drift through the bathroom window, only reminding me how shit the weather was- I began to question when the last time I had felt the warmth of the sun on my skin. I realised there was no birdsong this morning- even they seemed to have fucked off. The dawn chorus seemed to have been replaced by the noise of the children squabbling over who was going to wear the new blue gingham frilly school socks in the next room, their voices getting more frantic and irritable. I knew it’d be seconds before one of them stormed in demanding they were the victim of some terrible hosiery injustice that I needed to reverse but whether I would scream at them to shut up like some pissed up banshee in my shrill, on the verge shriek before this grand demand was still an unknown. We were running late…. dreams of being the mother baking breakfast scones with my rollers in and perfect packed lunches prepared before the children got up were as unlikely as it was that we’d get to school on time this morning, yet somehow (possibly at the expense of my sanity and voice) we always made it on time. And so as I was stood there in the shower, my life (like every morning) swirling through my head like rubbish in the wind, pain and anger and guilt winning the battle of the emotions and standing proudly at the front of my mind, the sound of bickering coming closer and closer to my safe area causing the muscles in my back to tighten, I found myself focused on the mismatching blue and orange bottles on my shower shelf. I questioned why the fuck I’d bought odd shampoo? Why was I so incapable of getting each detail of my life so wrong? Only a fucking idiot would do that….. And so it went on. So here is the eye of this particular storm already brewing from my black mood and who knew where this one would stop- and who did know because fuck my life if I ever let anyone see under the shiny surface I’d created. I really needed not to feel like this again, I didn’t feel strong enough to fight the numbness of it. I was scrambling for logical thoughts in the sea of my mind, some words of wisdom to cling on to, to pull me up from this. I could feel tears burning at the back of my eyes as I was slipping back and then in that bizarre moment still starring at the shampoo I realised, I needed to stop this shitty cycle of existence, that instead of fighting these feeling and pretending they’re not real, I needed to embrace them to understand them to change them. I seemed to have become incapable of rational thinking (seriously a fucking shampoo bottle?!), I was on full throttle self destruct mode and self loathing had become my favourite hobby…. I was hurting myself. I’ve done everything possible to hold it all together for the outside, to keep up the fun-loving, well dressed, gleaming home, glossy persona my friends and family have come to know of me, to throw two fingers to those that dislike me, to prove my life is full and fun and free but I’d neglected my well-being whilst doing so. In fact I’d not only neglected it… I’d thrown on a pair of rigger boots and jumped up and down on it… I’d hurt it. My mind and my soul were secretly in deep despair and like a flower with too much sun and not enough water I was rapidly wilting in a small (but beautiful) pot. Only my sun were vices not good for me and the water…. well, the water I suppose that was mental and physical nourishment and fulfilment that I desperately needed but not afforded myself. I thought of all the mental disorders and emotions I and others around me have experienced and encountered and how it’s all around me yet I’ve never fully embraced or explored it… then it happened; I admitted it to myself “I’m mentally unwell, exhausted and hurting and I need salvation from it, from myself”… and as I stand there feeling like a door has opened in my mind that I need to discover, that may start helping me find peace and give me answers to why I feel so fucking unhinged my youngest daughter walks in, tears building in her eyes “Mummy, Ginny won’t let me have the blue socks”.