I’ve had plenty of moments over the past weeks and months where I’ve felt not OK. I’ve had raging period pains that have left me spooning a hot water bottle from the sofa, and mornings where I’ve woken up and felt flat. So flat it’s taken all of my inner strength to pep talk myself into the shower and out of the house.
But I’ve been at that level of not OK where I’ve been able to get on with it. To still feel like myself. A version of not OK where if someone had asked me if I was OK, I would have found a smile and said I was.
That level of not OK that so many of us power through, because chances are we’ll wake up and tomorrow will be a new day and everything will be better on the other side.
Then this weekend happened.
It should have been a good one. It should have been a great one. A fantastic one. A happy one.
I drove down to Sussex on Thursday morning armed with a very full itinerary which included watching crime documentaries on the sofa with my gal pal Tilly, eating takeout with my dad, and visiting my nan at her care home.
I planned to do work in-between. Get the newsletter out. Reply to emails. Chase some invoices. Get organised.
But it all slipped into some black hole of nothingness when I found out that my nan, my babcia, had been admitted to hospital.
To cut a long, complicated story short, she is stable. Or at least as stable as a frail old lady can be.
But it put me in one of those situations where I was desperately looking around for the grown-up, for someone to take charge, only to be confronted with the terrifying truth – that I was the adult in the situation.
I was in charge.
That I was supposed to be strong and brave and confident because I was the grown-up.
And in those situations you fire up some part of you that you don’t even know exists, a part of you that tells you to pull all your shit together, to hold it in, and to keep going.
It’s like you get your energy and your voice and your direction and your ability to function from some other brain that that just sits waiting for that moment when you need it to kick in, to come to your rescue, to save you.
I guess you’d call it your autopilot.
I felt out of my depth, like a fraud, like someone unready for the realities of adulthood. I felt like I was drowning inside and yet from the outside I seemed the same, like I was coping.
And I felt alone. Not because I was alone, because there were plenty of people rallying beside me through Whatsapp messages and offerings of cups of tea, but because Chris wasn’t there.
I know that sounds soppy and overly-dependent and whatever else, but I realised right there in that situation that I really needed him. That he was the person that makes me feel like I can handle anything. That he is both my comfort blanket and my Liquid Luck.
And when I finally drove home, back to Suffolk, and I turned off the main road and I saw Ipswich on the horizon, and Ed Sheeran’s ‘Castle On The Hill’ came on the radio, I cried.
I cried with relief. With the knowing that I was back where I belong, back to my normality. Back to a life I know and can handle.
It’s not just been that my nan’s been ill and it’s been stressful and sad, it’s also been that I have felt physically ill.
I’ve been sleeping 10 or 11 hours a night and needing afternoon naps because my eyes won’t stay open. I’ve lost my appetite and have stomach cramps. When I arrived home to Ipswich mid-afternoon on Saturday, I left everything in the car and walked straight to the sofa to sleep.
I have felt broken and exhausted and I have needed to stop. I backed away from replying to texts, to checking Instagram, to thinking about blog post ideas. I just stopped all the usual thoughts that whizz around my head.
Chris would ask me what I wanted for dinner and it was literally like he’d asked me what rgiuhgjbmnvbdmnvhwegfyu meant. My head was blank and overwhelmed.
But today, after a lot of lemon squash, a lot of hot water bottles, a lot of melon, and a lot of Netflix, I finally feel like myself again.
I woke up and everything felt brighter and clearer and well, OK.
And it felt good. Really freakin’ good.
I’m even wearing a bright pink lipstick and a new dress. So yeah, take that world. Hannah’s back and she means business.
I guess the point of this post is a) to fill you in a little as to why I’ve been a bit quiet online, and b) to remind you that not feeling OK is absolutely human. And it is OK to be floored by things that you assume you’re strong enough to handle. It is OK to recharge, to step back, to allow yourself to heal and grow strong again. Because without those recharge days, we wouldn’t find the strength to keep on going.
This post is for you my darling babcia, I love you.