2011 has been a strange old year for me to say the very least, filled with a lot of different experiences, some I was prepared for, and others that I could never have imagined, certainly not at this stage in my life anyway.
Facebook has made this entry easier thanks to its handy little Timeline feature that is now has, and looking back it has certainly had a few highs and lows.
At the start of the year I had much unfinished business in all walks of life, things I had not done, goals not yet achieved, and other things that were just hanging there, waiting.
I'm not going to dwell on losing loved ones again, too many entries have had that flavour to them, and its time I moved on from that approach. Its the other things that proved more significant. Using anti depressants for the first time in my life, becoming dependent on chemicals to make my day to day life bearable was one of the first things to really happen. As mums condition got worse, so did my ability to cope with everything that life threw my way. This choice to medicate has impacted throughout the year, and looking back I can see where things could have been different had my mental state been different.
Around Feb, the birthday period for me, I became more impatient about the whole situation with Sian, and my blogging became more careless, especially towards her feelings on the matter. Needless to say it was only a matter of time before Anita would step in and wake me up a little. My daughter turning 16 was always going to be a big deal, but the timing for everything else falling apart around me was less than perfect.
At the same time I was starting to rebel a little from my usual life, and started exploring what else was out there, what parts of life was I missing, and starting to become more social, but in a very strange way. I don't want to say I was being fake, that's both untrue and unfair, but I was not sure of who I was at that point, and the medication brought out a side of me that has laid dormant for many years now. And that was for the greater good I am sure.
As pressure built around all the changes in my life, the first eye opener occurred, reading statuses on Facebook I started hearing news of Tas passing. I was away from home at the time, driving home from my aunts, and stupidly as I had no plans to be away for more than the day, I had no extra medication. This was going to cost me dearly. Reaching out to a friend I came to terms with what had happened, spoke to another very dear friend (Kim) and then got myself home. As a storm grew around the funeral arrangements for Tas, with arguments and testosterone fueled posturing begun, I started to feel very bitter towards people, anger built up inside me, and disgust as how people dared to behave in the moments after the passing of a loved one.
Also in Feb I passed an important exam for me, my ADI Part 2 (driving test). That was something I have been working towards for a long time now, but due to circumstances I have not been able to progress as fast as I wanted to. Now Part 3 awaits, after failing the first time (off my face on a cocktail of prescription medication and cold medication). This was a proud moment for me, as I was able to tell my mum, who was at this stage really quite poorly, the good news. It made her a happy and proud mum. Obviously by the time the next stage would come around I would not be so proud.
The coming months would see a decline in my mental state, as well as mums physical state, and would bring sad news to a whole community. As I became more and more detached from day to day life I started spending more and more time away from home. While caring for mum was my priority, I realised that I needed my own sanity to enable me to be able to do what was needed of me. My birthday had been spent calling mum an ambulance and getting her sorted out, and ended with her refusing to go into hospital for treatment, so I didn't have a great day that day. As I rebelled I began to find new fight in me, new strength to bring to the game, and a way to deal with what life was throwing my way.
Then the next bombshell, Graeme broke the news that he was now defined as terminal, and that for me was a breaking point. Visiting him within what felt like hours of receiving the news, and getting to hold on of my closest friends ever in my arms one last time was a very emotional moment for me, and one I will never forget. Sitting in the lounge at his parents house, chatting about the good times, remembering the bad, and reminding ourselves why we were still so close after so many years. Coming to terms over the next few months were not easy, but it was refreshing to feel human again, and make slight contact with my emotions for the first time in years.
As the year continued to fly by, things all become a blur for me, so thank heavens I blog a lot, and use Facebook for my memories. Silly ideas, fun moments, and meltdowns all lay ahead for me, all in a very inconvenient order.
As we reached summer, Graeme had passed, much falseness has been displayed at yet another funeral, however this one was an amazing and most memorable gathering. Just as the little guy wanted, I felt so much happiness that day, completion and a part of someones life til the end. Quite selfish I know, but that's how I felt on the day.
With mums condition being very bad now, and her spending more and more time in St Christopher's Hospice, it became easier for me to think for myself, or at least that's what I thought. Cancelling the annual trip to Florida, which was meant to be for 3 weeks this year, I opted in a moment of madness to go to Magaluf with Rachel. Quite what appealed to me about this so much I don't know, but the idea of just getting away for a few days, letting my hair down, getting blind drunk, and dancing til I had blisters on my feet appealed to me for a short moment. But whoever knew such freedom could have such a price.
Before travelling I came under increased pressure from work to return asap. yes I had been off for a long time now, and was both aware of this and unhappy with the situation, but i didn't expect what was coming. A movement, a group action, and a lot of back stabbing had begun, and people, yes not one, but at least a couple were starting to put pressure on management to deal with me as it 'wasn't fair'. Shortly before I went away the hospice asked for mum to consider going into a home, ans soon. So all hands on deck we begun the search for the right home for mum. By this point, knowing how much mum hated the idea of a home, I was becoming very unhappy with myself, even though I knew it was for the best. While decisions were being made about funding I flew off to Magaluf.
Needless to say, with so much on my plate, stopping taking medication, and replacing it with alcohol was always a recipe for disaster, and that's exactly what struck, on DAY ONE! Thankfully I had Rachel there to catch me before I fell too far, but it was a close call. Sinking into a mental breakdown is a horrible place to be, especially so far from home.
Within days I was back home and seeing my GP for stronger medication, and I was now in a real mess. However my cries for help on Facebook were turned on me, and before I knew it suddenly I was being accused of all sorts of things and acts of misconduct at work, with screen prints of my Facebook pages, and photographs of my Blackberry Messenger status supplied by work colleagues being put together to make what I can only describe as preparation for my execution. Thankfully for me, not everyone I work with is a back stabber or an utter twat, so help was at hand in the form of honesty and support. And I am eternally grateful to Craig and Devon for their words and actions during this time.
After receiving all the evidence being presented against me, I communicated with work about my fragile mental state, and as reassurances were given, another crushing blow. On the 5th of August, the day started like any other, but it didn't feel right. Making my morning visit to the home to see mum I saw she was in discomfort, so called for a doctor. Instead of leaving I decided to to stay for the whole day, so after messaging my sister to let her know what was going on I spoke with the doctor who had seen mum. Deciding on a course of action, I again let my sister know what was happening, and went and sat with mum again. Giving her some ice-cream at lunchtime, it felt nice to be so comforting and supportive. The breakdown in Magaluf and extra meds were clearly helping me. As the afternoon drew in, Paula arrived at the home, and we talked for a bit while the nurses saw to mum. Shortly after we went to sit with mum, and sadly but very peacefully with us both there, mum passed away, very gently.
Also in the same time frame, Anita, Sian's mum had made contact again, and we had agreed to meet up, both parties, and discuss the road ahead, and how we would approach the subject of contact with Sian. The meeting was very nice, productive, and I honestly believe we all parted knowing a lot more about each other, and I felt like I knew a part of Sian I have missed out on. However this was not everyones opinion, and some of the things said and done on the day and in my blog had hit a nerve with Sian, and she was keen to let this be known. For the first time in 12 years I heard Sian's voice. For the first time in my life we held a conversation, albeit a short and sharp one as Sian expressed her feelings on the matter. Suddenly I felt like a scolded child. Sadly this was the last I heard from Sian. So I hope college is going well, and you know where I am. I will leave that there.
As life started to take a new shape and direction, along with a lot of challenges which lay ahead. Some of which are still going on now, both at work, and in my home life. With the help of people I respect, the issues with work were soon resolved. Understanding was reached, facts found, and rumours and bullshit laid to rest. Returning to work after that is one of the most challenging things I have ever done. Rising above the soft smelly foundations that my job is built on is really not easy, but in my new found life, I manage with it.
Since mum passed I have again found my true self, managing to get off the anti depressents quite quickly, with no ill effect, re-establishing myself at work, and focusing on doing the job to the best of my ability, however not managing yet to let go of what went on behind my back. I have also quickly got back on the track of others interests, and pursuits, and have my ADI3 clearly in my sights.
So as I prepare to sign off on another year, and embrace the utter insignificance of the number at the end of the year changing, I look back at 2011 and wonder. Wonder if another year could be quite as dramatic as this. The loss of a mother, and some dear friends, the rekindling of sorts of my relationship with my daughter. being classed as medically depressed and anxious. Failing a test, missing a milestone, and rediscovering the real Michael Snasdell.
All that is left to say is thank you for reading all of this, and I hope everyone is able to look back at their past year with such clarity.
And then I guess its time to roll the credits.
Thank you to mum for having me, and making me the man I am, it was an honour to have such a woman as my mother, and only parent.
Graeme Breen for inspiring me to be strong when everything is so weak and desperate, I will never forget you.
Thank you to my GP for taking me seriously, looking after mum for so well and for so long, and then taking care of me so well when it all went badly wrong.
Chantal Coles, for sticking around through the thick and thin, putting up with my unpredictabiliy, and supporting me on all my decisions. You are a saint.
Rachel 'chestbump hi-5' Eustice for keeping it real, waking me up, and helping me to party harder than I have ever partied before.
Noel 'Bampson' Amos for demonstrating what a true friend is. Never ceasing to amaze me with ideas an distracttions right on cue, and always having the words of wisdom when needed. Yes, even when calling me an eskimo!
To Fedex (weird I know) for continuing to support and employ me through all of this. Thank you for keeping the faith and playing it by the book.
And then there is everyone else, catering, grips, camera work, wardrobe. All the people that made 2011 what it was for me, and holding it all together.
Roger (AA), Devon, Craig, Steve, Sammi, Cadell, and so many more.
So raise a glass, shed a tear, scratch your arse, or give a cheer. 2011 draws to a close. We have all lost a little, gained a lot, become wiser, made mistakes, and seen things for what they REALLY are. Tomorrow will NOT make things feel different, wont take away the pain of a loss, nor increase our bank balances, but we will have something far greater.... Each other. Together we stand, strong and mighty, ready to face and endure the challenges of the new days ahead of us. And I for one know, with you guys by my side, I am ready and stand tall.
2012, please be good to use all, but if you cant, we are ready for you...... BRING IT !