Today (22nd September) would’ve been the 64th birthday of my mother. Anything that has to do with my mum or reminds me of her (birthdays, anniversaries, triggered memories) still affects me deeply and mentally even if I don’t always tell people openly about this.
My mum was my first love and she taught and showed me a lot about life, education and love amongst other things. She was my backbone. She was my constant. She was Love. To have all of that taken away from you is really hard to explain in words but it’s something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
Today, I admit publicly that my mother’s passing and the gap that it left has affected every aspect of my life and has mentally scarred me. Any issues I have stem from this shattering life event. Subliminally, I built up my coping and defence mechanisms from that. I have a real problem with control. I find it hard to let go of that control. I edit and adapt myself, my thoughts and what I should say in accordance to the situation I find myself in, who I’m helping, and the people I’m around. I even stopped myself from crying at my mum’s funeral because I felt that a bunch of black family members couldn’t handle a young 16 year old crying his heart out as they weren’t prepared for a young boy crying and how that would look. I felt that this audience of people weren’t mentally ready for this outward public display of emotion. And that’s one example of many during my life.
I’m calculated in my movements and how I think I should react. I know what role to play when needed. The sad thing is that I’m never truly 100% myself with someone because I’m metaphorically holding something back to stop myself being vulnerable. The same vulnerable feeling I had when my mum passed away. I stop myself from having that feeling because it was a feeling I don’t want to experience again as it was so painful and hurtful.
However, the one thing that mentally scarred me about my mum and the observations I had from being around her for 16 years was her depression and her mental unhappiness and how life never was content for her. Around me, she was affectionate, smiling, happy and loving. It was real but she showed me what she felt I needed – what I needed to be shown, regardless of how she was truly feeling. She subliminally played the role that was needed at the time for me. I definitely see how in some aspects, I’m cut from my mother’s cloth. Depression is so real and it takes in many shapes and forms in accordance to the people it consumes and affects. I’ve witnessed it with my mum and I’m also witnessing it in others I’ve encountered too in my life. It’s mentally destructive but it can be something that you can live with.
Although this sounds like I’ve had an epiphany of self-realisation in this post, it has mainly come from me talking things out and from me going to counselling. My therapist has broken me down and given her observations through her questioning and hearing about my life. She has been so spot on, that it has scared me because I can’t hide from this anymore. I can’t play roles, I can’t control my words/emotions – I have to truly be myself. Through this current process, I’ve learnt a lot about myself and I’m finally getting to that point where I can truly be myself, be in touch with my own emotions within myself and how I truly feel at certain times, and really be vulnerable all whilst losing control and being me. Counselling is something I would recommend after life-changing events like a passing of a loved one to resolve any personal mental issues you may have. Mental health is important and we should get a check-up every so often. It’s needed to clear our brains out. To stay as sane as we can in this complicated thing we call Life.
I’m thankful for my mum and the impact she made in my life and the legacy she left behind. She truly taught me a lot in life and in what she left behind. I love you, Mum. Happy 64th Birthday!