What gets you up each morning? I recently read that the latest estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) show that the total number of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2017/18 was 595,000, a prevalence rate of 1,800 per 100,000 workers. Many of them struggled to even get up in the morning.
I remember those days – where energy, calm and ease felt like they were in a foreign land. One of those episodes, many many moons ago, required setting up home with my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. Life was a pretty bleak place to be. The call of the darkened room and no company, locking myself into the cocoon of a duvet were a place of safety and isolation.
But it often stopped me from doing the normal things – cleaning my teeth, having a shower, taking medication, or going to the shop – I would have quite happily stayed in that “pit” (quite literally) for months if I could.
But every single morning, two little faces would greet me at the bedroom door, encourage me to drink, get up, go again, take the medication, find some energy to walk them to school, tell me a joke, sing me a song, or make up silly stories.
I was hell to live with at times – I was struggling to live with myself, let alone other people having to face the wrath of anger that often came their way.
But still, every morning, those two faces would show up before they headed off to Primary School.
I look back with an element of shame on that time – because those that I loved the most in the world, so young and vulnerable themselves, were the ones pleading with me to go again. They shouldn’t have had to do that. But I am forever eternally grateful that they did.
In the same breath, I look back on those times with fondness – experiencing unconditional love every single waking morning. I smile at the numerous talks that we had as I walked them to school, the trial and error of doing scooter tricks, or making up names for each other. We giggled in a way that still rings in my ears, warms my heart and brings a tear to my eyes even now as I write.
The reality of life’s lesson being this……
In the worst of days, I gained some of the most beautiful and treasured memories, priceless for the rest of times, ones that I will hold onto forever.
And now, some eight years on, two of those beaming faces are grown and at University, following in my footsteps of becoming a teacher . I couldn’t be prouder, not even by the university status – although that in itself is MAGICAL.
No, I am even more proud of the human beings that they have become and continue to be.
Today’s lesson is a simple one – however hard it may feel, light and love are around every corner – from a smile from a stranger, to the breeze in the trees, to the blues of the skies. Just keep going, one small step at a time.