Mistakes – I’ve made a few. But then again…..

I have lived most of my life with my head in the clouds and it has been a whirlwind.  I have had many different jobs because I would get bored and move on – some jobs have been around entertainment so therefore  seasonal and short lived.  And, since having my son in 2000 I have started various micro-businesses to fit in with family commitments but I never really pushed myself to be the next Deborah Meadon.  Up until March 2016 I thought my scattered life was down to me have an entrepreneurial spirit.

In more recent times, I have started to feel embarrassed about the fact that I never got my head down in a job and settled until retirement.  Indeed, before Facebook kept our friends and families informed of our lives, whilst attending reunions, many of my family would say, “so what are you up to nowadays? we can’t keep up with you”.  I used to think I was ‘windswept and interesting’.  As I got older, it became tiresome to deal with the rolling eyes of slight objection to my lack of discipline or direction.

Still, I would go about my life, my way, throwing caution to the wind and hoping I would make the right decisions for the right reasons and “what will be will be”.

But in 2016, everything became clear.  What happened?  Whilst undertaking a Masters Degree, I was diagnosed with ADHD and Specific Language Processing Difficulties (SLPD).  This explained a lot.  The feelings I experienced following the diagnosis were relief; despair; guilt; gratitude; acceptance.

Relief – Mainly because of the SLPD.  I had been struggling with the Masters – not least because I was invited to do the course despite not having any GCSES or an undergraduate degree – so who wouldn’t struggle with that.  Liz would say that a Masters degree is supposed to be hard but I just thought I was too thick.  Turns out, I just needed a different approach.  Liz helped me, of course, and I graduated with a merit! No one could have predicted that!

Despair – All these years, if I had known, maybe I would have been in better control of my impulsivity.  Perhaps made more conventional choices (and stuck to them) which would mean financially stability for my children’s future.

Guilt – My Son, Mitch, has learning difficulties; verbal dyspraxia and brain damage.  His diagnosis of ADHD was overshadowed by all the other labels and we didn’t investigate it enough to understand that ADHD has probably been the main culprit of Mitchel’s struggles.  These days, he is doing great (phew) but I may have been able to help him earlier if I had known.

Gratitude – Having Alopecia has also helped me to gain perspective on life.  In particular, when I look in the mirror, I am still shocked to realise I don’t have any hair but that soon comes around to being grateful that my hair loss is not as a result of cancer treatment and that I still have my health.  Having the ability to process thoughts like this has only come since my ADHD diagnosis.  I have learned to recognise my thoughts and listen to my inner voice.

Acceptance – None of the above matter.  One has to look forward and not back.  Now I am more aware of how my mind operates and I try to manage my impulses rather than diving straight in (it is still a work in progress).  Knowing this helps me get over the shame of how I had lived my life.  I now accept that I always have and always will do the best I can for me and my children.

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”
J.K. Rowling


There is no right or wrong way to live a life. All we can ever hope to do is our best, in any given moment. That ‘best’ will be different for each of us.

In truth, there is not much in life which cannot be fixed if we end up making a ‘mistake’. Arguably, thinking of any decision as a mistake can be as fruitless as having regrets. Instead, we can look at anything we do in our lives as a gathering of wisdom. After all, as Albert Einstein said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”

Rachel is proof that life is there to be lived, no matter what happens along the way. As she says, acceptance is key to being your own experiment and learning from whatever happens. This can feel difficult, perhaps impossible, in the moment. Time and patience, though, can be helpful companions as we come to terms with our decisions and find ways to move forward.

“There’s no such thing as ruining your life. Life’s a pretty resilient thing, it turns out.”
― Sophie Kinsella, The Undomestic Goddess

 

13 Comments

  1. There is so much I want to say after reading this.
    Firstly, I also rejoice in your wisdom and in your mutual support. Secondly, reading that word ‘shame’ made me want to cry. I recognise that feeling and it is so difficult to get rid of it. It is a feeling that often intrudes and spoils one’s life and the word is used and the feeling felt by many people that should not be using and feeling it. Somehow we feel guilty about decisions made that, in hindsight and with more experience we might not have made. Rachel, as you know now, you have done nothing to feel ashamed of! Thirdly, being diagnosed can be a two-edged sword. It can bring such enlightenment and relief but can also introduce new feelings and problems. I would always say it is better to know as much as possible about one’s health; that knowledge is empowering. When it is one’s child’s diagnosis it is all too easy to feel guilty and responsible and I have had a therapist tell me that certain things I did and said before I realised my daughter had acute anxiety could have made my daughter worse! However, if we know that we have always done our best to love and care for our children to the best of our ability we have nothing to feel guilty about. Easier said than done!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for your comments Clare. Although I have found enlightenment to be a blessing it is a shame when we are trying so hard to do our best by our children that other parties – seemingly professional people – interject with unhelpful hindsight.
      At a recent time when I thought I may have ‘made things worse’ for Mitch, unbeknown to me he told his Uncle that he knows I want the best for him. Believing my children know I always do my best by them – even if it doesn’t quite work out as planned – helps me move forward and trust my instincts.
      Shame is a harsh word but once I understood this was the emotion I was experiencing, the severity helped me move past it and come to realise that my intentions were always from the heart.
      We are good people Clare – never forget that. x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank-you so much for this, Rachel. I also know that both my daughters (my elder daughter has Bipolar II Disorder) know I want the best for them.
        I am so pleased you have been able to move on from the unhappiness and guilt you felt. xx

        Liked by 1 person

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