It's been over two months since my last blog - the longest hiatus since I began. I'm going to do my best to try and explain why.
First off, as I think all of us know, life doesn't always go to plan. The winds of change can either blow in your favour or throw you off course. The unexpected ones, the ones that come with suddenly gathering clouds I've discovered can be the most difficult ones to navigate.
Over the last two months, I've had good and bad winds blowing around me. It's created a mixture of challenges, some met with determination and grit - others with overwhelming, looping questions in my mind of how to steady the course.
The more chaotic winds - those caused by a combination of family issues and ailing family members health - had left me mentally and physically exhausted. At times, it seemed as if there was no respite. No escape. Juggling a new job and the exciting challenges and intense momentum of producing two hours of radio everyday combined with coming home to another on-going battle or drama of some kind was wearing me down. Physically, my health suffered more over the last little while. At times, my brain felt so drained it was difficult to read more than a couple of paragraphs of a book - which, given how much of a biblophile I am, gives some insight into the exhaustion I was experiencing.
It was change that had amounted to my frazzled and at times, emotionally frayed state. Not because change had occurred - but because of the changes that I knew were bad, that were wearing me out and wearing me down, that were taking away my passion, I could not change. There were factors outside of my control, certain situations that were unmovable - and untenable.
I will confess, I was at a loss at what to do. I felt constrained by these situations that were outside of my control, and as a result, I think I temporarily lost my voice.
Not in the physical sense, but in terms of my spirit. Of who I am. In the fire that burns in my belly to do the things I love, the things I feel that matter - like this blog. I wasn't quite sure how this blog, which has always been rather personal in nature - whether it's documenting something I'm experiencing or expressing my ever-vocal views on certain political or social issues - fit into these changes.
And in my exhausted state, the only conclusion I could draw was to self-silence. Those who follow this blog asked me why there had been no posts, why had they suddenly stopped? I gave not entirely dishonest reasons about not having time, too much going on, etc. But really, it was because I wasn't sure how to keep being me, how and if it fitted in anymore, and whether my voice was of any value.
Over the last two weeks, I have thankfully experienced change for the better. After vocalizing how I truly felt about some personal situations, things got better - and the knock on affect that had has been huge. I could feel my hunger and my fire come back. My spirit began to feel re-invigorated.
This weekend, I traveled to Limerick to show my support for Cycle Against Suicide on Saturday (and to get to see the other half who is selflessly assisting them this year) so it was a multi-task good cause. Despite a bus strikes, terrible traffic, and the world's quickest shower in history before arriving at the Dell Center to greet the cyclists, I got there.
Simply put, being there was like coming home to something familiar. There were many new faces I didn't know, tired and weary from a day of persistent rain and a long road who I greeted with a smile and a hot drink - not much in the grand scheme of things but most welcome in that given moment. I got to catch up with old friends, connections that began two years ago on the very first year of the cycle when I traveled to a number of venues around the country speaking about my own experiences and helping spread their message that it's okay not to be okay and it's absolutely okay to ask for help.
I was taken aback at how many people from those two years ago remembered me and my talk and spoke to me about the effect it still had on them to this day. Being a small cog in such a large wheel, I was humbled that my voice had made a difference to their lives - not just when I was speaking, but in the time after.
It was this, combined with my own renewal, which has led to this post. It's caused to me remember that I can make a difference, I can create positive change - not only in the area of mental health, but in whatever I set my mind to. We all can. I might've gotten knocked down a bit more of the last little while - but now, I've gotten back up. And I'm more determined than ever to be me, to have my voice, to fight my corner, to campaign for what I believe in, write about what I think is important, and to do my very best to do as much good as I can as in many ways as I can.
And I'm going to do it my way.
So, consider this my official comeback. This next chapter of the journey is going to be interesting. Until next time: