This time last week I was celebrating my 31st birthday and had a big old party. I hadn’t really celebrated my birthday for a long time; always making plans and then chickening out. Seeing as last year was my 30th and I didn’t do much, I decided this year would be different. I wanted to gather all my favourite people together, have fun and thank them for all their unfaltering support over the last few years. I’m so glad I did, it truly was one of the best nights of my life. Everyone came, everyone enjoyed themselves and my best friend even managed to persuade the uber cool DJ (Tom) to play Westlife as a nod to teen devotion!
For one night my anxiety seemed to fly out the window and I actually enjoyed being the centre of attention and playing hostess. I drank, I danced and I sang and I didn’t give a damn who was watching. I felt truly alive and it was all down to my fantastic family and friends, whom I can’t thank enough.
I was inundated with messages, cards, flowers and utterly thoughtful gifts, and in all honesty I was astounded that people had made the effort for me. I was overwhelmed. Friends travelled from Newcastle, Birmingham and EVEN the other side of London to be with me and it really did mean the world.
I hate to single one person out when I was shown such love by everyone, but forgive me, I’m going to, and that person is my big brother, Paul.
I don’t get to spend as much time as I would like with my family; the fact they’re in North Wales and I’m in London makes it quite tricky funny enough! Both Paul and his fiancee Gem work weekends so I didn’t expect them to make the trek for my party but they did. And that in itself was such a huge delight.
We’ve always been close having been through a lot together; he’s always been there for me when I’ve needed a shoulder to cry on or advice. Up until last weekend though, I’ve always felt that he probably thinks I’m boring and highly strung; my paranoia thinking that he thinks I’m a basket case or that he tires of reading my woe-is-me blogs. I’ve felt embarrassed to tell him the full extent of my issues for fear of him telling me to get a grip, especially as he’s been through just as much as me and more. But last weekend changed things.
I had a panic attack before we left the house, the fear of no-one turning up or everything going wrong kicking in. Paul came into my bedroom, sat down with me and somehow fixed everything. He calmed me down and made me feel like I could enjoy myself…the rest as they say, is history. Throughout the night he kept an eye on me; reassuring words in my ear, smiles and the odd shot too! And when it came to leaving, when I felt a little worse for wear; he stood on the kerb and held all my presents (and shoes) while I attempted to throw up….once again reassuring me and calming me whilst I felt the gaze of every passer-by.
I forget sometimes how special a big-brother can be. There’s a special bond between a brother and sister that can’t be matched, and as I said goodbye to them the following morning, it’s full force was felt. I fell to pieces.
If Saturday night was a true high, then Sunday was definitely a real low, and probably one of the worst days I have ever had. I cried, and I cried and I cried. I fell to the bathroom floor and wailed like I’ve never done before. I thought I was having a nervous breakdown. I scared myself. I could not see an end to it. I felt a sadness in my chest unlike any other. I couldn’t bare it, I wanted to be anywhere but there, feeling all these emotions.
Even now a week on I can’t really describe it. It was frightening. I felt like I was never going to see my brother again and I couldn’t rationalise any of it. I was in the depths of sadness. In hindsight I think it was a severe case of a ‘fun hangover’. I’d had such an amazing time with all my favourites and then it was over. I couldn’t process everyone’s kindness and generosity, it was all encompassing. At the time I couldn’t see a way out of it but thankfully with every day that’s passed the sadness has become more manageable. And whereas I couldn’t bare to look at my cards or presents earlier in the week, I’m pleased to say the sight of them no longer reduces me to a blubbering wreck!
Whilst it wasn’t pleasant, it has made me realise a few things and the main one being that I need to ensure I spend more time with the people I love and not surround myself with those that don’t make me feel good about myself. But most of all it’s reiterated the fact that I have the most amazing big brother in the world; the kindest, most generous person that is always looking out for me. I don’t know where I would be without him.
I love you Paulo.