“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #28 – David E Gordon

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My alarm goes off, yet again, for the third time this morning. I have already pressed the snooze two times and I know that I have to get up. I have work today and people are counting on me, or so they say. With a deep sigh, I let my eyes adjust in the early morning dawn light. I rub at them hoping it will help me focus, but the darkness seems to push in from all sides. The silence of my apartment is all around me, so thick that it feels like a heavy weight is sitting on my chest.

Slowly, I turn and let my legs hang from the side of the bed, my feet not quite touching the floor.

I rise up and steady myself against the wall just a mere six inches away. My apartment is small and the too-big bed takes up a lot of room. I had thought about leaving it with her and getting a smaller one, but, I just couldn’t handle the idea that she would be using our bed with him. I lower my head, my chin resting against my chest as the tears begin to fall. I sit back down on the bed as the sobs fill my very being.

After several long minutes, I draw in a deep breath and several short ones hoping to settle myself. It doesn’t take much these days to get me bawling my eyes out. I guess in some ways she was my safety net. What was it she had said? “This is too much for me. You are a wonderful man, but not knowing what I will find when I come home is… just too much.” I didn’t blame her. Some days, I didn’t know what I would find in the morning when I woke up either.

I get up again and slowly drag myself into the bathroom to get a shower and get ready for the day. Some days it can take quite a while for me to get ready, so I usually start earlier than I need to. After my shower, shaving, and brushing my teeth, I walk back into the bedroom to get dressed. One of the things my doctor has suggested is that I pick out clothes the night before and force myself to accept them, to not change my selection. Today the navy blue slacks and plain white shirt fit my mood.

I walk down the short hallway to the kitchen and make myself a cup of coffee. The smell of the fresh brew reminds me of days when I cherished my first cup. Now, it is just one more chore that I have to muddle through. My doctor told me that doing these types of small chores consistently would help me return to my old self. While I wait for the coffee I check my cell phone. No texts and the handful of emails are of the upcoming weekend sales. No party or night out invites for me. Nothing for me to do or read here. Just nothing.

I sit down heavily in one of the two chairs at the small café-sized table. Some days I just can’t see the future at all, like the winter dawn barely breaking outside of my windows. It all seems very dark. I can feel myself slipping back and closing my eyes, try to reach for the ledge. I remember his “tricks” to reach for the next rung on the ladder. Not to look up at the top – just to look at the next one. Just one. Then one more. But with my eyes still closed I try to remember happier days gone by. I know they were there because she and I had been happy once upon a time. I can remember every detail of her. The way she smiled so easily and laughed all the time. The way the sun lightened her long brown hair and made her hazel eyes sparkle. I swipe at the tear as it begins to slip down my cheek. Damn! It is going to be one of those days.

I focus on the scent of the fresh coffee and manage to open my eyes. Standing up I lift my travel coffee mug and place the lid tightly on. Turning to leave the kitchen I pick up my backpack, which contains some tissues, a few pens and pencils, and a journal. My doctor says every day I am supposed to write down something positive and then share it during our sessions. Some days the best I can say is that my coffee tasted good. I know it’s not much, but it is something.

He says finding something positive every day means that I am doing well. I guess a good cup of coffee is better than nothing. And that also means that I got out of bed today, that I was able to get dressed, get through my morning routine, able to take a breath and keep breathing.

Like football players who smack the champion sign on the way out onto the field, I have my own sign. ‘They say I am doing well’ it says, with butterflies and flowers all around it. Do I look like a flowers and butterflies kind of guy? No, I don’t think so. But as I pass by the sign, I run my fingers across the words, trying to pull them into my soul, into my heart, and most importantly into my mind. Maybe that will help. Today, I need all the help I can get.

As the door closes behind me, I say it over and over in my mind – they say I am doing well. With a deep sigh, I put one foot in front of the other and then another and another. Maybe they are right. Maybe I am doing well. I hope they are right.

David E Gordon © 2016

author bio

David E Gordon is a suspense writer, his first novel called Cutter, available on Amazon.

Contact David davidegordonauthor.wordpress.com or facebook.com/DavidEGordonAuthor

 

DONATE BUTTON

Thank you so much for taking part David!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]

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“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #26 – Sarah Michelle Lynch

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They say I’m doing well…

So, what does this mean to me…?

I could relay you a million stories, about people I’ve known or met in passing. I have one of those minds; I remember lots of little details people tell me and they always come in useful when I’m writing. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I could tell you someone else’s story, but how about telling you mine?

I’ve never been ill (touch wood). I did however come close to serious injury in a car crash once but walked away fine. I have never suffered a mental health issue myself. But behind some smiles, there are those of us who have watched others suffer and when you don’t have a mental health issue yourself, it is really hard to understand what someone else is going through when you can’t see into their head. The mind is not an exact science.

From my point of view, a lot of people assume Sarah Michelle Lynch is together and has it sorted. It’s fine. I’m fine. We’re all fine. A part of me will admit that I’ve shirked away from trying to understand the problems people around me have been going through. I’ve shied away from trying to get them to talk about their issues, but maybe that’s just because I cannot empathise entirely. For so many years, I was occupied by an overwhelming sense of ambition to be the beacon my family needed me to be. It’s the curse of your twenties to try to be all things to all people. At the end of the day, I’m just me, and I am happy to have come to that acceptance.

I often write stories about struggle, about deceit, about lies and secrecy, but my life is pretty normal and boring really. In the past few years, since I started writing actually, I’ve learned to be very grateful for having a positive attitude. Give me a pen and a pad of paper and I am happy. I can write anywhere. My Happy is portable. A chocolate bar and a cup of tea too wouldn’t go amiss. That ability of mine to just be happy is something I never saw any value in – until I realised a lot of people find it difficult to even get out of bed some days.

Whether you have a mental health issue or not, we’re all just people, striving for the same things. Love and understanding. Life is hard, nobody ever said it was going to be easy. Journeys of self-discovery can be debilitating for a time, in fact, but I firmly believe knowledge and awareness can empower and help people to rebuild and renew.

I always tell myself it is important to remember what I’ve overcome to bring me to the point where I’m at now. This point. At this moment in time. I put myself through university when I could have easily given up and got a manager’s job at the place I worked part-time during that period. There were times when I wanted to quit, to give up, but I didn’t. I wasn’t the only one – loads of my friends were putting themselves through university too. We did it and came out stronger for it.

I was the first person in my family to go to university. Let me put that into perspective for you. My maternal grandfather was illiterate. My mum got her GCSE in English in her thirties! (mega proud of her by the way!) My parents are both from broken homes. My mum, fostered when she was four, lost two elder brothers, before she was put with a family that didn’t really want her and my auntie. My dad grew up in poverty, suffering like you would never imagine he had. My grandmother was a manic depressive and back in those days, it wasn’t dealt with like it would be today. My grandfather turned a blind eye; he was a womaniser who abandoned my dad and his brother to the mindset of a seriously ill woman who rarely washed, rarely fed her kids, rarely tried to instil in them any sense of decency. I’m the eldest of four kids myself. School friends used to meet my dad and think we were posh. He’s an intelligent man, but he has never been posh. Not many know the full story. Not many people know how my parents struggled to bring us all up, without grandparents to help out. They struggled. I know, because I remember. I was there. I know about the mindset of poverty and how difficult it has been for my dad, especially, to let go of.

Academia is a different world to the one I was born into. Yet in a lot of ways, it saved me. Getting my degree was the biggest achievement I made, up until that point anyway. Nobody on God’s Earth can take it away from me.

After university I did what I always said I was going to do and I worked in journalism for seven years. I learned more in this job than I had learnt in my life before that. My degree gave me a foundation, as did the various part-time jobs I’d done along the way, but I didn’t learn anything until I worked in journalism, which opened my eyes to the human race in all its varying degrees.

I worked with many talented people that might never fulfil their promise because of how truly scary it is to put yourself out there with a piece of work that means more than a pay check. Stories of unlikely heroes and heroines fascinate me because you don’t know if a future star might be sitting next to you in the next office cubicle. We all have the potential for greatness, there’s often just a lot of luck involved and knowing the right people.

I went back to journalism after maternity leave and found five or six people doing my old job. Eventually leaving that job was the best thing I ever did.

I wrote my first novel when I was just twenty-eight. The adrenalin of completing that was like nothing I’d ever felt before. Like a lot of other self-published authors, I found friends and family responded to my new pursuit in various ways. Real friends celebrate you, while others fall by the wayside as you pursue your dream.

I’ve known for quite some time that I was born to write, and the notion grows stronger all the time with every word I put down, with every other author I work with thanking me for helping them.

I’ve always known my destiny is words and it’s something you can put alongside my name.

But even with all my confidence and vigour for this writing lark, I still have days where words don’t flow, where I doubt myself. But it’s okay, and I take the rough with the smooth. My ambition has lessened as my love for the art has grown.

Since I’ve joined the book community and spoken to people like me, I’ve realised how words have the power to do good. I’ve adapted my writing style a lot over the years after realising I actually have a power at my fingertips to do good and it’s why I keep writing. Why I decided to do an event like this.

At the same time, I realise how the world demands, how it requires and takes and manipulates the truth of an artist’s soul for its own ends. Which is why I asked all the authors taking part to write something with regards to, “They Say I’m Doing Well,” because people’s definition of that varies. Ask yourself about doing well… Does doing well mean earning big bucks, having all the letters after your name, or does doing well translate to literally everything? Health, wealth, prospects? What?

I feel that this world can be harsh and cruel because we forget that we’re all human – most of us – and to err is to be human. There’s no formula; no recipe for success, or personal happiness.

They say I’m doing well but some days, I wake up and don’t like what I see in the mirror. Some days I don’t want to write because it all feels like sludge between my fingers. I question myself all the time: do I speak to my friends enough? Is Andy okay? Is Serena doing well at school? Am I doing enough? All these things are normal, but if they become consuming, that’s when you know you have to take a step back and retrace. Ask yourself, is there really a reason for me to worry? Focus on a good thing, a place you can take your mind to, and reorganise everything back to that safe place. I never knew these were invaluable tools I’d had in use for so many years until I watched someone close to me crumble. And it changed me, too. It made me realise that what you give, you get back tenfold, and when you walk the path together it’s so much more interesting than going it alone.

None of us are perfect. None of us. Some of us might be doing “well”, whatever your definition of well is, but then again, we’re all human and all have our crosses to bear – I try to remember that everyday. I see people who appear confident but a tiny fracture in their defences allows me to see that they’re not at all fixed or whole. They’re broken, but in time and with the right love and support, they’ll heal. It’s funny how we judge people on first impressions but how, when we really get to know them, we begin to associate colours and patterns with them instead of faces. We no longer see the outside, but the inside. It doesn’t matter how well you think you know someone though, they sometimes go right on to surprise the hell out of you.

The one thing I will pass on to my daughter is this… never give up on learning. Never. I didn’t. I will not, either. Education… it’s the basis of our civilisation, of making this world better… and doing it all in the name of people that didn’t have the same choices we have.

To round off my contribution to the blog tour, I have written you a poem. Poetry is a medium I don’t get on with sometimes. For me, it bites at me, eats me away. I find it harder to write poetry than novels. A poem sometimes stews in my recesses for weeks before I just write it. I will write it flat out, and that will be it. A poem’s a bunch of feelings condensed, with the potential for so many different interpretations. Poetry, for me, is real. Poetry protects. Poetry reveals our innards and I know why a lot of people struggling with their mindset write poetry, to get it out there… to expel, in order to digest.

So, here we go…

They Say I’m Doing Well

Caress my hair around my ears

I lay my head awhile on your lap

Silence pervades the air and still

We tell each other more than

Words could ever tell

*

Soothe my aches with your hands

Take my soul in your arms

And keep me safe there

I won’t tell if you don’t

Secrets we keep behind our eyes

 *

In front of the telly we stare

But we’re together, so it’s okay

Flimflam words don’t matter

Because it’s just time together

And time’s all that matters

 *

You’re the strength beyond

My fingertips, the one always there

You silence my worries, hear my cries

You cradle my neuroses and nurture them

Loving all of me as you do

 *

He is wise and kind and soulful

He carries me on his back

He has peccadilloes of his own

Which I love in return

And together we reign supreme

*

You struggled, you overcame

You’ve known pain and anguish

Disappointment and deceit

And came out the other side

Much stronger than people realise

*

They say I’m doing well

But it’s the strength you give to me

I couldn’t do all this without the struggle,

And without the journey…

We wouldn’t have the dream

Sarah Michelle Lynch © 2016

author bio

Sarah Michelle Lynch wakes up in the morning and the first thing on her mind is words and the possibility of reading and writing more and more words. She is a little bit obsessed.

A career in journalism preceded Sarah’s writing career as an Independent author and despite an offer to get published, Sarah found it very difficult to let go of the freedom, variety and creativity self-publishing allows her.

When Sarah’s not reading words, she’s editing them, and when she’s not editing she’s writing. These days, to earn her right to write, she freelances as an editor.

DONATE BUTTON

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]

Please press the donate button if you were inspired by my words. Here’s what your donations could achieve:

£8.70 gives a lifeline to someone in desperate need of support by letting the Mind Infoline team take their call

£30 could help Mind work with the Government to promote mental health needs and improve services for years to come

£150 could fund a local support group and let people living with mental health problems get back their confidence and self-esteem

£250 could fund equipment for an art therapy group, so that people can express their feelings through art and start the healing process

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“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #24 – EJ Shortall

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Lost
A short story by
E.J. Shortall
Edited by: Kendra’s Editing and Book Services

 

“You will love it.”

“There is no better feeling in the world.”

“They complete you.”

Lies.

It was all lies.

At least, that’s how it felt at the time.

No one told me the truth. No one ever said becoming a mother would shake me, break me, and turn me into a withered fraction of the person I used to be.

Sure, I had the emotional moment and feeling of absolute joy when my son was placed in my arms for the very first time. And yes, my chest constricted with an overwhelming sense of pride when he first opened his blue eyes and looked up at me, melting my heart.

That feeling didn’t last long.

Within a week of my son’s birth, everything had changed.

Sitting on a bench facing the small lake, the dark water reflecting the changing autumn leaves of nearby trees, my thoughts drifted back to the time when being a mother became too much, when I wished it would all just go away.

That he would just go away.

 

Harvey, my son, had been a little angel. “Our very own gift from God,” Dylan, my husband, would say. Of course he would. He didn’t get to see the devil-child like I did.

As soon as Dylan returned to work at the end of his paternity leave and it became just Harvey and me, things spiralled downhill quickly.

Everything started changing.

I started changing.

It was almost like he was testing the strength of my character—and found me lacking. From the moment the front door clicked closed behind Dylan in the mornings, after he had showered his precious son with kisses, Harvey became a demanding monster. It didn’t matter what I tried or how much of my own hair I tried pulling out, Harvey would not settle.

He would cry non-stop for hours, and nothing would pacify him. I’d feed, change, and cuddle him, and I’d rock him in my arms until they ached, but his wailing would not stop.

In the early days of post-natal checks, the midwife—and then various other health-care workers—would tell me everything was fine. It would take me a while to learn what my son’s different cries were and I should not fret about things.

That was easier said than done.

The more Harvey cried, the more desperate I became.

First, my feelings were of guilt; why couldn’t I do the simple thing of pacifying my son? We soon found ourselves in a vicious circle of baby crying—mum fretting—baby continuing to cry—mum becoming desperate for some peace.

Next came hopelessness.

I began to feel lost, worthless, not deserving of anything or anyone in my life. I had been given, supposedly, the greatest gift on earth, but I didn’t appreciate him. I couldn’t.

Within days, I found myself withdrawing from my son, and from life. I couldn’t cope. Suddenly, being a wife and mother was too much.

I wasn’t connecting with my son. The bright spark of pride I’d felt straight after his birth, had faded and died. I began despising him, wishing he were anywhere but with me. My relationship with my husband was suffering, too. I could see the concern in his eyes when he came home from work in the evenings and asked how my day had been, but I couldn’t seem to muster the enthusiasm to care.

While I stayed in bed, trying to bury myself in the comfort of my blankets, I would leave Harvey in his bassinet crying for hours until he would eventually drop off to sleep. I couldn’t find the motivation to get washed or dressed. I stopped eating properly and would ignored phone calls and visitors.

I simply withdrew from living.

Eventually, Dylan and our health visitor realised that something was wrong, that I wasn’t just suffering with mild baby blues.

“Georgie,” Dylan said to me one morning, sitting beside me on the edge of the bed as he cuddled a sleeping Harvey. “Sweetheart, we can’t carry on like this. Harvey needs his mum.”

His words were like a knife to my chest. He was right; Harvey did need me, but I didn’t know how to be a mum. I was confused, scared, tired, and I felt an overwhelming sense of guilt that I couldn’t just get on with motherhood like every other new mum did.

My throat clogged up with a football-sized ball of guilt, shame, and emotion, and tears stung my closed eyes. But I would not cry. I refused to. I could not admit to Dylan how low I was feeling, how utterly useless I was. I was his wife, the mother of his child. I was supposed to be strong, caring, and nurturing his child whilst he was off providing for us financially.

Dylan’s gentle hand swept greasy hair away from my face, and I felt his eyes on me.

I will not cry. I will not cry.

I kept repeating it to myself over and over, willing myself back into the darkness that was slowly engulfing me.

“You have to snap out of this, babe. Harvey needs you… I need you.”

Despite my best efforts, a whimper that resembled a squeak abraded my throat, and the tears I had been trying so hard to repress finally started falling. I screwed my eyes together tight and prayed no more would fall. But it was no use. The dam had breached, and before I knew it, I was sobbing, burying my face into the pillow, unable to control my shaking body.

“Let me help you. We need to get you help so you can feel like you again. I need my wife, and Harvey needs his mum. We can’t lose you, Georgie.”

Dylan’s emotion-filled voice and words took me by surprise. What did he mean by ‘lose me’? I wasn’t going anywhere, well, other than the black hole I was steadily falling into.

I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand and wiggled under the crumple of blankets until I was facing Dylan. For the first time in several weeks, I actually took note of my husband. His usual bright-blue eyes were dull and haunted, dark circles swirled underneath, and a concerned frown drew in his brows.

My husband was seriously worried. About me?

As tears continued to spill from my eyes, Dylan reached forward to wipe them away.

“I’ve been speaking to Evelyn, and she thinks you have Postnatal Depression.” I shuddered again, not wanting to acknowledge what we both knew was the truth. “I’ve made you an appointment with the doctor. It’s time we got you the support you need to help you get back to your old self.”

Dylan offered a small, weary smile and continued stroking my hair with one hand while cuddling our son to his chest with the other.

The realisation of the seriousness of my condition hit me full on. I wasn’t just feeling down or tired; I was depressed.

I turned my head, not able to look at my husband or son, as a new emotion swept through me… shame.

“Hey.” Dylan quickly slipped his gentle hand beneath my cheek, encouraging me to look at him again. “Don’t hide from me. You have nothing to be ashamed of, okay? Lots of new mothers suffer with Postnatal Depression.”

“I’m so sorry,” I cried, bringing my hand to my mouth, trying to control my hysterics. “I’m so, so sorry, Dylan.”

With his free arm, Dylan pulled my against his chest, holding his family close.

“Shh, you have nothing to be sorry for. You hear me? Nothing.”

I cried and snuggled into Dylan’s white cotton shirt for what felt like hours until Harvey started wriggling and getting grumpy.

“Why don’t you go shower while I feed this little monster, then we’ll go talk to the doctor.” Dylan planted a kiss to my forehead and began to ease away. Not wanting him to go, I quickly grabbed handfuls of his shirt and buried my face into his chest.

“I love you,” I whispered.

I felt his smile against my skin as he kissed me again.

“And I love you, too… We’ll get through this, baby. I promise we will.”

 

After a chat with our family doctor, he confirmed that I was experiencing Postnatal Depression. We spoke about various treatment options and support that would help me cope, and eventually decided against antidepressants, opting for a more therapeutic approach through counselling and support groups.

When we returned home from the doctors, together, Dylan and I fed and changed Harvey and settled him down for a nap, then we sat and searched the Internet for information and advice. The Mind website was a fantastic resource that helped me further understand my condition and put me in contact with a local support group.

Within days, I’d attended a one-to-one counselling session with a lovely lady who didn’t judge and encouraged me to open up. I also had further plans to join a local group of other women who were also struggling following the birth of a child. I was still buried in a black hole, but for the first time in weeks, I felt hopeful.

Talking to people who understood and could relate to how I was feeling was my greatest motivation. I finally accepted that I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t a freak of nature, or a bad mother, and my fears, anxieties, and emotions were all normal.

 

“Mumma, Mumma.”

My thoughts came back to the present by the sound of a happy child shouting behind me.

Slowly, I pulled my gaze from the darkness of the lake and turned in my seat. The sight that greeted me made my chest ache and spread a wide smile across my face. It was the most beautiful sight in the world.

My son.

Harvey, who was now walking, was heading toward me on his unsteady, chubby legs, a bright smile lighting up his face.

“Mumma, Mumma,” he babbled over and over, making me laugh.

“Hey, baby boy,” I cooed, scooping him into my arms. “Did Daddy take you to the swings?”

“Swin, swin, swin” he chanted over and over, excited to have mastered—in his baby way—another new word.

I felt Dylan step up behind me and wrap his arms around my waist, settling his hands over my stomach.

“Hello, gorgeous.”

The warmth of his breath fluttering across the sensitive skin of my neck, and the husky tones of his voice, sent my body into overdrive.

“Hello to you, too, handsome.”

“How is my family doing?” He rubbed gentle circles over the tiny swell of my belly.

“We’re all doing great.” I beamed, turning in Dylan’s arms and offering him my lips that he was only too willing to smother with his own.

We stood together for several minutes, kissing each other and cuddling our son, until Harvey became restless and wanted to get down.

“I guess it’s time to go home, then,” Dylan said, taking Harvey from my arms and securing him in his stroller.

As we walked back through the park toward our car, I couldn’t be more thankful for my life. I had a wonderful son, a fantastic husband, an amazing support group surrounding me, and another, unexpected, child on the way.

Things weren’t always perfect; I still had the occasional struggle, and I couldn’t deny being a little afraid of becoming a mother again. But, as they say, I was doing well and getting better and more confident every day.

With my family and friends beside me, I knew everything would be okay.

“You will love it.”

“There is no better feeling in the world.”

“They complete you.”

It was all the truth, every last word.

EJ Shortall © 2016

author bio

EJ Shortall was born and raised in London, England where she currently still lives with her teenage son.

Having worked in education for the better part of 12 years, EJ decided a change was needed and, following a moment of inspiration, she decided to put pen to paper and start writing her first novel, Silver Lining. Not content with just the one, she continued with book two and hopes to write many more.

She has always enjoyed reading, but found it was mostly just a holiday extravagance. Then she discovered a certain worldwide best seller, and that was it she was hooked. Reading quickly became an obsession and she couldn’t devour books fast enough. The books on her shelves and reading device range from sweet, Young Adult romances, to smouldering erotic encounters.

Aside from reading and writing, EJ also enjoys amateur photography and cake decorating.

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorE.J.Shortall

DONATE BUTTON

Thank you so much for taking part EJ!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]

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“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #20 – TA McKay

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They say I’m doing well.

It’s been eleven days, six hours, and twenty-three minutes since I last cried. I can feel them though; the tears are there, building inside my chest causing it to tighten as they try to escape.

It’s been eleven days, six hours, and twenty-three minutes since the last time I cut my skin to let the blood take it all away. But I can feel it building again, the pain inside my soul that’s desperate to be released.

It’s been eleven days, six hours, and twenty-three minutes since I thought about ending it all. I felt nothing but peace when I thought about how simple it would be to stop it all, how slipping away would be so much easier on everyone. The darkness wouldn’t hurt, the darkness would welcome me like an old friend.

It’s been eleven days, six hours, and twenty-four minutes since I asked for help. That was the moment I sat in a chair and spoke to someone who understood how I felt, told them how much pain I had inside. I let them in and it was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. Even after all the blood I’ve shed and tears I’ve cried, talking was what scared me the most.

It’s been eleven days, six hours, and twenty-five minutes.

It’s been eleven days, six hours, and twenty-six minutes.

They say I’m doing well, and one day I might believe them. For now I will just count the days, hours, and minutes, because every minute that passes is another minute I’ve survived.

They say I’m doing well, but I can feel myself falling into the darkness again.

It’s been eleven days, six hours, and twenty-seven minutes.

T.a. McKay © 2015

author bio

After being married for ten years and raising three beautiful kids I decided it was time to do something for myself. My passion for reading bled over with a need to tell the story that was repeating in my head and that was the birth of my first book. The rest they say is history.

I love the creative release that writing gives you, being able to take someone away to a different world feels amazing. As a reader I know how important that escape is, and as a writer I love to be able to give people that.

My other loves include music and reading (in case I haven’t mentioned that before) and then when I have time a little more reading. I think if I could read for a living I would, but since I can’t I will continue on the writing side of things.

https://www.facebook.com/Ta-Mckay-Author-1462902633937350

 

DONATE BUTTON

Thank you so much for taking part Tracy!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]

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“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #18 – Rachel Hague

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So I’ve struggled,

I’ve hurt.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

You look at me like dirt.

 *

Why do I feel this way?

Should I believe the things you say?

*

Heart racing,

Blurring mind.

Worrying if what I’m doing is right.

What will I find?

 *

I end it with you.

Need to get out of this hole.

Claw out of darkness,

Need to heal my soul.

 *

I saw the light,

I chose to fight.

 *

Silence throughout it all.

Back on top from whence I fell.

If they ask, I’ll just say,

“THEY” say I’m doing well.

 *

Just. After time,

My life is my own. All Mine.

 *

Gosh, it’s so long since I wrote a poem! I used to write all the time when I was in my teenage years. My my, how life changes!

I just want to say how hard it was in the beginning to ask for help. I had struggled with anxiety for a long time before I spoke to someone, It was only after I had started pulling my hair our (I had a lovely small bald patch to show for it) that I was encouraged to talk to someone. Even now, years later, if I have a bad day at work or if there’s something that’s weighing on my mind, I still feel the urge.

Talking helps. Talking to my partner, my mum or anyone for that matter! Learning to let the little things go has improved my quality of life. If I don’t think I’m going to remember the current “incident”, that’s causing the anxiety, in a year. I let it go. (Please don’t start singing THAT song now I’ve written let it go. Dammit now I’m humming it!)

I don’t ever want to feel how I did back then. People did always used to say I’m doing well, because they never knew any different until I started to get help.

I refuse to be the person I used to be. On my back I have….

Take me as I am,

Who I was,

And for whom I shall become.

Tattooed there. A reminder that I’m stronger now than ever before. I’m happy.

Never feel ashamed to talk out loud to people and share. Even if it’s just a tiny sliver of your worries, anxieties, the highs and your lows, it may just be the start to finding your way back to being you.

You’ll find your way back. I believe in you.

You just have to believe too.

Rachel Hague © 2016

author bio

Rachel is a blogger for booksiignoremyhusbandfor.blogspot.co.uk and a proactive member of the book community! Follow her on Twitter @BIIMHF – she always has her head in a book!

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Thank you so much for taking part Rachel!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]

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“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #16 – Alexandra North

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 They say I’m doing well…

Am I? Really?

The pain consumes me, ravishing my weary body.

Will it ever end? Will I ever sleep?

Twisting, shooting, stabbing, gripping.

A never-ending cycle soothed by a myriad of pills and heat.

 

Cool water washes the tablets down and

I curl up tight, consoling my aching curves.

Unwelcome drowsiness, finally takes effect.

The warm medicinal blanket soothes my severed nerves.

 

They say I’m doing well … managing this illness,

But they don’t see me at dawn, in agony and pain.

They say I’m doing fine… being positive about my progress.

I’m trying very hard – after all, I have a reputation to maintain.

 

To most I am ‘fine’, for the mask is firmly fixed in place.

The lipstick is on; the cheeks rosy, the bright smile fake.

Only the closest of friends and family know my secret,

the torment I go through, each day I wake, each step I take.

 

I smile through unshed tears, pain ripping through my body,

as I chat with a colleague, or friend, or my son.

Screaming silently, I nod in all the right places;

Life is as it should be to all.

Another day has passed, another day is done.

 

My strength makes me proud; I control this illness.

Despair cloaks me in blackness, but positivity lets the light back in.

Those good days I embrace, and I live my life freely,

for when the bad days come, and they will,

I’ll indulge and give in.

 

They say I am doing well … what do they know?

I’ll be the judge of that, I will say if I am doing well.

Today may be a day where I want to scream and yell,

tomorrow one where I’m invincible and not living this hell.

 

One thing I know, my pain makes me strong.

I won’t let this beat me, this illness of mine.

I’m determined to not lose the person that I am.

The laughter bubbles, despite my ongoing decline.

 

The support I gain from my family and friends,

helps me fight this condition that may never end.

 

Alexandra North © 2016

author bio

ALEXANDRA NORTH…

… is an Amazon bestselling author who came onto the writing scene in 2014. She writes romance, with erotic themes, humour, drama and often suspense and there is always a HEA at the end of a book/series.
Ms. North lives in the rambling lush hills of Yorkshire, United Kingdom with her swoon-worthy husband and two children, 15 and 9. She worked as a Graphic Designer & Illustrator, for over 18 years before she wrote her first book and now combines design and writing in this new path when creating her book covers and teasers.
Writing was always a hobby and took a back seat to University, work, parenthood and unfortunately later, chronic long-term illness. One day she woke and thought ‘life’s too short – I’m going to finish that blummin book!’ She now devotes her time to writing love stories full of humour and naughtiness. When she isn’t manically typing away or trying to be the model wife and mum, Alexandra can be found shoe shopping (shoes are her weakness), cosying up with back-to-back TV series and enjoying her very own Sebastian Silver.

Find her at the following social media sites;

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alexandranorthauthor
Twitter: @alexnorthbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/alexnorthbooks
http://www.alexandranorth.co.uk

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Thank you so much for taking part Alexandra!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #15 – Amelia J Hunter

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They say I’m doing well. I’ve heard them talk in the corridors, discussing the meetings. If I practise what I have been taught, I’ll get through this with the tablets they suggest.

I’ll survive.

I’m not sure they really understand how I’ve been feeling, or if they are listening to the words I’m not saying. The times I hold my breath before I answer. Do they realise I’m using that time to think of a reason for what I need to say to satisfy their questions? To please them so they think they are achieving a good outcome from our limited time together?

Sometimes when I hear the pen tapping on the notebook I think I have been found out. My excuses have been seen through but nothing is said and another appointment is made, my cover-up worked.

The million-dollar question is when. When did it all begin, the cold sweats, the panic in my chest, the need to leave a room as soon as I enter, the thoughts in the pit of my stomach. But I don’t know. I’ve explained my past, about my insecurities in my youth, but nothing pin points the exact moment because there isn’t one. It’s manageable they have told me, it will pass, I must learn to control it. I’ve tried, oh my god have I tried, but the feelings that I can’t explain creep in before I can contain them.

I hoped after the first few years, after it started, that the pain would dull, but instead I’ve learnt to disguise the anguish.

Which has led me here tonight.

I hope when you read this, a new life can begin and this moment will be a distant memory. I hope I am not a horrible memory and one you can forgive, someone you can learn from when you think there is no one who understands what you are going through.

I wanted to write to you on parchment paper with a black fountain pen. The words seem to flow better when the ink glides over the grooved paper. It stops me thinking if what I am writing is my true inner feelings or not. I don’t have time to pause, you will see, if I do the ink leaves a blob. I don’t want that, I want to write what I need to say in one sitting, no smudges, no errors.

I wanted to let you know that no matter how bad you feel, no matter how bad your day is, it can not get any worse, things pass. Time passes. That feeling you are having will pass and move on to another.

I’ve learnt that the future can not frighten you when you aren’t in it.

The past cannot be changed, and the present moves on to the future.

But I’m too late now to take that all on board. I wish someone had this letter for me when I was at my lowest and then maybe, just maybe I would be learning to cope better instead of fading away.

Writing this to you I hope will make it easier, I hope what I have gone through will give you strength and I hope you don’t make the same mistake I did when I thought I couldn’t go on. The mess I’ve left behind is worse than my darkest day.

I thought I could cope, I thought I could control the urges that overwhelmed me. But, but they consumed me, smothered me until they choked me.

I stopped asking for help.

I stopped looking for solutions.

I stopped dreaming of a future.

I stopped crying that day and everyone around me started.

I could hear my family saying over and over how well I was doing. I wanted to scream you didn’t see me in the early hours but I no longer had a voice.

You have a voice though; you have a choice and never forget you have amazing help out there that wasn’t around in my day.

I’m leaving this letter, neatly folded, on your pillow while you are sleeping. It’s the best time for me to move around without being noticed. When you wake in the early hours, like I’ve seen you do, I hope my words will comfort you and give you the encouragement to reach out for the guidance waiting for you.

You are not alone.

You never were.

Amelia J Hunter © 2016

author bio

Amelia J Hunter is an indie writer who likes to take her reader on a journey through her erotic writing and her contemporary romance novels.

Leaving the bright lights of London behind in the early 90’s, she now lives in the Irish countryside with her family, a good coffee maker and plenty of talk.

Amelia is a sociable writer who loves to hear from readers, writers and anyone that makes her smile and enjoys her ramblings.

Amelia has a blog where you can read short stories created just for that page, book updates, events and even audios of her work. Amelia’s blog can be found at http://www.ameliajhunter.blogspot.ie

Twitter at @ameliajhunter1
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Amelia-J-Hunter-Author
or email at ameliajhunter1@gmail.com

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Thank you so much for taking part Amelia!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]

 

 

“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #13 – Rebecca Sherwin

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But I’ll Try…

They say I’m doing well.

I’m doing well.

Well. 

What does that even mean? I looked it up: “in a good or satisfactory way,” or “in good health; free or recovered from illness”. I don’t want to be just good or satisfactory, and I’m not.

I’m not free, and I haven’t recovered. So no, I’m not doing well.

I want to be different. I want to do things the way the books told me. I want to feel the way he does, smile like he does. I want to have the same excitement I see in his eyes when he wakes up in the middle of the night and does the things I should be doing…while I stare at the foot of the bed and wonder what I did wrong. I want to love her, and I do. I just don’t like her. I don’t like what she’s done to me, even though he says he loves me as much as he always has. It doesn’t matter. None of it matters. I’m too tired to care, too tired to fall asleep but too exhausted to do my new job. Thinking about it makes me cry. Thinking of nothing makes me cry. I cry all the time, until my eyes burn, my throat is sore and my head throbs with guilt. Sometimes I get angry and shout at him, but he’s still here. He holds me while I push him away, until I’m too tired to fight and fall into his arms. When she cries I leave the room; it hurts to be around her, and it hurts to be away from her. The world wasn’t supposed to be this dark; this wasn’t what we planned and it isn’t what we want. He’ll leave me eventually, when he realises there’s no future for us; when I can’t fix myself and can’t explain what’s wrong. Why I feel this way. Hopeless. I feel hopeless. Helpless. I feel helpless. Well. I don’t feel it. I can’t even remember a time when I didn’t feel so heavy, so lost, a stranger in my own body.

“Hey,” he says, stroking our daughter’s hair as I stare through him and let the tears fall freely.

I look down at our baby, swathed in pink and lying in the arms of the woman who can’t bring herself to be the mother she deserves. She has his eyes – big and wide and full of life. I’m glad she got them from him; they’re what I fell in love with when I first met him. Her nose is a little button, her lips full with a little pout…and she has a little patch of fair hair on the top of her head – the same colour as mine. Everything about her is little. Innocent and pure and… ours.

It’s the first time I’ve held her in a week. Since I’d last had her in my arms and thought about ending my own life because I couldn’t bear the guilt of not wanting to hold her.

I don’t want to leave them.

I don’t want to be unwell, failing to cope and unstable.

I want us to be a family.

“You’re doing well.”

I’m not. We both know that.

But I’ll try.

With the stab of indifference rippling through me, I kissed her smooth forehead, closing my eyes and whispering my wish against her skin.

“I’m doing well.”

Rebecca Sherwin © 2016

author bio

Rebecca is a London born and bred mother, writer and psychology student. She is the author of summer romance, Second Chance Hero, and the psychological romantic-suspense series, Twisted. An avid reader and lover of stories that keep you guessing, Rebecca writes tales that will challenge your perceptions and toy with your emotions. Rebecca’s stories invite you to open your mind and dig deeper into the meanings of the lives of each and every character you meet. She entices you into their world – to feel with them, to grow with them, to love with them. She asks you to become a part of them and allow them to become a part of you. Rebecca would like to express her thanks to everyone who reads her stories, and would love to hear from you!

http://rebeccasherwin.com/

Twitter: @RRSherwin

FB: http://www.facebook.com/rebeccasherwinauthor

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Thank you so much for taking part Ms. Sherwin!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]

 

“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop 12 – Charlotte Hart

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One step at a time.

Fine.

That’s what he said yesterday, my dad that is, he said I was doing fine. In fact that’s what they all say lately, the other family members. Either that or something like “You’re doing really well, honey.”

I’m not. I haven’t been doing really well for a long time. It’s been so long that I can’t even remember what doing well feels like. And whose damn opinion of doing really well should I trust anyway? Certainly not my dad’s. He who must be obeyed is probably the last person in the world who should offer any kind of judgement on people’s behaviour. What would he know about crippling nonsensical emotions? He’s the one who ran off with that slut of a woman to help himself after it all happened, pretty much killing mum at the same time. She might still be hanging around, but she also might as well be dead in reality. She just sits there and stares blankly at the telly every day, occasionally moving to pour more vodka, maybe a splash of tonic if she’s feeling frivolous.

Frivolous? What a fucking word. As if anyone here’s done anything frivolous in the last three years. Even I just do the same as her now. Rock backward and forward like my life is nothing more than this chair in this repulsive little flat that I own. I hate it. I hate the flowery walls and the beige carpet, and the horrendous stench that encroaches ever more with each passing hour, souring an already vile existence. I hate the visions of torment around every corner, the never-ending taste of disgust that floods my soul each time I remember, and the constant nagging reminder of what was.

I hate me.

“Please don’t. Please don’t give in. Please don’t. I love you, Danielle. There’s so much more out there yet. Just take my hand. It’s okay, we’ll make it better. One step at a time, you and me.”

It’s all I hear every fucking day. It goes round and round like an all-consuming torture while I sit here and gaze at his photo. I just rock in the hope I can remember something other than that. Please God, let me feel something other than the unending anguish of this guilt filled hatred.

And I can smell him, why can I still smell him? He’s everywhere. And it was his fault. Why did he do it? It should have been me that went over. It was me, my choice. Why did he have to be so stupid? I told him to let go, told him to just leave and let me get on with it, but he wouldn’t listen. He just kept chanting those fucking words and telling me he loved me, just kept holding on so tight that I couldn’t get him off me and then it was too late. And he was so bright and shiny, so beautifully unaffected by everything that is horrid and despicable in this world. Nothing in his 18 year old mind worked like mine. Nothing fazed him or made him think he was unworthy. He didn’t drown himself in drugs or taint his very existence with the vapid air of depravity and indulgence, like me. He was good and kind and decent and so very handsome. He should be here with a family and babies, and two point four fucking dogs and a mortgage. Instead he’s six feet under, and his will left his death payment to me.

So I could always be safe, apparently. Secure.

I stare over at mum sitting there in her drab dressing gown that hasn’t been washed for god knows how long. That skinks too. It smells like vomit and decades of disgust, all aimed at me. Rightly so. I’m a pointless waste of human life. There was no reason for me to be here before, so there certainly isn’t now. I don’t even know what I’m doing trying to forget anymore. I should just get on with it again. This flat’s high enough. In fact it’s higher than the bridge was. Not quite such a nice view, but what does that matter? Hell won’t be very nice either, will it? Although it’s what I deserve, regardless. At least I know he’s not there. He’ll be with the angels. They’ll probably be waiting on him hand and foot, and hopefully contemplating sending him back down here so he can heal people. Or at the very least show the world what men should be like.

“Ben?”

That’s the other thing that happens constantly. Mum saying his name as if she can smell him too. Ben, Ben, Ben. Mind you, her permanently alcohol induced fog probably means she sees all kinds of hallucinations. Thankfully for her they’re not the reality that I see every time I close my eyes. She wasn’t there to witness his blue eyes filled with love as he pushed me backwards away from him. I see them falling away from me every single moment of this godforsaken life, and no matter how much I lunge for him, I can’t grab him back to me. I can’t stop him falling. I even find myself sitting here sometimes with my hands outstretched still reaching for him. Dr Jones says that’s normal, and that I shouldn’t worry about it, that I should just keep taking the myriad of pills he delivers weekly and try to get on with my life.

It’ll get easier, Danielle. It’s not your fault. It was an accident.”

How about, fuck you, Dr Jones? It wasn’t an accident, it was all me. I killed him. If I hadn’t tried to jump, he wouldn’t have tried to save me. This is all my fault. And mum and dad covering the trail for me, as they always did, doesn’t make it right. I’m a killer, a murderer, a monster.

“I’m not having both my children taken from me.”

That’s what she near silently screamed at my dad when we walked to the police station. Then they’d lied, and made me lie too, made me tell the men in blue uniforms that it had been Ben that jumped, that I couldn’t reach him in time. Lies, all lies.

Just like this pitiful apparent survival.

My eyes search the room for something, anything. I don’t know what I’m looking for. I never do. An answer maybe? Eventually they find it, the window. I’ll just finish it now. It’s pretty simple. I’ll just finish what I started and then this fucking hollow space inside me will disappear and I won’t have to listen to his words haunting me daily. Mum won’t even notice, and if she does she’ll probably be thankful. My weary body rouses itself at the thought and stretches its feet forward to touch the beige carpet as I push on the armrests. Five minutes is all it’ll take for me to switch off the need to bother living. That’s all. There’s nothing worth living for anyway. Nobody really wants me here. They all blame me, and they’re right too as well.

It should have been me.

The sun blinds me as I quietly open the curtains and stare into the daylight. Is it daytime? Most of the time I don’t know what day of the week it is let alone the time. Too many drugs overloading an already confused mind. That’s what dad says, as if he knows all the fucking answers.

I gaze down at some kids in the snow throwing snowballs and laughing about something which causes my lips to attempt a smile of some sort. It feels odd, as if my mouth is uncomfortable with the movement. I suppose it is after all this time, but nevertheless the merriment of the bunch of Christmas revellers is enough to make it stay there for a while as I watch.

There’s so much more out there yet.”

That’s him again, still trying to cover me in his optimism. Even now he’s trying to show me the way. That a younger brother had the foresight and empathy to try is unbelievable really. But try he did, still does, even from the grave.

“Please don’t give in.”

He never gave into anything. He was always the one up front, leading the pack. Full of buoyancy and self-assurance with his blonde hair ruffling in the breeze and his gangly legs propelling him forward, always forward.

“We’ll make it better, Danielle. Just take my hand.”

And I wish I could. I wish he was still here so I could grab hold of it and absorb that energy from him again, that boundless enthusiasm that he seemed to own somehow. If I could just see a way through this endless maze of chaos and drudgery in my mind then maybe I’d have a chance of honouring his wishes. Perhaps there would be a way of me saying sorry somehow and moving on, or at least trying to make him proud and prove there was a reason for his stupid heroics.

“Please don’t give in. I love you.”

Love.

Is that good enough reason? That he loved me? It so should be. Love should be the reason for everything. It should wrench at your insides and tell you to be stronger, to hold on longer, to push past all the hurdles and forge a path forward. I should do that. I know I should because it’s what he would want from me. He’d be appalled by this grey velour tracksuit and dowdy appearance. He’d be forcing me to eat some food and then refusing to allow me to throw it all up again.

He’d say, “Get your arse in gear, Danny. We’ve got a world to conquer.” And he’d mean it too. He’d also probably slap me and then chase me into the bedroom to force the issue until I’d swing my hands up in the air and nod an exasperated “Okay,” in response, again.

I can still hear that from him now as I stare out into this offering of freedom, calculating how long it will take for these kids to leave, but they play on, running around and giggling at each other. So young, so full of promise and joy. There’s nothing holding them back or stifling how much they can enjoy their fun and abandonment. They’re just pure and true.

Just like him.

“Okay,” I mouth to myself, still watching as a young boy pummels a girl with endless rounds of snow. She laughs in response and ends up on the floor covered in the white fluffy stuff.

Christmas. It was his favourite time of year, he would have had me out there with those kids by now, probably dowsing me in as much of the cold stuff as he could manage just so that he could force hot chocolate on me when we got in. More calorie intake, as always.

Ben.

Tea. I need a cup of tea. Maybe a cup of tea will help me make it to the next day, and then tomorrow I can think about maybe changing these clothes. Perhaps going to the shops or cleaning a bit.

“One step at a time.”

Okay, Ben. One step at a time.

Charlotte E Hart © 2016

author bio

Charlotte E Hart is a smut peddler of the tallest order and she’s a little crazy – that’s why we love her!

On Twitter: @CharlotteEHart1

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CharlotteEHart.author

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Thank you so much for taking part Charlotte E!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]