This one hasn’t got much to do with my current travels but as I lie here in my room in Indonesia I remember the time when my mother came with my friends and I to Ayia Napa, the party town of Cyprus.
Ok …WTF? Is a common response when people hear that. I love this story so much but never really tell the whole truth as to why she was there – because I have a mental illness.
So how did this even happen?
No, I wasn’t on an episode of Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents. In case you were wondering.
Me and some friends were planning a trip to Napa. Woohoo girls trip and all that, I’d never been on one before and was really excited. But there was a problem:
My girls knew what was going on with me and in particular that I had a major relapse with PTSD after a holiday gone wrong with a used-to-be friend some months prior. I had been doing so well but relapsing plunged me into a deep depression worse than ever before, it wasn’t until then that I started struggling with self harm and suicidal thoughts. Because of that, I can’t remember which order it was in, but one of my friends or their mum didn’t want her to go on holiday with me. Ouch. I have to say it felt like a knife in the heart – that conversation is up there with the more painful memories I have. I understood it because they were worried about the responsibility of “looking after” me, that it would be too much and things would go upside down as they had the once before. They were concerned about me that’s all. I knew that. But I’d still essentially been kicked off my holiday about something that wasn’t ever my fault. I really felt – why me? I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve to have PTSD or to have gone through anything traumatic. Now this too. WHY ME?!
And then … SuperMa to the rescue.
I told her what had happened and a couple days later she said to me, “I was riding my bike when I had a genius idea”, (my mum always starts with “I was riding my bike” when she has a light bulb moment because she cycles everywhere and is always pondering things whilst doing so, and to be honest it’s pretty 50/50 whether it’s a good idea or not despite what she says. She’ll not be happy that I said that!)
My mum suggested that she come to Ayia Napa with me as she and my Aunt Sally were planning a getaway anyway.
Obvious first reaction. But she said she would stay in a nice hotel someplace else which was close enough to get to if I needed her. I put the idea to my friend and her mum and tadaaa problem solved. Carin and Sally are hitting Napa. No joke.
It’s well known that my mum loves music. She’s an indoor cycling/ spinning instructor which requires a lot of thumping bass remixes so she’s always having a boogie around the house yet had never been clubbing. Ever. Even when she was in her 20s and moved to London, always at bars but never went to clubs apparently.
My mum really wanted me to take her out and properly pestered me about it. I always said hella no until I got to Napa and after a few days I thought, “You know what? She’s done a heck of a lot for me. She deserves a night out”.
My friends came along too and I think we all had a blast, Ma and Sally even came to our party hotel for pre drinks and caused a lot of stir with the other guests, they were really in the spotlight – drunk people were just so surprised in an awesome way that I was with my mum and aunt!
We went to a club on the main strip in Napa. I couldn’t help but appreciate that my Ma, in her Late Late 40s, had come all the way to Cyprus so her daughter could get pissed with her mates and wouldn’t be left out. She danced away with Aunty Sally (who was also a hit with my friends), got lots of attention and had a brill first clubbing experience. I kept drunkenly saying:
“I’m so proud of you Ma, you’re so cool”.
“I’m so proud of you Ma”.
“This is so cool”.
Well well, how about that for a super supportive mother! I really enjoyed telling this story because it brings back a lot of heart warming memories and I had a great holiday. I’ve used the word proud so many times in this post but there isn’t a better way to describe how I feel because of my Mama for being there for me through thick and thin, happy and sad, boozey nights and chill days. And sometimes for being pretty cool, but not all the time so don’t push it.
My mother is so kind. We all need someone like her in our lives. Unfortunately it’s the sad truth that a lot of people, especially young people, who suffer a mental illness too often go without the support they need at home. I’m very lucky in that respect.
Please share this happy memory of mine to prove that mental illness is not all downs! There are plenty of ups to be had despite it and this one, and countless others, wouldn’t have happened without my mother.
Help break the stigma and spread mental health awareness!