Roberta Lee Smart

Are you missing the obvious?

As a writer I am always writing: from  to-do-lists and things to remember to capturing small snippets of overheard conversations or making  notes to accompany a photograph I have taken. Where most of  my writing is private, for my eyes only, other pieces are for public consumption, to enlighten, illuminate or entertain. 

While I continue to write my Parenting and Guardianship column each month for The Local Answer Free Magazine, I have not written much for others for quite a while. until recently.

It was my writers group’s (Montpeilier Writers Group or MWG) tenth anniversary and there was to be a party with readings. I could not miss the opportunity to a) catch up with my lovely writing friends, and b) take the chance to read out hich has got to be my favourite part. 

Unlike many writers I know, I love performing and grab any opportunity I can to ‘get up at the front’ and share my words.

For this occasion I wrote a piece called Memory, inspired in part by my husbands recent stroke at the age of only 42. While he was very lucky and avoided any long term physical damage, he is finding his memory somewhat impaired and his speech challenged, especially when he gets tired. 

For us at home it is easy to overlook what is going on, in an effort to minimise the concern, but this would be to do him a great disservice and also buy in to the ‘hidden dissabilities’ issue of ‘if we can’t see it it isn’t happening!

(this is a great article you should read about invisible illness – please check it out:  ‘But you don’t look sick’ ) 

Although he presents as pretty healthy, looks great, can use his arms and legs ok, and his face isn’t falling, he has had a stroke,  he has suffered a blood clot which lodged in his brain, and he is taking blood thinners for life to reduce the risk of any future strokes.

He also has got a hole in his heart which may – or may not – require surgery (we are awaiting the doctors decisions) and he gets really tired with accompanying migraines. It is vital that we – and he – remember that he is still recovering, and for those of you with relatives in similar positions, you know what I’m talking about.

The most difficult thing about invisible illness is constantly fielding the question ‘So what do you do then?’ When you have not been in full time employment for years (due to other health issues) and you spend 90% of your ‘Spoons’ simply getting through the day, eating well, paying bills, dealing with family life and trying to leave the house.

So I feel drawn back to creative writing more and more and am currently developing a piece, again focussing on mental health, and the landscape of emotions. It may be a short story or a collection of stories, a poem a novel or simply an idea – who knows, all that i do know is that with a lifetime of depression behind me I am more than qualified to share this story and there is no shortage of readership currently dealing with this issue on a daily basis. 

As to the heading of this piece, I think it might be obvious that after years of this and that, of trying and pushing and searching for my ‘big thing’ it was under my nose (or rather just behind my eyes) all the time.

 

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