Thursday, 7 February 2013

Just call me Houdini

My friend posted this picture on Facebook yesterday and it really struck a cord with me. I know she’s going through a difficult time right now and it was her way of letting people know she was struggling. It was quite timely as I was recently asked "How are you really doing?" It made me realise it was the first time, in a long time, I’d been asked that.

When you are in the middle of a great upheaval in your life, you do all you can to make it through the day. Sometimes, it takes every ounce of energy you have just to get out of bed in the morning. When you put your makeup on, you know you are painting on your “I’m ok” face. It’s the mask you put on to pretend that everything is ok. To pretend you are ok. To pretend like is ok. It’s just a fa├žade that you use so you can survive the hours outside of the sanctuary of your own home.

As you can imagine, starting each and every day like this, and living each and every day like this, eventually takes its toll. But, after a while, you realise you’ve reached the heights of Houdini when you become the master illusionist - convincing people that strength, courage, determination and normality exists when it really doesn’t. After a while, you start believing your own illusion, convincing yourself you are ok, until something happens that brings the illusion crashing down, and smacks you right back into reality. You're master trick failed so you have to perform the illusion again.

I ran into a friend last week and said “I was only just thinking of you on the weekend.” She said, “I was just thinking of you too so I read your blog. How are you?” I gave my stock standard response to this questions which is “I have my up and down days.” Knowing me as well as she does, she said “Well you seem really positive on your blog. Do you really feel that positive?” I had to think about that question really hard to figure out what the truthful response was. I then answered, “Most of the time I do.”

That afternoon I sent her a text message thanking her for stopping in her travels to talk to me, and for genuinely asking how I was. I realised I was used to parroting my “up and down” response without giving it a second thought. It takes someone who knows you really well to see through the illusion and drill down to the truth. It made me realise that I didn’t know what the truth was. I had spent so much time trying to convince others that I was ok, that I had forgot to ask myself. I think that’s why the events of yesterday were so difficult – it was one of those days filled with the triggers that crashed the illusion.   

Harry Houdini once said “What the eyes see, and the ears hear, the mind believes.” That’s the true genius of illusion. I write this blog and you believe I’m ok. I say I have my up and down days and you believe I’m ok. I thought my great trick was getting you to believe I’m ok. But I realise it's actually getting myself to believe I’m ok. If you believe it, and I say it enough times, maybe I'll believe it too. Today I do. Tomorrow? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.


  1. I haven't found someone, until this blog, who could put into words exactly how I feel. This the third post of yours that I've read since I started reading your blog last week and want to share with everyone while screaming this explaims how I'm feeling! I have a blog too and last night I just wrote a post titled, Ramblings. I feel like these processes of waiting, dealing with grief, and just not knowing the final outcome makes my brain feel like it's full of chaos and when I try to sort it all out it feels like I just ramble on and on until it's all out and feel some what better. I'll admit most days are a facade for me. I just can't shake these feelings, they are hard to process and explain to others, so saying I'm doing "ok, or as well as expected" which is my choice phrase I can get out of an uncomfortable situation. Sometimes I'll say " I'm alrighhhht" dramaticizing the word alright so who I'm talking to knows I'm not very convincing. I just don't know if I always want to get into it, then again, I can't avoid the way I feel or even keep myself from making it obvious. Ok, I'll stop rambling now. Anyway, thank you for writing. It really helps me be able to say, "hey that's what I mean". You get it.

    1. Hi Robin,

      Thanks for your comment. I'd love to have a look at your blog so please send me the link.

      I think we all feel like our mind is total chaos in the early recovery time. It does take a while for everything to calm down and to stop churning. I found that my brain was full of so many thoughts, feelings and emotions, it was just to full to feel like things were making sense. I think that's because something has happened that makes no sense!

      We all have our saying of choice we use with people. I did this in the early stages as I felt too fragile to let people dig any deeper. It's the "fob off response" we use for protection because we're trying so hard to keep it together we don't want anything to happen that could unravel us - it's totally normal and does get better in time!

      I'm glad you feel there is someone out there who does get how you feel. It's so easy to feel alone and isolated as you go through this process so please know you aren't alone, there are others out there going through the same thing, and we can all support each other to make our lives a little easier!

    2. You are right things like this don't make any sense. I would love for you to visit my blog. You can find it at



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