Sometimes, being a grown up is really hard. You have all these responsibilities that you never had as a kid, or a teenager.
One thing that this impacts on is being unwell. I have a long, long history of mental illness, primarily anxiety and depression. I have bad days, bad weeks, at one stage I had a long, painful, bad year.
As a child it was easy to take a day, or a lot of days, off school. I wasn’t letting anybody down. It wasn’t going to affect my ability to maintain a standard of living. I didn’t have a quota of days I was allowed to be sad or unwell that could suddenly run out.
Now, working and paying rent, it has been decided that an adult is allowed to be sick for a maximum of 18 days per year. If, as an adult, you are sick more than your allotted 18 days, you stop getting money. If as an adult you don’t have enough money, you may lose the roof over your head, the food from your belly and the car that you drive.
So even though I’m sad, and tired, and barely in the room, I have to make the choice to go to work. People are relying on me. I am reliant on my income. Maybe it’s for the best. Not to dwell on how I feel, or to mope around all day. I don’t have time to be unwell. But I would love to just stop again, like I did in school, and not get out of bed for three days except to forage through the pantry.
But this is not Julia, retreating from the world into the land of comfort and denial.
This is Julia, forcing herself out of bed, into some clothes and off to work.
This is Julia, being grown up.