When I was very young all I wanted to do was work with animals.
I worked on a farm every spare minute that I had, cleaned out stables to get free horse rides, and joined the RSPB and rescued many birds.
Unfortunately I suffered from very low self-esteem as a result of a very dominant mother. I passed my 11 plus to go to grammar school and thought I would achieve my goal, but my mother didn’t allow me to go. I spent most of my time outside of the house working mostly with my dad. He was the kindest, gentlest man that I ever knew and he was my very best friend.
I obtained a Saturday job working in my local vets, and I absolutely loved every minute of it. I started to help with the recovery side and eventually was allowed to assist with the operations. The vet saw potential in me and wanted to send me to London for a 2 year course, but my mother was having none of that as my brother had now joined the army, and she wouldn’t have both of us away.
I left school but I couldn’t find a job that I liked.
I did get a chance to get into window dressing and ladies fashion though. I worked eventually in merchandising in ladies fashions and I did enjoy this. At this time I had met Richard who was to be my forever husband. We bought our own little house and settled down and had a baby boy.
Richard, my husband, took me on a fantastic cruise last November
My mother suffered a heart attack at the age of 40 and I found that I was doing lots more for her. My brother went through a very bad divorce and he came to live with us for a while. This and other circumstances were to be a very bad turning point for me. It was at this time that I took a nasty fall on a wet floor and suffered a back injury. This all became much too much for me and after a year of becoming very ill mentally, I suffered a complete nervous breakdown. I eventually had to be taken into a mental hospital and was to spend three and a half months recovering. I had some very invasive treatment as they said that I had been hiding the depression.
They sent me for assertive lessons as I was finding it very hard to say NO to anybody. So it took me another few years to get well completely.
I did find the illness very helpful though as I learnt to recognise it in other people as well as myself. The sad thing though was that I could then see it in my own dad, who wouldn’t accept any help. He didn’t want to get well and made many attempts to take his own life. Imagine how distraught I was to find that my wonderful best friend had eventually succeeded.
I was to spend several unhappy years taking care of everybody again, but in the mean time I had found myself a very excellent job in bio chemistry which I absolutely loved. It was pure team work in that lab and we all worked together for 15 years. I was happy at work but not happy with living in a large growing county so I decided that the best thing for me to do…..despite upsetting my mother though…… was to move to the countryside which is where I had always wanted to be.
Lulu and Truffle, my pride and joy
So here I am in this wonderful county of Herefordshire with the most scenic countryside all around. I couldn’t get the same working position that I had held in the county hospital, so I did a few part time jobs. I then realised that I could now have dogs! So I have spent the last 15 years of my life really embellishing it. I loved dogs so much and enjoyed working with them, so I looked into the behavioural side and the res as they say is history.
Wonder what they are after?!!
So you are never too old to follow your dreams.
EDITOR: Thank you Susan for writing this post. It cannot have been easy for you recalling your painful memories. I am sure some members will relate to parts of your article and understand how it affected you.