Reclaiming York From The Dark Depression Days

Last weekend, hubby surprised me with a weekend away in the beautiful city of York. This is not something we normally do.

I was beyond excited!

York walking on the walls towards York Minster

Walking on the city walls towards York Minster

Memories of York

York is a special place for hubby and I. It’s where we met, where we fell in love, and where we got married.

We were students, both studying at the gorgeous York St John campus. Within 3 months of getting together, we knew we would be married one day and we were right (it’s our 10 year wedding anniversary next year).

York St John University Campus Autumn

Hubby & daughter at York St John University Campus

But my memories of York are not of these happy times.

Just 6 months after starting university, I became ill – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E.)

The happy-go-lucky Lucy vanished. My hobbies were torn from me – hiking, power-kiting, sports – all gone. I tried to keep going with my course but after 12 months, I had to admit defeat and my dream career was ripped out of my future too.

Those were dark days.

I slept 15 hours a day and still couldn’t function. There were times hubby had to tip soup down my throat to keep me alive because I didn’t have the energy to chew. My friends deserted me.

The depression was stifling. There were suicide attempts…

That is the York I remember.

York Minster Large Stained Glass Windows

Stained glass windows at York Minster

Reclaiming York

After 6 years under the cruel mastery of CFS/ME, I was cured (that story is for another day) and I have now been in complete health for 4 wonderful years.

We have visited the city occasionally in that time and I have always felt a little uneasy. There are haunting memories around every corner. So you may be thinking that a surprise trip to York was a bad move.

But it wasn’t.

We arrived on Friday evening, unpacked the car, and went for a moonlit stroll down the river. The air was crisp and clear and the city lights danced on the water.

Hubby and I held hands as the girls raced ahead… and an overwhelming feeling of triumph swept over me. I was back in York – the place that tried to pull my life to shreds – and yet I was here with a loving husband and two beautiful daughters.

York Museum Gardens Jumping

Playing on the abbey ruins in Museum Gardens, York

The illness was behind me. I had clung on. I’d made it.

I had thought my career was in tatters and that there was no hope for me. And yet here I was, walking the streets of York, snapping Instagram-worthy photos to share on my business’s social media accounts.

I was victorious! I had won!

National Railway Museum Role Play Area

Role Play Area at the National Railway Museum


Life doesn’t always go how you expect it to. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to turn out badly.

Spending the first 6 years of my adult life in bed is not what I had planned. I feel like I was robbed. I still live with the emotional scars of that oppressive illness.

  • And yet hubby and I grew closer together because of it.
  • And my two funny, brave, beautiful daughters are here because of it.
  • And I was able to be a stay at home mum because of it.

It didn’t destroy me. I am a stronger, kinder, more empathetic woman because of those horrendous trials.

Little Explorer Packs at York Minster

Little Explorer rucksacks with a compass & binoculars from York Minster

This week, I spent time actively resurrecting happy memories of that amazing city, and I created wonderful new ones with my precious family. We did all the touristy things we could cram in, and we giggled and explored.

York – you didn’t break me. You made me the person I am today. You and I – we’re friends again!


Green Train on turntable National Railway Museum

Watching the turntable demo at the National Railway Museum

Which cities do you enjoy visiting? Have you struggled with depression – what did you do to reclaim yourself? What’s the biggest trial you’ve had to overcome? Let me know in the comments section below.

Pinterest Reclaiming York From The Dark Depression Days


Empower a fearless warrior in your life with this Pretty Fearless Kids Tee! Don’t forget to pop over to the Lucy At Home t-shirt shop.

Other colours and designs are available!

Pretty Fearless Kids T-Shirt Lucy At Home Cherry Red

Linked to:



Lucy At Home





Add yours
  1. 1
    Noleen Miller

    Love this – so true life surely doesn’t go according to plan – there are rocky roads and there are smooth roads but at the end it is what makes us stronger. Although I can’t relate as I’ve never suffered from depression before, I have seen what effect it has on colleagues and friends. I’m glad that you won the battle. Looks like you had an amazing time in York and that you made new memories.#Blogcrush

  2. 3

    I’m so glad that the illness didn’t win and you can look at York again as a happy place. Your husband is definitely a keeper if he can stick with you through all that, and with your two wonderful children you have so much to be grateful for. Those years of illness are behind you now, but I know what you mean about them making you stronger today. Such a wonderful honest post xx

  3. 4
    Berni Benton

    You sound like an incredibly strong woman. My friend developed ME . It completely through her life into chaos and blackness for a long time. As she recovered she learned to reassess and priorities ,like you, her life has a new energy now . I wish you good health and energy in abundance x

  4. 5

    Aw Lucy I also had ME from the age of 14. It was dibilitating and a very dark time for me aswell. It still affects me now occasionally in regards to energy levels and the ringing in my ears from doctors who told my Mum that I should get up and walk around the block (disbelieving that I was unwell) and the sleeping I lost days! This really reminded me of how far I’ve come since those days. Obviously you have done so well too! Thanks for sharing xx

  5. 7
    Nicole - Tales from Mamaville

    You are so brave Lucy. Sorry to hear about your illness but so happy to read this positive post. One of my favourite quotes is: Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans… We can’t foresee the future, but we can learn to make a negative into a positive and you have done that beautifully. X.

  6. 10
    Lisa Pomerantz

    Lucy, you met your demons and enjoyed it again! That is celebratory making! Bravo! I am sorry to hear about your illness but I am thrilled to know that you beat it and now can re-examine York in the light of your beautiful family. You are inspiring in so many ways! #BlogCrush xoxo

  7. 11
    Alice | Letters to my Daughter

    Oh Lucy, what a brave thing to do, and I’m so pleased you won the fight against CFS. My doctor suggested to my mum that I might have it when I was a child but it was never officially diagnosed. I was desperately homesick at uni and being in universities these days gives me echoes of that feeling of not belonging. It’s amazing how much power a place can hold in your mind, even if you don’t realise it until you’re there. #BlogCrush

  8. 12

    You are amazing! What a great post. You overcome so much and I’m so glad you got to go back and make some happy memories in an important place in your history. Your family must be really proud x x #BlogCrush

  9. 13

    Bless you. What a heart warming/encouraging read. I’ve always vowed that I could never go back to the place where my daughter was in a psychiatric unit last year. She was 15 and spent her 16th birthday there – so horrible, we have some awful memories. I hope one day that we will be able to revisit and feel thankfulness, the same way you do. Sounds like you had a tough start to marriage – it only makes you stronger eh?

+ Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.