Some days I’m a weird mix of tired and anxious. I’m not worried about anything in particular, but everything worries me and it’s hard to make a decision about anything. I’m not physically sick, but there is a queasiness in my stomach and a feeling in my chest. I am tired and foggy in my brain, but I don’t want to lie down to rest because that it exactly when my brain will jump into action and I will feel worse.
On days like this I don’t get anything done other than things I absolutely can’t avoid. If the day is one with nothing much I can’t avoid I manage to get through OK. If the day is one like today when I have to drop one child off early to school, one at the regular time, and one to TAFE, then take one child to a psychology appointment, buy food for dinner, pick up two kids from two separate schools, then organise dinner for everyone and still find energy to go to karate…. well, on days like today I find myself sitting in my chair at 5.15pm desperately in need of both a drink and a visit to the bathroom but unable to do anything until I have cleared my mind of the thoughts that are bothering me even though I really should be onto making dinner by now.
These are the days I actually feel like I have taken on too much and probably should not be a parent. No one is starving or in any danger, but I feel woefully incompetent.
It’s 5.18pm and I feel like I could go to bed and stay there until morning…. but bedtime is about 5 hours away. And I felt like this 5 hours ago.
If I have more than a couple of days in a row like this I start cancelling things. I have to if I don’t want to end up shut down for a few days. The house gets messier and messier. Dirty clothes and dishes pile up. If it goes on too long it takes me weeks to catch up.
Some weeks I don’t have any days like this. Some weeks I have more days like this than not. Sometimes I have a week full of days like this.
Lately I don’t really seem to catch up… or I almost get there and then I’m slipping again. Falling behind again.
It’s 5.24pm and my body just remembered to tell me I am really hungry now. Still haven’t been able to empty my mind enough to get up. It’s a bit like I imagine a locked up computer would feel if it had feels.
If I make the mistake of looking at the calendar for the next day I can do nothing I know I’ll feel worse because this is a busy week.
If I make a quick easy dinner instead of the one I bought ingredients for I will get through the evening more easily. Better still I can ask one of the older kids to do the quick dinner. Remembering I can ask for help is a skill I am still learning. Delegation is an important self care skill- note to self! Dinner sorted, now I can clear a space to think about karate. I like karate, it will be fine. When I get back the kids will be about ready for bed. I can go to bed early and ignore the dishes a while longer. I have plan. Now I can go to the bathroom and have a drink.
I feel like it would seem silly to others, but this is how my mind works and how my days often look. Tired and anxious, almost depressed but not quite. Taking frequent breaks to clear my thoughts so I can move on with the day. Almost not coping. Or almost doing well. Depending on how you look at it. Take a deep breath and smile. One foot in front of the other until I can stop.
It’s not a crisis. I’m not stressed, or in pain. I don’t need saving or even sympathy. It just is.
I’m not complaining. I’m just saying. I think sometimes it’s this sort of thing they are talking about when they say everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. I mean, sometimes they are talking about death or illness, or tragedy or big stuff. But sometimes it’s this… just life for some people. I know there are others like me. It’s not just my story.
I thought you should know.
Some of you need to know because you didn’t know before. Some of you need to know that someone else understands.
So there it is. It will be OK.