Monday, 31 August 2009


Over the past two weeks or so a cloud has descended. With it an invisible block has settled on my shoulders weighing a mere tonne. My head has felt woozy and unfocused - full of cotton wool. Melancholy has got me firmly in it's grip and nothing I do seems to loosen its stranglehold. I feel spent. No energy, little enthusiasm, a weird sense of numbness. This isn't depression. Depression charges over you - a thunderous wave dragging you under to the abyss where you remain, sinking lower and lower until you are lost in the eternal pit of despair. I'm not sinking. No, I'm afloat, but I'm treading water.

I thought it was PMT. Period came and went.

I thought it was the weather's subtle dip in temperature, the sure sign that summer is about to hit the highway and autumn is 'a knocking. Yet today the sun blazed - as if a Indian summer had overuled Autumn's arrival and still I remained in my emotional limbo.

Last week I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep - a mixed up mess of anxiety that gnawed away at me refusing to let me have a moment's peace. So I visited my acupuncturist on Saturday. Curled into Husband's waiting neck, bathed with Sproglet, ate chocolate, read great blogs, indulged in some West Wing whilst prone on the sofa - all big comfort providers. Still the lingering grip...

Today a friend who has known me many years said she had never seen me struggle so hard for so long. The solution to her was simple: work less hours or get more help. She is right. Along with some horrendous Protestant work ethic I have some inbuilt need to beat myself up at every opportunity if my life isn't straight out of a 'White Company' catalogue replete with Jamie Oliver culinary skills, a 2.4 angelic brood and a life that screams 'I did ok - honest!' at every turn. Every day my little voice begins its chant - starts with my morning shower - 'You could be thinner. What is all that cellulite - you could make a golf ball factory from your thighs!' 'You must hit the gym before your jeans button explodes and takes someone's eye out.'

Continues at work 'you could have done that better.' 'Why don't you remember who shagged who and when X character died and what story line you has changed etc' 'Everyone can see through the fact you can't do your job!' Over lunch 'You failed today. So much for healthy eating - you gave up the minute the birthday cake went round and you insisted on getting the corner knowing it was the biggest slice.' 'YOU WILL NEVER AGAIN BE THIN - LOSER!!!'

'You are a bad Mother. You let Sproglet watch TV when you picked him up. You should be playing games and being entertaining and whisking up some cupcakes and organic broccoli soup even though you are shattered. Oh, did you forget the milk? Again...'

After dinner 'You should be cleaning out the fridge/washing clothes/ironing so your son doesn't look like he crawled out of the bog when he hits nursery/making a healthy lunch/cleaning/hoovering/dusting/did I say cleaning?' 'You forgot so and so's birthday. You suck as a friend.' 'You didn't call your step-sister back. You are lazy. And that book aint gonna write itself... how can you watch TV when there is so much to do. To do. Did you hear me? THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO.'

Yes I am mad. I never stop. I never just let it the fuck go and relaxxxxx. I wind myself into a tightly coiled spring that is ready to pop at any given moment. I need a break - but more than that - I need to rethink my whole juggling act. I'm dealing with too much and I'm slowly sinking under - there is no respite. But there is an end in sight. My job ending may well be a great thing. Come spring I don't want to work full time. I don't want to bust a gut trying to be all things to all people. I don't want to end up this tired and drained and grey. The winds of change are coming.

I'm ready. I'm not scared any more. I'm relieved.


TheGirlWho said...

dude... have you ever ran the numbers, I mean REALLY ran the numbers on the cost of you working? childcare, gas, work clothing, lunches at work etc... and compared that with your salary? Maybe you DON'T need to work as much as you think you do. Maybe you CAN cut back, relax, be a mellow mom and do a bit more writing. Or maybe your salary is amazing and I'm full of shit. Just an idea, though.

crummymummy said...

We are planning on working this one out a bit... We moved outta London last year and bills went up up up. Thing is Husband wants to change job too - which will definitely mean a big salary cut for him. Believe me - I work for the BBC - a public service broadcaster - my pay aint that great. I get to wear converse at work - so clothes are not an issue - but childcare is... (£924 this month!!! Think that is about $1700) so that is why I am thinking along the part time lines. I can't afford not to work - and to be honest, I want to, as 24/7 kid care drives me a bit nuts. I need to be challenged and stimulated with adult conversation thrown in - that isn't just about childcare/kids...

There has to be a happy medium somewhere. Am on that case! Thanks for the support though - always appreciated.

EDW said...

I know this sounds like shit advice, but you have to be less hard on yourself. I know, I know. But it's true. We put soo much pressure on ourselves - for what? Where does all this judgment come from? Well, our mothers, but that's beside the point. My child is 5 now. I was laid off when she was 2.5. I worked freelance for the last 2 years, and am currently desperate to find full or part time work, bc the freelance sucks right now. So I do know where you are, and looking back, I can say that you are doing better than okay.

From someone who tearily says "I am doing the best I can" let me tell you - it's not about being good enough. You are good enough. There is no standard to measure against - it's like time, we made it all up! Just be kind to yourself. You deserve that.