When things get hard, when they are complicated, I get quiet. I curl inward. That doesn’t mean my brain, soul and heart shut off. It means they are working overtime.
< Lori Duron – https://raisingmyrainbow.com/2018/08/06/one-mom/ >
Therapist: So, what brings you here today?
Me: I don’t know. I just feel overwhelmed. With my life.
That was how my very first therapy session started. It was the spring of 2013.
At the time, I had a job that I wasn’t happy at. Pretty much no money. A 7 year old with not-yet-diagnosed ADHD who was struggling in school. A 6 year old whose autism had a choke-hold on us. The relationships with my husband, father, mother and grandfather varied from shitty to non-existent. I had curled inward : away from my friends. I felt very alone.
I couldn’t catch my breath.
I didn’t go to therapy thinking there was anything they could do or say to “fix” my life. I mean really. What could they do about any of the things I was anxious about or overwhelmed by? But also, what other choice did I have? I had to try something. Giving up has never been an option for me. I suppose that’s a good thing.
I ended up going to 5 sessions then. Five weeks is how long it took me to realize life boiled down to 2 things.
- Sometimes things suck and you just have to get to a place where you accept that and stop looking for/hoping for/expecting different. And move on.
- Some things – like your job and your marriage – can change. How much are YOU willing to accept before YOU make steps towards making that change? And move on?
Knowing those 2 things doesn’t prevent anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed by what most people would consider minor issues, from stopping by uninvited.
Shaunie: What’s wrong? You got quiet.
Me: I’m just in a funk.
How do I explain it to her? She’s a “fixer”. But there’s no easy fix when depression creeps in. You know all the things.
You know it could be worse.
You know there are people who love you.
You know you have lots of reasons to be happy and grateful.
You know if you ask her to do something specific she will make it happen.
You also know she’s dealing with her own schtuff and the last thing she needs is you adding to her plate a bunch of “to-do’s” that will ease you to some extent but won’t magically “un-funk” you so there’s no point in putting her through that.
The problem isn’t in the knowing though. It’s in the feeling.
I feel on the verge of tears often.
I feel exhausted just thinking about the things I need to do.
I feel resentful of people who have even one thing that I want. (Eg. A short commute.)
I feel badly about myself because I take these feelings out on the people who least deserve it.
Everything feels like a huge problem and like it will take energy I don’t have. The house needs tidying up. I feel fat. I look old. I have to renew my license. The kids need new passports (we didn’t get it done 2 weeks ago like we were supposed to). I need to catch up on over 200 work emails. I have a phone call to a sick friend I’m supposed to make. I need to make arrangements with the kids dad for him to see them again before the summer is out. I got an email saying my credit score had dropped. I don’t know why and I can’t bring myself to investigate. Not today anyway. Maybe tomorrow. I always have another dentist appointment scheduled. And I always know that the next one won’t be the last one. I am SO OVER THE DENTIST. And you mean, I need to stop at the gas station and fill up the car? Ugh!
No, I don’t want tea or to laugh or to exercise. I love her so much for seeing me. For trying without being pushy or annoyed. For wanting to be whatever I need in that moment. But all I want is to curl up in bed. It’s all I can manage. That’s what feels easy. Doable.
We cuddle and I fall asleep.
But I can’t live in bed. I have to shower and go to work and make phone calls and wash dishes and hang back up that picture that fell off the wall.
Ace starts 7th grade in September. I am not too worried about that. It’s his second year of middle school and last year went pretty well. He has a cell phone now, thanks to his Grandma, so I will have to figure out some rules around his use of it as well as install some parental controls. But that, thankfully, is at least one thing I can put off for a little while. They don’t come back home for a little while.
My heart constricted a little when I typed his name. For the last couple of years, I had not fretted about the start of the new school year. But he’s going into 5th grade which will be his last year of elementary school. I cannot handle the thought of him leaving that environment. Elementary school felt safe for him. His teachers, the mostly innocent and friendly and understanding kids, the easy routine. Middle school will be different. Totally different set of students as none of his current friends will attend the same middle school as him. Different school staff who don’t know and love him yet. Totally different daily routine. Different expectations. Different with Jay is scary. Why am I already stressing about next year? I don’t know.
Things will settle down soon enough. I will get over these feelings eventually. My thoughts will become rational again. I KNOW this because I’ve been down this road before. More than once. The feelings will pass as smoothly as they came. And in this case, the knowing is the force holding me together and the best of life jackets.
~ Don’t worry about me. I’m fine. Part 2 to follow soon ~
*Edited to add the link for part 2 —> Here