Double Trouble

Yesterday was not that great for me. But there was a period, when I had the kids and was living in the moment (even if the moment was cooking whilst they were hypnotised by a DVD) where it was ok.

Then the kids were in bed. And I wasn’t ok. I hid in my room, avoided the ringing phone, wrote another post, all the while justifying my hiding by the fact I had to keep going back to the kids and reminding them that it was quiet time, turn lights off, get in your own bed (they were struggling to settle). I wondered why hubby hadn’t come to check on me.

Eventually I made a foray downstairs and found out why. After weeks of our mental states dancing around each other, taking it in turns to feel ok and feel rubbish, finally the thing I’d worried about had happened. We were both feeling crap at the same time. We had been hiding in opposite parts of the house distracting ourselves with electronica.

I hugged him but I couldn’t think of what to say. Eventually I managed “I don’t think I’m feeling up to being your nurse right now”, or something like that, there was probably a sorry too (I say sorry a lot to him when I’m feeling rubbish). Not my most elequoent moment ever but he seemed to understand. I manged to engage basic autopilot and went around the house clumsily doing some housework to try and stop us sliding out of control. He went out and bought chocolate and then returned to sitting hunched and slightly haunted looking playing computer games on his tablet.

When my autopilot got to the end of a few tasks, I had an idea. I found the other DVD I got from the library, the one for us to watch (attempt at date night) and we went to bed, stuck Salmon Fishing in the Yemen on the laptop and ate chocolate together. By the end we were both smiling and laughing and joking. Well done Past Me With Head Screwed On Right for having the forsight to get that DVD out. We had both been feeling rubbish and had survived. I was really pleased.

But I made the mistake of going and cleaning my teeth. I came back and the mood was broken. Distraction over he was back to feeling rubbish. I felt torn, wanting to help him yet not knowing how, and wanting to seperate myself so I didn’t get sucked back down too, so at least one of us was functioning (of course Bitchface loved this opinion, how selfish was I).

In the end I lay there with my hand on him in the dark, my head swirling with thoughts about all of us, trying not to let him notice I was crying, falling asleep because I coudn’t stay awake any longer despite worrying about him, sat there, still awake, needing sleep and so much more, playing on his tablet.

One step forward, two steps back.

Unsurprisingly today I feel a bit like I’m in limbo, tired and unsure what to do. I have managed a couple of things in small bursts and have started reading an actaul book. I also had the revelation that I could eat some of the leftover dinner that I was saving for his lunch tomorrow. That I can take care of my own nutrition not just the rest of the family’s.

Now to keep remembering to breathe for the rest of the day….

Floating Worry

Yesterday was good. After a busy start to the half term holidays, an okay middle and then my brother visiting at the end I finally had a day to myself, hubby at work, kids at school, visitors gone. After a slow start (blubbling at an uplifting story about a young woman with non verbal autism – thanks internet) I did some stuff. Yay. I now have a much cleaner, clearer kitchen with enough workspace clear to serve everyone’s tea at once (it’s been a while) and have sorted out the cupboard with damp at the back (yeugh, well it’s better for now at least, long term solution is already on “the list”) and tidied and cleaned the living room (well, the middle of it, don’t look in the corners or behind the sofa). Oh and I found a roofer who has time to assess my roof issues (it’s been a wet and windy winter around these parts, roofers are a scare commodity). Plus hubby and I had 40 mins in the pub whilst the kids were at their group. And I finally got chance to do some sewing and instead of starting another new thing I finished something I started a year ago.

So, today should be a day for building on my good start. Right? Except somewhere the script went awry. This morning wasn’t too bad. No tempers or meltdowns, just more of a long slog with me constantly trying to get children into a fit state to go to school whilst they wandered off and/or interrupted me (you know the kind of thing, a small girl asks you to get her a drink, then follows you into the really rather small kitchen and pesters you thus preventing you getting it, then the other one appears in their pants as they can’t find their shorts, so you have to send him back upstairs to get his t shirt on saying you’ll be there in a minute, then when you finally get his sister a drink and go to help him, she comes upstairs and demands more breakfast, so you have to send her back downstairs whilst you trying to get him on board with choosing from the shorts/trousers we can find rather than focussing on the ones that he wants to wear that are lost in action – the usual kind of stuff. I include this description for any non parents or parents of freakishly well behaved children who might not understand just quite how hard getting three people ready to leave the house can be).

But I digress. School run was ok, the office staff were even quite helpful about me having to go back to get the lunches I’d forgotten. Then I went round my mums to help paint her spare room – which mainly meant doing the top 8″ of the wall that she hadn’t managed to reach herself. That went ok. But then I went to her local shops on the way back and things started to go wrong.

I found myself with that free form, unattached worry feeling, building in my stomach. Not good. No bitchface/innercritic or panic, just a feeling of uncertainty, that things are wrong in some way, but not sure what to do about it. The word miasma sprung to mind, the concept of some bad air that was suspected to drift around causing black death. I felt like I’d walked into a miasma of worry.

I managed to formulate a plan of sorts. Buy some lunch that doesn’t need preparing, don’t try and do anything else, go home. I’ve noticed in the past that this seems to happen when I need to eat, yet wierdly whilst I can recognise that I feel hungry anything I can think of to eat feels wrong and I end up walking around in circles doing nothing and feeling worse, or going in a cafe and feeling worse. So I managed to get home and eat my pasty and drink some water. That helped I think. Not being in town feeling rubbish helped. Just unpacking my shopping helped, both physically having something to do that didn’t require any decisions and the feeling that I’d done something (however small) helped. I also sent hubby a vague text on the way home that will hopefully prompt him to start a conversation with me later without worrying him in the meantime.
Oh and blogging helps, even just thinking about what I can write whilst on the way home helps clarify in my mind what’s going on.

So, now I have 45 mins before the school run. I’m going to try and have some quiet time. I do have things I need to do, infact one of them is a lurking big thing that may well be part of the cause of this anxiety but I can’t deal with it in 45 mins. So I’m putting it off until tonight. Hope that is the right plan and not just more avoidance, hard to tell. And then when the kids get home I’m going to try and buy some cooking time with a dvd I got out from the library for them the other day.

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Update, the DVD trick worked….

And for the mental health blog cook-a-long, tonight we have tomato rice, dahl, courgette and tomato with fenugreek, agirlcalledjack.com/2014/06/02/baba-ghanoush/ (with chick peas) and peas, served with mango chutney, lime pickle and yoghurt

And for the mental health blog cook-a-long, tonight we have tomato rice, dahl, courgette and tomato with fenugreek, agirlcalledjack.com/2014/06/02/baba-ghanoush/ (with chick peas) and peas, served with mango chutney, lime pickle and yoghurt

Work In Progress

Instead of tea or coffee this morning I asked my wonderful and long suffering husband to get me cocoa. I’m now sitting up in bed drinking it,sun streaming through the gap in the curtains, listening to music on the radio.

Less than an hour ago I had my eyes tight shut, and I was curled up and hiding under the cover, nursing the pit in my stomach that I had woken to find knawing at me. I have no idea why. Nothing stressful lurks on the horizon.

The cocoa has helped. Forcing my eyes open helped. Looking at a parch of blue sky peeping through the curtais helped. Changing the radio from a weighty discussion of the disaster in the Philippines on R4 to R6 music helped. Managing a mumbled addmittance that I wasn’t quite ok when my husband asked helped. Reading a sewing blog to distract myself helped. They all chipped away at it. None was a solution, but somehow I have clawed my way out of the pit and feel ready to face the day.

I really need to work on mornings.

Low Point

I’ve been meaning to post for a while about my low point at the beginning of the summer. Somewhere there is something raw I wrote at the time that I was going to use, but I’ve had to admit defeat in finding it. Then I think I’ve been subconciously waiting for the right time, to find the perfect words.  But tonight I feel I just want to have written a satisfactory description and got it over with.

My anxiety is patchy, it doesn’t cover all of my life. Well, maybe that’s not entirely true, when it’s really bad it leeches into other areas and starts to discolour them, but I’m putting that to one side for now. Even during an anxious period there are certain things, I can immerse myself in and do just fine, particularly mundane things, where you don’t have to think, like buying groceries and doing things with the children, then there isn’t time to think, you just do.

It’s dealing with the outside adult world that I struggle. Answering phone calls, opening letters, reading emails.  It’s hard to explain why or what it feels like.  Part of it is just not feeling able to cope with sorting things out.  That all my energy is being taken up with the mammoth task of daily routines faced by a household with two small children and I can’t do this right now. Initially I think I’ll do that later.  But the later never comes and the undone things stack up.  Then they meld together and morph into a Big Thing.

So I avoid it, I try not to admit to the undone things piling up, but all the while they grow out of all proportion in my mind. And I fear exposure, so I can’t open an email or answer a phone call because I dread communicating with someone that I’m letting down by my avoidence.  Often my failure is purely imagined and they are completely unaware.  But if they actually do need to get it contact then they start phoning more, send chasing emails and the whole things spirals out of control.

Not answering the phone is easy when you’re alone in the house. And I have trained my kids that it’s ok too.  But husbands are harder to train.  Sometimes you can be conveniently up to your elbows in baking or in the bathroom and they take a message.  But they start to notice if they are constantly fielding phone calls for you and start trying to get you to deal with it, unaware of the chasm that opens up inside you when the phone rings.

So that is how I found myself running in panic into the garden and hiding by the dustbins one evening when we were all in and the phone rang whilst I was cooking tea.  And my confused husband found me shaking and snotty with tears, ashamed and hiding.  And he gave me a big hug and I cried into his shoulder.  And I was so afraid of what was happening to me, I felt like I was going properly crazy and had no idea of where it would end up.  I think that it was later that day, after the children were in bed, that he made me promise to go to the doctors.

I know that going to the bottom of the garden to avoid a phone call is pretty small fry when it comes to the problems that people face everyday.  I try and appreciate that I have come off fairly lightly, I really do. But the reason that feeling that way is such a problem is that it’s not logical and it cannot be reasoned with and argued away and it looms large over your whole life overshadowing everything, it robs you of perspective and twists your guts and shits of your method of communicating, isolating you from friends and family.

Anyway, that was my attempt at describing how I felt at my worst.  Hopefully it will help me stay clear of that in the future.

A is for

A is for Anxiety

A is for Arghhh – because that’s how it makes me feel

A is for Avoidence – my rather rubbish default coping strategy

A is for the Avalanche of stuff that builds when I avoid things, threatening to engulf me and putting a shadow of fear on my waking hours

A is for Alone – because it is so very cruelly isolating

A is for Admitting I have it – which is a journey I’m on

A is for Asking for help – which is very hard to do

A is for Action – because I need to draw a line, stop hiding, start finding better strategies

A is for Advice – because it helps to stand on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before

A is for Anonymous – because I’m not that brave yet

A is for Admiration – because I’m inspired by the journeys of others

A may be for Anxiety but it is not for All – because it does not define me