Today has not been a good day for me.
All day I’ve had an itch to write here but the knowledge my brains been clouded and in a dark place has stayed my hand. You may or may not notice I have forgone my usual starter of ‘So,’ the reason being I didn’t know how to start it, and my brain couldn’t navigate an opening line.
For a little background, I suffer from anxiety, which occasionally manifests into depression. I have good days and bad days, mostly good but easily overwhelmed and then things get harder. My vision blurs, brain fogs and I sink into an emotionless malaise that I can’t just shake. For eighteen months I was on medication, varying doses based on whichever doctor I’d most recently seen, and then three consecutive doctors told me I ‘don’t present as a typical depressed patient.’ The ridiculous notion that everyone’s the same aside, there’s a good reason for this. It’s not constant, it fluctuates. I can’t plan a bad day to see them and sitting for half an hour in a waiting room is a good way of putting your life in order and restoring some calm, enough at least that when the doctors asks how you’ve been, “fine” springs to your lips without a moments hesitation. It’s then not easy to convince them there’s a problem.
Nearly a year ago this happened, due to my inability to express the extent of my anxiety I wrote a list. It wasn’t exhaustive, just bits that came to mind in the run up to the appointment, so when the time came I sat down, responded to the “how are you?” With “I wrote a list” and put it into his hands. He scanned it, and immediately suggested that due to my ability to compile a list I clearly wasn’t that depressed. Hmm, ok. He went on to suggest the medication clearly wasn’t needed and/or needed and so I should look to come off it.
And I did. I weaned myself off the medication, which in all honesty had no impact on my mood (a few days of odd side effects aside), and I stayed away from the docs, ‘knowing’ they thought I was fine. In the run up to Christmas I went back with a new list, extended this time to include a few physical niggles. Anxiety was discussed, to which the doc suggests I was clearly dealing very well with it. This as aside from the fact I don’t feel fine. At all.
I’ve tried to take positive steps. I’m exercising more, I’ve lost weight, I’m eating better, I’m looking to get back to work soon, I’m trying to be more proactive and productive (not always successfully) and aside from being overwhelmed when the kids are screaming around me I felt I was moving in a positive direction. I was even considering referring myself to talking therapy- even if it does sound awful. And then today happened.
I’m not going to go into details, you don’t care and my brain hasn’t taken them in (a sure sign somethings affecting it). But I woke up knowing it was going to be a difficult day, I could feel the slight detachment I usually feel on a bad day and the kids fighting was digging particularly deeply into my patience. Rox was up late poking after the girl so aside from a quick mention to her that I wasn’t right today I left it, getting on with breakfast, albeit clumsily and a little dazed (bad days see, to affect my coordination and focus). Through the morning the kids were in bad form, fighting, screaming refusing to do as they were asked, this drained my already exhausted patience. Simultaneously, every time Rox spoke to me it felt that she was telling me off or criticising the things I was doing or the way I was doing them. I’m sure that wasn’t her intention, but a tired northern Irish girl can be quite abrupt.
By lunch I was ready to shut down, the fog descended and my tunnel vision pretty narrow. Unfortunately it was about this point the boys refusal to behave pushed Rox past her infinite reserves of patience (?) she went for a sleep and I spent the afternoon watching two kids who used to love each other fight and scream at each other.
Reading back through it doesn’t doing all that tough to deal with, but the fact is I’ve had one of the darkest days I can remember having, even now wishy the kids in ned and some peace in scrabbling for a grip on my usual place,I still feel detached and my emotions are conspicuously absent. The knowledge tomorrow’s a different day and likely not to start the same way isn’t a relief, this hasn’t been a good day for me at all.
So, it’s not writers block. I’m not blocked. Iv got months worth of posts scheduled; all noted and ready to actually write, but I keep having to push their publishing dates forward.
It’s not writers block, but it’s about the same. I think what was initially a really good way of noting things down and venting has joined most of the rest of my life in the ‘rut’ category.
Easy then, hop out and get on with things, make things happen. If it were that easy then I’d be bouncing like a power ball. Instead I just can’t quite drag myself out of it. Theoretically things are better- I’m getting out more, I’m doing things, I’m trying to be happier but still I just can’t shake off the malaise that’s set in.
It’s touch because despite the increased effort I’m not reaping any real benefit, I’m just getting more exhausted and demoralised as I can’t pick myself up.
Stuck in a rut
Pick myself up
Shake it off
Etc etc etc
Still, I just can’t ‘shake’ (another) it off. For this reason I just this week put in my application for counselling. Now, having read the leaflet I don’t think it’s for me; lots of ‘action plans’ ‘identifying stress’ etc but it’s the thought that counts (cliché). At least I hope so because my positive attitude certainly isn’t in attendance.
The calls due in this week and I plan to tell them the course sounds stupid. Or rather I won’t and I’ll allow myself to be signed up to it.
Then we’ll see what happens…
So, with my attendance of the local gaming night occurring on our traditional date night- not that traditional, but we’re trying to maintain it- Saturday became our date night. After a day out with the kids and my partner we were tired so I let her choose the film without any input from me, and she chose abe Lincoln vampire hunter.
Now, I hate vampire films, or at least the vampire films she likes (twilight and that sort of crap), but I was ok with a historical approach. The film actually turned out to be quite enjoyable, the approach felt original enough, and the action scenes were well done (not all in darkness this is a big deal for me )- specifically the horse stampede fight was a cool approach to the traditional fight on a train.
What was also enjoyable was the links to reality, the names, dates and events were all true to abe Lincoln’s life and the American civil war, with the addition of hunting vampires.
It was also nice to just cuddle up on the sofa (a very new, very expensive sofa I should add) have a beer and some pleasant time with my partner, Iv been struggling and exhausted, whilst she’s always exhausted and having a bit of a downer at the minute, so to switch off to trash that turned out to be quite good was a nice end to a good family day
So, today my partner was in tears, disability and the restrictions or brings are getting her down- this is obvious but recently it’s been more so.
She doesn’t have the energy levels to do all she wants to and is too stubborn to take it easy or relax until it’s too late.
This creates a few problems for me,
Firstly, it reiterates my recent post regarding always being right and not knowing what to do, I don’t know how to help her. Or when i do, I don’t know how to switch her ears on to make her listen.
Second, her despair leads to my despair leads to us both struggling, and you can’t be struggling with two kids running around, they sense it, and play up to it
Finally, guilt kicks in again. She has repeatedly referred to me as her rock, the stable calm crutch to her crippled body, and now I feel as rocklike as jelly. I don’t have answers, or even supporting words, you see, all that time I was her ‘rock’ I was just cheating, by constantly reassuring her all would be ok, because all was calm it was. But now, when that doesn’t work I don’t have the answers for her, or the words.
It’s tough to reassure her and keep her spirits up when mine seem so crushed and non existent, but I do feel as though my recent lifestyle changes have had an immediate impact on my mood and temperament, I’m on a fitness kick and I’m making social steps, so with any luck my reserves will stock up again, and I’ll firm up to rock level again
So, last night was a tough one. Iv not had a decent night sleep in years- as I mentioned- but the last week or so has been worse than normal, with the boy teething and me generally not sleeping, last night was a whole new level.
Before bed I put the recycling outside for collection, at which point my knee gave way launching me out the front door, down the steps and face first into the road. I had thrown the recycling across the road and my entire right side was sore- where my arms had been full of recycling I’d landed on my shoulder, hip and ankle rather than being able to catch myself on my hands. Despite this incredible pain i feel i was actually quite lucky as no bones broke and no skin either.
I hobble up to bed and crawl in, whereupon i quickly fall asleep (the last few weeks have made it very easy to fall asleep), half an hour later the rain smashing against the window wakes me, and my bladders shouting for attention, so I hobble back downstairs and empty it. On my return the boys awake so I settle him down and crawl back into bed.
Close my eyes
I stare at the ceiling for half an hour, at which point i decided I need to get up, so I pull some clothes on, walk outside to the car with the intention of moving it (it’s currently parked in the doctors surgery and needs moved before they open). Annoyingly in the time it takes me to get into the car and start it another car has pulled into the space i had planned to take, this is very annoying, it being late night and everyone should be in bed. So I give up, head back inside and crawl into bed.
Close my eyes,
I stare at the ceiling, I stare at the wall, i stare at my partners back, I listen to her snoring heavily, I resettle the boy again, i stare at the wall, I lie face down, I stare at the ceiling, I cuddle my partner, I go for a week I stare at the wall.
I pick up my ipad, it’s 130, so I run through the various games and facebooks and websites i frequent. At 2am I settle myself back down,
Close my eyes,
The boys awake, typical, I settle him back down and get back into bed, my partner starts talking nonsense at me- she does this a lot, especially when she’s asleep. I listen for a minute before her snores kick in again. One last check of emails, Facebook etc and at 3am settle down to sleep.
5am, the boy gets resettled.
6am, the girls in with a wet bed. I get up, dry bed, go downstairs, dry pyjamas, she gets cheeky and rude and is told off and sent back upstairs, when I get up there’s a ‘new’ wet patch on her bed, she’s either spat or dribbled on purpose. More cheekiness and lying and she’s told off and put to bed. Her screams wake her brother and mum (must have been loud) who settles them both down.
I settle back into bed,
Close my eyes,
“Mummy, can I read”
I close my eyes,
“Daddy can I let my brother out of his room”
“If you get the boy and change his bum I’ll take him downstairs”
One full pooey nappy later both kids are running around screaming whilst mum has dozed back off. She gets up and takes them downstairs.
The stair gate, mums brought me some tea.
I need it.
Now, I am fully accepting of the fact that as a parent it’s my job to be exhausted until they move out, and as a carer I can understand that I’m going to be tireder than most, but right now I feel like a corpse.
I guess that’s why they say ‘sleep when you’re dead’
So, my partners away this weekend leaving me in charge of the kids. No issue Iv done it before, and it means she can get her vital hours on dental courses completed.
But this one was tougher, leading into it has been a few nights of the boy not sleeping at night and the girls not being her most cooperative at the moment. Well, I cope, it’s fine, except recently it’s been harder to cope, I can’t tolerate the constant streams of daddy, daddy, daddy every time something major / minor / inconsequential happens.
Well, the day went as badly as it could, the boy refused to nap and spent most of the time squealing at me, the girl refused to do anything she was asked to and seemed to switch her ears off. She spilt cereal all over the kitchen, moaned about lunch and nagged, nagged, always nagged.
So, I got them wrapped up and went for a walk to the shop, with the promise of buying a cake if she behaved (well placed bribery can work wonders), and suffer through daddy can I have… daddy can I have… daddy can I have…
So we get home and it starts all over. Dinner, early night for both and a moment of peace for daddy. And that’s where the despair sets in. Not only is this the first time as a dad that Iv has a feeling that I just can’t cope, but I realise I can’t get that break that I need. My partners gone away (albeit for work) but due to her care needs there’s no way I can arrange to get away myself. And the despair gets worse when the guilt kicks in, I shouldn’t want to get away, I love my family and I would do anything for my kids, but the thought of being stuck with them for eternity makes my left arm tingle and my chest ache
So, typically, just after a post about depression not being a case of good days making it better Iv had a good day.
My partner (no name yet) hobbled off to work, we took girl to school and then jumped in the car and drove. I didn’t know where I was heading, but we ended up in exeter, which is nice because the last time I was making the same drive with the boy it was to see mummy in hospital (daemon 1).
We had a wander up the street and were able to potter around a games shop (new games, which will be talked about soon) and charity shops. This was pleasant because Iv come to realise over the last few days- and specifically after a late night talk with my partner- that it’s been a while since I had a focus. Now, walking around charity shops isn’t a focus, but it’s a bit of normality and doing something that makes me happy (or eases my mind in a weird way). (daemon 2 not really a daemon, but a restoration point).
Then we made our way into the local games workshop, as I have explained previously, I’m not bitter about leaving, but it’s still strange, it’s been a long time since I was on the other end of a 10C conversation. (I did pop into the Cribbs causeway store a few weeks ago, but that’s people I know and that won’t try the sales patter). So yes, it was strange to be on the receiving end of it, but I realised three things
1. Knowing it from both sides makes it much easier to resist spending
2. If I were to go back to GW I’d be better at the conversations (yes, from one experience of it I’d be better)
3. It’s a really pants system, I mean, it’s not, it’s ok, but it’s a basic guideline that GW focus on as the be all and end all of every interaction with every person that comes into your shop. I knew this before, and maybe it’s my experience of using it that makes me more aware of the clunky conversational steps.
I should point out that I won’t be going into detail on the 10C’s, it’s not my place to, but go into a GW, pretend you’ve never seen it before and you’ll be taken through step by step.
Anyway (daemon 3)
On the drive home the boy fell asleep and I was left to my own thoughts (not always safe) when it dawned on me we were nearly home, I’d made it without really focusing. You see driving doesn’t excite me, or even interest me, I don’t like doing it, whereas my partner quite enjoys it, or at least enjoys it more than being a passenger. Funny enough, she’s the worst passenger Iv ever had.
But recently she’s been less able to drive so Iv been the chauffeur. It’s been ok, but Iv felt almost as though Iv lost my driving sense, my confidence on the road. Today I felt better. (daemon 4).
So, we’re home, it’s school run time, and I make a sensible choice, I could walk to the car, get the buggy, put the boy in, then walk back to the house and onto the school. Ok. Or I could walk the boy through crowds, roads and chaos. Not easy, but preferable. Or I could pop him in the baby carrier and carry him. Yeah, it’s easier. I’m still not a huge fan of it, but the practicalities definitely make it easier.
Also, given that it’s something of a peculiar look- a dad essentially pregnant- it can take a lot to actually do it, and Iv not had the confidence to draw attention to myself in some time (daemon 5).
So, all in all a good day, there’s a few hours left and the girl is doing her best to drive me mental, but I’m coping.