Fatigue is DEFINITELY not my friend. I’m a bit of a wreck when I’m tired. I’m tired today due to being woken up by an off-colour four-year old and consequently lying awake for hours, thinking. Being tired is not good for my head. When I’ve had a good night’s sleep (and with the help of a low dose of happy pills) I think I’m a fairly well-balanced, reasonable person. When I haven’t…well, I’m not.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel grateful for everything I’ve got; I accept that we’re not loaded but we’ve enough money to get by and a roof over our heads. I feel lucky to have the option to stay at home with my children. I feel hopeful that my writing might turn into something that will eventually pay my way. I have a lovely family and great friends. None of that changes just because I’m tired.
The difference is that when I’m tired, my defences are down…and that’s when the anxiety creeps in. I start to worry about money; that it’s too much pressure on my husband to be the sole bread-winner and that I should go out and get a ‘proper’ job, just bite the bullet and go back to teaching. I fret obsessively about spending, like forking out for two lots of uniforms, the impending and necessary buying of expensive school shoes, the fact that we need a new fridge freezer that doesn’t leak, a new tumble dryer (without a broken door) and a decent bathroom.
I still feel lucky to have the option to stay at home with my children but I also get resentful of the constant demands and bickering. I worry that I’m not spending enough ‘quality time’ with them because I’m on my laptop for large chunks of the day. I’m short-tempered and feel annoyed at myself for taking out my moods on them. On days like this I feel physically sick when our eldest wants to play out because I convince myself something awful will happen to him when he’s out of my sight and I half hope it will rain so he’ll stay in where it’s safe. It’s not rational but it’s how I feel.
On days like today, I don’t feel the least bit hopeful my writing will turn into anything that will earn me a living. I think I’m kidding myself, playing at something futile, wasting my time. It feels like a laughable pipe dream and I feel crushingly sad that I won’t fulfil my aspirations or gain the sort of professional and personal recognition that I crave.
Despite my lovely family and great friends, on days like today I feel lonely to the point where it feels unbearable. It’s like being in limbo; not being the best wife, mum or friend I can be and not doing anything of any consequence, either…and then I feel horribly guilty and ungrateful because I AM doing something meaningful, looking after my three beautiful boys.
Yet, on days like today, I can’t help feeling ‘invisible’. I should be satisfied to be JUST a mum and JUST a wife with writing as an enjoyable hobby but I can’t help wondering: Where the hell did I go? Who am I without something just for me? And then it feels as though I’m failing spectacularly and frustration kicks me right between the eyes.
I hope I get a good night’s sleep tonight. I hope that tomorrow I won’t feel like this, or that at least it won’t be so overwhelming that I feel like I’m drowning. Today, the happy pills aren’t enough to stop the negative thoughts creeping in. Hopefully tomorrow they will be.