I’ve been quite down these last few days, well in truth I’ve been down for years but it’s an up and down kind of down and lately it’s been feeling a lot more down and a lot less up than usual.
I feel on the verge of nervous breakdown and I wonder if that’s because we’re on the verge of paying off all our debts and having some financial breathing space which would mean I don’t have to keep plodding on. In a few short months I could drop my bundle and leave it to Bean to pick up the pieces and we wouldn’t have creditors knocking on the door asking jufor their money. Realistically I could ask for a break, I could escape on a backpacking holiday – the kind I never took before having kids. Of course, I won’t do that. I won’t leave Bean and the sprogs while I feebly attempt to recapture the beautifully free irresponsibility of my pre-parenthood days. It’s just that I could…
I wonder if that is why my ability to cope seems so diminished, because it’s not so long until I don’t really have to cope. Soon I’ll have an emotional freedom that only comes with not owing any money, my family won’t be bound to this lifestyle of one parent working long hours out of the home and the other working long (lonely) hours in the home. We can still do that if we want, but we can also not do it if we want. We’d be free to choose.
I called Bean in tears today.
“I can’t do this anymore. I can’t look after these kids. I can’t look after myself. I can’t be THIS lonely anymore. I can’t live here for another 3 ½ months, I can’t start again in this town after the last town. I can’t move again this Spring knowing I have to start fresh AGAIN. I just can’t. I don’t have it in me. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. This is too much… I need friends. The sprogs need friends. We need to settle, I can’t keep doing this. I want to leave right now.”
I feel like running away again. I say again because I feel like I’ve been running my whole life, burning bridges as I go. In the decade since I first moved out of my Mum’s home I have moved 23 times. The longest I’ve lived in one house in that time is 15 months. Each time I moved I shut down some more, became more anti-social, more insecure. I’ve stood guard by the walls I’ve constructed – some to protect myself and some to protect others from me. I keep telling myself that people need protecting from me because I’m just so bad.
I don’t make friends easily anymore, like I did as a young adult, and I don’t feel like I’m a good enough friend. This then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because I doubt my ability to be a good friend, and so fail to act in ways that good friends do. I’m too afraid to call people, too afraid even to add old friends on facebook since I got a new facebook account a few weeks ago*. I’m too afraid to offer help in case I offend or it’s the wrong kind. I’m too afraid to ask people about themselves and their lives in case I ask the wrong things, so I just tell them some things about me that I hope makes them like me, but then everyone knows no one likes people who only talk about themselves, right? Growing up in a house with a lot of conflict, I just want to avoid it at all cost, which in my distorted view of reality has become wanting to avoid people at all cost. I’ve become frozen by my fear of “what if…”
I’ve really been confronted with myself in these first weeks in a new town (again!), this time with a little more clarity than the last time I arrived in a new town, all thanks to my experiences in that last town.
I’m feeling desperate, wanting people to like me, but too afraid to invite them to. Too afraid to be likeable.
Maybe it’s because I know I’m leaving again soon? Maybe it’s because I’m afraid of getting close to people, maybe I’m a friendship commitment phobe? Maybe I’m fatigued after our difficult year in Albany? Maybe I’m just royally messed up?!
I feel overwhelmed by my role as a mother. I feel under-qualified and in over my head. I keep wondering when I’m going to start feeling like a real adult, a responsible person who doesn’t get scared and doesn’t make mistakes.
Of course rationally I know that there is no one in the world who doesn’t get scared, and that everyone makes mistakes, but I feel so much less able to be a good adult than all the other adults I know (well maybe not all of them, but most).
There’s that “good” thing again, never feeling good enough appears to be a theme for me… Never good enough at anything, it doesn’t matter what it is.
I worry that I’m letting the sprogs down, I know that I am with all this running. Sprout wants friends, she tells me she does. Moe is too young to care really but he will soon, just like his sister. I know that after this town, in just a few months, we’re settling. We’ll have a steady and comfortable income and we’ll have the means to settle in a place I’ve lived before (and been very happy). The Tasmania dream will not be realised… Bean wants to stay in WA where the work he enjoys is, and with him doing that work we will be able to afford to stay in WA so I’m ok with that, as much as I grieve the dream I had of Tasmania (perhaps a case of rose coloured glasses anyway? Who knows.). We’ll be living near both of my sisters, which is a good thing, all in all I’m happy about our choice of place to settle.
I’m happy the sprogs will have the chance to put down roots, to develop an attachment to a place and its people, to feel that they have a home – somewhere to belong. Yet I am so afraid. I’m afraid of messing up the friend making for them. I’m afraid of not making friends myself, and probably equally afraid of making friends. I’m afraid of dropping my guard and letting new (or even old) friends in, what if they decide they don’t like me after all?
I know it’s silly to dwell on problems (perceived or actual) and so I need to work out a way through this next few months and beyond. How am I going to get through the Winter in Geraldton and how am I going to get through the first months in the next, and hopefully last, town?
This afternoon, after my teary phone call to Bean, I found a junior gym class for Sprout’s age group and a kindy gym class for Moe’s age group. Thankfully Sprout’s class was this afternoon and I’m so glad we went. It was tough to keep Moe from trying to join in (he was out of turn and out of his league!), but it was so worth it for Sprout. Thankfully Sprout will be allowed to join in with Moe’s gym session next week because she’s on the cusp of the age cut off for both kindy and junior gym.
I also found out that the PCYC, where the sprog’s gym classes are, has a fitness centre and they have 3 creche mornings a week so I can potentially have 4 ½ hours of exercise and respite from the sprogs.
I have started an evening yoga class too, last week I did one class and this week I’ll do one class, then next week I’ll begin two classes a week. It’s a case of passing Bean the parenting baton as soon as he gets home and heading out the door for the 90 minute class. Bliss.
I also found a weekly Mum’s craft morning which I’m thrilled about. Once again, crèche included. I am so, so thankful for finding these activities. I hope that through them the sprogs and I will be able to establish some connections to help pass our time in Geraldton joyfully, leaving us feeling refreshed and ready to take on our next, FINAL, move.
On top of those outward and social activities I’m planning a week long juice cleanse followed by a slightly longer raw food cleanse which I’ll begin during Bean’s next five day break. I feel so tired all the time, so worn down by life and needing to shake this feeling of constant fatigue so I think a cleanse will help with that. I did a juice cleanse at the change of each season in the few years before becoming a mother and now I’m not pregnant or breastfeeding I am able to do it again.
I’ve also been getting into my art journaling again, and I’ve found it a powerful tool in the self reflection I’ve been doing. It’s giving me an avenue to confront myself rather than ignoring it.
I’m pondering whether I should combine the art journaling with some mindfulness and gratitude journaling, to try another angle in my bid to shift my tendency to pessimism to a tendency to optimism. I think I’ll have a good chance at turning my pessimistic and self sabotaging attitudes on their head with the cleansing, yoga and journaling.
I want to claw myself out of this depressive slump, I want to enjoy this time here in Geraldton and reinvigorate myself in preparation for our move to our forever town. I’m going to do all I can to do that. If you have any more suggestions please share them, I’m keen to receive them!
*I deleted my original facebook account a couple of years ago, I needed to separate myself from it and invest a whole lot less energy in destructive online habits.