I’m horribly depressed. I haven’t been that way all day. The day started with nervous excitement about the two kids starting their new schools. Both big transitions. Pretty normal emotions though. I mean there was a little warning sign when I declared myself ‘so stupid’, and a terrible mother who ruins everything , for taking a bit too long in the shower. Ding-a-ling. Maybe a slight over reaction? Not to worry it’s a big day. The emotional stuff might be a bit tricksy.
When both children were safely and proudly in their new schools (and I’d walked the dog) I headed home for *me time*. My therapist has insisted that I try and get some time treating myself nicely. It makes me very uncomfortable but ok, I’ll do it. So I planned that I would sit and do my nails and that’s what I did.
As the day moved on I knew that I felt…bad? But what did that mean? What is bad? It meant anxious. I felt super anxious and it heightened as home time neared. I realised that I felt too scared to move from the sofa. My phone rang but I couldn’t answer it because, well, I just couldn’t. I was holding myself together but what if the call was another demand, someone asking something of me? I couldn’t deal with that so I just had to let it ring whilst cursing my own idiocy.
I was relieved when both kids were home safe. They traveled home together, sharing a scooter and discussing their days. It was one of the nicest things. I felt that nice gushy mum love thing. I wanted to capture that moment so I took a picture and I’m glad I did.
By the time we were home (about 10 minutes) the good feels were gone, replaced by the vapid depression. Nothing mattered. I was pleased that things had gone well for the kids and, it sounds weird but, I was kind of jealous.
Everyone had a purpose, it seemed, except me. Yes, yes parenting is massive part of me, of what I do, of why I am. Please don’t misunderstand me. Family is at the core of my life. However, this doesn’t stop me feeling kind of sad for myself when I see my husband and children all off to do their thing. My husband has started a new job and he was working at home today. I could hear him upstairs in meetings, doing things. I have high hopes for my children too and I hope that school presents fantastic opportunities for them, for their futures.
But, ever so quietly, I want to say what about me?
I used to be ‘clever’, I had good jobs, I earned my own money and I had potential. Promotions, leadership – foreign words and alien language in my life now. I get sad. Whether true or not I feel that side of me, of my life, is gone. Truthfully I can’t ever see me climbing a career ladder again. When I do return to employment it will be for a nice little job, minimum stress so that I can keep well. I sometimes wonder who I would be without all of this in my head.
Pointless wondering really because I am who I am. We all are. Dreaming of what-ifs helps no one. Still, sometimes I just can’t help it. Who was I supposed to be? Is it greedy or ambitious to think such things? Yes I appreciate my life. I know I am ‘lucky’ but that doesn’t stop me wondering: who was I supposed to be?
DBT skills were required here: radical acceptance. Seeing as I was feeling depressed (lethargic, pointless etc) I decided to jump upon the DBT skills wagon and try opposite action. Decision! Go and mow the grass! It was ridiculous, about 25cm long. Be useful. Have purpose. Yeah, big mistake. It didn’t go well. The lawn now looks like it has been the victim of a massacre (grassacre?).
I’d put a fair bit of effort in and felt absolutely dejected. What an idiot. Can’t even cut the grass properly. Waste of space. Back to the sofa. Back to withdrawing inside myself so that I could sit and criticise myself undisturbed.
Later I decided to look at my marathon training plan, to try and think about my future, about something that I was doing. A race popped up on my Facebook feed – the Tadcaster 10. Hmmmm? Looked viable. Checked in with Facebook RunMummyRun crowd and there seemed to be a bit of a buzz about the race. Double checked with the husband… all looking good, looking good… BOOKED!
I felt better. So much better. Upbeat. I had something to look forward to and it was soon (it’s 12 days away!), it’s a challenge (I hate 10 milers – what better reason to enter one?!) My mood had changed. Again. (Hey did someone just say emotionally unstable personality disorder?! Me? Oh right. Yes, I take your point!) I started planning. Tomorrow I’d do a 9k recovery run as per my Nike Run Club training app training plan. I’d take the dog. I would DO STUFF!
So, what a day: nervous excitement, pride, joy, anxiety, depression, upbeat enthusiasm. Each emotion being intense and feeling all consuming at the time – like in each individual emotion it felt like there were no other emotions. When happy I can’t imagine feeling sad. When sad I can’t imagine feeling happy.
Running though! When I was bouncing about feeling pointless, directionless and a purposeless no one, running was there. It gave me some purpose and challenge and that helped me.
I’m still sad about my lack of career, in fact I’m dreaming about it regularly. However, with running I have something. Something for me. I’ll do good with it too, fundraising for NSPCC. I’m happy with that – until the next mood swing.