IRL. II

I want to follow up. I feel like publicly sharing my problems won’t sit well with many people but it’s sometimes the only way that helps me.
I really want to be able to talk about the way I feel sometimes but I’m not a chatterer, I’ve always been better at putting pen to paper, so to speak, and I know myself well enough to know that whenever I talk about my feelings, I cry. To the point where I can’t talk anymore anyway.

It’s been less than a day since I wrote the last post, but I struggled to sleep properly last night for fear that I’d wake up to messages telling me I’m ‘being silly’, ‘it’s all in your head’ and ‘you just need to forget about all that and cheer up’, you know, the usual stiff upper lip treatment. The worry of being on the receiving end of pity disturbs me too; people’s perceptions of you alter as if they’re just waiting for you to break down (which adds to the building pressure you put on yourself as you anticipate your next dark moment) or they want to help you but don’t know how and don’t dare ask to bring it up.

The topping of this delightful trifle is made up of a nice concoction of guilt and worry. As I said in the last post, I feel like all of the world’s problems sit on my shoulders. I worry about my family and my friends so badly. Being empathetic by nature means I don’t just feel sympathy when other people suffer, I am genuinely upset for them, I feel guilt because I can’t take their problems away and I have sleepless nights worrying about them.

Raising Monkey on a daily basis while the Husband is working worries me in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways. On the easier days I worry because I’m not that worried and on the bad, I worry that he’ll not develop in the way he’s supposed to because I’ve hindered it by keeping him at home with me. I worry that people think I have too close a relationship with him as I would prefer to spend all of my time with him. I never need a break from him (contrary to popular belief) as I really enjoy his company. Looking after him doesn’t wear me out.
Its evident from when we do spend time with other kids that I’ve not ruined his social skills by spending days indoors as he’s a friendly, funny, bright child who doesn’t retreat into his shell and grip onto me when we’re around people, which I am aware some people assume is the case.
I worry that he’s not eating/sleeping/talking/walking/drinking enough yet he never cries from hunger or thirst, I spend all day encouraging his speech, I make sure he has at least an hours’ nap every day (or he goes to bed early when he refuses) and I never stop him from walking (if he’s happy in the pram, he stays there, if not I get him out as long as it’s safe). This is why I don’t think the doctor was right when she told me I have the “baby blues” when I went, and it’s why I’ve never contacted the Health Visitor like she told me to. I think I have a mental health problem, not a Mum-related one because my child is the only thing that is keeping me sane on my bad days.
The worries go much deeper and darker sometimes but ultimately I know I am a good Mum to Monkey and this thing going on in my head right now can only make me a better one.

There’s a never ending train of thought whooshing through my head and all I ask is for you to forgive me when it might seem I’m being rude if I’m being blunt or cancelling plans or not talking for a while. I’m sorry my mind has taken this turn, I wish I could go back 6 months and not feel like this but I do. This is it.

This is me in real life.

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IRL.

I’m not okay.

I have what I call a little Gremlin hiding in the dark space of my mind. He hangs out there, some days sleeping and I almost forget he’s there. Some days I wake up and my day begins brightly; full of good intentions and a perky attitude and then an event startles him awake – it could be nothing or it could be a shitstorm, he’s not picky. Then there’s the days where he’s lurking just behind the forefront of my mind, questioning every single thing I do, making me doubt every decision, every interaction, every move I make.

I try so hard not to pay any attention to it and try to get on with my life but that either doesn’t work or it ends up exhausting me, which isn’t ideal with a 1 year old who spends all day being a daredevil and hasn’t slept through the night in a long while.

Social interaction is the hardest. Even with the people closest to me, albeit except my baby boy. I don’t know if it’s because he doesn’t understand everything I say to him or if it’s because I know he won’t judge me, but he rescues me every day from the thing inside my head. The days that are harder are those where I end up dreading seeing other people because the Gremlin makes me believe that people think I’m [insert negative word here]. It could be anything.

For instance, I met up with someone I hadn’t really seen since Secondary school last week. We went for a walk. The entire time I had these thoughts going around my head: “she thinks you’re trying too hard”, “she thinks you think you’re better than her”, “she thinks you’re lying about everything”, “she thinks you’re walking wrong”, “she thinks you’ve not changed since school”, “she thinks you should stop talking about how much cake you eat because she thinks you’re really fat”, “she wants this walk to end because you’re boring her”, “she thinks you’re conceited because you’re not talking much”, “she thinks you’re just here for gossip because you’re asking too many questions”, “you need to justify everything you do and say, you need to stop pretending you’re having problems, you need to realise everyone else has real problems, you need to show you’re a better Mum, you need to stop being so emotional” and that was while we were on our walk.
Afterwards, the thoughts got worse, to the point where I’m not sure where the Gremlin’s heckles end and my real thoughts begin. And this happens with every person I speak to. I haven’t seen some family members in a while because I’ve lost all confidence in the ability to talk to other humans without the torment my mind puts me through, as my body ends up going through it too.

I’m making the decision to leave Slimming World for now as I’m not losing any weight comfort eating and going to group on my own and a New consultant who doesn’t know my struggles makes me fear it.
The stress I used to feel only occured when my mind felt I couldn’t handle something and when I was stressed, I cried, I spoke to someone about it and I did everything I could to eliminate that stress. Now, Stress has me dangling on a hook for most of the day, plunging me into deep water now and again, just for sheer amusement. That stress I feel manifests itself as an itch just within my hairline on the back of my neck. Sometimes the Gremlin says, “you’re scratching this for attention, one day you’ll dig deep enough to touch your spinal cord but you’ll just have done it all to prove a point.”

I can’t win. I’m in a battle with my own mind every day and I’m scared the only way to win it is to go on medication, which I don’t want because I’m still breastfeeding Monkey and I don’t like the thought of not feeling like I’m in control. Which is ironic because I’m far from being in control now.

I’m sorry if you’re reading this and you’re close to me. I want to tell you so badly about my shit days but I’m too busy trying to stash all of it away to try and enjoy time with you and then implode later, when I’m sat on my own with my knitting in front of the telly, after the boy’s gone to bed. “I’m sorry” have become my go-to words lately because my mind would have me believe all of the world’s problems fall on my shoulders.
I’m the reason why I struggle to initiate conversations and so I go weeks, months without a word and then find it difficult to explain why; I’m the reason why I can spend a week inside with Monkey, just us two, not seeing a soul and then blame myself for not giving my son a social life; I’m the reason why I don’t want to talk to a medical professional about it because I’m scared of the outcome but will share it with the public. So I’m sorry. For everything and sometimes for no reason at all. I’m sorry I wrote this, I’m sorry you read it, I’m sorry you feel the way you do about it.

This is me in real life.