I have to admit that I have been in a bit of a funk the last few days. I think I am starting to pull through it, though.
The low point was when I was lying on the floor in the office, completely overwhelmed. I have a house that looks like a tornado came through and I had absolutely no motivation to do anything about it or any way to coerce/force my daughter to help me. She yells at me that she’s ‘not going to help me’ and I ‘can’t make her’ over and over and over again until I want to put my hands over my ears and scream.
I felt as if nothing was going to get better. Ever. You know how you can stand on the beach, right where the waves hit the shore, and every time a wave returns to the sea some of the sand is dug up from beneath your feet and you sink a bit? (sorry for the long sentence…) I felt like that, only I was sunk so far down that I could barely breathe anymore and the waves were relentless. I was being pounded down and down and down until I didn’t know how I would ever resurface.
As I lay there, gasping for breath, about to cry, my sweet little guy ran over with his blanky and started to rub my face saying ‘Mama, Mommy’ and I had to smile a little bit. Then my phone did that little sound thingy that meant I had a notification. I peeled myself off the floor and went to look for my phone. Low and behold, I had a text message from a friend! She said she missed me, and that was a big help to my shattered mind.
For the last few weeks I have felt as if I’m on this rollercoaster ride of parenting all by myself. I know everyone has challenges in parenting, and as far as that goes I am very lucky that everyone is healthy and mostly happy. (aside from when I do that parent thing and actually MAKE them do something they don’t want to do – see above picture) I don’t want to complain, because I generally am a very strong person, however, I have been very lonely. I don’t have many friends with kids, and since I am essentially a single parent right now, I have no way of doing the things normal adult people do.
My little guy has to be in bed by six or he turns into a holy terror, which means anything that happens in the evening is pretty much out. I make exceptions, but they are very few and far between. I don’t have the energy to keep up with him if I do try and keep him up any later, which leads to him walking all over me. Normally we have to leave within fifteen minutes of getting anywhere because he has become his terror-self. It’s not fun. At all. So I get lonely. Sometimes very lonely. Sometimes lonely enough to find myself in a puddle on the floor.
I’m not very good at asking for help. I know people would be there for me if I would just reach out and ask, but my pride keeps me from the help that’s out there – only a phone call away. People tell me that they don’t know how I do what I do, what with a husband constantly deployed, or gone for training, or something for long periods of time, and raising two small children while dealing with my stinking neuropathy. But I don’t think I’m strong at all. I’m just a really good faker. I look like I have it all together, but it’s just a front. Inside I’m a wreck, constantly wondering when my carefully constructed façade is going to crumble and people will see the real me. All my flaws will surface. I think, at times, I’m right on the edge of the precipice that decides whether I keep it all together or go down the cliff and crumple at the bottom. (guess my secrets out – not that it changes my ability to ask for help. yet.) I do what everyone does when faced with an obstacle – I put one foot in front of the other and plod along, even when I find my mind overcoming my abilities to stay in a straight line.
It all boils down to what I decide to let rule my life. Do I let loneliness and sadness and despair overcome the happy light I feel I have within me? I don’t think I’d like me very much if that were the case, which would lead to more bad feelings. That’s a downward spiral I don’t want to follow.
Today I feel as if the ‘real’ Lauren is coming back to me. I was worried I’d almost lost her completely yesterday. Even this morning it didn’t feel like she was very close to me, but I didn’t feel quite as bad. My hope was returning, and that’s what I really live on. It’s what keeps me able to face whatever comes next. I was afraid I’d lost my ability to hope. Without hope I really have nothing and no way to get through the day. I think that’s the same for everyone. So, hopeful Lauren is back, and hopefully I’ll be able to hold on to her this time.
In the end, I would like to thank my friends who called me Friday and Saturday, that seemed to know just when to call, just the exact moment I needed them, when I was too far gone to reach out for that help. Maybe the universe was sending some unseen, unconscious forces to them letting them know I was seriously drowning and needed them.
Maybe next time I’ll be able to ask for help. Maybe. Don’t hold your breath, though!