It’s a rollercoaster ride living inside my brain and most days, I’d like to get off. Don’t panic. This isn’t a dramatic euphemism for ending my life. I just mean that it would be nice to live with a brain that kept a more even keel. Instead, I am the queen of ups and downs, often in the same day and sometimes in the space of a single hour.
All of the emotions are belong to me!
I was reasonably excellent at hiding this aspect of my personality in my old life. Colleagues were shocked to discover that I was prone to depression, that I sobbed inconsolably in the shower before arriving at work. They knew me as the smiling, sweary, good time gal. And that was exactly who I wanted them to see.
But I was sad. My brain ran so relentlessly with thoughts that my body often crumbled under the weight. I was tired all the time. It wasn’t normal. But it was my normal.
Now, in my life as Mum, I think I still present as far more effervescent than I may actually be feeling but my new tired laughs at my old tired because was I kidding? I didn’t know what tired was. So now, there are days I absolutely cannot hide it. The great thing about fellow mums is that they GET it. But there is a lingering feeling of being a disappointment to others who might expect bright, bubbly Angie but instead get broken, blue Angie. On those days, it feels like an insurmountable challenge to leave the house wearing pants, let alone have any kind of personality with which to greet others.
I am still not necessarily convinced that this level of tired is normal. I certainly hope it isn’t. But I know many of us are feeling this way. I don’t want to resign myself to it though. Motherhood is a long haul gig and I can’t endure it in this condition. And my kids shouldn’t have to endure me enduring them.
Today I frightened my kid. My eldest, who generally gives no fucks for me or my authority, was actually terrified. Through gasping sobs he repeated, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it.”
It’s Day 5 of school holidays but only Day 1 of Bren being back at work after the long weekend so I should not be broken. Not yet. But today, I was. And the problem with motherhood is that when you are broken, you break your kids right along with you. I make many, many jokes about how annoying they are and how I am hiding in my bedroom mainlining vodka but the truth is, I love them more than anything else on this god forsaken earth. Nothing is more important. All my lofty dreams and ideals and my determination to create something beyond motherhood, it’s all meaningless in the face of what I have created in those tiny, beautiful creatures. If I don’t do a good job with them then no best-selling novel or solo holiday to a tropical island will be able to mend that fracture in my heart.
I don’t expect perfection of myself (much), but I can do better than this.
Oh, Angie, we’ve been here before.
It was thirty seconds of madness. I fell out of the rage just as quickly as I flew into it. And he came to me with his stuttering apologies and I grabbed him and held him so tight. I told him, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it. I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it.” And we cried like that for the longest time because I couldn’t let go and he wouldn’t let go. And he forgave me and that is the best I can hope for because I can’t take that moment back. That moment when he knew he had pushed me too far and I realised that ‘too far’ is such a short distance for an eight-year-old to travel. Maybe sometimes it is me who needs a fucking time out.
I told him, “Mum doesn’t feel well,” and I didn’t. I don’t. My head was throbbing and the noise, the noise, it set something loose inside me and I was so angry and I wanted to break something, but not you, my darling boy, never you.
This isn’t easy. My keel is so uneven at the best of times and so I’m afraid I respond badly when there are three other keels all doing their own crazy thing at once. I am supposed to be the reasoned one, the adult. This is problematic.
Last year, after doing some research, I became convinced I was bipolar. I called Bren and told him, “Darling, I just realised I’m bipolar.” “Okay,” he replied in that way he does when he’s humouring me. I told him, “Listen to these symptoms,” and as I listed periods of manic energy and high sex drive, we laughed and laughed because NO.
Of course, there are many and varied symptoms and bipolar can present differently in different people but for now, it seems unlikely. Last year, when I was working out heaps and I cleaned up my diet, my mood swings decreased rapidly. So I know within my heart of hearts that I am doing it tough at the moment because I am not taking care of myself well enough.
School holidays. Packing up life. Moving to another house. Unpacking life again. Back to school. Interstate travel. That’s what my next three weeks look like.
I am quietly INSANE.
Also…..oh, guys….I don’t want to tell you this….deep breath……….but……..I’m drinking Coke again. <sad face emoji> <ashamed face emoji> <all the bad and sad and embarrassed emojis>
Also, I’m menstrual as anything so we pretty much need to chalk 95% of this emotional purge up to that. Aaaaand, I’m still going to hit ‘Publish.’
I asked my dear friend what her five year plan was. She told me it wasn’t money-based. She said she was so happy to be able to pay her mortgage and her bills. She hoped to take the family on an overseas trip in 2017. She wanted to “enjoy the kids.”
Enjoy the kids. It struck me as the most beautiful and simple thing. But how many of us can say that this is on our “To Do” list? Me, I’m too busy with all my plans for improving our lives. When life is improved, then comes the enjoy. Right? Right?
Today was a bad day. Tomorrow is a new day. And that is our saving grace.