Sad, Tired People Make Shithouse Friends: an apology

by | Apr 30, 2017 | Little Angie, Little Depression, Little Mental, Little Well-Being | 0 comments

Broken

 

On Saturday night, I had plans to go to dinner with a group of mums from Harlow’s kinder. They’re a great bunch of women and a few of them have become close friends. I was looking forward to going out all week. I was looking forward to eating too much Pad Thai and drinking wine with gay abandon. I was looking forward to escaping the humdrum of mum life for a few hours, laughing and feeling light.  

So when I woke Saturday morning feeling like I did not want to get out of bed, I knew I wouldn’t be going out later that night.

Any mum will identify with opening your eyes in the morning and feeling as though you have not enjoyed a wink of sleep. Trudging through days with low energy is the domain of the mum with young kids. Nothing new here. But I no longer have small babies who wake constantly through the night. My body is past the rigours of producing milk 24/7. Most nights, I am in bed by 10pm at the latest (and often an hour earlier) and I wake again just before 7am. This is 9 hours of sleep. It’s hardly ever unbroken sleep but for the regular person, it should absolutely be enough to wake feeling reasonably refreshed and ready to tackle the day.

But that’s not how I wake up. On good days, I can wake with enthusiasm for the day ahead and as I shower, my brain sifts through all the things I want to achieve. On good days, I believe in my ability to actually get all those things done. But often by the time I have gotten dressed, done something about my face and hair and gotten the kids off to school, I return home having run out of all the steam that had been fuelling my plans just an hour earlier. I completely lose momentum.

Aren’t we all tired? Who fucking cares. Just pick yourself up and push on, just like everybody else.

On bad days, I wake already defeated. I am short-tempered with the kids and lethargic. I can barely make small talk with the other mums at school drop-off. They’ll ask me how I am and I can only think to respond, “Tired,” because the level of exhaustion I feel overrides every other thought in my head. I can hear myself and I cringe because nobody wants to know you’re tired. Aren’t we all tired? Who fucking cares. Just pick yourself up and push on, just like everybody else.

On bad days, I berate myself for the state of the house, the piles of clutter that just build and build and choke the air out of my lungs. The thought of organising dinner brings me to my knees. On these days, I can’t seem to get warm. I am cold to my bones and the only safe space is somewhere under a blanket. I tip Coke into my shivering body and it helps but it doesn’t help at all.

And then I text a friend to say I’m not going to make it to dinner and I know she is disappointed. This is not new. I have disappointed many friends over the years. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am frequently pulling out of get-togethers. I am unreliable in this way. And I know they are only disappointed because they genuinely like me and enjoy my company but I wonder do they sometimes suspect I just can’t be bothered to make the effort? I can understand the confusion because regular Angie is loud and vivacious and anything but depressive. But the truth is that on these bad days, the idea of having to leave the house and be the fun and feisty Angie they know feels all but impossible. I have done it before and with a wine or two, I can usually cover my internal crumbling but the fallout is brutal. Expending that last shred of energy, pushing myself when my body is screaming to just stop, leaves me feeling as though I have some kind of debilitating virus for a week or so after.

All-Dayer

I tell my husband, “Bren, there’s something really wrong with me,” and he tells me, “I think it’s your depression.” The psychological masquerading as physical. And I get angry at him because most of the time, I don’t feel depressed. I’m not sad. I remember depression, the sadness that sits like an anvil on your chest but this is different. It’s a weariness I can’t shake. My limbs are weak with it, my mind a fog. I feel on the precipice of achieving great and amazing things but my body can’t sustain me through them. I am full of hope and ambition but I can’t seem to jump more than one hurdle before collapsing.

I know poor mental health can affect energy levels. I know it’s all connected. But in general, my mood is great until my energy bottoms out and then yes, I absolutely feel depressed about that. But it feels like a chicken or the egg situation. I can’t work out what’s causing what. But if my depression is currently treated with medication (which it is) then surely it warrants further investigation as to what the root cause of this exhaustion might be.

When you tell a health professional that you are struggling and broken, ‘a new normal’ is absolutely unacceptable. It’s intolerable.

A GP looked at my blood test results. “It’s all within range,” she told me. “This tiredness you’re experiencing is to be expected. You’re a mum with three kids. It’s not easy. Take a nap when you can. Get to bed earlier. This is your new normal.”

When you tell a health professional that you are struggling and broken, ‘a new normal’ is absolutely unacceptable. It’s intolerable.

But I don’t accept that. I don’t accept a life where, at 40 years old, I need to nap most days and get to bed by 8pm in order to function each day. That’s lunacy. That is NOT normal. And the napping and primary school kid bedtimes don’t help anyway.

I don’t always feel this bad. I had a great summer. The sunshine certainly helps. But I never feel really, genuinely great. And I think that’s a problem.

So I have a path ahead of me. I have felt this way for so long that the idea that I could feel significantly better seems like a long shot at best. But I’m still hopeful. And grateful – to the friends and family who accept me for all my frustrating failings and love me anyway. And make me soup. I’m a lucky woman.

Hello friends

advertisement

I’m Angie!  I mum. I write. I wife. My husband would say this is the correct order.  He’s so neeeedy. I live with my family in Melbourne, Australia, where I complain about the weather for 90% of the year – but I can’t imagine living anywhere else. Except maybe in Lake Como, waving to my neighbours George and Amal each morning.

Insta Love

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.