Today I had a great big pile of housework to do.
I am also having a bad day.
Note the difference between ‘had’ and ‘have’, it’s important.
To be exact I am having a bad weekend, thoughts wise.
I tend to have my worst days, few and far between that they now seem to be on days that my husband is home. We should be having a lovely time together as a family but instead my mind seems to give up.
Unable to support itself the way it has done all week it suddenly refuses to help me get up, get showered and dressed or do anything much at all.
The sun is shining and there are so many things that I want to do. Instead I’m sat in bed, wrapped in my duvet, writing, attempting to wrestle my thoughts back onto the straight and narrow.
I have so much to do.
Ironing, cleaning, work stuff, mopping, vacuuming, laundry.
I can’t even think about cleaning the bathroom. I hate cleaning the bathroom. It’s one of those things that just makes me panic.
I have absolutely no idea what’s scary about cleaning the bathroom.
I need to clean out the guinea pigs who live in the kitchen.
In a hutch, they’re not free range. Although I did read a book about a guy who lived in a flat with his guinea pig Free Range Fred.
Poor Piggies, I’ve been a rubbish Mummy to them since Squidge arrived.
Shut up thoughts, this isn’t helping.
I HAVE done some things today. I played with Squidge when my husband bought him upstairs and they both got into bed with me. He smiled and giggled and my husband tried to persuade him to say Dada. They’re both back downstairs now, it’s Squidge’s lunch time and I can hear my husband talking to him. I want to join them but I can’t.
I’ve done some writing, having discovered that it’s something I can do even when I lack the energy and motivation to do anything else.
I’m stuck in bed until I can gain control of my thoughts and beat the unhelpful ones into submission.
I feel weak.
I feel drained.
I feel tired, exhausted and wrung out even though I’ve only just woken up.
My husband gets me up with a bit of tough love. He has a work project to write and he can’t do that and look after Squidge. We make a deal; he will give Squidge his lunch and I will get in the shower.
With everything screaming at me to be left alone I take his hand and go downstairs.
I stand in the bathroom and I can’t move. My muscles tense with panic, my knees lock with fear and my stomach churns with anxiety. I don’t know what I’m afraid of.
And I do.
I’m afraid of being trapped with this person who I can’t see or touch but who I know hates me and despises me with every fibre of their being.
I can’t run from them because they run with me and when I’m exhausted from trying to escape they’ve not even broken a sweat.
When I sleep they invade my dreams; they never sleep.
They are there when I fall asleep and there when I wake up.
They’re with me at home, pouring scorn on everything I try to do.
They follow me to work, telling me that I’m a poor excuse for a nurse.
They stand beside me when I look at Squidge sleeping and tell me that I’m a bad Mum, that Squidge will grow up to hate me because it’s as much as I deserve.
Most days I manage to push them to the back of my mind; stuff them in a box and sit on the lid until they decide that they can’t be bothered to fight me today. Some days that takes longer than others, sometimes the day is nearly gone before I manage to silence them.
Then suddenly, without reason or warning they vanish and I’m free.
The sunshine comes back and the grey and the darkness disappear as though they’ve never been.
I stop looking round every corner, pausing every few steps to see if they’re following me.
I stop wondering how long it will before before they’re back, relentlessly smashing and grinding untiI I no longer have the strength left in me to tell myself that what they say isn’t true.
I start to think that maybe one day the only voice inside my head will be my own.
I’ve promised my husband that I’ll continue to take antidepressants for the rest of my life, regardless of how well I feel. I’ve stopped taking them several times; sometimes sensibly, other times not so much.
Part of me baulks at agreeing to take them forever.
I know they’re a medication just like blood pressure tablets, I know I need them to correct the chemical imbalances in my brain but I just can’t see them like that, not for me.
Today I have managed to beat my thoughts into submission.
I have not listened to the whispers that I am stupid.
A bad wife
A bad mother
I have refused to listen to them insist that everything is my fault, that I am completely deserving of everything bad that happens to me, that everything positive is a fluke.
That so many people would have better lives if I was not in them.
I have (metaphorically) stuck my fingers in my ears and refused to listen.
I still believe them though.
But today I have won, even if it’s only a temporary victory.
I have got up, showered, rearranged and tidied the spare room, dusted and swept and vacuumed.
I have even cleaned and resealed the bathroom.
I hate cleaning the bathroom.
I haven’t cleaned the piggles.
Shut UP thoughts.
I’ve done my best.
Your best isn’t good enough, not even close.
You’ve still got so many things to do.
And I will get them done, at my own pace when I decided I want to do them.
Now I’m going to sit with my husband, drink some cider because I’m a classy lady and sort the scarves and t-shirts that I’m going to tie dye for Christmas presents.
I may need to take antidepressants for the rest of my life but you will not beat me, you will not win.
I am a good wife, a good Mum and a good nurse and one day when you try to tell me I’m not.
I won’t believe you.
That day is coming.