This morning I planned how I would run away.
It’s something I do at times of extreme stress; when daily life is such a struggle that I go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning with panic and dread coiling in the pit of my stomach as the thought of having to face another day.
This morning was supposed to be the Northern One’s turn for a lie in but he ended up having to get up with Squidge as I was completely stuck; unable to get out of bed even though I could hear my baby crying.
In my head I was begging Squidge to go back to sleep, to leave me alone because I couldn’t cope with the idea of having to look after myself, never mind someone who was dependent upon me for everything and who would scream and cry if I couldn’t work out what he wanted.
If I could just sleep for a bit longer then maybe I’d feel more able to cope.
My stomach churned and my head span and I felt so dizzy and sick with panic that I thought I might pass out, even though I was lying down.
I felt like the worst wife and mum.
I still feel like that.
The Northern One got up and went into Squidge’s room; I could hear him talking and singing to him as he got him dressed.
I was so relieved that the crying had stopped.
I heard him walking into the spare room to find Squidge some clothes from the ever increasing ironing pile that I hadn’t felt able to tackle.
I wrapped myself in the duvet and pulled it over my head but it wasn’t enough.
Thoughts swirled around my head and I desperately tried to beat them back by concentrating on how I could pack my car ready to leave without my plan being discovered.
You’re so pathetic and useless.
I can just get up in the middle of the night and leave.
What kind of mother are you that you can’t even be bothered to iron your son’s clothes?
If the Northern One wakes up you can just say you’re going to the loo and he’ll go back to sleep.
You only care about yourself.
You’ll be miles away by the time he realises you’re gone.
You had a bath last night instead of putting Squidge to bed; you’re so lazy and selfish.
You can pack your car while he’s at work; if you put it all under the parcel shelf he’ll never know.
Eventually I managed to go back to sleep, blocking out my internal voice of self-loathing and the sounds of Squidge and the Northern One playing downstairs.
The last few weeks have been so difficult; some days I’ve been able to cope and other days even the slightest whinge from Squidge has been enough to have me in floods of tears.
The days have passed in a seemingly endless cycle of work, chores and tears.
Trying to keep Squidge entertained without having to get up off the sofa.
Attempting to sleep as much as possible and feeling my chest tighten and my heart sink every time Squidge woke up and started shouting for me.
Trying to keep myself awake when he refuses to have a nap and trying not to go back to bed when he does eventually nap.
I never feel like I’ve had enough sleep.
I could sleep for a week and it still wouldn’t be enough.
I feel like I’m stuck on a treadmill and I don’t know how to get off.
As I lay in bed this morning, paralysed with fear and guilt and self-loathing I truly believed that the only solution was to leave.
I worked out the bare minimum of things that I would need; clean underwear, deodorant, toothbrush and paste, a towel so that I could use service station showers.
I wouldn’t need my phone.
I didn’t plan on calling anyone.
I had no plan as to where I was going apart from the vague idea that I’d drive north, to Scotland maybe. Somewhere quiet and remote without television or internet or phone signal where I could hate myself in peace and not have to see the damage that I caused every day.
I wouldn’t have to see the confusion on Squidge’s little face when I burst into tears yet again.
I wouldn’t have to look at the Northern One and know that I had to be dragging him down with me.
I could just be alone, knowing that the only person I was hurting was myself.
I know running away would be the cowards way out and that even though there are times where I feel like a complete and utter coward but that I’ve come this far and surely that must count for something.
That my leaving would cause far more problems for my family than would be solved for me.
That leaving wouldn’t actually solve any problems at all; it’s just a plan that my stressed mind comes up with when it can’t come up with another way to deal with things.
I love my son and my husband and I know that without them my heart would break into a million pieces and my life would lose it’s meaning.
There are days that I feel life is to difficult to carry on for myself but it’s never too difficult to carry on for them even though it takes everything that I have.
The Northern One put Squidge to bed this evening but he wouldn’t settle and kept waking up and crying. I went up to him and soothed him by stroking his head with it’s mop of soft, curly baby hair and I sang to him.
I though he was asleep but when I tried to leave he sleepily stretched out a chubby little hand and waved it around until he found mine. He wrapped his fingers around mine and snuggled down into his blankets, making contented little sleepy noises as he drifted off, safe in the knowledge that I would always be there to look after him.
How could I possibly leave him?