As I write this I’m in my parents’ house. The kids have gone out with my folks for a bit, there’s no one else here and I’m at a complete loss as to what to do with myself. Now that the crisis of Monday has passed, and the challenge of getting here yesterday has been dealt with…………what do I do? How do I manage this? On Monday when the idea of coming up here was suggested in the first place I had glorious visions of losing myself in Netflix, reading for hours, and of course, fitting in regular jalks and yoga. The reality? It’s 11.20am and I’ve had breakfast. That’s it. I’m not even dressed.

My mind is absolutely racing. I had a long chat with Hubby this morning, he’s putting all of this down to the fact that I’ve taken on too much the last few months and had no down time. As he sees it, I’ve been stressed, constantly thinking about the next thing I should be doing (with the consequence that what I actually was doing at the time ended up half assed), have only been able to focus on something as long as it’s been in my line of vision and then as soon as something else catches my attention I’m moving on to that. Is this true? Well it’s certainly how I’ve been behaving, but I’m not sure what I’ve taken on is the cause of it.

Here’s what I’m finding so challenging about understanding this whole mental illness lark – what’s cause, and what is effect? Did I bring on this episode because I was doing too much? Or was mental illness the reason I couldn’t cope with what I was doing in the first place? I’m not sure I’m making sense in saying that, I hope you can understand because I’m not sure I do, I’m thinking this out as I go. As always I think if it was physical it would be easier to understand. If I was diabetic and decided to go on a steady diet of coke and chocolate, I could be reasonably confident that any fallout was of my own making. But what if I was doing everything exactly as I should, and my blood sugar went out of whack anyway? Then it wouldn’t be my fault, it would be my illness.

I’m not sure that what I’ve been doing has been too much, because it’s all work that I get a great deal of return from. Time has been a factor, there’s no doubt, I always feel under pressure for time, but that’s because it’s become increasingly hard to manage it of late as I’ve gotten less and less able to focus.

Do I need to be in hospital? Therapist asked me this question on Monday, my GP yesterday. I said no, both times, because if felt like what I should say. This is going to sound completely insane (pardon the pun) but part of me wants to be, because then I can legitimately shut down. I would have zero responsibility, and the people looking after me would be paid to do so. I wouldn’t be imposing on anyone other than a ridiculously overstretched system*. I wouldn’t need to worry about being present for my kids, or how I’m making people feel, or whether I’ve brought a giant cloud down on another house. I could stop happy face. It occurred to me when I was talking to Hubby earlier that I’ve gotten so good at holding back what I’m feeling that a) I actually don’t know what I’m feeling any more and b) I find it all but impossible to let it show. I spend an hour with Therapist and lose it quite dramatically the minute I leave the room. I talk my GP through what’s been going on, and again, lose it once I’m safely alone and back in my car. They don’t see how I am. Most of the time I don’t see how I am.

Another thing that occurred to me earlier is that I’m making the whole thing up. It’s all a sorry pretence, an attention seeking exercise, an excuse to get people to look after me. God what I wouldn’t give for a physical way to prove this is real. Because right now, I feel like I’m losing my mind, and that it’s all of my own making.

*it’s been brought to my attention the the psychiatric staff in Galway are quite likely to go on strike because conditions are so bad there. So I guess they wouldn’t be all that much help either.

This article has 8 Comments

  1. Don't beat yourself up any more than you have been, you are doing brilliantly and stronger than you realise, looking for help shows that, and it was so brave, I'm sure your family are so proud of you for your bravery. I have no real advice /insight/help to offer I'm afraid, just wanted to tell you, you are doing ok, its ok not to be ok and to indulge it a bit, it may even help, we all have times where were overworked,stressed and don't see it, don't admit it, don't want to concede,but you will get through it, and while you're doing that, you are helping countless people. Sending you positive thoughts and best wishes. x

    1. Thanks so much for reading, taking the time to comment, and your kind words. I needed help last month, I still need help now. Thankfully I'm getting better at both asking for, and accepting it. This weekend I'm indulging in 48 hours of doing only what I want, and it's wonderful.

  2. Hi Fiona :). Your question re: mental illness is a good one. We just don't know. I don't know if we'll ever be able to answer that question. It's like the chicken/egg question. :). I think you're tired and that is to be expected. I call it "brain drain". You've used so much mental energy keeping yourself together and trying to appear like you're "fine". Why are you putting up that "front" for your Therapist? I 'm pretty sure she's seen you at your "best" and probably at or near your "worst". She has not abandoned you so far. I can't imagine that she would now. Does that make sense to you?

    1. It makes a lot of sense, thank you. Unfortunately I seem to have no control over when that front is up, and things have gotten increasingly complicated with Therapist of late, to the point that I'm not really sure where we're at or whether I can continue to work with her, or her with me. I'm seeing her on Monday, hopefully we'll get a little closer to figuring it out. Your support is much appreciated.

        1. Thanks Elyce, and I’m so sorry for the complete lack of response. It’s been a really tough few months since I finished with my Therapist, I’m currently out of work on sick leave and waiting to start dbt, hopefully in March. Just need to hang in till then

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