It’s excruciating. I feel guilty about absolutely everything to do with my kids, and we’re not even a week into the summer holidays. I’m not spending enough time with them, they feel rejected. I’m spending too much time with them, they need to learn independence. I should be saying yes more, it is the holidays after all. I can’t say yes all the time, that won’t do anyone any favours. I need to take some time to myself. I can’t take time to myself, I should be (insert whatever).
I am so caught up in guilt and second guessing myself and questioning every tiny thing that I do that I have myself pretty much paralysed and cannot do right for doing wrong. We had a chat about it over dinner this evening. The kids know that I see Therapist 2.0 ( in so far as they know that I see a doctor who’s helping me to look after myself), and we were talking about the fact that I need to do certain things every day to keep myself well and happy – walk, yoga, write, time alone etc etc. But, what they didn’t see today was me doing the vast majority of those things. Yes, I got up and went for a walk this morning before Hubby left for work, but other than that I’ve pretty much been in Mom mode. It’s not good for me, because I end up where I am now – anxious and overwhelmed – and it’s not good for them because I’m not modelling how to look after myself. So, while we were talking about it earlier, we talked about just that – how while I know what it is I need to do, today, I didn’t do it.
Hubby is trying to bring me around to getting them used to the idea of me taking time to myself every day, be that to write or play with photos or even just have a cup of tea in peace. I need to get used to the idea that this is ok, that I don’t need to be doing all the time, and they don’t need me all the time. We agreed that if I need time alone, I’m going to tell them, tell them how long I’ll be, and that they aren’t allowed to interrupt me for the duration of that time. To be fair to them, they seemed to understand, and are far less bothered about it than I am. The doctor told me that’s what I need to do, so that’s what I should do!
I think this is all very much caught up in what I was doing with Therapist 2.0 yesterday. We did a review of how things are going and how I’m getting on with the therapy, and a couple of things are starting to get clearer – I’m really, really struggling with self compassion. I’m frustrated that despite all the eureka moments of the first few weeks, I now feel stuck. I’m still keeping her at arm’s length. I’m still very much caught up in a maelstrom of emotion when it comes to Therapist 1.0 (we talked about this. There’s likely several more posts in that one statement, but suffice to say, all the confusion about her is the tip of the iceberg, and she has somehow become the embodiment of every aspect of my life that causes difficulty for me).
On top of all of this, I’m shattered. I’ve been getting to bed early, haven’t had a drink for almost a week, been eating well, been walking……….the practical aspects of looking after myself are finally coming together. On a more emotional level? I’m still not really giving myself a break. We’ve lowered the bar from 10 minutes of soothing rhythm breathing 2/3 times a day, to 30 seconds at a time, multiple times. It’s as much as I can manage right now.
I’m not sure I even know where this post is going. I’m really, really anxious. I think I’d kind of forgotten that I’ve been on sick leave this last few months, that those few hours in the morning when the kids were at school was my time to do what I needed to do to keep myself functioning. Now that time is gone. The kids are home, the weather is shocking, and we’re all on top of each other. Finding time to write is challenging, and it’s threatening to overwhelm me. I wish it wasn’t. I want to enjoy this time with them, and enjoy the fact that they don’t need so much of me any more. So far guilt is standing firmly in the way of that.
Therapist 2.0 would ask me what part of me is feeling guilty. I’m guessing it’s my inner critic because…………I don’t why. She pushes me to do better, all the time. Play a game with the kids? Should be two. Take them for a walk? Should have been somewhere more interesting, and on and on and on. But maybe I don’t need to do better. Maybe where I am and what I’m doing is enough? My drive system is in overdrive, and not in a good way. The next question Therapist 2.0 would ask is what would my compassionate mind say?
My kids are ok.
I am doing the best that I can.
That’s all I can do, and it’s enough.
I have to stop questioning why I’m tired. I’m waging war in my head almost constantly. Who wouldn’t be tired??