Sunday, May 20, 2007


Bad days

This is not the post I wrote today. I wrote two others at various points today, trying to relieve some of the pressure in my head. The first two are tucked away in the draft folders, too raw to be published. Hopefully, just getting them out of my head and into the computer is enough.

It hasn't been the best day. It hasn't been the best week. Matter of fact, we're going on two weeks that I'd pretty much either do over or erase from memory.

When I went to see the doctor 10 days ago and she diagnosed the pneumonia, the symptom that was bothering me the most was not the cough, or the fever. It was a much less quantifiable, "I don't feel like myself." The antibiotics quelled the cough and broke the fever, but the emotional malaise lingers, amplified by the criticism and concerns raised by the caregiver.

I'm tired of listening to the various voices in my head. One of the other two posts I wrote today tried to capture the ongoing conversation - no, debate - in my head over the past three days. The voice of comfort tries to tell me I'm doing a good job, I have a great life and very little to complain about on a relative scale, and that this too shall pass. The voice of the critic is less charitable, and makes me feel inadequate and overwhelmed as a parent, as a wife, as an employee, as a person.

Overwhelmed. Inadequate.

Breath in, breath out. Try to find your bliss, try to find just a granule of peace to tide you over.

Right now, I can't think of anything that would make me feel better, which is a kind of desolate place to be. Often, I'll be able to cheer myself up with a meal at a favourite restaurant, or an afternoon of shopping indulgence, or just an hour with a bowl of chips and a good book. Meh. None of those things appeal to me.

The malaise coalesces every now and then into a flare. A flash of temper, a raised voice, tears. And then I feel bad, because my life really isn't so bad and I don't know what the hell has gotten into me. But the negativity is strong, and I look around and see faults everywhere. That was the other post I wrote, trying to capture my vacillating feelings about the boys right now. After the caregivers comments, I'm suddenly hyper-aware of their faults, of my failings. They ARE restless, and relentless. They DO need to learn to listen the first time. They DO talk back a lot, oh my god the arguing and bickering and complaining. Simon really is a handful right now, and I'm honestly out of ideas of how to discipline him. I know they're just going through a phase right now, but their relentless testing feeds my growing ennui and I'm overwhelmed - with worry, with guilt, with anxiety. What if I am screwing this up? What if it's too late? Why can't I do this? Why is it so hard? Why is it so goddamn hard?

So I start to make plans, to compensate. I'll make up charts with reward stickers for good behaviour, limit computer time, make myself more available to them. Except, I haven't washed the floor in two weeks and the toilets in I don't know how long and the grass in the backyard is nearly to my shins. And suddenly two days have gone by and I've been doing menial tasks all weekend with the voices arguing in my head and noticing every. little. thing the boys have done wrong (and, to their credit, a good number of the things they have done right) and I still have this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach like I'm not doing a good job anywhere in my life right now. And I just want that feeling to fuck right off because I like it much better when I'm happy and oblivious to the mess and the chaos and I wonder what that says about me.

Breath in, breath out.

I don't know whether I want to publish this post or not. It seems to me I've been doing more than my share of whining lately, and I keep coming to you asking for your feedback, for your endorsement, for your support. That's not what I want, not what I need. But maybe if I tell you that I'm having a hard time, it will make me feel better, and make it easier for me to not be having a hard time anymore.