I've been feeling a tad overwhelmed lately. Too much to do, all of it important, all of it needing to happen today. And the fatigue has come back with a vengeance. I wake up in the morning and actually feel pain when I force myself out of bed. I'm back on coffee just to get my body into some kind of shape before I tackle the day (but not so much caffeine that I turn into bitch-mom. It's a fine line).
"I feel like such a wimp," I whined one day to my husband. "Other people can do this, why can't I?"
He nodded sympathetically, but went on working on his computer.
"I know I'm doing a lot, but I'm so frickin tired all the time. Seriously, how do people raise kids and work?"
"You've got a little more on your plate than most people," my husband said, still working on his computer.
"Yeah, we do. But I know people who's kids are more disabled than ours and they can manage to hold down a job. I'm just a wimp."
He just kept working on his computer.
I waited for some kind of response, for him to say, "You're not a wimp, honey."
"Your silence makes me feel that you think I'm a wimp."
He glanced at me quickly, gave me a quick smile, then went back to working on his computer.
My mind went into panic mode. Oh my God, my husband thinks I'm a wimp! He's afraid to say anything because he doesn't want me to feel worse, but he's too honest to say he doesn't think I'm a wimp if he thinks I am one, so he's just pretending that I never said anything and then maybe I'll go away. I'm a wimp. I really am! Here's the proof! He won't even look at me...
I got up from the table and walked away, feeling like the bottom of my world had dropped 100 feet and the walls were too slippery to grab a hold of. The feeling stayed with me for two days, a crushing depression that grew as that evil voice in my head chanted loudly "You're a wimp. You're a wimp. You're a wimp..." It got meaner after a while. "You're a loser, a wimp, a weakling, a nothing. You can't do anything. You are the most worthless human being on the planet."
Do you know how much money I've spent on therapy in the last 20 years to get this voice to shut-up? I don't even know where it came from! No one ever said that to me. My parents never sat me down on the couch when I was 5 and declared, "You are nothing." So why do I have the meanest, cruelest, evil inner voice in the world?
After 36 hours, I'd had enough. "Shut up!" I told that voice. "I'm not listening." And I didn't. It took an enormous amount of energy to redirect my thoughts away from that cackling mantra of failure. I forced myself to think of what I had achieved (Grad school, motherhood and a publishing company... Hello!). When that inner voice got extra sadistic and shouted, "And your fat too," I told myself I am beautiful and stronger than I've ever been in my life (which is true. thanks to Kettle Bell, I can now lift my 90 pound daughter over rain puddles without hurting my back, something I couldn't do 2 years ago). Very slowly, that voice lost some of it's power and returned to that nagging whisper that is easier to ignore.
Therapy didn't get rid of that voice, it taught me how to manage it.
I still have a feeling that I am lacking, though. No matter what I do, that feeling just won't go away. I guess this is why I do so much. Time to stop.
Maybe with a little more practice, I'll be able to just live and not have to prove to myself that I deserve to live.
And maybe I'll learn not to try and talk to my husband about something important when he's working on a computer. He probably didn't even hear a word I said.
Yep, I am still a tad batty. Maybe we all are.