For three days I exist in a prison of my own making, my head tight and strung with panic and anxiety and pain. I cry another river of tears (“Mummy, are you crying? Is it because you miss my daddy still?”) to add to the piles of salt my being has already shed, pillars of pain that dot this past year… Regrets I dare not look back on, lest I turn to nothing but a pillar of salt myself.
I disrupt my children, again, as usual… Once I prided myself on them having structure and routine. I pick up the flailing threads of my self esteem by telling myself that they still have structure, a routine in place… Breakfast and teeth brushing, dinner and baths and books; that occurs far more frequently than the two of them being packed up and displaced to their grandparents for a night; or dragged along with a mother who is too afraid to go home, too afraid of what the voices will whisper to her (coward) when she is alone.
I am too afraid to go home, and that makes the anxiety worse, because there are things I should be doing, things the should be attended to… But they must wait, because a pulling, hysterical voice in my head is screaming an awful din, and I can just make out the words “You will be alone and lonely for the rest of your life!” somewhere underneath the sobbing declarations of bad parenthood, bad humanity and a vexed existence.
We camp out for hours at house of Emma Sbrain. The Chop and the Bump think it’s fabulous, a house full or cats and kids and new toys to play with.
Not to mention iPads.
|Small children entertain themselves with iPads while one Mummy loses it and the other attempts to hold the first together. Definitely children of the iGeneration
The next night I leave my children in the care of my mother (bless her) and run again, to Auntie Mickey‘s house, and stay until it is late enough to go home and fall into bed. Late enough so maybe that hysterical voice will need to sleep to.
I have onion days, crying all the while. But the tears are mixed with the fervent heat of anxiety, sizzling like something acidic on my skin. I am unable to sit still. I pace the house, the yard. I ingest nothing a but Coca Cola and nicotine for hours, then binge on chocolate until I feel sick.
My house is filthy. There are Christmas decorations half repacked, almost but not quite frozen in suspended animation until December rolls around again. The Bump gets into my clothes drawers one morning while I am semi–comatose, attempting to stretch out the blackness of sleep for as long as I possibly can; and my bedroom floor is covered in underwear, socks and t-shirts. Small piles of child sized dirty clothes dot the lounge room floor, cups and bowls are piled in the sink. I have not the energy nor the inclination to pick up the mess, and that pulling anxiety won’t let me foucs long enough to start. (Another cigarette. Another cigarette and another wander round the garden, and then I will clean. up. this. mess.)
The children and animals are fed, watered and clean… But I am not.
I scare myself when I release I have been running hard on very little sustenance save the whirring, whizzing clogs of my overloaded sensory system for the better part of three days. I have not showered, checked my email, been grocery shopping. The past few days have been a laced together continuum of tears and heaving, whooping breaths, fear and frantic phone calls to people who love me, people who can handle me, people who can listen.
There is nothing anyone can say… I realized that almost a year ago, that there are no words that make this better. The only thing that helps is company, having people around me, just to take the sharp sad edge of the loneliness.
New Years Eve I wake up feeling… better, more like myself, though I’m not sure why.
I clean my house from top to bottom. I play with my kids. I shower, wash my hair, shave my legs, paint my toenails, kiss my children goodbye and thank my mother for taking them for the night. Then I put my happy party clothes on and head out for the night with my Emma, to a half empty pub where the music is too loud. We walk home before midnight, laughing, and we talk for hours about nothing afterwards.
And again I feel… better. I have no choice- 2011 has been the worst year of my life and you have to smile for the end of that. What other option is there, when I’ve spent so much time crying?
There is no guarantee, none at all, that 2012 will be any better… But you just can’t cry all the time. It just doesn’t work that way.