The last few months have been a struggle. In the fall, I began working 4 hours each afternoon in a community classroom, working with local 3rd graders on math and ELA skills. While I can honestly say that I love it (and I really do), it is 20 hours each week that aren't going to other things. It's great to get out of the house, it's great to make a difference, and it's great to feel like I have a real financial contribution to the family. But it's hard because it's another pull on time.
Starting the job coincided with Peter transitioning into a new position within his company, but at a site 30-40 minutes away . He changed his schedule to accommodate my hours; in addition, my MIL is amazing and comes each afternoon. It also hit at when our homeschooling year (g5 for the twins, g1 for Michael , gPK3 for Lucas, and g "I'm a PITA" for Ana) . Needless to say, stress has built a permanent seat at the table.
The fall hasn't been easy. We are really settling into our "quaint farmhouse (which feels like 3500sqft of renovation projects most days!) and my FIL passed away in early October from cancer. It's been tough. Add to that the growing pains of five very unique kids, 2018 being the 10th birthdays for Nicholas & Sophia (February) and Alexander (November), and all of the volunteer obligations that church and scouts bring to the scene, and it feels like so much.
Which brings me to yesterday...
A day from hell... Really .
My anxiety and frustration have been really banging the gong recently. The kids are driving me batty and I have found myself turning inward to my eating disorder to regulate my emotions when things are especially bad which, of course, leads to nowhere good. (As part of my personal mental work, I've been seeking to deal with the underlying issues and causes of my ED , but that is another post for another time...)
So yesterday ... I'm fighting a cold and not feeling well... Trying to get meals done ... Cleaning up mess after mess... Unable to get school started because of the chaos.
I mean screaming at the top of my lungs, nasty voice lost it. The kids had this look like the banshee had been unleashed, Maya starts to cry - trust me when I tell you it was horrible and no amount of apologizing made me feel better.
In the afternoon, as I got ready for work and looked at myself in the mirror, the ghost staring back wasn't me. It wasn't the survivor, the writer, the marathoner. It wasn't the singer, the helper, the mother, the wife. It was this empty, lifeless shell. It was this memory of who I was. It was a corpse, cold and dead.
Give me one reason why the world would be better with you in it, the voice in my head demanded.
And I couldn't
In that moment, I couldn't think of a good reason.
I finally thought about the families I've helped cope through the worst moments of their lives: pregnancy losses, infant deaths, eating disorders, affairs... I have made a positive difference in their lives. But in my own , it seemed, positive differences seemed just out of reach.
The panic attacks, the anxiety and rage, the crying... The lack of joy in the every day, traded instead for the stress of all that has to be done. One thing compounded on another, until all that I had was the weight of the tasks breaking my back and eating into my shoulders .
When I texted Peter that my epitaph should read, "She helped others but couldn't help herself", something snapped I finally broke down and told him that I needed a change. The yelling at the kids... The always being frustrated and upset... My RA flaring... Those "the kids /Peter would be better off without me" feelings rearing their ugly head. I needed to take my own advice--the advice I've given to numerous clients and friends - and take control.
To find a way.
That led to me sitting outside of a local Co-op, having just bought a month's supply of Charlotte' s Web CBD. Between teaching part time, homeschooling, the five kids going through their different kids things, Bobby's special needs, running MHB and working with families (which is my soul work but is emotionally tough, too; this month alone, I've had three pg losses and another couple who are expecting their child to not survive long after birth- as we go into what would have been Alexander's 10th birthday).
Life is too short and we only get this one chance. I don't want to look back and think I let everything slip away when I had a chance to be better