Silver lining

So, it’s five o clock. One hour left. Anxiety has my stomach in turmoil. I can’t actually remember what I have done for the last 40 minutes apart from put a load of washing on. And wander about contemplating what to do next. 

Please don’t think I am bored. That is the last thing I am feeling. I have lots of things I could and should be doing but I don’t know where to start. As the minutes tick by until my children come home the growing anxiety that I don’t know what to tackle first is debilitating me. 

I know it sounds ridiculous and only someone with anxiety will understand completely. 

As seems to be the case with every weekend lately, nothing seems to go the way I hope it will. This weekend my ex was working so the children were with me yesterday. Friday night, I told them that if we all get the housework done (as in, they do their rooms and I do the rest) we can go somewhere in the afternoon. I haven’t taken them out for some time and I thought it would do us good. 

Didn’t happen. My sister turned up with her one year old which halted any opportunity to do housework. My house is open plan so although I could do a few things, between her son and my youngest who is three, anything I had achieved was undone. I quickly resolved to do it when they had gone. 

I think I have mentioned before that depression and anxiety is common in my family. My sister is, without a doubt, highly strung. She is generous and bubbly and emotional. She can light up a room or drown it in darkness and thunder. Yesterday it was thunder. Black clouds with extra tension thrown in. As she talked through the particular problem, I could feel my anxiety building. Inside I was screaming “please, I’m sorry but I can’t cope with this on top of my own problems” but she’s my little sister – eleven years younger – and I know she relies on me so I tried to listen calmly and advise best I could. 

We ended up taking the three boys to the barbers which took ages. They were busy to start of with but my sister had come along with me and my two boys as she wanted some moral support with her little one. He is gorgeous but can he cry. And so he did:screaming through the whole wriggly hair cut. By the time I go home it was tea time, I hadn’t done half of the housework I was supposed to do and just wanted to sit down. 

Once my youngest was in bed, I logged on to Silver Cloud. My GP has referred me to Minds Matters who are the local NHS mental health team. I had a telephone consultation a few weeks ago and after I found out it would be over 16 weeks until I could see a counsellor, I opted reluctantly for a group stress management session. It was supposed to start last week but I know knew on the Monday I couldn’t go. Instead they have signed me up for this online CBT course, supported by therapist every fortnight. 

I started the first module Friday and continued with it Saturday. Already it has made me reflect on a few things. How can I say I am lonely when I then feel so stressed when my sister arrives? Why don’t I enjoy her company, forget about the unimportant things like housework, and do something nice as a family? I don’t though. I stress about the housework and school work I need to do. By the time I went to bed, I had comfort ate until I was fit to burst and nothing could settle the uneasiness I felt.

Today has been no better. The boys went out with their dad to play/watch football. He is fed up as his car is broke again. He keeps asking for my advice and I want to tell him that has nothing to do with me anymore. But I don’t. My daughter had her weekly spat with her dad and stayed at home. I started cleaning and guess who turned up? Yes, my sister. I really love her, really really really… But I couldn’t face it again. 

And yet, that is exactly what I did. I have managed to do some cleaning but even when my ex came back with the boys and then took all three of our children with him to his mum’s, before long my house was full with both of my sisters and their two gorgeous but untidy children. So all the toys I had tidied away after my own children had left ended up everywhere. Even though I had hoovered, crumbs from snacks went everywhere. They left at 3.45. 
I feel horrible. I feel anxious and tense from listening to my sister again for the second day. Her son cried most of today too. I feel guilty for not enjoying their company instead of stressing that I (yet again) couldn’t do my house and school work. I’m frustrated that I have ended up with two hours of time to myself which ironically was just interrupted by my sister phoning again! I feel like a horrible person but I am tired of the little time I get at the weekend not being my own. 

Last week I broached this again with the ex. I told him that half a day all week to myself is not enough even to try to get on top of the (much mentioned) house and school work. The conversation then turned into a monologue as he poured out all the problems he has. He hates living at his mum’s but he can’t afford to save up the deposit for a house because his car keeps failing. His car’s warning light was on and he was worried it would break down on the way to work. He hates his job (I refrained from I told you so), is worried he will get the sack, and it is costing him over £200 a month in petrol (bit my lip that time too). I did actually feel sorry for him in the end. Perhaps did me good to listen to the other side of it again. 

Despite my skepticism, Silver Cloud is certainly getting me thinking about my feelings and, more importantly, the reasons for them. I am no nearer a solution but hey, I haven’t completed the first module yet!

Another silver lining though… My friend has contacted me as she wants to book another girly weekend! Yes,  it is a year away and yes,  I will need to find both money and childcare but just the thought of it has put a smile on my face. 

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