Saturday, February 08, 2014
I don't do alone. I don't do solitude for long periods. Or, rather, I don't do either well.
For the foreseeable future, my husband is and will be working in the Sacramento area. Our younger daughter and I live up here in Red Bluff (150 miles Northwest of Sacramento). He comes up on the weekends but, during the week, he lives in our house down there with our older daughter. For all intents and purposes, I am a single mom during the week.
Little one needs a permission slip signed? That's me. She suddenly gets sick and I have to find her a doctor/urgent care in an area I haven't lived in for over 20 years. For the record, it took over 3 months for the main medical practice in town to process the new patient paperwork and accept hubby and daughter as new patients (my name was ominously missing from the phone message saying they'd been accepted). Invitations for a birthday party need to get out while I'm stressed out over work (I care more about my students than my Special Ed Aide job description will ever require and I get frustrated when those who have more control over their lives don't do obvious things to help them along) and the housework needs doing and the drains for the acre and a half need clearing and wood needs splitting and my business taxes from my little shop on Etsy and the one art show I did last year need to be done? Yup...all me.
There are women who check these things off the list and move on. I'm not one of these women. I am a gregarious, scatterbrain with chaos in my head at all times. Whether it's the dyslexia making me write millions of lists so I don't forget things...then set the lists down and forget them, or the activities that require me to go back to Sacramento - little one's orthodontist is down there and paid through this course - or the myriad of things that have to be done to maintain the property or just my own darn thoughts...chaos.
My entire life, the only thing that keeps the chaos at bay (it doesn't go away, it just gets muted somehow) is music. Ask my husband. No matter how tired I am or mentally worn out, my foot still taps in my sleep to the music that never stops in my head. If I cannot focus on one task at a time, I turn on the TV or some music for "background noise." It quiets the chaos so I can function.
Sometimes though, the chaos wins. As I said, I'm a gregarious person. I always have been. That doesn't mean I can't handle being alone. I just can't handle huge stretches of time that way. Technically speaking, I am rarely alone and then, not for long. I'm a mom. That's how it works. When I'm not at work, I have my daughter. I love my little girl. She is my lifeline and the reason I make it through at all most days. I have to fight not to let her feel the full weight of that because my inclination is to cling to her. I hug. I have always been a hugger. I need that physical connection with other human beings lots of times each day. Due to the current living and working situation, I may go days without a hug from an adult. Between my little one and my students, I get hugs from kids every day. They are wonderful. They are live giving. They are short and not enough. I need to talk with adults. I need to spend leisure time with adults. I have not had a regular network of adults close to me, other than my husband and adult daughter, for over 10 years. In the last couple of years I had started to rebuild those kind of connections - spending time just with a friend for lunch or some such. Then we moved away. My choice. I wanted to be up here. My mom is up here. I grew up up here. I love this home and have always felt at home here. I do not have close friends here. I have a couple of friends. One used to be a close friend. We grew up and went on with our lives and, while still good friends, the close friendship does not exist anymore for the simple reason that we are not the same people we were in high school. Nothing wrong. Time just changes all.
Now we come to the depression. It has always been there in the background, flaring up when the stress of life and being me made the chaos too loud to drown out. It never took a specific trigger. There has always been a piece of me that wants to believe everything is going wrong. Even when I can clearly see things are fine, I still experience an debilitating, borderline paralyzing apathy and lethargy. I can see 10 things on a list that I would normally be so excited about doing I would be rushing through them and smiling the whole way but I sit there, staring at it, quite literally wondering why I am not up and doing it. No. Telling myself, "Then just get up and get started" doesn't work. "Break it down into smaller tasks and focus on one at a time" sounds great but doesn't work until you get up and start that first task and, when the depression kicks in, that's harder than getting to work on a rainy Monday when you're pregnant AND have the stomach flu.
For now, I'm going to try and forget that I didn't get out those invitations out 2-3 weeks before the party like usual and, as a result, have only one RSVP for my soon-to-be 9 year old's birthday party. I'm going to try to forget the cool cake I intended to make her with the big polka dots baked in didn't happen because I didn't put the dots - which I'd made and baked - into the cake. I'm going to try and forget that my house is still not clean enough for the party and I haven't done the grocery shopping to make such a thing possible. I'm going to ignore that the one set of beloved adults that were going to make it now can't because one is viciously sick and I wouldn't ask them to come now now how badly I know they wanted to be there for little one or how badly I miss that friend. I'm going to forget a lot of things...somehow.
Okay, chaos, you win tonight. I can't hear a single freaking note in my head. There have been tears at the back of my eyes all night (except when I let them out over the stupid cake thing and made the little one feel bad because I was upset which made me feel worse)... You win. The miserable feeling wins tonight. Tomorrow may be just as miserable or I may finally be feeling a little better and be able to be excited for the day. I never know the night before. For now, the chaos can ramble until the ibuprofen tells it to shut off and maybe I'll get some sleep at some point.