Overwhelm

I feel like I am about to totally lose my mind. I don’t want to live like this anymore, constantly trying to find and keep my balance while lurching dangerously close to the precipice. I crave structure and routine and stability and yet I can’t seem to find any even when I have the opportunity to give it to myself.

Inside me is such emptiness, such darkness. I long for K to steady me again, help me get back on my feet. There is an ache in me that only she can soothe, a chaos in me that only she can settle. I am longing for something I cannot name and I don’t feel as though I will ever be full. I am empty.

I am also trying desperately to stave off overwhelm. Life feels so crowded. There is no space for me inside my head. Time off work so often feels more overwhelming than being at work, because there are a million things I put off doing while the weeks disappear in a blur and then here is the time to do them and it is all too much. We need to sort out adopting a bunny for Rainbow, Nina needs new clothes as nothing fits which requires hours of trawling through Depop with her, jobs need doing at home, stuff needs sorting out, a broken trampoline needs dismantling, the washer dryer isn’t working, there are people I need to see. I cannot get on top of things. Everything feels chaotic. There is always too much to do. Just daily life takes everything out of me. I need so much time between things so as not to become overwhelmed and overstimulated and that really reduces the time available to get things done and do nice things I enjoy. There is no time for anything extra.

I spent yesterday stripping wallpaper with a friend because I am paying someone next week to do some tiling in my kitchen/living area where there was revolting wallpaper since we moved in. Tomorrow I have to go to two different hardware stores as well as get passport photos to renew my driving licence and then drive 35 minutes to a colleague’s house because he is kindly replacing the smashed screen on Nina’s iPhone for the cost of the screen (£45) instead of the £150 apple would charge. That’s another day of my leave gone. It feels like I never get enough time to do nice things but when I do have time I don’t do the nice things anyway because my brain is full and I just need to lie in a dark and quiet room.

I am trying so hard to focus on one day at a time but I just don’t want to live like this anymore. I am so tired of holding so much. I feel overwhelmed nearly all the time. I’ve been so excited Nina will be restarting swimming next week as she has missed it so much and it is so good for her body and mind and self-esteem. But when her swimming club confirmed times for training I could feel myself spiralling. It will be till 9.30pm Wed, Thurs and Fri from next week, and then Sundays till 6pm. Before this lockdown it was only Wed, Fri and Sun and that extra night has sent me over the edge. Of course she could not do the Thursday, but also I want her to go because teens need exercise and ADHD-teens more than most.

The situation with my dad feels stressful and never-ending. I am tired of trying to navigate around toxic people. I wrote last autumn about my brother being in a really bad place and my sister asking me if I could see him (see here and here). Nina and him have been in touch on Whatsapp for a few months now but he is talking about meeting up now lockdown has lifted and I just don’t know what to do. It brings my mum so dangerously close again. Without K I don’t know if I have the strength to navigate that as well as my dad and parenting and every other fucking thing.

I just want K. I cannot see how I will find my way through all this without the structure and stability she provides. Talking to R is not the same. It doesn’t feel contained in the same way. And also – how long till he goes away too? Lockdown will ease and he will be able to see more clients again and he will be able to go away and he won’t have time for me. He will leave me like K has but even when he is here it is not enough. Nothing is or ever will be.

I feel as though the ground is swallowing me. It doesn’t seem to matter how hard I try, I cannot feel on top of life. Inside and outside feel totally chaotic and I don’t want to do this anymore. I am tired of having to make such big decisions and having so much in my head all the time.

I am scared I will never stop self-harming. It’s getting worse and my legs hurt all the time and I don’t understand why this behaviour is worse than it’s ever been after I’ve healed so much. I don’t want to stop but I want to want to stop. I am nearly 38.

Losing K this year is enough. I just want everything else to go away.

22 thoughts on “Overwhelm”

  1. I’m so sorry. I can relate to the overwhelm. I hope that this terrible-ness will move and feel different. Can you take time out for a bike ride with a friend? When Nina starts swimming training again will that give you some space for yourself? Sending kindness.

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    1. Thanks IM (are you a swimmer too? Is that where your name comes from?). I am going to try and cycle this evening. Unfortunately due to Covid restrictions, Nina’s training sessions are only 1 hr 20 mins now, so by the time I get home I only have an hour and then have to leave again to collect her. Apart from Fridays when they have an hour of land training so I’ll have over 2 hours at home to do a nice long yoga session or something. I think it will give me head space though as she will be occupied again and her self-esteem will pick up so she’ll need less support from me.

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      1. Yes, a swimmer with parts, so seems appropriate. I’m also a swimming mum and a little apprehensive of training starting back up again. But, as you say, hopefully good for the kids.
        Glad to hear you sounding less overwhelmed. X

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      2. It’s a great name in that case! Yes, swimming is a lot, isn’t it. I hope once things settle into a routine for both of us it will be ok.

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  2. Oh CB, so sorry you’re feeling like this. It’s not surprising though, just your recent letter to your Dad is enough to rock your whole week, much less the other busyness and complications of things like mending phones and the anxiety of restarting life again as we come out of lockdown. I really hope you manage to do some of the stuff that brings you peace and pleasure, so by the end of the week you can look back and feel a bit better about it all. It won’t always be like this, but I know it feels like it at the time. 🤗❤️

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    1. Thanks LS. I find the holidays really throw me so often – I long for some space and then when it comes I feel overwhelmed. I also think you’re right, the letter to my dad and his response has rocked the foundations also and has made me feel like everything in life is out of control when it really isn’t!

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      1. They throw me too, you’re in good company. You sound a bit like you’ve managed to catch your breath a bit now, which is good to hear 🤗

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  3. It does sound bad – I’m sorry.

    I do think it might be time to look for another therapist who can help. Someone who can see you in person and can offer trauma specific care. The self harm is a sign you need to find more help. A new T will not be the same as K but a new approach might be a good thing even though not what you really would prefer.

    And about your daughter? In the end, it doesn’t matter so much if you weren’t able to do extraordinary amounts of driving for her. You can only do what you are able. What matters is that she has a mom who takes care of herself enough so she can mother effectively. My 2 cents.

    I know this is advice – so feel free to ignore obviously. You know what you need.

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    1. Thanks Ellen. It has actually really helped to have someone who is more objective than me (and R) and who knows about this stuff (i.e. not my friends) say it sounds like I need to find a new T. I’ve not self-harmed this much since my first year of my undergraduate degree and it really does seem a signal that all is not really okay at all. And yes, you’re right – I think Nina will have to miss Thursday swimming most weeks. The best thing for her is to have a mum who is available and not a snappy, exhausted mess!

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  4. Sending you heaps of love. I hope that you are able to come up for air in amongst the chaos. FWIW that training schedule for N sounds intense and I would struggle with so many evenings eaten up like that. I’m not surprised you feel overwhelmed by life right now. Thinking of you and hope you can get some grounding and holding with R this week xx

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    1. Yes, when it was 3 evenings a week before Christmas after 2 years of 5 times a week it was so manageable. The extra night has really thrown me. I think she’ll have to miss some Thursdays. It also doesn’t start till 8pm because they have less pool time due to Covid restrictions, so by the time I get home I only have an hour before I have to leave again so not even time to do anything. I’m seeing R in half an hour tf. Hope you’re hanging in there lovely xxx

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  5. I also struggle with finding space to do the things I need to do when I have free time; when the wheel is constantly turning and you never have a chance to just be, you end up wanting that free time to actually be FREE. But then that just exacerbates the overwhelm. Please be kind to yourself. xx Hugs

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