*this post is written partly as a cathartic self expressive exercise, and also because I’m rubbish at explaining how I feel in person. I’ve come a long way on this mental health journey of mine, and where as once I would have just kept going until I broke, I now have the ability to recognize better when I’m struggling and need to put some things in place to help myself back to feeling more like my normal self. This post is NOT a cry for help, or a call for pity or for people to worry about me, or feel I need people to rush to help me. This is about me, walking this path, and learning how I can do “me” better so I can be all the things I have to be to those I love around me and also true to myself. I am ok. I promise. Just very tired and needing to look after me, for a bit*
I’m here. But I’m not. I’m carrying on the daily grind, but I wish I was elsewhere. I’m all things to everyone, but right now, I feel like my capacity for those who would seek my attention and time is depleted to a point where I’ve had to bite my tongue to stop myself being rude when just one more person moves into my space and commands more of me than I have left to give.
The summer holidays that everyone else seemed to enjoy, and come bouncing back from was neither restful or a break for me. (More on that in another post) I’ve slithered back rather sluggishly into the post summer holiday rush feeling that I need a holiday alone somewhere on a desert island.
I’m tired, so tired that no matter how much sleep I attempt to get, my joints still hurt and no amount of fancy eye cream can hide the exhaustion round my eyes.
I’m an introvert who functions as an extrovert. I give, and I do, because it’s part of me. An inherent desire make people happy and look after everyone around me, that I can’t help. I enjoy it, even if it exhausts me.
But right now, I’m spent. So I’m stopping and I’m saying no.
Just for a season.
I need to look after me. Right now, I’m going through what I’ve jokingly called in private to close friends, a “mini mid life crisis”. I don’t know who I am, or what I want or need to do, as I face the next season in my life, as my kids get older and need me less, as opportunities come my way and I try to decide what I want and need, whilst also balancing the needs of those around me that I love.
So, for a season, which I have set in my head with a time limit (and I’m not telling anyone what that time limit is, because I don’t want that to be held over me, with pressure to come back and conform to everyone else’s wants and expectations) I am saying no. I’m pulling back. I’m not going to try and spread myself more thinly to keep everyone happy. I’m not going to agree to things just because it placates others. I’m going to be going against the grain and doing things for me, and because I want to or need to. I will be saying no.
My day off will be MY day off, to spend as I choose. My phone will go off when I want to turn it off and I won’t answer that e mail just because someone else can’t be patient.
I will do things that make me happy and see people that fill me up with their presence, and I will make time for that.
I won’t take on other people’s problems or pet projects.
I’m going to spend my spare time doing the things I love and enjoy, that I’ve almost forgotten how to actually do, it’s been so long.
I’m still going to be mum, wife, friend. I’m still going to be working and blogging. I’ll still be all those things. I’ll still cook the meal for the friend who’s just had a baby, I’ll still offer to babysit for the family member who needs a night out and because I need an excuse to cuddle a baby for a few hours. I’ll still call and keep tabs on the people in my life who need a shoulder to lean on, because those things are what I do, and I do them willingly, but in all of that, there’s also the rather neglected me that I need to look after too.
So you may not see me at certain things or you may see me at things you don’t expect to. You may be surprised to learn I’ve joined a choir, and that I have put myself on the waiting list for a place on a popular writing course, and that I’ve re arranged my schedule so I can swim three time a week.
You may also hear me say no, when asked to do something or contribute my time or energy. You may hear me explain that my capacity is low right now and I can’t meet your expectations at this moment in time. I will be putting my needs before others, just that little bit more. You won’t get the usual yes, the no will be more, and the yes, will be less.
Just for a season. I’m tired you see. I need to find and look after me…