So! That was kind of heavy, huh?
You’d think I would learn—when people who know me first started reading my book, they would give me these god-awful worried faces, gently touching my shoulder, asking me if I was okay.
Or, they would apologize profusely, saying if only they’d known, perhaps they could have done something to help me.
These reactions always seem to surprise me. I wrote the book—and the above essay—not because I want or expect those around me to take action. Quite simply, it makes me feel better to get it all out. I immediately felt better after I hit publish last week, and have been feeling better ever since.
I know to some, the idea of exposing their most darkest secrets is an unimaginable thought. I totally get that.
I guess I’m just wired differently. It makes me feel as though I’m not carrying the weight all by myself, like a load has been lifted.
Anyway, I am fine. Thank you for your concern.
It is a struggle, and sometimes I wonder if it will always be a struggle, if that is just my lot in life. God, I hope not. The days of endless storm clouds only broken up for a few hours of sunshine every other month just doesn’t work for me, you know? It’s hard imagining living this way for the rest of my life.
But living I must do, and am. I do the work, I pack the school lunches, I get on the treadmill, and I wait. One morning, when I test my feelings before even opening my eyes, I know that I will feel light. I just know I will.
I get up exactly when I am supposed to, embracing the work day with enthusiasm. I go the extra mile getting my morning tasks completed, and that always makes me feel good, knowing that I pushed myself and I won. It doesn’t take too much cajoling to get myself on the treadmill. I walk for 30 vigorous minutes, enjoying the heart pumping and the pulsating music. Time is made for a shower, even though I can think of a thousand other things that need to be done at that moment. The hot water feels so good on my skin, and I am amazed once again at how such an ordinary thing can make an incredible difference in my disposition. I am a mommy machine—ironing school clothes, packing lunches, not waving my kids off as they try to tell me, in painstaking detail, about their dreams from the night before. I don’t care that I don’t have time; I make time, and I ask them questions about what they remember from slumber. I hum on the way to school, I give a cheery hello to the other parents, I send my daughter off with the just the right amount of love and encouragement and support. The morning is flawless.
Once both kids are off to school, and the husband leaves for work, the house settles into quiet. The aquarium hums, the ice maker startles, but there’s no chatter, no litany of questions about light saber fights or upcoming summer plans. I sit in front of the computer, on top of the best possible start of the day, and I start to feel the crumble. I squirm in my seat, wishing away the nagging feeling, its shriek slowly rising, no matter how hard I push down. There is absolutely no reason to feel this way, and yet, these bad feelings will not be denied. They are out to show me who’s boss, and the days that start out with me actually having my act together only serve to stoke their singeing fire. My fall, therefore, is that much greater, and once the bad stuff has its way with me, I’m left in a tattered heap—wondering what the hell it is I am supposed to do now. I was so stupid to ever think I had fought the inner beast and won. It has a choke hold on me that is both effortless and insurmountable. I am no match, and I never was.
I don’t return emails or phone calls. I forget to go buy dog food, school pencils, and the stuff to make macaroni and cheese for the church potluck. I’m not sure what hurts more, the worried looks Michael and my mom get when they recognize the place I am in, or the fact that my kids no longer notice when I check out. It’s normal….isn’t it?
I am sick to death of this. I am tired of analyzing how I feel every second of every day. What must it be like, to just go about your normal routine, without a moment’s thought about how you’re doing, about how to avoid the challenges that you know lie ahead. How does it feel…..just to “be”….. and for that to be okay???
It’s not my inability to control what I eat. It’s not numbers on a scale or how high the number is on the tag of the dress. It’s just me. I am broken. I refuse to allow myself any sort of peace, and I am exhausted. The fight produces little victories here and there, but my God, it is not enough. I just want to be free.
Edited to add: This is not a cry for help. I am not, nor have I ever been, suicidal. My duty to my children far outweighs any feelings of wanting to give up on life. I don’t want to give up—that’s what makes this so hard. It helps to get my feelings out in this way—thanks for listening.