To the people who watch me from a far, I don’t know what you think of me. I assume I come across as a confident, together kind of person. Opinionated and sure of myself. A person who doesn’t struggle with life. Hopefully I also come across as a compassionate and devoted person.For the most part this is true. However, I think it is important to let people see your vulnerability. It’s important so that others can find reassurance in knowing that this confident, together person, also has moments of defeat. It’s also important so that people are aware that these confident, together people also need looking after occasionally.
Lonely. Numb. Hopeless… Defeated. Utterly apathetic… Broken. Beaten.
Such darkness in these emotions, yet a strange liberation that I don’t have to try anymore. My constant striving to be measured, understanding, in control, entirely capable and successful, has been overcome. I’ve failed. I’m exhausted and there is a strange comfort in this defeat, this quitting, this giving up. The sum of every ounce of love, passion, knowledge, well thought out and calculated approach to every significant and insignificant decision, is zero. Worthless. Pointless. Yet somehow feeling as though I have nothing to fight for is peaceful. Resignation that the ultimate goal will not be achieved. We win some, we lose some. But to have lost this one. To have lost hope, I may as well have lost them all. I tried. I’m tired. I can’t try any more. I have nothing left. Void of all emotion. Complete disconnection. There’s an acknowledgement that this should be an unwelcome feeling. But it’s not. It’s a reprieve.
This is such a foreign feeling for me. And thankfully, very fleeting. But a necessary reminder. I timely wake up call.
It’s a reprieve from the constant burden of the mental load of my life. Managing the household finances, deciding what’s for dinner and cooking it, making and packing lunches, booking and attending doctors’ appointments, managing a social calendar, dropping kids at training, fundraising for that team, bathing kids, feeding them, and having them in bed on time, washing, washing and more washing, checking homework, answering emails, marketing and running a small business, trying to meet my friends ‘new’ baby for the first time who’s now eight months old, maintaining strong and healthy relationships with those most important to me… The list is literally never ending. And all of this is on my mind all of the time. If something slips out and I forget, than I am ashamed, embarrassed and feel like a failure. This load is incessant and exhausting. The role of family organiser is mine in my household (This doesn’t mean I don’t have help. I do). While this role comes with a certain amount of power or control, there are no other benefits. Recently my absorption in this enormous role has been at the expense of my well-being. I hadn’t left any room to move! As I have done in the past, I found myself operating at capacity. My resolve began to unravel with a culmination of normal and expected incidentals in life, surmounted by having to give CPR to my own child. He’s fine now.
People close to me know that I like to have my cake and eat it to. They know that I like each of my fingers to be in a pie. I am definitely an all-in kind of person, but not one to put all my chips in one basket. I relish this. I even pride myself on my ability to thrive with so much going on. But I now realise I operate too close to capacity. I must leave more room for the incidentals. More room for spousal disagreements, unexpectedly large bills, trips in ambulances, unexpected calls from school. Operating at capacity allows incidentals to leave me feeling hopeless and numb. To anyone who thinks that’s dramatic or ridiculous, you mustn’t comprehend the mental load some of us carry. Kudos to you for ensuring your mental load is managed in a way that ensures incidentals don’t tip you over the edge. To those of you who can relate, take a step back. Look after yourself. And surround yourself with people who can read you better than you can yourself. That’s what I’m committed to doing now. The most sincere thank you to my friends who make me realise that’s what I need to do, and help me to do it.