This week's GBE2 prompt is "Breathless". I haven't posted on the last couple of prompts b/c I've been struggling just to remain coherent in my own brain, let alone write something that anyone else could decipher. However, this week's prompt is very apropos & I hate being a slacker, so it's a win-win. :)
I feel as if I should start out w/ an apology. I feel bad that this blog has pretty much become an emotional dumping ground for me. My blog has always been an open journal more than anything else, but since I seem to be so easily overwhelmed lately, it has become a whining post & I don't like that. Despite dealing w/ chronic depression, I'm typically not a ho-hum person. In fact, I'm pretty damn cheery most of the time. I think we all have our moments when we go into Eeyore mode & for some of us, talking about it makes us feel better. That being said, I don't want to project an image that isn't accurate. I'm truly not a sad individual and I'm sorry to anyone who has been reading my blog lately & finds themselves more depressed having read it. Hell, even I can't go back & read too much of it w/out wanting to slap myself or slit my own wrists.
The reason I say that this week's prompt is so fitting is b/c last week was a rough one. I found myself completely unable to cope w/ almost everything. I was exhausted, overwhelmed, and generally difficult to be around. I could not catch my breath. Every time I turned around, it seemed something else was piling on & I just couldn't keep up w/ any of it. Friday was my breaking point. I think it was the moment I realized that I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown, but was suddenly very aware that if I wanted to have this aforementioned breakdown, I had about 2 hours in which to schedule it. My responsibilities are too many and too important for me to just let loose of my emotions & freak out, no matter how badly I need to lose my shit. This realization only made the pressure worse.
What I do in any given day, week, month, or year is not extraordinary. I don't feel I have much more on my shoulders than your average working-class mother/wife. I do, however, believe that the world has become far too fast-paced & the requirements women are expected to meet only get more insane & harder to achieve. Many of us have to work outside the home, but are also expected to raise well-behaved children, have a spotless house, look our best, volunteer in our community, and be crafty as hell. We also must be attentive to our spouse, friends, and family; remembering birthdays, anniversaries, play dates, etc. We have to be efficient, patient, and endlessly witty. We have errands to run constantly. Never mind the time we may need to exercise or, I don't know, REST! It's too much & it's never-ending. The number of times I actually feel like a rockstar are so few & far between, it's easy to get discouraged & feel like a failure.
I would say my biggest downfall is that I'm constantly adding something to my to-do list. There is always just that one last thing I think I should do, even if I know I don't have to do it. With each additional task, I don't consider the amount of rest I need to balance it all out. Slowly but surely I start cutting into my personal time, telling myself I'm being selfish if I tell anyone to buzz off so I can relax. If I sit down before everything is done, I feel lazy. I look around & see the dishes stacked up in the sink or see my kid scaling Mount St. Laundry looking for clean clothes b/c I haven't folded & put away clean laundry in 2 weeks or more. I feel my muffin top protruding from over my pants or notice that I haven't talked to my Mom in days or get guilt-laden text messages from friends who feel neglected. By that point, it's so overwhelming, nothing gets done b/c I'm too busy running in circles trying to figure out where I should begin.
All these feelings of failure, guilt, and self-pity bubble up into this awful, ugly mess & next thing you know, I'm ditching work early to drive out to visit my Granny's grave b/c it's the only place I can think of that is quiet & that I'm the least likely to have to interact with living humans. The ugly mess is suddenly lessened by the familiar ache of loss & grief; emotions I can handle much better. It seems odd that to get relief, I have to open myself up to a different kind of hurt, but it's not really that much different than people who cut themselves when they're depressed. Rather than subjecting myself to physical pain, I just need to feel a kind of pain I can process easier. Once I've processed those emotions, everything else just sort of falls into place.
Think what you want (b/c you're probably right), but it works. The quiet reflection that accompanies grief is really what I need. Just a moment in time to stop the world from spinning & let me sort through it all. What comes next is a soul-deep exhaustion that cannot be ignored by anyone, even a stubborn jackass like me. And with that exhaustion comes beautiful, glorious rest. With rest comes restoration. With restoration comes the strength to trudge onward & upward. And suddenly, the world is not so mean.
I'm leaving out some very important details, of course. Like the reassuring text messages from my aunt, giving me the advice I need to hear. Or the afternoon movie date w/ my hubby, where his hand on my leg is the most comforting thing in the world. It's these tiny moments that build me up when I feel like I might topple from the weight on my shoulders.
I'm not sure why it's so hard for me to just stop & relax when I know I should. Maybe it's one of those things that come with age; the wisdom to shirk off self-imposed responsibilities & the knack for prioritizing those things that truly must be done. Until I reach that level of maturity, I'll probably just push & push until I'm breathless.