Trying to keep my head up

Balloon Boys

This hat might help keep my head up (Photo credit: Camera Slayer)

So many negative thoughts pushing my head down. I’m full of fear and hopelessness, but also this edgy restlessness too. It is really uncomfortable inside me right now.

I realized I don’t want friends. Not real people that would call and stop over. I realized I push away anyone who tries to get too close.

Is this a fear? Sure, there may be a fear that I may start to need them or depend on them, and that they would leave me, abandon me like all my other friends did when times got tough. Safer to keep everyone out of my heart.

But another fear is my privacy. My need for a secretive life. I think I need to feel misunderstood. It is a part of what fuels me. I’ve never had a busy social life, just a busy life. Even though I was in many clubs, had many jobs, volunteered, etc I was there for the doing part, not the doing it together part.

Today I am wondering why. I used to wish for some girlfriends, like I had in high school. Someone I could call and chat about anything, someone to go to lunch and movies, and talk about boys and clothes. I started getting close to some ladies a few years ago, and have pushed each one away from me, saying to shopping or movies or dinner parties. They are still happy if I text them or hang out sometimes, but no one tries to get close to me any more. And I am relieved.

I think it has more to do with my fear of them needing me. I know that at times I need to withdraw and retreat into myself. I get very selfish at these times, as I try to recreate my purpose for living and simply keep going. I have not found anyone, except a few other bloggers here, that truly understand this. I don’t want them to come complaining to me about their day and expect a shoulder to cry on. I can barely be here for my family, I don’t think I can handle that from anyone else.

I avoided my sis-in-law’s calls when I heard she broke her leg, I just didn’t want to hear about her pain and troubles. She lives too far for me to be obligated to help, but I couldn’t even offer to listen.

My therapist told me to be gentle, and not force myself to do anything I don’t have to do. So I screen phone calls, cancelled yet another performance with my friends, don’t let my kids have friends over, and spend most of my time resting and icing my back.

I’ve had a headache for over a week now, like a pre-migraine with pain and aura, extra sensitivity, but not the pain I know it could be. The back spasms and twitches are a bit better than last week, but any twisting or bending starts it up again. I figured out how to line up multiple ice packs to cover my entire spine at once and found some relief that way. But then, like an idiot, I felt cold and shivery too, so I had a heating pad on my tummy. I felt ridiculous, but it worked.

I had a terrible morning today, did not want to be up with the kids. Hubby is back at work and I have no buffer. Every time I think I have everything all set the night before, each morning gives me surprises that my sleepy/grumpy brain can’t handle. Simple things, like we are out of the jelly for PBJ sandwiches so I have to hear them whine. I can’t handle whining right now. It feels like knives piercing my skull. I either have to go numb and make no response at all, or I get angry and snap at them. I get so impatient for them to just grow up and leave me alone.

I don’t want to be this type of mom. I want to explain to them why I am acting like this so they know it isn’t their fault. But what to say that would make any sense or wouldn’t make them worry?

My daughter asked me today why I make them be so quiet in the morning. I was thinking, “So I don’t want to hit you” but just told her what I always do, “mornings are hard for me, I’m still tired and slow”

I’m keeping my head up above these negative thoughts, but just barely. I’m so afraid that one big stress will suck me under if these little bitty stresses cause so much havoc.

I don’t know if I need more rest, more time, or if I need meds to get rid of this terrible feeling I have. Not ready to jump on the antidepressant train, with side effects and withdrawals so terrible. I’m not sure they are the answer anyway. Still fighting that everything is pointless feeling. I think I need to find the source of that and squash it once and for all.

I had some time alone this weekend and did feel better, got in some exercise so maybe just more time resting. But I hate waiting, I feel like I need to be doing something, anything, to keep fighting, to change something. I’m no good at treading water, the thoughts are so heavy this way.

Maybe I just need that helium balloon hat to keep my head up. Or a brain transplant. I’ve been looking into neurofeedback and other therapies. Maybe it is time for something altogether different to get out of this loop. Or that is my desperate way of looking for an answer that doesn’t exist. Deep in my heart, I fear that is true. That I will always be battling myself, my own worst enemy. Always keeping everyone away, always slipping under the water.

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8 thoughts on “Trying to keep my head up

  1. Do not underestimate the debilitating effect of your pain. I hadn’t realized how bad it could be until a little while ago. I was angry, sniping, depressed, and wanted to die rather than become this horrible person. It took far too long to connect the emotional upheaval, need to be alone because I hated who I was, to some severe back pain I was experiencing. I herniated a disc in my back almost 10 years ago. The discomfort never really goes away, but I’ve learned to deal with it. However, every once in a while I do something (I don’t know what or I’d never do it again) and the pain escalates. It doesn’t become stabbing so much as relentless. No matter how I move, no matter what I do, the persistent pain doesn’t abate, doesn’t ease, doesn’t give me any relief. Once I realized it was all tied into the pain, I was so relieved to know I wasn’t crazy. I had to wait for whatever I’d done to heal, but it was a little easier knowing the pain triggered a whole lot of other stuff. You’re not crazy. The isolation is an effort to protect yourself and to protect those you love. If you had a plaster cast, everyone would be immediately sympathetic. They can’t see the mental cast you’ve created. You recognize the problem and the need to take care of you. You’ve come such a long way. Praying for relief for you and something that will help you manage this problem.

    • Yes pain is a huge part of this, and sometimes I forget about the physical pain and how exhausting it can be – for anyone. Thank you for continually repeating I am not crazy, that is so powerful for me to hear when I filled with self doubt. A mental cast? good description, never heard that before. hugs to you for being there as my positive voice that is louder than my negative inner one at times. I read your words and feel calmer.

      • You probably won’t find “mental cast” anywhere if you google it, except in the context of being mental and a cast of characters. 🙂 It makes sense to me. Me free associating again.

  2. I can relate so much to so much of what you’ve written here. I clearly keep people at a distance and although I may appear at times (necessary times) to mix with others…..other artists and co-workers I really don’t mix, I keep everyone at arms length. I enjoy being an artist as it is so isolating but for my own mental health force myself to be involved in a voluntary capacity with art related projects…… I force this on myself but rarely can I say I enjoy that part of my life. As for ‘social’ life…..what’s that? I just don’t……..I force myself to do the minimum necessary to keep family satisfied that I’m not a complete recluse….and to keep regular contact with family……..This has likely all become worse due to illness and I know that the chronic pain I suffer has effected my confidence and abilities to do a lot of what I used to enjoy………But I do push myself not to isolate myself completely…….even though it sounds the best way to go at the best of times. Don’t be so hard on yourself, it sounds as if you’re doing so much more than you give yourself credit for. Small steps and acknowledge your achievements, no matter how small and insignificant they may seem to you.

    • Yes that all sounds familiar. I’m so happy you shared your side me, though I’m not happy you understand so well, because this life is hard. Funny to read ‘don’t be so hard on yourself’ when I feel like I’m doing nothing at all these days. This is me being easy on myself. I need a new metric for being easy/hard on myself perhaps. Thanks for your support and kind words, it really helps

  3. I gain so much from your honesty. I am sure it was difficult to write “So I don’t want to hit you” in regards to the mornings with kids, but your brutal honesty helps me. It helps me hide myself less and really think about my motivations. thank you.

    • Yes exactly, I hated writing that part, it is shameful but those were my thoughts. I don’t think I’ll ever feel better if I don’t admit how low I go. No more pretending.

  4. I think this is a normal thing, don’t punish yourself for your feelings or desire to isolate yourself. It is both a desire for privacy and the fear you aren’t lovable, thus the fear of rejection. I won’t tell you it will pass, you have all the years it took to get to this point. Trust takes years to rebuild, remember you are working toward it and give yourself the time you need, without beating yourself up.

    Your children are still very young. Tell them what they will understand, children are remarkably resilient, loving and understanding human beings. If you give them the opportunity they will be loving with you and for you.

    Stop being so unloving and unforgiving toward yourself, give those who love you the opportunity, I suspect they will surprise you. Ramp up the therapy sessions if you need to during these times.

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