I think I’m starting to suss out what goes on in my head.
Momentum is everything.
When everything happened I took a whole month off work sick and I relied on my little boy to keep me going. I got up in the mornings because I had to, otherwise I think I would have wallowed in my bed for the entire month.
I cooked and tidied and bought things and “did” Christmas and went back to work and got him into a nursery.
I restarted hobbies and set up a business and wrote a blog and joined Facebook groups and made new friends. I learned to drive and decorated my bedroom and got the garden done up and built a swing set in bloody August in Glasgow which is practically the beginning of winter.
I did everything and tried to keep moving, moving, moving, because if I ever stopped, even just for one second, and dwelled on things, I would crack and my voice would wobble. My breathing would get shallow and I would cry, and that was it. Game over. Two days out; bed rest only.
It’s like that every time I stop. I can’t sit still any more. Keep moving, moving, moving or else you start to think about stuff and you can’t deal with thinking about stuff so keep moving. Don’t stop.
It scares me.
I’m so glad I can drive now because it gives me something else to do when I’m on my own.
I don’t like being on my own because there is more chance to stop, and think. I don’t like being with other people because I feel panic rising in my chest and I wonder what they think of me. I babble to avoid the pauses. I make myself go to busy places rather than sit at home alone, but then it all gets too busy and I need to take deep breaths so that I don’t feel dizzy with the noise.
And every now and then, Pod goes to his dad’s, or to nursery, or I have a day off, and I do stop…and I’m completely floored.
Usually, I hide. I stay in my pyjamas all day and look at the mess because I can’t actually face tidying it. Sometimes I cry about the mess.
I order takeaway from the curry shop at the bottom of my street but I get it delivered because I don’t want to go outside. Then it arrives and I can’t really eat it.
I watch videos on YouTube, ironically usually of people making creative things that I have all of the supplies to make, but I can’t bring myself to actually be productive enough to do.
I close the blackout blind in my bedroom and wrap myself up in the covers and lose track of time, then suddenly realise it is 2am/6am/11am and I’m awake/asleep/whatever.
And then, Pod is due home from nursery or his dad’s and I am forced back into motion.
Not just any old motion, of course: when I get kickstarted it’s a frenzy. I tidy everything. I can’t just put clothes away; I’ll gut the entire wardrobe, launder all the clothes, iron everything, stay up til 2am until it’s completely done.
I scrub the bathroom right down to the tile grout; sort all of the toys into boxes; donate things to the charity shop.
I take Pod on big exciting adventures and take photographs to put in the memory books that I rarely get the time to make.
I get breathless with all the moving, moving, moving until I can’t physically continue with the movement…and then I stop, and it all goes to pot again, but I know I’ll fix it the next time I get restarted.
Sometimes, I am floored for other reasons.
The only quiet time that I seem to be able to enjoy without worry is when I am putting Pod to bed. He will ask for countless stories, and I’ll read to him happily for anywhere up to an hour or so each night. He loves his books, and asks for multiple different stories every night. I love to read to him, quietly watching his responses to the stories. He recites them along with me most of the time.
This weekend I encountered one of the most generous things that has ever happened to me. A Facebook group I am a member of had a thread where we could post our children’s Amazon Wishlists. I posted Pod’s – a selection of 29 books that were recommended for 3 year olds, phonics sets, flashcards and the like. I looked at his list this morning and there were nine items remaining. People – actual random people from the internet – have bought my little boy twenty books. It makes me breathless all over again, because I don’t quite know what to do with this generosity.
I don’t think they realise that not only are they encouraging his reading habit, but they are giving me twenty more opportunities to put the brakes on this constant motion and enjoy my little boy.
I suppose that I need to keep reminding myself that even when I feel like I’m on my own, I’m not. I have the best reason in the world to keep moving – Pod – and amazing people around me, even if they are quietly there in the background of it all.
I wish that I could just stop and relax, without sinking into a state of panic or anxiety, but at least I know how my brain works. I’m starting to force myself better, too. When I feel it coming – which I often now do – I cancel plans, and give myself the space to breathe. I try to rein in the extremes of my behaviour when I’m feeling good, too – I work hard to acknowledge the goodness in the little tiny things, knowing that one load of laundry is as good as three, and that a trip to the park with some photographs is as good as a trip to London. I print out the photographs that I take and put them into albums, then talk to Pod about our very own stories. I try to write down one good thing that has happened every single day, even the bad ones.
For me, it’s all about momentum. Moving, moving, moving. But I have to learn to control it so that it keeps me going, steadily, cautiously, rather than spinning wildly and taking me along in its wake.