As the whole world, judging from my news feed on Facebook, appeared to reel from the loss of David Bowie and Alan Rickman I have been fighting a battle much closer to home.
Early January marks one of the big conventions that Jeremy and his business partner attend. The weeks leading up are kind of frantic for J. This became a dual annoyance for me because all the tasks that should have been attended to in the many many days since the end of school remain undone as there is a currently a legitimate excuse for not doing them. At the same time I have escalated procrastination to an art form, there are piles of unopened envelopes, bags with anonymous assortments of items in the corners of my bedroom, I feel my world get narrower and narrower and I can’t find certain perfumes, lipsticks and socks and cardigans. I am falling asleep at 8.30, sometimes earlier, only to wake up at 2 am staring at the walls until sleep rides in again at 5. It makes getting up at six interesting. Weekends are tortuous, wasting hours at the local shops instead of catching up with my studies and finalising my tax. Plus naps……….. I can’t help sleeping.
Welcome to January anxiety. There is no reason for this unwelcome intruder. It is, however, seriously messing with me and because this is also Jeremy’s normal mode of operation it feels like everything is moving at snail pace, nothing is achieved and my anxiety levels escalate and the frustration comes out my mouth. Circle of life with no cool African sunrise and small lion cub but one angry and bewildered 18 year old.
A few months ago I made a promise to do something different to get something different. I know these negative patterns and I recognise them as a precursor to the slow descent in to depression. I haven’t ever noticed them before so I am pretty chuffed that I can see this horrible invader for what he is. It generates concern though because I am the engine that drives our home, Jeremy is not a go getter when it comes to chores. He will find that statement upsetting, and we will have yet another talk about it but the simple fact is that J a) get immobilised by anxiety when there is choice and b) the side effect of that immerses him and he gets lost in a world where time management doesn’t exist. It’s a safe place for him, I try not to be resentful.
For Jeremy the vein of anxiety is much deeper than mine. Simple interactions that I take for granted trigger panicked phone calls to me, where I can hear the familiar tone that the world is not a good place for him to be in. I hate that tone, I wish the world was easier for him to navigate. But it ain’t, so we cut our coat to fit the cloth we have been given. This week it was an interaction at the hospital that had me saying to him “just leave there now, I will sort it out later” as I received the third call within an hour.
To manage his escalations takes energy and that energy has to be found somewhere. So I acknowledge that the naps are my body’s way of coping. It is trying to give back some of that sleep that it is missing with the middle of the night, eyes looking at the ceiling sessions. When I am hungry I think about what I want to eat, and then I eat that. Before Christmas the default position was potato cakes, I was hunting them out like a crack addict. That destructive yet delicious phase has moved on thankfully. When I am hungry I am really really hungry and listening to my tummy has become a new mindfulness. (Note: my tummy rarely wants potato cakes as the potatoes and the flour that makes the batter that coats them makes me feel ill….. my mouth and exhaustion are crap dietitians)
But mostly I’m saying no. Just for now. Unless it recharges my soul, I just have to say no. Being in my cocoon of a home, watching my shows, reading my books, the occasional dinner with friends is about all I can handle right now. If I don’t honour that then I hurt myself and I hurt J by not being able to cope. That’s too high a price to pay.
“7\•4rhjuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu” – contribution from Purrcy, the kitten