Relaxing in the Inferno

I keep telling people I don’t like Summer but today I realised that that is not quite accurate. I love Summer. What I don’t like is having to do stuff during Summer. Summer Days are made of ice-blocks, laying down, reading books, napping and some sitting. Those other days when it is scorching hot and I have to do stuff (such as working, cleaning, shopping, parenting) those are not Summer Days, those are Inferno Glimpses. During Inferno Glimpses, I am sweaty, irritable and probably whiny. I’ll say “Fuck it’s hot,” approximately 500 times and consider shaving my head.

Blessedly, today was a Summer Day, and it was glorious. Not a cloud in the sky, not a job to be done. Well, I did do some housework or I would have burst a blood vessel, but mostly I ignored things that could be put off until tomorrow. I read, I watched children playing, I took my school work out in to the sun and feel asleep on it. I even managed to get a slight tan on my legs which haven’t seen the sun for several years. I know tanning isn’t the greatest idea, especially in New Zealand, but my legs really were looking frighteningly corpse-like, and some melatonin is needed to hide the many bruises that I’m accumulating from work and general clumsiness.

Another thing that I love about Summer Days, is dinner preparation. I whip up a couple of salads in the morning, chuck them in the fridge and that’s most of the work done for a few days. Cook a handful of drumsticks in the evening and you’re done.

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A beautiful Summer garden. It’s enough to make you want to tear your sinuses from your skull.

 

The down side of course, is Summer allergies. They’re not affecting me too badly so far this year, just a bit of an itchy nose, but my poor son… He’s sneezing, itching his skin and eyes, and his nose is pouring. Phenergan doesn’t seem to be doing an awful lot to help him and it’s making him miserable.  Today he was having his own Inferno Glimpse and I saw a  scary little of myself in his temperament.  If tomorrow is just as brutal, it might be time for a doctor visit for something a little more heavy duty. Like a deep-sea diving suit.

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Anxiety Monster Comes to Visit

It’s been a stupid week. Stupid unnecessary things have made life much more difficult that it needs to be. Life is a bowl of shit, and sometimes folk just like to put a cherry bomb on top. My anxiety issues mean that I don’t deal with certain types of stress well, so this week my conniving mind has blessed me with a visit from Hideous Insomnia and it’s partner in crime, Heart Palpitations. The insomnia is bad enough on it’s own, turning me in to a bumbling, confused, irritable mess. Add in the heart palpitations, ugh. I fucking hate those. That horrible fluttering sensation in your chest that strikes at random and makes you feel weak and sick.

When I’m hanging out with the Anxiety monster, I’m often overcome with the urge to organise things. To tackle the odd jobs that I’ve been putting off. To write lists and to clean. This is a need to feel like I’m in control of something. The monster sits in the back of my brain telling me “if your house is in order, everything else will fall in to place.” There was a time when I embraced this little bit of insanity. I’d laugh it off and say, “yeah, I’m neurotic as fuck but as least my house is tidy.” And to be honest, it was helpful. Having a tidy house and getting on top of things that needed doing helped clear my mind, so that I could focus better on solving the problem at hand.  But lately it’s not helping, it’s making things worse. My mind has been so fried with stress and lack of sleep that I can’t seem to organise anything. In a particularly weak moment, I even got one of my old self-harm urges. I didn’t act on it, I don’t think I ever would, but rather I was surprised to see it there still lingering below the surface.

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Not content to slash her arm like everyone else in Cutters Anonymous, Sarah had to one-up everyone and cleave her ear off. What a fucking show-off.

 

My inability to competently catalogue everything in my house makes the monster a bit fucking tetchy, “if you don’t get things organised, you’ll never relax. You can’t sleep knowing that the kids clothes still need sorting. You can’t watch TV or bead while there’s still unwashed window frames in the house. What if you forget what jobs need doing? Here let me help by reciting your to-do list all fucking night and remind you of the complete hopelessness of your situation.”

This past week, I had to defy the monster or risk burn out. I reduced my activities to the basics. Kids fed? Check. Dishes done? Most of the time. Everyone showered? I think so. Teeth brushed? Yup. Beds made? Uhh.. Nope. Laundry? Big pile in the living room, I think there’s a cat or two in there.

Today a large part of my hopeless situation was dealt with, and lifted a big weight off my shoulders, and I feel a little better. Some small motivation has come back and I’ve finally started on a job in my garden that I’ve been putting off for a long time. I’m still flailing a bit, but in a few days, I should be back on track, beading and studying, probably cleaning window frames.

I’m hyper-aware of the degree to which things beyond my control affect me on a mental level. I get angry at myself for letting things get to me, but I’m also learning to accept that they do. It’s how I’m wired. It’s not ideal, but it is what it is. By accepting it, I am able to remind myself to be gentle with the self-criticism, close the door on messy bedrooms, and try to take care of myself. Since embracing my mental illness as a part of me, I’ve become very good at reading myself. I’ve learned to understand why I feel the way I do, and that’s it’s ok, even it is kind of shit. I know when I need to step back from the world. Sometimes I just need to sit and mull everything over in silence. Sometimes I need to adjust my medication, (ain’t no shame in medication folks! Zoloft saved my life and I’m happy to sing it from the rooftops), mostly I just need to wait it out.

It always works out in the end.