Every time it happens I get scared.
A few days ago I started feeling sick. And then I got scared. When my body gets sick my vulnerable brain becomes even more vulnerable.
All of the things that I have to fight on a daily basis, all of those negative voices telling me that I can’t, that I won’t, that I don’t deserve and can’t keep love and sanity – they get louder when I feel physically weak.
The first sniffle scares me and by the time I’m coughing and stuffy I am also quietly terrified. This can lead to some… er… interesting behavior.
Yesterday I woke up at around 3:30 am with a 101 fever. I was shaking and sweating, but it was the aching that woke me. I felt like someone had taken each one of my joints and beaten them with a baseball bat. The pain throbbed and radiated, doubled back and began again. And so I refused. I got up and got some water and cold meds. The pain wouldn’t let me sleep so I dozed and Netflixed (if it isn’t a word, it should be).
Once the Little Monster and Dork Dad were awake I took a shower, fed the LM and made my grocery list. We went to two stores and I had two crockpots going by nap time. I made tea from ginger root and lemons. I cleaned the living room. I used Clorox wipes and Lysol spray on pretty much every surface in my home. I drank more water and more water. I felt worse and worse.
By the time Miz M (our sitter) arrived at one I was barely making it. I dragged myself to the urgent care closest to my house, dropped into a chair and whimpered. I had lost. I was defeated. Once again I couldn’t take care of myself.
Turns out I have a sinus infection and strep throat. The doctor ‘didn’t like the look of’ my ears either, but they weren’t infected yet, just inflamed.
I took my medicine and got into bed to rest. But I couldn’t stay there.
When the running loop in your head, the background narrative of your days, is about your weakness and all you lack actually being weak is unacceptable. I can’t just let Dork Dad bring me dinner, or a blanket. I see his frustration when I pop up off the couch for the millionth time to do something he would be happy to do for me.
But I can’t because I’m already a burden. Because he only stays with me for the baby. Because at any moment he could leave and I wouldn’t be able to take care of us. Because if I’m not good enough he’ll never want to marry me. Because he could take my son. Because no one has ever trusted me. Because they were all right and I haven’t made anything out of myself. Because I waste my time and my talent. Because I could be so much more but I’m just a mother. Because I’m not even a good mother. Because, because, because…
And yes – I know that none of that is true. Of course I know that. But so what? Knowing that is no defense against them. My head is a complicated and scary place. Being able to do things, being able to prove my head wrong is sometimes the only thing I can do to shut it down. When that option is taken away…
So I push too hard and I try to do too much. Then I end up feeling even more weak and pathetic. I end up crying because I have to ask him to heat me up a cup of cider because I’ve been trying for five minutes to summon the energy to stand up and I just can’t.
I woke up feeling stronger today. Ironically I’m also taking it easier on myself. Taking a shower at some point and getting the laundry from the washer to the dryer are my goals for the day. When Miz M arrives I’m going to climb into bed. Here’s hoping I can stay there.
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