Motherhood: when the mental load finally takes over

I saw an article the other day by Laura Mazza and a line in that article said “depression is a messy house, anxiety is a clean one”. That line struck a cord for me because it perfectly summed up where I am at this point in my life.

I didn’t realise how quickly I was sinking into this fog of sadness until I unintentionally recorded myself on video whilst driving on my way to pick up my son from school.

I had my phone on the magnet phone holder on my dashboard of the car with the video rolling the whole drive without knowing. A few days later whilst I was scrolling through my camera roll I found the video and I noticed I captured a silent breakdown.

I remember that day perfectly,

I was snappy over the phone to my husband, I was struggling with mum/wife guilt. The house was a mess but I had no energy to clean it up. Why the hell do I let this happen! I very well know that a messy house creates a messy mind for me. Now the mess has built up so bad that I don’t even know where to start, and then I become so overwhelmed by it that I don’t even start! Which then of course leads to another breakdown and the cycle continues. When the house is like this I feel overly anxious and guilty so why didn’t I just do it…Fuck! Now I’m an even bigger mess.

I cried many times that day. I often cry because I feel that I am failing in every aspect of my life. I cry because I feel unfulfilled and restrained. I cry because at times I feel that I am a burden, worthless to put it kindly. “I suck at being a mother and wife this week”

The video I unintentionally took this day showed me driving to pick up my son from school. I was driving with my toddler who sat quietly in the back seat whilst she stared at her iPad in a zombie state. I watched the video and I could see the sadness in my eyes whilst I’m driving and weeping silently. Of course I cried again when I saw that video.

It’s like I was watching my soul breaking right in-front of me.

Why was I crying at that time you ask? I can’t actually pin point why. It’s a mixture of everything I guess.

All that I do know is that I am miserable right now. I am struggling and I am hurting. I am in a rut. I’m struggling to juggle motherhood and having a chronic illness. But recently I am struggling more so mentally and I think part of it is because I have so many aspirations but I feel that I can’t pursue anything that makes me happy right now. Not to mention I have ZERO social life. How is a person to be happy when they feel so alone all of the time?

I ask myself often, how the fuck can I pursue anything that I want to personally do when financial issues come to play, how can I pursue my goals when I spend my days with a toodler and in the car for hours driving my son around. How can I physically manage a job, study and motherhood right now when I can barley care for myself right now.

I quickly realise that I have put myself in this situation where I am a mother and a wife before anything else and it seems that this is all I am right now. A mother or a wife. My life consists of barley any enjoyable adult communication, tantrums, making lunches, school drop off, school pick up, baths, dinner, bed and repeat. It’s the same shit day in and day out. I am unhappy and I realise that now, but how does one get out of this rut when feeling so restrained and held back?

I now also realise that I am fighting this battle alone. My husband is great don’t get me wrong, but you can’t understand what you haven’t gone through. If he asks me “what’s wrong” and I answer with “everything” he expects me to elaborate. How do I elaborate when my head is going a hundred miles an hour and I struggle to find the words to express what I feel. How do I elaborate when I don’t want to put extra stress on him because I know his already stressed enough with work, and so I don’t say anything anymore.

I deal with it on my own now because sometimes its just easier to say nothing.

People don’t realise that depression and anxiety isn’t just crying or sadness. It’s no energy, it’s feeling guilty, it’s not being able to keep up with everyday life, it’s stressing to a point that you feel sick. It’s frustration, it’s not being able to sleep, it’s pain and suffering, it’s feeling like a burden, it’s feeling disconnected from those you love most. It’s self doubt and self hate

and it’s fucking painful!

I feel an enormous amount of weight on my shoulders and I am trying with all I have to be strong. But when you’re the rock to your family functioning you don’t have the privilege to break down, you don’t get to throw your hands in the air and say I quit, you don’t get to just go away for a few hours stress free. I mean fuck, I can’t even go to the toilet in peace.

I am constantly having to remember and be on top of everything, birthdays, school functions, what we need for groceries, doctor appointments, who needs a bath, what to pack for the little one when we leave the house, the list goes on. My head is racing. The mental load is too much!

Its a lonely place to be and I loath this place that I am in right now.

I think this is where the sadness comes in, I feel alone in this. Secretly fighting this battle that no one else can see. I am not well physically. I meant to be taking medication to suppress my immune system (low dose chemotherapy) but I haven’t been. No one knows I haven’t been taking my medication because no one has asked how I’m feeling on them.

You see, it’s not as easy as “just take them, your health is important” yes, I agree, my health is very important! But people forget that I’m doing this alone. These meds make me feel sick and extremely tired for a few days once I take them. How the hell does anyone expect me to look after my health when I have responsibilities, how when I am meant to look after my family and I am home alone during the day with a needy toddler that is painful on my Joints just to hold, not to mention driving and all the the other task that are on the list of things to do daily. I don’t have time to feel worse than I already do, and so at times I am in a position where I feel the need to choose between my health and my family.

And then there is today.

I have barley slept, I’m running on very little sleep, the house is a fucking disaster, I haven’t showered. I have chronic illnesses that defeat me on the best of days and today is not a good pain day. Anxiety says how the fuck do I pick myself up out of this but the mother in me reminds me that I have no choice.

I know that this does not mean that I will always feel like this, it’s just been a very difficult time recently. I know that this rut that I am in right now is temporary and I hope my readers know that whatever you’re going through is temporary too.

“It’s just a bad day, not a bad life”

“Just breath”

I will somehow pick myself up, I will survive another day, I will keep pushing forward, This is temporary, this is temporary, this is temporary and I will get through this!!

I know that I am stronger than any rut that I will ever find myself in.

But for today, this is me. Here I am, a raw tragic mess, crying on the laundry floor trying to keep up with a house that is swallowing me whole .