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Help. Feel like I'm heading for some kind of breakdown. I feel overwhelmed, constantly irritable and angry, just plodding on bleakly, don't enjoy much. Like zombie. Practical steps please

(17 Posts)
MrawMraw Sun 09-Dec-12 20:49:19

I have 2 DC aged 7 and 3. The 3 year old is quite demanding although lovely. I am effectively a single parent as I am currently separated from their father due to lots of relationship issues (too many to go into here, honestly not abusive, just he is so withdrawn from family life, he works long hours and we didn't get on even when he was on short periods off work like annual leaves etc, I am depressed etc, constant arguments, resentments etc).

I was at SAHM for first year after my 3 year old was born, which was OK. I then went back to work (my old job) which was OK, quite good flexible hours because I am mainly self employed doing it, money ok, but it's NOT in the field I ultimately want to be in, which is healthcare. I cannot do the degree I want to until DC are older (ie 13 and 17 or so) for logistical reasons, placements, childcare etc.

Last year I left my self employment and took on a job as a HCA. The main reason was to be more involved in the work I ultimately want to do. I love the job itself, but I think the hours have been building me up to a kind of nervous breakdown shock.

My contract is 24-36 hours, so it shouldn't be so bad in theory. However little did I know they would compress my rotas so, for example, I can be doing 2 x 12 hour shifts , a day off, another 3 x 12 hour shifts then 4 days off. Or 7 half shifts in a ROW then a week off. It changes all the time, and is a logistical nightmare with childcare and weekends are frequent. DD school is miles in the opposite direction from DS nursery and I don't drive so need to get up at 5am if starting at 8 and make 3 bus journeys in the freezing cold to before school care and MIL before I even get to work. And need to arrange cover with afterschool childminder for DD and exMIL/exP if I'm working backshift or 8-8 (often).

Another stressor is that I've never got on with my exMIL. I feel she undermines my parenting of the DC, believes women shouldn't work, will say things to DS like "don't worry we won't tell mummy you were naughty it's our secret" (other people have told me, even DD), and every single rule / behaviour me and exP have put down she overrides and does what she likes anyway. She does not discipline DS and he has unbelievable tantrums for like 24 hours upon coming back from a few days at nans (if I'm on 2/3 twelve hour shifts in a row for example). He gets stablised at home, then off to nans again next time I'm on shift.

I never thought it would be so hard sad. I feel I am on a rollercoaster, I constantly forget things (shopping, gas and elec top up, paying different bills, school things, appointments, phonecalls) and dread Social Invitations because it's yet another thing to plan for. My house if frequently a disaster area because I have no time for housework. When I do have time I blitz it, but in the intermediate times it stresses me it's such a tip.

I NEED to hand it my notice and gain back some semblance of a life. The hours are killing me. I have been low level depressed for a while, especially with the break up (in Feb this year).

The salon I used to work in has offered me 3 set weekdays Mon Thu Fri 9am - 5pm and I am going to take it. Small drop in income but do-able for my sanity.

But . . . . . I am seriously in such a state mentally (feels like too many things have been whizzing around my head for so long, my brain is mush and I have NO MOTIVATION whatsoever, just want to lock myself in house but can't - is this depression?) I can't see a way out.

Also, I have never actually handed in notice before, don't know how to go about it? I am chicken and a coward of telling my boss and colleagues who have all been so nice to me and inclusive, I am scared of "doing it". confused.

I feel ill at the thought of the week ahead too and the impending festive season. Ex P gives very little help and only on his own terms and my family live about 40 mins away. I feel I am coming down with a virus to to top it all off, and this week I have -

Mon - kids to school and nursery, shopping, housework, DD party for 3.5 hours (argh - other people!)
Tue - up at 5am and working then pick both kids up, my work christmas childrens party (argh) - if I see boss was planning on handing notice in.
Wed - work all day, DS away will miss him
Thu - work all day DS still away will miss him
Fri - morning get DS back but he will be tantruming having been at nans argh, then my work's adults "black tie" dinner I have paid for and both Dc would have to go back to MIL AGAIN , and I'd need to find something to wear. not going, can't face it but need an excuse
Sat - up at 5am for work, 12 hour shift ! then friends xmas night out (not going will be too tired will need excuse)
Sun - up at 5am again for work.

I can't do this! I feel like I just can't face all these people, business, I feel depressed and down and "spent" What do I do?

Sorry this post is a huge venting exercise.

What, step by step would you recommend I do?

Bigwuss Sun 09-Dec-12 21:34:12

Sounds so stressful, is there anything you don't have to do, so you get a few hours back.
First I would hand in your notice. Hopefully, the the regular hours will let you spend more time with your dc.
Find sometime for yourself, even if it just 5 or 10 mins and do something nice. Have a look at mindful meditation, I found this really helps when I feel stressed and over stretched.

RMPM Sun 09-Dec-12 21:35:40

MrawMraw, you poor thing you have so much on your plate. Felt for you reading your message. I am no expert save to say I am a sole parent, working and raising a four year old and at times I feel like I am losing the plot. Combining long hours at work and raising child/children can be so stressful. I would suggest obtain in writing the new job acceptance you have stating salary and when you start (agree less money but improved sanity is much more important) and then you can hand in your written resignation. Your current job seems to be at the centre of your troubles. You can then swiftly move from one job to the other (hopefully). In relation to your MIL, can you sit her down and say to her that you are concerned about her approach? In relation to going out, I would suggest only go if you really want to otherwise just give them an excuse. Put yourself first. My house is a complete tip and sadly I cant have visitors as they would be horrified. But, as one lady once said, something has to give (as long as its not your child). Sorry for not covering all your points but will email again. Take care of yourself x

BaublesJanson Sun 09-Dec-12 21:50:33

When I am struggling I certainly shut down my social life and go out less for a bit,

MrawMraw Sun 09-Dec-12 21:56:46

Oh thanks so much smile .

I will look at mindfulness, people I know have been raving about it.

I am trying to remind myself to stop being such a coward, the place has high turnover of staff, people have resigned due to hours before, I need to do what's best for myself etc.

And trying to remind myself I can always walk out the door and leave in the event I find it too much in my notice period and panic or really really can't face it. I have anxiety over these things, in my mind they will be really horrible to me and treat me as pathetic etc. When most likely they won't, and I'm not trapped anyway.

I have new job offer at salon, went in to accept it yesterday. Hours are Mon Thu Fri 9-5. Permanent contract (-: (because I worked there for years before).

I am not going to any of the social events, will just have to make excuses. Need to carve out some time to think. However, I feel they will not be very happy if I am at work, not ill, working my notice and still make an excuse not to go confused.

My friends and my aunts I can easily make an excuse.

I totally understand what you are saying RMPM about being too embarrassed for visitors. I get on top of things like one day a week the place is sparkling then with the DC it all goes to pot within 2 days and looks like a bomb has hit it, then I'm working or too tired / depressed to clean again. I'd die if anyone came to door right now and saw the state of the place blush x

amillionyears Sun 09-Dec-12 21:57:23

Any chance that a member of your family can come round and give you a hand for an hour or two this week, or a good friend.

MrawMraw Sun 09-Dec-12 22:16:44

My sister is away to Canada at the moment, don't think my dad would come. The only friend I could ask (my best friend) moved to Stratford last month sad - that didn't help matters either. Although I have been talking to her about it all via email x

Another friend has offered to do some of my housework since she saw me looking like a dishrevelled (?) zombie at the bus stop in the mornings this week (lack of sleep) and asked what's wrong. Feel a bit strange having someone else clean up my mess though! But guess theres no harm in taking up the offer.

amillionyears Sun 09-Dec-12 22:18:51

Take up the offer. You may be able to repay the favour some day.

RMPM Sun 09-Dec-12 22:19:18

Mraw Mraw, its hard when people have been good to you but they will understand your decision because they will know you have two children and the hours are not child compatible. Its great you have the other job - Go for itsmile Good luck.

I have a panic attack if someone is knocking on the door because of the state of the place. More often than not its only the postman or someone collecting for charity. There just isnt enough time to tidy up with so many other things to dosad

Its hard when you work and raise children/child. You need a good support network, friends/family.

Just do one thing at a time, resign, start new job, deal with mil and by then hopefully you will be happier and ready to go out to social events - until then don't feel obliged and forced into going. Home is where the heart is - even if its a little upside downsmile

Take care x

MrawMraw Sun 09-Dec-12 22:44:04

Yes this has been a problem for me. The support network side of things.

Ex MIL has always been more of an enemy, never liked me.

Ex P always just thought his job was to go to work and if I wanted to work then that was my responsibility. He umms and awws no end if I ask him to take them , he is noncommittal in almost everything he says / does. He basically went to work, came home, sometimes went fishing etc for whole weekends without even asking if OK, thought he was doing brilliant when he would very occasionally suggest going out with the DC for a few hours or us all going out together at a time where HE would choose. Doesn't talk much, won't speak about issues in relationship. point blank refuses, but says he wants to come back (???? hmm). I guess I was attracted to him originally because he was the strong, silent type. But I now see him just as a withdrawn emotionally childish type!

My dad is ok but not too helpful, my mum is deceased. My sisters have their own single lives and jobs, no DC yet for them.

My friends are lovely, but they are not family / partner so can't lean too much on them iyswim.

StrawberryMojito Sun 09-Dec-12 23:03:36

Focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Depending on what your notice period is, hopefully within a month, you will be back in a familiar job working decent hours with a stable routine. This will improve your sons behaviour and you can hopefully rely on your mil less. Avoid the stress if the work function, it doesn't matter what your colleagues think, they won't be your colleagues for much longer anyway. Ride out the next few weeks, everything improves from here on in.

MrawMraw Sun 09-Dec-12 23:05:07

I'm not sure if it's a month or a week, the contract is confusing.

Hope it's a week!

StrawberryMojito Sun 09-Dec-12 23:09:33

Even better!

MrawMraw Sun 09-Dec-12 23:27:34

Yes.

I have been brushing off the depression thing for ages, just getting angry at myself for not pulling myself together.

But I have looked it up online tonight and actually feel relief that there could be another cause other than me being lazy / inadequate .

I feel as if I can't cope often

Even if I am tired and go to bed early I lay awake until about 1/2 am when I'm too exhausted to be awake any longer , lying worrying about things tossing and turning. So get 5 hours sleep on a bad night, 6.5 on a good night, never 8 sad.

My appearance has really gone to pot, I'm a greasy mess. Going for a bath seems like a lot of effort only to be done every couple of days to maintain appearances. I try to hide as much as possible.

I don't want to be near people, I get really irritated and anxious going out and about and to work. I dread interaction, I get awkward. Today I tried to take DC Christmas shopping and got really irritable and irrationally angry inside at other random people blush. I can go to school/nursery and back, or food shop for like 10 mins before getting stressed inside (I don't show it though), can't wait to get back in house and bolt door.

Tired all the time, drinking much more tea and coffee to perk me up but other than work (where I HAVE to be on the go and dread it) , I cannot motivate myself to do anything other than the bare minimum of housework and hygiene, microwave meals where I used to cook etc.

Lacking interest in things I used to enjoy. Still enjoy DCs at times, but not much else, I'm "flat" about things I used to be interested in.

I have bursts of feeling really hurt about ex P and all the usual end of relationship stuff. I am in complete indecision about the situation. We are not officially broken up, but we are living apart for ages and he will not discuss things, just says I either want him back or I don't end of. But won't discuss the problems, he says he has gave all assurances and there are no problems between us I am just wanting to leave. I don't feel the same, I feel unloved and invisible to him and feel he is self centred.

Trying to work out if I should get signed off work and hand in notice and try to tackle depression before new (old!) job (starts 7th Jan officially) or wait until notice period is up , but then I'd be going straight from one to the other AND dealing with Christmas , New Year festive season (argh!) then straight back to old job. x

RMPM Tue 19-Feb-13 05:14:07

Mraw Mraw sorry meant to reply a long, long time ago. Have been thinking about you. How are things? Did you start your new job? Were you ok telling the others you were leaving? How are you feeling now? Really hope things are looking up for you x

crazycatlady82 Sun 24-Feb-13 23:47:29

Hi there,

I'm not sure if you said if it was nhs or private.

Firstly discuss your shifts with manager/team lead. If no success speak with your GP. That should give you access to occ health.

If its NHS they will make changes to help allow you to continue working.

If not I would seek out an assistant post within the nhs with the experience you have picked up so far

xx

crazycatlady82 Sun 24-Feb-13 23:52:26

Also, if DP is serious about coming back you could suggest couples counselling?

xx

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