To feel I'm running out of steam * Long, sorry *(5 Posts)
Posting here to just this out as I have no one to speak to RL.
I must and will go on but:
- Have been raising my 11 year old DS single handedly since his birth and feel like my life is not really mine anymore
- DS' father isn't a co-parent but more of an occasional visitor to DS
- My full time (PhD) studies isolate me. I sit in a small often silent office and do my research alone (bliss in some ways, hell in others)
- Becoming a mum at 24 and then a mature student at 29 have been transformative for me and I have distanced myself from certain friends. So I have one friend left who I barely see. Having no free time means I haven't made new ones.
- At 35 have been single for six months. I do appreciate having this time for myself but miss being cuddled, supported and the chance to be someone else other than a mum and a student
- I'm worried about my parents and siblings. I am the first of us to go to university. There is autism, mental health issues and in particular depression among them all - I feel guilty for not doing more to help
- My parents are very distant as parents and grandparents. They only contact when they need to ask something specific. They are not loving.
- My son moves to secondary in September. He is sensible, kind and lovely but given our ethnic heritage he is at risk of police harassment (stop and search), low expectations at school and street violence
- DS is the light of my life. I wish I could guarantee him protection from racism/prejudice but can't
- Given our isolation, I am the only one to actively support my DS. He has a few relationships with other adults through his extra curricular stuff but if I sink so will he
- I'm worried that my fears and resentment may poison the wonderful relationship we have.
- I have an analytical brain that never shuts off and it is tiring. I take life, myself and my role as a parent very seriously and it is draining. I never switch off.
- As well as working towards an academic position, I also want to write but am finding it difficult to get into the routine
- I do have many things to be grateful for and am hopeful for the future. Am just finding this particular moment tough.
Thank you for reading all of this
I'm sorry you're having a tough time. You sound like a very determined and caring person. I'm sure you're are doing and have done as much as you can for your wider family and anyway it's right that your son should be your main priority. Anyone I've ever known who has done or been doing a PhD has found it an incredibly hard time in their lives and a couple actually had to give up. I can see how isolating it must feel. On top of that, having been a single parent for so long must have felt/still feel relentless - you're always on duty. But as I'm sure you realise, in just a few short years your son will start to be more independent and hang out with his friends etc without you having to be involved; you'll have completed your studies and moved on to another phase in your career; you'll have a bit more free time for a potential relationship to develop with someone. I think it's unlikely that you show your fears and resentment to your son and I imagine it would take an awful lot to poison your relationship with him. However, do you think it's possible that your worries are taking a disproportionate amount of your thoughts? The way you've phrased a couple of things makes me wonder. Especially given your family's medical history, it might be an idea to see your GP to rule out or treat any anxiety or depression. You could even just print out your post to show them. I hope you start to find things easier soon.
Didn't want to read and run although I don't have much to offer except for sympathy. I can totally understand how isolated you feel - doing a PhD can have that effect. I know I missed the interaction I had had previously - projects also tend to be long term so you can go a really long time without any positive reinforcement.
For what it's worth I don't think you should feel guilty, reading your post I thought I'd feel immensely proud if I was you. You've raised a lovely son, you're doing a PhD despite not coming from a family where academics were expected.
I can also totally relate to wanting to protect your DS from nasty aspects of the world. In a way though you probably already have. In his strong relationship with you and the strong example you set he will have built up resilience which will help him cope with anything that may (or may not!) happen.
I know I'm just an internet stranger having read a few paragraphs but it sounds like you have your priorities straight - you're focusing on your little family, perhaps though you should make sure you have at least a small bit of time for yourself. An exercise class? Art class? Something a little different to give yourself a break, time for some interaction and a little bit of pride every week.
Thanks very much Mo Have experienced depression but counselling and running and cycling have helped.
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