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I'm not coping well enough

(23 Posts)
struggleon Thu 14-Aug-08 12:26:10

Name-changed. Just getting it off my chest.

Where do I start?
I have had some level of depression since I was a teenager, I think. Never suicidal, never cutting muself, just anxiety. I have just coped and adapted and managed. I have behaved oddly and made poor decisions, it was just my way of coping. I didn't want anyone to get close in case they saw the real me and rejected me. Relationship failures. I've attracted and tolerated abusers. Career failures....

I ended up a single mother. Then I suffered family bereavements. Ended up in a place where I knew hardly anyone, no support. The rest of my family were abroad and putting pressure on me from afar to pull myself together for my dd's sake.

I struggled on. I could only cope with the bare necessities of looking after my dd. She was even in nursery part-time so I should have been able to cope. I intended to get a job but things got worse. I wanted to improve myself first but there has been no progress to date.

I'm not sure I have ever had panic attacks, just claustrophobia in a supermarket queue sometimes, but the self-consciousness I had always felt developed into a social phobia. I felt like I was hollow and exposed and if anyone looked at me they would see the holes in me. I didn't want to be seen, self-loathing. I was lucky in that I had money and a place to live but I have just spent this capital with no income coming in. Capital that should have been saved for dd and my future.

I had a few meetings with a health visitor who was happy that dd was ok but concerned about me. I went to the doctor and, eventually, a year later, was prescribed Citalopram. I have been taking this for about 5 months. I have had physical illness that has laid me low, and I have gained a lot of weight in the last few years which makes me feel hideous, but I have felt that mentally a few things were getting a bit better. I was doing more and being more social.

But my house still looks like a bomb's hit it, like I am a bag lady, unironed clothes, papers and rubbish everywhere. I can never manage to keep on top of housework. I am very slow. My bones and muscles ache all the time and I'm lazy. I have no energy. I can't get going. I don't seem to be able to cope with any stress at all. I can't multi-task. I get confused as soon as I have more than one thing to do. I waste huge amounts of time procrastinating. I manage with dd but I am concerned for the future when she will want to bring friends home. I will be such a liability to her. I already am.

As I had been feeling a bit better on the ads, I decided I must look for at least a part-time job, to stop wasting the remainder of the money I have left. I have tried to be positive and optimistic about it. I would, actually like to work. It might drag me out of the general malaise. But, already it is causing me huge anxiety. The childcare is a worry. There are very few jobs available in the rural area where I live that I can do in terms of the hours and my qualifications. I have applied for quite a few and have not heard anything back from most of them. Agencies that sound all eager until they get your cv and then are not interested. Long and tedious application forms I have filled in that come to nothing, probably because they have an internal applicant in mind.

I am feeling really disheartened and disconnected. I feel that the 3.5 years I have not worked are counting against me, along with being a mum and a single mum. My cv is probably all wrong. I'm presenting myself in the wrong way. I'm fat and ugly and old and no-one will give me a chance. I know this is not completely realistic but I've got no confidence. I'm making the wrong impression. I've always been a bit weird and eccentric. I'm blunt and long-winded at the same time. Have I got some kind of mild autism? I keep getting rejected. Every nuance of people's reaction to me is absorbed into my aching chest. Too much input, too stressful. I'm hypervigilant. I am an introvert and just want to stay at home on my own and read books. I don't want to deal with the politics of everyday life. I suppose most people don't. Tough.

I just feel like I am that bloke pushing the stone up the hill in Greek or Roman hell. No matter how much I try to rally myself, I always seem to end up back at square zero. I'm anxious and distracted and confused all the time. I keep having minor car accidents and I got another speeding ticket today. That's six points now. I wasn't speeding-speeding, I day-dreamed through a 30-mph village and only realised I was doing 35mph when I noticed the police car behind me. Unlucky.

Enough of the self-pity. I just want a little job with little stress where I can be anonymous and be left alone. It will be good for me to be more busy. Just want to be an adequate mother to dd and to maintain the household. Something will turn up eventually. It just all feels too much. Overwhelmed by stuff that other people manage easily. I am fed up of picking myself up and trying again but getting nowhere. dd is my inspiration but I feel hopeless, without hope.

I don't really want advice, just sympathy or empathy I suppose. (Anyone else out there like this?) I don't think I deserve it, mind you. I don't believe there is anything that will help much. This is just my lot in life, to be managed. Just decided to write it down because I want it out of me.

mistypeaks Thu 14-Aug-08 12:36:05

Firstly sympathy to you. It is awful to feel so low.
Secondly you come across very eloquently in your post, so clearly intelligence and brain power aren't an issue in your job hunt. I know how hard it can be to fit in a job around a child.
I very often have a bag lady house (and appearance) Sometimes I have to really really really puch myself to get off my arse and sort it. Once I get going I'm okay it's just getting motivated that's a problem. Please don't feel like everybody else copes with stuff that you don't. We all feel like that at times. Even those that seem so strong. I sometimes think those that seem so tidy and organised only seem so happy and strong because they're too busy to think about it all!!

struggleon Thu 14-Aug-08 12:49:58

Thanks Misty. It's really got on top of me, today. I shouldn't have had a child. I need a carer myself.

Simply Thu 14-Aug-08 13:09:10

I agree with mistypeaks. If it is any consolation, a number of people I know could use about half of your op to describe themselves. You are not alone. I know I've said this to loads of MNers but I think the daily FLY threads are good for getting started with sorting out the house and there is a bootcamp thread too. I'll just see if I can find them and link them. How about you join them or else bookmark them, lurk on them and use them for motivation?

the Fly thread

the bootcamp thread

Good luck and you can do it. It will take time but set yourself little targets spaced out realistically and I'm sure you'll get there. smile

struggleon Thu 14-Aug-08 13:28:19

Thank you. I have seen these threads but not really looked at them properly before. I will give them a try. I have thought about making a timetable for myself and doing what is on the timetable regardless of what else happens instead of worrying about all the different things to do and not knowing where to start. The Fly thread is a similar approach, I suppose.

I adore my dd of course but it would be great if someone would take her away for a whole month and I could be completely alone. Then I might be able to get the house properly clean and tidy, and chuck hoarded stuff out, instead of pushing around dusty piles to different locations. It's not going to happen though.

I think I will have to put the jobhunting on hold for a while, it is making me too anxious and everything is going to pot. I will concentrate on the house and myself and dd again, the basics. I'm worried about money though so I can't put things off for too long.

Simply Thu 14-Aug-08 13:33:04

I'm glad you think the threads might help. smile

If it is any consolation, dh takes the kids away for a week or two a year when I'm working and I don't get THAT much done. Granted that it stays clean once I've cleaned but I think just having a short amount of time to do something is better than having loads of time and wasting most of it. That's my experience, anyway! <cough> Now I've finished eating my lunch, I'm not going to have another game of chess on the PC, I'm going to finish the hoovering! If it wasn't for this post, I'm sure the chess would have taken priority! grin

struggleon Thu 14-Aug-08 13:50:17

Yes, (wry, weak, watery, clutching-on-to-remnants-of-sense-of-humour smile), good idea, I might do a spot of hoovering myself (if I can find the floor).

charliecat Thu 14-Aug-08 13:57:09

Most of your first post I feel as if I have written in my sleep.
So anyone else out there like this? Yes, me.
Especially the confusion, and anything more than doing one thing. I cant even think straight a lot of the time.
I am TRYING to get on top of the house. My way is to go mad, fling all the stuff out of the room, hoover, clean and then sort through the crap.
Next day its back

It must feel good to have typed all that, lighter shoulders?

LoveMyGirls Thu 14-Aug-08 14:08:52

What about a job like floristry? You don't need qualifications and you could just do a saturday girl type role (sweeping the floor, cleaning the buckets, making a few arrangements etc) then you could ease yourself into talking to customers and taking orders etc

What kind of jobs are you going for?

Advice for cleaning the house is what about asking a few people to come and help you to give you a fresh start then employ a cleaner just for a couple of hours a week? Then you could try to just do a few tasks per day like put 1 wash on, put 1 load away, wash up and make the beds.

LoveMyGirls Thu 14-Aug-08 14:09:48

Btw you must be stronger than you think because I've been in abusive relationshiops and it takes a lot to get out of abusive relationships.

that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger just have faith!

struggleon Thu 14-Aug-08 14:12:24

Yes, it helps to write it down sometimes, the first step towards pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and starting again (again...again...is there an echo in here?).

I have been known to chuck everything into bin-bags. At least that way it is out of sight and you can clean, even though the bin-bag full of assorted clothes and toys and papers has still been sitting in the corner of the room for weeks on occasion. I am a born slob, unfortunately.

LoveMyGirls Thu 14-Aug-08 14:13:35

As for your weight don't buy junk, it makes you feel bad, sluggish and tired plus it doesn't help weight loss obviously. I've lost 5 and a half stone since having dd2 and I love food, you just have to want to, do you want to lose weight? Everytime I went for bad food I'd think I want to be thin more than I want to eat this packet of biscuits. (I know it's not that easy but once you set your mind to it, it's not as hard as it seems) Could you take your dd swimming? I bet she would love it and it would give you exercise, if you don't want to do it for you then do it for her?

struggleon Thu 14-Aug-08 14:17:43

My sister thinks I should get a cleaner and I would consider it once I have a job. She says that just the fact that the cleaner is coming will motivate me to keep the place tidier. I'm sure she is right. I would be ashamed to let a cleaner into the house with it looking the way it does right now.

I have applied for general office jobs, customer service, assistant in a pharmacy and one or two unskilled childcare jobs. No luck as yet.

LoveMyGirls Thu 14-Aug-08 14:27:00

You don't fancy the florist idea?

struggleon Thu 14-Aug-08 14:27:27

I have lost a few pounds. I've got about 3 stone to lose. I can do it by will power once I get into it, the first week is the hardest until the cravings go, but I need to keep stressors to a minimum in order to be able to persevere with it.

I'm struggling at the moment because the job stuff has got on top of me and the speeding ticket was the last straw. I have a family get-together this weekend that I am nervous about as well. Once the anxiety takes hold, I want to eat in order to push the feelings down and I fall off the wagon.

A friend, who knows my problems, has suggested we go swimming. I need to psyche myself up to go. I know exercise is really important, for depression and for weight loss and maintenance. I just feel so exhausted all the time, it is hard to get motivated.

struggleon Thu 14-Aug-08 14:31:56

I've never thought of floristry (?) as I am not at all artistic. I am happy to do any kind of job though, as long as it fits around dd. I have been applying for anything that is advertised. I haven't had any interviews yet but the thought is making me really anxious.

struggleon Thu 14-Aug-08 14:34:32

I've got to go out now but thanks for your posts. It does help to get things into perspective and know that there are others who struggle with the same kind of anxieties. There's no choice but to persevere.

charliecat Thu 14-Aug-08 14:58:20

No there isnt any choice but to just get on with it, no matter how muddled you feel...so onwards and upwards.
I sell on ebay from home, fits perfectly around the dds and my mental state. Its actually the only thing that I do keep on top of, because if you fall behind its a nightmare.
I play tennis for my exercise when I can find a mate with an hour to spare.
You are thinking clearer than me. Is a struggle to put sentences together today!

Simply Thu 14-Aug-08 16:53:37

Of course, you can always have a "lets do it together" thread where posters like those who have posted here can post regularly and keep each other motivated if you feel the FLY and boot camp threads aren't for you. Just a suggestion! smile I'm not going to be around for a while but if you link it to this thread then I'll be able to find it and cheer you on!

struggleon Thu 14-Aug-08 18:36:28

The thing is that the housework problems are only part of the equation. The state of my house does relate directly to my state of mind but it's more often a symptom than a cause. Keeping up to date is very important but it won't resolve my anxiety problems.

I think I'm just not cut out for modern life or for a management role, even if all that means is managing my house, personal finances, etc., looking after dd. I do need someone else who will run my life for me. I'd like to be a recluse but you can't do that when you have a child to look after who needs to be part of the community. I am intelligent and I do have skills but my overall package is wrong and I've missed the boat by going into the wrong career and then giving it up because it was to stressful. And I don't have the means or the energy to start again. And I'm too old and numb. Very negative. I know. I feel trapped. We are all prisoners of circumstance.

But yes, charliecat, we have to keep on keeping on and find some compromise that is do-able and sustainable, just about.

Simply Fri 15-Aug-08 10:32:32

Just a quick post as I'm going away today and need to get ready. You can do it, honest. I'm not cut out for modern life. I belong a century or two back, really I do! Dh does finances online, I'm a cheque book and cash kind of girl. He hunts for improved insurance quotes, I'd have to go to a broker. Otoh, I can do things he can't. I know you're a lone parent atm but there are loads of nice blokes out there. I work with a number of really nice single / separated / divorced chaps so I know they exist. As for a career change, I swopped a getting your hands dirty permanently outdoors career for an office one. Look at it this way, you're not happy with how things are now. You know that you want to be happier, more in control or whatever, map out the steps you need to take to get there and start planning it. You'll get help from here, I'm sure. As you said to charliecat, "we have to keep on keeping on and find some compromise that is do-able and sustainable, just about." You can do it, a bit at a time. smile

charliecat Fri 15-Aug-08 13:56:48

Hmm the finances thing, how do you do it at the moment?
I have everything come out the bank at the end of the month. With a 500 overdraft, just in case ive done my maths wrong.
You are not too old unless you are 93 or somethinggrin maybe then you had missed the boat.
Are you on benefits now? You could do an OU course in the direction you want to be going while at home with dd. It could be the one thing you focus on while everything else goes tit shaped.
Last night I layed in bed being an antisocial recluse. This morning ive got up and glossed most of downstairs and done the shed with woodcare stuff.(kids are wrecking the place, at least 300 books on the floor, they are making a library, alphabetical order..groan)
Oh Rubbish everywhere, GET A BIN in every room. And one in the hall too.
Happy to do finger out threads with you, we both go and DO something, instead of procrastinating.
Hope your ok today

struggleon Mon 18-Aug-08 11:59:08

Hi. dd and I were away for the weekend, visiting relatives. It went ok. I had to force myself to go because going away from home makes me very anxious. I spend the days beforehand worrying about it and binge-eating and the days afterwards recovering. Pathetic. My only saving grace is that I don't drink. I'm not sure it is worth it but it is important to keep in touch with people.

I am not bothered about a new relationship with a man at the moment, Simply, because I know I need to be happier in myself before I try and be with someone else. Otherwise, I will attract the wrong kind of person and it won't work. Been there, done that. I've finally learnt this lesson.

I manage for money, charliecat, because I have some money I inherited and some savings. It may sound great but it means I can't claim any benefits and I am wasting this money just living and not working when I should be keeping it for the future. And it is running out. But I have felt so debilitated through illness and depression that I have felt incapable of working or doing anything positive to change the situation. Pathetic. A friend said to me that if I had not had that money, I would have been more desperate and perhaps it would have made me go out and get a job before now or I would have managed on benefits. Maybe part of the depression is because I am on my own at home too much, thinking too much. Maybe she is right. Things could be far worse so maybe I am just a spoiled brat. I hate wasting this money which I should keep for dd and/or my old age. I don't know about you, charliecat, but I can't see myself building up much of a pension at this rate, doing low-paid jobs or not working at all.

I know I am not too old to change direction but I just FEEL too old. The things I would like to retrain for (some kind of therapist with the NHS: speech, physio...) mean moving, full-time study for several years. It is not a commitment I could contemplate in my current state (I wouldn't get a place on a course like this anyway) and these subjects are not available via the OU. At the moment, I am trying to set my sights a little lower and just get a job but I might do some kind of home study, maybe book-keeping, as there always seem to be jobs going for that.

Dreary, defeatist, but maybe realistic?

Well done for doing the painting, charliecat. I mowed the lawn yesterday evening. The grass was long and wet so I made a hash of it with the hover-mower but it was only going to get worse if I left it. dd gave me a star sticker for doing it and said she was pleased with me for being a good girl! My little girl is parenting me, that's the wrong way round, isn't it?

We have bad days and good days and occasional days like the one when I started this thread - when things just seem too bad and unbearable and I want to give up.

I've got another job application to do today. If this one doesn't work out, I am going to give it a rest for a few weeks, perhaps temp but otherwise concentrate on health, diet and exercise, and geting/keeping the house clean and tidy. The news is dreary (recession looming) but the Olympics seem to be going quite well for 'team GB'.

Re. housework, I am some horrible kind of bird that soils its own nest. !! Whenever I get stressed and depressed, I feel paralysed. It is childish lack of discipline but I feel so low that I stop cleaning and tidying for days on end and everything just goes to pot: dirty cups and clothes everywhere. The mess is an expression of my mental state. Yuck and unhygienic. (Ashamed. sad What kind of grown-up person with a child behaves that way!? Poor dd.) What man would put up with that. And then finally I do a big clean-up. Until the next time. sad

I don't want to start my own fly thread but I will maybe see you on 'The' fly thread or the other 'get your finger out' or health threads. I was reading a Good Housekeeping in the doctor's surgery and it had a good walking plan, going a bit further each day, which is on their website too. I am thinking of giving that a go.

Thanks for your support. Hope you are ok.

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