Life is pretty shit right now -- need someone to help me look forward(16 Posts)
Without wanting to sound self-pitying I've had a pretty shit year. Mum died and marriage broke up after I kicked abusive ex out. After generally feeling pretty good about this for about six months I seem to have totally crashed. I had a weird not quite fling with someone who I thought was a friend and who turned out not to be at all which has sapped my self-confidence and sense of who I am. I work really long hours (often more than 10 hours a day not including childcare) as ex refuses to do anything other than the most basic childcare and that always comes with strings attached (in the form of bollockings about my skills as a home-maker and mother).
Having pushed myself through the first initial period after the break-up I'm now totally exhausted and need to regroup and rest but can't as I'm working through the Xmas period with sole care of my DC. Don't have any family who can be relied upon to do any heavy lifting here for various reasons. I have friends who have offered to look after my DC for odd days, but not more than that really.
I was coping on a day to day level (I'm lucky in that I make fairly good money and don't rely on ex for money) but couldn't see anything to look forward to or any real reason to be happy about life other than my DC. Now I feel like I'm barely even coping -- it feels like a real struggle to do anything at the moment, even things like cleaning and shopping feel like huge chores and I am struggling to get out of the house other than to go to work. I'm having counselling and for a while I felt like it was helping but now it doesn't really seem to be touching the sides.
I just need someone to tell me that this is normal and I'm going to be OK and that I will eventually have things to look forward to....
Yup, crap but normal. I think it is very usual to have a crash at about the six month mark, which is still very early days. In my case (after very similar experiences to you) periods of progress seem to be interspersed with down periods when I struggle to get much done and generally feel miserable and stuck. After a while things just seem to pick up again without any real input from me.
I think the point is that, with the best will in the world, you have been through a very traumatic time. You rose to the occasion and did what needed to be done, but now the immediate crisis is over, the adrenaline has dwindled and you sag. It is all part of the process.
What you need to do is (i) believe that nothing lasts forever and things will get better (they do, even though the path is not always the straight line we would like) and (ii) look after yourself as much as you can. Hire a cleaner if you can afford it, try and eat well and go to bed early at least three times a week. Think of yourself as someone who has been through a trauma and deserves to be coddled. You would do it for someone else so do it for yourself.
It's good that you are having counselling. Even if it does not feel as though it helps I think that have somewhere to let off steam is very helpful.
Going through this is not something I would wish on anyone, but ultimately you will come out stronger and will know yourself better and have faith that you can cope with anything life throws at you.
cupcakes thanks, that's good to hear. I guess I know its to be expected at some level, I think I had a really easy ride in the early days, partly, as you say, with the adrenaline and knowing I had to be super tough to survive but also the thrill of independence.
The thing is now I know I can cope alone and my DC is OK, I've got the basic survival stuff out of the way, I'm now trying to work out who I am, what I want and where I'm going and I feel pretty bleak about this at the moment.
At the moment I can't imagine ever feeling really enthused or happy about anything, other than my DC and my job (which I'm lucky enough to really enjoy). Can't imagine ever meeting someone else and maybe I shouldn't be thinking about that yet and the bottom line is if I am alone for the rest of my life I'll be fine, but the thought that I will never meet anyone else does scare me.
If your finances are OK it's worth paying out for the support you need - cleaner, babysitter, online shopping, counselling etc. There's no point struggling if there are ways around it. Also worth going to your GP and getting a referral for medication or counselling. There's no shame in asking for help and just a short period on ADs can give a much needed boost.
violet agree... I do do this where possible. Quite a lot of my income goes on childcare and mortgage so although I'm on a good salary I don't have tons of disposable. But getting a cleaner is fairly high on my list of priorities.
I don't want to go on ADs, to be honest. I totally understand that they help a lot of people but I've tried them before and they really didn't agree with me. I am able to cope without them so would rather not unless its absolutely critical.
Thanks anyway though....
This is normal. You will be OK. DC will be fine.
You will eventually have things to look forward to.
Normal to crash after those events once you've got through them. Normal to feel worse approaching the big family-oriented event that is Christmas- it underlines what you've 'lost' (big lesson of marriage breakdown is that few people live that picture of 'normal' life).
Don't worry about meeting someone else yet- concentrate on making yourself into the best version possible. Think of it as increasing your own market value! And I don't mean "princessing" or going on a diet...I mean building your own strength and happiness.
You have everything you need inside yourself.
I'm in exactly the same position although a year on (I've had a few other events to manage which were a distraction from the separation though). I've come home on my own feeling rather bleak but I know it will pass. I too am scared of being on my own for the rest of my life but I doubt that will happen to us if we want to meet someone in the future.
Often in counselling things feel worse before they feel better. It's like getting in touch with all that stuff really hammers you but then it's out and it's onwards and upwards. You have done amazingly well so when this stage passes you will find yourself further down the road than before. If you hold that in your heart and wait for this to pass it will be OK.
I think most of us experience a sudden and dramatic crash after 4 - 6 months post break-up so in that respect: you're perfectly healthy!
It seems to my mind, that we run out of adrenaline at that point and cold hard reality kicks in.
The first year is a year of 'firsts'. There's lots of significant dates to get through (I'm talking calender events not assessing potential new significant others!).
And then, of course, it's bloody Christmas where all the films are 'feel good', the adverts stress family 'fun', blahdy, blahdy, blah. For some of us, this time of the year exemplifies just out unstereotypical we are. Reminds us that there's something out there apparently 'normal' (is it fuck...but hey let's suspect belief because it's on the telly).
So, it's absolutely no bloody wonder you're feeling pretty shit right now.
I can tell you that in one year's time from now - you will feel differently. Whether you're feeling on top of the world I cannot say. I can say, that it will never be like this again.
Like you I'm AD averse - for my own personal reasons. I do not, however, believe they should be ruled out - for some they are a really good option and a very good decision.
However, I do firmly believe in counselling. If you've not considered that - have a think about it. Sometimes just verbalising stuff is all the tonic you need.
And yes, if you can afford a cleaner - get one. Just having more time to enjoy yourself free from chores/drugery will make an enormous difference to your day to day.
And finally, once we're all through January, the days will start getting longer, the months shorter, and the time passing.
I hope this makes a modicum of difference.
You've got to now take time to regroup. It's a long process but you've made the first steps
Thanks everyone, this seems logical and some good advice here. I suppose what would be really helpful is hearing from someone who's come out the other side and has found things to be excited about.
I know I am capable of being OK, of doing the best thing for my DC and generally of managing. I don't regret what I did for a moment and I'm happier than I was a year ago and far more myself than I was. I just can't at the moment imaging feeling excited and really looking forward to life. I just want someone to tell me that life will be great again at some point.
You sound AMAZING. I'm you, four years on, although ex and I do 40/60 - I lost both my parents in an 18mo period around the separation too, and bear all the financial responsibility for the kids, and have a demanding, high pressure, high visibility job.
I would say that my life is 90% brilliant and 10% overwhelming, and in that 10% I shut down and do as little as possible, and don't give myself any grief about it. Cupcakes' post about being kind to yourself is spot on and I might print it out and read it to myself. You need to feel invincible to get everything done, but sometimes you have to allow yourself not to be. The thrill of independence doesn't go away (as another poster said the other day in a thread, I still get the biggest kick from locking us all into our house at night), and your identity will emerge, tentatively at first, but beautifully from the swirling mist of the abusive relationship. The individuation process will be more painful but also much more fulfilling/enriching as you're also redefining yourself outside being your mum's daughter (I had a really difficult relationship with mine but even in great parental relationships there is a lot of projection to live up to). It's all exhausting, emotionally and practically/physically, and you have no choice but to continue, so look after yourself as much as you can. Early nights, comfortable clothes, exercise, minimal alcohol. Talk to people if you can. Help yourself feel loved. Take time to cuddle your DC. Distract yourself from the daily grind for five minutes here and there, listen to music. Think of yourself as an animal in need of nurture (you are!). I do find the overwhelming periods tend to coincide with physical exhaustion and this is a draining time of year for everyone. Take up the offers of help and don't get into that insular martyrdom of responsibility. Your friends will be delighted to have been able to make your life a bit easier, it's a lovely and positive experience for all concerned.
I think I am one of the most fundamentally content people I know - my positivity is remarked upon all the time. Yes, sometimes the responsibility feels heavy, but it's also such a gift to be able to direct things the way you choose; to be in the driving seat of your and your DC's lives. Definitely keep going with the counselling. I feel sometimes with pain that we have natural defences that stop us fully experiencing things until we're ready - the corollary of this is a kind of waves/steps effect, so just as you feel better, you are deemed ready for the next challenge in your journey of self awareness.
Having said all that, what you can't see behind the screen is that my house is a shit tip, the decorations are out but not up, I've sent no Christmas cards and I'm lying in bed at quarter to four covered in patches of melted chocolate (no, sadly, I'm on my own). So possibly take my advice with a pinch of salt.
Go and read the post 'sharing my Christmas happiness.' Someone's doing just that, having come out the other side of where you were / are moving from.
I think you sound great, that you're doing great and that unsurprisingly you are EXHAUSTED. If you had a friend in your position you'd probably tell them to get under the duvet (literally or metaphorically) - sounds like you need to give yourself permission to do the same.
Good things will come but it's hard to see that they will sometimes. But they will.
to all you ladies. It sounds like you have all done the hard part. You are to be admired.
You will feel better. You will have ups and downs, but you do sound like you've been doing great. Xmas is a funny time, there's lots of pressure and rushing around, you get tired and a bit run down, and that's when doubts start to creep in, I found.
Can you give yourself a treat? Join a club you really fancy and hire a babysitter once or twice a week to allow it? In my case I bought a horse. I hadn't had one for two decades and I loved it. I started competing, getting out, met people and started feeling happy again. Then I met my husband, who is great, but that's not really part of the tale as I had groped my way back to being happy by myself..
Thanks to all of you. honeyroar love the idea of going out and buying myself a horse. Don't think I could house one where I live, let alone care for it but its a great idea. I think my treat might be a bit more modest but yes, treats are the order of the day.
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