Woman with short hair and diamond earrings resting her head atop a closed briefcase

I’ve been wearing the same clothes for three days, maybe four. The last time I exercised was… I can’t even remember. Three weeks ago, maybe? 

It’s not that I’m being lazy. There just truly doesn’t seem to be enough time to get all the things done. And all the other things seem to be a much higher priority than…than my own needs?

Hmm… that doesn’t sound right. Feels like those should come first.

I’ve been doing some things to take care of myself. Each morning, for example, I make myself coffee and breakfast before I do anything else. The to-do list has also continued to be immensely helpful and, if I’m measuring my success by the number of boxes that are checked off, I’m knocking it out of the park. I color my hair every two months and blow it out every Friday.

It’s progress, but if I can’t find time to shower and exercise (which was on the list to begin with, but which I just gave up on writing in after awhile because it was so demotivating never to be able to check it off), then I’ve got a long way to go. 

When my son was just a couple weeks old, and I was struggling to produce enough milk to feed him properly, I sat in his doctor’s office weeping behind my face mask.

“How are you sleeping?” he asked.

Sigh. “Generally, okay, but last night we were at my in-laws’ house and nobody got any sleep.” 

“Why were you there?”

“Because our house is under construction.”

“And why didn’t anyone sleep?”

Fresh tears. “Well, it was hard to be in the house because my father-in-law just died.”

An understanding nod. “And how often are you pumping?”

“Every time he eats.”

“Which is…?”

“Every 90 minutes or so?”

“Is there anyone who can help you?”

I shook my head. “Quarantine.”

“Do you have a therapist you can talk to?”

I didn’t feel like I needed to talk with my therapist, though I’d had one until very recently and she would have been happy to help me with what was going on. “All the stuff is normal,” I said.

“Nothing about your situation is normal,” he responded.

And he was right. Everything was messed up right then, and it continues to be so. Nothing is normal. For us, with the home construction and my father-in-law’s death and the newborn, the messed-up-ness seems compounded a thousandfold. And the kids are home, and there’s nowhere to go, and their friends are all in their own houses, and we are all stuffed into two rooms, and my husband and I are both trying to work, and, rather than working like a valve to release steam gradually, my top just blows off from time to time from all the overstimulation and feelings of ineffectiveness and inadequacy.

I tend to believe this is just quarantine fatigue, because of everything that’s going on. When the construction is done, and when the kids go back to school, and when the baby gets a little older, things will be less overwhelming. They’ll slow down, and there will be fewer items on the list, and we’ll all be able to take a deep breath.

But what if it’s not just quarantine fatigue? What if this is depression and I’m minimizing it, as I’m wont to do? 

I suppose the outcome would be the same. There would still be the same mountain of items to accomplish, the same coping strategies to try and avoid losing my cool with my kids, who are really innocent victims in this whole mess. Awareness really is the first step.

Actually, I think taking a shower should be the first step. I stink.

Until next time,

-NK

 

 

 

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