There are many things I’ve learned in the last 40 years. The most relevant thing, right now during life in lockdown, is that there are many things out of your control. You cannot control what others think, do, or say.
I’ve been shocked seeing how people are flouting the government advice. People think the rules don’t apply to them. I sincerely hope those people don’t find themselves alone, on a ventilator struggling for their very last breath.
But (if you’re lucky) you can control yourself.
That’s very much been at the forefront of my week. This is not a natural situation. It’s very un-natural and un-nerving. We are all weathering the same storm. But we all have different ways to shield ourselves from the rain.
Some of us have strong, sturdy golf umbrellas to get us through life in lockdown. Some of us were given one by our Nan in the late 90s. (It still works but there are holes and the spokes are bent.) Some of us don’t need one at all.
This week, my umbrella monumentally failed. It totally flipped inside out. I was left feeling drenched, cold, and very much alone.
That was the moment I screamed into a pillow and found an old stash of just-in-date Diazapam. I knew the ugly presence of mental illness would rear its head. It had been bubbling away for a while.
I’d done so well at monitoring, nurturing, owning and coping. Then a virus ravaged the planet, sweeping the rug from under our feet.
Just when I thought I had my all mental wellbeing bases covered
That’s the joy of mental illness. You can’t let your guard down especially, it seems, during an imposed world lockdown.
The good news is I’ve ordered a new umbrella. I’ve also just ordered a shoe gauge which I am so deliciously excited about because I get to play shoe shops with the boys.
Following the screaming into the pillow incident, I realised a number of things.
1. I have stomach muscles I thought had been long lost during two cesarean sections.
2. Screaming makes your throat really sore.
3. It does make you feel better.
4. You get very funny looks from your 3 year old.
Why did I scream into a pillow you wonder?
This is where I begin the sentence…. I love my family BUT….
I love my family BUT:
1. There isn’t a moment’s quiet from 6am – 8pm.
2. When 8pm comes I’m too damn exhausted to care.
3. When hubby is working from home, I wish he would just concentrate on ‘his’ work and not interfere with ‘my’ work.
4. I sometimes feel like an underpaid, unappreciated waitress who doesn’t get to keep her tips.
5. There’s no time to do ‘nothing.’ By that I mean, I want to literally have nothing to do but there seems to be less time to do nothing than ever before.
Does that make any sense?
6. I don’t want to fu*king play hide and seek again.
7. I wish everyone would stop talking. I thought I talked a lot jeeze!
8. In order to remain a sane and functioning human, I desperately want and need some time on my own. Before lockdown this was my self-care. At least 1 hour on my own maybe on a park bench. Now I can’t imagine sitting on a park bench without wondering if it’s covered in virus.
9. Out of spite, I ate the last two chocolate eggs that were in the door to the fridge and when the boys ask where they are, I’m going to make up a LIE that they already ate them.
10. Sometimes, I don’t like them very much…
… and that’s okay
Because there’s always time to reevaluate yourself and your relationships. So after a very emotional few days that EastEnders would have won a Bafta for, that’s what we did. We had a huge relationship lockdown spring clean. I can’t recommend it enough.
So now when hubby puts on his headphones ready to work, he ignores us and we ignore him. We’ve come up with a new bedtime routine for the boys.
Divide and conquer has been the key.
The youngest gets the bath to himself, a bonus story and 1-1 time. He self settles from 7pm.
We realised that although the eldest is seemingly resilient, his little world has been turned upside down. His latest tantrum episodes including deafening screaming are his way of showing us he’s stressed, confused, bored and scared.
Now he has 1-1 time with us and we’ve already seen how much more content he is.
Last night he asked us if he could join us for dinner at the table. My heart exploded (in a non covid-19 related way)
Hubby and I are in a much better place.
Go check your umbrellas and if yours is broken, order a new one.
It is, after all, an essential purchase.
What life in lockdown confessions would you like to make? If you need to get anything off your chest, feel free to let it all hang out in a comment below.
Picture credit: Hand photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com