I feel lately that my personality has split.  I can go from crying to smiling pretty easily.  But I cry every day.  I doubt myself every day.  I doubt my worth every day.  But I can dismiss these thoughts.  Put them at the back of my mind and revisit them if necessary.  Maybe that’s what they call suppression.  I’m not sure.  I think of it as compartmentalizing things.  Putting my secret hurts in a locked cabinet in my brain, and sometimes, the cabinet overflows and I break down.  Then I clean up the mess, re-lock the cabinet and move on.

I  don’t like it that it seems all I do is complain.  Admittedly, I’ve got some right to, but am I just indulging my ego with wanting everyone to listen to me?  Is it really as bad as it feels right now?  I don’t really trust my own feelings.  It appears there are many nuances to these feelings.  I don’t get excited about anything: birthday, holidays, trips to the moon.  I just don’t seem to care.  Right now I’d be happy to spend the entire day everyday in a chair reading a good book (unfortunately, the book I’m reading isn’t good-but can be remedied).

I imagine myself sitting my family down and having a serious discussion about how I feel unappreciated, unloved, and just Un.  I want to tell them that things must change or I will have to go. Something has to change besides me.  I am terrified at the thought of the hurt I might cause, but I just can’t live like this.  I need the interruptions to stop.  I need the endless arguments to stop.  The family is not aware that they do this, will deny it, and I’m afraid even if I try to explain they won’t be able to change, and I’ll really have to leave.

How can I leave the only family I’ve got?  I lost my family of origin many years ago.  I’ve got no friends, except online.  What would I do?  Where would I go?  It’s sort of hard to decide when you have all the options in front of you.  Should we just declare bankruptcy and move out?  Then there’s the question of where will S and GS live?  What about Mom?  What would this do to H?  He just got axed from his friends in a big way and says he doesn’t know why.  It would be so heartless of me to walk away from these people who need me.  And that’s just it, they need me…to do things for them, write letters, call banks, doctor appointments made, prescriptions called and and picked up.  Someone who shops and cleans and cooks, and tends to the animals, house, and yard.  They need a cook/housekeeper.  I’ve somehow become everyone’s assistant.  All I asked for for Christmas this year was to have my carpet shampooed.  Of course it didn’t happen. No one even made the effort to get a quote or rent a cleaner, because that’s my job.  I was hurt when my request wasn’t even considered feasible (affordable).

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All of this stuff is why I had my breakdown and left my job 18 months ago.  It’s not a sudden snap.  It all just piles up on me, apparently for years, before I just crash and burn.  It happened before, about 20 years ago when I first broke from my family, H was having panic attacks, Mom had just had her first heart attacks, and heart surgery, and I entered therapy for the first time.  Then I had trouble at work, was actually demoted (without explanation).  It was sort of the same stuff this time; lots of stress with finances, family, disability, the reality of my “retirement” despite the fact that it didn’t stick.  I figure my next breakdown will be when I lose H about 20 years from now.  I need to figure out how to handle all the stress of life without falling apart.

Life is scarey sometimes, and life can be very, very hard.  We suffer many losses over the years, make many decisions for good or ill, have many jobs, and too much worry.  I sort of thought by the time I was 50 my life would be pretty stable:  A nice little house, S and GS visiting from time to time, instead of living with us.  Never expected Mom to last this long (I’ve lost count of the times doctors have said she’d be unlikely to see the new year.) and so we’d be caring for her, in our little, but uncrowded, uncluttered little two bedroom. 

The thing is, I don’t need much.  As long as I have a bed, a roof, food, and books, I think I could manage.  Sometimes I think I don’t really want much, but then on a wider view I see I want a lot, despite my best efforts not to.

I feel better now, having gotten stuff off my chest and put back in the closet in my brain. 


4 thoughts on “Catch-22

  1. Forgive me, but I’d like to smack a few people in your life. What would happen if you quit cooking or cleaning? What if you just tried for 2 weeks to only care for your own basic needs? I know it’s easier said than done, but they’d have to make some adjustments. You deserve better!

  2. You and I are in different circumstances, but we both seem to be central to the wellbeing of those we care for. I hold your hand in my imagination and try not to sink into my own despair. In other words, thanks for your honesty and I want constantly for things to improve for you. It is a comfort for me to know you are there.

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