The last few months have been the hardest of my life so far. I’ve been through an absolute roller coaster of emotions and just when I think I’m done, it started all over again.
Sometimes I think it would be great if I just had answers to my problems. It’s all I wanted.. someone to tell me what I was doing was the right thing, what I was feeling was normal, what I wanted for myself and my kids was ok and allowed.
I had all sorts of stuff going on, and working through all of them brought up other issues that I didn’t know I had to deal with. I didn’t want to deal with them, dammit I didn’t want to even think about them, but they stuck themselves in the middle of the road and I had no option but to tackle them head on before I could go on.
I hated my job. Hated it. Hated the way it had changed over the last few months with the introduction of a new manager. I hated him, hated his methods and his attitude and his stupid sporting analogies. The job I used to love had totally gone and in its place was anger and frustration and utter disengagement.
I was working through issues with my ex. What had started as a fairly amicable split was now becoming not so. A shift had occurred. I wasn’t sure what it was for ages.. he hated me. His emails and text messages dripped with it. Demands, accusations and scorn. We were trying to work out ongoing living arrangements for the kids and because I was wanting to move house, I was rocking the boat and everything was my fault.
I wanted to move on with my life. Move house to start a new life with my partner, to make the relationship we had into something more. A life together. This came with all sorts of emotions. Where do my kids live? What’s best for them? Would they be ok if they stayed with their dad? Would I be ok with that? What about me? What about us? So many questions. So many emotions.
I was sad. All the time. Sad because I what I thought was best for my kids was not the best for me. Sad because I wanted the opportunity to make something of myself, create a new career of my own, take some time to put myself and my life first, and knowing that if I also had to deal with school runs and tennis lessons that that wasn’t going to be quite so possible.
If I allowed my kids to live with their dad most of the time, would that make me a bad mum? What would people think of me?
All of this going on at once was not good for my mental health. My partner was trying to get me to talk to someone. Close friends had also suggested it. I was stuck in a pit of depression and anxiety and frustration and I didn’t want to accept help because I thought that made me weak. I thought that made me useless. I thought that proved that the one thing drilled into me growing up, I would fail miserably at. Doing it myself.
I was desperate for someone to give me the answers but I didn’t want to talk to them. I went round in circles trying to work out what was best for everyone and only inching closer to a decision. Then once I thought I had it worked out, I would read an article or research some legal laws or watch a documentary and the wave of anxiety and frustration and depression would crash over me again and send me right back to the start.
This went on for months. Forward movement was slow and difficult. I was leaning heavily on my partner for support, which was fantastic to have but incredibly hard on him. Things had to change, and eventually they did. Slowly, very slowly, but I found as things slowly happened, things started to change.
I quit my job. Just quit. I told my manager I wasn’t on his bus and I left without a job to go to. Probably one of the scariest things I have ever done. Thankfully I had just settled on a house sale and had some cash to support me, which really was the only reason I was able to do it. I gave myself 3 months to try and find an awesome new role.
I tried very hard (and still do) to not care so much about what my ex said to and about me. I worked out that the shift may have had something to do with the fact I had bruised his male ego. How? Because I had a life of my own. I was moving on, I had found someone new. So, I tried to pick my battles. I ignored comments and accusations. I didn’t bite or reply to anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary. Hard. So hard. Still hard.
I came to the realisation that I had to be the one to make the call about my kids. As hard as it was to take my emotions out of the decision, in order to work out what was the best thing for them.. that had to happen. Did I want them with me? God yes. Did I want them to be happy? Absolutely. Sadly I realised that the best thing for them right now, was to let them live with their Dad for the majority of the time. They both had their own thoughts and reasons and I took this all into account. They would not have to move schools and although I would not see them quite as often, I realised that it didn’t mean that our relationship would suffer or that I would be any less their mum. In fact, I was doing the only thing a parent should do, and put their kids first. As much as this nearly broke me, I knew it was the right thing to do at the time.
I finally took the advice of my partner and book in to see a counsellor. I had to book so far in advance I’m still waiting, so I’m hoping I won’t chicken out when the time finally comes.
I stopped trying to over analyse everything. I got the right advice, I looked at the problems in a simple fashion and I made a decision. Then I stopped thinking about it….well at least I tried too.
So far the feeling of that weight off my shoulders has been a huge relief. A lot of these things are still being worked through and I’m nowhere near an expert at the way I’ve dealt with them, but I’m by far and away in such a much better place now than I ever have been, and that in itself has made the most difference.
It’s funny and kind of annoying to realise that no one but you can give you the answers to your problems. Sometimes you need to wade through the rivers of shit to get to the other side, and there’s no way you can jump it. The process is just as much a learning experience as the answer itself.
Just Be You, Everyday