Me and my neurosis


I have recognised for quite some time now that I do not get on with big celebrations. The pressure to act in a certain way proves too much for my head to deal with and there are repercussions. The problem is I have yet to figure out how I can avoid these situations. I want to be a good wife and mother; I want to do whatever makes life better for those that I love.

The long, holiday weekend had it’s highlights. Husband decided that the weather was too good on Friday and Saturday to waste around the house so we went out walking. Before children this was how we spent a lot of our down time, and it was pleasing that we were accompanied by our boys on these recent outings. We walked for many miles through our beautiful county, enjoying the sunshine and fabulous views. We returned home feeling wind blown but relaxed; physically tired and achy but in the best possible way.

We decided to forego our traditional Friday supper for a barbecue. The kids left their computers and joined us in the garden where much food was eaten and ping pong played. We watched a film together that we hadn’t found time for since we received it at Christmas. Although I could feel myself becoming agitated I managed to keep my nervousness under control. I was experiencing vivid and disturbing dreams, but I was coping. Things almost went as well as I could have hoped for.

Sunday I had invited my in laws round for a big, Easter lunch. If you are familiar with my blog then you will be aware that I have lost all confidence in my ability to cook, and what would be considered normal socialising for many has become a challenge for me. Deciding that I could do this felt like an achievement. We had invited good friends to stay the weekend before and that visit had been enjoyed by all. I was feeling resolute as I cleaned my house and prepared a welcoming meal that was long overdue.

As ever, I cannot pinpoint any catalyst for what went wrong. Yes I was on edge but I was doing okay, right up until the time when I was not. The meal was a rare success and we had left the table to relax on our sofas and chat. I excused myself for what should have been a moment, and for no reason that I can fathom, mentally crashed. More than anything else, at that moment, I needed to put my head down and get away.

Husband was brilliant. When he came to find me he held me, reassured me that it was okay. The world would not end because of how I had behaved. The effort of holding myself together became too much and I unravelled; I guess the only good thing to look back on is that I found a quiet place alone in which to implode.

It had felt as though I was doing so well. After my in laws left, after I had behaved hysterically with husband, I rested and then rejoined the family. I was exhausted, drained, all feeling washed out. Monday I felt worn down and numb, spending most of the day on the sofa, off line, with my book. Heaven only knows what my in laws think of me; I am probably best not following that thought. Husband assured me it was okay; I must leave it at that.

For my husband’s sake I wish that I could be better, but I do not know how; I truly did my best. I am so weary of this brain of mine with it’s hang ups and neurosis. Today I feel an element of anger that I cannot just behave as I wish, yet I recognise that I have obligations even if I do find them difficult to fulfil.

I am improving. A year ago this type of crash would have taken me weeks to recover from. Although I am disappointed in myself, that I could not hold out for just a little longer, my reaction was contained. Perhaps this is really just a big deal for me.

Today my little family returned to work and school. I can spend the day putting my house in order and recalibrating my inner calm. I am blessed to be surrounded by love and support. Those hugs kept me grounded this weekend, despite the storms.





New Year

Happy New Year!

There, I’ve said it. I do wish you all good health, much happiness and strength to cope with whatever life throws at you. It just takes me a little while to get to the point where I feel able to relax enough to send out the greeting. I cannot relax until I am safely out the other side of the festive season.

I coped better this year than I managed last year. Not that such a thing would be hard given the personal implosion I suffered last year. Actually that would be the year before last now wouldn’t it? You know, given that we have been through the whole turn of the year thing? Oh well.

Talking about the turn of the year, I thought it would be different this time around. Now that my children regularly stay up to beyond midnight for, well, reasons, I thought that we might see the New Year in together. It was not to be. After the champagne, the music, the party food and the film, my husband and I agreed that we were in need of bed more than anything else. Lest you fondly imagine that anything romantic may have been going down, rest assured we were asleep within seconds of heads hitting pillows. At 10.30pm on New Year’s Eve. Boring? Yes. Enjoyed New Years Day more than a lot of my hungover friends? Yes.

So, having got up bright and early with a reasonably clear head, I undecked the halls. My reluctance to acknowledge Christmas until I am forced to do so meant that my children put up and decorated our two Christmas trees. Had they not done so there was a risk that I may have avoided this task altogether. I assisted by draping tinsel around various bits of furniture and innocent house plants. I found places for the themed candles and ornaments that we put out at this time of year. The bulk of the work though was done by my kids.

Not so the undecking, that I did alone and quickly. I have been known to tidy the lot away on Boxing Day so keen am I to move on. Bah humbug as they say.

Anyway, this year the decorations lasted until New Years Day. I had the house back to looking unfestive by lunchtime, and felt much better for it. Now that we have got all that out of the way I can start looking forward.

I do not really hate Christmas. What I find so hard are the expectations and obligations that have become a part of the whole thing. My natural urge to hide makes the whole bonhomie of the season a challenge. I could happily spend the two or three days in front of the television, dressed in my pyjamas, eating pizza with my loved ones. One of these years I am so going to do that.

Husband worked through all but the three shutdown days. The kids did whatever teenagers do all day when they are sequestered in their rooms. Now that we have got through and out the other side though we can enjoy what is left of the holidays. This weekend we will be getting away for some family time.

This is perfect for me. The weather may be foul but a New Year has started with all the positive energy that fresh starts bring. For a little while there will be no demands from others to fulfil any expectations. We five can run away together and have some fun.

So now I can wish you all a Happy New Year with heartfelt sincerity. I have a lot of plans for the coming months and am feeling good about what lies ahead. I hope that your year turns out to be magnificent.