Stresses & Strains.


Stresses & Strains

I suppose this is an introspective post.  There’s an hour until I start the rainy school run, so I thought I’d ponder on paper so to speak.  (I know this isn’t paper, but it’s as near as dammit).

My Ulcerative Colitis has flared horribly, and I had to make an emergency trip to the docs last night as requested by NHSDirect.  It was either that or go to A & E.  The thing is, I’m convinced it is all stress induced, and as a result blame myself a lot, which causes more stress because I’m stressed that I can’t control my stress.

So….how do you control stress when, as a parent, you’re jugging two lively kids, school runs, long days, interrupted nights and a huge lack of organisation? Can it be done?!!  I’m already on anti-depressants, which I admit has helped a little, but there still must be something going wrong, surely.

I once mentioned to someone about how busy I was, and how wound up I was about everything.  They asked me what exactly did I have to do in the time period I was talking about, and strangely I had quite a small list.  (This was a long time ago before kids, marriage and responsibility)  They commented that they thought I was busier in my head than in actual life.  Unfortunately I think this still applies.

It seems impossible for my brain to calm down, it’s constantly doing whirlygigs and looking for things to think about, plans to make, things I’ve forgotten, things I need to do, places I should go, people I need to catch up with…and the list continues.

Take today for example, I’m desperately trying to take it easy for the sake of my health, and have completed the grand total of four tasks – unload and load diswasher, tidy kitchen and front room a little and load and unload the washing machine and plan tea.  Yet I still feel like I’ve done loads, in that my head feels cramped, I’m fairly tired and I’m dreading the school walk / slog in the rain.

It makes me feel as if I’m lazy, but I can’t be surely.  Never in all my life have I been called lazy.  ‘Conscientious’ has always been the term used, in school reports and in work places.  Yet, even on good days, the house is apalling and I mean piles of washing everywhere, toys scattered on the living room floor, kitchen floor dusty and with yoghurt pot tops stuck to it.  Sounds disgusting doesn’t it.  I just don’t have the motivation, or the skills to co-ordinate everything.  I miss dental appointments (2 this week), double book myself, lose letters from school, forget nursery payments. You name it, I’ve mucked it up.  That was why we had such a trauma over Sausage’s school place, I just put off sorting it. Simple as.

I just take too much on, but can’t seem to stop it. This eve I have a proper recipe planned for tea which will take time and effort.  This blog, which I have fought tooth and nail to keep on with, takes time, effort and commitment too, and stresses me on occassion too.  But to give up these things that I love, would stress me less and cause me to die of boredom. I can’t win!

People suggest yoga (I nearly typed Yoda then, too much Star Wars in this house!), but I always have the kids with me when it’s on.  Even when I sit and watch TV, I have an internal clock with an alarm that says that ‘In 15 minutes you need to go blog, or clean something.’  I try to cook to relax myself, because it’s productive, but usually end up swearing under my breath and making bizarre things the kids won’t eat.

The only time I really relax is when I’m outside or asleep, but even then I’m thinking I should be inside, doing something useful.  (not when I’m asleep obviously).

Life for me is a series of tasks to be completed, a mental checklist.  But it’s a huge list, and I constantly attempt everything in a back to front manner.  I’m too skittish and get confused with what I should do, how to do it, when to fit things in.   All in all, I find myself a pain in the ass, and no doubt other people are constantly frustrated by me.  Almost as much as I frustrate myself.

Summarised – I am the equivalent of a huge, incomplete, spidergram (you know those charts you do when you brainstorm things?  Obviously this spidergram is completed with the use of half eaten luminous coloured crayons, green biro, or felt tips that are running out, written on a crumpled piece of paper with a picture of mickey mouse on the back that the kids have half coloured in and got bored of.  It’s a rubbish spidergram and it doesn’t work properly.

I need to be more like a flow chart, that’s it! Clean cut and completed on a puter printed out on a piece of paper, neatly shaded in colour codes.  It should be titled ‘Daily Life!’ and be on a clean, clear, plain sheet of paper.  Laminated preferably.

As it is I’m almost resigned to being a complete and utter muck up, I make life difficult for myself for the hell of it, and suffer as a consequence.  I don’t know if I’m the cause of this fecking disease, and feel hopeless as a result.  If it’s stress, how do I stop it.  If I can’t I worry that I’ll just shout ‘You’re a goddam failure’ at myself for the rest of my life, bleed terribly all the time, spend hours on the loo and rattle with tablets. (currently on 19 tabs a day at present).  A year ago I was drug free and fine, what the eff is going on. *sad face*

(apologies if this doesn’t make sense much, I’m just annoyed, frustrated and venting)

It’d be interesting to know. Are you a flow chart, a pie chart, a spidergram or a list? Are you colour coded? Would you be on plain paper, scrumpled old colouring book paper, concertina style paper prised out of a photocopier? I’m curious.

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7 responses to “Stresses & Strains.

  1. Other than the Ulcerative Colitis, I could have written this post. At the moment I’m cutting back from my 2-days-a-week-work-from-home-no-commitment-zero-hours-contract job because my anxiety is through the roof, I can’t concentrate because I’m anxious therefore get no work done, therefore worry that I haven’t worked and as I’ve already spent the money I haven’t earnt, I stress I need to work more hours, therefore get more anxious… The house is a complete state. I’m rubbish with finances and owe my children’s savings accounts money I can’t pay back, I’m hoping their nursery will be nice and let me off the after-school contract I only just extended… Not to mention the ten failed driving tests because I f*** all of them up with nerves! Also on ADs, also can’t calm my brain down, also feel lazy… Must be the Chaos gene we share! 🙂 Huge hugs from a fellow chaotic mum, we’ll get there one day xxxxx

  2. I think we must be twins or something. It’s just life feels like a whirlwind sometimes, and I just can’t control anything, not even my health. Maybe we care too much about things, I’m sure other people have these problems and it’s like water off a duck’s back for them. Well, at least when our kids get older, they’ll probably say ‘My mum’s lovely, we were loved and cared for, but they couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery’. That could be worse couldn’t it? They’ll always know they’re our priority, even if we screw up every now and then (or all the time, or something). Thanks for commenting and for being understanding. xxx In it together! ;o)

  3. Hi… Don’t be afraid. You’ll probably remember that I’m one of @clutterfairyuk’s colleagues. However, it ain’t all perfect. Far from.

    Yes, I’m probably a colourcoded flow chart… when I have the time to sit down and create it. That isn’t often. Yes, I have certain key tools in place – diary system that is my constant companion (online, can access from anywhere) and the Bring Forward file (can explain that, if Lesley hasn’t already done so). Yes, in a household like this it’s a full-time job keeping all the balls in the air. And I don’t even have any children or pets: just me (self-employed, feast-and-famine) and the husband (who is a church minister working around 72 hours a week).

    But I lose the plot big time. I take on FAR too much. I keep hearing myself saying “yes, sure, I can do that” when I know I’m already committed to six things in the same period of time. I do have night horrors sometimes.

    However… if by any chance I manage to bring the workload down, what happens? I get less done. I feel useless. I have two speeds: fast and stop. I’m busy, or I’m asleep.

    The only Useful Thought I can offer is: if I said no, what is the worst that could happen? If the answer is “absolutely nothing”, you know what to do. As long as you and your family are fed, watered and know they are loved, that’s the big stuff dealt with. The opinions of the world matter not a bit. Keeping time for your important stuff (your blog, for example) is part of Why You Are Here.

    This, from Ralph Waldo Emerson, says it better than I could.

    To laugh often and love much,
    to win the respect of intelligent persons
    and the affection of children;
    to earn the approbation of honest critics
    and to endure the betrayal of false friends;
    to appreciate beauty;
    to give of one’s self;
    to leave the world a bit better,
    whether by a healthy child, a garden patch,
    or a redeemed social condition;
    to have played and laughed with enthusiasm
    and sung with exultation;
    to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived –
    this is to have succeeded.

    Be kind to yourself. And when it comes to practical solutions and ways of making your life easier… ask Lesley. She’ll help.

  4. That is so profound, and so very life affirming. Thanks. Very touching and very, very true. xxxx

  5. Jane "missdaisy"

    kay you shouldnt be so hard on yourself with all your health problems and looking after 2 kids it cant be easy!
    Maybe once little man starts school in sept you will find yourself being able to get in more of a routine with housework etc
    A good tip with remembering school stuff/letters appointments etc is get yourself a large diary and file letters in that on the dates etc thats what i have to do to remember the various things for katie aswell as all my hospital appointments etc as i’ve a brain like a sieve when it comes to all that so have got myself into a routine of checking the diary every evening and also as soon as k gets home from school i empty her bag for letters and file them strait awayx
    hope you start to feel a bit better about things soon and like i said don’t be so harsh on yourself ((hugs)) x x

  6. You know I just wanted to drive up and give you a big hug as nobody should be so hard on themselves. I cope with lists – I do try to make one to remember what I should be doing, but end up adding other stuff on and then crossing it off – that way it both makes me feel better and looks like I’ve actually done something. The other thing is to do school or important stuff straight away, ie before I can forget all about it! Take care of you lovey! xx

  7. Nic James (WC Boggs)

    Kay I love your blogs, You are a talented writer and a great support to me on the UC website. You should stick by your blogs, they are creative and your mantra. This one is so familar (Im also a busy full time working Mum who is frequently stopped in my tracks by UC). It gets in the way of me being the domestic goddess which my mind tells me I should be and often want to be. The trouble is I have this elephant to eat (a metaphorical one of course!). We all load our plates high at times without realising how much we already have to deal with. These mammoth tasks become overwhelming and god only knows which bit we deal with first. An elephant is pretty big to manage in one go huh? I cant put myself into which graph I’d be… my mind cant cope with the stress of deciding (sad i know!) but I work on these 4 principles…
    1. Is it urgent and important? – Yes – do it
    2. Is it urgent and not important? Yes – dont do it – not important
    3. Is it imporant but not urgent? – Yes – do it but decide a time, stick to it and get it done then.
    4. is it not imporant and not urgent? – Yes – forget it…

    You’ve chopped your list in half… how to eat and elephant.. sweetheart.. one bite at a time xxxx keep writing, youre a talent, dont change that xxxx

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