Do you ever feel like you’ve just got too much going on?
‘I’ve so much on,’ you say to a work colleague ‘I can’t think straight, I’m so tired.’
Your hands rise up to nestle your chin and face, mid conversation, and then inadvertently, you pull the skin around your eyes down towards you.
It comforts you somewhat, but also emphasises your point, to yourself.
‘I don’t know how much more of this I can take.’ you whisper, maybe mutter.
‘It’ll be ok.’ they smile softly ‘things will get easier.’
It is a platitude, a time limited response, and you nod in agreement.
Things will get easier, they always do don’t they?
The conversation drifts off and you slouch away, maybe back to your To Do list.
Maybe your baby kept you awake all night last night coughing, or maybe you’ve had a couple of nights of broken sleep because your back hurts, maybe your mum is poorly and you are worried for her, or maybe you are angry at your other half after an argument where some really hurtful abuse was thrown, and couldn’t sleep.
You are exhausted, just not feeling yourself at all.
An internal game of Jenga has begun in your mind, it makes the usual day to day routine start to feel unmanageable, you realise you are just waiting for the next ball to drop.
Let’s add to this.
A situation you were worrying about has not ended well.
It has set you back even further.
Now, not only are you tired, the familiar tingles of anxiety have begun exploding around your heart and mind.
You shouldn’t have handled that with so much emotion!
But it was because you were so tired.
You know this.
If only you hadn’t said the things you said, the way you said them! Maybe it would have ended with a better outcome.
You remember you need to go out and pick up some bread, you also need to phone the DVLA and sort out your car tax, oh and also? You need to do this without spending any money.
You are worried about how little you have left to spend on christmas presents.
You don’t want to let the people you love down.
You take a deep breath.
Now you can’t find the bloody letter with your MOT details on.
You are going to need to go to the post office too.
If only you hadn’t said those things, the way you said them.
Maybe it wasn’t heard, though, the way you are thinking it was heard.
You replay the conversation over and over in your mind, while reaching for the dog food.
‘If only I had said it this way instead.’
You hold the bowl you just washed for the dog, in your hands, and pause, before putting it back in to the cupboard.
Your thoughts have been hijacked by the way you reacted.
But you only reacted that way because you were tired.
Your hands go to your face again.
Regret, a tinge of embarrassment even, makes your toes curl.
Why did you reply that way?
Embarrassment turning to shame racks through you, you dither, trying to remember what you were in the middle of doing!!
What must they think of you?
Why do you always let yourself down this way?
You play the scenario, back to back on repeat, and even though you try hard to distract yourself, you aren’t able to, so continuously feel the sting as it draws to a close, and it always reaches the same conclusion.
You looking foolish.
You need to get going!
Look at the time!
You dry your hands.
You need to find your purse.
The phone rings.
You are just so tired.
What now? Who needs me now?
You politely answer the questions the guy from Cancer research asks you, while you run around the house searching for…
What the hell was it you were searching for?
‘Sorry, what were you saying then? Yes. Yes. I already donate…’
An hour later after putting petrol in your car, as you try to pay the cashier, you remember what it was you were searching for… and didn’t find.
A door closes in your mind.
Too much noise.
Too much white noise in here!
Not enough sleep, too much din.
I am such a let down, a fool.. I just need some sleep!
My question to you is,
Have you ever felt like this?
Drained, emotionally exhausted, scared but not sure what of, worried about things out of your control, anxious all of the time, filled with a niggling shame, concern over self image because you’ve put yourself down so much you are sure everyone else can see your many flaws, overtired, frayed around the edges, never being able to escape the noise?
Just for a couple of days maybe?
Maybe a little longer even.
Times when you haven’t had enough sleep, so end up feeling like you can’t cope, feeling like you couldn’t handle or bear just one more thing going wrong today.
It’s awful isn’t it?
Like sitting on a a merry go round, the issues, thoughts, feelings and emotions, a blur of colours as the days whizz past you, accompanied by the sound of your racing heart.
Thank goodness we don’t feel like this all of the time.
Thank goodness we can sleep it off.
Thank goodness it usually clears up after a few days, like the condensation being wiped off a bathroom mirror, and we get ourselves back.
We get through it, slow down and step away from the edge, maybe we surround ourselves with friends, we sleep better and ultimately usually we wake up different, more able to deal, at some point.
We wonder what our problem was eventually, it all ended up ok!
One way or another, like the tides of life, it recedes doesn’t it?
For most of us.
But what if it didn’t?
What if sleep didn’t help?
What if you felt like this, your life was lived this, day in day out, all of the time?
What if the merry go round sped up, instead of stopping, and grew faster and more violent, and eventually it got so rapid, you couldn’t see straight. What if you were desperate to get off, anyway you could, but didn’t know how?
‘I am just so tired and always seem to be’ your friend sighs ‘I am exhausted. I can’t think straight anymore. I just don’t know how much more of this I can cope with. It never ends.’
You may want to choose your next words a little more carefully.
Because remember, your worst day, may be her every day.
And that black dog may still need feeding.