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Coming Unravelled and Trying To Put Yourself Back Together

Photo by Anthony Shkraba from Pexels

The last two weeks have been incredibly busy. I've made no secret of the fact I found this last lockdown incredibly difficult mentally and my anxiety was having a field day, so since everyone went back to school, I've been trying to catch up with everything I should have been doing during Lockdown.

Understandably, trying to catch up with 9 weeks of work in just 2 weeks, is pretty challenging, but for some reason it didn't occur to me that this was a pretty silly thing to try and do. Stupidly - isn't hindsight a wonderful thing? - I assumed that because the boys were back at school and I could write more, everything would just click back into place and I'd feel more like myself again.

Instead, I've been getting steadily more stressed about everything, resulting in me catching a cold, losing sleep and generally getting quite rundown. Instead of giving myself time to get my head straight, I launched myself with the usual thoughtless abandon into the next set of projects. This week has been particularly difficult, trying to juggle editorial meetings, social media promotions, writing, editing, unexpected dental appointments and trying to buy a holiday home, as well as checking that the kids and the husband are all ok with being back at school and getting ready for exams etc. It took my husband telling me he was worried about me and a conversation with some friends for me to realise that whilst being anxious is, for me at least, a normal state of affairs, it was spiralling out of control at the moment. So as always, I decided to write about it in a bid to convince myself that things aren't as bad as the voice in my head keeps trying to tell me they are.

My Worries:

The magazine won't be ready on time - It will. It's coming together beautifully and we are on top of everything we need to be. (The theme is quite apt for me at the moment though!)

I'm behind on my Novel In A Year - Yes, I am. But I've already caught up more than half of the 12,250 words I should have written by now and I know that once I can focus more on that, I'll get it done. I'm not short of ideas, I just need the concentration to get them written down.

My teeth are all falling out - No they're not. That was just a dream, brought on by having to have a crown fitted.

I'm going to let my colleagues down with the magazine because I'm utterly clueless with social media - No I'm not, Facebook changed the settings and a 10 minute job took me 2 hours because I had to work out how to do something in a new way. Now I know, it won't be a problem in the future.

The first round of edits for my novel should be done by now - Yes, but that plan was made pre-lockdown. Give yourself a break. You're working on it. You can do some editing in the evening if you need to. That's probably not a bad idea, as it would stop you eating.

I'm a bad friend because I forgot to call someone when I said I would - No. You just forgot. She wasn't upset, she was worried and you rang her and had a long chat in the afternoon instead. It's all good.

I'm not sleeping very well - Maybe if you stopped stressing over stupid things, you might sleep better? You know a milky drink works so just stop forgetting to make it!

The family - Well there's not much you can do about this one, is there? You're just going to have to take this one on the chin and trust that you have a good enough relationship with them that they'll tell you if something is wrong.

This last one of course is the most important and actually, the husband and the kids are fine. As I'm writing this, the little one is sitting at his desk next to me chattering away while he draws me a picture. He's been a bit clingy since he went back to school, but that's understandable. The eldest is stressing about his exams, but he's coping ok and when he's having a wobble he comes to talk to me and we chat about his worries and I suggest things he can do to ease the pressure, but often, all he needs is a hug.

I think reading so many stories about people coming unravelled - both for Makarelle and online - whether it's been individuals, groups or society as a whole, has exacerbated my own concerns and anxieties and I need to take a step back and recognise that their experiences are not and will not be, my own. I'm very lucky that my boys all understand that I'm a worrier and they're all happy to do the little things that help to ease my mind, at least where they're concerned. For example, the 15yo accepts that if I read something about teenage suicide, I'm going to spend the next few days continually asking him if he's sure he's ok and trying to get him to talk to me about problems he insists he doesn't have (and deep down I know he doesn't and he genuinely is fine).

I realised that I'd probably been getting far too involved in the books I've been reading, allowing media headlines to seep into my brain and had been forced (by the boys) to listen to The Beatles far too often, when I sat down to write a story and this poem came out instead. It certainly made me realise that sometimes you just have to take a step back from everything and give yourself a break.

The Voice in His Head

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Day after day, alone in his bed

The teenager sits and thinks

That maybe he should be dead

That nobody wants to know him

They think that he’s just a bit down

And he never tries to tell them

‘Cos the voice in his head

Whispers he has no friends

And nobody would care

If his life should end

Exams and lockdown, where can he turn

All he wants to do is get back to school

Where he can learn

But nobody ever listens

To the cries for help he makes

And nobody seems to notice

‘Cept the voice in his head

Saying he has no friends

And nobody would care

If his life should end

He is alone, alone in his room

Surrounded by loving people

But it still feels like a tomb

And nobody’s there to help him

He can’t say what he wants to do

His parents could possibly help him

But the voice in his head

Says that he has no friends

And nobody would care

If his life should end

Screaming silence, screaming silence

Circling round and round and round and round

He tries not to listen,

He knows that the voice is wrong

There are people who love him

But the voice in his head

Tells him he has no friends

And nobody would care

If his life should end

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