Breaking the Vicious Circle of Guilt

It’s been a few weeks and the atmosphere has drastically changed at home again.

Derrick and I have our fights. And sometimes they can get bad, real bad, especially when one of us has mental illness and the other tries to understand it, but sometimes fails to grasp OUR reality and it just becomes a huge frustrating mess of shit.

But we worked through it.

We talked and we apologized to each other and without invoking too much emotion, we explained where each other was coming from and it’s so useful to be able to reconnect like that, with a sense of calm maturity, especially after having such a strung-out immature fight that ended up with me sleeping on the couch, ignoring him for days and just being irritable AF. It’s hard living with Borderline Personality Disorder, but I have to imagine it’s even harder for Derrick. He doesn’t live with it, he doesn’t understand that we live with our emotions and anxieties always within the extremes. He may be upset, but I’ll be devastated. He may feel hurt, I may think the world is ending. He may be happy, I get elated. He may be frustrated and impatient, I become enraged.

And yet somehow we always manage to work things out with each other. And he always tries. Especially when I’ve shut down and am refusing to talk; he’ll still try to caress my hair and tell me he loves me before leaving for work. And I am stubborn. I know I am. And I pull away from his touch and I don’t reciprocate the love and I let him leave. I know he feels defeated. But I appreciate how patient he actually is, because honestly, if I had to put up with someone like me, I’d have been done ages ago. But he knows that my upset is only temporary and that I’ll eventually get my head about me and we talk. And it’s usually started with me telling him what hurt me or what I resented and how I felt. And he sits and he listens and he’s quiet and reflects on what I just said, no matter my tone, before he tries to respond. For a guy that’s NEVER studied psychology, he’s damn great at dealing with upset people and even though his patience can be maddeningly frustrating at times, I thoroughly appreciate it.

My basic upset, what it boiled down to, was me being depressed because I have nothing going for myself. I wake up, multiple times within a 24 hour period, to be someones source of food and drink. I am cranky and exhausted most times. I thrive on coffee because when 7am hits, I gotta be up and start my day; there’s kids counting on me for things. So I get up early, sometimes 4, 5, 6am and I make the coffee if Derrick hasn’t yet. And I TRY to read, or write, or study or do something for me–but the kids usually interrupt it with requests for food, tv, clothes, hair brushing, etc. and I set down whatever I’m doing to converse with them and rather than getting back to my pleasures, usually the baby wants to be nursed or one of us takes turns making breakfast and we eat as a family. And then after breakfast, I get started on chores because the mom guilt kicks in; and it’s laundry, straightening up rooms, cleaning kitchens or bathrooms and whatever else I can busy myself with in between nursing sessions.

I love to write. I haven’t truly decided if it’s something I want to make a career out of or not yet. But I love to write. And I don’t get to do it as often as I’d like, and I don’t write like a normal person. I can’t start and stop and be okay, I get irritated, irritable and frustrated and sometimes angry if I’m interrupted, so I’d rather not start at all, and that’s no good either.

I have these ideas, for books/stories I’d like to write, but they’re going to take research. Hours upon hours of research, so things make sense to me, so things make sense to the reader. But I only get glimpses of time to myself and it’s hard to concentrate in a house so full of noise all the time or of little ones asking for snacks and tablets and older ones whining about starving or having nothing to do. So my books and notebook and highlighter all sit in a messy pile to the left of my laptop, waiting for me to study them and I have this block inside me that just won’t allow me to–even though the inspiration for these books is so creatively strong that I’m dreaming about these books, that I’m keeping Derrick awake until 2am talking about my life experiences and how they’ll be hidden within the books and I just can’t bring myself to do the actual work. (I did honestly already write the first chapter, but I’m not happy with 3/4 of it, so I’m going to scrap that 3/4th’s and start with just the first quarter I do like.)

Thus lays my challenge: How do I force myself to do the thing I love, without the guilt? The mom guilt of getting things done, of being a present and engaging parent, of being a good wife who spends time with a husband who’s been working all week and I don’t want to neglect any of them.

Sure I found time to write this blog right now; but that’s because the baby is finally asleep and the older two kids are doing chores and the younger two girls are away at my mother’s house visiting for the week/weekend. And honestly, blogs like this don’t take me long to write them, because I’m honestly just typing what’s popping into my head.

Maybe making a schedule will help. Map out physical fitness and prioritize it, I feel better and more productive after a good sweat session. Map times to do chores, so I don’t feel overwhelmed and compelled to do them all at once, leaving myself exhausted after 2 or 3 hours of continuous cleaning with only breaks to nurse. Map time to read. Time to write. Time to bond with the kids and time with just me and Derrick. Because trying to figure this all out blindly, daily, just messes me up and I end up spent at the end of the day, as well as feeling like I didn’t get a single thing done–even though the house is clean–I didn’t get one personal goal (reading, writing) completed.

I already have the supportive husband and I honestly think he wants me to do something for myself, more so than I want to do something for myself. Because the more I complain about not doing something for myself, the bigger frustration it wedges between us, because I’m in a bad mood and he’s in a bad mood because I’m in a bad mood and it’s just a big mess of bad moods.

So I’ll do it. I’ll make me a schedule. I’ll put down those times. And I won’t feel guilty for scheduling self-pleasure times of reading, writing and creating. My mentality needs it.

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