I am sinking


I’m approaching breaking point. I need to write. To share. To feel heard and held. I am so full of everything, there is hardly any space left for air to get into my lungs. I don’t want this sensation.

I have this odd sense that if I vomited I would feel better. There’s a toxic build up in my system that needs to somehow escape. It makes me want to cut myself. I know if I could watch my blood leaving my body I’d feel soothed. It would feel like the pressure was being released.

I haven’t had a space to talk in 12 days. J is on leave, so there’s no therapy. And I had to miss my CoDA meeting at the weekend. I know that the lack of a safe and open place to speak is contributing to the overwhelm.

A lot has happened in the course of the past week. I had to manage the end of a close friendship, take care of a friend at work who recently had a miscarriage, comfort another friend whose dog had to be put to sleep (and cope with my own sadness about it), and spend time with my dad – who I have avoided being alone with for about 3 years until yesterday. Plus, my grandma is sick again and is likely to be taken into hospital tomorrow. Each time they admit her I get so scared it will be the last.

I’m also withdrawing from Pregabalin (Lyrica). I’ve been on a 200mg dose for several years and I just cut it down to 150mg. Reducing this drug has driven up my anxiety level and made me feel very agitated. I have been obsessive, I mean really obsessive, about pointless things like cleaning the house. All of a sudden, every menial task feels incredibly urgent, and I’m so stressed about getting it all done. I literally haven’t been able to stop doing all these non-urgent, desperately urgent things. It got to the point yesterday that I was exhausted and wanted to rest, but I couldn’t make myself drop what I was doing. My wife ended up getting angry with me, which she almost never does, and even then I couldn’t slow down.

It’s not like I’ve been able to channel this energy into work either, because it isn’t really energy. I have stacks of work to do, but I haven’t been able to properly engage with anything or anyone in the office. Today was especially bad.

Today was bad because we learned that our nephew, who was only born on Friday, is going to be taken into foster care. We know vaguely the situation my wife’s sister is in. She has a drug problem and is very unstable. She has no income and no permanent place to live. We don’t know anything about the baby’s father. So this turn of events hasn’t come as a surprise.

My wife’s sister had another child 4 years ago who was taken away by forced adoption. We had been very involved with our niece, who we loved very much. We still love her, even though we haven’t seen her in almost 3 years. She was an adorable baby, but she had a lot of problems because of her mother’s drug use and self-neglect during pregnancy. It was an awful time when our family finally lost her, even though we all agreed that social services were doing the right thing taking her away.

It’s hard to see all of this happening again. With our niece, we were very close to the process, as we considered becoming her ‘special guardians’ (basically adoption by a family member). We got a long way into the vetting process when all the documentation landed on our doormat and we learned the full truth about what her parents had put her though. We couldn’t conscience becoming her guardians, because it would’ve meant that they would have still had access to her. It was an agonising decision, but we felt that in the long run it would be best for her not to know them.

That’s why we haven’t been excited about our new nephew. We were both trying to be hopeful that things would be different this time. But we were also realistic. We just didn’t realise it would all happen so fast.

As a result of all this, I have my mother in law arriving from Canada on Thursday. She is likely to be staying for 10 weeks. I love her and we get along OK, but I am struggling with the thought of not having the house to myself. She won’t be here for the entire time, but she’ll be with us a lot. And so will all the emotions attached to this horrible situation. Our house is small. It is my sanctuary. And having my safe space is so vitally important to me at the moment.

I wish I could press pause on all of this. Then I could break everything down into small pieces and deal with them one at a time. But as it stands, I am swamped. I don’t have therapy for another week, and I’m not going to get to my meeting this weekend either. I’m not sure how I am going to keep my head above water.


Photo: Sgt. Pepper57, Creative Commons.




15 Comments Add yours

  1. Iggy says:

    keep treading. you are stronger than you know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. findingmaeve says:

    I love this, Laura. Sometimes I don’t talk about all the things going on because I fear people will get overwhelmed, not believe me, or judge that I must be at fault somehow. Reading someone else’s experience makes me feel less alone.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laura says:

      I understand that feeling. I’m grateful for your comment, because it reminded me that it isn’t always the case. Laura


  3. that’s a huge amount to be dealing with at once, and to be feeling as if you are the one everyone is relying on for support. You need to believe that people will not stop loving you if you say ‘enough’ and make time and space for yourself while all of this is going on. I know that probably sounds impossible to do, but you *can* do it. If you need someone to talk to, you are always welcome to email me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thank you for the reminder and the offer of emailing. Academically, I know what I need to do and the healthy way to manage things. It’s just hard to apply it when people I love are hurting. That’s why I go to my CoDA meetings, they’re a weekly reminder of all the tools I can use to deal with these situations. And sometimes, when I can do it, it really works!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. IAmMe says:

    I think you are a very beautiful person. You are able to be there for all your loved ones while sacrificing your emotions in the long run. They are your loved one and you want to be there for them, but during those moments you have to have time to emotionally release yourself in a positive way. You have to sit down and take a breather and remind yourself that you will be OK. It is difficult when you don’t have your therapist with you, but it’s good to practice different types of tools that will help you continued during their absence. Negative thoughts love to reach out when it wants to and you can’t listen to the ‘cheerleading bitches’ as my counselor introduced them in a group session. Find time for yourself, whether its a couple hours or five minutes. Take time to breathe and comfort yourself because that is powerful… being able to comfort yourself.

    The fact that you are able to express yourself to your fullest extent with this well written blog is inspiring. Be confident in your strength. Confidence is a difficult task, but as you practice, little by little every day you will realise that you each day will be a bit easier than than the last, and if its not, you will at least have the confidence to make that day even a bit better.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thank you for your kind words and for reminding me about self care. I’m doing my best at it. I love the phrase ‘cheerleading bitches’ – I can identify with that!


  5. manyofus1980 says:

    oh my that sure is a lot to be dealing with. i have no good advice i can only send supportive hugs your way. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Hugs are generally better than advice anyway šŸ™‚


  6. La Quemada says:

    That’s a lot! And it’s especially a lot to put on top of withdrawal from a medication. I really feel you there, because I’ve been taking SIX months to come off Effexor… and I’m still not done! The times I tried to go down 20 or more mg at once, I literally wanted to die; I was planning the best methods. I can imagine that not only do you want to clean the house more, but you probably feel the very real pain of other events especially intensely.

    Please be as gentle and kind to your beleaguered self as you can. If a friend were going through so much AND withdrawal, you’d want to cushion her, be sweet to her. You deserve that same gentleness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      I think there is a lot of underestimation of how hard it is to reduce any of these drugs. Especially when you’ve been on them for a long while. I feel like the change is beginning to settle down in me now and I’m noticing the withdrawal a bit less. Hope your withdrawal process is going OK. I really understand how unpleasant it is.


  7. Faith says:

    I’m behind on this entry. I hope it’s okay to still write.

    While reading this I thought, good gracious that’s a lot to fall around the same time. I mean you’ve got everything from death to children to grandparents to abuse and back. While reading this I honestly felt validated because I know what it is like to have so much going on at one time. One more thing happens and you’re like, are you joking? Are you kidding me? I wonder how you’re still standing up. I mean your plate is buffet full.

    I also know what it feels like to have a child removed from the home and to have it break your heart in tiny pieces. I think this is something quite a few survivors can relate to. I’m sorry. It’s heart wrenching when they have to be taken away but it’s worse to have them stay in that life.

    I just want to say that this entry was important as a purge for you. A way to bleed without cutting, to expose your inner stress in a steam of real and powerful emotion. I’m just sorry it has built up like this. Hard stuff, this here.
    With hope,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura says:

      Thanks for your comment, Faith. It’s not too late. In fact, I am feeling even more overwhelmed today, so it was good to hear from you. Laura.

      Liked by 1 person

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