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.