I’ve reached the ‘halfway hump’ in the therapy break. It’s been just over a week since I last saw J. My next session is 8 days away. While I know logically that’s not a massive stretch of time, for parts of me it feels like forever.
Up to yesterday evening, I’d been ‘managing’ by doing what I always do; making myself manically busy. That’s OK for a few days. But it starts to get out of control. I get to the point that I can’t sit still, and when I do, I get this huge physical anxiety that feels unbearable. But at the same time, I’m too exhausted to move.
In the past week, I’ve achieved an awful lot. There were a load of jobs on the boat I’d been putting off, so I decided I’d use the break to get on with them. I’ve sanded down the gunwales and painted them with non-slip stuff. We’re planning to rename her, so I also spent hours scraping off the ugly vinyl decals of her old name in preparation for painting her new one.
The really big achievement was getting our solar power up and running yesterday. We’ve been dreaming of green energy since we bought the boat back in January, so it was amazing to make that happen. When all the parts arrived, I felt overwhelmed and fairly incompetent, as I’d never worked with electrics before. But after a lot of frustration and hours of watching Youtube videos, I got it all set up and we’ve now got free, green power. When I plugged the last cable in and it all came to life, I was so shocked I’d done it right!
There are plenty more jobs for me to get on with. I’ve got a load of paid work I should be doing. But whenever I try to get into it, my mood spirals and I can’t overcome the feeling that I am crap and incapable. I’m well behind on my current project and that’s causing stress that’s making me feel even less like getting it done.
Last night, little Laura emerged and I suddenly missed J desperately. I can’t tell you exactly what I was missing, but I felt so lonely and small. Maybe it’s the sense of holding I feel with her. Or the safety. My wife is kind and caring when I feel so little, but it’s like I need someone who I see as a solid, reassuring adult. My wife is too much my equal for me to get that sort of feeling from her.
I think I’m partly feeling wobbly because my wife starts a new job tomorrow. She’s going to be working full time for the next 3 months. After having her home with me all the time for the past 6 months, I’m feeling worried about how it’ll be to have all that time alone. I’ve not done it before. Last time she worked, I was going to the office every morning, and therapy 3 times per week. I had lots of friends I could meet up with. Now, I’m freelancing, only seeing J on Tuesdays, and my friends are hundreds of miles away.
That means I’ll have so much time without company. And I know that can be really dangerous for me. I like a little of it, I like time to please myself; play loud music, sing, paint, watch TV my wife doesn’t like, take up all the space. But I’m scared I’m going to be really lonely. If my mood isn’t great, that’s when the destructive thoughts gain traction. It’s hard to break out of the rumination and the fixation on that stuff when there’s nobody around.
I’m also very much a creature of habit. So I think this change is really worrying me because it is such a big shift in routine. It’s unknown, and my habit with the unknown is to fear the worst. I catastrophise and obsess over the worst case scenarios. I then get anxious and fearful and that makes me depressed and cranky. I need to try to frame the change in a positive way, but at the moment the only positive is that we won’t be broke anymore. While that’s a big plus, it isn’t going to make a difference to the day to day loneliness.
Image credit: Julie anne Johnson, Creative Commons.