Do you ever feel like nothing is ever good enough? I’ve been struggling with that feeling once again lately.
For example, I never posted anything last week. Based on my idea list for posts I was supposed to write a short story with Kevin, one about the other dwarven brother. I wanted to continue the short as it feels more like a cliff-hanger chapter than a complete short to me, whereas my husband felt it was getting to be the length of a short essay and figured we should stop. And then posting day came and I realized that part of the story is in present tense and the other part in past. We decided to hold off on posting it so together we could sit down and fix that. Well, it has been a week and because of [insert excuses here] we just never got to it. So, yesterday I posted it how it was, without any edits.
And then today, now, in fact, I am supposed to put up a post about making a vision board. But I’m unhappy with it as well. So, guess what isn’t going to be posted yet? Yup, that post. Instead, I’m going to ramble and post this without editing it.
But it isn’t just my writing that is making me feel like I’m not good enough. I’ve been really hard on myself for a while now. And last month I had more than just a log put into my fire of doubt, it was more like an entire tree with the way my mind has been chewing it over.
Essentially a family member with whom I used to have a decent relationship decided that I should be threatened with CPS back in September (she was drinking and mashed up two different events, ended up accusing me of taking my child to an after-hours sex-show – like what the fuck! Go ahead and call I did no such thing.). I had no contact with her until January when my husband convinced me to have a one-on-one conversation with her in which she told me I needed to see my psychologist more often and told me I was brave for talking with her. Nothing was resolved but I thought it was enough of a conversation that I could allow her in my life again. And then in February, she came to my house, where she proceeded to berate me in front of my four-year-old daughter (who in tears asked me why said person was being mean to me). I have been in no contact since but the things she said during that ‘conversation’ live rent-free in my head because I have a terrible habit of mentally-self-sabotaging myself.
So am I what she says I am? Why does it keep ringing around my head like this? Am I really such an irresponsible person, who abuses my children and husband? Do I really not allow my children to be kids? Should I really be institutionalized? IS my mental health so bad that my children should be taken away? Do I really need to work more on myself? Can I actually take care of myself? Am I good enough? Is it irresponsible of me to reach out to people who are struggling in their own ways? Does the state of my house really matter that much?
No and yes.
Yes, I need to work on myself – everyone does! And I am working on myself. I talk with my psychologist monthly, psychiatrist yearly, and my family doctor regularly. They all tell me that I am doing exactly as I should be. I do not need to be institutionalized, in fact, I am doing better than most people with DID and they think I should write a book about what I go through so I can help others too. I’m not so sure I feel comfortable with opening up that much about my trauma for the world to examine but it makes me confident that I’m not a failure, at least for short bursts of time.
I have proven that I can take care of myself and my surroundings. But I am limited in what I can do by both my physical and mental health. But I’m not completely ignoring the things that need to be done. Have you ever heard of the spoon theory? It applies here.
For example, on Friday morning my house was clean. Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but there were no dirty dishes, all counters were washed, my bathroom was cleaned, and one could walk from room to room without tripping on anything but a floor mat. The only chaotic rooms were the office which was behind a closed door and my kid’s bedroom. I spent Friday through Sunday very busy. I made a bed frame, bought groceries, worked more than 22 hours between three jobs, had two naps, spent a few hours searching for a missing friend, etc. I overdid things, again, and am in pain for it still. So, yesterday morning I looked around my house and wanted to cry because I could not look anywhere without seeing a mess. After two days of hardly being in my house and it looks like a bomb went off. And because I’m the “stay at home parent” I’m responsible to get all of this cleaned up. And I’m the one who is called irresponsible and told I should be institutionalized for not being able to handle things.
No, I am not abusing my children and husband. At least I don’t believe I am and I am told by my husband that I’m far from abusive. I do everything I can to ensure my children are not abused like I was when I was younger. My children are my number one priority. But there are three things I can think of that may be construed as abuse if someone wanted to twist things around.
One – yelling when really angry or frustrated – if I ask for space and you continue to badger me and not let me have a time out, after a number of hours of not getting my needed space I snap. I will scream for people to leave me alone, to go do the things they need to do, and stop touching me, let me have a time out!
Two – making my kids have chores despite their young ages. They are responsible for getting them done before they are allowed things like monitor time or asking a friend to play. If they ask for help doing the chores, I will help as long as they continue to work on it. If they stop, so do I. In some cultures, my oldest child would be cleaning her school regularly and would be allowed to take the city bus around on her own, in fact, it would be considered very strange if she wasn’t allowed to do those things. I do not go that far with their responsibilities, they aren’t a maid or anything but they do need to do their homework and follow their chore lists.
Three – occasionally, after every other punishment has been tried I give my children one or two of the gentlest swats upon the butt. In this, I can see people calling abuse over. I feel that I must explain that this is not a regular occurrence. It happens maybe twice a year. If I have gotten to this point of punishment I have already done time ins, time outs, taken things away, tried creative punishments that fit the misdemeanor, and am on the final straw my kids will get a warning that the next step is a bum swat. There are never more than two swats and they are relatively gentle. I’d compare it to the force of guiding the child out of the way of a shopping cart in a busy store or burping an infant. But because it has been noted as a punishment my kids will cry and yell and call me mean. And I do feel mean, I feel like the world’s worst person every time I do this.
No, I’m not irresponsible for reaching out to people who are in need and being their friend. With this logic, I should ghost my depressed friend when she becomes suicidal because I can’t take care of myself?? Bullshit. Does this mean I should ignore someone who is an ex-addict when they are trying to turn their life around? No! Where is your compassion for others, if you think that helping someone who is unable to move on their own get out of the street and calling 9-11 to ensure they are safe is problematic to my own well-being, well I just don’t understand this logic and it rattles me. I’m not giving these people more energy than I can reasonably give out.
I get that I am a hot mess and that things could be better. I know that I am hard on myself and that there is cause for concern when a person is diagnosed with fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and dissociative identity disorder. But I am not failing my family, I’m not abusing them and I am doing the best that I can with the cards I’ve been given. I need to keep reminding myself of this.
If you are anything like me, and overthink things, and are harder on yourself than necessary, I ask that you take a moment to stop and breathe. You are also doing the best that you can with what you are given. Some days will look different than others and that’s okay. If all you can do today is brush your teeth and go back to bed. I applaud you, it can be really difficult to self-care when you are struggling. Yes, there is more you “should” be doing but take it a step at a time. Life is a journey and beating yourself up over it won’t help anyone in the long run. Try to love yourself.