I thought I had depression. I did not want depression, and I certainly did not want to go onto anti-depressants. So, for the last few weeks I've been ignoring the symptoms and thinking that if I just went to bed earlier, or remembered to take my Omega-3s then it'd be all good.
But my exhaustion grew and grew. I couldn't write, I couldn't read, I felt overwhelmed, useless, pointless, adrift. My temper was on a hair-trigger, tears simmered just below the surface and my tolerance for any kind of stress was zero. I felt like I took one step forward and two back. Simple household chores were beyond me and my so-loved garden was just a burden. I found driving so stressful that I was convinced I was on the verge of having an accident.
So yesterday I arrived on the door-step of my wise-woman, tissue in hand and trying not to cry because I was wearing make-up and had school stuff on later in the day. I should've forgot about the makeup.
After she'd patiently listened to me rant and sob for half an hour, she smiled gently and told me I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress - NOT Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD - which War Veterans and the like get).
I have been living under a very high and sustained stress level for the last year, especially since January, when hubs became unemployed and Miss 5 started school. Now that hubs is back at work and we are finally getting some concrete help with Miss 5, the stress levels are dropping and now its time for me to pay-the-piper. So I get sick (migraines), freak out (traffic, and anything else you care to think of), lose temper (with everything and everyone).
Because I haven't been able to take the time to nurture me, my tank is empty, I am exhausted, and my inner self has said enough is enough.
And all this the day before school holidays start.
So how do I recover from all this exhaustion?
Not pills, but cups of tea. Not getting a cleaner, but giving myself a break and getting the family to help with the mess, or live with the filth. Going to bed early. Eating well. Getting outside. Less sugar, more fruit. Getting the endorphins moving. Taking short-cuts, being slack, cooking nothing but scrambled eggs. Taking vitamins. Drinking water. Starting a new writing project. Having fun. Cuddles. Wine. Laughter.
And most of all, just breathing.
Actually, sounds quite fun.
I'm glad that depression wasn't mentioned. And looking back, I can see that my mood was not as empty black as depression, that I didn't have the urge to check out to the degree of sleeping all the time, or suffering anxiety attacks.
And I'm looking forward to a school holidays where I am the slackest parent on earth.