I don’t think I’ve written much about how I’ve been doing, at least not in great detail. I’ve shared little bits here and there, but that’s about it. Writing has been much more challenging over the last year, but I’m slowly being drawn back to it.
I don’t know where to begin, or if this will make sense. I’m a little scattered tonight but I suppose it will make the most sense to start with the present.
It’s tough to open up about where I am and what I’m going through, especially without trying to downplay things. Writing about it is easier than talking about it in person, but it still goes against the grain for me. That being said, I’m working very hard to find my way back to some semblance of balance in my life.
I’ve gone through a few phases regarding writing on this site. Before my divorce, I shared more freely, and there weren’t many things off limits. After my divorce, I discovered more of a need or even desire for privacy, especially when it came to my personal life. As my kids have gotten older, I’m very focused on respecting their privacy as well. More recently, I’ve been sharing a bit more about my personal life and journey once again. Honestly, I think I need and deserve some privacy in my life.
Towards the end of last year, I began struggling a little more. It was an internal struggle and something I could also manage internally. It wasn’t anything new, but I was not coping as well as I could have been.
A few things came up that set me back on my heels. I don’t want to talk about everything, but a big one was that my business experienced a huge setback, and I didn’t see it coming. It wasn’t something I could quickly bounce back from, and honestly, I’m still playing catchup today. It’s causes me a ton of stress and anxiety, because I haven’t recovered yet.
That was sort of the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. That was the point I think I began to struggle. Between work, the increasing demands of my kids, trying to navigate Gavin transitioning into his adult life, projects around the house that weren’t getting done, and my own life, I feel like I began to crumble. My mental health took a major hit and I slowly began to fail.
I was trying so hard to manage all of this. I tried to talk about it, but I just downplayed everything because it was easier. All of this built up over a few months, and what was once an internal struggle had begun to impact all aspects of my life. I was shorter with my kids, and while they can be frustrating, they definitely don’t deserve that. I began struggling in my personal relationships as well. I was distracted, tired, and forgetful, and I was in this state of constant overwhelm. It was both physically and mentally exhausting. As all this built up, I was becoming more and more anxious. Eventually, my anxiety just took over, and I couldn’t function effectively anymore.
I’ve experienced burnout a few times over the last two decades, but this was by far the worst I’ve ever experienced. All I wanted to do was shut down. It was like I couldn’t breathe, and I got to a point where I just wanted everything to stop. I needed the world to stop spinning. I didn’t even want to wake up in the morning. I was struggling with suicidal thoughts, and that terrified me. I felt like I was broken. Honestly, I was a total mess. I had reached a point where I knew that if I didn’t immediately relieve the pressure, I would fail, and I was worried that there wouldn’t be any coming back from that this time. I’m so grateful I was still self-aware enough to recognize this.
I was crumbling under the weight of everything. I was worried that if I couldn’t even tread water, my kids would drown with me. That wasn’t an option. My kids are my entire world and have already lost their mother because of the choices she continues to make; they were not going to lose me.
Thank you Rob for being transparent and brave to share your most inner thoughts in your blog. Remember to give yourself some grace, find a bit of downtime to relax 15, 30, 60 min whatever you can muster into your day. Your life, my life, our world of special needs children growing up is tough but also joyful to see them grow and accomplish their goals. I can’t imagine your not overwhelmed. Rob, be kind to yourself, I find for me I hold myself to these “high standards”
and unbelievable crazy lists of tasks that are unrealistic, others can see it but I can’t until I have one of these “aha” moments in time and realize I am burning myself out.
Reevaluating my time and priorities has helped me. I am single now too, not by choice. Talking to a friend I trust and asking for help of that person as my accountability person has helped. Listing every task I need to get done, then grouping them into like topics. My groupings are Guardianship & Long Term Care for my two sons; Closing My Business; Selling My House; Taking care of Me ( my physical, mental, emotional & Relaxation health); grouping my tasks and identifying what I need to get done first has helped me a lot and talking it over with someone to help me be accountable. Also, using my phone to set alarms so I don’t become so hyper focused on this grouping of tasks. I live with ADHD too (an adult diagnosis I received in my early 30’s) and it can be a hinderance and a blessing. Using my phone to set alarms and timing myself has been a very helpful tool to accomplish my tasks. Working for 2 hours then taking a break for 1-2 hours and doing something relaxing, whether it’s prepping dinner in the morning for later in the evening using a crock pot meal or cleaning out my fridge. (Doing something physical to break up the mental tasks of my work.) or sometimes taking a Power Nap. I find myself to be exhausted a lot of times and a nap when my boys are with someone else refreshes me. Allowing myself to rest and relax is hard for me because I feel like I always have to be “on” because who else is going to do it. If I am speaking out of context to you please let me know but it sounds like you are very hard on yourself and you carry everything on your shoulders. All that pressure can be very taxing on one’s mental and physical health combined with a strong work ethic and wanting to do the very best for your kids all the time would be overly taxing on oneself. I get it more then I can express. I am learning the key to getting healthy again is slowing down, identifying your priories, asking for help and finding some accountability with a friend or two you trust and knows your situation and making a plan. Being intentional to include periods of relaxation in the midst of all you need to conquer. Plus realizing you are only one person and it’s okay to ask for help with everything you’re dealing with.
Thanks for your openness. The last 3 years of the pandemic added stress to all the other stressors. My nerves still haven’t recovered! Hopefully getting good sleep and exercise will really help you. I found biking last year was a big help, but haven’t gotten much in although I’ve gone about 4 times since 3rd of February.
You should be proud of all you’ve done for your sons. You’ve been there for them and that is 90% of the job. I hope things keep improving for you and you family.