My son had been ill over the weekend. A slight fever, nothing major but his cough got increasingly worse, so by Sunday night his breathing became difficult. I sat awake on the sofa a lot of the night listening. When I finally went to bed, it wasn’t long until the little guy joined us. It was a welcome addition. He slept soundly. But he clearly wasn’t himself. In the morning the coughing continued so I got him an on call dr appointment and he was seen mid morning. He’s on a three day stint of a low dose steroid, and an inhaler through the night. He was incredibly good. He’s exhausted but in his true style still smiling. And managing his new inhaler extremely well.
Looking after my boy all day, and not sleeping much last night left me naturally tired. Add to that, on Sunday night I took a bath. I’ve found baths exacerbate my claustrophobia and anxiety so have stuck to showers. But with my music playing, I thought it might be nice to relax and put a conditioning treatment on my hair.
It started off well, but then I started thinking about the case. The conversation with the barrister, what it all meant and quickly the comforting heat became intense. The steam was blinding, the conditioning treatment became a boundary stopping me from getting out of the bath, the music was too loud, deafening, uncomfortable, nonsensical sound, the bathroom too small, the light too intense. I was at the far end of the house, isolated, in a white walled chamber, the mottled window that offers privacy seemed like a barred window. I was naked, vulnerable, childlike. Effectively blinded, deafened and muted by own device. My heart raced, my breathing shallow. The sobbing started. I felt both ridiculous, ashamed and fearful.
So began my mantra, wash out the conditioner and get out. You’ll be ok. I repeated it in my bid for freedom. Feeling both pathetic and desperate.
Finally I was out, pjs on, windows open, steam gone, an innocent bathroom, a silly grown woman with obscure fears.
Back to today. My husband’s friend from university was in town. Seeing different people and being the eternal bachelor I thought he might appreciate the opportunity to utilise our wifi, a shower, a home cooked meal, getting to do laundry, even having an afternoon sleep. I let him know our home was here as I knew my husband had met him for lunch but might not consider the basic needs.
He came over early afternoon. My son was resting on the sofa watching movies. I was just doing odd jobs. Increasingly tired but knowing sleep wasn’t an option.
I know the guy and he’s fairly self sufficient so I anticipated he would get on with his stuff. Which he did.
So what’s the issue?
Really it’s all in my head. I have met the guy twice. The first time before kids, when I was super slim, confident, stunning, and felt like I could do anything. I was travelling, I had just met my husband, and my past was a deeply buried secret. I was essentially someone else. A free spirit. The second time I was heavily pregnant with our first baby. So I was still beautiful and healthy aside from my in proportion belly bump. Still relatively carefree.
Now he arrives and I’m frumpy. I’m exhausted, I’m drained. I’m overweight, miserable. My husband has told him my past and that I take medication.
His first question to me is how is the medication going? I’m not sure how to answer that. I’m not ashamed of it. But I’ve always taken it. Does it appear that I’m not?!
Then, am I working? No. Do I have any business ideas? No. Do I read any books? Yes of course! Do I know people in the area? Yes. He tells me ‘that’s good for you, makes it better.’
I’m feeling within minutes that I’ve been somehow catergorised/pitied/patronised. And worse still, the fire in me, the conversation skill has gone. I’m so tired all I can really do is stare and reinforce this vision he must have that ‘poor cow has really lost it’
I know I shouldn’t care what anyone thinks, but it was a real reality check to be faced with someone who had seen the older version of me. A better version.
Maybe it was the tiredness. Maybe it’s a low cycle which is reasonable. Maybe it’s a combination.
I hear from some people that I’m inspiring. I hear compliments. I feel loved and supported. And this is very important to me. They have no reason to lie. And their opinion is most important.
When my husband got home, I didn’t feel I needed to be privy or even worth their conversation- what would I contribute? They’re on a completely different playing field to me.
I wanted to be alone. Even away from the kids. Just the quiet. Just my bedroom. My sanctuary, my safety.
The unsociable. Hidden away. Equally by choice and by judgement.