There are times when life just hurts, and the fear related to that pain engulfs me. My executive functioning begins to wane. My keys don’t end up in their normal place. I drink coffee out of measuring cups, because the counters are full of dishes and there are no clean mugs. I pull my medicine down from the cabinet and then realize at bedtime that I never took it. I lose my planner and show up barely on time to video calls. I stay up too late, trying to catch up, but increasing the likelihood that I’ll misfile even more things in my brain in the process. I’ve described having anxiety as if my brain were a constantly flushing toilet, filled to the brim with all the crap and the good in my life just circling and exhausting me. When too much is happening around me, my figurative toilet brain overflows. It’s hard to get everything cleaned up again. When things all around me are breaking, natural disasters, violence, preventable deaths, hatred and so much more, it feels meaningless to try to pick up the crap and mop the floors of my brain. More crap will just overflow later anyway. It feels like wasted effort, and I’m already so tired. It might be trite and overused, but the idea of loving your inner child helps me on days like today. When I step outside of myself and my life for a moment, pretend that I’m a toddler, I can see the value in the clean-up. When my children were little, I couldn’t keep up with the dirty diapers. The kids were fast and into everything. Sometimes, it was all I could do to close the diaper up and hide it. You might think walking the 10 feet to the trash can was obvious, but we had an elusive husky at the time. The garbage can was her frenemy, and this resulted in her becoming mine. If it was a cloth diaper, it made it to the wash bag, hanging from the table. If it was disposable, it tended to stay on the changing table, pushed to the side. Disposable diapers got trashed after bedtime and cloth diapers got dealt with in bulk about every 2-3 days. Yes, it was as gross as you are imagining it to be. I believed I was a terrible mom then. It sure didn’t help that some people implied that I was because keeping a clean house wasn’t a priority for me. Because of anxiety, because of my toilet brain, I only had so much energy. I couldn’t maintain a housekeeping routine and be what my kids needed at the same time. They were enough to keep track of, all by themselves. They still are, honestly. I got them as clean as I could and then I worried about the actual clean-up later. But, I did do the clean-up. They needed those diapers stripped, washed, and dried. We needed to save money, so I was constantly cleaning up crap, and not figuratively. I deserve the same effort. I deserve to clean myself up. Sometimes, I just have to put the poo into a pretend diaper and shove it in a corner until later, but regardless of how many times I have to make the mop water, the floors of my brain are worth it. How I mop and take care of myself through clean-up may look different from day to day, whether it be literally mopping or reading Sense and Sensibility for the umpteenth time, but it is not wasted effort, even when it looks and feels like it is. Some people may see me as they did then, judging my house and therefore my merit, but the error is in their mindset and not in mine.
bekatucker 3 Minutes
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