I took a shower today. To most people this is a normal daily activity that is not even given much thought to. To me it is a chore, something I can not be bothered to do, do not have the motivation for. I go for a very long time without a shower (I will not say just how long because there may be people that I know and come into contact with who read this and that is just too much information that I am not comfortable sharing with them.) I do I feel slightly better after a shower but also feel it was such an effort. I also feel worse because I am ashamed of my myself. One of my promises to myself is that I will shower more often, how depressing is that? That I need to try to promise myself to be motivated enough to have regular showers and I can not even manage that? Well, yes that is exactly what it is, depressing because that is what I am, depressed.
I can not remember when this reduction in showering started but it is not a recent problem. I can not recall if it started as a result of many practical issues, or was it just my low mood and lack of motivation. Which came first is hard to say but I suppose both reasons help to feed the problem.
The practical reasons for not showering is because of our financial difficulties. We do not have the type of boiler that only heats the water when you use it, it either has to be on constantly or on a timer. Well I can not afford to have the water heating on timed when no one is using it. No one can use the hot water in the kitchen or the bathroom sinks because the taps are broken. So when my daughters need a shower, they turn the hot water heater on for 20 to 30 minutes before they shower. I often justify my lack of washing as saving money as I do not need it, I do not go to school daily as they do, I do not go to work either. Sometimes I justify not showering because there is no hot water when I "feel" like having a shower, or that when I think of having a shower it is often late in the evening and I do not want to wait a half an hour to have hot water. However, if I had a constant source of hot water, would I shower more often? I think that I would not because I honestly can not find the motivation.
This lack of motivation applies for much more in my life other than showering: changing clothes regularly, doing regular household chores regularly, going out regularly, talking to people regularly, doing just about any "normal" "regular" activities that emotionally healthier people take for granted or do not think about and they just "do". If these normal everyday activities are a rare achievement for me you can imagine how difficult bigger things are for me to cope with: dealing with my debt, dealing with all the home improvements that need doing, dealing with my children and all their constant wants and needs, dealing with my son's addiction and social isolation, depression and anxieties. Dealing with all the many many things that a normal life has to deal with as well as all the many issues that a very unhealthy, dysfunctional and demanding life has to deal with has all become much too heavy for my shoulders to bare all alone.
Was I depressed before all the problems started? No not to this level. I was unhappy many times in my life but never as apathetic as I feel now., because depression and being unhappy are not one in the same. I was happy with my children when they were young and was always active with them (well mostly my son, and also with my daughter but less so with my youngest). I taught my children, again mostly my son, to enjoy life when they were little, to see the beauty life has everywhere, to laugh and be silly, to be good and kind, to always smile despite how hard life can be and ironically it has had very little long term affects in their lives, again, especially for my son.
Someone I know often tells me that I must stop being so depressed and apathetic for my children sake. Nothing could annoy me more. It annoys me for two reasons. Firstly, if it was so easy to stop being depressed and to start being more energetic and proactive simply because you are a parent, then the world would reduce mental health issues by more than half! It is as ridiculous as telling a parent to tell their children to stop taking drugs or any other dangerous activity. Or indeed, it is as unbelievable as telling a drug addict or alcoholic to just stop using! Yeah, ok, I have kids, I better not be depressed anymore, I better start looking after myself and my family and I better make everything wonderful! If only life were so simplistic.
Secondly, it annoys me because I have done that so many times in my life and it seems that life just keeps getting worse. I have fought and worked so hard in so many differing situations for my children to help them or to attempt to make our lives better and actually each and every year our lives get worse and worse. Through it all I always managed to put a smile on my face, make my children laugh and point out some of life's beauty. Unfortunately it did not have any lasting positive affects on my children.
I've always tried everything I could for my kids. The biggest thing I thought I could do for them was to get out of my unhealthy marriage which was also affecting the children because my ex was also a very unfit parent who caused our children a great deal of emotional pain. That is when I thought I was was taking a big step and I would make life better for my children; however it did not happen. Shortly after that my son was taking drugs and eventually excluded from school for drugs. I made it my full time job to learn all the education guidance for exclusions and contacted many organisations, attending numerous appeals etc until we "won" the fight and my son was reinstated. However the results when he was reinstated in school were more negative than positive. I again fought my son's corner to get him enrolled in 6 Form and helped with course work and supported him and attended meetings when it was evident to the school that he was struggling. I once again made phone calls and fought and explained and helped, but in the end despite all the support he quit 6 Form as his drug addiction was making it too difficult for him to function. There are so many other examples that come to mind in which I spent my time trying to get help and support and did all I could do to try to make my family better for my children. All the times I did not "allow" myself to be so "selfish" to be depressed. I even made my vulnerable son move and essentially made him homeless to ensure the best home environment for my daughters and possibly to somehow facilitate my son seeking a new clean life. That did not happen and since then my daughter has had many mental health issues, has self harmed, attempted suicide and is not closer to me or her sister, refuses to see or speak to her brother and is often emotionally distant. I sought help through services for her, attended meetings, groups, made phone call further just as I did for my son. However, we seem to have many more issues and the previous years seem less distressing as they are now.
I began this entry with I had a shower. A simply activity that illustrates how anything other than normal my life is and how complex the issues behind my depression is, One of the most frustrating elements is the fact that people simply do not understand and misinterpret my behaviour as antisocial or indifferent. I still care about people, I still like people, I just feel more comfortable alone and it creates to much anxiety, sadness and depression to be around people at the moment. People do not understand and expect you to change everything on your own or not to take the problems so seriously that it affects your life so much. Or they thing that having children does not give you the right to feel this way because you need to do better for the, Some people take it so personally they do not contact you any more. Some get annoyed and express it by telling you off, "Why didn't you tell me it was so bad? You didn't tell me any of this", well no, because I can't but when I say I am in an unhappy place and do not want to be around people that was my way of telling you. My son has many of the same issues so my next post will be a PART II and continue with how there are so many similarities. I was going to here, but I think it is best to write them as two separate posts.
Life is hard for most and everyone goes through ups and downs. For others life is more than hard, but a struggle and there are very few and infrequent ups to balance out the downs, making life one big downward struggle ending in death eventually with very little success or happiness to show for the life we were given. How to change that is beyond me and it has been an exhausting exercise to wait and try and hope for better days, so I go to sleep.