I knew it was coming.
I could feel it in my bones.
It was imminent.
Walks on the terrace,
Could help heal or push it away only so far.
And it happened this afternoon.
On a Sunday.
Around lunchtime, the time when I finish the washing, drying, folding of the laundry and ask my 8-year-old daughter to go and distribute the pile of folded clothes.
Once done, she is expected to set the dining table for lunch.
To be very specific, I expect her to only set the table as I bring in the food.
That’s something Pari does every day.
But today was different.
Pari was busy reading a book. I had asked her (politely) almost 4 times to go and set the table before I bring the hot food in.
She kept saying she’ll do it but didn’t move from her reading spot.
On any other day, I wouldn’t have pressed this issue, though would have asked her firmly to finish the task.
But today, before the kind mother in me could take control, the spent, tired, angry, hurt mom in me, barked.
I yelled loud and clear enough to be heard at least 3 houses (or perhaps more) away.
My voice boomed as if from a loudspeaker.
I know I have a very loud voice but when mad rage takes over, I stop caring how loud I can get.
Thankfully, I just yelled Pari’s name and stopped at that.
To no surprise, Pari darted from her reading spot and hid inside the bathroom.
Despite anger making my pulse pace and heartbeat loud in my ears I couldn’t help but be amused by how my kid chose to stay out of trouble.
Had I been in her place, which I have been many times in my childhood, I would have acted differently.
I would have worried about getting the said task done ASAP instead of hiding away.
And that almost always made things worse. I would always be scolded more and be yelled at.
But my child made a smart choice and even in that mad moment I couldn’t help but feel proud of her choice.
Anyway, I digress.
In no time, I could feel angry tears roll down my cheeks.
Copious tears that made their weight felt as they rolled down.
Nobody in the house said anything.
I went ahead and served lunch.
Though no words were being exchanged the heaviness in the air was palpable.
Breathing felt like a struggle.
I tried wiping away my tears but they wouldn’t stop.
It’s very unlike me.
I kept trying to wipe my tears with my sleeves while making chapatis (roti).
Soon (though it felt like forever at the time) the sane me took over.
I turned off the gas and darted into the bathroom to wash my face and have a quick word with myself.
Oh yes, I do have a talk with myself every now and then.
Once the worst of the storm had passed, there was an eerie silence and calm which encompassed a wake of devastation.
The battered self-worth and self-confidence, repetitive thoughts of what I could have done differently, the regret, the anger, the hopelessness, the broken-ness which feels unmendable and insurmountable came rushing in.
And it chose to stay.
In moments like these, I choose to not resist the strong emotions.
I prefer to ride the storm out.
In those vulnerable moments, I scribbled non-stop on the back of an old Amazon receipt*.
“I have never felt so worn down, so brken and wanting to run away someplace. Or maybe I have. Yes, I actually have.
I know this is the darkest part of the night right before the dawn. My own mind is defeating me. I need to keep looking for answers. I can’t give up. I won’t give up.
I am a solution seeker.
I have been blessed with an intuition, a soul for a reason. They will keep me safe.
I can make magic happen and I will do it. I need to allow all big and small emotions. I am ready to feel all vibrations. I can swim through this high tide.
I was given this clarity for a reason. I have been granted a view into the causes of my pain for a reason.
I could have led a life of ignorance and would have never known a thing but it didn’t happen that way.
I have the courage to wait for the dawn. Those who have lived the dark moments of the night are the ones who get to live through the day.
Life has brought me this far for a reason. I will not let anything or anyone break my spirit, my will to create a life of my dreams.
I can so this.
I have my back.
I will survive this storm and will thrive despite many more storms in the future.
I was born to create my own rainbows, to live my life on my own terms.
Yes, I can do this.
I will do this.
God give me the strength to make it happen.”
I am documenting it here (in its unedited form) to help track my progress in the future.
This happened an hour ago.
Everywhere you look, you’ll read how this lockdown period is a blessing in disguise.
Guess what, I too believe that.
It’s a crisis that has allowed us to be with our family.
To spend time together.
Eat, play, watch movies, talk freely and even stumble upon the reasons that don’t make us jam well.
Differences, arguments, disagreements are a given but they still fit in the bracket of normal family interactions.
But there is one thing that falls in the exception category.
Being stuck in the lockdown, shelter-in-place with someone you don’t get along quite well with.
Someone whom you don’t get along too well with.
For full context please read, awakening.
Someone who is trying every trick under the sun to make your life a living hell to the extent that there are days when you’re left wondering what’s more harmful – the Coronavirus or the mental anguish you’re struggling day in and day out.
That’s quite where I’m at right now.
Life of a primary caregiver to ageing parents is highly stressful and tiring among other things.
Usually, I have my ways of battling caregiver burnout.
Though that’s possible when I have the opportunity to step out of home, meet friends and have a chance of a change of scene from the daily grind.
Being a caregiver while juggling the responsibilities of being a single parent has been taking a toll on my emotional health.
To begin with, the workload which is now no longer being shared by the helpers has begun to show signs of wearing me down.
My 8-year-old tries to help around and be useful. But the pile of online school sessions and assignments aren’t helping much.
In this mad-making scene, I am burdened by the worries of a seemingly dark future.
I call it dark because that’s exactly what it feels like from the perspective of a mind constantly on a fight-flight-freeze mode.
I have been working relentlessly on my mental health for years now.
I have the tools that have helped me rise from the pits of depression on many occasions.
Still, life feels like a never-ending battle.
I’m constantly in a state of war.
Stuck in the eye of the storm, destructive and terrifying, flooding my mind with muddy thoughts.
Wreaking havoc on my self-confidence, my sense of self.
And here I am, not leaving any stone unturned to stay positive, have the sanity and mental balance to create a life my daughter and I rightfully deserve.
I knew the emotional breakdown of today was coming.
And finally, the pressure cooker feeling I experience, with the compounding dose of anxiety, stress and fatigue, exploded.
Since the storm has passed, I feel free.
It has given me a more level playing field than what I had to begin with.
All the thoughts that had been obscuring my vision have found their place on paper and are (hopefully) resting in peace.
I now have the mind space for reflecting that’s bound to come.
I hope to do it with the kindest of self-kindness, the most compassionate of self-compassionate, and the most forgiving of self-forgiving hats on.
I’m not too sure if that would happen but all good things begin with a good intention followed by deliberate action.
And that’s where my money is at.
*I keep the Amazon receipts, which are long and plenty, because I shop a LOT on Amazon, for my rough drafts and to-do lists.
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The song on my mind: Ye main dare dare ~ Kohram