I am tired, no I am really tired, so tired in fact that I cannot sleep…but why can I not sleep when I am tired? That one’s an easy question. Because I have a mind that travels at light speed and I cannot rest. I am juggling too many things, I am working hard to provide for a future, I am a husband at home, and I am a father of 2 beautiful daughters. My emotions feel all over the place, and I know for a fact that I am mentally drained, and have several markers for the development of burnout.
The reality of the above is not clear to others and nor do I often show it, or want people to see it, which is the problem for many. I am feeling this way because ultimately I am a parent of a child with a serious mental illness, an Eating Disorder. A child that has been sectioned under the mental health act following two suicide attempts and refusing to eat for two weeks. She has now been a patient over 200 miles from our home for the past 2 months, with little expectation that she will be able to move for the foreseeable future.
If you look at my recent experiences and the challenges that we face as a family, it would be hard to see anything wrong until I open and share my story.
The most important role in my life is that of being a parent, and it’s the one that I feel right now I am failing at. If I was to have a performance review right now I am sure I would score poorly in all aspects. I feel I cannot do right for doing right. Even my parents have associated blame on us for the challenges that our daughter is facing. In fact, I am at the point now where nobody can say anything that can make me feel any more shit than I already do.
I can say that even over the past couple of months when things in my work life have been going so well, and I have been able to do things that others can only dream about, I have struggled to find the excitement in anything.
But every day we must get up and go again. Back to the work, back to the routines.
I know too many people that are being significantly impacted by the struggles of their loved ones. Often unable to even speak up and talk about the 24 hour relentless challenges, and worries about what is going to happen next.
So, with everything going on how have I managed to find the time to write this piece? I have escaped from my real world for a couple of days to take care of me. To take a moment to breath, to step away from the role of worker, husband and father just for a moment, and to focus on what is important for me to keep on moving forwards. I am taking a break. My wife and friends have encouraged me to take some time to relax. For which I will be forever grateful.
A break will not solve all the challenges, or change the future, but I certainly feel (even whilst writing this) a release of the pressures of each day by being away.
One thing is abundantly clear. When we are going through our challenges and struggles, we should not be ashamed to say that we need some help. Sometimes if we tell those around us that we are tired, they will give us the space that we need. Time to recover.
I hope that I will sleep well, and hope to break the tiredness of this challenging moment in my life. I need to rest my emotional exhaustion.
Maybe I will wake up and this will all have been a nightmare? Now wouldn’t that just be an amazing change?