C-

Lately I’ve been really feeling like I’m failing at being an adult. Like I can’t manage even the most basic tasks that adults have to do. I’m trying to get out from under this mindset, I keep stopping myself when I recognize I’m in a shame spiral and start using positive talk in an attempt to buoy myself up, but it’s hard not to feel like I’m failing when the evidence of it is all around me.

Well, maybe I’m not straight failing, but there is no way I’m getting over a C-.

It’s not that I’m depressed really, I’m just exhausted. And disappointed in myself. I feel like I should be able to manage my life better, and that I should have a more positive attitude while I do it, Instead it all feels like too much, and a huge part of me just wants to give up.

I don’t want to be writing this post, but I don’t know how to write anything else. This is what I was talking about in my last post, how I just CAN’T show up here with a positive attitude when I’m not feeling positive.

I. JUST. CAN’T.

Which means I shouldn’t show up here at all, I suppose, until the negativity passes. That’s what I’ve done in the past.

But that doesn’t feel like the right answer either.

I don’t know how to shake this shitty mindset. I don’t have friends I can sit down and talk to (and it feels like I really need to talk to someone about this, if that makes sense). My husband is in no way capable of helping me out of it, he’ll just pull me further into the muck. I can’t afford therapy (and I wouldn’t qualify for sliding scale prices). I don’t even have it in me to try to find a book to read… maybe because I’ve read so many and I know I’ll just end up right back here where I started. Like I always do. Why put in all that effort only to get nowhere?

I did get a Greatest Lectures on CBT before I closed down my audible account. I’ve never really tried CBT before. Maybe it’s my magic bullet? Maybe those 12 hours I have sitting on my phone will make the difference.

Fuck. It’s not that bad. I need to get over myself. This too shall pass. It will be okay. I have SO MUCH to be thankful for. I have every reason to be hopeful. Life is beautiful. Take stock. Be thankful.

Just get through this. Things will look better on the other side.

They always do.

25 Comments

  1. Exhaustion makes you hard on yourself. If you can’t get some sleep, just breathe. Deeply. And take a moment just to be kind to yourself. Sending hugs.

    1. I was recently on the train with my kids and I felt like I was going to have a panic attack (it was a stressful situation) and I kept focusing on my breath and it really did help. I need to do that more.

  2. I don’t know if this will work for you, but when I get in moods like that, I just wait for them to end. I always get back to an “up” moment eventually, so I figure there’s nothing to do but wait.

    This weekend I was feeling like I was doing a crappy job at housekeeping. This morning I woke up with a cough & sore throat. Now I know, I was doing a crappy job because I was sick!

    1. Yeah, I think just waiting for them to end is the thing to do. I just hate that I have to cycle through these negative cycles, endlessly.

      I have felt like I am going to get a cold for most of the fall but I never seems to really come. I don’t know if I’m getting colds (my kids have certainly had a ton of bad ones) and then mostly fighting them off, or if I just constantly feel run down. Maybe a bit of both.

  3. I think you need more sleep. Exhaustion makes it hard to do well at everything and also makes it hard to resist negative thinking. Sleeping is much easier than anything else you might do about this problem.

    1. I have been trying really hard to get more sleep but it’s not as easy as it sounds. My husband has a ton of holiday parties right now and by the time I’m done with the kids, laundry, lunches and basic clean up it’s really late. If I say screw everything and just go to bed, that always ends up being the night one or both of my little ones get me up. I just can’t seem to get a solid 7 hours, no matter how hard I try. That is one of the reasons I’ve been feeling so hopeless these days.

      1. I was going to say the same thing. I know its not that easy to “just get more sleep”, but I think lack of sleep may be at the bottom of a lot of what you have been writing/feeling lately. When I am sleep-deprived, even if I don’t actually feel tired in the day to day, I am less optimistic, more likely to get panicked/upset/angry/sad by little things, and generally feel overwhelmed by life. Maybe during the holidays you can rest? (I know, I know, no holiday from life, but at least you won’t have to get up to go to work for a bit)

        1. I am trying so hard to be in bed by 11pm, but it never seems to happen. If I do that I get absolutely no time for myself. But maybe that is what I have to sacrifice right now.

  4. You have kept two young children alive and CPS isn’t at your door nor should they be. Automatic C. They know they are loved. Automatic B-. You have held a job and kept your marriage/relationship intact while taking care of your children. Automatic B+.
    I really think you need some down time from your job while your children are in some program. Or fun time with just one child at a time. I really think you are exhausted and frankly given what is on your plate it would not be reasonable for you to be otherwise.
    A’s never really happen when dealing with real life, real financial problems, marriages, jobs for each spouse, real human people. B+ is really really doing damn well.

    1. Someone has to be doing an A job… right? If no one is, then the grading curve is off. πŸ˜‰ But you’re right that probably most of us are getting B’s and C’s.

      1. As happen in parts of our lives, but very rarely in ALL parts at the same time. Usually there is a mashup of variation.

  5. I don’t know if sleep or time to yourself will help you find balance (I think both as it does for me) but I think you’re being way too hard on yourself. You have A LOT going on and it’s not that you can’t or don’t know how to balance it but we as humans can only take so much. Step back, deep breaths and yeah, ask The Hubs for more help. I read this article last week how we, as women, sometimes treat ourselves like second class citizens in our own homes…for the fear of asking for help of our significant other to thinking we’re supposed to do it all… so we take on so, so much. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s hard, I’m learning to do this myself.

    1. I know it seems like I have a lot going on, but I’m ALWAYS going to have this much going on. Besides vision therapy (which admittedly is kicking my ass right now), this is base line for me. Does that mean I’m always going to feel this way?

  6. Seconding (thirding? fourthing?) what others have said, that the lack of sleep makes everything look doomed. In my case, I think hormonal fluctuations are also a bitch, exacerbated by the… you guessed it, lack of sleep.

    I have written posts similar to yours. It goes like this: I want to explode with how much I feel I need to write it, then I do write it and momentarily feel better, but then I feel even more like crap for revealing my dirty laundry in front of the world… But people are generally supportive. Here’s a post very similar to yours in tone, from my old blog
    http://academic-jungle.blogspot.com/2013/01/underachieving.html
    So you are not alone in feeling how you feel. And it will get better in a few days, I promise!

  7. In addition to the sleep thing, have you had your VitD levels checked? (B12 is another one– there’s probably others.) Whenever I start getting down for no specific reason, especially when it’s been so dark and so rainy, it’s usually because I haven’t been taking my VitD supplement.

    1. oh, and I know your library system has these (through Link+ if not directly) :

      Thoughts and Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life
      Mind over mood : change how you feel by changing the way you think

      They were the two workbooks I had when doing CBT. A really important thing about CBT is that you have to practice it. You have to do the exercises enough that they start coming automatically.

    2. I haven’t had my VitD levels checked but I just bought VitD for my husband so I’ll start taking that. I feel like I get enough sun, because the weather is still nice here, but maybe I’m not…

  8. I’m so sorry you’re feeling this way. I agree with others that you’re being hard on yourself. I also wonder if any of us (except maybe those with plentiful family around to help, regular housekeepers, etc.) think we are getting an A. It’s hard. And harder for some than others.

    As to cbt, eh. I did that a little in the 90s. It was a little helpful. Feeling Good Handbook, Stuart Smalleyesque “st ikon’ thinkin'”. I don’t think it’s a magic bullet. And it’s not a cure for depression. When I had my 2nd baby I got PPD again. I wanted so badly for this not to be true so I tried to convince de myself that newborns are just hard (even tho this one was pretty easy” and I tried cbt for 6 weeks. To absolutely no avail. Fortunately I admitted to myself and my doc at my 6 wk pp appt that I had PPD again. Started the meds and within a couple weeks felt much better.

    As to your earlier post about happiness–I’ve read that a lot of it is genetic/ingrained, which is depressing. On the other hand I hate the notion that someone is to blame for their own unhappiness, if only they did cbt etc., they’d be happy. Obviously a lot of it has to do with the person’s circumstances but of course there’s always the anecdotal story of how someone say for example in the holocaust or other horrible conditions manages to be happy and that of course gives rise to the notion that we’re all responsible for our happiness if only you thought a certain way you would be happy…I don’t think this is really true…starting when I was a teenager I read tons of books starting with power of positive thinking and so on and while they sometimes have a limited impact really I feel like I end up going back to my natural setpoint which tends to be not an extremely positive happy one. So I dunno…

    1. If it is done in a Stuart smalley way it is being done incorrectly. With cognitive restructuring you are specifically not supposed to use cheerful optimistic platitudes but to replace negative statements with *true* statements. There’s even an exercise where you take things to a negative extreme (ex I flunk out of the grad program, and then what?).

      It also isn’t for depression, but for anxiety and depression that is related to anxiety. It is a (eventual– some people are helped by doing both anti anxiety meds and therapy at the same time and then going off the meds). replacement for anti anxiety meds, not for SSRIs.

      Of therapies, CBT is one with really clear research based evidence. It is a pleasure to pubmed. But it is also clear about its limitations in addition to its strengths.

      1. My PPD was very much anxiety based. And cbt did nothing. It’s great that cbt worked for you but it’s not for everyone. And if it doesn’t work for everyone that doesn’t mean they did it “wrong”. And I was joking about Stuart Smalley. But it is somewhat like that.

    2. We do have family around to help! And they help a lot! We don’t have cleaners though. God how I wish I could afford a cleaner, even just once a month…

  9. These women are probably right. I’m reading their suggestions and thinking, “I need more sleep and need to take some vitamin d.”. The answers can sometimes be so obvious, yet we don’t see them.

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