I haven’t wanted to post on here much recently. I’ve been having anxiety and depression struggles of my own. It has been difficult to keep a sense of perspective.
Most of my anxiety comes from my work situation. There have been some big changes already over the past year, and more are in the pipeline. I have been lucky for 21 years to be able to do a job that I love and am good at, at a number of different places. Recently, though, I haven’t been able to enjoy what I do and I haven’t felt that my experience and abilities are valued by my employer.
I’ve reached a stage where I feel sick at the thought of going into work and I’m close to handing in my resignation with no back up plan in place.
This has made it harder to cope with seeing mum week in week out and feel positive. When you are in a bad headspace about yourself, about your worth and your abilities, loving and caring for someone who rarely remembers who you are becomes even harder. Especially when that person is the one who you used to talk to most when you were struggling with life. Especially when you know that she would have loved you unconditionally and told you everything would be okay, and you would believe her.
Added to that, I’ve been having some toxic thoughts. I’ve been visualising the day we took mum to the first care home, how she put a brave face on it and tried to accept that we were doing the right thing. I’ve been visualising how diminished she looked. I’ve been feeling guilty that I wasn’t able to do what she wanted me to do at that point in time, which was quit work and care for her full time so she could stay in her own home. I know logically that it would have destroyed our relationship, that I would have ended up resenting it, but perhaps the knowledge that I’m now so unhappy at work and thinking about quitting is making me feel guilty that I didn’t do it 3 years ago. For mum.
A friend who also had a parent with dementia was recently bereaved. Her parent passed away due to other health issues, but all I could think about was what a release it must be, both for the person with dementia to escape that long slow death of the brain and for the person who had to watch that decline and grieve for a person daily because they were still physically there. I don’t think I felt jealous as such, but I certainly had more than a few moments where I wished my mum’s decline was over.
The brain is a strange thing. I know I’m not a bad person for having these thoughts or for making the choices I have, so where does that voice come from that tells me I’m vile and worthless? And why is it sometimes harder to fight than others?
I’ve been losing myself in reading. I’m currently reading Howard Sounes’s biography of Charles Bukowski. In the foreword he describes how he quit his job as a tabloid hack one day so he could focus on the writing he wanted to do. I don’t actually want to stop doing what I do for a living, though. I just don’t want to work where I work. But there aren’t any jobs doing what I do that don’t involve leaving the north and consequently leaving mum.
It’ll work out. It’ll get better. Mum would have told me that. I miss her.