I planned a chilled out day – my work meeting was cancelled and I had a vision of spending the day on the sofa with L, watching TV or knitting. But it didn’t work out like that. I woke up, feeling as tired as ever. The laundry baskets were all overflowing, the bathroom needed cleaning, on a dark stormy day, half the lightbulbs needed replacing. We needed food too, the ingredients for L’s familiar meals and snacks were missing. I know housework shouldn’t matter, but my own obsessive compulsive behaviours are just too strong. There is a constant clamouring that if I can clean the house from top to bottom, things will be calm. The thing is, I just don’t know where to start. As well as cleaning, L needs to eat. That should be all that matters, but I can see that she is too distressed but the mess.
I start at the top of the house, in our bedroom. There are clothes everywhere, some clean, some dirty . I arrange washing into piles and take it to the utility room, which is in chaos, clean clothes, interspersed with cat food bowls. I seem to end up running from the top to the bottom of the house and everywhere in between. I hoover, put clothes away, empty dishwashers and all the time, I know L needs to eat. She becomes more jittery and edgy as the Fluoxetine takes effect. But I am getting just as bad. Amid the increasing anxiety is anger at why this is always my job. My partner C is retired, is it too much to expect he could have done the washing, changed lightbulbs? But, of course, it is. I have a fully blown panic attack, which I have to try and keep hidden from L. I just keep running, cleaning and tidying.
Eventually C comes back from the shops and L eats lunch. We make cake for J’s birthday supper later. I make curries, L sits by the fire. I am supposed to be helping her with anxiety, not dealing with my own. But there never seems to be enough time. Life constantly feels like running up a fast moving escalators with the end getting further away.