It has been a truly awful day. Not because of ED, although it is always there at my shoulder. Along with its close friend depression. When I wake up, it is like a boulder is on top of me, making it feel impossible to get out of bed. How can a brain disorder produce these feelings of hopeless despair, which just doesn’t lift? The medication has made me feel more functional, but mornings are just as bleak as ever.
C is amazing, he always gets up early too, to do the drudgery parent stuff. I make it out of bed, put on my work uniform, think about make up and decide against it. Work starts well, I have a meeting with a colleague who is also pretty much my closest friend. I manage her, but it works. We have both had terrible years and at the end of the meeting we plan our New Years Eve celebrations. Nun outfits are involved.
Then I read an email, and a whole s**tstorm unfolds. It turns out some people close to me at work, who I genuinely thought trusted me and with whom I’ve made a big effort to build close relationships, have been listening to malicious complaints and rather than talking to me, have advised the complainant to go directly to my boss. I have sat in work meetings with these people, chatting away and all the while they have been feeding untruths to my boss. Who is having none of it, but it still really upset me. I am ashamed to say that I just sat and sobbed. Normally I would just rant and swear, then move on. But I am tired and have none of my usual combatitive spirit. It has been used up on ED. In my job, personal attacks are common, but my thick skin is wearing thin.
At the end of the day, family therapy. C comes with me. I have no idea if S is coming. We talk about some of our home dynamics and somehow end up talking about how C, S and I relate to each other. I thought we were going to talk about L. I am tired raking over the ashes of my unhappy marriage. The therapist tells us she and the team are still trying to get their heads around our family situation, that they find it confusing. I feel judged, why are we so abnormal, in a society where 40% of marriages end in divorce. I volunteer that S and I have tried to live close to each other and ensure the children see us every day. I venture that it seems stranger to me for children to see a parent every fortnight. I am asked why I think that? It then turns out the therapist seems to think C, S and I all lived together at one point. Why would she think that? Has she not been listening?
We then end up watching K and L talk about how they see the adults. S walks in at that point. He hasn’t let anyone know he is coming. It makes things feel awkward. The therapist talks about the three adults. I wonder why we are doing this. Both K and L seem uncomfortable. I want to scream. How did I end up in this dark room behind a two way mirror listening to my daughters talk to a therapist. They talk about my tendency to blame myself and I should stop. I instinctively think, Oh God, all this is my fault because I always blame myself. Then they talk about the tension on the house. L said earlier she knew when C was cross because I told her. I feel this is being twisted by the therapist, not intentionally, but she obviously thinks I offload problems on the children, telling them my problems, when in reality it is an aside, roll of the eyes comment that C is in a pissy mood. K talks about how L looks after others and when L became ill, she tried to take this over. She jokes she wasn’t very good at it. Next we watch the therapy team talk about us. They have obviously gained the impression that I am some feckless mother who offloads all the problems on their children. One of the team talks about how shocked she is that K felt she needed to look after everyone but wasn’t very good at it. Of course she isn’t good at it, she says, she is a child. When we go back into the room, I try to defend myself, but I just cry again. I feel judged and as if every certainty about my family has been shredded. These people have only just met us. But perhaps we are weird?
I pick L up later. She is at home tonight. Her mood has plummeted down again. I hug her for a long time once we get into the car. She is tearful. I just want to sob. She asks me why I’ve had a bad day. When I cried in therapy I told them I had a bad day. L wants to know why. I tell her part of the story. I am starting to rethink our whole lives together. I know I shouldn’t. But on days like this, I question everything.