Ironically (and so many things about depression are ironic), as the weather gets colder, I have managed to burn myself out. The combination of work, housekeeping, marathon training, two Rainbow units and preparing for Christmas has finally got to me and I am exhausted. Things came to a head on Thursday evening where nothing went to plan at Rainbows and there were eighteen excitable children running rings round me, all vying for my attention. We reached the end of the meeting and I felt wrung out, and to my horror I started crying and had to hurriedly go and pretend to look for something in the cupboard as they all left.
There were a series of small disasters during the meeting, most of which I should have been able to deal with, but after a day where I had gone for a run in my lunch break and forgotten to bring a snack to give me some energy to face the children, it was too much. The things that went wrong pile up in my head and clubbed together to point me at one conclusion: I had failed. Failed to keep control, failed to make sure the girls all had fun, failed to prepare activities they would enjoy even though I’d tried so hard and everything was planned out. And when I fail, it’s a small step to the certainty that I am a failure.
I’m doing too much. I can’t cope. Yesterday afternoon at work I just started crying at my desk, for no reason except fatigue. None of these things I’m doing (except buying the Christmas presents) are going away any time soon, and if I let one of the spinning plates drop I can’t pick it up again without the others crashing to the floor as well. I have to keep going. But it’s too late – I’ve got a cold, I’ve posted in the online support group for other people mad enough to be running the London marathon next year for Mind asking if it’s okay to rest at all or if I just need to carry on regardless. I’m kind of hoping the response will be carry on, then I’ll know it’s just laziness and I’m being pathetic and I can beat myself up accordingly.
That isn’t what’s happened so far though. Someone has been kind to me in a way I couldn’t to myself, and said it’s okay to stop completely for a bit. If I’m burnt out then I need to look after myself, because I matter, and I need to get better. Getting better won’t happen if I don’t let it. I have permission to recover, from a virtual stranger, but it’s the permission I needed. Now all I have to do is not feel guilty about it.