Monday, 9 August 2010

A Bad Weekend...

It's not been the best of weekends, for lots of reasons.

I don't think I have used food to stifle my emotions though. There's a light spot in the dark. Hooray me, but I have however just neglected myself...It's been a "Shrug. What's it all about Alfie?" weekend, one in which I thought deep thoughts, and ruminated about the whole 'meaning of life' stuff - which of course got me nowhere. I always conclude that life happens - some of it's good, some of it's bad, most of it is mundane. Get on with it. It's good to think though...and I always turn to writing to unload when times get a bit heavy. I wrote lots, mainly last night, in the early hours when I was feeling scared and anxious. Times can be bad, unsettling, worrying and everyone gets their fair (or unfair) share of problems and concerns. I bounce back from bad days/times and although I haven't eaten well..I haven't eaten more than 1500 calories per day since Friday.

On Friday my debit card was refused for a payment I wanted to make. I scrabbled round in my purse and fortunately had just enough cash on me  - most of it in loose change - to pay for my goods. I felt flustered. I checked my balance on a nearby cash machine...and yes, I'd gone beyond my authorised overdraft limit. My occupational pension wasn't paid in until Saturday and most of it would be sucked up in re-balancing my account, which meant I'd have a pittance to live on for the rest of September. I mentally thought about all the ingredients I'd need to make reasonably healthy meals for the whole of August/first week of September. Soups and beans on toast sprang to mind! In many ways, I relish a challenge. The bills would be paid...and I could magic up good, healthy meals...I don't like to be defeated. But it played on my mind, all the same.

On Saturday I went out with my man for the day. I am lucky - I have this distraction. I am fat, but loved. Our kids have grown up so we can spend days together, doing what we please. We went to a garden centre on Saturday - one which specialised in ponds, water systems, fish etc. We've been there a lot lately. It was a lovely sunny day and we browsed. We both like gardening but he is more active than I am. He isn't overweight at all, and although in his 50s like me, he is full of energy. I helped him choose plants for the pond..marginals..and he chose some boulders (pricey!) for landscaping around the edges. (He's been building a big pond at the bottom of his garden for months. It's his project.) He picked up a few bags of gravel, and then we went and chose some fish to add to the ones he already has in there. Between us we picked out six. When he paid for this lot at the counter - over £100 worth of hobby items - it hit me a bit. My man has spent a FORTUNE over the months on this project of his. I am glad he is able to do it., but I felt a huge wave of worry and sadness sweep over me. I used to be able to spend without thought...I could indulge in hobbies..treat myself to things, and I can't any more. Now...that's a pathetic whinge..and I know it. (Don't chastise me, please.) I am doing OK...but it niggles at me constantly that I am one pension payment away from going broke. I shan't, because I am sensible, cautious, prudent etc, etc..I'll go without and we'll manage...but oh how horrible it feels to have to question every purchase I make. As I write this I am aware that so many people would consider me extremely fortunate. I know I am....but with aging and lack of money it's like I have a new vulnerability. Add to that the changes that getting older brings..the loss of looks, attractiveness (yeah..looks are superficial I know) and a body which has spread..which is blobby, which I want to cover up in shapeless clothes...I feel a bit of a 'lesser' person. I am a poor, worried, fat, middle aged woman...and thinking this, I brought myself right down. Stupid - I know.

So...Saturday wasn't a good day...and Saturday night brought even more cares and woes...and extreme anxiety. My man took his fish to his pond, we had a cup of tea and a quick freshen up and then we went out to eat. I ordered salmon with peas and beans and a small jacket potato. I couldn't eat the potato because it had a funny taste and was hard, like it had been twice-cooked, or re-heated at least.  That was OK..the fish and veg filled me up anyway. Man complained and they took a small amount off the bill. I drank water..felt pleased with my choices (no craving other things on the menu) and when we'd finished man drove me home. It had been a nice day but my financial situation was playing on my mind, worrying me, although I didn't voice my fears or concerns. Man couldn't stay because he had to drive some distance to pick up his son from a works function. Both my (grown up) sons, my young men were out. Sadly in the UK there is a bit of a binge-drinking culture amongst the young. They drink to excess and fall over and/or cause trouble. Police are always on full alert on Saturday night in all the UKs towns and cities. The weekend starts on Thursday for many of them and young people often drink until they fall down. My boys aren't too bad. They drink and socialise, but never in the week and they don't drink at home. They are both anti-drugs. They aren't interested. Saturday night tends to be their night for going out. They attended a friends BBQ and then a group of them went into town and hit the pubs and clubs. Youngest son was staying with friends and oldest would be home later.

What is it with mothers? If I expect my boys home at night I don't switch off properly until they are safely in.

I got ready for bed at about 1am - I wasn't really sleepy - and settled down with a book. I felt drowsy and eventually nodded off, but slept with one ear open. I heard the noise of the diesel-engined black cab outside at 3am. I opened the curtains to look out. Son got out - looked unsteady on his feet, paid the driver and then wandered/staggered off, down the hill away from home..and out of sight. I got up...I was jolted wide awake. I was puzzled, anxious and now wide awake and phoned him on his mobile. I asked him where he was and what he was doing and he said in a slurred voice "I need time alone...I want fresh air, and a walk." (I may have mentioned he is a bit of a Forrest Gump...he walks and walks and seems to need the exercise.) He often walks the six miles home from town after a night out and I worry...but he is an adult now..I can't confine him, but equally, under my roof I need to be the door-keeper. Eventually he returned..walking slowly and unsteadily. I opened the door to save him fumbling for his keys and wished him good night. He needed his bed. I heard him flop down on his bed..and soon he was snoring. Now..OK..except he has medical problems, and I worry. I can't help it.

I told myself worrying wasn't going to help and I went back to bed and fell into a light, restless sleep soon afterwards. I was woken an hour later by the front door and porch door being opened. I was sleepy and confused but my heart was thumping all the same. I peered out of the window again to see son, fully clothed, walk to the end of the lawn and then purposefully sit down. He then lay down and curled up into the foetal position. In my night clothes and bare feet I rushed out...It was almost 5am..dawn. The grass was cold and damp..I bent down, took his arm and asked him to get up. He had been sleep walking and for some reason headed for the lawn...thinking it was his bed. Fortunately, he got up...his eyes were glazed over and he wasn't with it at all. I guided him back to his bedroom and to his bed, where he slept. I wondered though if he was OK...did he need his medication?

That was it. My heart was pounding. I watched him like a hawk all night. I was too wide awake to go back to bed or sleep. I had a small glass of milk and  one digestive biscuit - an anxious tummy - in knots - needs soothing. As I sat there, son's bedroom door ajar, me in the study space on the to look in..I wrote and wrote...trying to get all my feelings out..on to paper. I felt tied up in knots and uneasy for all sorts of reasons. I also felt quite sore that my ex husband, father of the three children, hadn't a clue. I was resentful that he'd gone his own way, many years ago, and left me to the job of bringing up the children (two with chronic medical problems) alone. Oh it all came out on paper. I was tired of seeing to the kids myself, with no back-up....even though they are in their early twenties now and perfectly capable of looking after themselves. They don't though. They are very blase about their conditions. I am still alert and anxious, wanting no harm to come to them..knowing that on the occasions they drink too much, things could go badly wrong. Yeah...I had a pity anxious, scared pity-party.

I sat up, watching the sun come up..feeling very little, feeling quite numb, but aware of my anxiety. If I could I'd have run away. I felt quite trapped. Son woke fairly early with a raging thirst and asked me why I was up. He drank water and told me to stop watching him before he went back to sleep. Fair point - but he was the cause of the anxiety and if anything went wrong in the night, I am the in-house para-medic. (I have had to call an ambulance out before...when their care is beyond me.) I told him in no uncertain terms why I was wide awake and why my sleep had been disturbed.

Morning had broken. It was 9am. I had a banana, read for a while...(my head was buzzing and not ready to switch off) and put some clothes in the washing machine.  I eventually fell asleep on the sofa..knowing son was OK...and I slept until 5pm, which means the day was wasted. I haven't eaten much..but what I did eat were bits and pieces..another biscuit, more tea, water, a small orange, a yogurt...a slice of cold meat..a few slices of cheese, a slice of toast. I couldn't be bothered to cook, and I couldn't be bothered to go and shower. I pulled on yesterday's clothes, feeling lifeless, groggy and knowing I'd had a washed-out day. I phoned man and cancelled our evening together.

I often wonder why I bother trying to lose weight. Sometimes I think "Does it really matter? Why bother?" The world turns, whether I am fat or thin. Am I worth this effort? I am of course, but sometimes I really understand why my own well-being isn't a priority. Life gets in the way, and crushes any enthusiasm I might have to better myself. I'll bounce back. I tend to do that, but this weekend, I didn't really care that I was fat. It really didn't matter.


  1. It matters because YOU matter. You ARE worth it and you deserve to have your health.

    I'm sorry you had a lousy weekend. :( I'm pretty impressed that in spite of it you managed to stay within your calorie allottment.

    You can do it!

  2. FG:
    Raising children is such a mixed-blessing series of events. Nothing can bring you greater joy or bigger grief...nothing!

    This past month, our oldest child has had some serious, serious issues--financial, medical, emotional and legal. I have discovered that overeating only ADDS to the problem and have had to develop other strategies to deal with the huge pile of emotional sh*t threatening to smother me.

    As Julie said, "You ARE worth it..." and I couldn't agree more. Especially with others counting on you.

    Find the horse and get back on him. Jo

  3. Hi,
    first of all: you are worth it and All your efforts will pay off as you proceed down this healthy journey to a new you!!! It is slow and seems mundane- but this is the supreme gift that you are giving yourself: better health so you can once again enjoy gardening and your with your Man. Don't give up, you can do it!! Your blogging friend, Michele

  4. Thanks all. Your comments are so appreciated. We are 'back to normal' again today - it's as though Saturday night and early Sunday morning never happened. I am used to my boys giving me scares and worries. Son number one became very sick at 12 months old. His brother became ill when he was four, so motherhood has been about 'watching them' for changes constantly. Now they are young adults they seem much more vulnerable to their bodies breaking down and illness, because they are doing the daft things that youths often do! Good job it's part and parcel of life here. I have developed a strong backbone but I do feel weary some days. Many thanks for your thoughts and encouragement.

  5. "In the midst of winter, I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."
    - Albert Camus

    Forgot to add that :)