The Clocks Go Back, My Life Stays Still

I don’t know what’s wrong with me at the moment, so I’m going to blame it on November. It’s strange, I just feel all out of kilter, and my brain refuses to acknowledge that 5pm is actually 5pm. ‘It’s too dark,’ it says, ‘its actually 6pm’. So at the moment I’m still an hour ahead of myself. Literally. I look at the clock and say ‘7pm? Actually it’s 8pm and I should have dinner already’. This time adjustment just is not working for me this year.

I think underneath the surface there’s more going on. I keep weeping at television programmes and have moments where I just feel really upset about things. But generally, aside from these moments, I feel ok. I’m so busy that it keeps me on an even keel, I think. It limits my capacity to think about what’s really bothering me. I didn’t think about it too deeply until a couple of days ago. I was watching a television programme (OK, I admit, it was Cowboy Builders) where they went back a year later to see how the ‘victims’ were getting on. it got me thinking about where I am now and where I was a year ago.

A year ago I was pretty miserable in my job, and fighting to see a way out of feeling that way. Although my contract had changed for the better, it was a marginal change and my spirits were still low. My confidence was ebbing away and I not a happy bunny. I said as much to Rich, and his reply actually surprised me. ‘Yeah, but you seem to get a lot angrier these days’. And I do. My temper is shorter and more furious than it used to be and I’m sure it’s down to feeling pressured and frustrated.

I feel this way a lot. For several reasons. The first reason I won’t go into detail, but all I will say is that I feel utterly helpless about my parent’s situation. My Dad is 55 and is struggling to find work, having been out of work now for 4 years. The graphic design industry is horribly ageist – I know this for a FACT – and the jobs are competitive at the best of times. My parents have been battling for years to get back on an even keel and standing by and not being able to help is pretty harrowing. I do what I can to lend support, but it upsets me a lot that I don’t have the financial power to step in and sort things out. I know that’s not my job, but I would do anything to provide for them the way they provided for me when I was growing up.

Secondly, and related to the above, my finances have been stressing me a lot. I do have a reasonable income, but I just don’t have anything in reserve and things keep happening that suck any money I have put aside away – the car, the animals, the house, the dentist… all normal but bloody expensive things. We have little in the way of unnecessary gadgets or luxuries like Sky TV. So I literally live month to month on what I have, and it’s always ALWAYS that I get through (most of the time) by the skin of my teeth. We have a very old car that has thus far been pretty reliable, but should the worst happen – and inevitably it will – I just don’t know how I’ll raise the funds to buy a new (old) car. I need it for work and there’s no prospect of car sharing. It stresses me and just makes me feel like I’m stuck and I can’t move on. Which brings me to number three.

I would like to start a family at some point, whenever Rich and I get around to getting married. But with things the way they are, how on earth are we to do that? I know children don’t have to be expensive if you’re a bit frugally minded, but really, there is extra expense and so the prospect seems unlikely at this time. It’s so sad that it has to feel a bit like a business decision. I want to move forward in my career, I want to build some security, but I want to have children – I can’t see a way of achieving all three in such a short timescale.

So I think the frustration, the pressure and the anger comes from this perpetual feeling of being stuck and needing to move forward, but a complete inability to do so. Yes, I am in a much better position than I was a year ago – I like my job, I work hours that stop me being a complete cripple and I have more energy and time to trying to be a bit more self sufficient. But the pressure and the feeling that I, and my family, are stuck in a rut that we really need to get out of, is always there. Always. I just don’t know what to do – work harder, I suppose?

Although to be fair, I tend to work almost every day at the moment on something. The last few nights I was working at work and then on my own stuff when I get home. I was knackered by Wednesday evening. I haven’t been sleeping very well either (bad neck, bad shoulder, crap pillows) which just adds to this whole feeling of ‘ARGH FFS!’. That twisted, edgy feeling that preceded years of feeling in the doldrums is creeping back, although I’m much more able to find ways to get on top of it. I still get moments where I think I’m utter crap and I have failed in many ways. But they come and go.

I don’t know. I just feel so tired from struggling to keep my head above water. I know I’m lucky in so many ways – I have many many good things in my life, and ultimately, every night I’m able to go to sleep in a nice, safe, warm bed after a nice, filling meal. That’s more than a lot of people have.

I guess I need to just keep my head down and deal with it. It’s life. Just got to keep on working hard and hope that one day, it’ll work itself out.