I Couldn't Care Less: Rest in Pieces

2 Conversations

A hypodermic needle and a vial

Rest in Pieces

I think it tells you something about your mental state when you regard a potential flu virus as a welcome chance to get some sleep. I'm just over two months into my new job and rediscovering the fact that, at the age of 33, I'm quite happy to have a nap after lunch. Sometimes it's genuinely all I can do to keep my eyes open. How on earth did that happen?

I've stopped walking to work because it saves me both time and effort. I don't tend to share the view that time can be happily sacrificed to make or save more money, so I'm fine with that. On the other hand I do a fairly physically demanding job, but nothing I shouldn't be able to cope with. What exacerbates this is that I'm not finished when I get home. It's taken some time to persuade R to treat herself with proper care and this means that if there's a task which is difficult for her to do, she has to leave it for me. Things like chopping vegetables and lifting pans, working through all our bills and so, plus the massage she requires. They're not, in themselves, hugely demanding tasks, but they're on more minute of the day when my brain and my muscles aren't relaxing

Caring for a person with depression can be draining too. You know how you can get tired just by watching TV or reading a book? Concentration requires energy and is tiring. With a person whose mental state is fragile you have to watch what you say for fear of upsetting their delicate emotional balance. A lot of the time you need to persuade or motivate them to do anything, always choosing your words carefully, dreaming of the day when a professional psychologist is on call to advise you in these situations. Managing a person with a mental health condition and responding to their varying, extreme and unpredictable emotional responses can be exhausting.

All of this would be reason enough to guard my free time, but there's the additional fact that I don't get much free time. Often a day off can be used up or even scheduled for an appointment of some kind or other. Evenings and other time off can often go, as I mentioned, on both direct care and filling the holes my wife's condition prevents her from dealing with. Sometimes my time for myself comes late in the evenings when R is asleep. I should probably be asleep too, but I have had a long day and I want to relax for just a few minutes. Which takes ages, so I'm not really getting any sleep.

The final irony is that because I am tired I don't think as well or as clearly as I might. Only by writing this all out do I begin to see patterns and problems and consider how I might deal with them. If you're tired too, too tired to think for yourself, maybe this has helped you a bit. I hope so. Goodnight.

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