The road to overwhelmed…and back

This post is some days late in the sense that I have come back from the brink. Or perhaps more accurately, been pulled back from the brink. After all, where are we without our support networks?

Like many of you, I have a lot of things going on:

  • I have a full-time job which quite unreasonably requires me to travel to and from an office in a region with legendary traffic problems
  • I have a house to maintain (and improve, in case my runaway wife forces its sale)
  • I have 3 children with varying demands on my time depending on what they want from me (common demands include: food, money, repairs)
  • I have to finish cleaning and sterilizing kitchen things after The Mice Invasion
  • I have to do some carpentry, including new baseboards in the basement, to finish off the basement waterproofing project
  • I have a big pile of mail that has to be opened and processed
  • I am still working on a high-definition video editing project that needs to be finished before I leave for England…in a little over a week
  • Talking about England, I need to be ready to leave for England and this requires a hire car, travel plans, pre-booking of some special things for the kids, etc.

Recently I realized that there are other things too:

  • My kids are not eating well enough. Sometimes one of them cooks for all of us, sometimes I cook or we grill in the evening, but overall, I need to ensure they eat a better, balanced diet.
  • Little Charlotte had a dental check-up and now we know she needs braces. This requires an investment in time and money, and some support because I am fairly sure they hurt like crazy when they are first installed.
  • I noticed that the girls don’t have any serious contact with their mom. Her moving out might just possibly be one reason… In the long-term though, they will want to stay in contact with their mom. Convincing them of this isn’t easy; it may be too early to force the issue.
  • Overall, new things are arriving faster than I can keep up. This trend doesn’t bode well.

Once I started to see exactly how much I need to do and how unlikely it is that I will be able to get things done in a reasonable timeframe, I felt overwhelmed. As I’ve said before on this blog, I don’t apologize for being sometimes up, sometimes down. This is a difficult time in my life and sometimes I am going to crash.

I felt desperate, I felt like I needed to run away. Or stay home and sleep, and ignore everything until I felt better. Except feeling better comes best from completing tasks, but I have been so sleep-deprived that I haven’t had the energy to do a good enough job of that. Which is how they pile up and you can see how this all builds up…

A dear friend reminded me of something quite obvious at the time I was feeling very low. Priorities. Not everything on my list is essential and urgent. Kitchen cleaning, cooking nutritious meals, the kids talking to my runaway wife: important, but no-one’s going to die if they don’t get done in the next few weeks. Thank you!

With that simple-in-hindsight-only advice, I was pulled back from the brink.

I had a few counseling sessions some months ago, but I really need some more I think. I am just an ordinary guy in a very difficult situation and, as my friend pointed out, shouldn’t be expecting to make this work fully. It’s going to be OK that not everything gets done to the standards I would like in an ideal world.

To summarize: I was feeling just fine for a while. Then I felt awful, depressed, and very down. Now I’m feeling fine again. If I use Guy Logic, which is goal-oriented and forgets the journey, this means I don’t need to write a post at all, since everything’s almost exactly the way it was a while ago…

About Single Dad

I married young. Now, after more than 20 years of marriage, 3 wonderful daughters, and many ups and downs, my wife has decided the marriage is over. The "About Me" and "My Background" pages on my blog have more details.
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7 Responses to The road to overwhelmed…and back

  1. ” I am just an ordinary guy in a very difficult situation”…rings so true in my situation. Still ups and downs and I feel like I’m in much the same place as I was when my marriage began to implode again.
    Although it may go against the stoicism and logic that we are supposed to have, and we may look at our posts and feel whiny, there is one thing to consider. Although you may feel you are in the same place, where would you be if you were not blogging and at least getting it off your chest?
    You are also able to read the stories out there and realize that the script for the “leaving spouses” seems to he mass distributed.
    On the plus side. You have your girls full time. I envy that.
    The mice may be a problem, but at least it’s company πŸ˜‰
    If the basement does not get waterproofed then you can sell your house as having an indoor pool.
    Unless your kid’s diet is mostly snickers and sodas, I’m sure they are eating well enough. It’s a rough time and you have to allow yourself a bit of leeway and slack,
    As a guy and someone that sounds like a great dad, there is probably the “protector” instinct that runs strong in you.
    You may still be in shock and disbelief that your wife left and you may wonder why you could not fix that. All of those feelings are normal.
    More therapy may do you some good…but you are also engaging in that by being honest on your blog.
    In short, you are doing well.
    Revel in the small victories.
    Peace to you

  2. mysterycoach says:

    I can’t add anything at all compared to Buddha here πŸ™‚ however know you are not alone and we all feel over whelmed sometimes… and know too, that things all do work out in time. It doesn’t feel that way as we’re going through it but it does all work out. I promise you that.

    Maybe a little break for you is in order… just some time for yourself if possible, or go do something that makes you feel … good. I personally usually do not have that time, so I build it in whenever I can. MC.

  3. mysterycoach says:

    Oh… one thing that I do is since you have a list here… you look through as your friend suggested and you take care of one thing at a time. It’s all anyone can do and trust me I surely understand the stressors of having everything dumped on our head at the same moment when we need a break the most. ((( hug )))

  4. TikkTok says:

    Sometimes, making a list of what you *have* gotten done can put that undone list in perspective.

    1)Loved the girls.
    2)Was available to the girls.
    3)Listened to the girls.
    4) Had dinner with the girls.
    5) Loved the girls.
    6) Was available to the girls.

    You get the point. πŸ™‚ Usually, that other stuff is more important than the nuts and bolts of going through the piles of mail….

  5. Hi SD. I can totally relate to the feelings you describe here – I too felt completely overwhemled by regular life while going thru my divorce. I remember not being able to go to the bank, shop for basic necessities, etc.. My friends joke about my “recluse years” now.. I just felt numb all the time and was not interested in doing anything or seeing anyone. Just getting my job done and my cats fed was about the only thing I could get myself to focus on.

    I just wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone, and as your wise friend suggested, take care of just the essentials.. everything else will fall into place. And one day, it will get easier.

  6. Isobel says:

    I’ve had braces, once she gets them try to get her to chew ice- sounds horrible but chewing on small chips of ice numbs the gums and deals with the pain better- also before a “tune up” take you pain killer of preference (Ibuprofen did it for me)- The outcome is entirely worth it. Second as far as food goes depending on the kids preference of food I find keeping serving sized meals (in your case serving for the whole family) frozen in the freezer can help a great deal, Ex: the right amount of chicken peas and carrots with gravy just frozen needing cooking helps a great deal. I do this for one as I am only cooking for myself and on days I would rather a big mac- I solve the issue with what ever i have frozen! I hope that all helps a bit.

    As others have said, life is hard but it will get easier- routine will happen and life will release into a calm for a bit. I’ve known people to survive what you are dealing with. I know what my mother went through raising 5 kids as a single mother- it can be done somethings are sacrificed but the kids understand as long as they know you love them!

  7. Surrey gal says:

    Priorities and little baby steps. That will help you make small achievements and they will make you feel good.
    And enjoy England, of course πŸ™‚

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