Sam had flushed a piece of his brand-new doctor's kit down the toilet. This was the fourth or fifth toy he'd flushed down, but this was a fake syringe, and there was absolutely no way this was coming out. It was jammed in there but good. I'd posted about my frustration on Facebook (always a mistake) and was told that I should just teach him not to flush toys down the toilet. I spent a whole morning crying about what a failure I was. A friend called me up, telling me to drop Sam off at her place so I could take some time for myself. I brought him over, and spent over six hours at her house. I was afraid to go home and be by myself. I knew I would just sit on the couch crying for hours.
R had to go out and get a new toilet the night before Sam's birthday party. As we were trying to get it through the door, Sam was crowding us and getting in the way. I almost screamed at him "Why do you have to RUIN EVERYTHING???!!"
That's when I took a step back. Not only was that completely, completely unacceptable, it wasn't even how I felt. I was angry and wanted to lash out and hurt him. I've seen the distrust and hurt between a parent and child when the parent says things like that. There are some things you cannot unsay, and I knew I needed to deal with whatever the hell my problem was. I was terrified that next time I wouldn't be able to bite my tongue, and I would wound my child.
It was just a day after I got my period.
I'd already hurt my husband. Fortunately, he's an adult and he knew that how I was acting didn't mean I loved him any less. He kept begging me to get some help, and he started dreading the period around a week before I got my period. I was angry, and paranoid, and nasty. I'd pick fights with him, trying to make him as miserable I was. I didn't do any housework. And when I say I didn't do any housework, I mean dishes piled up in the sink until we didn't have clean plates to eat off, or clean cups for Sam to use. Laundry went undone, and I'd sometimes spend all day in my pajamas because I didn't have any clean clothes. I didn't pick up any toys, and you could barely walk in the living room. I would wake up exhausted. I turned on the tv in the morning and left it on all day, because I couldn't dredge up the energy to entertain my son in any other way. He'd whine, and it would feel like a drill boring into my skull. I wasn't making it day to day--I was trying to go hour to hour, minute to minute. I was constantly biting my tongue, terrified I'd scream something nasty at him.
My husband would spend a couple hours on Saturday mornings tackling the housework that had built up all week. He'd talk to me and tell me that I needed to go to the doctor and deal with this. I'd tell him that if I still felt like this in a week I'd go to the doctor. That I was just having a rough time right now. If I exercised more it would all be okay. If I ate better it would all be okay. If I was a better person, if I could just make myself into a better person, it would be okay. It would pass.
And it always did. I'd get my period, and within 3-4 days I'd feel normal again. Life would resume, I'd be nice to my husband (extra nice, since i felt so guilty), interact with my son, start cooking and cleaning again. Then a few weeks later, the cycle would start again. Only I couldn't see that this was a cycle.
(Part 2 tomorrow--spoiler: It gets BETTER. SO much better)