Some days are better than others.

That goes without saying for everyone, I think.

But, for me? It’s sort of monumental, either way.

I mean, there’s either a really good day or a really bad day. My mind works in extremes and it’s virtually impossible for me to see a middle ground most of the time.

Either the kids are amazingly well-behaved and we’re doing Martha Stewart-esque crafts in the afternoon or they’re forcing me to recite a mantra in my head about how it’s illegal to sell my children or to walk out the door and leave them alone while using the car to drive myself back to sanity again with the radio on its highest possible volume setting.

Job searching? It’s either “I can take on the world!!” or “OMG I can’t handle dealing with the day care registration/approval process/interviewing for a job/finding a sitter for the interviews/finding a sitter/affording a sitter for the first two weeks of work until the day care process is complete, so why even bother?!”

The latter of both scenarios lands me in a virtual comatose state in the house, with a toddler (and myself) in pajamas all day, an infant attached to my chest when he isn’t screaming and me feeling like a worthless mother because, Hey, you should be impeccably coiffed and dressed, they should be cutely clothed and clean-faced and you should be out shopping for household necessities at 7:30am so you can get home and clean the house, prepare lunch in an artsy and healthy way, do a fantastic art project with the kids, get homework done and cook dinner in an artsy and healthy way, all by 5pm.*

I’m easily overwhelmed. Very easily. Disgustingly easily.

When I was 15, riding in the car with my biological mother, Billy Joel’s “I Go to Extremes” came on the radio. She made the vague (at the time) remark, after I commented that I liked the song, that she wondered why I went to extremes.

I failed to answer or even understand it then… and I would probably fail at answering it now.

But I understand it.

Funny how time changes things. How learning things about your parents and genetic likelihoods can alter your perception on (and explain) the whys of yourself.

Extremes are the staple of most mood disorders. Highs and lows.

Manic episodes of grandeur and depressive episodes of self-deprecation.

Fixing it is elusive during the lows.

Who needs fixing? I’ll show you; I’m invincible!!! during the highs.

I have moments when I realize I need to take action against this rapid onslaught of mood/emotion. Moments of clarity. Sensible moments.

Moments when I can talk about it and/or verbalize it.

But mainly? I don’t talk. I silence the voices. I keep them silent for fear of being judged.

Judgment, even if it’s only perceived, is my ultimate fear; my ultimate paranoia. And it doesn’t matter by whom.

It can be a total stranger. It can be someone close. They all judge.

No matter where I am, I always feel that there are unspoken judgments or opinions about what I do or what I say just dangling throughout the room, waiting for me to errantly bump into one and cause a catastrophic psychological or emotional collapse.

I want this measure of extremes to stop.. to cease being a weight that simply drags me through life’s tides while varying the length of the line at its whim.

So this?

This begins the adventure of How?

*I assume this isn’t entirely realistic every single day of the week. If it is, indeed, the norm for your household, please assume that I severely dislike you and your supermom abilities.


About Caitlin's Concepts

Mom to 4 boys and drowning in a sea of testosterone!
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9 Responses to Extremes

  1. JoAnn says:

    I have the same personality. I think it stems from a deep desire for perfection, and how often is life actually perfect? So I try really hard and then I hit the sidewalk until something motivates me to try really hard again.
    I relate.

    I am working towards being okay with not finished, not perfect, not the best. The hardest part is getting over my pride. I don’t know, it’s a journey.

  2. Rachael says:

    “*I assume this isn’t entirely realistic every single day of the week. If it is, indeed, the norm for your household, please assume that I severely dislike you and your supermom abilities.”
    Oh, that’s totally the norm for me. Wait. You were referring to the comatose, pajama state correct? Otherwise I am totally with you on disliking the supermom abilities.

  3. MamaRobinJ says:

    At times over the last few months I’ve wondered if I’m bipolar. I don’t think so, but I can certainly relate to the feeling, and I can understand what a weight it would be.

    Good luck with the how. We’re with ya!

    • I’ve never had even depression officially diagnosed. I’m stubborn. And I hate therapists. And I’m afraid of not being able to take the correct medication for me while still breastfeeding (zoloft made me feel awful, which was prescribed to me within 24 hours of having my 6yo when the doctor came in to see how I was feeling and, instead of being able to form words, I burst into tears.). Then the stories of medication taking away all emotion.. it’s… scary. It really is.

  4. Dawn says:

    I had no idea that someone as composed, intelligent and so “together”, could share the same thoughts, feelings, doubts and insecurities as I. Judgement, real or assumed, can be paralyzing or validating. It can boost you to the moon or throw you to the depths of despair. In my case, usually despair. I always strove to be ” June Cleaver” yet most days I was “Roseanne”.
    I still struggle with the judgement issue. I’m 50 and I still worry about other’s opinions of me most of the time instead of enjoying who I am and the woman I’m still becoming.
    Stop beating yourself up over the pajama days. Gift yourself, for the Martha Stewart days. There are no steadfast rules in motherhood. I wish someone had told me those things while my kids were young. I wasted a lot of time on guilt and feeling like I didn’t do my “job” well enough. My kids didn’t care if I were in jammies or a little black slip dress, as long as there felt secure in my love.
    I’ve always admired you and your strength. Matter of fact, I envied you ( not in a mean spirited way) and wished to be more like you. I hope hearing that, empowers you just a bit, as it’s “just from me”.

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