After we placed my dad in the care home, I expected my cheery mood to bounce back. After all, the acute trauma was over: all those months of sleepless nights, constant caregiving, frustration and anger (and its accompanying guilt), the exhaustion of always being on edge and on alert, all finally culminating in the exquisitely painful need to move him out of the house – it was all over. Dad was safe and looked-after. I had my life back. I could be happy again!
But I wasn’t.
I settled into a grey and joyless world. I went to work, took the dogs on walks, talked to friends. I struggled to find my usual sunny disposition. I tried “to be good to myself,” tried to snap out of the funk. I tried and tried!
Nothing seemed to work.
It turned into a difficult winter.
A family member ended up in the hospital, twice. My beloved dog needed surgery. A water pipe in our home burst, flooding the hallway with water. Toxic mold was discovered during repairs. Our manager at work abruptly quit, throwing the floor into confusion.
Life pressed down on me.
And just to put an exclamation point on a miserable winter, I came down with a virulent strain of C. diff, an intestinal bug that causes uncontrollable diarrhea. By the time the thought “I have to go to the bathroom!” flashes through one’s brain, it’s pretty much too late. Near-incontinence was always only seconds away.
It’s hard to have a light heart and sunny outlook under such circumstances.
My energy flagged.
Desperate, I redoubled my efforts – Play with the dogs! Drink some wine! Am I happy now? No? Garden! Sew! Eat a goodie! Come on, keep trying! You can do it! – and pretty much failed.
Over and over.
So I gave up. I was utterly lost.
I’m trying my best to get through each day,
Trying my best, but I can’t find my way
Out of the darkness and into the light;
I’m trying, I’m trying with all of my might.
I try to do chores, but they just don’t get done –
I’m exhausted, defeated, before I’ve begun.
I try to do stuff that makes my heart sing –
Walk the dogs! Plant some bulbs! Sew a quilt! Anything!
But my heart is still flat and my world is grey;
I’m trying and trying, but can’t find my way.
I eat candy, drink wine, have a whole bag of chips!
Don’t feel any better – in fact, now I feel sick.
I’ve been racking my brains on how to get glad.
I keep trying and trying, but still feel so sad.
What else can I do? I’m drowning, I’m screwed,
I’ve tried and I’ve tried!
But I can’t shake this mood.