All Wound Up

It’s 4:30 in the morning, and I can’t sleep—again. It’s been that way much of the time since my son moved home. My body hurts and my mind won’t settle. It’s exhausting and of course makes it incredibly hard to get things done during the day.

I remember how I used to get immediate, blissful relief from burning myself. It’s tempting to see if it would still work. It probably would. I haven’t tried it yet, however. I’m trying to see it as an option, just not an especially healthy or productive one. Maybe I can choose other things.

Not that I’ve figured out anything else that brings down the anxiety and stress while also energizing me. My trauma response is neither “fight” nor “flight.” It’s “melt into a puddle of useless, gelatinous goo.” I collapse. I can’t think or get stuff done. An infusion of adrenaline sounds good right now.

There’s been a lot happening. Shall I catch you up a bit?

Just in the past week, Patty has started to feel better, thank goodness. She still has some nausea and vomiting, but it’s not all the time, and the intensity is down. She’s able to eat again. Good thing, too. She’s already lost more than 30 pounds since she got pregnant.

Maybe she can return to work soon. Her employer has said he’d take her back and give her shorter shifts.

And a huge event: we just bought Patty and my son Andres a condo about fifteen minutes away from us. It’s in a complex that is all one level, which is rare and will be helpful, with a baby in a stroller and an old dog with bad hips. It is small (two bedrooms, one bath) but sufficient. It is 50 years old and dated in style but clean and safe and comfortable. They won’t be cold or at risk or homeless. They won’t live in an old camper, which is something she suggested at one point.

I am so happy and relieved that Andrés and Patty will be safely housed (and not living with us, after mid April). I am also *very* nervous about the financial stretch this signifies for us. We are taking the funds out of the equity in our house, which was close to paid off.

We will manage (breathe, breathe). If it feels too tight, we could sell our house and move ourselves into a condo too. Not ideal, but possible. We are fortunate to have had this house for 22 years and to have that equity to tap into. And yet…

Well, I guess I can be grateful and anxious at the same time.

I am also triggered by the contrast, I think, between 1) how important it is to my husband and me to support my son and (less expensively) to be sure that all our kids are secure and okay in their lives and 2) how little money and interest my own parents have put into my well-being and that of my siblings. I remember asking to borrow (borrow, not have) $1000 as I was leaving an abusive marriage with two very small children. My mom and stepdad had the money, but my stepdad said no. His rationale was something like, “it’s your husband’s job to support you, not ours..” WTF??

I wonder, again, what my life might have been like if I’d had steady and consistent support. Not even money—just emotional support. Perhaps the fact that the absence still hurts, all these decades later, helps explain why I feel compelled to be a support to my kids. Andres all the more so, since he is especially vulnerable.

Meanwhile, the lack of privacy and quiet at home is still a big problem. God knows how I will do this for another month.

Oh, and in other news, I am seeing a therapist, not E. This new therapist doesn’t have a regular slot for me but gets me in every week to 10 days. It helps while we are talking. She helps me pull out and pay attention to the needs of the different parts. This calms them down, and I’m then able to find me own core wisdom that can get lost in the internal chaos.

The thing is, after we get off the Zoom call (ugh), the calm doesn’t last very long. A few hours or at most a day later, I can revert to full internal desperation mode. I’m too overwhelmed to be able to repeat the parts work on my own.

I’m just having a hard time right now, I suppose. It won’t last forever (though when you’re in the midst of it, it always seems it will). I’m doing the best I can, but I’m also exhausted and not doing everything as well as I’d like. I’m loving my son and yearning for him to move out. I’m reminding myself that this is what life is, messy and full of contradictions—I’m not doing it wrong.

I go back to my mantra: may I be kind to myself in this moment. May I give myself the compassion I need.

May you all do the same for yourselves as well.


  1. Sooo relieved to hear about your brilliant plan – knew you’d come up with *something* but wow! Didn’t imagine anyone could devise such an amazing plan so soon! You are an incredible Mum Q, Andres is a lucky boy. I’m glad you’ve also got some of your own support too. ♥️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m really struck by how you have been extending so much support to Andres throughout his life. How much you’ve sacrificed.

    And of course, how unsettling it can be with regards to the potential loss of your home of 22 years. It’s an immense, immense sacrifice and I really hope that things go well and that you and your husband spend a happy life in the home until both of you pass on.

    I honestly would have preferred good parents who are poor Vs mine. I’ve acquaintances who needed state help when growing up and had loving parents. They’re all well adjusted.

    There’s definitely a prolonged grieving process and I can’t imagine how much more painful it is for you as a parent.

    I’m also glad you’ve got support for yourself too, because you’ve more than enough on your plate. You’re seriously an incredible parent, and I echo LS: wow at the plan so soon! I don’t understand housing regulations and home ownership where you live, but not only does it sound very costly, it sounds like you’ve found a really good condo for them!

    Liked by 1 person

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