Being a single, working mother of two boys often feels like more than I can handle. There are so many days when I'm so tired, I could cry. When I feel completely empty, like I have nothing to give my children. I don’t know what makes me more depressed, the tiredness, or the feeling of guilt. I can hear my own monotone voice asking them how their day has been. I don't even have the energy to feign enthusiasm. On days like this, everything is reduced to the bare necessities. Dinner might be a sandwich or a bowl of boiled pasta. Ironically, they're just as pleased, or perhaps more so, especially if I let them slather as much butter as they want on their noodles. I usually eat the same, hoping to fill my tank, not because I'm hungry, but because I feel empty. It's not just that I am tired. At these moments, I'm also painfully aware of how alone I feel, how forsaken. For at least a few moments, as I'm eating my noodles, I am soothing my soul.

On days like this, the dog might not get a walk. I'll put her on the leash, take her to a patch of grass outside the house and say, “JUST GO.” She understands and makes no fuss about it. Sometimes people comment on how well behaved, and well trained, my children and dog are. Are they really well behaved, or in survival mode?
On days like this, I feel vulnerable and have dark thoughts. “Maybe I’ll close my eyes tonight, fall asleep, and never wake up.” The thought is not entirely unwelcome. The idea of having to wake up and start all over, again, and again, and again, makes me despondent sometimes. All I want to do is sleep. I can't give work my full attention and, pack one more lunch box, do one more load of laundry, make one more trip to the supermarket, cook one more meal, pay one more bill, schedule one more appointment with the vet, the pediatrician or the mechanic, before taking the goddamn HIV pills and passing out in my bed. I do not want to wake up and look at myself, because on days like this, I always hate what I see in the mirror.
Sometimes I think of giving up, and letting my ex have custody of the kids. I love them, but on days this, I can't enjoy them, and I feel I can’t take care of them so well. I never follow through though. I'm afraid if they weren’t around, if no one needed me, I really might not wake up one morning. I need them to need me.
In a few days, I'll recover my strength. My energy will return. The cloud will pass, and I'll feel capable and competent again. I'll wash and blowout my hair, put on a nice outfit, and kick ass at work. I'll go running with the dog, roast a delicious chicken for dinner, and then bake cookies from scratch with the kids.  My cup won't feel so empty, but I worry the dark periods are getting longer.
  1. butterflywings 10 years ago

    Wow. Thank you for reading and for the kind words circledmoon. Yes, writing about it does lift the burden a bit. I would love to write more…if only I had the time!  Sometimes I worry that I sound like I'm whining and complaining. I'm actually very grateful for what I have and have done in my life. But, we all have our low days, and since I'm not really "out" with my diagnosis, I don't really have anyone with whom I can share my feelings. This is the only place where I can post my thoughts, no matter how dark, and feel understood.

    I visited your page and it's very inspirational and insightful. Thanks again for taking the time to comment.

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  2. butterflywings 10 years ago

    Thanks to everyone who responded to this blog. I'm overwhlemed with the kind words of comaraderie, understanding, and concern. You have of course validated me and helped me put some of my feelings into perspective. I hope I didn't bring anyone down. That wasn't my intention. I'll try to write a more uplifting entry soon

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