A little over two weeks ago I came down with a head cold. Nothing major but annoying all the same. It saw me struggle along for about four days, but even after the bulk of the symptoms packed up and left, I still felt flat.
One week later I woke one morning with what can only be described as pretty severe migraine pain. It hurt to open my eyes. My whole body ached. I was beyond fatigued. But I powered on, because that’s what we do as mums, don’t we?
I packed my kids into the car and took them to a birthday party. Because I didn’t want to let them down.
But then when I got home I fell apart and went to bed and didn’t get up again until it was late in the afternoon. Groggy, bleary eyed and bone achingly tired.
When my mum came over the next morning she took one look at me and instructed me to go directly to the doctor, another thing I’m guilty of neglecting when it comes to myself.
The GP diagnosed me with a sinus infection, severe dehydration and exhaustion.
I wasn’t that surprised. I’ve been running on the scent of an oily rag for quite a while now.
Depleted, exhausted, emotionally and physically drained.
But instead of stopping and saying “I need help and rest” I had been powering on to the risk of my own health.
Why do we do this? Is it a pride thing? Is it ego? Is it that we don’t want to bother our already busy family and friends? Is it that we secretly don’t think anyone can do it as well as we can?
I think it’s probably a little bit of all of those things.
But that attitude helps no one. It doesn’t help the kids when mummy is a tired and cranky cow. It doesn’t help partners when they can’t understand why you’re sobbing into your weetbix at the thought of slogging through another thankless day. And most of all, it doesn’t help you, or me.
I’m happy to report, I’m on the mend and have booked in some me time, which includes a night away with a very indulgent sleep in planned.
And the moral of this story? Next time I will not wait until the point of pure exhaustion to say “I need help!” It’s going to take practise, but it’ll be worth it in the end. For everyone.