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It’s been a long time coming. It’s two years, if not three since I last had a break from my children. Thanks to conspiring events, I’ve just had 6 nights to myself in Tenerife.

1son had offered a few years ago to babysit and give me a few days away as a Christmas present but it never came off as whenever we are on school holiday that would mean him looking after all 3 of his brothers and I think that would be too much. No doubt it would be fine but I don’t suppose 2son’s social worker would approve. However, whilst entering school dates in the diary this year I noticed that for this February half term 2son’s was actually the week before 3 and 4son’s with him returning to school on the Monday. Coupled with the fact that the following Monday was an INSET day (teacher training so no school) gave me a 6 night tight window. 1son was going away himself but it turned out he was coming back on the Monday so just in time. Trying to book a holiday at the last minute, when I really didn’t care much where to go was difficult and the best deals were all for 7 nights however I made it and left.

I didn’t quite realise how anxious I get when outside my comfort zone until I reached the airport and realised I was totally petrified at doing the wrong thing or missing out a stage in the sequence of events; I hadn’t flown for some 10 years. Having chosen an all inclusive hotel it took me 24 hours to relax at all while sorting out drink or food. Waiters in the restaurant ignored me, expecting me to be waiting for someone and I had to be quite assertive, which is really not me.

I had two lazy days lounging by the beach or pool and then my bathing costume split. It was probably 10 years old and had been going in places but it finally died. Now I had brought a bikini that I hadn’t worn in years that was several sizes too small. Swimming costumes are a massive trigger to me as I hate my body so much. I did look in a few beach wear touristy shops, some of which allowed you to try things on but although they did actually have quite large sizes, nothing worked and I just felt miserable. So I went and booked a couple of day trips and ignored the sun worshippers. I even did a full mindfulness meditation, my first for months.

So much time to think, especially with very limited wi-fi (which I embraced rather than fussed over). Where did I get to?

  • I hate myself. Seriously. I can practice positive affirmations and pretending all I like, but I hate my body, the way I look, the fact that I feel my life has been a total waste of time.
  • I know all the positive steps I should take, in terms of being more physically active, pushing my boundaries a bit, practising mindfulness. I just can’t be bothered. I don’t consider myself worth it and that just reinforces what a bloody waste it all is.
  • I hate my home life. Children are obsessed with computers and don’t do anything else. I argue about bed time almost every night. I can occasionally drag one of them out to do something but I’m bored with arguing and fighting. We do sometimes have good moments and I try and treasure them. But I’m not in the mood to try and put more effort in.
  • I wonder what I will do with the rest of my life. I’d need a substantial change in direction to earn a reasonable amount, or even to come off all benefits. Do I accept that? Part of me says it doesn’t matter as I can’t put the effort in to changing it anyway.
  • Do I want to stay where I am? Am I going to die in this house? I have the feeling that any thoughts of moving are really about running away and I take me with me wherever I go.
  • Acceptance. It’s not just about size but it’s also about accepting that this is my life and it has been what it was and the future is up to me. Yes I’m middle aged and need to stop feeling jealous looking at people who are younger (and seemingly happier). I’m not dead yet.
  • Whilst I have tried to embrace being single, the actual thought of spending the rest of my life alone is quite horrific. But the thought of anything else when I hate myself is just ridiculous.

Returning home I have felt all the stress and weariness just descend back on me, as well as a total lack of motivation. So what the fuck do I do about it?

Do I go back on anti-depressants? I could do but I’m not sure they’d help. Discuss with GP.

Therapy. I need someone to help me work through all this but on my terms. I suspect what I want isn’t available on the NHS, which is quite good at offering the short term quick intervention but nothing long term unless you’re actually “seriously” ill. Since I haven’t tried killing myself that clearly doesn’t apply. So again, discuss with GP what is available.

Assuming nothing is, then I try swimming in the sea of private practitioners. How do I find someone (relatively local and affordable long term) who will cover HAES, mindfulness, acceptance and CBT in the mix that I need? Fucked if I know and my only thoughts are to go through all the charities and organisations out there looking for help. One by one. Until something works. Or I give up trying.