How are you, Dave?

Some things are hard to put into words.

As a kid and even as a younger person we all know sadness.

When things go wrong, when people die or friendships are lost that gut feeling of unhappiness, of weakness and despair is an all too familiar one. We learn to get over it.

As you get older, events repeat and we learn to deal with loss.

Clarity overcomes confusion.

What remains after we filter out these feelings is quite scary.

It’s a gut feeling below grief and despair.

For me, it’s loneliness.

Two of my family regularly clash. Both are adamant that they are right. I act as mediator and referee and most days manage to calm things down, find resolution, help them look for balance or just an unhappy compromise.

While I do it, I have an overwhelming feeling of being on my own.

I have to be.

These people are dear to me and to side with either one would cause chaos.

I honestly don’t think either of them have a clue how I feel. They’re so wrapped up in their own extreme anxiety, they don’t see the damage that they do to me as they tear each other apart.

Anxiety is a deep and dark pit which blinds you to everyday events. It drains you of all your energy so housework doesn’t get done, calls aren’t made, and the sanctuary of sleep is always there.

Discussion of this mess is out of the question. As I tiptoe round the sensitive folk, even doing housework is seen as an affront, an attack on their self esteem.

When the house is empty I race around trying to catch up. Just to save the scowls and feelings of offence.

I’ll admit that sometimes these feelings do overwhelm me. I find myself crying at sentimental bits on soap operas, no matter how badly written or cliche.

Coping is a daily struggle. I often do my own shopping as the fridge and cupboards are aimed at the kids. I get in from a shift at half past 9 and sometimes have to start mediation, or housework or even delivering beds to top floor flats! On Sunday I was up at 8 to take someone to a kitchen job several miles away – after doing my own 8 hour shift the night before.

People ask me what I do with my spare time – but there really isn’t any. I don’t socialise as I have to provide the flex for others. Holidays are a thing of the past – it’s been over 11 years since we went for a few days in a friend’s caravan in North Wales (the kids have been to Austria, Netherlands, adventure breaks and a few weekends breaks in Blackpool.)

There’s isn’t a solution as the day to day problems don’t just stop.

It is what it is.

It does help to write about it though.

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