Tuesday, 18 March 2014

OK but not OK


As you may have noticed I haven't really written much over the past few weeks. This is because if I don't feel like I have anything to write about, then I won't. It could be that I have become complacent again, but there are a number of reasons for this.

Aside from having very little money (which makes me sad anyway, although it shouldn't) things have been good for me these last few weeks. I think this is mainly because I am getting my fitness back after getting back out cycling; I have ridden 500 miles in about the last forty days. This isn't a lot to some cyclists and even for me, as I regularly used to get up to 600 miles per month.

But I'm pleased with my progress. Admittedly, the weather has only recently improved, so in theory I could have ridden quite a bit further.

I guess because I'm doing so much more exercise and regularly stretching my back, I'm feeling a lot more level. I've seen my therapist a couple of times also and I'm due to see him again in a couple of weeks. And because I feel like I'm on more of an even keel, I end up getting lazy mentally and not doing the mental exercises I should be doing when I have the odd dip, which I have had.

For example, this past week, I felt really bad and incredibly guilty about everything, but mainly towards my daughter, who is now five. I have felt like a useless father and I have even felt irritated by her; how wrong is that for a parent? I become very impatient with her if she doesn't try hard enough or if she gets scared at the slightest thing. I don't shout at her or anything like that, it's just in my head.

But the truth is, I'm not impatient with her, I'm impatient and frustrated at ME. Because I don't have the patience to let her do things at her own pace, because I had it drilled into me in the Army that you're either good enough or you're a failure and that is the kind of shit that sticks. I got really upset talking to my wife about it as we were out with her riding her bike. Saying things like "..if she was with me she'd have learnt to swim and ride a bike ages ago". That may not necessarily be true though. So yes, I'm bitter towards my ex. But I shouldn't be, as she has her 24/7 and runs her own child minding business so may not have the time to do these things with her. But I also know that my daughter is molly-coddled, whereas my style of parenting is not dressed in cotton wool, but a more direct, sometimes 'cruel to be kind approach'.

But naturally, we will both have different approaches to parenting. And I really need to accept that. And I really need to accept that my daughter started things later in life, such as swimming and cycling, so she has some catching up to do with other kids her own age.

But why do these things have to cause me strife? I blame a lot of this on the Army with its ridiculously high standards for everything; the goal posts were always moved in training, so you could never attain that standard - there would always be something wrong with your kit, even if you'd spent all night making it look immaculate, or they'd play games with you. For example, one of our troop sergeants used to shout at us when our soap dish was wet, as he wanted them dry with clean soap at a room inspection, but then he'd shout at us for having clean, dry soap and soap dish and accuse us of not washing and giving us shit for that. And then throwing it all out of the third floor windows, with anything else he wanted to destroy. You see how this could mess with your head?

It's small wonder I get frustrated with things in life and have difficulty making decisions, because I don't always know what is the right way of doing things. And because I've never had a father figure, I've had to learn all this the hard way; by myself. Yet I still struggle at the age of almost 38. It makes me feel like less of a man, more a child than an adult because I don't always feel mature. It's hard to explain, so I spend so much time being frustrated with who I am and why I have to be this way.

I have to accept that the decisions I made regarding my daughter (leaving my ex) were the right ones and stop living with the guilt of leaving her (my daughter). She sees me quite regularly and she loves spending time with me and me her. And she loves me. Because I'm her Dad, whether I have money or not, it makes no difference to her. But it makes a difference to me, as I can't always do the things that I'd like to do with her, such as take her places or days out. I'd like to be able to fuel her Moshi Monster habit!

Anyway, aside from this I've been OK apart from the times where I've become pretty stressed about my computer as I cannot fix my monitor so I need a new one; even now the screen resolution (how many pixels are on the screen at once or in simple terms, how big or small things look) is set pretty low for my monitor so it feels like it is right in my face. So this has been a cause of irritation for me also, but only because I like everything of mine to be in perfect working order. If it's not working to my standard, it's not good enough; another legacy from my Army days perhaps...? I will spend hours and hours trying to fix my computer if there's something wrong with it and I won't go to bed until it's sorted out, so I make myself stressed out. But it's the challenge I enjoy and I usually end up learning something in the process.

So, as I sit here typing I wonder what will change when I turn 38 in two weeks. Probably nothing. It's just another day. 

Another day where I am OK, but not OK and the battle for my mental health will continue.


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