6 years now.
6 years of working and studying and cooking and cleaning and caring for children. If I was a betting woman, I'd bet that they* were taking bets on when I would lose it.
*Whoever they are.
And by lose it, I mean totally lose my mind. A bit like Shirley Valentine, running away to Greece and having a wild affair to break the mundanity of life at a kitchen sink.
Well, if you made a bet then yes. 2016 is the year that I sort-of lose it. Probably not like Shirley Valentine though, I'm far too loyal for that. And not unhappy.
However, lately, just lately... this black dog has completely engulfed me. I am stuck in a black hole and I can't get out. Somehow life went too fast, much too fast. Seven years seem to have passed in the blink of an eye and I'm stuck in a hole, and nothing is wrong except it's raining, absolutely pouring it down as fast as the tears are rolling down my face. Faces, names, decisions made. Time. Money. Friends. Loneliness, emptiness. Lies. Truths. Tears.
It is some kind of wave of anxiety that engulfs me. And yes, it is now in 2016 that I have accepted that I am probably having some kind of meltdown. When I am in the hole, I am in the hole. Times - like now, I am OK, I'm out of it and I can breathe. Things are fine and I'm just plodding on.
Am I trapped? Is it my gender that has trapped me? My decisions? What am I doing and where am I going? What if everyone I have ever known has let me down and there is only me left? Complete and total mind maze and I forget who I am, and what I am doing. I can't breathe and I feel old and spent and everyone wants something from me.
But I emerge from the hole. Everything is fine. I have kids to see to, a pre-teen to argue with, articles to read, essays to write, work to attend...
This summer I have realised a lot.
I have lived a thousand lives in such a short space of time. I have squeezed so much in - and I need a rest. I need to take stock, be kind to myself.
At the same time, I must acknowledge that I am strong. Very strong.
This is what will get me through some very dark days and dig me out of these black holes.