Swan Syndrome

Swan Syndrome

I’m not much of a crier.

Life doesn’t really make me cry, the only times I’ve ever really been known to cry is whilst watching a sad film (actually hyperventilated during The Notebook – snotfest alert) or a programme on TV. Although, I’d concede I can be quite emotional, I still wouldn’t call myself a crier per say.

However, this week I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve wanted to cry and I’ve been trying to work out why.

Before you worry (or perhaps don’t) that something awful has happened. It hasn’t.  I’ve received no bad news or fallen out with anyone (this week).  I’ve not even watched a sad film or documentary (it’s been all about Corrie and Britain’s Got Talent for me over the last few days).  But, I’ve had this irrepressible feeling where if I thought about it long enough I really could have a good old fashioned tear up.

I’ve spent the last couple of days trying to work out why this is. Why am I on the periphery of ruining a pair of false eyelashes?

One word my friends: stress.

Anxiety is normally the main issue with my mental health, as I’ve documented many times previously. And yes, while I’ve certainly experienced moments of anxiety this week, the overwhelming feeling has been the S word.

As quick as Mo Farah thoughts, emotionally and physically drained at all times and wondering which task I tackle first are just some of the symptoms of stress I’ve been experiencing. Whilst trying to ensure a smile is plastered on my face at all times.

I came up with a diagnosis for how I’m feeling earlier this week. I’ve called it Swan Syndrome.

Why, I hear you cry?

Well, to put it simply, what is it swans do?

They look beautiful and serene whilst cruising around the water but underneath they’re paddling like mad to stay afloat.

Not too dissimilar from how I feel.

Work, family life and my health has all thrown certain challenges my way this week and every time someone asks me how I am, the first thing that spills out of my mouth is “I’m fine thanks, how are you?” when actually all I really want to say is “I’m feeling really quite shit if truth be told”. However, for reasons unknown to me, I just can’t bring myself to do it.

Is it because I’m worried people will see it as a weakness? I bloody well hope not, because as I’ve articulated many times previous, mental health/illness is NOT a weakness.  I refuse to feel ashamed for saying there are times I struggle.

Or perhaps it’s because I’m kidding myself that everything is OK? Likely.  Very, very likely.

I feel like I’m talking in riddles with this post and I really don’t want to confuse any readers so let me break it down a little more.

I’m tired. Like bone crushingly exhausted.  So much so I took a pregnancy test this week, despite the fact I’m on the coil.  I felt so tired, hungry (don’t get me started on that one) and unlike myself that I had to wee on the stick of doom/joy (delete as appropriate) just to rule it out.

It was negative of course. But I was so unsure as to why I’m feeling ‘off’ at the moment that alarm bells started ringing in my mind.

Sleep is a rare entity at present, mainly due to my 2.5 year old son who doesn’t seem to be as much of a fan of it as his Mother. Damn it, I’d hoped to pass that hobby of mine on to him.

Work is slightly overwhelming me at present and I’m finding myself struggling to keep on top of my never ending list of tasks, especially as I’m only part-time and desperately hoping I’ll still be in a job come September.

My health is worrying me a little. I am currently awaiting blood test results for a condition I have been tested for called Von Willebrands syndrome. I’ve been back and forth to the hospital so much over the last couple of years that I’m feeling a little fed up.  I’m sick of looking at my legs and realising I could easily do a dot-to-dot picture on them due to the sheer amount of unexplained bruises I have covering my skin.

So, take all the above into consideration and that might go some way to explain why I feel like a pressure cooker at the moment. I’m just really hoping I don’t explode any time soon.  It won’t be pretty.  I’m such an ugly crier.

My Mum always warns me to slow down, she berates me for going at 100mph with everything and tells me I take too much on. She’s right of course.  All Mum’s are right.  However, what’s the alternative?  Say no to work, a social life and just take to my bed for the next month or so?  How tempting would that be eh? But that would solve nothing, everything would be there when I emerged out of hibernation.

We all do it though don’t we?  Make out we’re fine when in actual fact we feel like we’re drowning in a sea of shit.

I especially think Swan Syndrome is prevalent amongst Mothers. We’re constantly trying to balance everything.  Home life, work life, our own lives, whilst making out to others’ that we’re totally bossing it.  We have this licked.

Well, you know what? Right now I don’t feel like I’m bossing anything. It’s almost a miracle I’m making it through the day without screaming.

Often, I feel like I’m trying to be all things to all people and the plates I’m constantly trying to spin are about to come crashing down on me.

I know I’ve gone on here, and this probably makes jack all sense to anyone but you know what? I feel like a little weight (just a tiny one, like a 30g weight) has been lifted off my tensed up shoulders.

So, perhaps, putting my tired fingers to keyboard has been worthwhile, even if you now feel like your head is spinning like one of those plates I mentioned earlier.  Soz about that.

But if this resonates with you then just know you’re not on your own.

This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Yep I think a lot of us can relate. Just making sure children don’t kill themselves or starve to death is a full time job and yet we need to make sure we find time for everything else too.

    Next week you’ll be back to bossing it!

  2. Sheri

    I can definitely relate to this. Being a new mum and suffering from anxiety and feeling a lot of times that people do not understand is so hard for me. I hide and cry then get myself together again because I feel bad for having a three minute weak moment. Two days ago was a rough one, yesterday a great one, today is ok so far but feeling something worrying coming on. Hope for me I get through it easily. Wishing you all the best in your health journey and for good results. I hope you have a stress free day and weekend. Hugs from sunny Vienna. xoxox

  3. Kathryn

    I am not a young mother, but an older gal, recently disabled and forced into early retirement. I have a hubby with a long-term illness. Our future looks nothing like we had planned. I have anxiety and depression as well. When asked, I can truly say I’m fine, because I’m thinking of the acronym Frustrated, Insecure, Nervous and Exhausted.
    I hope your condition gets a proper diagnosis and answers can be found to help you.

  4. Swan Syndrome – I loved the way you described it and you are absolutely right. It is especially prevalent amongst Mothers. i think for me, I feel it is the one thing which I absolutely cannot fail in and hence I always have to show that I am coping. I am learning to say NO to more demands on myself and tell myself it is all right NOT to do and be everything.

  5. This is such an important topic and needs to be talked about more, I love the way you relate it to Swans, there is a lot of plate spinning involved in life and definitely as a mother so I completely get this, it’s nice to read an honest post and when things get me down I’ll definitely think about how you’ve described this 🙂 #stayclassy

  6. So very true it does feel like we are paddling our tiny legs trying to stay afloat whilst looking pretty to everyone else. I can totally relate to this post and as much as I don’t want any one to feel the way I feel it does give me some reassurance to know I am not alone. I sometimes feel like everyone around me has it so together and I am barely holding on. But after moving 4 weeks ago, 2 pets dying in the last 2 months, hosting 2 at home parties in the past 2 weeks and now having a bd cold it is no wonder I feel like crap! But still I want to get up an feel great, I hate being sick! Sorry for going on and on, but thank you for helping me get stuff off my chest #stayclassy

  7. Swan syndrome is a great way to describe it and you’re right, sometimes it is completely counter productive. There are times when saying it’s all a bit crap and you need a hug would be a better response than I’m fine. Hope this week is better and you hear back from Doctors soon. 🙂

  8. Pen

    Ah yes, I can totally relate. Sometimes things just get too much. You have to set yourself some strict boundaries and priorities. The washing will still be there tomorrow, so will the life admin, the cleaning and the kids will survive, in fact they will probably thrive, on baked beans. Sleep deprivation is the absolute worst thing ever. I find that sometimes I just cannot face the day if I am sleep deprived. I am ratty and tearful and can’t function. Man, it is tough being a mother sometimes, but great, really great. Pen x

  9. Ellen

    I completely understand what you mean, and I think you are right that we all do it to an extent – try and do too much, be too much, spread ourselves so thin and do everything for everyone else and forget about ourselves. I believe our mental health has to be cared for the same way as physical health but it’s harder to put into practice. Thank you for sharing this honest post and I hope you get some answers soon. #StayClassy

  10. I promise to keep floating, but, I never said I’d look good doing it! Wishing you a better day tomorrow while floating.

  11. Oh Rachel, I’m really sorry that you’re feeling like this at the moment… It does sound like you have a lot going on, and I know that any concern over my health, no matter how tiny, can send me into a tailspin of anxiety that sometimes I feel like I can’t come back from. Many trips to the hospital along with all the other things, must be making you really stressed. It is often worse when you can’t pinpoint the root of the problem too. I’m not much of a crier either, but also get these periods of just feeling totally rubbish, like I’m crap at absolutely everything, being a mum, writing, generally being a human being… And I often want to scream/cry because of it. I have these times much more since I’ve been a SAHM-I personally think that all the time with no adult company leaves me too much time to overthink things. I hope you’re back on your feet and bossing it again soon, but if you’re not, I’m sure you’ll get the help you need. Xx

  12. Yep I know how you feel! I go through phases like this, where I just feel overwhelmed, exhausted and tearful. Then it will change, things pick up somehow. I’m currently re-evaluating everything, what is it that causes me stress? What tips me over the edge? What is important? Some crap you can just do without. I hope you are well again soon, keep swimming x #stayclassy

  13. I like the way you’ve described it as swan syndrome. I think I’ve definitely had this from time to time. I hope that the issues with your health are resolved soon, and things get a bit easier. It always helps to let off steam on the ‘ol blog I find! #StayClassy

  14. I think the dirty little secret is most of us are winging it as best we can.

    I’ve been feeling like that too. In all my manic campaigning this week it feels like it’s distancing me from why I’m doing it and if I think about it too much I will have the ugly cries you fear too.

    I don’t have any advice but that just you for your honesty about mental health. I hope that by sharing you do feel less alone.


  15. That is a great way to describe it as we most mothers look serene on the outside and make me want to scream as I don’t lol but inside they are like me and the rest of us. #bestandworst xx

  16. And you would never know hun – you are a swan for sure – looking gorgeous all the time. Bless. You do need to step back and try and stop a bit as your mum says. You have written how mental health issues are not an issue; damn straight they are not so ask for help and support. Tell work if you need to. YOu have to think about you. (I sound like your Mum). We are the same with sleep….boooo! Hope all goes well with your tests and nothing too much to worry about. Lots love and thanks for sharing with #bestandworst xx

  17. What a perfect way to describe that feeling that I understand so well. Swan Syndrome. I definitely feel as if I am spinning a thousand different plates at once. So relevant to my life at this particular moment, currently on a train first day back at work after mat leave – plate #2,347. I’m glad that writing about this has helped you and I’m sorry that you are feeling worn down. I really hope the blood tests go well. Beautifully written post, love your blog Rach! Thanks for linking up with #StayClassy!

  18. My goodness , I know this feeling! Last year I moved, house, got married, had a baby and lost my mum and I did so much smiling and nodding, when really I just wanted to cry and throw things. Every one used to tell me i was doing so so well and Aren’t you brave and strong, but inside I was breaking!
    One evening my husband felt the force of , ‘swan syndrome’ and he had no idea what had been going on beneath the surface.
    I never spoke about anything because i used to think that people thought I was pathetic and wanting sympathy so I just used to bubble and cry on my own!
    I think the best thing to do it just let it all out sometimes, even if you seen like a huge moaner!!!!

  19. Everyone seems to be overwhelmed and stressed this year more so than in previous years. What an excellent term you have coined – Swan Syndrome. Hope your health issues are sorted soon.
    Thanks for linking with #ShowcaseTuesday linky

  20. Emma

    my son is nearing three and I can relate to feeling super tired. I also thought I might be preggers too as I was soooo tired. it was ridiculous at one point. #ShowcaseTuesday

  21. I think one of my biggest frustrations as an anxiety sufferer is people who just want you to calm down, because it isn’t that easy! I felt you letting it out and I am so happy you found a piece of calm letting it all out! #showcasetuesday

  22. #showcase Linky Tuesday please take care! We need to slow our homes from time to time! I love your honesty and frankness as we all have days and times
    Like this!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.