It's been over a year but there are still some days where I feel myself sinking. It's a physical sensation, my body deflates like I am melting in place. Sometimes when I feel too overwhelmed, my eyelids start to droop. This used to happen sometimes when things were really bad with J and I. I would suddenly be very tired and feel like sleeping, my body's only remaining defense mechanism to escape the situation was desperately reaching for unconsciousness.

Today my stomach feels unsettled and I have a headache. When I stop moving or doing for a few minutes, I feel the prickle of uninvited tears behind my eyes, just waiting for something to flip the switch that tells them now is the time, that there is no longer a point in fighting them off.

This week has been weird. Hard, and weird. I have been off since Tuesday morning, when I stopped on my way to work and made small talk over my almost-ex-husband's desk while I signed the final draft of our divorce papers. Afterwards, I handed over the stack of papers and said goodbye, but I didn't walk away right away. It seemed like I should say something else, but really - what else is there to say?

I haven't been able to focus and I'm having one of those weeks where the enormity of my financial stress and my life as a single parent feel crushing. The bags under my eyes (I've named them Kate & Ally. They seem to be permanent residents.) are worse than usual and the burned out, desperate need for a break is occupying my thoughts.

I told my friend that I feel like I just say the same things again, and I feel like I am complaining. I worry that if I talk about how hard it is too much, no one will want to be my friend anymore.  They will get tired of hearing me moan, and wonder why I don't do something to fix it or just be annoyed that I am griping about my life again. I feel embarrassed that I am not already in a better place, and able to be on my own without asking for help, or feeling like I'm going to get an ulcer from trying to decide which bills to pay, and rejecting 30 calls a day from bill collectors.

I have these negative thoughts that am a terrible mother for the days when I am counting down the minutes until bedtime, for the times I can't wait to drop them off somewhere else, for the nights when I get physically irritated that they won't just go to sleep already. Yesterday I felt like if I heard someone say "Mommy" one more time, my head might just fall off and roll away across the room.

Still, I drop Danny off at day care and he wants me to color a picture with him, and I do it. Because it helps him adjust, and damn, it must be hard when you're four to have your mom take you somewhere and leave you there all day every day. The entire time, I am worrying about how many more minutes I could have gotten paid for, but at the same time, I want his transitions to be positive ones. I feel like I am doing the right thing.

Still, I let them crawl into my bed in the dead of night even though I wish for my own space, and I let Sam cuddle me even though some nights all I want is to yell, "Please no one touch me!" Because they're just kids. They are just kids. Their world was turned upside down and I feel like it has been so long but in the grand scheme of things it hasn't been that long and I'm still trying to give us room to adjust and give them room to become more self-sufficient and confident in themselves.

It's hard. All of this is very hard.

Tuesday night after they were asleep, I lay on the couch and I cried. I cried and cried, and the pain ripped through my chest. I know why they call it a broken heart, because it hurts so much, this pain from deep inside that I cannot name and I cannot articulate. All I can do is feel it. All I can do is cry until my eyes are empty of tears and sleep, and remember that tomorrow will be another day and it might be better or it might not be, but it will be different. All I can do is try to hold on to my hope that things will get easier.

Some days I let myself sink. Giving myself permission to feel sad is not easy for me, but I am trying. I know in my mind what is happening. I know that I am feeling sad and that I have plenty of reason to feel like things are hard, because they are hard. I know that my friends will support me, and love me, but that in the end, I am the one who has to get through this, and I will.