Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Archive for the category “Sober Living”

Oh, Those Monsters…..

They just keep showin’ up, don’t they? *smile* I guess they’re just a normal part – and will forever be a part – of being Human. You kick one of their asses, and then, whoop! Another ass appears. Wahwah.

This one, well, I’ve probably talked about it before, and it will probably not come as a shock to anyone really, as it’s so common. The Monster’s Name is Food. And moreso, how I attempt to reward myself with it. ….. I think it’s slowly crept into mindless behavior, particularly in the evening during ye ole witching hour…. The one I used to pacify with loads and loads of wine. That YOWH. Now (and for the past 3 years) it’s Food. In the grand scheme of things, not bad. Just substituting one addiction for another. …. Again.

As someone with an addictive personality, am I just sentenced to a life of perpetual realizations that now ‘this’ is the problem? I feel so silly. My brain keeps playing tricks on itself and I keep falling into the same trap again and again. What a nut.

‘How am I going to crack this nut?’ you ask. Welp, with a little bit of mindfulness and a lot of chutzpah. Here’s what’s been goin’ on in the kitchen (as it were)……

  • I’ve been circling around healthy body and weight-loss communities for the past few months. (Change is slow. My brain has been considering the need/desire for a change for quite some time. No rush. It takes what it takes. No need to beat myself up about it. (Learned this from my therapist. She’s a rockstar.))
  • Have had a few friends take the plunge into Noom over the past half year. Decided I would try it out for myself 2 weeks ago.
  • Signed up for Noom and began the free-trial period. I started logging my weight daily, reading articles, and tracking my food.
  • Right away, I noticed my food choices weren’t always that healthy, so started substituting healthier options. I also started taking my vitamins again (after 6 months off), so my body is feeling better.
  • I replaced our broken treadmill with a second-hand elliptical, and have been on it a number of times these past two weeks.
  • I got a little nervous about the money-commitment to Noom on Day 2 or 3, so went online and checked out some reviews. There are some pretty bad ones out there, which freaked me out, so I started paralleling my tracking on my FitBit as well, because it’s Free.
  • I’ve told several people about my new foray into better choices.
  • I found another community at halfsizeme.com, which has great podcasts and awesome assistance programs, to help with different roadblocks along the way to losing weight (that’s my first goal – to let go of some of this fluff). Their biggest push, though, is maintenance and understanding your body when it’s in maintenance. I really like the mentality and also the good-not-perfect approach. I can’t tell my sober friends enough times how much the verbiage echoes that of the sober journey. It’s all about being kind to yourself, recognizing your accomplishments however small, forgiving yourself for mistakes and moving forward. I feel like I already know the community because there are so many similarities to my sober journey.
  • Today is my 2-weeks-in marker. I’ve logged every meal, even if I wasn’t proud of some of my choices. As an extrinsic reward, I am going to go to a fabric store with my daughter and pick out either a new pattern or a new cut of fabric. (I stopped going about 3 weeks ago as a measure to save money.) I’m very much looking forward to it, and think I could definitely do another two weeks from today. *smile*

How have I done so far?

Well, my biggest victory is not being afraid of the scale any more. It says what it says, and that feels like quite an accomplishment. I’ve fluctuated between 3 pounds this whole time, which is pretty cool. On the whole, I think I’m down 2 or 2.5 pounds. Woot. Like I said, my food choices are better for me, and I’ve tracked everything. (Wow.) And I’ve become mindful of eating for the most part. I don’t zone out and just eat whatever. Instead, I notice what it is I want, determine the portion size (as best I can), and then enjoy it …. And notice that I’m enjoying it.

Yah-hoo. Big things to me, even though they’re small.

Anyone else on this journey – either Sober? Eater? or SoberEater? *smile* I’m looking for company, as I am sure it is the SoberCommunity that helped me get sober…. Probably my biggest weapon is all of you. I’d love to walk another trail with you, if you’re up for it. *flex*

Day 1,524. Heya, Voltaire.

-HM.

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Here.

Hello, Friends.

I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. It’s the summer, and this is the time when I began my sober journey. Still on it. *smile* Still chuggin’ along.

Summer has finally started (after some sicknesses in June – boo to that), and we are all feeling good. Went up North to visit my parents and friends (hoo-rah!), and returned to sunshine and yard work and a new lawn mower (hoo-rah! again).

I love being outside. I love the air and the breezes and the smells and the critters – mostly insects. I love waking up to the fact there is a whole helluva’ lot going on in the world around me – right in my own backyard. I love having the time to dig in (literally) and really see it all. And be part of it all. Very healing. Just from the regular run-of-the-mill Life stuff that happens to us all….. And sometime in comes in heaps, and sometimes it comes in teaspoons.

As I said in my last post, I am also sew-sew-sew-sew-sewing. I lost a bit of momentum this past week because of traveling and then my Perfectionism kicked in a bit and has kept me busy with other side-projects (i.e. yard work and reading delicious, yummy books, oh. And writing this blog post. *smile* Ha.). So after this, I am going to dive back in and address a couple of projects that have been (again literally) hanging over my head. *smile*

I love sewing. I love the thread and the fabric and the textures of it all. I love the sound of my machines – Nora & Ernestine, respectively. I love the movement of the fabric and the different weights and the way it moves. I love the ease of making the needle go slowly or quickly, and then sticking it in to hold my place and spin the fabric to face a new direction. I love folding and rolling and hemming. I love machine-work and hand-work. I love patterns and the assembly of it all. I’m working on loving finishing. *smile* But oh, how I do love the finished pieces and the feel and look of my makes. There is so much pride and love in each piece. Oh! I love (the most) making makes for other people and thinking of them with every stitch. It makes the world a little smaller and brings my loved ones closer to me.

*lesigh*

I’m grateful. That it’s summer. That I have something new and creative to invest myself in. I love creativity. I love digging into the dirt. And having time with my children (who are growing like weeds (cliche, but true)). I am happy to be sober, and am glad I started the journey.

4 years.

That finally tilts my sober time in my son’s life as being more sober than not. And in my daughter’s life, I’m now at 50-50… 4 years tipsy and checked out, and 4 years making and doing and being and Living.

Day 1,507. Here’s to being Here.     images.png

Drink Dream

Hello, my Friends. In my long absence, I would like to wish you a Happy Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas-New-Year. *smile*

Things here are going pretty well. Much better than I’d been feeling in the past year.

Biggest item – I appealed to my psychiatrist to put me back on the medication that made me feel good. Her hesitation was the complication of my heart arrhythmia, but I had felt horrible, sad, depressed, and hopeless for at least a year. I wanted to take the risk. At the beginning, when I first started the meds, I found I had 5 out of 10 days when I felt more like myself. Happier, optimistic, laughing. As cliches go, it felt as though a HUGE weight had been lifted off me. I had had no idea I had been struggling so much, nor for so long. I am still chugging along on my meds and feeling good/happy/ME. Phew.

…. I was inspired/compelled/thought it best if I popped on here today, because as the title above says, I had a drink-dream last night. I don’t think I’ve had one for over a year, so its showing up really surprised me. The drink itself surprised me, but the main theme of the dream keeps my head turning over what it might be about. Here’s the dream –

I walked into a bar (classic joke set-up), went up to the counter and sat on a stool next to a man on my right. I thought for awhile and wasn’t sure whether I should or shouldn’t – knowing full-well I was sober – and then finally thought, “It will be fine,” and ordered a Summit. I actually had the thought in my dream to be proud I was from Minnesota. Silly.

The beer was delivered and I started talking to the man on my right. Meanwhile, another man to my left was trying to tell him not to talk to me because of what had happened when he brought me home one night. He claimed I had walked into the apartment and got sick all over my parents’ bed, which was right inside the door. (What? So weird. Especially weird because I was remembering it as he spoke.). I was embarrassed by my past drinking behavior, but shrugged it off and took a sip of my beer.

Sitting at the bottom of the pint glass were 3 long sewing pins and a needle. (I’ve been doing a lot of sewing lately.) I had the thought that if I’d drank them, my intestine would be perforated and I would die. As I fished out 2 of the pins, I said to the man on my right, “People can be horribly cruel.” I figured the man on my left had slipped the pins and needle in when I wasn’t looking. The man on my right seemed to be somewhat okay with me still being there, so I turned to the room and asked to bum a cigarette.

A woman handed me one just as she was about to light it herself (clearly smoking was allowed indoors in this dream world). I lit the cig, and smoked it in about 3 puffs. I had the thought that I was being ‘bad,’ because of the beer and the cig.

And then I woke-up.

Not epic. Not even zany. The subject matter of cruelty is what really sticks with me upon waking. Curious about it and why it showed up the way it did.

Hm.

At any rate, I’m not really disturbed the drinking bit. It was a dream. The needle and pins were a little creepy. The man to my left was a little scary. The quick passing of time with the cigarette was disconcerting. It almost felt like the beer was my subconscious reminder that it was a dream, because I just don’t drink any longer.

So? That’s good. I’ll have to ponder on the other elements for awhile longer. Again, hm.

Alright, well, that is all for now. The babies are good. The hubs is good. I’m good. Starting a new show. Still teaching, and now with the med fix, remembering how much I like teaching on a mostly daily basis. *smile*

I hope you’re all well and wonderful. I will see you again in 6 to 9 months. Maybe a year.  *smile*

Day 1,341. Heya. *smile*

p.s. Here’s a cute little pic with cute sewing notions to try and cancel out the sinister image from my dream.

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p.p.s. I’ve been trying to turn my mind back to my original Word o’ the Year from long ago (4 years ago), because I really was good to myself for that year in ways I haven’t been and am usually not. So I am re-embracing the word ‘Kindness,’ and just trying to remember to be kind to myself. It’s a good little goal, I think. I hope you’re all being good to yourselves.

p.p.p.s. Love. *smile*

Eyes Open.

My eyes are opening about a bunch of different things lately. First, I had a huge realization at work, in which my privilege – both being white and from a Christian background in the United States – had been clouding my vision about a certain matter. Things are moving there, and I’m glad I had the ‘aha’ moment, even if it felt embarrassingly (to me) late in the game.

And I have moments – moments which feel like eons/swathes of Time/months/years even – in my Life, in which I am walking around with my eyes closed to Myself. How and why do my body and brain do this to me? How can it happen every single time? It’s sort of funny, like, ‘Oh, body, you got me again!’ Cue studio audience laugh. And at the same time, so frustrating because I can’t see it sooner. Hrm. Does anyone else experience this kind of muckety-muck in this way?

First, the lesser realization, though still quite major, is that I am and have been Depressed….. Significantly Depressed since about November of last year. All of the crapola at work and my health just struck me down. I have been chugging along, and doing my Life, but nothing has felt good or right. Nothing makes me happy, which is awful to say…. And maybe not entirely true. There are definitely moments of happiness – like holding my niece for the first time, and getting to know her and her sweet nature and her awesome communication skills. Seriously. Brilliant baby. (Good job on that one, Sister.) But other things which are supposed to make me happy – time with my kids and family, sewing, theatre, baking, Summer Vacation for crying out loud!!! (I’m a teacher) – Nothing really filled my void. Lifted me up. Not all the way.

I feel like I am forever searching and searching for that thing to fill me up and make me feel good. …. Which tells me I am prone to looooonnnnnnnnnggggggg periods of Depression. Because when I’m good, I’m great. But those times feel rather like wee little windows of time. And especially in the perspective of this past year, the windows have all been shut. (How many metaphors can I use in one blog post, do you think? *smile*)

So, yep. Depression. Solid, sun-blocking Depression.

But? I’m not a quitter. Fuck that.

One good thing about a new med I am trying (to help me with the bi-polar, while also not making my heart condition worse), is that it doesn’t knock me out for days at a time. I have been getting up on the reg and exercising. In the past 3.5 weeks, I have exercised 22 times. Holy shit, who am I? *smile* That feels good, even when it doesn’t. And even though it doesn’t change my whole day necessarily, I feel good when I’m doing it, so good. I like that.

I’m also moving along at work and doing good things, even with my first above-mentioned realization. Administration feels supportive. I’m confident in my job. I Love my classroom time. I feel like a Good Teacher, which is one of the best feelings.

I gave up coffee in early July, which was necessary for my ol’ ticker. Going to see how things improve at my upcoming appointment this month. Fingers crossed, but not feeling Certain things will be better. TBD. … But that to say, it’s another thing I tackled despite the Depression.

I’m trying out my mantra on occasion, when I remember. “I’m okay.” It just popped into my head shortly after my last session with my therapist. She said I need something to combat the self-talk which is just knocking me backwards and down repeatedly, and it just popped up. It’s not like the ‘I’m fine’ thing we’ve almost all been programmed to say when someone asks us in the hallway or on the sidewalk, ‘How are you?’ Nope. It’s like I’m okay because I’m like other people. I’m okay and I don’t need to be Wonder Woman right now (even though I am enjoying herbal tea from my WW coffee mug at this mo). I’m okay and this work can wait a day. I’m okay and what I got done, I got done, what I didn’t, I didn’t. I’m okay to not have energy right now and just be with my babes and husband. …. There is this magical version of Me which calls out to me to be the best and be amazing and be incredible all of the time, which usually makes me shut down, call myself names, worry about all the other amazing women doing amazing things in their amazing lives, and just stop and not do anything – all while hating myself because I’m not doing anything right. Saying ‘I’m okay’ helps me remember there is probably someone else in the world with some piles of papers needing to go through, or dishes to be done. I’m okay. Seriously. I am. Right now. I’m okay. …. And that is so healing when I remember to use it. It’s a lovely pivot point to move from.

Last eyes-suddenly-open realization hit me last night around dinner time. Not sure why it took me a few years to see it. I was getting dinner ready and kind of kicking myself and reaching for that magical-wish-I-was version of myself (i.e. thin, in this particular instance) in my head, because of all the exercise I’ve been doing, but still am so Fluffy. Like a marshmallow. Just fluffy. And I can’t shed it. And as I was wishing and reaching for my 10th pre-meal bite of whatever it was I was making, it dawned on me that it was dinner time. Witching hour. My old drinking/stomping grounds. Familiar territory, in other words. All too familiar.

I saw myself reach for the food. I heard myself use the words ‘Treat’ and ‘I deserve.’ …. All in hopes of filling a hole.

What the fuck does that Hole want anyway, and why can’t I fill it up?

I do the work, or at least remind myself to get going and do the work. I chug along.

But now, I find I have a food addiction. Probably a minor one in comparison, but the same exact pattern and mindset. And it’s not even an addiction to a certain type of food. Nope. It’s just any and all food. And it’s all about deserving. And treating. And trying to make myself feel better.

Which is probably all wrapped up into this gigantic Depression-monster I have hovering around me. And perhaps as I work to lift that, the hole will feel smaller? Maybe? Question mark? Hopeful eyebrow-raise.

I have a feeling it all has to do with balance and decreasing the pressure and hate for myself. ….. That felt awful to write. ….. I don’t know why the hate-voice is there, but I think it must have to do with all of the perfect, magical lives I imagine everyone else is leading. And I used to feel magical, or at least, I thought I was being magical when I led a life that emulated what I saw on TV. I’m so prone to suggestion, it’s ridiculous. Now when I think of leading those magical lives – and I want to – I just feel old and tired and resentful that it’s too hard to lead lives like those, and how the hell is everyone else even doing it?

Cue mantra.

I’m okay.

Other people aren’t leading those lives. They’re leading normal, regular lives that aren’t perfect, nor do they look nor feel perfect. They’re messy and not great at everything. They’re good at some things, but not everything. They’re okay.

Just like me. I’m okay.

Maybe the hole I’m trying to fill has actually swallowed me up. I’ve got work to do – depression, balance, food, exercise. And I know, eventually, I will be able to pull myself out of here. I’ve done it before.

Day 1,181. Looking up from the bottom.

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Reality Check

And I’ve got egg on my face to boot.

Update: I sent an email to admin (not a frazzled one like my post) asking for a meeting so that we could talk about my concerns with my schedule. I then itemized those concerns. They got back to me pretty quickly and clarified things. Turns out? The online program I rely on for my schedule was incorrect. Things got ironed out over email and we are moving forward. Good.

And? I’m embarrassed. Not in front of admin, but in front of all of you.

I feel, I react. I charge forward. I am the bull in the adage.

Anne was right – I’ve got lots of anxiety, and it’s all ready to boil up and over at the drop of a hat.

Wendy is right, too – I need to prioritize my health for mine and my family’s well-beings.

How do I walk in when I know the slate isn’t exactly clean? That’s the issue right now. I am the problem. My hackles are up and I’m ready for a fight – because I’ve been conditioned to fight at this point.

I’m working on the anxiety. First, I’ve been exercising more, which feels good. I start tomorrow with back to work and am going to work my exercises into my early mornings. That’s the plan as of this mo. Second, when I see my therapist tomorrow, I am going to propose to her that my anxiety is its own issue. There is still the possibility it’s an off-shoot of my new meds, but even so, anxiety is my middle name and I would love a life with far less of it. I’ll bring it up to her, and then I will call my shrink and see what she says. Meds are my concern now, because they could be exacerbating some of my heart issues, which stinks, because I think I do better on meds and have done better these past few years. It would stink if I had to cut them out. That, however, can be figured out as we go. Get back, Anxiety! Down, boy.

Okay, so that’s it. I just felt like I should come clean. I go back tomorrow and all of this pent-up anticipation/anxiety crapola should die down once I get back into it.

Day 1,163. It’s not you, it’s me.

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Climb Ev’ry….

There must be a step I am skipping.

I can see my goal – happy, carefree, no-stress, low-cortisol levels, did I mention happy? Easy, breezy (beautiful CoverGirl)….. Enjoying my work (my dream job) and being happy to be at my school, teaching what I love, and having both my babes with me at the same school. No more self-pity! (Gah. I am so bored of hearing myself talk about it over and over.) No more ‘Woe is me.’ No more crying. No more anticipatory stress. No more feeling sorry for myself. I’m really sick and tired of it.

That, and it feels like the Universe is sending me all these messages the past few weeks with others’ stories to put mine better into perspective. I know our hurts and our pains and challenges are not comparable, but I when I am listening to others’ stories (and comparing), I can’t help but think, ‘Why the hell can’t I get over my stuff/myself?’ Seriously. So many stories of people being amazing in the face of adversity and challenge and heartache and loss and life changes….. And then there’s the poor-old-boob-Me who can’t get over the fact her job is hard and her bosses aren’t great. (A bit of a generalization, but really, when it comes down to it, that’s what it is.)

I feel like a whiny schmuck who can’t get over it already.

And then the worry and anxiety comes in and that’s unsettling, because it doesn’t just unsettle me about the job, nope. It unsettles me about everything else, too, so that everything is bad or scary or insurmountable.

I am not that person.

I am a doer and a get-shit-done-kind-of-person. This continued anxiety is making me feel

  1. Not like myself
  2. Weak
  3. Alone
  4. Like a cry-baby
  5. Fragile and frail

And then, as I continue to bubble up with worries here and there, I also feel like I keep spilling it out on those I love, which makes me feel even more frustrated with myself.

I can see the oasis that is calm and serenity ahead of me. I can even get to it for a few brief moments at a time. A blogger used the image of an open hand the other week, and I love that idea in regards to my situation. Yes, the crap is here, but if I keep my hand open, it will pass. Right now, it feels like I am clutching onto all the crapola and I’m the one not letting things go.

And yet.

There is incompetence and disregard for my job as an arts teacher. I just checked my schedule and found I am given 10 preps (fine), but four of the classes are scheduled to be quarter-long instead of semester-long. What about content/curriculum? What about students getting adequate instruction time? Will students receive half the credit, or am I expected to cram a semester’s worth of content in for the students’ sakes? Why was none of this communicated to me ahead of time? Why was I not asked? Would you ask an English teacher to run their classes like this? Why am I? …… My heart just picks up right where it left off and runs like gangbusters for the hills. I’m worried returning to work is going to set my health back again and I’m going to have to have a more serious procedure to fix my heart problem (caused by my job), which further compounds the stress and the damage. …. Anyway, I’ve asked for a meeting, but seriously. Why am I my only advocate? Why does no one else see how their choices affect me, a teacher in their school? Plus, when I send off that old email, I further compound their perceptions of me as well. I’m the woman who can’t be happy or satisfied or content with her job. The woman who doesn’t know her place. The woman who is loud. The woman who dredges up problems, who sees trouble where there isn’t any. Etc. I want to quit, but I also want to push through and get through to the other side and be happy doing what I love to do.

I was bucking myself up the past few days because I go back to workshops on Thursday. I’ve been telling myself everything will be okay (Thanks, PapaBear), and that I can do this *flex* (Thanks, Rosie the Riveter), and that this year can and will be different because the past is in the past (Thanks, Elsa).

I’ve been to therapy a few times and am going again this week. I’ve been checking in here and reading and connecting. I’ve seen girlfriends and spent lots of time doing things to engage with others. I’ve started that new drug (which I’m not loving, but going to give it a month). I’ve exercised 4 times in the past 8 days. I’ve eaten (a lot). I’ve spent time with my babies and with the rest of my wonderful fam (Hi, Sister & NewBabyNiece). I got the heck out of dodge.

I’ve been doing the work and I still feel like Shit, and I’d like to know why.

Am I on the verge of a breakthrough? Or a breakdown? At this point, both seem probable.

I feel better as a person, but the Job is looming and this scheduling thing does not bode well, nor sit right, nor feel good as I begin another year. I just keep thinking that this year cannot be the same as last year. I cannot go through and lose myself, my health, and my family time the way I did last year. I’m clutching to that idea/goal, and then my heart begins to race and I feel sad and defeated.

I’m going to keep taking the steps, Folks. And I’m going to keep doing what needs to be done for me. I’m going to set boundaries and take things back a notch where I can. I’m going to prioritize my physical and mental health, my family, and my Time. I’m going to stand up for myself when and where I need to, even if I continue to be the Problem Person.

Day 1,161. Are we there yet?

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A Majestic Woman Climbing a Small Mountain by Caitlin Connolly

O regression, wherefore art thou?

First off, my favorite fact about WPS (William P. Shakespeare): Did you know the Shakespeare’s ‘O’ isn’t a literal ‘O’? The classic ‘O Romeo, Romeo…’ isn’t supposed to be said like ‘Oh, Romeo…’ Nope. Anytime an ‘O’ is written into a line, it’s a cue to the actor an emotional/emotive vocalization should be made. A sound. So in the classic balcony scene, Juliet might sigh or giggle or breathe in and make a frustrated wanting-sound. So many options. I love it. I love how Shakespeare stretches through time and still engages with us to create something new between him and the actor. So beautiful and exciting.

Second, ‘wherefore’ does not mean ‘where.’ (You probably know this one.) It means ‘why.’ Why are you Romeo, Romeo? Why do you have to be Romeo? A Montague? My family’s enemy? And in my latest production, a woman, which goes against my family’s faith? All of that in one line. Again, so beautiful and exciting.

Whereas, sobriety is not always…. Beautiful nor Exciting.

It’s work. …. Which I have kind of forgotten about. It seems to be a trend in my life. Trust when things are going well and don’t worry about them (because there are a million other things to worry about anyway, so worry about those), and then when I’m not looking, crashboombang! It all comes tumbling down in one arena of my life (or several arenas). Last summer it was my marriage. Rectified. Patched up. Renewed. Feeling okay and trying to keep my eye on that one.

This summer/past fall, winter, spring? My sobriety.

Yep. Super Regression! Cue wind to blow my hair and cape back behind me. Here I come to not save the day…..

Lots of regression. Heaps. Loads. And I’ve found myself in a rut. A quagmire. (I don’t know if I’ve ever used that word before. Fun.)

Well, okay, so definitely slogging, but my mood has shifted a bit, if you can tell by my glib and charming tone.

Things I’ve lost track and/or sight of:

  1. The day-to-day work of sobriety.
  2. Checking in on the blog roll with friends who are sober or working on sober.
  3. Commenting on blogs of those friends and engaging.
  4. Writing anything myself, besides pressure cooker spills of steam, stress, and panic.
  5. Taking care of myself…. at all. (Sub-set follows.)
    • Not reading good books/plays
    • Not exercising
    • Not eating well
    • Over-treating
    • Over-working
    • No good-good, down-to-our-bones-good family time
    • No friend time
    • No hubs time
    • No time, really, in general
  6. Carried lots of resentment and hostility and stress around.
    • All of my elevated cortisol levels are living in my enlarged gut. Boo.

Things I have done in spite of the shite this year and this summer/week:

  1. Taken vitamins and meds for 3+ years without missing any days (unless I was too sick to take anything…. Like when I had CHICKEN POX. On my BIRTHDAY.)
  2. Gone to the doctor over 20 times (not hyperbole) to try and get answers for my rapidly crazed heart and scary condition which affected me much of the year.
  3. Continued to do my job well. Seriously well. Amazing shows.
  4. Advocated for myself (loudly). Multiple times. And still am.
  5. Reached out to you all here this week good and proper-like.
  6. Said ‘yes’ to friends and saw two different groups this week. It was lovely. … And am (finally!) going to meet Wendy from Tipsy No More this coming week. Hoo-rah for us!
  7. Called and talked to my psych’s office 5 times this week. Got my meds altered to try and help me out of the morass.
  8. Called and got myself in to see my therapist to try and work through some of the crap I’ve been carrying around with me this year. Seeing her again next week to come up with an actionable plan to make this year better.
  9. Trying to say ‘yes’ to my kids a bit more the last few days. Includes swimming and relaxing, and dinners as a family when we can.
  10. Time with hubs is a few lunches out during the day, watching ‘Mad Men’ (only 4 episodes left to go!), and talking more.
  11. Baked a cake and might bake some cupcakes today. *smile*

I’ve finally picked-up Cheryl Strayed’s ‘Dear Sugar’ collection of advice articles, which was gifted to me by my best over a year ago, I think. However, it’s perfect that I picked up now, because I need to read and hear every word and phrase. It’s all about love and acceptance and being true to one’s self. I need those reminders right now. All of the reminders. So….

Why regression? Because it happens.

Why now? It’s been a tough year. (This needs to stop being my mantra. I need a new mantra. Any suggestions?)

Why am I having so much trouble? Because I keep holding onto it/the year, and I can’t move forward. Not even an inch, it feels. I’m so full of anger and resentment for what has been. And, if I’m honest, I’m reaaaaaaally angry and resentful about how it’s affected my life, health, and family. I am trying to take steps, but I really need to cut these ropes tethering me to this past year and finally get free of it all. That’s what I’ve really been realizing this week. Time to get on….. It’s time to shit or get off the pot. (My words, not Cheryl’s. (And also, mixed metaphors. Whoops.)))

It’s not so easy. But even though I’m not cutting the ropes clean, it seems I am starting to unravel them.

Day 1,144. One strand at a time. *plink*

 

 

1 Step Forward

I feel like I am going backwards.

In my Life.

In my Career.

In my Sobriety.

I feel sorry for myself all of the time. Big, gigantic loads of self-pity. I don’t actually think the words ‘It’s not fair,’ but I definitely feel the idea again and again.

And I do my best to kick myself in the pants, to grab ye ol’  boote strappes and get myself up and at ’em and living life anyway….. But it’s the anyway that’s become the problem. And the life bit as I said above.

Boiled down…. My Life and my Career are integrally intwined, and I am not finding much joy anywhere in the mix. Part of it is my job has taken so much piss out of me this past year, that I am deflated, used up, and have lost all my confidence. It has affected all other areas of my life. I cannot make a decision with any sort of authority. I am constantly worried about pleasing other people in a way that hinges on obsessive, and am losing my identity in the process. I feel weak in my mental, emotional, and physical states….. I feel shitty and empty and not-whole and not Myself.

I’m bruised and hurting and unhappy. I keep reminding myself it takes time to heal, but then bigger questions loom. Is it too much for me – education and theatre? Have they taken their toll, which means maybe I will feel like this until I decide to get out? Should I decide? Do I go? What then?

…. So much of this dilemma comes from my year. I stated in no uncertain terms to the head of my school that it was the hardest year of my professional career. Harder, even, than the year I lost my job from a community I love dearly. I wrote those words and knew them to be true, but I didn’t realize until later the why. When I lost my job, I was surrounded by people and buoyed up with so much Love. Heaps and gobs and bundles of Love. Yes, I had had a huge blow dealt to every side of my heart, but this year, I had as much turmoil (a different kind of turmoil), but with no people to support me, no love. I was so alone.

And I still feel alone, because I don’t trust my school. I don’t trust I will be taken care of any differently than I was this past year. I made so much commotion, so much noise for someone to please take care of me. And they wouldn’t. And they didn’t. Not until the very last second. And by that time, I was so battered and beaten and physically hurt…. I was so loud. And yet, no one acted like they heard me. ….. I was so loud. I am so loud. About the way things are versus the way things should be. Being loud makes me feel vulnerable and even more alone. And I can’t shut up. I won’t shut up, but I also can’t. And it hurts.

With all the damage done to my confidence as a professional, as well as to my actual, physical heart (prolonged stress-induced), I feel like I am losing hold of my metaphorical heart as well. The joy and love I feel for theatre has diminished and been tarnished this year. It just feels like work. I still find good things in it, but overall, I don’t feel the same. It might, probably certainly, has everything to do with being intertwined with my full-time job/school…. And I find myself resenting putting in more hours to continue a program for the school. My compassionate self would remind me that it is My program I am working to build and continue….. But my practical self says I’m tired. I’m tired of working for an institution that won’t take care of me back.

My practical self also reminds me that things arrrreee changing. Slowly. A full-time designer and builder has been hired, which is fantastic. And monumental. Truly. But I’m so tired of fighting to be taken care of, I can’t seem to be happy with the changes that are happening. It makes me feel cynical, which I’m not usually. It makes me more tired because of the work and the fighting for it all. I resent it all, and that is not how this Monster operates. I feel stuck and sad and hopeless about what’s to come. How miserable do I look? A mopey, unhappy lump.

…. We’re still boiling down, folks. ….. My sobriety. Yep. Also going backwards.

I’m still sober, so it’s not that on a technical level.

I just…. All this resentment and hostility and sadness. I keep trying to combat it with what I did my first year – kindness to myself, no judgment, doing things that feel good and kind…. And it’s all just sort of a mess. I sink into a chasm of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ episodes, or start a cleaning project which leaves more of a mess than when I started, or I flounder around trying to find something that will make me feel good, but nothing does. I see my addictive tendencies all over my life and it’s driving me mad with spinning thoughts …. How many hobbies can I accumulate and then, never finish? How many friends can I burn one too many times and then lose? I’m just mad that I’m me most of the time.

I’m depressed. I do know that. Calling my doctor and therapist today.

I’m lonely. I do know that, too, and have hung out with some people this past week.

I’m tired and don’t want to do anything, but also feel like that’s the depression and also, that I don’t want to lose these precious minutes of summer vacation. And all I’m doing is watching them disappear, which makes me feel more sad and more resentful.

This is ridiculous. I’m ridiculous.

I remind myself I have it so good, and that I should be happy. That word ‘should.’ So harmful.

And me, your mopey monster…. I even feel guilty coming out from hiding to write you, because all I write is mopey drivel. ….. I’m thinking as a light in my distance, that I am going to focus some of my frustrated, unsatisfied, unhappy energies towards writing again. Both here (to reconnect with my sobriety and the work that goes with it) and outside so that I might really get something published. That’s the little glimmer of hope I have right now. It’s teeny. And hard to muster the energy to do the work to even take the first steps. That’s partially what this post is for – to get me going.

Day 1,140. Thank you.*

-HM.

Check-In & Check-Ups

Good morning, Friends.*

Long time. Long, long time since I sat down. Sat down, period. But also sat down to write. Things have been rough. Friends ask me how my year has been pretty regularly these days as the school year is winding down. And my honest answer is always, ‘It’s been a tough year.’ Because it has. In so many ways. Low lows. And high highs. But those lows seem to be long-lasting, and the highs momentary.

Cut to the chase, I’m still sober. Win. Wonder. Achievement. Power. Got it. Haven’t lost it. …. Thought about it as a mental exercise of sorts a few times, but more philosophical than worrisome or actual, if that makes sense? Like remembering those days when I could and did just check out mentally, physically, and all sorts of -ally’s. A little jealous of the checking out, but then, walking away from the idea because sober is better. Even when Life is not.

The year has been tough because of work stress. I’ve felt unsupported or taken care of by administration in a coworker situation. Even though the situation required action, it took 5 months for that action to happen. In the meantime, my prolonged stress/cortisol levels probably affected my heart. I now have an electrical issue – an arrhythmia, and a low-grade fever which shows up every few days, which I have been trying for the past three months to figure out. Been to the doctor at least 15 times. Have finally gotten a referral to a cardiologist this month. Good news is that monitoring has showed that my heart muscle is normal and very healthy. It’s just out of sync with itself. (Tell me about it, Heart. I know exactly what you’re going through.)

Other stress was a big project fell in my lap, again without any support.

I teach full-time, and I direct 2 shows and assisted a third over the school year.

I was missing my kids, my family. I was missing time to take care of myself. To feel balanced. I just felt like I was/am pouring myself into this school and the institution is not giving me a whole heck of a lot back.

This place was supposed to be my knight in shining armor. And it is in some ways. But in others, I am just alone on so many things. Somewhat the nature of teaching, but this feels above and beyond – in a bad way. …. Below and super-close? … Nope. Not the same kind of ring. … Anyway, the leadership does not lead. By action. ….. By word, yes, but it’s just to make everyone like them. The leadership has no identity, because they don’t take a stand on anything. I don’t know who they are. It is the most mind-boggling thing, because what are they getting paid all the money for? Drives. Me. Crazy. I don’t want a nice guy or guys. I want a Leader. Argh.

Having my girl with me during the school day is amazing. Knowing my son will join us next year makes everything even better in that regard. …. But knowing that my school day-interactions with them are about all I see them breaks my heart. … Part of it is the nature of theatre. But with all the added stress this year, even when I do get home I have so much to get done when I’m actually there like cleaning the living room, or so maxed out that I zone out to dumb YouTube videos,  that we just don’t have more than 20 minutes together most days. It’s crazy.

I feel like I’m missing them. I don’t want to miss them.

Also? I got shingles on my birthday. Um, what?! That’s not fair. …. Although it made me slow down for a week. I was OUT. It was horrible, and I only had the smallest patch of pox, but it knocked me down and again, OUT.

Okay. So, yeah. Tough year. Tough, tough year.

Good things? They were there, too, in the midst.

  • My sister had a beautiful baby girl. Oh, my word, so beautiful.
  • My PapaBear had a health scare, but came out of it on the other side. Working on staying healthy – just like all of us. *smile*
  • The shows I directed went off incredibly well. Students have grown so much in just two years. A definite culture is being created in the department, and it makes us all stronger and better. I love the relationships forming. (High schoolers here.)
  • I love Middle Schoolers. They’re so great.
  • Directing a show at my outdoor company, which I’ve wanted them to stage for 20 years. It’s fun and light and silly, and a lovely antidote to my year.
  • My daughter is amazing and smart and hilarious, and is overcoming her ‘worry voice’ a little bit at a time.
  • My son has taken off on the piano and loves all things music, which I knew from the beginning he would.
  • The hubs is freaking out about playing Antony in Shakespeare’s ‘Antony & Cleopatra,’ but I know he will be amazing. This is the hard part.
  • Time has been spent in the yard and the gardens. Dirt smells so good.
  • Music is being listened to.
  • Like I said before, still sober. *flex*
  • Good, healthy food is being eaten. I’ve been trying to ‘eat clean,’ and have been quite successful at it these past two and a half weeks. I feel really good because of it.
  • Connected to that, exercise has happened more in the past month than in the past year. *smile*
  • I played ‘Family’ with my babes last night. We went camping, built a campfire, paddled a canoe, caught a huge fish, a school of fish, oysters, clams, crab legs, and a treasure chest. It was quite the trip. *smile*
  • My cat feels less neglected, as I am petting and cuddling her regularly, as opposed to pushing her away because I don’t want to be needed.
  • Even with all the health concerns and hassle, I’ve been proactive and spoken up and tried to figure out what the heck is going on. In my drinking days, I probably would have let it slide and figured it out later.
  • Similarly, with the job, I’ve signed for next year, but I am still considering options. Trying to figure out what that might look like or be, etc. Just keeping my mind open to the possibility helps me feel less ‘stuck.’
  • Summer is almost here. Just around the corner. Literally – next week. Cannot wait.
  • And dates are coming up, too. The hubs and I are celebrating our 10-year anniversary on Thursday, and my 3-year sober date is Saturday. Wow!

….. See? Lots of good things in the past month, especially.

Day 1,092. Heya. I missed ya.*

-HM. MmVhV9cm_400x400

 

 

 

Stretched Thin.

Hello, my friends.

Just checking in, as I feel maxed out. There is a list of things I’m committed to – mostly positive, good things, that will help the department I inherited grow and develop. However, it is at least a full-time-times-two job, and high-expectations-me is down about being mediocre in many areas of my life (including momhood), because I just don’t have the time to regroup and get my shit together all at once.

Frustrating as I am not mediocre. And my work is not mediocre. But that is the impression I am leaving on some people.

Argh to that.

Missing time. Particularly time to nourish myself. And hell, I think that was the word I chose for the year. Well, word to the wise – I am totally fucking it up right now. Bah-humbug.

I find myself looking back at my sober journey, and I find in my first year, I was really good and just chilling out and relaxing and focusing on a therapeutic project (cross-stitch). Move into my second year, and I was just a focused beast. Scheduling and executing a million new things for my new job, but also feeling like I had time at home to love my family. This third year, I don’t know. I feel like I am spinning my wheels, but not really accomplishing anything really well. I’m overwhelmed with the amount of work I have in front of me, but then because of a new schedule, I have no time to prepare anything. I am consistently hanging onto my life by my fingernails.

I want the time I had in my first year for me. I want the friendships and solidness I felt in my second year. And I want my third year to be fruitful and satisfying.

At the mo? It’s not. WahWah.

Talking with my Dad today, I realize it is only my second year in the new gig, and I should give myself a three-year window to really feel acclimated. Trying to keep an open mind, but man, it’s tricky with the overwhelm that is a-happenin’.

Alright, vent curbed for the minute. *smile*

I miss you. Seriously. I’m a little lonely in my spinning world of spinning everything.

Day 868, Yep. Still goin’. But snail-like it seems.7027e103d1a4a079e6446af01ae96328--slow-down-snails

p.s. It felt really nice to stop in. …. Love.*

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