Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

Archive for the tag “Frustration”

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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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

 

 

 

Dear Dad,

Or Dear PapaBear. 🙂

Or Dear Man-Who-Believes-In-Me-Most.

Or Dear Man-I-Look-For-In-Every-Other-Man-I-Meet-Or-Know.

Or Dear Most-Generous-Kind-Man-In-My-World.

You keep bugging me for a blog post. And, well? Here it is. *smile* Just for you (with a few other worldly people dropping in to say ‘hi,’ of course).

As you know, I am still sober. 2+ years now, and doing well. So well, that I drifted from my blog, because I wasn’t thinking about SOBRIETY so much anymore. I had gotten into the swing of things (as a golfer, you can appreciate this metaphor *smile* (Although, maybe it is actually a reference to monkeys in trees? (Not sure. I will have to Google it))). I was feeling pretty even, pretty confident about my new job, my life with husband, my life with kids, my life with friends. It was all feeling good.

But then, it all of a sudden wasn’t. About a month ago. I got real shook up because the hubs said he wasn’t happy. That I wasn’t giving him any energy. That I seemed really depressed and angry. That I wasn’t loving the kids, but rather, I was super-short-tempered with them all of the time. That ‘We’ were not good. That he was feeling really distant, and maybe even separate from me, and all because of the way I treated him, or didn’t treat him rather. He said we were really good roommates, but not partners. He said I didn’t talk to him, or touch him. Anytime he would reach for me, I would swat him away, or more often than not, say ‘I’m busy.’ I didn’t have time for him in my world. I didn’t have energy. He wondered if I liked him at all.

Holy shit. Did that wake me up.

My first instinct was to defend.

Wait, no. That can’t be right. I’m the best I’ve ever been! (I actually said those words.) And then I went on with a list about how great I was – Job, check! New job, check! Current show, check! Kids, mostly check! Learning new things (sewing), check! And the hubs? Well, he made the list only in the way that I don’t worry about him. I trust us and what we have, and I see us as pretty separate, mostly because of how our work takes us away from each other so regularly (theatre). So, Hubs? Semi-middling-waffling-check. (No exclamation point.)

So we walked away from each other, not seething from a blowout fight, or crying hysterically from a dramatic moment. No. I can’t speak for him, but for me? I walked away feeling hollow – like my stomach had been scooped out and there was nothing left inside of me. Shaken, sad, confused. If that’s how he felt, then that’s how he felt.

Over a week, I reflected and watched and tried to understand where his concerns and feelings were coming from. It was an interesting and odd week. We walked on eggshells with one another, but then would talk about the eggshells, and then things would feel if not normal, then at least honest. We talked more that week. When I got home, I would find him and talk with him about the day. We were a little awkward-distant in our text messages, but then we were also thoughtful and considerate of one another. To use a weird metaphor, it felt like we were fourteen-year-olds dancing a slow dance. Awkward steps. Happy, but unsure of ourselves. Hyper-aware of one another and ourselves.

It was a hard week, but a good week. I realized, he was right. (He usually is. Psh.) I was without a doubt, one-hundred-and-fifty-seven percent taking him for granted. I trusted him and trusted in us so much, that I forgot that marriage needs work. And time. And energy. Of course it does! Of course he needs my attention. I was being a selfish, solely-functioning woman of the world. I was conquering all that I saw, but forgetting the treasures I had right there at home. (That metaphor was a little squishy and cliche, but right? It’s the truth!)

And most of all? … Well, sort of ‘most.’ He/The Hubs was the Most. His feelings in our relationship were the most important in that moment of upside-down.

Secondarily-Most of all, was the feedback from this man who loves me most in the world (tied with you, Dad *smile*), and here he was saying I was depressed. I was angry. I seemed really bad. And my reaction was disbelief and surprise. Over that week, I started reflecting on what he had said, and really trying to notice myself and my ways. ….. I had caught myself isolating in May/June, but I thought maybe that was old drinking habits trying to take hold. Not that I would drink, but that my tendency is to isolate. But then, I noticed I had been having loads of trouble waking up for the last three months, ever since my spring show closed. During the school year, I wouldn’t wake up until 7:30 most days (school starts at 8:30), and during the summer I was sleeping until 9 am every day, no matter if I put my alarm on or not. I had ballooned up again and couldn’t get control of my eating. I kept thinking, ‘I deserve this.’ *munch* ‘This is my reward.’ *bite* ‘I’m not drinking, so I can afford these calories.’ *gobblecrunchsmackswallow* Over and over and over again. Worst of all? I was really angry with my kids. Short-tempered. Short-fused. Over stupid shit. ….. Who was this woman? And how in the heck did she get here when I was feeling so strong, vibrant, and amazing in my Working Life?!

GAH. Life is so dang hard to balance. GodDamnFuckAssShitFuckFuck.

Okay, so the Hubs was right. Absolutely. No disputing him. All the facts were there. I just hadn’t seen them at all. I felt them and was going through them, but gah. Depression. Addiction. They’re hard to see when I’m in the middle of them, which is such a weird factoid. One would think that being in the middle of a months-long depression, a person would eventually get the kick-to-the-head they would need to realize, ‘Oh! I’m depressed!’ But no. For myself, I go through my days slogging and dragging, while simultaneously kicking ass at my job, because over-achiever? Driven? WonderWoman? But then on the flip-side miss the clues of me dropping my HomeLife, my SweetLife, my LifeLife…. And letting it drift through my fingers without even noticing. Or, really? Without even knowing.

So. Self-reflection? Check.

And then, I did what I was taught to do by you, PapaBear, and by MoM. … Take care of shit! (I wasn’t really that flippant, but for purposes of this post, and, if I’m super-honest, to sound a little cooler than I actually am, I am pretending to be a little flip. But only pretending. (For real? I was core-shook and scared.))

So, that same week, I actually had a 4-month check-up set-up with my psychiatrist. I unloaded on her in our 10-minute session. She was very sympathetic and she asked if I needed help on the meds side, but at that point, I hadn’t got down to the deepest layer. So I said, ‘No.’ I thought I was just crappy because my Life was suddenly horribly crappy. I didn’t think there was more to it. (Hey, Monster: Wrong!)

I kept on, keeping on. I started working on fixing the little things. Being more aware of the Hubs. Being more aware of the Babes. Being aware of my isolating/drinking behavior.

Things started to feel like they were moving in a better-than-bad direction, so that was good. My summer show opened. The Hubs and I were doing better-ish. I was doing things with friends. My Life was looking better. Looking Good. But it still wasn’t feeling good-good. You and Mom came down for the show, and if you remember, Dad? I was just cranky. Okay, but not Good. Not great. I had started noticing I was also still really short and quick-tempered with the babes. There was a low-lying feeling of dissatisfaction permeating most of my minutes.

The ‘it’… The Ick didn’t start lifting until I got out of here. Until I got to my hometown with you and Mom and got some time to just rest and not rush. To relax. To just Be in the place and the Home that felt good and felt soothing and healing. And so much of that goodness comes from feeling cared for and loved. I know how lucky I am to have had a great childhood and adulthood with two parents who love me and care for me and put up with me and my ways from time to time (let’s be honest, right, PapaBear? *smile*). Being Home always spins me back to Center somehow. It realigns me and my two poles, if you will. Ha. There is the gift of not having to worry. Not having to ‘Be’ for anyone. I mean, yes, I am still a mother. But somehow, being in the primary role of Daughter while I am with you and Mom is really comforting in a way I don’t get when I am a Woman of the World. So thank you for that. Times infinity.

While I was home with you, I realized I hadn’t been Good through and through, and I caught myself getting sharp with the Babes still, too. So I finally picked up that book you kept telling me about – The Happiness Project – and I started to read it. I am only three chapters into it still, but I while I read, I kept and keep thinking about how profoundly it touched you and where you were those few years ago, when you were LowLow. And some of the beginning stuff is basic and good for just Life and living. It’s made me look and see where I could prioritize myself and my needs (Hungry-Angry-Lonely-Tired, anyone?). It’s reminded me to step outside of myself and Give, as opposed to looking for what I might Get. And honestly? It’s just made me happy knowing how lifted up you felt after reading it.

As things were going now, I felt the gears start moving a little better and a little less muckity-muck. And with the layer of ‘Hmph-ness’ still somewhere inside of me, I thought, ‘Nope. I need more Help.’ And so? I upped my meds. Not a lot, since I was already taking basically the lowest dose one could really take. (I often wonder as someone who is very susceptible to meds and their affects, do I make doctors scratch their heads that I can actually feel what I feel from meds? Kind of like the Princess and the Pea. …. I wonder if they wonder if I’m faking it. Or if I am actually feeling it, or if it’s in my head. …. Anyway. Another post.) So, yes. I upped my dose by milligrams, and? About five days later? The crud and the crap and the junk? It kind of left. Just lifted. … I mean, Life is still up and down, and the children still drive me batshit-crazy sometimes, but I don’t hit the top of my Anger Meter when I deal with them. I lost my temper yesterday, and do you know what? I gave myself a timeout. And it was a really good choice. Woot. Go, Me. *smile*

I don’t know. Sometimes (Read: ALL the Time) I feel like I can do things all by myself. And do you know? I am going to call ‘Bullshit!’ on myself. Because I can’t. People can’t. We’re not built that way. We’re not meant to be that way. Looking back, I see the steps and the incremental improvements I made by adjusting myself and my world slightly and differently from day to day, and honestly? Yes. I absolutely got a little better, and truly, I thought I was better-better. But until I stepped away from my Regular, I couldn’t see the fact that I was Not. Having the space and the love and the support from you and Mom, even though neither of you even knows that that is what you give me without even trying, I finally saw where I wanted to be and that I was Not There Yet.

PapaBear and Friends, this is seeming to be more of a BiPolar-Post than an Addiction-Post. However, I will say, to those of you new to Ye Ol’ Blogge here, that for me? They go hand in hand. I am no longer a drinking-drinker. I got rid of that garbage (Woo-hoo!). But? I did not get rid of the garbage that comes with the garbage. All of the isolating, moodiness, rewarding, woe is me, I deserve this, resentful, yucko crapola that is Addiction down to its bones. That shit? That shit is still around. Added to the fact that I am a BiPolar, who has of late favored my depression more so than my mania, and you have a lovely combination that simmered, stirred, and served is enough to knock any optimistic-peace-loving-goody-two-shoes onto her ballet-flatted ass.

I am SO beyond lucky that I have people who love me. People who love themselves. People who are honest. People who care. And sometimes? PeopleLikeMe need a little more help than even those awesome ones. We need a therapist to talk to, or we need daily exercise (okay, we all do need that (Goals)), or we need a pill or a combination of pills.

And the hardest part of it all? Is getting off our cute little butts and going out there and getting the help we need. Dad, I always laugh when I think of you telling me I am the dumbest smart person you know (when I started smoking (Update All: I quit 10 years ago))…. But I always think of that because You Were Honest. And you Love Me. And? It always. Seriously, ALWAYS gets me off my ass to do the thing I think is stupid because it is the smart thing to do and I just don’t want to (whiny-whiner voice). Or, because I think, ‘It’s not fair!’ (Also whiny-whiner voice.) And just this last visit, Mom said to me, ‘Well, I’ve just learned that Life isn’t fair, so I can stop griping about it and just get on.’ YES. Life isn’t fair because I’m BiPolar and I’m Addicted and I’ve got a temper and I’m too tall and blahblahblahblah ….. It isn’t fair, but let’s get the ThisThatIsNow figured out Now, right? *smile*

I learned that from YOU, Dad. You and Mom.

And oh, my dear Lord, has it …. Have YOU …. saved me a million-and-one times.

Day 780, Thank you and I love you.* Your, -HM.

p.s. Hope you liked your post. *smile*

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You changed my world, PapaBear.*

October Road.

It’s early morning. I can her our grandmother clock ticking. My family is tucked in their beds – mostly. My daughter stole her way into ours, which was the impetus for me getting out of bed, and thus, finding myself here in my chair with a hot cup of coffee. I’m quite happy she did. I love starting my days off a little earlier than everyone else, reading, and just waking up on my own. It’s nice to be awake and to have some time and space just for me.

I’ve been feeling this way – this relaxed, contemplative way most of this past week. On the one  hand it’s very nice because my brain has stopped going a thousand miles a minute every second of the day. With the new job, I didn’t realize until I had stopped spinning, that I was in a constant state of stress and anxiety. I was trying to race as fast as I could to write curriculum, clean, grade, plan, collaborate, learn the community, organize, and take stock, that I didn’t even notice how hard I was working to stay caught up with even the most basic responsibilities of getting through each day and doing what I was hired to do – teach.

This is my sixteenth year as a teacher, but this new job is really Brand. Spankin’. New. I am writing it from the ground up, which is exciting to do, because I and my partner are designing a theatre program to follow students through each of their elementary and secondary years a child’s entire elementary and secondary school years. The structure before was a bit too nebulous and focused on Fun. I am definitely not opposed to fun, however I want kids to be challenged and to grow as artists. It’s exciting, and I know in the coming years, this planning will do the program a lot of good, and help us to create a lot of depth. However, I am a little frustrated because I am covering basics with most of my students at every grade level, so that next year, I will have to write even more curriculum once we have students on the same page and with the same skill sets.

Then, I look around my space and in my rooms, and I just see a Mess. Granted, it is entirely my own fault because it was my idea to flip the costume and prop room inside-out, as well as the library….. Yeah, it’s a mess. Ha. And I know, from growing up with my father, whenever I was feeling stressed, he would tell me to clean my room so that my mind would feel better. A good rule of thumb, as long as one has the time and the energy to do so. *smile* I have kept my office quite clean so that I have a space I can escape to, but…. Yeah. Maybe I will work on prioritizing the other rooms again so that I don’t feel trapped underneath a mountain of Theatre Things.

This post is sounding quite negative, but overall, I am feeling better than I was. I should have written more last week, but I was feeling tired and sad and …. Oh, wanting to isolate. Dagnabbit. Stupid human tricks that keep repeating themselves. Argh.

Anyway, the other feeling I’ve been really having trouble with is melancholy. The longer I am at my new job (which, even though is overwhelming, I am really loving – and I’m not just saying that as a perfectionist in order to appear perfect to the outside world – I truly love it and the students and the people), the more and more Real it feels that I have lost my old job and my old community. With the fall weather exacerbating everything, I just feel Sad. And lonely. The communication from my old people has been little to none, which further breaks my heart. And I know everyone is as busy as I am, or more so, but it just makes me sad. I definitely feel like I am grieving again in many ways. The two months of grief and franticness and loneliness surrounding the initial news of my job loss in April seems to almost be repeating itself from August to September to now.

However, like I said above, I feel like I am stepping out on the other side of those feelings of sadness and spinning my wheels. I am still definitely in there. It’s not a quick fix by any stretch of the imagination, but at least I can now see where I was and what I am moving away from. Why can’t we see our full situation when we are in the thick of things? Is it because we don’t have perspective? Because we are too close to it all?

Day 496, a little James to walk with me today and to make the day brighter….

 

Sick of the Sick.

My, oh, My. Our household cannot catch a break! Since our babygirl is now a kindergartner, she is in a (cess)pool of new people and new germs. While I, at the same time, am a new teacher, and am similarly surrounded by said (cess)pool of new people and new germs. We have been in-session for the past 6 weeks, and we have lost 3 of our weekends and several weekdays due to calling in ‘sick.’

Argh.

This is round 4 for my girl and myself. Our boy (3-years old) keeps catching it from one or the other of us. It is like a merry-go-round…. Ridiculous.

This weekend, my daughter and I were basically quarantined from Friday night until this morning around 11 am. Being sick and taking care of someone who is sick is not the easiest thing in the world. However, I found my adrenaline would kick in when my girl needed me (needs me), so in some ways, it makes my illness less pressing. It’s interesting how our bodies are biologically programmed to be able to prioritize someone else’s needs over our own, isn’t it? I’m just thankful it happens at all. Yesterday, I had practically rolled myself into a ball of shivers, chills, and aches. But anytime she needed me (for strep test, x-rays, blood-draw which went horribly bad, followed by a massaged finger-prick (any 5 year old’s worst nightmare)), it all dissipated to some extent so that I could care for her. Of course, my symptoms came back eventually, but for those important moments, I was mostly okay and could help her.

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In other news, the no drinking is still going okay, but I have had the craziest, strongest urges for a cigarette these past 2 weeks. I haven’t acted on the impulse, but it is so weird to suddenly be craving something I haven’t for 8 years. Maybe it’s the stress. My stress is through the roof with school, classes, making over spaces, parent-teacher conferences, etc. I am just maxed out. A lot of bubble water is being consumed, and swear words are being used.

Day 481, Still here. Still kickin’.

p.s. The book below is one of my favorites. So sweet. So comforting.images-1

 

Hello, Out There.

Hello, friends. It’s been a little while. Yow. Time passes when you’re busy doing stuff, doesn’t it? I’ve been thinking about you a lot, and checking in pretty regularly on WP to read your words and journeys. I just haven’t had the chance to sit down and write you my own epistle until now. Sitting feels good. *smile* As does writing you. *clickityclack*

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So, the End of Shows went beautifully. Both were well-received and well-attended. The Shakespeare show (Midsummer) was love-ily to have because it kept me grounded and connected to both my past, present, and future (an 18-year history with the company, as well as looking forward to directing and being with my favorite people again next season/summer). While on the other hand, the mega-musical marked a significant Ending because it was the last show I will direct at my now-former school. The show itself was strong, vibrant, funny, and a little naughty. I definitely felt I went out with a Bang!

Of course, the Universe is always there to remind in so many different ways that I am not in control, nor can I, nor should I try to control the world around me. With all the anxiety surfacing inside me this past month around the closing of my shows, the Job being well-and-truly final, readying our house for the market, looking towards starting the new-*sparkly* Job, trying to spend time with my sister-who-was-in-town-from-Australia-during-my-busiest-two-weeks-of-the-summer, leaving for vacation, and now about to hit the ground running with the new job and the house….. Well? My anxiety has just climbed and climbed and climbed. And in each of those pockets of Life, the Universe has aptly put me in my place again and again.

First. My beautiful, amazing, phenomenal sister left 3 Thursdays ago. We have a tradition in our family, that whenever someone is driving away (the Leaver), the people staying behind (the Leavees) wave until they can’t see the car any longer. And, weather be damned, the Leaver/s in the car roll their windows down and wave back until they can’t see the Leavees any longer, too. So, with this tradition well-established, my sister hopped into her rental car, rolled down her window, got the last teary hugs and kisses from me and the babes, and then turned to go down the driveway. When what should appear? You guessed it! The Universe. In the form of a school bus (in July). It came around the corner and then pulled to the side of the road with its red stop sign shining, and its red lights flashing…. We just laughed. Because what else could we do? It was perfect. And funny. And gave us the chance for a few more hugs and kisses.

Second. The last show of the mega-musical…. All day, I just had nerves. It felt Epic. Important. One of those I-am-going-to-remember-this-event-for-the-rest-of-my-life-type things. So here we are chugging along, I’m watching the show and just enjoying it and laughing at all sorts of new moments in the show, and then. Crash. At the end of intermission as I’m about to start the show again, the hubs (who was in the show) comes up to me and says another actor and the pit say the music director is either drunk or high. Oh, what?! Gah. So I race back to speak with the person and to see if they’re right. …. Yep. Sure as shit. …. He is so far gone, I don’t know that even speaking with him would do any good. I pulled a musician aside and asked him to push the show, the cues forward if the MD dropped the ball on anything. So the whole second half, I’m just holding on and hoping we make it through the show without any mishaps (we did), and also trying to figure out what to do about this man. It was just odd. In all my years, I have not had this happen to me in any way, shape, or form. And then for it to be my last. I don’t know, it felt odd, though not unexpected (I wrote about my misgivings in an earlier post). With all the adrenaline now wrapped around this problem, the significance of it being my Last Show dropped. And a bit of regret, following the show, I didn’t handle the situation very well. I skirted around it, made sure he had a ride, etc. However, I followed up the next day and feel much better about that. I know if we had had a Sunday closing, I would have fired him and told him not to come back. But since we closed on a Saturday, I just wanted to get through the show, and we did. On the phone the next day, I was angry and sad, particularly because this is a show at a high school with teenagers in the production. The choice to get drunk before a (professional) gig felt incredibly selfish. He could have compromised the entire production. …. I asked him if he thought this was a problem, and he said that he did think so, that his mother was very sick, and not for the first time. Then, I offered to send him some resources via email, and promised that I would follow-up with him in a few weeks to see how he was doing. I penalized his pay, and then later, apologized to the teenagers for not being more assertive the night before. I apologized for the MD’s behavior, and told them what he did was not okay. It was messy, but at least I followed up on all of the loose ends.

Following all of this, my mother came down for a week and helped me get a ton of stuff done with the house. The hubs and I have one more week to work, and then, I am hoping we are set to show our house starting next week. Keep your fingers crossed.

Third. This past week, we went out of town to the shores of Lake Superior. Beautiful. Majestic. Mighty. …. But my anxiety was really high. Incredibly high. About death. About losing my babes – especially in the midst of the water, which just seemed incredibly powerful. I know I was driving the hubs nuts on one particular day, because he had them in the water amidst these big waves. I just saw the immensity of the water stretching out behind them, and the strength of each wave as it rolled in and hit them, and I was just So. Scared. That they would be knocked over. Pulled out before we could reach them. Before I could save them. … So all this, and then? Oh, there’s the Universe again. This time it showed up in the form of sister-brother battles. Our 3-year old kicked his sister’s head, which banged the edge of a coffee table. Stitches at a small-town ER. Ah, vacation memories…. But really. It acted as a good reminder that I really can’t control anything. And I know that deep down, but it doesn’t always stop me from wanting to try. Letting go is a lesson I need to learn again and again and again it seems. … Also? The accident freed me up and helped me to embrace the waves and the water with my family later that day. We got splashed and soaked, and we laughed and held onto one another.

Day 432, Thanks, Universe. I needed that.

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A Few Randoms.

Heya.*

So, cool thing happened last week. I needed to meet a possible collaborator to see if we would be a good fit or not. He suggested a 9 pm, over drinks kind of a meeting, and named a place. I said, ‘I’m don’t drink, but do they serve food? I’m really good at eating.’ And all of a sudden? Whoosh! Right past the awkward. I thought it was simple and effective.

Of course, I probably confused the crap out of him when he arrived and I had a frosty beer in my glass. I didn’t clarify that it was NA, but hm. Who knows what he thought?

Then, oddly enough, (fast forward to this weekend/today – I hired him)…. We were sitting next to one another for our work this afternoon, and the whole entire time, I kept getting these huge whiffs of alcohol. Gah. It was very disconcerting – 1. To deal with, and 2. To wonder if this was going to be a regular occurrence after a Friday or Saturday night?, and 3. This used to be me! And I always thought I was so good at covering it. Yeah, right.

Other random, Facebook is kind of a crazy-summer-happy-time-drinks trap right now. I am considering stepping away more significantly again for awhile. I fell off my FB-free-wagon last month and have begun to check it on a daily basis. But? Thinking I might return to my every-2-3-weeks-visit type arrangement I had going most of this past year…. Anyone else experiencing high levels of fun, sun, & booze? Argh. Jealousy is a word and a feeling that comes up a little too quickly this week, so yeah. A break is inevitable. At least for awhile, I think.

Day 348, Odds & Ends.

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