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Posts Tagged ‘exhaustion’

I talked with an offline friend on Friday who has been along for the ride for several years. She knew instantly that something was “wrong” when she sent me an email about something fun and I didn’t respond. (Yep, she knows me well!)

We got together on Friday afternoon, and I filled her in on what had triggered me. She said she doesn’t think it was only that, and after hearing her theory, I think she is right. She thinks my issue runs deeper – that it’s all about feeling out of control – and that this has been simmering for a couple of months.

Hub has been home on a leave of absence from work for two months (he returns to work this week). Since I work from home, my schedule has been all out of whack (which is one reason I have been so spotty about blogging over the last couple of months). My son’s asthma, which the doctor had hoped he had finally outgrown, flared up on March. I had an endoscopy a couple of weeks ago, where I was put under light sedation (I don’t remember large parts of the rest of the day). All three of these situations have caused so much of my life to feel out of control, and despite how hard I have been working at letting go, it’s still hard.

For me to feel comfortable in letting go, I need to ground myself. I have several tools I use to ground myself, but I have had limited access to all of them over this period. It’s hard to do yoga (deep breathing) when my sinuses and esophagus have stomach acid “burns” in them. It is also hard to have the privacy to do yoga and meditation with hub underfoot. I haven’t been able to stick to my schedule with constant interruptions by hub and multiple doctors’ appointments for my son and me.

On top of that, my illnesses combined with more energy needing to be poured into hub and child have interfered with my connectedness with Sunday School, Bible Study, and spending time with my girlfriends. I am making less money because I cannot do as much work with so many disruptions to my work schedule, so I cannot afford to get a massage or Reiki session (nor do I have the time). I also feel nurtured by blogging, but that’s had to go on the backburner because of all of these other issues.

I am hopeful that hub’s return to work this week will help. My son and I are also taking a trip to the beach with my sister and nephews. I have extended the trip to six days so I have time to unwind with fewer responsibilities.

Photo credit: Hekatekris

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PhotobucketMy sister and nephews are coming into town today, and they will be here for week. That is one reason that I will be blogging sporadically. This is the only time of year they visit, so my son and I want to spend lots of time with them.

Before I can blow off everything else that needs to be done at home, I have had to work extra hard to get it finished before they arrive. This includes paying bills, cleaning the house, and doing the myriad other things that need to be done in any household. Basically, my situation isn’t much different than what is going on in thousands, or even millions, of households across the country as Christmas approaches.

My son’s Winter Break started yesterday, so I involved him in the housecleaning. I paid him to clean the house with me for two hours, and we worked very hard. After we finished sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, etc., we both dropped into my bed exhausted. I fell asleep while we were watching a TV show, and I slept like the dead.

I think I have been running on adrenaline for several weeks now. I got through a day that is typically difficult for me without any problems. In fact, I had a very pleasant day, which is unusual for me. I think I am reaping the benefits of “being with” the pain of the last cluster of memories. I am usually feeling hostile toward Christmas by now. Instead, I am at peace with it. I am not giddy and “into” Christmas, but the hostility is gone.

Back to yesterday … My son woke me after an hour, and my body didn’t want to cooperate as I cooked dinner. I felt like I was walking through water. Every movement was physically difficult to do.

I laid down in my bed at 8:00 p.m. to watch TV. My son came in my room at 8:20 to be tucked in, and he asked me to go downstairs to get him some water. I simply could not move. It wasn’t just that I didn’t want to get up – I couldn’t get up. My son thought it was a game and tried to “force” me up by pulling off the covers, taking my pillows, etc. I actually fell asleep in an uncomfortable position. I could hear him calling the dogs to his room, etc., but my body would not move. It’s like I was trapped in a comatose body. I was aware of my body’s deep breathing, but I couldn’t move.

I eventually forced myself to get up (after about 30 minutes) to blow out the candle and turn off the light. I slept for four hours, got up to use the bathroom, and then slept for another solid six hours, all with no medications to help me sleep. I have still felt trapped in that “walking in water” state today and feel like I could sleep all day. (I have two ADHD children running around the house – my son and his friend – so napping is not an option.)

I think my body is trying to recuperate from so many nights of insomnia. I also think I was getting by on adrenaline, and now that it has stopped, I am left with an exhausted body. Let’s just say I am actually feeling my age!

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I had an interesting session with my therapist last week. We talked about all of the things that I blogged about and then some. Once we worked through a bunch of that, he asked specifically what was going on in my day-to-day life that precipitated my “breakdown.” He believes that my biggest problem was not taking care of myself. He said that he thinks my “gas tank” reached empty and that there was simply nothing left to keep going.

Looking back over my calendar from the last three months, I think he is right. From January through mid-March, I had a pretty balanced schedule. I rarely worked more than four hours a day, and I was going to the gym and doing yoga/meditation daily. That balance abruptly ended when I started training for my new part-time job in mid-March. I was not given a “heads up” that I needed to set aside 15 to 20 hours a week during training (in addition to the four-hour training sessions each Sunday afternoon), so I had not cleared my calendar of other obligations. That put me working pretty much a full-time schedule with no advanced planning.

After training ended, the close to full-time schedule continued as I prepared to teach my first class for the new job. Then, I did 3.5 weeks of tutoring at a close to a full-time schedule. That was mid-March through the beginning of June on a close to full-time schedule without letting go of other obligations (blogging, leading a Bible study, etc.)

I kept telling myself that I only had to get through X number of weeks, and then I could rest. Tutoring ended, but then I was slammed with “last week of school” and other scheduling issues. My kid had a doctor’s appointment and ball practice on Monday. I led Bible Study on Wednesday. I had to go to my kid’s school for an awards presentation at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, and then school was out for the summer after that, which meant I was taking care of my kid and not resting on Thursday and Friday. My kid had an ear infection, so I had to take him to the doctor on Friday.

Hub pulled me out of bed in the middle of the night having a full-fledged panic attack. He has been depressed and anxious ever since, constantly talking about how miserable he is and how he thinks the stress is going to kill him.

I thought I could finally rest the next week (first week of summer while my son went to summer camp). Instead, I babysat a friend’s very difficult kid on Monday, went to a retirement party on Tuesday that I found out about at the last minute, and had Bible study on Wednesday. I planned a “rest” day on Thursday, but my kid’s ear was still bothering him too much to go to camp on Thursday – goodbye “rest” day.”

Also during this week, things blew up at part-time job #1 with students not having reliable access to the online classroom. These are all entry-level students with three weeks of college under their belt, so I was fielding panicked phone calls and emails for four days until the connectivity issues were resolved.

Add to that having several friends in crisis during the same week. One found out that her child was being cyberbullied. Another was freaking out about a college project. A third was “losing it” over issues with her kids. I told the third that we needed a “mental health” day on Friday so we should go to the movies. While I enjoyed the movie and chit chat, the outing came at the expense of rest.

By Friday, I could barely move my body and feared that I had contracted mono. I canceled my Saturday morning plans, fearing that I was sick. I hosted Book Club on Saturday night and had to spend a lot of time on Friday and Saturday preparing (cooking and cleaning) as well as ran my son to the doctor’s office again for the same ear infection.

Sunday was Father’s Day, so I had to be “on” to make it about hub, who ended the day by saying that it had not been a “good” Father’s Day despite all that I had done. I thought that, if I could just make it to Monday, I could rest. My plan was to drop my kid off at camp, work out at the gym, do yoga/meditation, and then do whatever I felt like doing for the day. Then, the camp would not take my kid’s medications at the bus drop-off point: I had to drive all the way out to Timbuktu to hand-deliver the medications, so my “me” time was replaced with an 80-minute round trip drive to this camp in the middle of nowhere.

That’s when I snapped. I kept holding it together until a later date when I could rest. My “rest” day kept being taken away, and I was completely spent with nurturing everyone else. Then, when all I needed was five minutes of nurturing from someone else and couldn’t get it, the bottom fell out.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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