Posts Tagged With: mental health

feeling hopeful with Plato

Last week I read about someone’s journey as they do the work of self. I read about how they faltered, how the work is so much harder when the pain becomes so great they need to escape it. Oftentimes that involves crawling to the bottom of a bottle.
This got me thinking…
The pain is so great that stopping seems the only answer. The problem there is the constant stopping and starting again only serves the cycle of pain, and actually makes it worse.
By stopping the hard work of self when it becomes difficult or painful, it becomes even harder to begin again each time.
I believe working through the pain when it seems most difficult and unbearable is better for you. The only way out is through. And when you come out the other side, the pain is less acute, and you find it easier to breathe for a while.

I think it can be something as simple as learning yourself. Knowing your triggers. Knowing that at some point you’re going to feel so much pain you simply cannot go on. What you do then is how successful you’ll be on that journey.

Knowing oneself can be the most powerful tool in one’s bag
I do believe it’s as simple as that.
To know who you are.
To know why you are.
To be able to look at your choices and realize why you made them.
So many people can’t actually do that!
You’re where you are because of every single choice you’ve ever made. Sometimes choices are unconsciously made. We often ‘autopilot’ through our days.

What seems normal to you isn’t to someone who didn’t live your experiences. Those normal-seeming things create the way you view life, the way you move through life. How you treat others, how you permit others to treat you.
If your upbringing is skewed, your idea of normal is equally skewed.
Therefore, you behave, and accept others behavior based upon these norms.
Sometimes it isn’t until you have some life under your belt that you learn to see things from all perspectives…and then you realize your sense of normal is not, in fact, normal.

For some that happens sooner in life, for some later.
Working out those kinks is a tricky situation. And you’re bound to falter occasionally.
Figuring out who you actually are, who you want to be, and how to do that without taking into account all that seemingly normal…
You’re on a dark and difficult path. You’re going to fall. You’re going to get the shit kicked out of you, even if you’re actually kicking the shit out of yourself.
But, there is precious learning in this journey. And when you decide who you are based upon your own truth, and work to become that with every fiber of your being, it will be so worth it.

At least that’s my experience.
I’m on that journey, perhaps I’m further along than some, less than others. Perhaps I realized sooner, or later, or through different pain, that the seemingly normal was not at all right.
I’ve fought tooth and nail to get where I am in my own personal development. I’ve faltered. I’ve fallen. I’ve temporarily given up. But I get back up dust myself off and keep working.

The me I am now is nothing like the me they taught me to be.
I am the gift I gave myself.
The most sacred and precious gift of my life.

It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done.
And I cried.
And I bled.
And I completely shut down.
I had moments when it didn’t feel worth it, or I didn’t have any fight left in me.
But each time I got back up.

That spark of truth in me was too strong to extinguish with my ennui, or defeatist attitude, or simple exhaustion.
I’m not finished with that work, it just comes a little bit easier now than when I first started.
I may never be finished. I may do this work the rest of my days.
I owe that to myself.
I want to be the truest me. I want to share that me with the world.
I will work to be the truest me until the last breath leaves this body.
That sounds exhausting, but it also sounds hopeful.

Categories: mental health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

examining this concept of calling

*W A R N I N G*

This post is going to be straight stream of consciousness writing.
You may find yourself asking, ‘And how is that any different from anything else you write?’ (You also may find yourself having no fucks to give.)
Either way, it’s one of those moments when there are thoughts, and they’re fully hatched, but I’m not sure what to make of them. Or I may not even know exactly what I’m thinking/writing about.

Finding creative ways to live comfortably in one household as one big family while still being two small families is challenging.
Thing 1 and I created a plan for food. Husband N is going on job interviews. YBW continues to keep his work schedule. Running this house with more people and three dogs has proved tricky, but at this point I feel like we’re finally hitting our groove.

In the last two weeks, I sourced nearly all the materials for the double bathroom remodel and construction begins this week.
We’re still making practical and design decisions for the new house. I’m exploring different closet systems to find the best fit, function, and price.

School started this week. I can’t even imagine what subbing will look like in this distance-learning situation. I’ve had no training with the virtual system, and no resources are available no matter where I look or who I ask.
I may simply mark myself unavailable for the time being.

In addition to all these ‘normal’ goings on I am plagued by the blood curdling existential pain of being trapped in a constant feedback loop of trying to figure out what I’m going to “do with my life”.

Every time I start to bring it up with YBW, I feel like I don’t have his undivided attention, or it’s a bigger conversation than he’s willing to participate in at that moment.
I brought it up to Thing 2, and she asked for time to let it marinate before she got back to me. Of course she’s become preoccupied with her own life. As she should be! She just started a new job, that’s a huge deal for her.
Thing 1 was willing to have this conversation with me, but we didn’t actually get anywhere, mostly because it was in the car, on the way home from the grocery store.

I kind of got stuck at the idea that initially sparked the conundrum.
What’s a calling?

In true Roby fashion, this sparked more questions:
Is it luck to be employed in one’s calling?
What’s the difference between a job and a career?
How can I help others?
Does helping others help me?
How can I do what I believe is my calling as a way to earn money?
Is this actually my calling?
(y’all get the picture)

It wasn’t that long ago that I felt so certain about grad school for mental health counseling.
Then I didn’t get in. Then I started looking at other schools. Then I realized what it would actually cost (45K) and that freaked me out.
Then it occurs to me that I could get my masters in instructional design in 18 months for about (10K) and teach people new and interesting ways to teach.
But I’m not sure that’s what I actually want to do.

This is when I chose to stop and examine my life.

I wanted to be a mom literally as long as I can remember.
My first calling.
I did it! And if I do say so myself, I did a damn fine job.

I became a teacher by accident. But found I loved it.
Being with kids is great, but not how I long to spend the rest of my working days.
In this moment it occurs to me that teaching isn’t my calling as much as education is. My passion for education, and brain development, and learning styles is what truly inspires me.
Teaching and learning about education is my calling…?

I feel in need of a new career path.

I am ridiculously passionate about mental health care.
But would I actually be a good therapist?
It’s been pointed out to me that I tend to talk more than listen…

I am ridiculously passionate about learning through play, alternative learning styles and environments, and teaching and learning in unconventional ways.
Can I help others learn different ways of teaching and learning together?

If I spend all that money to get this degree and find I don’t like or am not really good at it, what do I do then?
I’ll eventually have to get a proper job. I mean we won’t starve or be homeless because I’m not working, but at some point I’ll have to do something.
So is that working with people from a mental health point of view?
Is it teaching people innovative ways to teach others? Children and adults.

I don’t know.
I’m really trying to examine this concept of calling.

If my calling was to be a mom, I was amazing at it, and still do an excellent job being the mom of adults. But it’s not an active sort of job. For the most part those active days are over. Now it’s mostly listening and offering suggestions, and sometimes monetary assistance.
Teaching became my calling by accident, and I loved so many things about it. But I know I’m not meant to be in a classroom as I move forward.

So this idea of being a helper, a guide, using my intuition to counsel people who need to look at things from a different point of view…it fits me.
I know I’m meant to be a service person. But in what capacity?
Or, can I be a helper, a guide, using my intuition to teach people innovative ways to teach others?
Is becoming a therapist my new calling?
Is becoming an educator of educators my new calling?

Do I let money stand in the way of what I believe to be my calling?
Do I settle for the next best thing?

How do I even know what is my calling?
This is constantly playing in the background of my brain.
While I’m playing with the baby.
While I’m managing the construction here.
While I’m planning things for the new house.
This never ending feedback loop about my calling and a career path…

I am always asking these questions.
I can’t seem to put my finger on the answer.
I find it frustrating.

I want to jump feet first into my calling.
Is it really my calling?

As you see, the cycle just continues…

You may find yourself wondering why I’m worrying myself about this right now while all these other things are going on. (You also may find yourself having no fucks to give. Either way, we’re still cool.)
I’m a doer.
I’m always asking, ‘What’s next?’
I know when we get settled in the new house it will be time for me to do something productive. I want to be ready for whatever that is.
Is that productive thing my calling?
Do I have the luxury of more than one calling in my lifetime?
Is it that managing the project of getting this house ready and planning and choosing things to get the new house ready simply don’t fulfill me?
Does one’s calling fulfill one?

All the Roby questions with no Roby answers.
Twas ever thus…

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

surprise jammie day

Saturday was a pretty chill day around here.
YBW and I fitted a bottom for Baby K’s dollie bed. Seriously, that was the only work I did.
Actually that’s not true. I cleaned the kitchen.

We each spent time on our computers.
I went through my natal chart.
We watched a movie. I think we watched two movies.

I realized something as we lie on the couch in front of the TV.
It was the first time I spent the entire day in pajamas since March.

I’ve been relentless in keeping a routine. Getting dressed every single day. Week days. Weekends. I’m up and dressed and going about my day.
That was how I kept myself sane.

Here’s what’s interesting about having a jammie day.
I think it means I’m beginning to feel ‘normal’. (we can debate actual definitions at a later point)
About once a month, I’ll have a weekend day in which I choose to be still. I remain in my pajamas all day and do or do not do whatever pleases me. Oftentimes those days are days spent in front of the TV with YBW. We’ll watch things off the DVR or watch movies or binge a show. It’s normally a good day. And even if I feel like a slug at the end of it, I know the next day I’ll be up and doing the things.
Sometimes I just need to disconnect from routine. Sometimes I just need to be still.

I haven’t given myself that kind of day since March. I clung desperately to a routine that helped me feel ‘normal’. In doing so did I not provide that much needed chill day?
I don’t know.

It wasn’t premeditated. It just happened.
Clearly I needed a jammie day and didn’t even know it.

These thoughts don’t feel fully hatched, but I’m learning that doesn’t always matter.
I needed to get them out.
I needed to say (out loud to y’all) that I had a pajama day for the first time since March.

Makes me wonder if you find yourselves realizing you’re doing or not doing things you normally do or do not in effort to feel normal.
Please let me know.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

a tune for Tuesday vol 78

I’m not the biggest Judah & the Lion fan, but I love this song.
It was written for band member Nate Zuercher who’s experienced difficulty with depression over the last few years.
In an interview with American Songwriter, Zuercher says,

“It’s also him (frontman Judah Akers) trying to show up for me as a brother and figuring out what it looks like to speak truth about someone he cares about when it’s hard for them to hear that.”

It’s absolutely beautiful.
Oftentimes when someone is in a depressed state, it’s nearly impossible to hear anything positive, or good about themselves. Perhaps this song can make even the smallest difference.

Please listen responsibly.

Categories: music | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

my truth is self evident

I spent time with both my girls over the past ten days.
I went to Thing 1’s to help pack, and play with Baby K. She calls me “Baduh”and is an excellent snuggler. She loves books and blocks and wandering around her house ‘talking’ just to hear the sound of her own voice.
Thing 1 and I packed so much! There is precious little for her to pack and she has the next six weeks to do it. Mostly kitchen things they need to use every day between now and then and clothes. I brought with me most of Baby K’s toys and books, all Thing 1 and Husband N’s winter clothes and some other things they could part with in the meantime.

On the way back to VA, I stopped to see Thing 2.
We had a mini-girlie hotel weekend in which we snuggled and watched movies, ate a boat load of queso at our favorite Mexican place, and I met the young man she’s started seeing over Sunday morning brunch.
We were worried it wouldn’t feel like we had enough time, but it was perfect!
Returning to this house, I’m sad and disappointed to be apart from them.

I’m frustrated and disappointed to be here.
I don’t actually realize how miserable I am living here with my husband and his son until I’m away and return.
Turning onto our street made me anxious and angry.
I keep trying to figure out how it works when you love someone so much yet are so damn miserable at the same time.

When I’m away from this house I’m content. When I’m out and about with my husband I’m content.
The energy that surrounds my husband’s son is stagnant and putrid and poisons this entire household.
I’m so tired of feeling like I don’t have a say.
I’ve worked so desperately to accept this situation that I can’t change. And I can, for a while…
I can complain until I’m blue in the face and nothing changes. I’m so fucking tired of being trapped in a situation I didn’t create. I’m so fucking tired of being in a situation in which I’m powerless.
My life is being decided by a twenty year old man-child who refuses to make any personal decisions.
My husband expects his son to make life decisions, but the kid simply doesn’t have the skills to do that.
So we wait.
And we wait.

I feel like Sirius Black.

How much longer do I wait?
Well, now I have to at least wait until Husband N has a job and he and Thing 1 can buy a house.

I feel like I was promised one thing and received another.
I feel deceived.
I feel disappointed and let down.
What’s so awful about these feelings is that the actions didn’t come purposefully and with malice. The actions are a by-product of the way my husband and his family have functioned these past twenty years.
I believe he has every intention of fulfilling his promises he made when we began our relationship. But he won’t do them until he finishes fulfilling his promise to ‘take care‘ of his son.
The truth of the matter is he’ll never finish fulfilling the promise to take care of his son because his son never learned how to take care of himself. So he remains obligated to take care of him.
These promises don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Yet here we are.

I’m finished being miserable.
I’m finished accommodating my husband’s son.
I’m finished accommodating my husband’s decisions.
Instead of being trapped waiting for other people to make changes, I can make changes that benefit me without negatively impacting others.
I’m finished playing by rules I didn’t have a voice in writing.
I’m finished participating in a life I didn’t actually agree to.

My husband reads my blog.
This will be so hurtful to him.
That’s not my intention. I’m just too tired to play the game anymore.
I don’t believe either of us truly understands how much we love each other because there’s always some sort of drama clouding everything up.

This whole post may seem petulant.
May seem like I’m being petty and uncaring.
May even seem like I’m the queen of the haters.
I don’t hate. I simply can no longer live the way my husband chooses to live.

This is actually a declaration.
My truths are self evident.

I need to help myself, because I can’t help my husband or his son. They can choose to swim around in their dysfunction. I’m getting out of the pool. I can’t tread that water anymore.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

the view from here

The last two days, I feel like I’ve been in seriously great Momma mode!
Y’all, I’m so blessed to be my daughters mother. They are incredible women, and my love for them is unconditional and limitless!

Yesterday Thing 2 and I talked for a while for the first time since my birthday. I assisted her in some important decision making, and provided over all Momma love and support. That girl is made of some seriously sturdy stuff, but sometimes needs help remembering. It’s hard when you feel like you have to do everything on your own. Being reminded you have loving, supportive people in your corner helps get you out of your head and provides a fresh perspective on everything.

This morning Thing 1 was feeling a bit overwhelmed by her own great and arduous task of packing her house. I asked if she was needing assistance planning or simply needed to be heard. She was all about the help.
So I suggested she start with a list (I mean of course I did, I’m the freaking List Lady after all!). I suggested she plan out what needs to be packed and then create a timeline.
Of course Baby K is like, WTF mommy? when Thing 1 is trying to pack instead of playing. I know that’s hard for both of them.
But I was struck with an idea!
What if Thing 1 actively packed for only twenty minutes each hour!?! She may not feel like she’s accomplishing much, or even finish packing one box, but she might feel less overwhelmed, and Baby K won’t get her diapie in a twist at being ‘ignored’.
Set a timer! Crank the music! Make a game of it! Baby K will love that, and Thing 1 can get things done without too much stress.
And, if she does her twenty minutes at the top of each hour, they have that last forty minutes to play together!

And in this house…
Yesterday afternoon, I opened one of the bins YBW and I pulled out of the utility room.
It was labeled with the names of my grandparents followed by the words family info.
So I was pretty much expecting all the genealogy stuff my mother complied in her lifetime. That was what I remembered putting in the bin after going through all the stuff my mother’s husband gave me five years ago.
But damn if I didn’t surprise myself!
In that bin was more so much more than the genealogy information.
Some random af stuff I didn’t know what to do with when I initially received it, but felt comfortable deciding yesterday.
Grandaddy’s harmonica.
My mom’s passport in which I too am in the photo as I was in her belly.
My grandmother’s hand written birth certificate.
And this (these?) gem(s).

I was able to divide and conquer everything, saving some things I want the girls to see before I dispose of them, and only had a small discard pile.
Of course now I have a stuffy headache from the mildew that clings to some of those items. It’s worth it.

Today I’m kind of being quiet. That is, not really doing much. Some writing. A bit of tidying. A bit of ridiculousness…
YBW is working from home this week so I went in there and said, You have a minute? He turned to give me his undivided attention.
Me: Wanna know how old I am?
YBW: Forty nine.
Me: Yeah, but not in chronological time.
YBW: …
Me: I think I need a neckchain for my reading glasses.
YBW: smiles but says nothing…
Me: If I’m wearing a pony or bun-bun I can’t put them on top of my head, they fall off.
YBW: serious face but silent…
Me: Is that ridiculous?
YBW: Not if me in my shorts and tee, and socks and slippers, and hoodie isn’t too ridiculous.
Me: I love everything about you.
YBW: Me too, baby.

Good Lord, we’re ridiculous!
At least each of us thinks this about the other.

This afternoon I’ll be focusing on organizing music, doing a bit of research on brain health and mental illness, and shopping for some stylish chains for my reading glasses.
Can you handle the excitement?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

things are just things

Y’all know Thing 1 and her family will be living in our house for a few months starting some time in July.
Y’all know YBW and I are eager to purchase and move into that townhouse.
The first of these will cause a change in the way we live in this house.
The second how we live in our new house.

This got me thinking about how I currently live in this house, how I want to live my remaining time in this house, and how I want to live in the new house.
Not how YBW and I live together. Those things must be decided by us as a unit.
I’m thinking how I want to live and what that means for me as a member of our household.

This thought process has been somewhat active as we begin to make preparations, but hatched into actual thoughts when I sent a photo to Thing 1 and Thing 2 asking if either of them had any interest in this item.

The story is my great aunt made this lamp for me. I don’t know when, but I do know I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t in my bedroom.
This Raggedy Ann lamp is a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but I don’t have any strong feels about it.
Thing 1 remarked that it’s one of those things that just stuck around.
The more I considered this, the more I realized that’s not a mindful way to live. At least I feel that way now about how I want to live.
Of late, I’ve worried that it may seem as though, and sometimes even feels like I’m just purging to purge, but I’m actually being super mindful about the way I want to live.
And what I surround myself with.
And what I leave behind needs to be the truest representation of the me I am (was?), and be simple for my daughters to handle.

I have this feeling it’s like shedding skin…
Or some sort of evolutionary process…
Leaving behind who you were in a mindful and respectful way and making room to become the next version of you…?

This is the last year of my forties, a natural phase of evolution as we get ready for a decade change. As I look at my life, I see how much my surroundings impact the way I live. By going through my things in a respectfully mindful way, I can prepare and environment that will meet my needs. Living my intention. Thriving in an environment that gives me everything I need with the bonus of things that foster learning and creativity. An environment in which I have enough room and the proper tools to grow into the next version of me.

Even though this lamp has been in my life as long as I can remember I don’t have any real feels about it.
Lack of feels is a strong indication that I don’t need it in my life which obviously means there’s no place for it in my house.
Purging to purge isn’t always healthy.
But being mindful about how I curate my environment is incredibly healthy.

My mom was not a full blown horder, but she was sure as hell a packrat. What I’ve learned about her since she’s been gone is that she saved things to fill emotional emptiness. By simply having these things she could feel the feels she didn’t have inside her.
She saved things that meant something because of the feels they evoked in her. Feels she couldn’t experience any other way.
My ex husband is exactly the same.
There is something about possessing particular items that provides some sort of emotion they otherwise lack (lacked). I truly believe it reinforces their stunted emotional growth. Then the weight of the things traps (trapped) them, so there’s no room to learn, or create, or grow.

I understand having great big feels about certain items. For me, a specific example of this is my Grandaddy’s wallet. It is of absolutely no use to me, but the feelings that bubble up in me when I hold it make it worth keeping.
But that is one particular item that is in a special place in my bookshelf that I can go to when I want to feel the intensity of those feels.
It doesn’t impact the way I live. It doesn’t block creativity or inhibit learning. It doesn’t waste space. It doesn’t keep me from growing as a human.
And I know as I write this that there will come a point in time I’ll be willing to let it go. Today is not that time.

I can’t be trapped by possessions. I need freedom to move. If I can’t move, I can’t grow.
I need to grow!
I want to evolve in my relationships with my friends.
I want to evolve in my relationships with my daughters.
I want to evolve with my granddaughter as she builds relationships.
I want to evolve in my relationship with my precious husband.

Things are just things.
At this stage of my life, my main focus is to curate my surroundings in a way that helps me thrive. Living my intention, learning and creating, and growing into the next version of me gives me all the feels.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

expressing all the irrational feels

LA wrote this post and it jump-started the hatching of thoughts.
In case you don’t actually click the link and read the post, she had some allergy symptoms mixed with anxiety, and before she knew it, she’d panicked herself into full on covid mode. She knew better, but couldn’t shake the feels.

I’m suffering from allergies, I’m taking my allergy meds, but if it’s sunny, I’m opening the house and letting the pollen in by the bucket load just to get fresh air in this place.
I know it’s allergies, but the ‘what ifs’ are actively punching me in the face.
I know it’s allergies, and even though I know it’s allergies, I continue to talk myself off the ledge.
And I think, ‘FUUUUUUUUUUCK I have this virus’, instead of thinking, ‘I’ll probably get this virus sooner or later.’

It’s natural to feel all these irrational feels, with all our heightened anxiety in a time when the world is in pandemic mode.
It’s especially tricky when you logically think and understand one thing, yet feel so strongly another.
When the feels are big, logic goes out the window.

This week YBW is home. I don’t feel comforted by that. It’s actually more stressful.
That feels awful to say, but when he’s at work, I can focus on what I’m doing, and even though he’s coming in and out of the house, I feel hopeful we’re still safe.
When he’s here, I find it distracting. I have more trouble staying focused, or on task.
As much as I want to spend time with him, I’m more panicky when he’s here than when he’s not.
That has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with me. It’s one less thing I can control about my environment.

I was fired up Wednesday morning.
I was mad the kitchen was a mess. I was mad there was food on the coffee table from where Thing G ate the night before when I was folding laundry and needed a place to put it. I was mad that before 9 am I’m showered and dressed, doing laundry, and putting a pork shoulder in the crock pot so we’ll have dinner.
I was grouchy and complaining and YBW was sighing.
I went upstairs mad.
About twenty minutes later, I went to YBW and told him I wanted to apologize for being grouchy. That because I’m tired of feeling anxious and cooped up everything I feel is heightened. Things like feeling frustrated that the kid takes no responsibility for himself or as a human being in this household.
He sighs when I express my frustration. When I say that, he asks what he should do instead of sigh.
I stopped and worked hard to express the sighing is fine, it’s that he’s taking it personally is what I don’t like.
He feels responsible that the kid does or does not do the things.

I’ve come to the realization and acceptance that Thing G isn’t going to change his behavior. But it still frustrates me. So, to stop YBW from feeling responsible, I’m going to stop expressing my frustration.
The kid is what the kid is. He has no interest in being different. No amount of ignoring, shouting, guidance, or love makes a difference. No matter what we’ve said, or done, he doesn’t change his behavior. At this point, I’m honestly just counting down the days until he goes to live with his mother and I don’t have to watch it anymore.
At some point YBW has to let go of feeling responsible because the kid chooses not to be responsible for himself.
These are the real and frustrating thoughts I have, but can’t express because they’re hurtful to the man I love most.

When we express ourselves, we can’t control how it’s received. Especially in the current environment of heightened anxiety. What we can control is the way in which we express our thoughts and feels.
LA was feeling anxious and reached out to a friend she loves and trusts, but her friend was at the same level of anxious and it just went sideways.
I was feeling anxious. Cooped up. Tired of these four walls. Tired of doing the things that run the house while other people don’t. I took out my anxiety and frustration on YBW.
Neither LA nor her friend intended to make as stressful situation worse. I didn’t intend to have my frustration escalate to the point of starting our day off in a such a way.
It took me twenty minutes, but I knew how important it was to nip it in the bud.
I needed a pause.
I chose to press reset.

We love our friends and family dearly. We’re all in an anxious state. This works against us when we’re expressing ourselves.
We’re off kilter just enough that logic takes a backseat. Instead of being able to say, I’m having a crap day and need some loving reassurance, LA expressed her anxiety in the form of verbal vomit about how allergies were covid.
Instead of going about my business and quietly cleaning up the messes, I expressed my anxiety as verbal vomit about being frustrated over normal everyday occurrences.
But in addition to the anxious expression of our feels, they were received by those in a heightened anxious state.

Now is the time for us to do the hard work of effective communication.
To be crystal clear about our communication expectations.
We need to do our best to state clearly at the beginning of a conversation, or to ask clearly before engaging in the conversation, I (or do you) need a listener. Or I (or do you) need help problem solving.

We’re going to fail at this sometimes, because we can’t be in both the front and back of our brain at the same time. But if we can stop for a moment and move from the back to the front of our brain, we’re going to be able to communicate more effectively even though we’re anxious.

This whole situation is stressful!
I’m having moments of hanging by a thread. I want to have the biggest fucking temper tantrum you’ve ever seen.
The anxiety in me thinks that sounds straight up amazing!

Y’all it’s a crap situation.
It’s going to get worse before it gets better.
And that’s even if none of us or any one we love gets sick.

At the end of her post, LA wrote:

I verbalized all the stuff swirling in my head, which in turn released the fifty pound weight that had centered itself on my chest…

Same, LA, saaaaaaame.
It feels wonderful to be able to say what I think and feel in a safe and neutral environment.
I’m grateful we’re all here to read and respond to each other’s words.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

so far, so good, what’s next?

Now, you know I’m a planner.
I like lists and calendars and color coding by subject.
So, once I recognized what I can and cannot change, I broke it down further.

I ask loads of questions.
I know that.
Y’all know that.
My family and friends know that.
But what’s different about this process is that I answered my own questions.

I asked and answered questions to come up with a plan.
I used the same system of dividing the page in my big sketch book so I could see it all together.

The first question is:
What frustrates me?

*stagnation
(no real growth, no movement, no real participation in life or household, etc.)
*lack of effort to create growth or movement
*caring about (these things)
*wondering if it will ever change

OK, now what do I do about it?

How to stop being frustrated?

*accept that these are the choices YBW and Thing G are making
*accept that nothing I do will change their choices
*focus on myself and my choices
*accept that this is the situation I’m in…until…?

So far, so good. What’s next?

I know it’s hard to read.

Ways to feel more comfortable.

*let go of wife and ‘mom’ guilt
*stop apologizing for choosing growth
*accept as much as possible
*pay attention to myself and where my power is
*be kind and courageous
*stop judging
*accept limitations (cannot change situation, only how I function in it)

Ways to regroup if I’m triggered.
(frustrated)

*immediately stop and breathe
*quickly assess if it’s something I can change (if not – do my best to accept and let it go, if so – make the appropriate change)
*accept that this is my work and I may not ever be met with the same
*remove myself gently from the situation
*tap into vast support network without engaging in ‘shit talk’

OK, so in the meantime I have a plan.
But…

How to remain sane in the long game?

*accept this is my work
*accept change may never come
*be peaceful in the knowledge I did all I could do the best way I could
*love

I don’t know how or even if the situation will change.
I do know that if I can do these things I will feel better. I will make the relationship with my husband more positive.
Maybe that’s all I can do?
While I know I have magic down deep in me, I only have power over myself.
If these changes I’m making serve only to keep me from being frustrated, angry, and resentful in an unchanging situation, at least I’m content in the knowledge I am going at this in a mindful and loving way.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

accept don’t judge, or the time of ‘if this then that’ is over

When I got to work on my me things, I meant business.
I used my big sketch book so I could see both what I can and cannot change at the same time.
I wrote in pen so it remains as I wrote it. It is unchangeable. (the irony is not lost on me, further proof of my commitment to this process)

What I cannot change:

*the living situation
*YBW’s point of view
*Thing G’s willingness to do or be
*why it frustrates me

This is what I’ve been on about. I want all this stuff to change. I want it to be different.
I can’t do anything about these things.

What I can change:

*how I function in the living situation
*how I choose to behave when I’m frustrated
*the way I go about discussing it
*what I pay attention to
*how I apply myself

This is where I have the power!

These are the things I can do something about. Now to figure out the how.
I think it must start with to what am I paying attention.
The trick with this is to decide what I need/should/desire to pay attention to.
I’m hopeful that by paying attention to the ‘right’ things, I’ll automatically change how I go about functioning, and behave when I’m frustrated. Perhaps not get as frustrated?

Is that how I can facilitate change?
Not that that’s the goal.
I. Cannot. Change. Any. Thing. But. Me.

I have to figure out how to shift my whole ‘it’s the principle of the thing’ point of view.
I mean, is that really getting me anywhere?

Maybe the concept of ignoring that which bothers me isn’t quite right. How can I accept it without it bothering me so much?
This is a conversation to start with my therapist.

I think I need to brainstorm a bit more.
Maybe it’s baby steps, not jumping in up to my ass.

Accept, don’t judge.

May be key.
This is the situation I’m in. What can I do or not do to be comfortable and content in it?

The time of ‘if this, then that’ is over.
I can’t change the situation. I can only change myself within it.

You might find yourself asking:
How much responsibility can one person take in a multi-person situation?
Is it equitable if one person is making changes for the betterment of the group?
What happens when one member of the group achieves their change making goals and the situation remains the same?
I’m asking the same questions.
Stay tuned for the answers…

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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