Posts Tagged With: stress

sometimes a girl just needs her mommy

Sometimes a girl just needs her mommy.

Thing 1 lost her baby.
Husband N lost his shit.

Instead of a fun and relaxed visit over spring break, I left out of here Monday before Palm Sunday to help them put their lives back together.

My daughter has told me she needs me exactly twice in her life.
The first time was when she was suicidal.
The second was Sunday morning two weeks ago. Her voice sounded small and frightened as she asked me to come early. “I just need my Mommy.”
She called me Mommy.
She said need.
I knew I was going to do whatever it took to get to her as quickly as humanly possible.

I normally have mad crisis management skills. But this day I felt anxious and frantic. God love YBW, he prepped out so much of my getting ready. He patiently told me the weather several times while I pulled clothes from drawers and the closet. He even sat on the bed and talked with me the entire time I packed. Normally he’ll make sure I have what I need and leave me to it. This time he knew I needed him to kind of hold my hand through the process. He knew I wasn’t functioning in my normal way. I am so grateful!

Thing 1 was still so angry with Husband N when I arrived. She needed him to spouse up and he just shut down. That wasn’t a problem I could solve. I could, however, clean the entire house and do every stitch of laundry. I could also get Thing 1 organized as she moved forward. Lists became schedules and she seem(s) satisfied.

Thing 1 and Husband N had an important conversation in which they discussed their feelings regarding the events and how each of them handled them. That changed the atmosphere drastically. I am hopeful they’ll get what they need from each other and find the best way to move forward together.

After her follow up visit, she said she felt so much more relieved. She was anxious about having a D & C, but her body did what it was meant to do and the doctor gave the all clear. He told her he wanted her to have two normal cycles before they could start trying again. I never asked her intentions, I feel like it isn’t really any of my business.

She was still getting tired really quickly and needed to stop and have frequent breaks, but by the time I left, she seemed to somewhat back to normal physically.
Emotionally she’s exhausted and not ready to process anything. She said she needs to “stew in it” for a while before she can even begin to understand how she feels or consider talking about it.
She snuggled with me more than she normally does. (She’s never been a snuggly sort of human. Sensory integration issues make that difficult for her.) Her codependency was more pronounced than it normally is.
This makes sense to me. She needed people she loves around to support her.

The day before I left, she thanked me for coming. She told me she needed an “adultier adult” around her. She was weary and needed help carrying that burden. Husband N was weary and needed help carrying that burden. His solution (albeit unintentional) was to shut down and escape. This left her holding the bag all by herself. She needed help holding the bag. Actually, I believe she needed to put down the bag for a little while.
Fortunately for both Thing 1 and Husband N, Thing 2 and I were able to carry their load for a little while.

I would do anything in my power to ease the suffering of my daughters. Even though they’re grown, I firmly believe it’s (at least partly) my job to keep them safe. I couldn’t keep my girl safe from this, and that frustrated me so. What I could and did do was love her through her pain. What I could and did do was bring her comfort and joy. What I could and did do was manage her household for a few days. What I could and did do was have honest conversations with her and her husband. What I could and did do was work efficiently with her sister when it came to getting things done. What I could and did do was be the adult when she wasn’t sure she could.

My girl is made of study stuff. She has a strength down deep in her.
That’s what kept her going when Husband N shut down. That’s why she can survive this even though she’s not sure how she really feels about it. That strength will be what heals her and help her start again when the time comes.
I am truly awed by her.
But sometimes, even the strongest of girls needs her mommy.

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Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(not) punching people at Costco

Ran to Costco yesterday.
Big mistake.

Everyone and their third cousin was up in that joint.
Nobody knew how to drive a buggy. Nobody knew how to load their items on the belt.
Bunch of freaking lollygaggers!

And I’m on the phone with Thing 1 having an absolute fit about it!
She is howling with laughter about how she learned to drive from me (fuming and cussing without really being mad) because that’s how I was rolling through the big ol’ warehouse store.
In the checkout line, the woman in front of me parked her buggy at a 45 degree angle instead of moving it straight up. That was the last straw for me.
I whispered into the phone, “The chick in line in front of me. I’m going to punch her right in the back of her head. Hard.”
Thing 1 laughed and said, “One day someone will hear you and you’ll get in a real fight. I’ll have to come to come see you at the hospital where you’ll be handcuffed.”
We laughed and laughed.
Though that would be just my luck…

I said goodbye to her before I checked out. (I may be a bitch, but I’m not rude. I think it’s so disrespectful to cashiers to be on the phone while they’re helping you.)
I did call Thing 1 back to report the ridiculous way the cashier backed my box. Eggs underneath peanut butter? Really, bitch?
Thing 1 had quite a laugh at me!

Of course I wasn’t quite finished with my spitting rant, so I called Sundance. If there’s anyone to join you in a crazy, spun-up rant, it’s Sundance. And that was just what I needed!
I’m all screeching and shouting and cussing and she’s feeding me with a spoon. At one point only dogs could hear us.
And then it stopped.
And I said, “This is my anxiety manifesting itself.”
And just like that (finger snap) I was calm.

This is something for me to pay serious attention to.
And I mean Serious Attention.

My anxiety is heightened right now. My stress levels are elevated.
I know this. I’m working to manage this. But sometimes it manifests in shopping rage. And in reality, nobody was harmed. I didn’t punch that woman. I avoided handcuffed hospital visits and possible jail time.
Managing my anxiety is an active process.
I’ve got good help.
I’m learning to let go. I can’t control everything, however much I long to. I’m working at not taking things so seriously. I’m working at making sure my expectations are realistic.
So…sometimes I want to punch strangers in the back of their heads. And sometimes I want to stab people with my ice pick. (It’s metaphorical, I swear! I never carry one in my bag or anything…I’m not remotely shifty…)
But wanting to punch or stab is not actually doing either.
So it’s cool.
Maybe.
Just gotta keep paying attention. Knowing I feel stressed or anxious is good, knowing why is better. Knowing how to manage those feelings is best.
Right now I’m at better…gives me something to strive for.
For the moment, that’s good enough for me.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

pipe the f**k down, Marcus Aurelius

When you arise in the morning think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love. ~ Marcus Aurelius
Well, this morning I woke rather grouchy, so why don’t you just pipe the f**k down, Marcus Aurelius.

I had bad dreams again last night. My body exhausted when I woke. These dreams fill me with pain and anxiety. My body produces adrenaline and cortisol but has no outlet for it because I’m sleeping. So I’m flooded with these stress hormones that my body has to somehow reabsorb. No wonder I’m grouchy AF.

Normally, I can remember and recount the particulars of my dreams. These icky ones aren’t like that. All I can call up is imagery and the way it felt.
There was water in my dreams. It was dark and rippling. This water made me fearful. I was frightened that it would drown me.
My one true pathological fear is to smother. Drowning is essentially the same thing. So what is happening to me that I’m experiencing this level of fear and anxiety?

The logical part of my brain considers this:
Every thought we have causes a ripple. Every choice we make causes a ripple. Every action causes a ripple. Ripples move away from the starting point out in all directions and pretty much looks like this.
ripple

So when you’re having many thoughts, or making many choices at once it rather looks like this.
ripples

The feeling part of my brain sees only that the water is dark and moving rapidly. I become frightened. I become overwhelmed. I begin to panic. Stress hormones get released. I go to my brain stem and enter fight or flight mode. I don’t understand what’s happening to me but I feel that water is going to overtake and drown me. I’m not frightened enough to wake. I’m trapped in this cycle of fear and anxiety.
Here’s the part that I cannot wrap my brain around. I never enter the water. I’m never swimming or fighting to stay afloat. I’m just paralyzed by fear at seeing the water. I absolutely know that it will drown me even though I’m not actually in the water.

What is happening to me that this is my sleep?
What am I struggling with so hard?
What needs to be done to quiet my brain?

Apart from today and of course, Monday, I’ve been feeling overall well emotionally.
Obviously something is stuck and whatever it is needs help getting sorted. This cannot be my sleeping life. My fear of smothering is something that rides with me every single day, I can’t have it decide to try and drive once I’m sleeping.
Sleep is supposed to give your body a chance to rest. To restore. To recharge. Right now sleep is making me its bitch and wearing me out.

Something’s got to give.
My instinct to run is present. And getting harder and harder to ignore.

So, when being alive and able to think and enjoy and love is precious privilege, you’re waking from deliciously restful and restorative sleep, not from stressed and scary dreams.
While I appreciate the sentiment,Marcus Aurelius, I’m not feeling especially privileged today. Maybe I’ll get lucky tomorrow.

Categories: me, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

dog and pony show

I’ve been known to say: Weddings are nothing more than a dog and pony show. But I’m all about the most perfect ones for my daughters.
Well as it turns out I’m planning one for myself and YBW…
It doesn’t feel like a dog and pony show. Perhaps that’s because we’re going low key. Less than sixty people, just our children as attendants. Teeny church we’ll pack to near full even with so few. Intimate reception space. Good wine, dearest friends and family, s’mores bar…

I’m torn between that feeling of excited anticipation and the desire for it all to just be over.
I feel exhausted and overwhelmed from planning.
I am so joyful that our most beloved people will come together to celebrate with us.

Later this morning, Thing 2 and I will have our final dress fittings, drop off extension cords, the napkins and wine charms and response book to the decorator. I think these are the last errands to run. At least I hope they are. I need to do a quick tidy before Thing 1 and the guys arrive tomorrow. But other than that I want to lie low. Do my best to relax so I can shake the exhaustion and feeling of being overwhelmed.

I went to a meeting about a job yesterday. I was leery of scheduling it for this week, my fear of not having enough time gripped me like a noose. But I took a big breath and went. I’m glad I did, because I believe it was successful and I’ll be getting an offer while I’m honeymooning.
It was weird to do something non-wedding related.
My head was bad yesterday, but I was able to dazzle at the meeting.
Thing 2 and I camped out on the sofa yesterday afternoon when we got home from errands after the interview and watched our favorite Halloween movie, Hocus Pocus.

I’m tired of waiting. I’m ready for Saturday. I couldn’t have said that last week, there was still too much to do. I don’t want to rush this week along, but I’m at that place where I’ve spent so much time working on the wedding that now that I’ve nothing to do I’m almost more anxious.

I have a great deal of head pain which removes sleep from the equation but I’m going to try and go back to bed for a few hours and see if I can start again.

I have planned and planned and coordinated until I can’t anymore but I haven’t really focused on how lovely it will be to stand in front of God and the people I love most and join my life to YBW’s.
Just writing that sentence helped.
The idea of the love of the people in that room to support and bless us brings me great hope. Saying the words I wrote just for him, being prayed over, and sealing it all with a kiss really makes it feel worth the anxiety.

If it is a dog and pony show, well it’s our dog and pony show and that’s all that matters.

Categories: wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

how a swollen brain can lighten the load

I’ve had a migraine since the day after my birthday. My birthday was the twelfth of this month. The first day I woke without migraine symptoms was Saturday. Saturday was the twenty-third. So for a solid ten days I suffered a migraine.
I’ve experienced migraines since I was too young to say anything other than ‘my tongue is funny’ and then burst into tears holding my head. (One of my auras is that my tongue and lips go numb.) So I’m pretty adept at dealing with the nausea, light and sound sensitivity, and brain crushing pain. I’ve been on pretty much any over the counter med you can think of and prescription meds from imitrex to percocet.

In addition to this migraine, I had swelling in my brain. (Yes, I know this is a migraine symptom, but for some reason the neurologist assured me it was not related.) Stroke runs in my family. My grandmother dropped dead of an aneurysm in her mid fifties. So I have been…a bit concerned about my brain.
I’m taking toradol for the swelling now. (God, it makes me so nauseous!) I’m trying topamax for the first time. (Arrivederci, my beloved Nectar of the Gods. Diet DP tastes like…well I can’t describe it…but it’s absolutely foul.)

I refused to go down the road paved with “what if”…but I do see the road there…and it makes me anxious. This is the only brain I’m ever going to have. I need it! I need to keep it happy and healthy and definitively unswollen(!), thank you very much!
I’m being mindful about taking good care of my brain. Paying attention to stress and keeping my body healthy so my brain can be healthier.
I’m reminded of Dennis from The Python’s Holy Grail, I’m thirty seven! I’m not old!
I keep thinking, I’m forty four! I’m not old!
I’m about to marry the man I waited my whole life to find. I need to be as healthy as humanly possible! My brain has to get it together and remain the proper size so I can have a wonderful rest-of-my-(REALLY-FREAKING-LONG)-life!

I suggested to YBW I leave my job at the end of summer when “summer camp” is over and this group of children move on to their “PreK” class when “school” starts in the Fall. I suggested this rather randomly, out of the blue when we were otherwise engaged in tedious home improvement tasks in our kitchen with our backs to each other listening to the Nats game on the TV in the next room. Turns out that was exactly what we needed to have that pretty serious conversation. He felt pretty strongly that if the last two weeks were an indication of the way the job impacts my health it was time to move along.
I’ve really not been sick since we’ve been together. I think it scared him a little. I know it scared me, and I’ve lived through ever single one of my sicknesses.

I wrote my resignation letter yesterday and when I signed my name the weight that lifted from my chest surprised me. It was bigger than I had ever realized. I’ve needed to lighten this load for so long.
I’ve told my co-teacher. She cried. I’ve told some other teachers, a couple of parents. I told the assistant director. My director is on her honeymoon. She and I will have a conversation when she returns.

I believe I made the best choice for me. For my good health. For my family. And even for the families of the children I teach. I can be with them until they would leave me anyway. (As long as my brain holds out.)
I feel peaceful in my decision.
I feel my body figuring out how to heal itself.
My brain and I have spent every single moment of the last forty four years together we need to keep up the good work.

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

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