Posted in Addiction, anxiety, Depression, faith, Life, Mental Health, Musings, recovery, twelve step

Life on Life’s Terms

life on life's terms

 

 

I am having the hardest time ever with this post right now. This is the third blog I have started, and I am determined to finish this one, no matter how much I may hate it. Here’s the thing: I am having a shit time right now, for a number of reasons. None of them are big things, but a bunch of little things strung together, causing me stress and a general feeling of unease. I don’t feel comfortable with my life or in my body right now, and it’s bumming me out.

Here’s the thing, though. I understand that this is temporary, just like everything always is. My face has erupted like Mount Vesuvius, but…it is going to go back to normal. Eventually. I had a bunch of unexpected expenses come up all at once, but…they are going to be dealt with. Financial ruin is unlikely. I haven’t had time this week to buy groceries or get to the gym, and it sucks, but I will get back on track. It’s not the end of the world.

In my addict mind (and maybe in normal minds, too, I have no experience with living in one of those) everything is extremely black and white, all or nothing. Every time I get off track, I feel like I have failed utterly, and there will be no coming back for me. Which is ridiculous- I have millions of examples in my own life where that has not ever, not once, been the case. And yet, I persist with this wrong thinking. My mind often works against me, and it can be exhausting.

The solution? I believe it must be to just acknowledge that my wrong thoughts exist, be aware of that, and then work around them. Sometimes, I can think myself right into a corner, wedged so tightly that I can’t even move. Like, moving a muscle seems impossible, seriously. That is when I need to find the strength to haul my ass up anyway, and get some shit done. If I let myself sit in my mess for too long, that is when depression comes calling. And if you’ve ever dealt with depression, you know how hard that can be to get out of, and how scary it feels when it’s breathing down your neck. Inaction is not my friend in this situation.

I keep thinking about how, four days ago, I wrote a post about laughter, and how weird it may seem to any attentive readers that I am now writing about something quite the opposite of that. Maybe you will think I am nuts…hell, maybe I am. But here’s the thing- life doesn’t care how great I felt last week. Life just shows up, and does what it does. What I have learned in recovery is that I am supposed to be living life on life’s terms, meaning I deal with what life serves up, to the best of my ability, without taking anything to change the way I feel. This is harder than it sounds sometimes. Not the part where I don’t take anything, I’ve grown used to that. It’s the part where I cope with it well that eludes me sometimes.

I get nervous. I get scared. I feel like a lot of people depend on me, and I don’t know if I am up to the task. I retreat. I close up. I shut down.

But I always, always, always (so far) pull it together in the end. I always find a way to come out the other side of my feelings intact. I have a 100% success rate so far of not destroying my life completely, as long as I stay clean. I may not be feeling my best today, but tomorrow…who knows? Hell, later today I might feel better. You just never know. My job is just to hang in there, do my best, and wait for things to change. Because they always do, for better or worse.

Advertisements
Posted in Blogging, family, kids, Learning, Life, Musings, People, random

6th Time’s a Charm?

charm

Hi! You probably think I have been avoiding you, but let me just clear that up right away- it totally isn’t you, it’s me. I’ve just been…meh. By “meh”, I mean- indifferent, blank minded, disinterested, just BLAH. I am trying to push through that right now, since I have basically decided that no matter how badly this blog sucks today, I am just hitting publish anyway. I apologize ahead of time for that.

Actually, I have written- a total of 6 blogs, none of which I felt compelled to share with the world upon their completion. The truth is, where usually, the thoughts and words just flow forth, and somehow, as if by magic, the end presents itself rather neatly- that hasn’t been happening recently. I honestly don’t know what is going on, and I haven’t been in the mood to try to figure it out (back to the disinterested thing again), I just figured I would leave it alone for a minute, and come back later. I certainly didn’t mean for it to be three weeks!

I have been feeling the strangest way, lately, and it really makes me nervous. You know, I have been through some STUFF in my lifetime (most of it self-inflicted) and I have been down about as low as a person can get. The thing is, I always had this little spark in my heart, or a determined spirit, this thing that propelled me forward, made me push back when life tried to take me out. The reason I am a little nervous, lately, is because I am just not feeling that right now. I know that I am capable of great strength- I have proven this to myself again and again, and yet…I’m just so goddamned TIRED. I already know that I am strong and capable- why do I need to constantly be? That is what I want to know…when the f%@k can I just relax?

And I know, I know- I am the one who put myself exactly where I am. I chose to have another child at 35, which definitely changed the trajectory of my life. I do not regret that for a moment. I also chose, almost a year ago, to disentangle my life from the life of my daughters father, making me a single mom, yet AGAIN. This also was a significant change to the structure of my world. I still feel it was my best option at that time, and what needed to happen, but you know…I think it has been HARD. I  mean, WAY harder than I thought it would be. This past year, though good in so many ways, has been exhausting. I am trying to find my footing, to figure out how to be this super-mom, devote myself to my family and my career, try to fit in writing, try to take care of myself, try to take care of the dogs, the house, the bills, all the money (or lack thereof). Jesus Christ, no wonder I feel like I’m shell shocked…when you lay it all out like that, it doesn’t sound so crazy, does it?

Anyway…I also think that maybe I have gotten so used to responding like a champ to a crisis, I may not really know how to rise to the occasion of every day life. Like, I am only my best self when I absolutely have to be. Right now, I have been at my job for nearly seven secure years, which, if you are me, is like- I don’t know, nothing short of miraculous, honestly. This month marks the third year I have lived in my current house, another first for me. I don’t do this- keep jobs, phone numbers, addresses…even my hair color has been dramatically unchanged for quite a while now. And consistency is great- for kids, I hear, anyway. In all honesty, it has given me a chance, for the first time ever, to kind of figure out what is going on in my life. I’ve been still enough to see myself.

Maybe THAT is the bigger issue- maybe, for the first time ever, without any outside intrusion, without anyone else to distract me, I can see myself. Perhaps I have been settled for long enough to understand the parts of me that need a little work, instead of rushing off to the next place, or thing, or whatever, and sweeping the bigger issues under the rug. My rugs are no more- just me and the issues. I think that may be exactly what is going on, and I don’t think I am entirely comfortable with that. But, I’m a firm believer that everything happens exactly when and how it is supposed to, for the reason it is supposed to, and that it always works out in the end. So, I guess I will wait, and try to be patient.

Hmm…well, I hope that made a modicum of sense, and that perhaps one person who reads this will take something useful from it. It certainly served its purpose for me! I wrote some sense right into my head, how do you like that? Well, here you go- I guess it’s better than nothing. If not, well…there’s always the next one. Talk to you soon…I hope.

Posted in Depression, escape, family, Goals, humor, Learning, Life, Mental Health, Musings, random

The “Tired” Trap

yawn

I think I have mentioned this before- that people tend to get the impression from me, because I am animated and expressive, that I am just brimming with energy…well, let me tell you, NOTHING could be further from the truth. I am the girl who once fell asleep in a bowling alley- while it was open for business, and PACKED- across several hard, plastic, bucket seats. When I am tired, my day is over, period. There is nothing anyone can say to talk me out of sleeping, and no place that I cannot fall asleep at, if necessary.

This sounds like a dream come true (hahaha) to insomniacs, I know. The problem doesn’t seem like much of a problem at all when you would LOVE to be able to sleep. But, on the opposite side of the equation, you have me, Rip Van Winkle’s love child, who can’t resist the Siren’s call of sleep, even when it’s like, I don’t know, five o’clock in the evening. The time change this year, and the shortening of the days has destroyed me. The minute it gets dark outside, my body is like- “Okay, time to roll it up for the night.” Meanwhile, my kids are like “Mom, we haven’t had dinner yet.” I have coined a new moniker for myself lately, as a direct result of having to stay up later than my body clock thinks is just, and so my body trudges on while my brain sleeps. It is “Mombie.” See? Like Zombie, only with “mom” in the front.

On Friday, I went to bed at 6:30 in the evening and slept until 8:30 the following morning. Now, that is just ridiculous by ANYONE’S standards. My four year old went to bed with me, and watched TV until probably 8 before she fell asleep. I don’t know what time I went to bed Saturday night, but last night, after Camryn’s birthday party insanity, we both passed out around 6:30, only she woke up at like 8, woke me up by pulling my hair, and placing a cold, empty bowl over my face (she has gotten creative, I guess). I got her whatever she needed and then promptly went back to sleep. With her, of course.

The thing is, I used to be able to just take a nap, and then move on with my day. Now, I know, ideally, if you are going to bed as early as I have been, taking a nap at 6:30 is not very smart- any naps should be taken by like noon, at the latest. But it seems to me that, lately, I can’t ever wake up from a nap, not completely. I usually just go with things until they start to bug me, and this is starting to bug me. I am sleeping my entire life away. I am up right now, but I could totally go back to bed and continue to sleep, indefinitely. As a matter of fact, it seems like the more I sleep, the tireder I get. Which makes no sense at all, except that it is what happens. Hmm…

So, first and foremost, I am going to strike the words “I’m tired” from my vocabulary. Sometimes, I say things so much that I start to believe them.  Second, no more naps. I am going to push through- God knows there are plenty of things I could be doing around here besides sleep. ( On a side note, I think that may be precisely WHY I am slinking off to sleep all the time. Total avoidance of other, less enjoyable chores and things to do). Third, I notice again and again, that when I am exercising, I feel a thousand times better. In the build up for Camryn’s party, I wasn’t able to find time to walk or go to the gym, but I am going to do both today. I guarantee that I will feel less exhausted by the end of the day. I don’t know why that works, as it seems to be the opposite of what a tired person would do, but it does work. There is also the whole general nutrition side of things, which I have written about before,  and I know that the foods I eat effect me greatly. I think it was Saturday night that I caught myself musing “I have not eaten one thing that was good for me today.” And it was true! It wasn’t even challenging to eat like I had a total death wish, either. Easy as pie. (hahaha, I am just full of unintentional jokes today)

So, here is the plan- walking, working out, if not NONE, then at least LESS crap food. No naps. Oh, and water, water, water. And finally, no more saying “I am SO tired.”

UGH.  Just talking about it is making me…less energetic. So, how about you? Have you, or are you now, stuck in the tired trap? How did you get out? How do you plan to get out? Are there any tips you may have for me? Seriously, please share, because this whole situation is just BUNK. I need your help!

Posted in advice, family, friendship, humor, Learning, Life, Musings, People, random

Why the World Needs You to be Happy.

 

peaceconflict

Yesterday, I went a little nutty when I found out that a dude from Liberia brought Ebola over here. I went a little nuttier when I found out that he went to the ER and TOLD THEM he had just traveled here from Liberia, and they “failed to communicate” this  to the doctors, who then sent him home with antibiotics, where he exposed a shit load…okay, several, at least- other people to this deadly disease. I mean, I was a little overboard. I was upset that something this stupid happened, I was upset that someone else’s stupidity basically opened up a big can of worms for (what felt like, to me, at that moment) the entire United States. I was upset that we are even allowing travel to and from Africa right now- I mean, it’s kind of a bad idea, don’t you think?  I was so upset, I had to go home and meditate after work before I picked up my daughter, because I knew my turmoil would just color everything I did that night, whatever my intentions.

So, I did that, and I came home, and we had a pretty below average night. I spent most of it reading “Orange is the New Black” (yes, it was a book first, apparently), and being blown away by how poorly the prison system is run. Yet another thing I can do nothing about, at least immediately.

Do you kind of see where I am going with this? There is shit going DOWN in this world, all the time, everywhere, that is OUTRAGEOUS. That is unjust and unfair and horrific, and heart wrenching. Wars and plagues, suffering. Rampant abuse of power. The way that it is presented to us, you would think we live in a totally chaotic and soul-less society, that extinction could very well be where we are headed…and maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. C’mon, admit it- you have thought that, quietly, a time or two, when you watched the news too many days in a row.

I am begging you- don’t buy into that shit. Do not do it. We are all at risk, every single day, when we are bombarded by the stories we hear on the news, and on social media, and plastered all over the internet- even the less reliable stories that are repeated to us in the break room at work, or in our cubicles, or wherever we are. Try to temper it with a bit of your own reality.  Take a look around you, right here, where YOU are, right now. There is still hope. It’s not all bad, man.  Shit has been going on, and going wrong, since the dawn of time- if you let it eat you up, if you let it infect your heart, you are out of the game, and we need you. We need you pretty desperately.

How many opportunities do you have, on a daily basis, to do something that makes someone else feel good? Before you say “Not very many”, think about it. Because I think we have endless opportunities, every single day. I am not talking about huge things, like finding a cure for Ebola (although I would really appreciate that, personally, if you could) or even big stuff, like volunteering, which I am sure we would all love to do, but don’t always have the time or even know how to get started. I am talking about just going out into the world and not being an asshole. Not riding the ass of the car in front of you because you are late for work, but slowing down, instead, and chilling the fuck out. I am talking about holding the door for someone, letting the person behind you in line with one item cut in front of you, not saying “no”, automatically, to the dude with the “please help” sign in front of the store.  I am talking about smiling at someone, paying a totally random stranger a compliment, saying sorry and thank you when appropriate…and even when not really necessary.

I am talking about going home, and insisting that your children spend a little time talking to you over dinner. This requires that both you AND them put your phones and Ipads away. I am advocating creating a small pocket of the warmth and tradition and connection that we all complain are absent from our lives and from the world. It won’t fix everything, but my God! We have to start somewhere, right? And we need to be happier, we need to smile more, we need to have the peace in our hearts that comes from knowing that all is NOT lost, don’t you agree? Because when all of us have lost that…without that…we are truly in trouble, my friends.

So, you have your instructions for the day- go out in the world, smile, be happy, don’t be an asshole. Try not to get Ebola. Check back here frequently for further instructions. Thank you.

Posted in Addiction, family, friendship, Goals, inner peace, kids, Learning, Life, People, random

Some Days Are For Wising Up

Image

 

I’m just going to come out and say it- yesterday was tough. The previous two days, Saturday and Sunday, were a blissed out, low frequency hum, slow and indulgent. All about naps and walks and peace and quiet. Then, Sunday evening, all hell broke loose…oh, brother, my inability to be less than honest will not allow me to stick by those words. The truth is, two things happened: 1) my older daughter went behind my back and obtained a Chihuahua with issues off of Craigslist- after months of arguing, I might add, because I could not imagine yet another pet underfoot, here. Especially a neurotic, yapping, nervous wreck of an animal like a Chihuahua. I mean, step on Lucy, my Black Lab, and you move on with life; step on a Chihuahua, you’re a murderer. Then, Camryn came home. I was already kind of freaked out about the new dog (her name is Honey Bee, by the way), now imagine the sound of a very excited three year old hyped up on junk food and just released from a car after driving for three hours. Imagine that, mingled with a nervous puppy, a very excited lab who thinks she is the same size as the Chihuahua, an irritable teenager, an upset mom, and a very angry, overweight house cat. Yeah.

So, we went from the slow, indulgent, low frequency hum to a discordant death-metal riff screaming through really good amps in like an hour. I’d hoped that the next day (yesterday) would be better. But instead, I woke up to about three minutes of privacy. Both of my kids were up and about. All of the animals were running around. I didn’t get to meditate, I wrote something half assed, I never went for my morning walk. This was not a good way for my day to start.  Then I remembered that my daughter had an appointment with her probation officer (don’t ask), and my little one wasn’t feeling great…So, off we all went, to the courthouse, at seven a.m.

I was in a less than sparkly mood. I was rude to the lady at Juvenile Probation, to the point that she actually asked me if I was sick! I snapped at my daughter’s intolerance of her little sister, then I snapped at my little daughter for being a pest. On the way home, I bought donuts, thinking that would somehow make things better…it didn’t. Crappy food is like putting a used band-aid over a new cut- a recipe for disaster. 

Things didn’t get better from there…the poor little dog my kid brought home had been weaned early from her puppies (she, at ten months, is still a pup herself) and her teats were terribly engorged. By yesterday, they were much worse. I had already called in at work because my little one was feeling sick, so I took the puppy down to my vet. The bottom line? Honey Bee needs surgery this Thursday, period. So that’s what we are going to do.

The rest of the day just carried on in the same fashion. Lots of noise, lots of snapping at each other, even meanness coming out that had been absent for so long. I felt full of shame at my impatience and inability to take any of this in stride. Not only was I not happy, I couldn’t even fake like I was. It felt really, really bad. By 6:30 in the evening, I was so wiped out, my three year old and I lay down to watch cartoons, and both of us just passed out.

This morning, I woke up feeling nervous and angry about the previous day. I have worked so hard to get to a spot where I am okay, that I am afraid of losing it. The truth is, if I have to be angry, fearful AND clean…I wasn’t sure I could do it. Then, while I was trying to figure out how to write about all of this, this morning, a pattern emerged. And it hit me: Yesterday hadn’t been about me helping me. It had been about me being there for others-others who really needed me. 

Think about it- This little dog, she needed a loving home, and people who could give her the love and help she needed. Without us, she would have gone to the pound, and very likely been put to sleep. As a matter of fact, the lady at my vets office made a point of telling us “You have saved this dog.” And my older daughter, who is asleep right now, cuddled up with her new pet, maybe she needs this little girl, more than I realized. Also, I told her she has GOT to get a job now, if she wants to keep her dog, because I simply cannot afford to care for another pet. My daughter is painfully shy, but she pushed through that yesterday to go check back on an application she put in at a restaurant down the street. The look of pride on her face when she came outside, just because she had overcome her anxiety to accomplish something, was priceless. 

The moral here is this: Yes, it is important that I take care of me- every day, I know what to do to make sure I am okay. It is my job to find a way to squeeze that stuff in with whatever time I have. But not every day is about me taking care of me. Perhaps the Universe has decided I am well enough now to start giving back a little of the love it has shown me. My job is to do this as graciously as possible. Yesterday, I fell a little bit short. I forgive me. Today, I understand- challenge accepted. I am a work in progress, for sure. But I know I am up to the task of sharing some of what I have with whoever needs it. I know I am.

Now, it is time for my walk. I don’t want to take any chances.

Posted in aging, family, Goals, kids, Life, Uncategorized

Time Flies By…

Hellloooo! Man, if I can’t manage to finish and post this blog, then I give up. I have been trying for what seems like a very long time to blog about SOMETHING…but for one reason or another, I either couldn’t finish it, and/or decided not to publicize my most private goings-on. I’m fairly certain my life is pretty averagely dysfunctional, but it really makes me wonder about the secrets within families and between people who are closely bound in ANY kind of relationship. I used to talk about everything with anyone, and I still do talk very openly about a lot of stuff-most stuff, even. But time and experience taught me (the slow and painful way, naturally) that some things are not open for discussion. If you discuss something, you are inviting the opinion, advice and judgement of the person you are confiding in, and you just never know who you can really trust 100%. I used to have the biggest mouth in the entire world- I didn’t mean to, and when I said I promised not to tell, I meant it. But even when I tried my hardest, I’d let some small detail slip, and then get so nervous trying to backtrack that eventually, I’d just miserably repeat the gossip, verbatim. Now, I’m older, and not only do I have more self control than I once did, but I also don’t care nearly as much about other peoples issues. That sounds mean, but it’s at least a good indicator that I’m trustworthy. By the time you finish telling me your secret, I’ve already forgotten the first part. Also, if someone wants to know something I don’t want to tell, I just say “yes, I know, but I’m not telling you, so quit fucking bugging me.” which was hard for me in decades past. Ahh…the finer points of growing up.

Speaking of which, my birthday is just a few days off- I am blown away that I am turning 37. Not because I feel like I am old, really, but because I can’t believe how insanely fast my life is going by. It feels like as soon as I get used to being who I am, where I’m at, everything changes again…I honestly remember the day that I turned ten years old so clearly; I was, what? Fourth grade? I sat at the very top of the monkey bars and contemplated the fact that I was now a DECADE old. From here on out, my age would have TWO numbers in it. I literally thought about that, twenty seven years ago, in Fresno, California, at Del Mar Elementary school. That same little girl is still right here, as well as the chubby middle school kid, the mouthy teenager who thought she knew it all. That teenager succumbed to a lifestyle that took her away from dreams she never even had a chance to start dreaming, and that teenager gave way to a young woman who was beautiful and insecure and sick, funny, weak, smart and unkind. Lots and lots of things occurred, lots of time went by, and she didn’t go very far. That same, scared, defeated girl is still here, too. I have been so many different women in my lifetime…life is not perfect, but at least today I am not afraid. I am not terrified of tomorrow. I don’t have to rely on anyone else for my life to move forward. Sometimes I forget the difference between FEELING AS IF my life depends on someone else, and HAVING my life rely on someone else. I’m okay with the person I am today. I turned out all right after all!

There were some blissful times in my life where I really kind of had it all…well, not “all” in the sense of tangible, luxurious things. I had none of that. What I actually had was NOTHING. No rush, no worries, no responsibilities, no place I needed to be. I just did my thing, all the time, partying, up for nights in a row, staying wherever I wound up and never feeling like I had anything less than all the time in the world to get down to business.  I dragged that stage out quite a while past where it was appropriate, and it wasn’t the same anymore. I felt time going by, felt the need to be more, have more, see more than I was seeing from that place. So I moved along, finally, and started filling up my life with grown up things. I enjoyed, and still enjoy, the sense of achievement that comes with accomplishing a dream, however small. What I don’t like is the worry and problems that come attached to everything I love or want or value. I worry about my kids, my job, my relationships with people. I worry about money and bills, my car, my phone and my laptop. I worry about my teenager not fitting in, and then about her fitting in too well. I worry about things that happened a long time ago, and things that may very well never happen. I NEVER used to worry about stuff, and now it’s always happening, like background music…I’m humming along, not even aware of the song. Also, I feel stretched a little thin, a lot of the time. These are the things I don’t love about this phase of my life. I want to be calm enough to enjoy all the good stuff that is right in front of me, but there’s so much to do, and so many things going on, and I get that tight, tense, angry feeling…like one little minuscule thing, and I’m going to snap. I don’t like all the chores and rules and activity of being this kind of adult. I feel like I still haven’t quite caught on yet.

Every year, around my birthday, I sort of look at my life and see what’s what, and come up with an idea of where I’d like to go next. Things I’d like to work on, eliminate, think about, and so on. This year, I just want to cut the shit. I want to stop knowing what I need to do, and doing something else instead, and then hating myself for it later. I want to plant my feet firmly on the earth and do what is best for myself, even when I’m scared to death of what that could mean. I want to enjoy the beautiful faces of my daughters, and never forget for a minute how blessed I am or how fast it goes by. I want to find the right words to say to Aisley, to make her softer. I want my Camryn never to have a reason to be so hard. I want to be with people who love me and have my best interest at heart, and I want to recognize when that is not the case. I want to laugh more, cry some, and be angry a LOT less. I want to slow down. I want to stop running, and just slow down. What is the point to this life if I’m too busy to see all of the real and valuable things it contains? I want to remember how much I love, and am loved. That’s my goal this year…and maybe the rest of them, too.

I’m wondering if you guys have that same, surreal feeling about your life ever? Does it seem impossible that you could be however old you are? Are you a worrier, and if so, have you always been, or is it new? Thanks for reading, and I’m so glad to be back!