Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Paralyzed when I'm overhwelmed

One of the OA tools is writing.  So I'm writing.  So I won't eat.

I am overwhelmed right now by so much.

Work is busy--I've got stuff spread out all over my desk and have so much to do, I don't know where to start.  I try to take it a piece at a time, but when I'm overwhelmed, I don't want to do any of it.

Finances are miserably tight.  The move we made with the business in April has been wildly successful, BUT our cash flow is crap right now.  It will eventually get better, but our transactional commissions have been $0, and when that money doesn't come in--and we have no control over's all based on market conditions--then we run on empty.  We had to borrow money from my mom, that's how bad it's getting.

Luke probably has attention deficit disorder.  His first grade teacher wanted to talk with me about his inattention, inability to process information quickly, and his anger/acting out issues when he's frustrated. I had a great talk with her today.  I have called his pediatrician, and we are going to fill out Vanderbilt forms (whatever those are) and then have a conference about what Luke needs.  I'm sure it's ADHD.  Sophie's showed up in 1st grade; she didn't get help until the end of that year, and she struggled and cried much of that school year.  Thankfully we are starting early with Luke.  He is SOOOO smart, retains everything, is a creative problem solver (his teacher said he's the brightest kid in the class).  But there's a disconnect that sounds like ADHD.  If he does go on straterra (the non-stimulant drug Sophie takes) I can only pray it's covered by his insurance.

I still have to do our taxes (we always file in October, since we're self employed), which is a daunting task.  I have no time during the day and no desire (or time) at night.  It's just hanging over me like this big black cloud.

I'm not running enough, so I'm not doing the October half marathon.  I'm disappointed in myself and sad I won't be a part of it again this year.

I'm meeting new people through OA.  Which is good, but I've built this shell around me for so long--not letting people in on the "real" problems of my life--that every time I go to a meeting I lose a piece of the shell, which leaves a raw spot.  I have cried at every meeting, every time I talk and often when others talk. Thankfully the members are supportive and have been there; I feel no shame, it's just emotionally upheaving.

My mom started seeing a therapist last week, because her relationship with her husband is terrible.  She called me a couple of weeks ago ready to leave him.  I talked with her for a long time, multiple times over a few days.  I told her the only way she can learn to deal with him (and respond in a healthy way--she's 50% to blame for their issues) is to go to therapy.  We went round and round about the cost of it.  She said she can't spend $200-300 a month on therapy.  I wanted to beat my head against the wall.  I said it's cheaper than a divorce!  And I said if you don't go to therapy, I don't want to hear about your problems anymore.  She agreed to go.   I recommended my therapist, but she doesn't take Mom's insurance, so Mom went to another therapist in the office.  She said she likes her; I was still disappointed she's not seeing Julie.  Mom would have to pay Julie $130 a session; she pays about $30 a session through insurance.  So whatever.  At least she's going and I hope the therapist is good. 

I'm not feeling the crushing weight of depression right now, which is an improvement.  But I've got a great deal of anxiety flowing through me. And tasks of every day life still seem overwhelming to me some days.

I have had one abstinent day--yesterday.  I didn't eat at night.  I went to bed instead of sitting on the couch and staying up late to watch TV and eat. That couch time has been escape/trouble time for years. It's a horrible habit (Vickie wrote about that today, which was a very helpful post for me to read) that I keep reinforcing and haven't been able to stop for an extended period of time. 

The first step of OA is this: We admitted we were powerless over food--that our lives had become unmanageable. 

Big fat YES on both counts.

I feel powerless.  I feel unmanageable.  I feel raw. 

If I'm going to get healthy and follow the OA way, I can't cope with all that through my usual ally--food.

Where does that leave me?  

Step 2 is this: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

And that's the most paralyzing, overwhelming part of it all.  I do believe in God.  I do I do I do.  But I am like the man in the Bible story whose son needs healing, and he says to Jesus "I believe! Help my unbelief."  (John Ortberg at MPPC has a couple of great sermons on this topic).

I believe but I don't believe.  I am overwhelmed.  I am scared.  I am anxious.  I am one big ball of fear. 

Right now, I don't feel God intervening in all this.  I believe that He will. But I don't believe that He will.

"Perfect love casts out fear."  1 John 4:18.  When I googled that verse, I found this link.  Most definitely something I need to hear right now.

That's where I am today.  And today is all I can manage.  One day at a time.

Monday, August 27, 2012


I started going to OA last Monday. Tonight was my 3rd meeting.

I had someone close to me who is in AA tell me I was talking like an
addict. I knew I was addicted to sugar. But I didn't think of myself
as an addict with a disease.

It's a very different approach to all this food business when you
acknowledge you have a disease.

Not a food problem. Not a lack of will power. Not a disorder. A disease.

OA says this is a disease just like alcoholism is a disease. That is
not an easy idea to wrap my head around. But I'm trying.

So I'm going to meetings, Monday nights and Saturday mornings when I can.

There are a lot of thin people at the meetings--a testament to how the
program does work AND that you're never cured. You have to keep going
and working the program.

There are a lot of men there. I had no idea I could learn from men on
food issues.

No one under the age of about 35. All middle aged and older. I met a
woman tonight who has been abstinent for 20 years--she started OA at
age 21. Several others who have more than 10 years in the program.
Many who are several months to a year or so in. A few newbies like me.

Last Monday at my first meeting there was a woman there who has kids
at the same performing arts studio as Sophie. We had just talked at
length for the first time a few weeks ago at the studio. So when I saw
her there and she saw me, we were both surprised. In a good way. In a
"hey! I'm not alone!" way.

We "click" and have a lot in common. She's been going to OA off and on
for 3 years. We got together Sunday and walked and talked for an hour.

I went back to the meeting tonight in no small part because we said
we'd see each other there. Accountability.

It's early in the process but I like what I'm hearing. It's free, it's
supportive, and I'm not alone anymore. I have "real life" people who
understand what I'm going through.

Not that blog friends aren't important to me--you all are. Obviously,
though, I need more.

It will be hard work that I'm frankly not sure I can do. Or am ready
for. I just know I have to do something. And this seems like the right

For now, it's one day at a time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

First day of school

Sophie is in 5th grade. Luke is in 1st grade.  Can't believe how grown up they both are.

I've had good and bad days the past week.

Monday was a "bones feel like lead" day.  I talked with Mark and cried on his shoulder Monday night (kids were at my mom's Monday & Tuesday since there was no school and no summer day care).  He's in a really good place right now, so he was able to comfort & encourage me.  I'm blessed to have him as a husband.

Yesterday was better.  This morning I got up at 5:40 (which is a HUGE deal for me) and sat in front of my SAD light for 25 minutes & read my Bible.  I prepped the kids' lunches last night (for the week), got them up early, and the morning went smoothly.  We started off the school year right.  I got to work at 8:05.

I was reading yesterday about melatonin possibly making depression worse. I have been taking melatonin for a couple of years to help me sleep. It REALLY helps me sleep.  And sleep.  And sleep.  I have blamed my not getting up in the morning on depression and laziness (I can hit the snooze button for an hour--not healthy or smart, I know). 

I wonder now if melatonin was not getting out of my body soon enough and keeping me asleep too late.  I take a low dose--1 mg, in a two-stage release tablet.  But, still.  I stopped taking it, as of last night, and will see if it helps me get up earlier and possibly help alleviate the depression.

I'll have 5 more sessions of acupuncture, once a week.  It was BLISS on Friday.  I wish I could have it everyday.  Serious relaxation and deeply peaceful.  I think the more out of balance I am, the more effective it is.

I'm starting the SAD light early this year.  September is when SAD starts to hit me.  I figured why wait?  Might as well start it up now and see if it helps.

Food still is not great.  I am in a rut of night eating for comfort.  I know that is going to lift soon.  I can feel the desire to change seeping into my conscience.  When the depression lightens, it makes room for the good stuff.

School starting will be a big help.  Kids are on the bus at 7:30. It is no longer a 45 minute drive to take them to summer camp (45 min from time I left the house to when I got to work).  It's a 7 minute drive to work from my house.  As long as I'm awake by 5:30-40, I can do everything I need to for the day.

It's the evenings that will take some adjusting and attention, but hopefully we'll at least get on a schedule that will stick.

Tidbits on the kids:
Starting in September, Sophie will be taking acting classes on Tuesdays and possibly another acting class and a voice lesson on Thursday.  We have an amazing performing arts studio here, and she flourishes in that atmosphere.  She's quite talented (and that's not just me talking--the studio owner and the teachers have been complimentary and their eyes light up when they talk about her future there).  She had a small role in the Willy Wonka production this summer; she's in the Winnie the Pooh production that runs the last weekend of September.  Her weekends include 8 hours of rehearsals (4 each day).  She loves every single minute.

Luke will be starting baseball in September.  He's never done a team sport.  We want him to try out this instructional league and see if it's a good fit.  He's at a good age to find out what his "thing" is.  We're trying baseball first.

Mark is supposed to take the kids on Monday and Thursday nights.  I start church choir back up next week on Thursday at 7 pm. Choir gives me such a lift, and I have missed that time to myself. 

This summer I've had next to no time to myself and very little help from Mark b/c of work and because he has commitments on Tuesday & Wednesday night (men's group and a weekly meeting with a friend of his--these are what have helped him get emotionally healthy, so they are vital).  He wants me to have time to myself, too.  We just have to work together to make it happen. And to make it happen I have to want to do something at night other than collapse on the couch.

Hopefully I'm moving in that direction.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Just do the next thing (172.6)

The end of last week things took a bad turn.  I think partially it was hormones, and probably also my brain chemistry is doing wacky things with the med changes.  Plus the let down/afters associated with Mark's birthday weekend and his actual birthday on Tuesday.

Whatever the cause, on Thursday I started slipping back into moving-through-mud mode.  I also slipped back into sugar.  The depression feeds the sugar addiction; the sugar addiction feeds the depression.

The depression is pretty bad again.  This morning I made an appointment to go see the acupuncture doctor on Friday.  It worked last year.  I'm praying it can work again.

He's also a psychiatrist and I'm going to ask him to talk to me about my meds.  My health insurance doesn't cover mental health costs, so this is all out of pocket (which sucks).

I wear a happy face at work and in social situations (which I'm frankly avoiding as much as possible); I am mostly miserable at home and not pleasant to be around (my poor husband...he gets the brunt of it).  I am still functioning and taking care of the kids and the house.  But it's very hard for me to interact with my husband or kids with grace or kindness.  They get on my nerves and I'm impatient if they don't do what I ask when I ask it, or if they do it wrong, or if they make a mess, or if they talk too loud. See what I mean?  Not pleasant to live with.

I feel very fragile, like I could break at any minute.  It's awful.

I got through yesterday by repeating to myself "just do the next thing."  I focused on one task at a time.  I did that task.  I got through the work day.

Then I picked up kids and got home and mowed the grass.  I avoided mowing the grass all weekend because I didn't have the energy.  I didn't have it last night either.  But I just did the next thing; I got into a zone with music in my ears and seeing immediate results of a nice lawn from my efforts.

And then my son came out and interrupted me.  Twice.  Then my husband came out and interrupted me.  Twice.  And I got impatient and upset with them both.  I was angry that they couldn't leave me alone for one freaking hour.  It was not a normal response--it was the emotional response of a woman on the edge of losing it.

It's not just the brain chemicals causing the problem--I need more time to myself and need to exercise to clear my head.  But I have to have the mental energy to exercise, which I haven't.  And I have to have a husband who can keep the kids for a couple of hours, which I haven't (he's been working a lot and his quitting time is often unpredictable). 

Mondays and Thursdays are supposed to be my nights off (in the grand scheme of our family schedule, anyway--it rarely happens).  Last Thursday I had planned to go running or take a yoga class. Mark worked until almost 7.  I was cooked by then.  I told him the kids were all his, and I went in the bedroom, shut the door, and watched TV and read a book. I was alone for about 2 hours, but I was stewing and couldn't give myself what I really needed. What I really needed was to have gone running at 4:30 like I'd planned, and not expended the remaining energy I had on kids and dinner and been totally spent by 7 pm.

I hate this.  I hate feeling like just giving up.  I hate living in the past and wishing for my 38 year old body back.  I hate whining.  I hate that flat feeling I have on the inside--like I'm numb, or like the air is made of mud and my limbs have to slog through it.

I know this is biochemical.  I know it's not normal.  I know it is temporary.  I know there are things I can do to make it better.  But it has been going on for months and I'm really, really, really sick of it.

All I can do right now is the next thing.