I’m a very good listener. That’s one of many good traits of mine. But on the flip side, that means I expect to be listened to as well, and maybe that’s not such a good trait. For the most part, I do feel listened to. I just wish I could change what the people important to me are hearing. I don’t think the intended message is coming through. My fault, really. I suspect that what people are hearing from me lately is “blah blah busy, to do list, blah blah stressed, anxious, blah blah negativity.”

At least that’s how they’ve been reacting when I talk. It’s icky. Apparently for all of us.

I don’t ask for help very well–or really at all. My version of asking for help is talking about how crazy-busy and overwhelmed I am. Which isn’t exactly an efficient way to relieve some of my own burdens. What I usually hear in response is “you just need some perspective” or “you need an attutude adjustment” or “relax” and “don’t try to do so much.”

Not particularly helpful.

Anyway, the message is coming through: Some of you think I’m a spaz. Maybe also a difficult person. Negative. Anxious. Full of issues.

If what I say triggers you, have you thought about what that says about you as much as what you think it says about me?

I wish so hard that I could be a person who keeps her feelings locked inside, believe me. It just isn’t me, though. But I’m going to try, because hey at least I have therapy! And my therapist gets paid to listen to me whine, right?!

I’m done using my friends as therapy. I have a blog! Ta-dah!

Kidding aside, this week, I’m taking a vow of “silence”…sorta. The only place I’m going to “vent” is here on the blog, because if you’re here it’s by your own choice. I’m not reaching out to you–you’re passive, I’m passive. If you don’t want to be here, the answer is simple–don’t be. I’ll never know.*

Just please hear this: I’m fine. I’m busy and stressed. This is normal for a working mother with a Type A personality and a 4-year-old who’s experiencing big changes. My September is overfull. Yes, mostly with good things. But still BUSY. And if that makes me a little spazzy, well I’m only human.

Have a great week! :)

 

*Unless I check my stats. In which case, I might know.

Well those drifters days are past me nowI’ve got so much more to think about

Deadlines and commitments

What to leave in, what to leave out

Against the wind

I’m still runnin’ against the wind

I’m older now but still running

Against the wind

No, I’m not a Bob Seger fan. But yesterday that song got stuck in my head, and it won’t leave! Yes, I was literally running…against the wind.

Running fever has struck again. The husband has started to take walks–a lot of them–and as you might know, this is something I’ve been doing for more than a year now on my lunchbreaks with my work buddies. (Shout out to my superfantastic work buddies!!) Last autumn, I started the Couch to 5K program but stopped when the Northeast was pummeled with subfreezing temps and ice for weeks on end.

But guess what? I’m back. Kinda.

My husband and I have a mutual best friend who has become addicted to walking and occasionally running. It’s been about 2 months, and our friend has lost around 25 pounds so far. It’s motivating us to better incorporate fitness into our lives on a regular basis. Yesterday, this friend invited me to meet him at the track at 8:30 in the morning for a walk/run. I nervously accepted, unsure I’d be able to keep up with his running as I haven’t done it in quite a while (except for 1 random day a few weeks ago) and never was really good at it.

You know what? I kept up! And later, he texted me that he suspects I could have kept going and that maybe I was holding back. After thinking about it a while, I agree now that I could have pushed myself harder. So I think I will.

My brother had given me a Target gift card for my birthday, so I went there yesterday and spent the whole thing on some running clothes. Nothing fancy, in case I give it up after a few weeks–just a jacket to get me through the fall, and a decent tank/sports bra combo.

The thing motivating me to try this whole running thing again is that feeling I had afterward, which lasted 3-4 hours. I felt the runner’s high I had forgotten all about. I had so much energy that I didn’t know how to use it! I didn’t crave caffeine. I was in a good mood–it’s true about the endorphins! And it was a social activity, which is important for my unmotivated self. I’m motivated to do ALL THE THINGS except exercise. I tend to need a buddy to get me off the couch. So now that my husband and our friend are both into walking and running–and both have fairly open schedules–I shouldn’t have to search high and low for a partner.

The best part? Today, I’m not even sore.

So I think there will be more running in my future. I’ve committed to getting out to the track at 8:30 every Sunday morning with my friend. It’s a good start, I think. In addition to that standing appointment, I’ll try to work in some running when I can just because it feels good and is a good reminder that I am strong and can accomplish what I set my mind to do.

 

23. April 2013 · 8 comments · Categories: Sleep · Tags: ,

sleeping ladyYesterday was so much different than today is shaping up to be. Jax woke up close to 3:00 am on Monday morning to use the bathroom, and he was unable to fall back to sleep. After 2 hours of laying next to him as he tossed and turned while I tried to manage my anger and frustration, we got out of his bed around 5:30 and went into the living room, turned on the tv, and lay on the couch. I drafted a two-line e-mail to my boss, calling out of work for the day.

One unfair truth about me is that I cannot function on 3 hours of sleep. I’ve tried and failed countless times. I am an entirely different person when I am sleep deprived. I am angry, resentful, impatient, pessimistic, and sometimes downright mean. I also tend to rant about my lack of sleep on Twitter. And then I feel guilty and embarrassed about that. And I haven’t even gotten to mentioning the physical side effects of sleep deprivation that wreak their havoc! To me, sleep deprivation feels a lot like the flu.

My tribe on Twitter—aka, my friends—have done their best to reassure me that my ranting on Twitter is actually a positive thing, that it is always good to reach out when we are despairing. I am trying to convince myself of this, but it’s a long, slow process. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to see my ranting as a positive thing, even though when people respond warmly it does help me. Even a simple “I struggle, too” is helpful. With that in mind, I’m trying to stop berating myself for tweeting angrily in the middle of the night, as it obviously does serve a purpose: I feel less alone with each and every response to those tweets. It’s also comforting, I’m sorry to say, to not be the only person awake at 4 in the morning!

Last night, I gave both Jax and myself melatonin before bedtime in a desperate attempt to reset both our sleep clocks. We snuggled up at 8:30 and were both asleep by 9. I think I woke up once or twice, but overall we both got plenty of sleep. I’m having an amazing day so far. I don’t think it’s any coincidence.

My mood is bright, even though it’s chilly and gray outside. I’m not angry. I’m not in survival mode. It feels great to be optimistic and cheerful. Maybe it’s no coincidence either that I’ve been complimented several times so far today and that people have done nice things for me.

If you are one of the people who responded to me in the middle of the night, thank you. Your words help. To those who checked in with me yesterday, thank you, too. I appreciate you more than you know! Sleep deprivation is no joke.

 

Shame loses power when it is spoken…. If we have one or two people in our lives who can sit with us and hold space for our shame stories, and love us for our strengths and struggles, we are incredibly lucky. If we have a friend, or a small group of friends, or family who embraces our imperfections, vulnerabilities, and power, and fills us with a sense of belonging, we are incredible lucky. ~ Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

I read those sentences last night, and they stuck with me then because they reminded me of my #ppdchat and Mama’s Comfort Camp friends, as well as friends I’ve had half my life. And then today, I put them into practice when I needed help this morning. Further, I’m putting them into practice again now by writing this post.

Since this is an “I’m Doing It Right” post, I should begin at the beginning, which includes a self-pat on the back for something I did that needed doing despite my inclination to procrastinate more. It’s been a while since I had a complete physical–probably a few years before I got pregnant with Jax, who’s now 3. I believe that taking care of my health (and being proactive about it, more than anything else) is a responsibility I owe to my family (and it’s an act of self-care, although not nearly as fun or relaxing as a bubble bath). So even though I am terrified of needles and anything health-related tends to trigger my anxiety, I scheduled an appointment to have a physical. But first, my doctor ordered bloodwork, and today was D-Day.

I scheduled the lab appointment for 9:45 this morning, as early as I could get it, given that I had to fast ahead of time. This meant NO COFFEE. And this after a night of terrible sleep by Jax (which you probably noticed if you follow me on Twitter, where I tend to rant about these things).

The blood draw itself was the most painful one I’ve ever had, complete with a tourniquet that felt like an amputation. When the phlebotomist finished, she failed to have me bend my arm at a 90-degree angle and apply pressure to the site. Later, I learned that this is the reason for the trauma that happened to my vein.

She applied a wad of gauze and a crap-ton of tape to the area. It was bandaged so tightly that I couldn’t bend my arm. The second I got back to work–yeah, I had to go right back into the office after this good time–I took off all that get-up because it was excruciating! And then I had an instant anxiety attack when I saw the amount of blood on the gauze and then purple, golf-ball-sized lump under my skin. I’d never seen anything like this nor had I ever felt so much pain after having bloodwork done!

I very nearly passed out upon seeing what my arm looked like. It got to the point of my vision fading and my skin feeling cold and sweaty at the same time. I called over to my co-worker that I was about to faint and I rested my head on a stack of books. She brought me Smarties and water and rubbed my back a while. I will not forget her kindness. Another co-worker stopped by to check on me and reminded me that the Xanax I was about to take would kick in soon and I would be okay.

When the nausea and lightheadedness passed, without even really thinking about it I texted two of my friends, A’Driane and Susan, whom I know have experience with anxiety and whom I trust to walk me through mine.

Intuitively, this was the best thing I could have done. Immediately, A’Driane reminded me to breathe and said she was breathing with me. She even sent me a picture of her doing it, because that’s the kind of friend she is! It calmed me to know she was on the other end of the phone breathing with me and to see her face as I did the same. Then Susan called me, and we talked for maybe 15 minutes. When that call began, I was shaking with anxiety and in pain. Susan reassured me that when this happened to her years ago, she didn’t lose her arm! ;) And she convinced me to take some Advil. Halfway through the call, Susan said my voice had life in it again and I started to feel so much better.

When I went back to my desk, shame set in. I couldn’t believe I’d had an anxiety attack in front of several co-workers. How mortifying! And then shame piled upon shame when I said to Susan, “But the thing is, I know how to handle anxiety! I can’t believe that after so long without having it, here I am having a huge anxiety attack!”

So to send that shame packing, I thought I’d blog about this experience. Yeah, I feel kind of silly now that I freaked out over what, according to the nurse I spoke to, happens all the time when a phlebotomist screws up, but in a way I’m glad this happened. Why? Because I have friends I can lean on, who don’t judge me, who just love me and know what I need. Who also apparently have their phones at their side at all times, just like me.

I am proud of myself for leaning on them this morning. There is no shame in asking someone to hold your hand or for admitting you need this.

Brene’s quote resonated with me today. I am SO lucky to have so many awesome, wonderful friends. I could have texted any one of them, I know it, and they would have held my hand through my anxiety.



Today, my friend A’Driane is marrying her love, Bert, in the cutest chapel I’ve ever seen.

 

Isn’t it gorgeous?

I’ve compiled some of the things A’Driane has said on her blog about her feelings for Bert into a poem to honor this day. I’ve used A’Driane’s words because they’re as beautiful as she is.

Bloom

My heart just swells with a joy I haven’t allowed myself to feel in a very, very long time,

Dancing, laughing, smiling…I’m giving myself fully to the freedom,

Starting over and changing our approach to life…choosing to live life instead of just surviving it,

The gift of love I’ve found in our family,

Embraced with open arms & a bottle of Merlot,

To have someone see the value and worth I see in myself and decide to embrace and cherish it, cherish me, is the one gift I’ve begged for since I was a child and never received-until now.

Bloom where you are planted.

Reach toward the sun, like I am.

A’Driane, my wish for you and Bert today is that you always see the sunshine together. Congratulations on your wedding day. Xo

(Note: Other friends of A’Driane and Bert have also devoted blog posts to the celebration of their wedding day. You can access links to all of the posts here.)