Thursday, October 30, 2008

Snowball Effect

I'm not sure when the change took place. I used to be a morning person. Maybe it was after my DD was born. Or even maybe when I was pregnant and could have slept for 18 hours a day if I didn't have to work. I'm not happy about it, whenever it happened.
This week has been particularly bad. I feel like there is some sort of disaster every morning. Monday was my own fault because I jam packed Sunday full of things to do. I know that I don't like busy Sundays. I was up late. And then it takes me a long time to unwind before I can sleep. So Monday I was just exhausted when I awoke. I couldn't keep my eyes open while driving and I resorted to stabbing myself in the wrist with a T-Pin all the way to work just to stay awake. Pretty. Tuesday AM, DD woke up with a massive case of pinkeye (thanks to Sunday's playdate, argh). So I ended up bringing her to work with me for a few hours til we could get into the Dr. Weds was fighting a slapping, writhing DD trying to get drops into her eyes, then a deer bounced off my car on the drive in (requiring a pull over & a calm down...thank goodness, no damage to the car). And then a mile from daycare, DD throws up in the car. Not much and thankfully she had a blanket on her lap that caught the majority of it. But again, pull over, make sure she's okay. Trying to assess if it was coughing related or if she's sick. So I spent some extra time with her at daycare before I left for work to make sure she wasn't really sick. This morning, more fighting with eyedrops. DD doesn't at all appreciate the fact that I sing "Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting" while I'm trying to give her the drops, LOL!! But it helps me keep my sanity. I wanted to start the car (covered in ice) while I got our stuff together but I could not find the keys anywhere. I mean anywhere!!! I ripped everything apart for 20 minutes while my DD wanted to "help" which translates to interrupt my search to play. I was on my last frayed nerve. I *finally* found the stupid keys in the SINK!?!?!?!?!???
Finally leaving the house 30 minutes late, I believe these saved many lives this morning:
If you've never heard of Rescue Remedy, go check out the website. Or check out the Bach website for all the homeopathic flower essence products. I chewed down a couple of these when I got in the car so that I didn't have a panic attack. Once I began to calm down, I was thinking about mornings and thinking there must be something I am doing that's contributing to morning craziness. There must be some energy that I'm putting out that is summoning such chaos. And that's when I started thinking about the Snowball Effect. My house is a disaster. I swear it never stays clean for more than 2 days. And that overwhelms me....I can't think straight amidst clutter and disorganization. When I can't think straight, I waste time because I stand there doing nothing, trying to collect my thoughts. When I waste time, it takes me longer to do projects than it should and either I don't get them done or I stay up way too late or, more often, both of those! I stay up late, I don't get enough sleep, I wake up overtired which then contributes to my not being able to think straight. And so it goes on and on and on.
I need to find some sort of personal Feng Shui for myself! I need to declutter, reorganize and commit to keeping it that way. And, I need to quit feeling like a loser that I need some time to myself at home on Sundays. It's what I need. And my whole week suffers when I don't have it. If I can't avoid a Sunday event, then I need to make sure I compensate for it in some other way either on Saturday or Monday. I need to just commit to meeting my own needs instead of judging them and trying to ignore them. It's okay to take care of me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Meet Medhanit

This is Medhanit. She is 5 years old and lives in Ethiopia. I "adopted" her in sponsorship yesterday through the Christian Children's Fund. I'm so excited about it. It's something I've been thinking of doing for a while and I finally did it!
From my welcome package: Medhanit and her family have suffered extreme poverty and hardship. She was born in Addis Ababa, the capital city of the country from a poor Orthodox Christian family and belongs to the Oromo ethnic group. Her parents both live in other addresses therefore she lives with her grand mother in Addis Ababa. Her guardian is unskilled and cannot get regular employment. The guardian works as a daily casual laborer to earn her living. The annual income of the guardian is less than 400 USD. She cannot afford clothing, school supplies and other basic necessities for the child. After a long struggle, she learnt and sought for assistance from this project with education and other needs for the child. Medhanit is a healthy and friendly child who is in kinder garden. She enjoys singing.
There were so many little darlings on this site that I wanted to help. Medhanit's bio really spoke to me though. She's just a year older than my DD. The fact that she's separated from her parents....that makes me so sad. And she enjoys singing, no less! I can't wait to start corresponding with her and sending her special gifts through the program. It's amazing how great it feels to be able to help someone else.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ladybugs, Confessions & Beginnings

Have I ever mentioned my "thing" for ladybugs? It all began when I was pregnant. When I was married, my XDH and I tried to get pregnant for a while and required fertility treatments which were unsuccessful. When he and I divorced, I was 34. Between the trouble we'd had conceiving, my age and newly single relationship status, I had wrapped my mind around accepting that I'd never be a Mom. And then, with no medical intervention, I got pregnant with a man I was dating.

While pregnant, I watched the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun". If you've not seen it, I *urge* you to grab your best girlfriend and a box of tissues and have a movie night. It's a wonderful and empowering girl movie. There is a part in which one character tells of when she was a little girl and she'd spend hours hunting for ladybugs never to find one. Then she'd fall asleep in the grass and, when she awoke, ladybugs were crawling all over her. It's the basic message of the may not come in the time and in the manner that you expected it but you can still have the things in life that you desire.

From that point, my DD became my "ladybug" unexpected blessing. And ladybugs have held a special place in my heart ever since. (There's a point to this story.....hang in with me til the end....)

I went to T on Saturday. We had an appt the week prior but I had to cancel. T called me to reschedule and I kept avoiding her calls. I have felt myself seriously withdrawing lately. Feeling like the walls are closing in. Knowing that meeting with her means putting my issues, fears and failures out there and having to take one more step toward dealing with them. Blech. How utterly unappealing. But she kept after me and I finally picked up the phone and made an appt.

My addiction (eating disorder) is OUT OF CONTROL. I have gained back so much of the weight I lost a few years ago. I walk around feeling like I wear my failure on the outside. I judge myself so harshly and, in turn, I project that onto others and believe they are watching/judging me in the same way. I feel intense shame, guilt, embarassment. I want to crawl under a rock and live there alone. I don't want to be seen. I am uncomfortable, my joints ache, I have no energy. I am disgusted with myself. I don't know how I let it all go. I was at a weight where I felt pretty damn good 3 years ago. It was the thinnest I'd been in my adult life. And, while still technically "overweight", I felt good....proud...happy. I felt attractive and energetic. To let all of that slip away makes me feel worse than I felt before I lost any weight in the first place. I succeeded. And then I failed miserably.

I had a two-fold thrust behind my initial weight loss. First was an assertiveness, empowerment kick that I was on. I was still married at the time and hating the way my XDH just beat me down to nothing so I decided to take steps to make myself feel better. Also, during our fertility experience, my blood sugar numbers were right on the fringe at the highest end of normal. Diabetes runs in my family and I've seen my Aunt and Grandmother both die from it. I didn't want to go down that road. Recently, I've mentioned that I was putting off bloodwork that my Dr asked me to have nearly a year ago. Well, I was putting it off at first because I wanted to give myself a chance to get my addiction under control first. And then, when it became clear that it wasn't happening, I chose to just ignore it. Until I had that panic attack a couple weeks ago which prompted me to have it done. Now, my appt is not until tomorrow so I don't know what else is in store for me in the results but I *do* know that I am now diabetic. I have a blood meter at home and I've been testing myself periodically. I know the diagnosis for a fact. Tomorrow will be finding out any other information the test revealed as well as learning what kind of medication I will be starting.
I cannot convey what a tremendous personal, catastrophic failure this is to me. Because of my family history (my Father's side of the family, I should clarify), I wanted to avoid becoming "one of them". I know it's not logical but it makes me feel associated to them in a way I never wanted to be.

T and I talked alot about all of this as well as my addiction in general. I cried and cried and cried. I have so wanted to be able to beat this alone. It ALL makes sense in my head. It's all so neat & logical up there. I don't understand why my behavior cannot follow the logic my brain possesses. I don't get it. And it pisses me off. Because I know better. But I'm out of control. I don't like being out of control. T reminds me that I've made progress because when I first started with her, I didn't get it in my head. It was just an ingrained behavior I didn't challenge. Then I began to understand it intellectually and I thought that was enough. Attack it with logic. And now I'm at the point where I know the head and the heart need to get on the same page. I've got that last step to get them working in synch.

I have to accept that food is my drug and it's every bit as powerful as a chemical addiction. One of the unique characteristics to a food addiction is that you can't detox and never use it again. I actually have to figure out a way to change my relationship with food, how to navigate this world that is pushing super-size, quick & easy, delicious, unhealthy, tempting, convenient food at consumers from every angle. And I have to be able to have a controlled meal multiple times a day. I want the "quick fix"....I want to just go to the other extreme of eating disorder and starve myself for a few months til some pounds come off. But I know it's not the answer. I have to do this for real this time. The same approach is not going to work this time any more than it has in the past. I have to redefine everything about the way I cook and eat, the relationship I have with food, the way I deal with stress and emotions.....all of it. And I'm scared.
Here is my plan: #1 I need to return to reading 2 books, the first is about the power of relationships in healing from abuse, trauma & eating disorders. The second is a daily reader that is based on codependency skills & some aspects of the 12 step program.
#2: I have a series of programs saved on TiVo that T recommended to me about emotional eating. I need to watch them...I've been avoiding them like the plague.
#3: I have called the eating disorder clinic near me. I had an evaluation with them probably about 1 1/2 years ago and I never followed through on their recommendations. It was evening groups, I believe 3x a week, that they recommended for me and I just could not do it without a viable child care option. The woman from the clinic just called me back, actually....I will need to go through another intake and assessment. I told her that I'm pushing to be recommended to the day program and if I need to take a leave of absence from work, then so be it. If I can know that DD is safe at daycare where she's content then I can really concentrate on taking care of me without feeling pressure or guilt. The day program is 5 days a week and involves group meals, group therapy and individual therapy. I think this is my best bet in recovery. Now I just have to hope that I qualify for it and that my insurance will pay for it.

So....after I left therapy feeling absolutely drained and wiped out, I got into my car and I leaned my head back looking up toward the gray, rainy sky. What did I see? A ladybug, sitting on my sunroof. :o)

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm buried......

These are actual pics I took of my office this morning.
Above is my dual monitors.....showing about 9 open windows......there are 7 more that are hiding underneath the ones on top. I'm considering adding a third monitor.....*sigh*
Below.....this is just the pile of corresponding files & documents of phone calls I'm presently working on.
Here is my "Critical" pile....(hahahahahahahahaa!)

These are my materials for the class I'm teaching to my co-workers. I have to work on part 2 of the agenda for next week already....yikes.

And here is my Inbox. The funniest part of all of this is that I am virtually paperless. Only about 20% of my work comes in paper form. The rest is online....and you can't even see any of that on my desk. I want to cry.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Update to yesterday's post

& general update. I wrote yesterday's post in haste while trying to leave my office. My daughter is sick and she was in my office with me, very impatiently trying to get me out the door. Despite a trip to the ER, she's really fine. It's an asthma thing that happens a few times each cold season. I gave her the max # of treatments (4) of her inhaler and she was still having trouble breathing so her doc told me to run her through the ER for a check over & loading dose of steroids. So we biggie. Just an inconvenience. She's got an RX for the steroids for the next 5 days, an appt with her specialist next week. She slept great last night (nice change for both of us from the night before where she coughed nonstop from 1am til 4am & again from 6am-8am. We're both beat. She gets the luxury of napping....Mom doesn't.

Presently, I have a moderate migraine. I'm exhausted. Let me back up....Monday night is when DD was up all night coughing. I barely slept. I was bringing her to daycare & waiting for her inhaler to kick in. In the car, she had a coughing fit so hard that she threw up. Fortunately, there was almost nothing in her stomach so it was an easy clean up. After that, I decided I couldn't bring her to school. I left a msg for her Dr for some guidance what to do next. I came to work with her, totally unprepared since I left the house with the intention of bringing her to school. So I had no portable DVD, no toys, no nothing. She was pretty patient, all things considered. I got some urgent things taken care of. I took her to the potty before we left where she proceeded to pee all over her clothes and I discovered she'd pooped in her pants a little bit. Joy. I'm SO F*%#$ing tired of potty issues, I could positively scream. I digress..... So not only am I leaving an hour later than I'd hoped to but now I have to stop home to change her clothes. We do that, go to the ER which is so packed I can't even find a place to park. I had a standing appt with my Alarm company for 2:00. At this point, it's 12:30. So I go home and figure we'll head back after the alarm people come. Tues is my usual night for choir rehearsal. I couldn't cancel last night for 2 reasons: #1 we're singing this weekend so I needed to run through the schedule and #2 I'd told the people who have rehearsal at their house (who feed us dinner every Tues) that I was bringing dinner for them that night. So while at home waiting for alarm-guy, I cooked a huge meal. Alarm-guy came & fixed my problem. I finished dinner, packed up the car & took DD back to the ER which was still quite packed. Once done, I dropped off DD's RX, we went to choir, had dinner, ran through rehearsal, left @9:30, picked up RX and was home by 10:15. Put DD to bed & collapsed myself. This AM was rough....migraine, DD not wanting to get out of bed, fighting me, running 30 minutes late. I get to work where I have 18 voicemails, 49 emails, a meeting waiting for me and people knocking at my office door....."I need this", "Did you get a chance to do that?", "So&so called yesterday and is waiting on such&such" FFS!!!!!! I can't deal. I keep breathing & repeating to myself as T told me to......"I have all the time to accomplish everything I need to do today" I've asked my Mom to meet me here at my office tonight to entertain DD so I can work late. Because tomorrow I'm out of the office all day at a seminar and I lose half of Friday to teaching a class here in the office. I'm so behind it makes my head swirl. (Which is, of course, best dealt with by taking an hour to blog instead of working). Oh yeah...AND! I forgot my Effexor last night and have none with me. I'm already having withdrawal dizziness, weakness, confusion & "brain-buzzing" Should be in great shape by the time I get home tonight. OY! Vent over....moving on.

Had a dream the other night which I had to laugh about when I thought it over. I had brought my car to a garage to have it fixed. When I returned to get it, it was absolutely torn to shreds....stripped, cut apart, torched. A disaster. I went out and got a new car....a brand new shiny red Saab convertible and I was sitting in it, reveling in my new ride and thinking to myself that I would never, ever let anyone else work on this car. dream interpretation, a car is a classic symbol of yourself. So basically my dream says I gave the care of myself over to other people and I ended up a wreck. I realize in going out and creating a "new me" that I need to be the sole person responsible for my care. Amen!

So to expand a little on yesterdays post....I was giving it more thought in the car after I left here. I started to delve into the feelings and maybe come up with something new. A while back, I started reading a book about eating disorders. I posted about it here. And I realized that Food is actually a very powerful relationship in my life. Taking that into consideration, it's not surprising that I attach "human" qualities or emotions to food. I think about a "being" (be it animal or plant) that was raised/grown with sole purpose of providing sustenance or nourishment to a person. Add to that the function that food serves in my life, which is to provide comfort, solace, happiness. When I think about throwing that away, I feel like this "being" has just had it's entire "life" made a mockery; that it was brought into the world for a purpose and then ended up in the trash unable to fulfill it's sole responsibility. I find it difficult to be the perpetrator in the "death" of this "being". (Sorry for all the ""s....I'm just trying to be sure this comes across clearly that I know I'm attaching irrational ideas to an inanimate object) It's particularly difficult with meat because I know that really once was a living creature. I have a habit of keeping things in my fridge after I know they are no longer edible because it's just emotionally difficult for me to trash it. I tend to clean the old stuff out of my fridge in one swoop every week or so....I guess I white knuckle my way through it as fast as I can and then take the trash to the dumpster immediately. I feel guilty afterwards. I don't want the evidence around me.

I'm really glad that I watched that show because I don't know that I would have identified this unless I heard the woman on the show make that statement. I guess I have something to talk to my T about when I see her next. And I think I need to return to reading my eating disorder book. This is all about to come to a head and I know I'm feeling the need to deal with it from every angle of my life. I feel like the walls are closing in on me and my time is running out to return to my comfort zone, my coping tool. It makes me very anxious to say the least.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Interesting Realization

Last night, I was watching a show I recorded on my TiVo a couple months ago called "Help! I'm a Hoarder" about compulsive hoarding. There was one woman, Melanie, who had a frightening amount of stuff. It followed her through daily life for a short while, including going to a therapy session. Her therapist disclosed that Melanie had suffered horrible abuse as a child and, not surprisingly, this was her coping mechanism. In part of the therapy session, the therapist asked Melanie about her habit of walking the streets and picking up items that other people had discarded. Melanie said she felt an emotional pull toward these items. She felt that it was her personal responsibility to "save" the items and protect them from being thrown away. Considering her abuse, that makes perfect sense to me.

What I never considered before is the way I have a similar feeling toward food. For instance, when I was on vacation, I WAY overcooked for the week. The 2 days before we left, I was making myself sick trying to eat it all so it would not go in the garbage. I feel the same way at home. I would rather overeat to the point of pain than to discard the food. I think I feel some sort of responsibility or even gratitude (?) toward food for being a comfort to me for so many years of my life and it becomes painful for me to just cast it aside. It's obviously symbolic of myself feeling discarded, unappreciated, cast aside. I never put the two together until I watched the show last night. Very interesting.

Thanks to all for your kinds words & concern after my last post. I have an appointment with my Dr next week to go over the results. Dreading it.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Last Night Sucked

Yesterday was a long and frantic day at work. I picked up DD at the end of the day and came back to the office to finish up a few things. She was not being terribly patient with me and I was aggravated. We went out to grab some dinner and the service was really slow which made me late for choir rehearsal. I was trying not to stress about it but "not stressing" is not really something I'm too accomplished at.

I left choir around 10pm and DD chit-chatted all the way home. Normally something I enjoy but I really wanted her to go to sleep. I was having a tremendous amount of pain in my left shoulder and arm. And I was feeling shaky and nauseous. By the time I got home, I just felt WAY off. I put DD to bed and I went to bed myself. I couldn't shoulder was burning, seering pain. I was having stomach cramps, muscle spasms in my back, shortness of breath. I was worried I was going to die. (Hello, panic attack.....) This morning, I simply could not get myself out of bed. I felt so drained and out-of-sorts. The good news to all of this is that it *finally* lit a fire under my rear to get some bloodwork done. Bloodwork, mind you, that was ordered probably a year ago and I've left the order slip sitting in my car all this time. It's going to make me face some things that I know are wrong. Things I don't want to face. It's going to require some dedication to changing my habits and behaviors. And it's going to make me accountable to someone for all of the above. Aah crap, that sucks.
I was emailing with my BFF today. She's going through alot of personal growth and I'm so very proud of her for all the work she's done. She said the most simple, yet profound, thing to me a little while ago:
Judging myself really hurts. Weird for some reason that hurt is something I have just lived with. I have never questioned it as something I don't have to do.
Isn't that a fabulous statement?? Without a choice, we hurt at the hands of others for so long that we just continue to do it to ourselves never questioning if it's optional or not. If only we could learn to treat ourselves with a fraction of the care and concern we bestow on those we love.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A New Perspective on Vulnerability

It's funny....for how long I've been seeing T, I still get anxious when I feel like I don't have a pressing topic to discuss with her. I went Sat morning and talked about how fantastic vacation was. How I really let down this time and enjoyed it more than any of the previous 4 times we've gone to this same house. It was difficult the first morning to really let go of anxiety about being "productive". Sitting on the front porch in the morning, drinking coffee and letting DD wander around sprinkling seeds for the animals, I kept fighting the urge to jump up and DO something: take a shower, cook something, plan something. But I knew I needed to squash that urge. The second morning was easier and by the third morning, I was perfectly content to let the day unfold in whatever manner that felt good. I am fairly sure in the past 10 days, I've slept the equivalent of a typical month for me. It felt fantastic!

So, T and I talked about simple ways to bring a little of that mindset into everyday life. Even if just conjuring the full image of my vacation morning ritual, from the feel of the chilly air to the smell and taste of my pumpkin coffee and the sounds of nature. She advised me to tell myself each morning at the office "I have all the time to accomplish everything I need to do today" and says I will be pleasantly surprised at the difference it makes. I think I've mentioned that once vacation was over, work is going to get really intense with a huge project I'm spear-heading in addition to my regular work. So I'm going to try to begin each morning with some breathing, imagery and that statement.

I told T that I felt a shift in my feelings about my Mom this past week. I talked to her almost every day while away. We communicated alot through text and picture messages. You know, my Mom is actually pretty funny. And she loves her granddaughter more than life itself. She's a good Grandma. And I have to say she's a good Mom at this point in time. She's as good as she can be. While I was away, I admitted to myself that I love her. I haven't been able to feel or say that in a really long time. I guess it was the "letting down" of being away that let me get in touch with that. Yes, she's got shortcomings and I know she'll never be all that I would hope my Mom could be. But accepting her where she's at and knowing she does all she possibly can for DD and me....well, I appreciate that. And I guess it's part of loving someone....accepting their "flaws" and choosing to love them anyway. By holding out the expectations of her becoming the Mom I fantasize about, I make sure that she always fails me and that I'm always disappointed.

I said to T that it was really scary to let my guard down and open up to the vulnerability. Wise, wise T asked "What if keeping your guard UP actually was the thing holding you in the place of vulnerability?" As I pondered that thought, it began to make perfect sense. By keeping my guard up, I keep alive the belief that I need to be protected. I keep alive the pain of the past. I live with a constant fear and feelings of impending danger. By letting it down, I can actually access my true strength. I can live in the present, tune into reality, set healthy boundaries. Yes, indeed.....the old question about the wall/fence....does it serve to keep other people out, or merely exist to lock myself inside? Time to let the guard down and trust myself to take care of Me in a realistic and present day world. I need not haul that enormous wall of protection around with me everywhere I go anymore.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Quick note about a dream

I'm adding this mostly so I can remember to mention it to T. I've been able to sleep so much this week. It's a beautiful thing. It also leads to more dreaming. I don't remember much of my dreams. I do recall having one dream that I was pregnant. And another dream all about a penguin! I had another the other night and I was trying to purchase something. First I gave the clerk a $50 gift card that I had for the store and she ran it through and then I paid cash for the same $10 item. I wanted the $10 put back on the gift card and I was flipping out that she couldn't do it. As I thought about this dream later in the morning (with my cup of coffee on the front porch overlooking the lake....*sigh*), I think this dream was signifying my "overpayment" from my abuse. I have paid and paid and paid again for the things that were done to me. And I can't get that back, ever. But I can walk away....stop fighting with the clerk about it! Know that it's over and done with and I can quit wasting my energy trying to recover that which is already "spent"; that measly $10. I still have "$40" left on the card. :o) ie: I still possess more than I have lost. It's okay to walk away. It's okay to leave it behind.