Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Feeling Invisible

I had an entirely different post planned for this evening, but sometimes something comes up and I feel drawn to write about it. I don't know why but I hope it's the universe telling me that someone else needs to hear it or to know that they're not alone in it happening to them.

Lately, things have been crazy busy for me. There has been a whole lot of juggling happening and I've been pretty okay with how things were going...or so I thought. Tonight, something happened that had me physically stop mid-step in the middle of a store.

I was walking down the main back aisle after picking up yet another new charger cord for my phone when I saw the display that's posted here. It was full of cute boots and my first thought was, "Wow, those are really nice, but I'm not pretty enough or cool enough to wear something like that."  It wasn't that I'd probably not find something that fit on a clearance rack since cute shoes are tough to find with my wide feet, but that I was too ugly to wear awesome looking boots. Woah.

Then, I finished my shopping, went to the car, and ate a king size Reece's Cup before I'd even driven all the way across the parking lot. I self medicated with food. I self medicated for a problem that I didn't even realize I was having. Then, I took the 20 minute drive home (yep, I live 20 minutes at least from the closest grocery store) to explore why it was that I was feeling that way.

I realized just how tired and worn around the edges I really am. Absolutely I'm getting done what needs to get done. Bonus of being high-functioning, but when I don't have something that I *must* be doing, I'm having a tough time finding the motivation to keep going. Social media has become both a blessing and a curse. I long to reach out to people, but at least one of the people that I feel safe with has told me that they don't want me coming to them when I'm in a bad place because it's not good for them. Losing a safe place is incredibly hard.

On top of that, due to algorithms and various social media twerpishness, I feel invisible. I see other people doing the same things that I'm doing or have done and they're getting a ton of attention but I'm not. After a while, the intellectual side of me that says, "Hey, it's okay. Algorithm bullshit." gets shoved out of the way by the ugly brain stuff that says, "People love them but they don't care about you. Why do you even bother posting? Heck, why do you even bother writing stories and books? You've had almost no interaction on any posts about how you have a new book out tomorrow. Even your publisher isn't liking, commenting, or posting about it. You should just give up. Nobody cares about you or your life."

I realized that while I was proud of myself for the things that I had gotten done, I was silently beating myself up for what I hadn't. My house is a total disaster, like hoarder levels in some parts. I should be working on that, but I've been running around trying to do everything else and I can't seem to find the strength to push myself to tackle that giant project too. I'm part of a decluttering group and everyone is super supportive but I barely post to my thread there because I don't want them to know that I'm pretty much failing at the thing they've praised me for before. To add complication to that, I feel hurt that they're making a big fuss over another member...another member who totally deserves it...I guess seeing her progress and her strength (though she'd say she's no stronger than I am) reminds me more of what I'm not getting done. I feel as if I should be the wonder woman that people have claimed that I am. I've been tearing myself down and it's become so routine that I didn't even realize that I was doing it.

Somehow, while thinking about all of this, I got to thinking about how I have to be ready to move in just over a year and how I have no idea where I'll be. My kids will be off in college and living their own lives and I'll be more physically alone than ever. One single thought kept bouncing around in my head. "If something doesn't change, I'm not going to be able to handle that and I'll end up killing myself."  As soon as I thought it, I knew it to be the truth. There's a really good reason that I keep as busy as I do when I can. If I'm stagnant, bad things happen in my head.

So, what am I going to do? I don't 100% know yet. I'm going to restart my medication. I had to go off of it when I had the flu. Swallowing led to coughing fits that led to me throwing up. I'm better now so I can start them again. I'm going to keep posting here and being real with anyone who reads this. I'm going to take some time for me so I can figure out what's coming up with a clear head. I need a plan, a schedule, something to keep me on track. I'm going to look for safe places and safe people so when I need them, they're there.

I'm going to keep telling all of you that you're not alone and that if you need someone, I'm always checking comments and things like that. Why? Because none of us are truly alone.

Friday, February 16, 2018

"Silly" Anxieties..

This afternoon, I'm going to get a haircut. Big deal, right? Nope...well, yes, it kind of is to me and I don't know why. It took me a couple of hours to open up the website and to set the walk in time. Now, I have about two hours until I have to leave and I'm back and forth about keeping the appointment. Why? Because the idea of going in and having my hair cut for the first time in over two years is freaking me out.

"What if they cut it too short? What if I don't like it? What if "he" doesn't like it? He likes it long and I've kept it long for him."

That's all followed by:

"Hair grows back and it will probably grow back healthier. The he that you're thinking of just told you that he doesn't want to even see pictures of you so who cares what he thinks. It's your head, your hair, and you're the one who has to deal with it. Did he ask you before he got his cut? No and he didn't really care what you thought about it. You need to do this for you. You deserve a bit of pampering. He deserves a kick in the ass."

The one voice in my head is often pretty damned straight forward and I can always count on it to tell it how it is, even if it can be a bit on the mean side. In some ways, I'm very thankful that it's there. It helps to cut through the bullshit that the rest of my brain is creating sometimes.

Does this mean that I won't be anxious as all get out driving there, parking, walking in, and telling the girl, "I have no idea what I want, just wash it and make it look pretty." I've been assured that it's okay to do that and that they'll be excited to just be able to do their thing.

Why am I sharing all of this with you? Because we all have these "silly" anxieties and it helps to know that you're not alone and I'm not alone. This week has been an especially hard one for me with a lot of things breaking or breaking down in my world. I know that's part of the problem. Still, I can take a lot of deep breaths and get through it. I remind myself that each moment is a chance to start the day over.

So, if you're having an anxiety attack over something that seems silly to you, don't let that negativity build into the anxiety. It's okay to feel anxious over some little thing. Just know that you'll get through it and come out the other side.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Self-Care Is Not Selfish Care

Wow...the best laid plans of mice and men... Just as I got on a little roll writing posts that meant a lot to me, I got sick. For those who have followed along here or know me, you know that I have mediocre health it seems. My youngest child has informed me that I have the worst immune system of anyone he knows. I thought he was being silly until I started noticing on my "On This Day" Facebook thing how often I mentioned being sick. Geez, my body needs to get its act together!

So, anyway, I got sick and not just a little sick. I caught this year's influenza bug and it laid me out for two solid weeks. The coughing got so bad that I was having to use a rescue inhaler and couldn't talk without ending up gasping for air. Thank goodness, I'm better now. I still have zero stamina but I'm not coughing myself straight through the couch anymore!

Oddly enough, that's almost the perfect introduction to this post. Being sick is hard. Being sick when you're the person that takes care of others and who is constantly busy. Just because I'm sick doesn't meant that my boys no longer need/want their mom around. That's what my mom brain tells me. "They have a game tonight. I have to be there. That's my job as mom." Well, it turns out that they a) think I'm more important than a basketball game and b) don't want to catch my disease. (Those are both courtesy of my oldest.)

I felt really bad about missing things until he reminded me that it's important for me to get healthy. All of my time on the couch got me thinking about how important self-care really is. If I don't take care of myself, I get rundown and then I get sick (again) and I can't take care of the boys or do any of the things that I enjoy doing. If I don't have downtime now and again, I get wound so tight that I become unfocused and useless.

The problem, or one of them, is that I'm not really good at self-care. I get so busy with the boys' schedules and with all of the things I'm sure I *have* to do that I just let taking care of me slide. Heck, "the man" used to tell me all the time that I suck at taking care of myself. Luckily, he agrees that I've gotten better. I had to get more "me-centric". I had to stop worrying so much about the rest of the world and say, "Hey, what do I need today?" It's not easy. It's been a challenge and sometimes I still really suck at it.

The other challenge? What is self-care? Is it taking a shower? Putting clean sheets on the bed? Doing my nails? Reading a book? Coloring? Brushing out and braiding my hair so it isn't a tangled mess? It turns out that it's all of the above. While searching the internet, I came across these graphics which I found incredibly helpful and want to share with you guys!
Aren't those great? I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to be referencing them on the days where I just feel stuck. I hope that they help some of you, as well! I'm also considering bringing back a segment that I used to do over on Life With Katie called Time For Me Thursday. It was a weekly post (duh, right?) where I talked about different things that you could do or that I was doing to take care of yourself/myself. It certainly can't hurt to nudge me to take care of me or to remind you that you too are important.

For now, I'm off for a late lunch and then to go see my youngest perform in his first jazz concert of the season! Take care, everyone!

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