I was reading a blog post from a link a friend posted, a post about the idea of an "energy bus." This visual of the bus is not really how I imagine things, and in her case, she was talking about having people in her life that drain her energy, and that is not what has been making me crazy, so the bus metaphor doesn't carry, but what I did really relate to was when she talked about reaching a point where she had no energy left. She reacted badly, snapped at people, and left a setting she otherwise might have enjoyed because she just didn't have it in her. I've kind of reached that point a couple of month ago, where I was just tired from this year.
I've been trying to figure out how to even talk about stuff without sounding like I was cataloguing my woes, because I don't need consoling for things, they are all done. It's that I've been tired, and it's the voice of exhaustion talking and wanting to push some things out of my head so my brain can stop running over them. Most of the stresses of the year haven't even been major in and of themselves, it's more the relentlessness, one thing after another, that has been grinding me down, as it does anyone.
I've had a hard time talking to people about things, too, as pretty much everyone I know has been having a hard year. People have had relationship troubles, financial issues, health worries in themselves or their kids or their parents. One friend and I have been essentially trading troubles back and forth since spring, but otherwise, the things that are grating on my brain are no worse than theirs. I have cocooned a lot, too, avoiding talking about things I didn't know how to talk about, and not feeling like other stuff was important enough.
But sometime this summer, I started feeling like my head was so full, it might explode, and I was not dealing well. I realized that part of that was that I was, irrationally, worrying about losing it like my mom did. Writing that out really, really helped, and is pretty much why I came back to my blog to start working on getting this stuff out. But that certainly didn't explain why I was feeling out of control, getting snappish and frustrated and ready to blow. I've realized that I get that way when at the end of my rope, and I needed to do something to fix it, so I came here to try to spill some of it. I wrote it all down at the time - it's a couple of months old now, but still something I think I'd like to try to get out coherently.
I started out the year finding a golf-ball-sized lump in my vagina. It was kind of getting in the way, and was uncomfortable. It turned out to be a cyst, and I was told it was likely I'd need a surgery, but went to see a gyn a month or so later, who said that she could open it up and insert a device that would hold it open, and avoid surgery. Good plan - but that wasn't too comfy either, and came with a 6-week ban on sex. Oof. Not great, but not so bad, in the overall, just a little stressful and uncomfy.
Before the 6 weeks was up, though, came a grouping of events. One episode that I still don't know how to talk about that caused a quake in my marriage and the loss of a friend. I've told bits and pieces to a couple of people, but it's not all mine to tell, so it took a while to try and stop stressing about that. Meanwhile, I was sent back to my old location to work with that friend - awkward, but it sucked even more that it was because the job I was in got pulled after some cutting measures, which feels pretty crap. And then we went on strike. That turned out much shorter than we feared, thankfully, but that was a few more stress-filled weeks.
Misterpie was taking a course at this point, too, making for tighter scheduling. We usually approach these things as group projects, but this time, I was so tired, I wasn't able to help as much as usual. I really wanted to be there for him in that, especially immediately on the heels of the stuff above, and I just couldn't. I felt really, really guilty about it, and that I just wasn't being the wife I wanted to be. It was frustrating.
I had had a little time in between where nothing was going wrong, and it was glorious, but then there was health stuff. My little Bun got more rounds of croup this winter, including one
bad enough to go to the ER with in the midst of the marriage and work stuff. This
summer, he had another round, during which he coughed for a month,
through three doctor visits before anitbiotics for an ear infection
cleared it. If he's coughing, he can't sleep, so I was dog tired, too,
and hey, got sick as well, for good measure. I was passing out at 9
every night for a good few weeks, and I am a night owl by nature.
Then the busy-ness of summer and some additional frustrations at work kept me running, but didn't explain why I was so ill at ease and worried - that I finally nailed down as my worries about following my mother's path to the psych ward, which I wrote about here in August, which was a relief. By this time, my head was full. Too many stupid stresses and worries and not enough sleep had me at the end of my rope, and I wasn't being my best self at all. I reacted badly to things, snapped when I normally wouldn't, pushed away from things and people because I was just unable to deal with stuff properly, couldn't seem to see things clearly with all the pressure in my head.
It was little of it big stuff, it was just lots of things colliding and running into the back of each other so that time to decompress was impossible to find. It was all these things and others, the daily things that drive all mothers nuts that were compounding. The case of the threes so bad that I had to go meet with the daycare about Bun's defiance. The fact that the end of naptime was meaning that my sweet boy was melting down in a spectacular fashion every night, howling and thrashing until I physically felt like I'd been hit over the head. The squabbling of siblings that makes me want to scream. All those little things on top, all just meant that the ability to let go of things and relax was hard to find.
I needed to go forward, to figure out how to let things go the way I usually do. I am usually a ridiculous optimist, and find the silver lining in everything. I was having a harder time with that, and I needed to figure out how to focus on the positive again. Having written all that stuff above down? I'm starting here, now.
I love my job. It's one of the few places in all of this that I have found energy and fun and the comfort of feeling like I know what I'm doing. I like the people I work with, I love the kids and the literature and the puppets and the routine and having space to be creative in what I do. It's had its frustrations this year, but it's still something that I love deeply.
Right now, I'm actually not at my usual job, I've moved to a different location to do a different job. I don't love it, it's not my passion, but I went for it for experience and for learning new stuff. It's a steep learning curve, but I also find that sometimes this sort of thing energizes me. I'm torn here, because I really, really miss my friends at my home branch, and really miss the kids work, but I'm determined to suck everything I can out of this opportunity, and it's certainly helping shake me out of everything else that's gone on.
Things at home have settled, and though my house frustrates me and all those tantrums and shouts and arguments from the kids give me a headache and drain me, I love them and Misterpie in a way that recharges me when I am able to spend time with them in ways that bring us together rather than just getting through the day. I want to make a point of doing more of this, even when I am tired. I am tired of feeling my blood pressure ratchet up when it's crazy at home, so I also want to look for some calming mechanism, to help keep the stressful times from pushing me so much. Misterpie and I are also planning to start finding time for small outings together, time for reconnecting, which we need right now, after all of this.
We went away for a weekend together this past month, in fact, and it was GLORIOUS. Last time we did that, Pumpkinpie went for the ride in my belly - 9 years ago. We saw really cool stuff, spent all our time just the two of us, really got away from the usual stuff that hangs over you when you're at home. There are no to-do lists on vacation and man, did we ever need that.
Between some more time and distance, a new job to focus on, time with Misterpie, a few fun outings as a family, and kids seeming to settle into a routine, I'm feeling like I have gotten past this stuff and am back out into the light. And now? I'm looking forward. I want to write stuff here that interests me now. Not just use it to spill over onto, but to get back to writing and musing the way I used to, to make it the creative outlet that I'm not getting as much at work now. I even have a first post brewing... and it feels good.