ALL DAY LONG FREAKING OUT ABOUT KEYS.
It started out kind of okay. I systematically cleaned in all the places that my keys might have been. Admittedly vacuuming the blinds and the ceiling might not have helped much in the search, but it was oddly calming. I think.
But as I continued to not find my keys in any of the logical (or even illogical) places my anxiety built astronomically. Why? In retrospect it makes little sense. I have spare keys. This was not actually a huge problem.
However, I had imbued the loss with great power. My loss of keys was proof of my inability to function in society. Nice, huh? No pressure there. If I couldn't find my keys it would be proof that I was a complete failure.
In fact at one point in the search I did not know where my spouse was and my go-to idea was that I was now a single parent because of my failure to be able to do something so simple as keep track of necessary items.
This was far from the case, and those of you who know my spouse are now laughing until tears drip off your chins. We have known one another since junior high. We have been best friends forever. My absent-mindedness was not unknown at the time of our marriage and I have lost many things over the course of our time together.
I shut down partway through the day and sank into my bed in utter despair. I did not sleep. I just stared into space and then sneakily watched contemporary dance on the ipad.
The living room (really the only room of consequence in our house) was all but clean and I still had no clue where to look for keys. I had looked everywhere. They had clearly been devoured by a rogue black hole. Just a tiny one. It was the only possible explanation of all the facts.
Except then I remembered the youngest one saying to me, "Mama, are these my keys?" and without looking at them I said yes. That had been two days ago. The keys could be anywhere. Or those actually could have been her keys.
I spent some fruitless time asking if she knew where my keys were. Then decided I just needed to embrace my inner buddhist and let go.
I called a friend and related the story. after which my youngest said, "Did our keys get mixed up?" I said maybe. Do you know where your keys are? "Yes."
Then the two-year-old danced into my bedroom and announced, "Here they are!"
Grateful Stuff: having an incredibly verbal two-year-old who listens to adult conversations, makes intuitive leaps and can communicate pretty much anything she wants to with any English speaker.
took meds (150mg sertraline, 150mg bupropion -- crap. forgot to go to pick up prescription)
decluttered, but it really doesn't count because I was almost hyperventilating the whole time
saw a friend, watched a funny movie and laughed. And that does count. Because it was awesome.
I know I was trying not to look at entire days as being frustrating, but this one really was.
Had a very unpleasant dealing with a grumpy employee at a video game store. I managed (almost) not to leave in tears.
With money from their lemonade stand, the older two paid for a portion of a new game system. After having it for less than one day, after the first attempt to charge said system, the charging port came out.
When I noticed that the woman (with 4 people waiting behind her in line) spent 20 minutes yelling at the cashier and accusing him of lying and threatening to call his manager I should have just walked out the door. Instead, I waited patiently (more or less.)
By the time he got around to me, he was clearly in no mood to help anyone. I couldn't find my receipt, but even before he knew that, he was telling me that the 30-day return policy would not apply since I was clearly lying about the faulty charging port.
Because I must have mangled it on purpose and was now trying to pull some kind of scam.
We managed to successfully exchange the merchandise at a different location (with the receipt) and things turned out okay. Except that I couldn't find my keys at home. I was using my brother's truck and hadn't driven my car for a while so I didn't even remember the last time I had seen them. Wednesday?
Yes. The day that I locked my keys in the house and stranded my children outside until my spouse returned from work. That was the last time I had seen them. I picked them up from my black bag and said, "Aha!"
I had no memory of what I did after that.
Grateful Crap: That I am backdating this post and I know how things turn out. Hindsight is awesome
took meds (150mg sertraline, 300mg bupropion)
decluttered, although somewhat manically since a search for keys was involved
Summer is making a stereotypical Minnesota long goodbye. With six days in a row of 90+ degrees it is hard for people or buildings to cool down. I have a new appreciation for the practice of an afternoon siesta.
If I were a self-help guru and wanted to make a lot of money convincing people that all of their problems could really just be boiled down to one essential thing-- that if they changed that one thing their lives would completely change... here is what I would be evangelizing on:
Part of me (admittedly a pretty big part) wonders if all the food sensitivities, all the weird inexplicable illnesses attributed to environmental crap can really be traced back to the body's reaction to stress.
As a musician, a linguist and a teacher it was once my greatest fear that I would lose my hearing. So naturally when I was über-stressed I would occasionally suffer partial deafness in one or both ears. A high pitched ringing noise replaced the ordinary sounds. And then gradually if I calmed down about it, my hearing returned.
It freaked me out to no end until a friend pointed out that these fits of hysterical deafness perfectly coincided with some sort of ultimate stress-fest on my part.
Her theory was that my body was trying to tell me to chill out and slow down, but I wasn't listening. It tried shallow breathing, racing pulse, that icky fight-or-flight thing. When I didn't do anything to change the situation that was making my body inhospitable, it shot back with a little dose of deafness. NOW ARE YOU LISTENING? CHILL OUT! WE NEED A BREAK.
Beginning on Tuesday I am going to be getting back into a regular practice of Pilates again. After child number 2 I was very interested in Pilates and even considered becoming a certified instructor. Then I don't know what happened (busy? birth of 3rd child?) but I just fell away from pilates.
And then I was ashamed to return because I had all kinds of body-image issues about being much heavier now than when I was regularly practicing. Duh. And here is the thing: I go to the YMCA. There are people of every shape and size there. It is not where you go to "see and be seen."
First I didn't want to go back because I didn't want my teacher (who had encouraged me to follow the instructor route) to see how much I had fallen apart physically. This is stupid. My teacher is one of the kindest, most amazing people I know and never judges anyone by what they look like or what their bodies can do.
Then I didn't want to go back because I found out that my teacher is no longer teaching the class. And she is one of the kindest, most amazing people I know...
The people they have now are good instructors, but I don't know them. I have no personal connection with them. They seem (superficially at least) more interested in being thin and fit than in the practice of pilates and other mindfulness-based exercises. It is just one of many classes that they teach.
I can't go sometimes. Meaning I can't just wake up and decide whether or not to go. Because that is what I have done, and I don't go. I have to just make it part of my schedule.
Tuesdays and Thursdays I will do pilates at the Y. And I will get to know the instructors. And my child will get to know the fantastic childcare staff (the woman in charge has been there since my 10-yo was 2).
Grateful Crap: August is almost over. My new teaching schedule is very very set unlike my chaotic site-visits of the past few years. I think I will benefit from some enforced structure since structure does not come naturally to me.
tangent: When I was looking around at the disaster of my home, I told a friend that I needed to get a system that would work to keep the house clean. She laughed at me. "You can't have a system. That wouldn't work for you. You just need a rhythm." I liked that. Mind you, I haven't found the rhythm, but it bears remembering as I am trying to get things under control.
Trying hard not to focus on the negatives of the day. I dwelled on past mistakes, failed to be in three places at once, did not fill out the appropriate paperwork on time for a bunch of school stuff.
Then I had a really fantastic day at work getting to see the class I will be co-teaching and getting the lowdown from the teacher I am replacing. Happily we are both happy with our new gigs. Win win win.
Respite over: sleepless toddler, long wait to pick up children from first day of school where they didn't know where to wait for me (thanks to the missing paperwork).
Finally arrived home only to realize that the keys to my home were in my home. And I was not. And the doors were locked. This did not make me popular with me or my children. And I realized that I hadn't had anything to drink besides a glass of iced tea.
I want to blame the heat. Or the lack of hydration. I want to blame the fact that I didn't remember to take my meds until 10:00 pm. However, the fact is I have always been somewhat scattered. Book smarts yes, I can't even think of the thing I often lack... oh yeah. Common sense.
If I were a skinny white man I would make a fantastic absentminded professor. It would seem charming and eccentric when I was forgot things here or there, didn't remember when my anniversary was or went around looking for my glasses when they were already on. I would eventually find some good woman w
I need to work on being in the present moment. Paying attention to what is happening now. Instead of letting my mind wander into the future. Because when that happens and I catch up to the future, I have no idea what I did in the past. And problems ensue.
Grateful Crap: Two days of nothing scheduled followed by a three day weekend (school cancelled due to heat!)
took meds (really late)
We walked along the boardwalk and saw seas of waving purple flowers. They were pretty, but I found out later that they were purple loosestrife, a plant that it is illegal to sell, transport, possess or plant in Minnesota.
It takes over marshes and ponds, displacing native species like cattails and forms a dense stand that is not useful as food or habitat for Minnesota creatures.
But it looks kinda pretty.
I felt bad for enjoying how the wind blew through the vast expanses of waving purple flowers. The pollinators seemed to enjoy them at least.
There is a Carrie Newcomer song that I have referenced before (Just Below the Waves). The words she uses to describe Depression keep coming back to me:
An unwelcome guest in your home
That comes to stay and never wants to go
Not some much shadow but visitation
A haunting foreign movie with no translation
So Depression as purple loosestrife? It's not so much that it looks pretty, but but that you cannot tell just by looking at someone that they are experiencing Depression. Things might look fine on the outside. They put on a good show (especially for the outside world).
But as you look more closely, you can see that the native brain cells have been displaced by these invasive neurons that just don't work as well. How terribly scientific. I feel like there is almost a metaphor here, but not quite. It helps me to think about the unwelcome visitor as invasive. And I am looking at using anthropological, biochemical, spiritual and physical means of controlling this invader.
Update on my bedtime plans: With the exception of the dreadful 4am night I have been in bed by midnight. And sometimes long before then. I will shoot for in bed by 10:30 or 11:00 and then read until well before I start dropping the kindle fire on my head. (I would hate to have to explain a scar on my lip as "an old reading injury")
Grateful Crap: delicious homemade bread (even if spouse is baking when heat index is 104F)
took meds (150mg sertraline 300 mg bupropion)
decluttered some (but not all)
too hot to exercise
Started my new job today. My boss is doing an excellent job of protecting me from overloading on too many projects. I want to do it ALL... my old job, my new job and some nebulous imaginary future job.
Of course if I do that I will burn out fast.
Random happening today: I heard a recording of Cassius Clay and Liberace doing a duet on late night television. Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee took on a different meaning.
The heat index was 104F today. I spent as little time outside as possible. I cannot wait for the snow. I hope I get a fresh start next summer... that I am not permanently so fragile in the heat.
I have always hated the heat, but it has never incapacitated me to this extent.
Grateful Crap: new classes full of amazing students!
took meds (150mg sertraline, 300mg bupropion)
drank half the volume of water in the Mississippi River (sorry, New Orleans)
On the second hottest day of the summer, I chose to go on an extended walk in full sun approaching noon. But I got some cool pictures and my son saw a deer. It was amazing, actually. We heard dear crashing in the woods, and saw flashes of white tails as they were running away.
My seven-year-old said, "I really want to get a picture of a deer." His older brother scornfully insisted that it was impossible. We left the nay-sayer behind, walked for a few minutes down a wooden path and found a young buck watching us. He got his picture. Magic.
Well worth the remedial brain-cooling measures when I come home. Too tired to post, so I back-dated this one.
Magic through a seven-year-old's eyes. Wildlife in the city.
went for a walk (but it doesn't count because it was too hot)
I spent what felt like most of the day tearing apart the house looking for the charger for my camera battery. It was not my finest moment. Or moments.
There were plenty of other things that needed doing, but I stayed on the search for the charger with monomaniacal focus. And an increasingly frenzied manner.
I believe this fruitless search then derailed a series of plans for the rest of the day. I mean, the day turned out kind of okay, but nothing really like I wanted it to.
I also believe that the frantic search led to a buildup of cortisol that hung around and made it difficult to cope with minor bumps in the road. And I am sure that my crazed search didn't help anyone else around me.
And although the temperature was not skyrocketing today, I did have to soak in a cool tub to bring my own temperature down.
I don't think it is just my tendency to take the blame for everything... I am pretty sure that I telegraphed my stress to everyone around me. There was rage and yelling and collapsing into a four-hour nap.
The punchline? As soon as I gave up the hunt for the elusive charger, my spouse reached between the seats of the car and produced a mysterious camera bag. And the charger.
Grateful Crap: today is over
took meds (150mg sertraline 300mg bupropion)
I start teaching on Monday. So this is my last day of summer break. I am celebrating by taking it easy. Doing some basic paper decluttering. Perhaps a load or two of laundry...
Although I made a super stupid slip-up and stayed up until... let me see I have to check my facebook account...
Ewww! I stayed up until 4:24 am. Really? I don't remember it being that late. But my status update says that I posted seven hours ago, which would make it 4:24 am.
Anyway, like I was saying, although I fantastically missed the mark of getting to bed before 1 am yesterday, I feel much better today than I did yesterday. I think I napped for six to eight hours during the day because I was so wiped out. And my oldest was super helpful in keeping the youngest occupied and happy. What a gift.
But even with all that rest (or because of all that rest?) my whole body ached. Including my head. In fact I had such a bad headache that at 10 pm I decided to make myself a cup of coffee. Today I will make an effort not to nap during the day (at least not so extravagantly) and not to have caffeine so late at night.
I am probably floating on the adrenaline rush of having taken a field trip with my boss to my new worksite... I will be co-teaching child development at a local community college. I am almost ridiculously exited about it. I love a challenge. I love something new. And I love teaching just about anything.
As a normal human being I am an introvert; groups larger than four exhaust me even when I really like the people. Ask friends of mine how often I have shown up at parties they have invited me to attend. Not never. But almost. That kind of socializing is not recreational for me; it is work.
I can do family gatherings with some greater ease, because small talk is less necessary and if I decide I suddenly have to take a nap or lie flat on the ground and stare at clouds, they are used to my eccentricities. I run out of steam if I am with groups of people in my normal life though, family or not. My batteries become exhausted and I must closet myself away to recover.
As a teacher, though, I am an extrovert. I get big hits of energy from working with groups of students. So working in the classroom instead of doing most of my work as a distance learning instructor means I will get more good brain chemistry going from my job. Yippee!
On the work to live or the live to work equation, I definitely like being on the live to work side. I love my job.
Pretty sure that the adrenaline and the coffee that I snuck this morning (I don't want to get back on the caffeine) will wear off soon and I will crash. But for now I am enjoying the lack of exhaustion, lack of pain, and presence of excitement and happiness.
I do not feel Depressed right now.
I feel like me.
Grateful Crap: moments when I feel like this, the cooling breeze of fall, music wafting through the house, oldest child making lunch for the family
I don't bounce back quickly from heat-related stuff, apparently. I am still a little shaky. I feel like I have had the flu and am only out of my bed today after a week of aches and fever.
I am also experiencing foggy foggy brain. My head feels like it is floating above my body somewhere, not attached to my neck.
Today I am on hold from worries and projects and planning. I am resting. I am recovering. Tomorrow I will reevaluate, regroup and decide where to go. My goal for the day is to end it feeling more refreshed than when I started.
It is difficult for me sometimes to do this slowing down while at home because A) I feel guilty looking around at all the things that need to get done and B) I wonder if I am not doing them because I am Depressed, lazy, mean, or a slob.
So today is also a respite from guilt.
I did hang clothes on the line and do a few loads of wash, but I did not spend the whole day doing laundry. Or convinced that I can do all laundry in one day. I am still suffering from Big Laundry, but it is getting progressively better. As I fold clothes I have bins for storage and Goodwill and I am slowly weeding out the unused clothing that miraculously keeps making it into the wash even though nobody wears it. (!)
Here is my mad plan for purging the non-clothing related items: I will bring up a box at a time and sort things into trash and Goodwill. Then I will put the items neatly in my garage. When I have a critical mass of either group I will borrow my brother's truck and make a drop off. How is that for moderation? Even if I only do one box a week I will be making progress.
I have to clear out the basement because my oldest really needs his own useable space and my junk is getting in the way of that. No, OUR junk is getting in the way of that.
My respite is greatly helped by the fact that I had nowhere to go today, one of my kids is off playing with a friend, and it is not oppressively hot outside.
There is a nice breeze blowing the clothes on the line. I took my inhaler so the pollen and the smoke from the fires in Canada are not bothering me. (But I still maintain that people should be required to choose between asthma, allergies and Depression and not try to do all three because it just cannot be done well.)
I am due to visit my clinical psychiatric nurse practitioner on Monday, I think. They rescheduled on me and I don't remember when it is. What do I need to remember to ask her?
Quaker, teacher, parent,