Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Adulting is Hard

Back when I was a little girl I used to fantasize about what being an adult would mean, how much fun it would be, how I'd have such a great little family, and I just couldn't wait to be grown up.

Oh, man.

Can I go back to being six years old, please, living in our adorable home in California, with my awesome parents and sister and our cocker spaniel, George?


I feel like all I do is complain right now. About everything. I'm sure it's annoying as hell to some people, but it's where I'm at right now. I'm sure some people don't understand what I could possibly be complaining about. Well....trust me, there's plenty. My last blog post was fairly positive and it was only eight days ago.....it's amazing what can happen in eight days.

Picture this....you take a stack of little blocks and put one on top of the other until it grows very tall. Eventually, those blocks will tip over and crash. Now imagine each of those little blocks represents a minor problem. Stack up a bunch of minor problems and then they grow into one big tall tower, until it gets to be too much and everything just crashes.

I think my tower of blocks crashed on Sunday.

However, some of my blocks aren't so little.

Over the course of the last couple years, my little problems stacked up. In the last couple months, they've been stacking up at a rapid rate. Maybe any of one of them examined separately doesn't seem like such a big deal, but like I said....they aren't separate at all.

Everything keeps breaking. If you are a homeowner you understand that shit gets expensive. Replacing a dishwasher, a microwave, a garage door, and an A/C unit, A DAMN CAR, and repairing plumbing leaks might not seem so bad IF IT WAS JUST ONE OR TWO of those. But throw them all in, and then some, in less than a year and holy freaking cow.

My health had gone downhill. Now, mind you, none of it is a huge problem. After all, I don't have cancer or any other life threatening illnesses, as do some of my friends. But any kind of health problem can be alarming and overwhelming regardless of severity.

I became injured. Not such a big deal to those who don't have a regular exercise routine. But it is a big deal for a woman who is trying to defeat a terrible family history and who uses exercise as a coping strategy for depression and anxiety.

This is a great representation of how dejected I feel about my fitness. My climb out of injury has been torturous.

Speaking of mental illness, I had to stop taking my usual medication. The withdrawal was excruciating for over two weeks.

I have to seek treatment for another medical condition, and although I did get good news about it last week, there is still a small chance of surgery in my very near future. In the meantime, I have to take yet another medication.

(Also, don't get me started on my medical insurance and the hassles I have had to deal with this year just to get an MRI and my prescriptions filled. Ain't nobody got time for that.)

My dog died. I suppose this one is a big block. She was thirteen years old and it was not expected that we would be putting her down.

Now the blocks are going to get even bigger....

My kids. Oh, my kids.

I have one son who has ADHD, and while we have been able to control much of his symptoms, he still has his moments of forgetfulness and insensitivity that can be directly related to how his brain is wired. I get phone calls and emails from school that break my heart. Thankfully, he is developing maturity pretty rapidly and he and I can have some really wonderful conversations that I cherish.

As for my daughter, I will say this is my biggest block and the reason that the whole tower came tumbling down. I will not go into a lot of detail, because frankly, the details need to remain private. But imagine your child's typical outburst. Now multiply it by ten. Now imagine half your life in the bubble of that outburst. But let me be very clear...

It is not because she is a pre-teen.

It is not because of school.

It is not because "this is just how kids are."

She needs professional help to deal with how her brain is working. It will not go away on it's own. She will not necessarily "outgrow it."

Seeking that help and letting the gravity of it sink in is how I came to my feelings on Sunday. Perhaps I hit rock bottom. It's pretty ugly to feel that despondent. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

So what have I done to lessen the stress?

I have exactly ONE commitment right now. ONE. I let everything else go. I literally have no room in my mind for more than one commitment. It means I have disappointed people, I'm sure, but I had to put myself and my family first. Simple as that. Take it or leave it. Hopefully most of my friends understand.

I unfortunately have lashed out here and there. I don't have the ability to control a lot of my emotions right now. I cry all the time. I get easily frustrated. I just have no patience. The bear can't handle being poked right now. At all.

I do not want to continue feeling this way. Writing it out like this has helped, and I'll continue to use this as an outlet for my feelings. Blogs don't talk back. Blogs don't have advice. I don't need any of that. I just need to process my feelings and move forward one step at a time.

One thing I do take from all of this. Just because someone's problems don't seem all that big, they ARE big to them. You don't know what else they are dealing with. If you're feeling down about something, stop telling yourself "well, at least I don't have a REAL problem."


Monday, February 15, 2016

Coming out of the fog

It's been a crazy few weeks of uncertainty and refocusing and finding a rhythm. But I think I'm coming out of the fog.

After finally getting the medication I needed to help my heel recovery, I'm on the upswing. I could kill my insurance company for the delay, but I'm grateful it's in my hands now. The inflammation is definitely improving and I am on a slow return to running and impact exercise. Being able to run again, albeit for short distances, is just beyond wonderful.

Because we are landscaping our backyard right now I've gotten a lot of real world functional strength training lately, and I think that's been good for me both physically and mentally. It feels good to not be tied to a gym or to a structured exercise routine (although I still have done several structured sessions), but to rather just get outside, throw around bags of rock or granite, and create something beautiful that we will be able to enjoy for years. I refuse to minimize the impact this has had on my mental well-being. Although this is a huge project we are undertaking, it's been a joy to do it. I don't mind getting out there, getting dirty, being exhausted, and spending insane amounts of money to do it (although, it's so much cheaper than hiring someone). Allowing our creativity to take shape as we go around the yard, to change our minds if we need to, and to envision the final product has really been a great experience for the family. It's a crazy amount of work and our weekends are consumed by it. But we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I am beyond excited.

I've gone on a few runs in the last couple weeks, starting at 2 miles with my dogs, and moving up to a very slow 5.6 miles yesterday with the husband and a couple guys from my triathlon group, who are absolute angels for slowing down so much for me and taking the time to find a route on dirt or asphalt to minimize the impact to my heel. I am blessed to have supportive people around me, that's for sure. I'm frustrated by how slow I am and how hard it is for me to do endurance right now, but I know my struggles are temporary. I have to have patience. I can't push myself too hard or it will blow up in my face.

Yesterday I tracked many of my friends competing in the Austin Marathon and Half and it definitely gave me inspiration to not give up hope I can be a marathoner again. I want to run another marathon. I want to be successful in endurance sports again. But I know that it needs to be a long term goal, and I have been researching just which race I'd like to register for.

My search turned up the Louisiana Marathon. It's on my 43rd birthday in January and because it's a close enough drive for me, I have options on travel. It doesn't have to be an expensive weekend, which is a consideration for me since we are spending so much money on our backyard renovation. It's a race that gets incredible reviews every year, it's flat, and it has a dual-race option (5k or 1/4 marathon day before). Plus, it's a different race than I've done, which for me will be good mentally. I need something different, something fun, and something I'm excited to work towards. Besides, HELLO BIRTHDAY RACE. Registration doesn't open for a couple more weeks so I have plenty of time to make my decision.

Lastly, it appears as if my other medical problems are improving as well. I have a couple more doctor appointments in the near future, and a surgery to schedule, but I'm happy that it all doesn't seem so overwhelming anymore. The beginning of the year was just so rough for me. To have to take the reigns to turn around several negatives issues was overwhelming and confusing many days. But I have to remain thankful that all of these issues have resolutions that I'm in control over. I have friends battling much bigger health problems that are uncertain and scary, so I have to count my blessings and find the positive in all of this.

It's still an uphill climb, but I have faith I can summit and see the beauty again.