adventures in quarantine, Uncategorized

I can live and breathe and see the sun.

Alright. As my week wraps up and I review the hellish “through not around” that I waded in with my daughter this week, I want to take the opportunity to note some tangible tools I have learned.

Embrace the steps.

Step one. It’s not about me. It’s unmanageable. It’s not mine. Step two. Someone else has got this. Step three. Take a step back and let it be that someone else’s. Step six. Practice the pause.

I realize I’m skipping four and five here.¬† It’s not to minimize them. Those ones have deeper digging. They do not pertain quite yet within my immediate, tangible action.

Create the tiniest gap.

My goal–that I haven’t taken much time to write about–is that I want the voices in my head to quiet. That quiet is the peace I am aspiring to. That quiet is a return to my best and highest self.

When the thought loops run rampant, as they are wont to do unchecked, I spiral out. I want so much more than that for myself. I am so much more than that.

I have options. I can tell the voice to fuck off. I can turn my attention to constructive actions. I can write down the thought loops and walk away from them. I can mantra in my head “words and opportunity”. I can ask to have it taken away. I can journal longform about it. I can ask myself “Am I acting from a place of love or s place of fear?”

Whichever I choose, the act of pausing and deciding creates a gap for the universe to come in and support me.

Move.

This is just a good go to on any day. Gets me simultaneously in my head and out of my head. It grounds me to the earth and the universe. It provides the connection back to self.

Reality is kinetic.

Perspective dictates that not only can people have entirely different experiences to the same situation, but those experiences can morph and muddle with time. Reality can shift and transmogrify, and none of it is real and all of it is real. Whatever we remember and however we filter it creates a picture through our lens and it becomes our truth.

This isn’t good nor bad. It’s life. This is something I’ve always been aware of, but I had many attachment thoughts about it. It is now clear to me it is something I need to accept. I don’t have a “how” for that right yet. But all the other tangible things I’ve come to acquire this week tell me that I can ask for the how and then I can wait and it’ll be given to me when I need it.

So….I’m learning to do the work and also just stop. Both and neither. Click click and click.

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I want to add. My process normally is that I write and then I share and talk about it with Chris. I’ve found in the past that when I talk it over first, I never write about it, and I don’t like losing that part.

I’ve been trying to write this particular post all week and none of it came. It was too wordy and circumvented all the tangibility.

I was finally able to, yesterday, share with Chris the events that unfolded over the week. His week began with a seizure and recovery, and mine was full of navigating Tuesday with R and the week with the boys.

After connecting with Chris last night to share the story of my week, and after he listened so attentively and responded so compassionately, it allowed this post to flow easily. We were us, with all the extra personal growth we’ve worked for. It is goodness.

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Being what you are does not make a change.

It’s never any surprise to me that the universe continually shows up for me.

I will never stop finding it both amusing and fascinating, even amidst the heartache.

R’s session shook me. I kept feeling compelled to have the whys and the hows or even the minutest detail or example. I wanted to know how she could possibly feel this way and how I could possibly fix it. I had question after question. I wanted to be heard. And validated.

The funny thing about having had so much therapy and actively pursuing personal growth and having so much self-awareness is that all the questions just make me make that squished up face. That feeling of “I wanna put the square peg in the round hole but obviously that’s not gonna work but lemme try to quasi attempt it this way and I know it’s pointless, but, like, if I can match them up juuuuuust right then….maybe…”

The problem is I want to ask all the wrong people the questions. Because I want to be validated. Because I don’t want to be seen as what I’m not. Because of my disbelief. Because it hurts to show up over and over and be pushed away and to show up more and, at the end of the day, have all that showing up feel to someone else the exact opposite of what it was to me.

They aren’t the right people tho.

All of my reasoning and logic and personal growth tell me that my daughter and her therapist are not to be my source of validation.

It’s moot. No matter how much it hurts and no matter how much I want to stomp my feet.

So after we left the appointment I shut up. And I didn’t burden my already hurting 16 year old with my pains. And I told the voices in my head to fuck off. And I considered, “If she views me as the person in her life who has made her feel worthless, despite all my effort to the exact contrary, does it change anything? Would I call it quits on her because her lens is skewed? Would I throw guilt and resentment her way because her translator is broken? Would I go against my who merely because this hurts so damn much?”

Nope. Nope times infinity. Nope to the core of my being.

So when I ran into the store on the way home, I bought her a succulent. Because she said she feels invisible. And you can’t buy things for invisible people. Thereby practically saying, “You aren’t invisible, girl. I see you. Take this tiny succulent and know I love you. I am here.”

And then I went home and called my sponsor.

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A song to take the pain away.

I sat in for a therapy session with R. It was supposed to just be five minutes. Enough to tell her counselor that we’d be starting the process to get her on antidepressants. It is time.

It was not a decision that I came to lightly. There were a multitude of factors. Mostly it was that she was getting so much more explosive, and to me, that meant her pain and hurting were at its max. Unfortunately the only factor that really stuck out for my girl was that her behavior was scarring her brother and his¬†trauma was my highest priority and that’s why I finally agreed to the medication.

This turned a five minute conversation into an hour and a half session.

She hurts. I know this. I never know just how much. And it always catches me off guard. The one person who it would be helpful to be privy to said information doesn’t get to know. It’s just part of the mom deal, I suppose.

Being a parent is hard. Knowing all the logical psychology doesn’t really help much. I mean, sure, in the long run sorta. The short run is a different beast.

The long run tells me that she can lash out at me because she feels safe with me. The long run tells me that she will viciously push me away over and over in order to see if I’ll abandon her.

Depression runs her short game.

It requires her to believe she is nothing and not worth sticking around for. Pushing me away and me following suit gives the depression its validation.

Depression begets depression. We feel like things are shit. That we are shit. We feel worthless so we seek all the ways we’re unworthy. And because we get what we look for, all she sees are examples of her nothingness. The cycle feels impossible to break.

~~~~~~~

Depression is a big fat liar and not even this strong, badass mama can contend with it.

I can show up. Over and over. No matter how much it hurts. No matter how it can bring excruciating heartache and practically break me.

But it can not change her perspective. I learned that today.

It hurt a lot.

I have always known that she is hard on herself. I have always known that she has ridiculous expectations of herself. Expectations that no one could ever meet. I know she thinks in black and white and that she truly believes perfection does, in fact, exist.

I know I have always been the first to say “you did great!” and “what do you mean a B on your chem test isn’t good enough?!” and “of course I’ll be at your musical!” I have supported her through countless endeavors. Providing moral support and transportation and peptalks and space when she asks.

Despite her spending so much time trying to convince me she’s nothing, I haven’t faltered in being her biggest cheerleader.

This is my lens. This is how I see it.

No, I don’t notice every single thing that happens. Yes, there are things she’s told me about that I’ve forgotten. Yes, sometimes I’m annoyed that she needed to be picked up at 5 and she still isn’t ready at 5:40. I’m human. I’m fallible. I make mistakes. I don’t always show up how she prefers, nor do I show up 100% of the time. But I show up. I show up often and to the best of my ability.

And then today, the short run played its game. She tells me that I make her feel worthless. That I make her feel like nothing. That she feels like a nothing because of me. That I have instilled this in her.

No amount of logical psychology could have kept my feet firmly planted. The short run won.

~~~~~~~

Her lens is so much different than mine.

I never knew–I never understood–that the voice in her head feeding her all that bullshit is my voice.

It is a devastating blow.

~~~~~~~

Not all hope is lost. I’m silver lining girl after all. Navigation is required. A whole fuckton of navigation. As well as extra reinforcements for this sad mama’s heart.

Above all else, I show up. I may not be able to contend with her depression through her lens, but I won’t go down without a fight. Especially when it’s my daughter’s life at stake.

I don’t know what that looks like yet. I don’t quite know yet what I need to do. I know that whatever it is, I can do it. I will do it.

First tho, I will cry and grieve.

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The whole world is moving.

It’s so funny to me. I write a post like my last one, which, as soon as I honored that feeling, the feeling was gone. But then I don’t post for a few days and suddenly it appears that I memorialized that one fleeting moment for days. It amuses me.

Welcome to Thursday. Spring Break is slowly coming to its end. We are in week three of isolation. Here is a recap because I haven’t talked much about it.

The first week was because of influenza A. I got sick first and then R. We were diagnosed on Friday, when Chris started with similar symptoms. The second week was an e-learning trial run (which had some super high highs and some super low lows), along with Chris getting hit hard by the flu and L being hit by a super high fever and no other symptoms. S managed to stay sickness free the entire two weeks, then went to Joe’s for the weekend. Week three found everyone feeling better, except L had some dehydration and digestive stuff going on, but he seems better ish with fluids and a probiotic. S stayed the week at his dad’s which gave R some much needed S-free time. She also drove every day this week, which helped her feel seen and loved and trusted. Being out of work has been rough on Chris, but he’s actually handling it really well. He’s been doing self-reflection and showing up for himself, which is what I’m always hoping for for him. We also got to spend some good time together this week, going for a walk, watching Heroes a few nights, and cuddling on the couch.

I’ve been showing up for me as well. Taking a pause when I need to and shifting mindset in the face of challenging times. I’ve connected with my podcasts and my army of positive voices. I’ve committed time to my goals, especially getting my site launched, which I am constantly backburner’ing. I feel stable, which really says a lot.

The kids go back to e-learning next week and it’s going to be challenging. S gets sidetracked and R isolates. It will take a lot of mental effort on my part to stay on top of helping them stay on top of their education. One moment at a time.

None of this is easy. But I certainly don’t have to make it harder. I get to choose my mindset. That means everything. I choose goodness. That means even more.

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I’ll carry these torches for you.

“I’m not going to do extra if you aren’t going to do your part.”

I’ve been struggling with S not listening. For years now. Consequences nor rewards really make any difference. He’ll even weigh consequences to see if it’s worth it.

I know he has special things going on, but I know too it doesn’t have to be this unmanageable.

I have no current memory if I’ve written about the goals I decided for my 12 week class. I wrote about my 12 week class, right? Gosh, I feel so braindead. I have so many posts in my head waiting to be written.

I have four main goals. To have weekly one on one time with Chris and R and S. To get our home decluttered to its completion. To practice and adopt an abundance mindset. To get my official website launched.

One goal that I backburnered was the whole “our family is a team and we all have a role.” I delayed it, not because of its unimportance, but because I want to have a foundation in place first. I think a foundation can best be lain with one on one time. Baby steps. Boundaries are important too tho and this crazy phrase came out of my mouth this morning “I’m not going to do extra if you aren’t going to do your part” and I feel like this might be a turning point for me. It takes it away from S and puts my part back in my hands.

I’ll do my team player part. But I’m not doing extra when I’m not getting basic team playerness in return. And this is where mindshift meets backburnered goals!

I feel really good about this new boundary and affirmation for mindset.

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Get myself back home.

Today is laughably hard to navigate. Painfully, laughably hard. Like so ridiculously hard.

But.

Despite the knot in my stomach and the clenching in my chest and the tightening of my throat, I go on.

And truly, even this is so much better than the alternative of the life I used to live. So, I’m deeply full of gratitude. And also. Because it’s always both. I am deeply in the middle of this excruciatingly hard moment.

*20 minutes later*

I was gonna tell this heartwarming anecdote about the dog and how all she wants is to go outside, and she jumps on you and then refuses to go out when you open the door because she wants you to go out with her to play, but it’s freezing and snowy and you have pjs and slippers on. And she gets all too-playfully-bitey and she just wants you to meet her when she is.

And that’s kinda what this anxiety feels like. It keeps poking me and jumping on me and biting too hard because it wants attention.

So I sat with the dog and fed her peanut butter off a spoon, so both her playful and my anxiety could have some respite.

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And that was awesome for about ninety seconds.

Then R came in to tell me about her plans for the day. Originally her boyfriend was supposed to come over at 10:30, and then I was supposed to take them to the movies at 11:30. But my car (my freakin’-something-always-comes-up-with-it car) is making a sound right now that makes it too scary and unsafe sounding to drive. (The car place is squeezing me in at 2pm today, thankfreakinggod), so she navigated driving plans today and was totally on top of it (that’s my girl!), which then left me totally……not.

I want to be only grateful that she has the fortitude to continue forward. But here I am instead practicing the lesson of “both” and so I’m sitting here sad to be missing out on having her boyfriend here all day or taking them to the movies myself.

And then to top it all off, she told me how she’s been telling her boyfriend all the things she has never tried (he replied, “ohmygod, you lost your whole childhood!”) because I bought healthy food and she never had Trix cereal or Trix yogurt and we didn’t keep a cornucopia of Little Debbie’s in the house.

Sigh.

And it touches all my triggers, while I already feel triggered enough. And so I cried. Because it’s that kind of day.

(I feel the need to pause here and assure my husband that she wasn’t being mean or manipulative and that it’s okay for me to sit in a moment of uncomfortable and be sad. It doesn’t touch my self-worth in a permanent sort of way.)

So I cried and L came up to me and said, “you have snot?” and I said yes and he said, very concerned, “oh! You crying??” and I said yes and he said “why you crying?” and I told him I was sad and it’s okay to cry when you have lots of feelings.

And it is.

And also, holy heavy anxiety and overwhelm. Where the fuck is my blanket fort?

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Approach. Appear.

I didn’t know what the rest of my day would look like earlier when I wrote. I felt on top of everything, but in that way where you are until you suddenly aren’t.

I finished my paper clutter pile from yesterday and tried to occupy L because Chris has the flu, as well as detox from another round of medicine that didn’t get here in time. I know he feels like shit physically, mentally, emotionally, psychologically. I take great comfort in the fact that I am not the woman who contributes to that. That I don’t try to find (false) validation in making him feel worse. That I don’t have the means to feel better at someone else’s expense. Especially someone I love so much.

So I spent my day focused on me and my growth and my worth and betterment and evolution. And I was feeling so connected to me that I found connection with R and S and L too.

I taught S about time management. I empowered him with management of his own time, while giving him confines and boundaries to work within. I told him I was like the boss. “You gotta get this, this, and this accomplished by x time, but you manage the rest. You run your own show.” And he practiced in kind. Sometimes fast and sometimes slow. But it was his and I let him own it and he took pride in it.

I taught the same to R. “Do what you want with your last day of winter break, but any food trash needs to be cleaned by 5.” She argued she might not get it done by then and I countered reasonably and objectively, “You’ve got four and a half hours to do this one thing. Choose how you want to do it. You can wait til 4:55 and then haul ass picking up trash. Or you can do it all right now. Or you can do some now and some later. It’s your show. But ya got til 5, and if at 5 it’s not finished, your phone goes on the island until it is.”

No shame. No guilt. No tough love. No bringing up past anything. Just right here right now, reasonable objectivity. Might as well have told her the sun was gonna set by 5pm. Just a fact.

And she responded with the same respectful objectivity and it was barely even reluctant when she said, “okay”.

And L and I worked on puzzles together today. And I let it be his show and we made a game of it, but I never rushed him or did it for him. I let him lead.

I gave them the opportunity and then I stepped aside and let each of them shine today.

What a blessing and a joy to take me and my feelings and my thoughts out of the equation and just talk to them.

I was afraid I’d break today. I was hoping I’d be able to withstand the bend. Turns out I stood tall all day.

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Trying to fight when you feel like flying.

The question is…

How do you proceed when you know so much about growth mindset, and the situation just sucks, and you want to reach out to someone, but don’t want advice and just want the comfort of someone’s knowing presence?