Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Getting there...

Its an up and down process, this mood/anxiety thing. I am looking forward to getting some ideas/help from the psychiatrist next week, since I've pretty much been doing it on my own the past few weeks. For me the anxiety effects are like a U shaped correlation---mild anxiety actually gets my butt in gear and gives me excess energy to work off, but past a certain point I am actually paralyzed, can't do anything, feel compelled to zone out and am completely exhausted. So, yeah, its swinging around these days. 

It's hard to explain to the non-anxious what it feels like.  Its not "worrying" really, its more of a "dread". About nothing. And everything. Its not just in my head, its my whole body that feels it---I get this feeling in my chest, and my tongue feels different...I know this is so weird. I can't just "stop thinking about it" because its in the background at a low level even when I'm trying to engage my mind and body elsewhere. The littlest things will then ramp it any minor setback or even the thought of doing ANYTHING slightly stressful, like brushing L's teeth (he fights me, and it often ends up with yelling) or a heavy clinic day/challenging patient issue. Though once I'm in it, I'm totally fine. Obviously big stuff, like hearing about the news or family member's issues, can totally throw me off the rails.

Enough about that, I'll get it treated & under control and never again make the mistake of messing with a good thing! 

I had a goal of writing here 3 times/week, which I hit the first week, totally failed at last week, and this week...we shall see! I'm creating a list of topics to cover in the next few weeks, which will hopefully inspire consistency.  On deck for tomorrow: Books! 

Thursday, January 10, 2019


Guys, switching up psych meds is a real b&itch. I was doing OK until Friday, I sort of fell into a hole that I'm trying to climb out of and couldn't motivate to do much of anything that wasn't absolutely necessary at work and home. G did kick me out of the house to exercise and to go to the eyeglass store, so I did get those things accomplished on the weekend.

I'm feeling better today, maybe because my neurotransmitters are evening out, or because I just 100% forced myself to stop avoiding things and its satisfying to get sh&t done.

It doesn't help that I've taken away a lot of my go-to pick-me-up strategies (wine, shopping) so I'm having to dig real deep. I spent a lot of time zoning out on my phone (there is plenty to waste time on even without FB or IG). I have been eating whatever I feel like because I just can't deal with hungry on top of everything else, and have been going to bed extra early because just making it through the day acting like everything is peachy is exhausting.

I'm reading "The Year of the Flood" by Margaret Atwood (sequel to Oryx and Crake) and they use "fallow" as a metaphor for depression, where the person just needs to rest until they are ready to grow again, and it definitely resonated with me. Unfortunately or, actually fortunately, my life doesn't allow for such indulgence so after wallowing for a couple of days, I need to buck up.

I actually AM looking forward to a nice dinner out with G on Sunday (my treat for surviving the holiday trip), and a friend's birthday bash later in the month (booked sitter for both!). Also scheduled a weekend to see my sister in late February and my extended family is planning a reunion this spring that I am really going to try to make. And its almost time for summer/camp planning already!

Sorry this is a downer of a post, but writing regularly is on my "to do" list for this year! I'm planning a 2018 Books post, and some updates about our routines/schedules. What else would you guys like to read?

Friday, January 4, 2019

19 for 2019

The idea is actually from Gretchen Rubin's "Happier" podcast, they did "18 for 2018" and are doing it again this year...its basically a selection of big and small goals to accomplish within the next 12 months. I didn't have the energy to even attempt this last year, but I was feeling it this year! Some of the items stem from the priorities/goals I have already discussed, and some are I've added some explanation as needed...

1. Compost I signed up for the free trial for a city collection, they are delivering the bucket tomorrow and if I like it, we will sign up for weekly pickups. for years I've been meaning to "make my own" because I hated the idea of paying for it...but I hate even more how much trash we generate!

2. Get glasses My vision has changed for the worse with age. I have a prescription, just have to pick out the glasses now.

3. Use Instant Pot Bought it as a Black Friday deal...still sitting in basement. Recipes welcome!

4. Laser bikini/legs Did my armpits last fall. Life changing. Worth every penny. Can't believe I waited this long.

5. Find a therapist 

6. Reach xxx weight (i.e. jeans fit comfortably)

7. Read War and Peace. 

8. Drive our car once/month. I have a semi-phobia about this, after so many years not driving, so I'm trying to intentionally get more practice.

9. Renew passports & get TSA precheck 

10. Try going without housecleaner X 6 months. We fired the cleaner last month because they were becoming really terrible and it was more stressful to have to explain what to do and get everything ready than it would be to just do the damn thing ourselves. If it doesn't work out well I will find someone new.

11. One-on-one dates with kids once/season 

12. Date nights out twice/month

13. Go to play on Broadway with friends 

14. Go to the beach

15. Plan a holiday/winter trip somewhere warm

16. Camping with the dog

17. Summer road trip somewhere cool

18. Host brunch 3 times with different groups of friends

19. Submit 2 big grants

Thursday, January 3, 2019

What worked and what didn't in 2018

Overall, I'd consider it a good year for me personally (if not for the world at large) and mediocre professionally. I like reflecting back and seeing what I want to change and what I'd like to build on so that things keep moving in the right direction in all areas!

Lets start with the negative, so we can put it behind us?

What didn't work that I want to fix:

  • Stopping the Paxil/not going to therapy: I thought things were stable enough to try it out. I was wrong, the last few weeks have been BAD. It started off with being more irritable---yelling more at the boys, picking fights with G...then moved to difficulty concentrating and staying on task at work, and finally into full fledged anxiety with all the psychosomatic symptoms, including not sleeping. I'm not scheduled to go back to the psych until later this month, but I have a big bottle and I restarted it last night. I also left another message with the therapy group to see if I can get in to see someone (they were all full last fall, said to call back in December and I didn't) to keep working on the coping skills. 
  • Not scheduling couple time for me and G.  We're doing fine, just not as connected as we'd like and sometimes feel like we haven't spoken in weeks! Our schedules are in a place where we need to really make a point to spend time together or it won't happen. I usually go to bed as soon as the kids do these days so we don't have default weeknight TV/talk/hang-out time anymore.  We both realized we need a "date night", either at home or out, weekly and I'm going to start putting them into our calendar in advance so we don't plan social or other outings. 
  • Long family trips: the full week at Disney and later the beach with my family, the week and a half with MIL...I'd rather leave on a high note, wanting more, than be DONE and dying to go home, ending up way more stressed then I started and needing a few days to recover. We figured that the kids could handle it so why not try to squeeze as much as we could out of the vacation, but turned out that I couldn't handle it and I need a day or two to decompress.
  • Not blogging/writing: Its good for me to sort out my thoughts. I was writing here more often, and then I was using a journal for a while, and then I just...stopped. And I miss the outlet. 

And now the good stuff! What worked this year that I want to do more of:

  • A little selfishness: I realized that I needed more social interaction and to get out of the house once/week on average and I just...made it happen. I look at my calendar every month and start texting friends to plan things for random evenings and also a couple of lunches/month. The kids and G are fine. I am much less crabby. 
  • Low-key entertaining: to add to the social interaction I've also gotten more proactive at inviting friends and neighbors over for brunch play-dates and impromptu dinners. The adults can sit and talk and the kids can run around...its way more relaxing than going somewhere. 
  • Weekend getaways: having a car helps a lot with this and we want to make it happen more often. Camping, visiting my sister or G's cousin (2-3 hour drives)---refreshing to get out of the house and thus not do any chores for a day or two! 
  • Unabashed family fandom: Its just so fun to dive right into whatever we happen to love at the moment! This is something I've learned from my kids, because I've been programmed to play it cool and cynical from an early age. We went all in on loving Hamilton, and then Harry Potter, and now B has gotten us all into listening to Taylor Swift (and I have to admit...I like some of her songs...). Eventually the kids will refuse to like anything we also like so I'm kind of soaking this up while it lasts...

So the "negatives" are really "double negatives", i.e. things I didn't do that I should've done. Whereas the positives are things I did. I'm sure there is a lesson there somewhere? And there is likely a lot more in each category but these are the ones that are in the forefront of my mind right now as I set up the shiny empty new planner!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Happy 2019!

I am definitely feeling the New Year/Fresh Start mojo this year. I am making lists and plans and filling in the blank pages in my planner. So lets dive in, since one of those plans includes more regular writing in this space because I miss it!

I was going to start this post with a paragraph of how the end of the year was rough, with sickness, traveling, anxiety, poorly behaved children and MILs, etc... And then I went back to review last January's posts to see what goals I had made for the year (answer: NONE, I wasn't feeling it last year!). And my first January post was...word for word the same complaints about the stressful holiday/year end time period. So, lets just gloss over that for now, though I do have some thoughts about preventing a recurrence.

I was thinking of a word for the year and settled on more of a theme instead: "Back to Basics". 2018 was actually a more exciting/adventurous year (for ME, nothing major, just a lot but with the addition of so much extra, I've let the foundations crumble a bit and I'm feeling overall physically and mentally spent. I need to reset and hope the theme (which I'm writing on each monthly goals page in my planner) will remind me to keep those priorities.

What this means practically is to restart the following habits:

  • Wake up early for time to think/plan before the day begins
  • Meditation
  • Exercise 4-5 X/week
  • One month of no alcohol (begins today-Feb 1st since yesterday...didn't happen) and then back to no drinking on weeknights
  • Friday afternoon planning at work
  • One month off FB/IG
So those are the boring "have to dos"I need to recommit to for my health. I've also decided to go with the "19 for 2019" list and am using that to add in more fun and personal growth. I'm also still going through the "what worked and what didn't" list for 2018, and I've got a lot to say there, so stay tuned!