Tired. Overwhelmed. Living.

So here I am. Finally getting to another blog post. And I am stressed. I know, that’s totally weird and out of character for me to be stressed. But I am more stressed than usual. And I am more stressed than I was expecting and stressing out about being when we were contemplating all the craziness that is currently stressing me out.

 

We are moving. Because small minded people tend to influence other small minded people, career prospects are limited for my awesome husband as a result of “The Incident” (see previous post for hints but not explanation….that comes later!) even though The Incident was my fault and not as simple as people would like for it to be.

 

But, I digress.

 

So, we are moving. Away. Not 1000s of miles away but about 1.5 hours away from our awesome home and even further away from my awesome family. I am thrilled that J has found a new position in an area that is excited to have him, and I am even more thrilled that he has found a new position that will allow him to continue to make the world a better place. He needed that. His heart was absolutely broken by the cruelty he saw following The Incident. He has always been such an honest person. He believes that everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt. He is who he says he is. He believes everyone else is the same way. Over the past 18 months, the world has broken his heart and he realized that not everyone is honest, not everyone is kind, and not everyone is as understanding as he is. On the flip side, we realized that we have some of the best, brightest, and most incredible friends anyone could ever have the honor of knowing. J will do amazing things in this next phase of our lives, just like he always has.

 

And there I go. Digressing again. Back to the stress.

 

Moving. Because I feel that 90 miles is too far to commute on a daily basis, I am looking for a new job. This is something I haven’t done for 8 years. It sucks. It’s hard and it’s time consuming. It’s like a part time job, and I am having a really hard time doing this part-time job of finding a new job while trying to do a good job at my current full-time job. Whew. And I tend to try to be whatever people need me to be, rather than just being honest about what I need, so that’s a scary thing when interviewing.

 

My partner is gone. Not gone, gone, but not currently present. The partner who could throw that load of laundry into the dryer since I forgot and left it in the washer or who could mow the yard this afternoon since it’s the only time in the next 10 days it’s not supposed to rain or the guy who could drop off a bill payment or stop and get some milk because I forgot to or pick up our daughter or meet me for lunch when I had a bad day or meet me to ride our bikes for an hour because I didn’t really want to train. That partner is 1.5 hours away. And it sucks. Waking up extra early to drop G off before I go to work or making plans to pick her up or trying to clean house while spending quality time with my sweet, wonderful daughter who will never be 4 (and a half!!! She always reminds me) ever again or trying to ride on the trainer while she wants me to put the diaper back on her baby over and over is really a bit of a stress I wasn’t expecting at this particular moment.

 

Riding the trainer. Yuck. Had I known that I would have a part-time job finding a new job and looking for a new home and (kind of, but not really) being a single mom for the 3 months prior to September 28, I wouldn’t have signed up for the damn Ironman. As you might have noticed from previous posts, my training isn’t going as well as I would like. This (as I knew prior to signing up) training is a part-time job. And it is not getting quality work from me. Today I got to do my hour ride with some of the best company out there (Love you, B!) but tomorrow I get to swim for 1:15 BEFORE WORK. Ugh. Then bike 3 HOURS after work. Then pick up G (after a shower, I hope) and drive to J where we will spend the weekend in the absolutely cutest little room ever where he is getting to live right now. I will, unfortunately, miss the Michael Franti concert in Nashville (He is amazing. Go see him. Listen to him. He is just… wow.) The next day we will get to hang out and have brunch at The River Café. And G and I will drive home so that I can get up early the next day and do a 2:30 run before work.

 

I’m already tired.

 

No real inspirational message here. No words of wisdom. No specific encouragement in this post. Just me being whiney and tired and stressed. Letting you guys know that we are all stressed sometimes. Some of you are dealing with problems much bigger than mine. But we are all dealing with something. The next time you see someone sigh or look tired, give them a smile. We all need it.

 

(I thought about editing this stream-of-consciousness post, but decided to leave it as is.  My mind can’t focus on anything long enough to organize thoughts, and a streamlined, edited post would never get done.  Better messy and coarse than never, right?!)

Hide and Seek

I feel like it’s pretty apparent that I am a procrastinator. I have a knack for putting things that I don’t want to do or to think about somewhere in a lockbox in a chest in an abandoned house in a forest on a different continent somewhere on another planet in an alternate universe in my mind. (It is indeed expansive.) I like to think that it’s a talent I possess, the way I can lock things into another part of my mind. They still show up… probably in the form of anxiety, but I don’t think about them. Like maybe I could be a Jedi who holds up one thing with one part of their mind and does something else awesome with another. But mostly, it’s just trouble.

Did you know that if you ignore things like bills and student loans, they don’t go away? I learned that lesson. Did you know that you eventually have to talk to your boss about things you don’t want to talk about when they are things you really need to talk about…even though you don’t want to? Learned that too. Training doesn’t just magically bank itself if you ignore it. Kids don’t brush their teeth or eat healthy if you pretend you don’t have to deal with it. Spouses even get fed up with the clutter that builds up next to your nightstand eventually (even if they don’t say it. Thank you, J).

So why is it then, that I can’t seem to put certain things into those recesses of my mind? Why is it that so many negative things just ruminate? I can’t seem to put mistakes (or even perceived mistakes that might not have even really been mistakes) into the back of my mind. They sit there, right in the front row, just heckling me. Why didn’t you do this? Why didn’t you notice that? How could you? Why didn’t you do that? How did that make those people feel? Can you imagine how upset they must be? They’re mad at you, I’m sure. They might even sue. What if you have to go to court? What if you made stupid mistakes? You are a terrible person. You are not a good doctor. Why are you even doing this?

All those other important things that get lost in the back of my mind, and these things have GPS?! All the good things get lost back there too. I can’t really remember them right now, but people assure me there are lots of good things too. Wait… I remember one. I caught a glimpse of myself naked in the mirror a few days ago and I didn’t think I looked gross. I don’t really look that different. For some reason, I initially noticed that my legs look strong and I am not really as flabby as I picture in my mind. Then I looked at my big, flabby stomach and my droopy breasts. And they didn’t make me sad. The overwhelming idea was, “Hey, I’m pretty strong. Looking good!” That’s a good thing. It will probably be lost somewhere along with all the patients I’ve helped and all the epic training I’ve done over the last 2 years and whatever other good stuff is in there. Seriously, it really is expansive. Lots of places to hide.

I have four days off work this weekend!! (Thank you, Dr. Boss!!) I’m going to use it to jump start my training. Brick, anyone? I’m going to re-start cleaning out the basement/garage. And I am going to really work on hiding the negative thoughts.

Now, has anyone seen my keys?

Pondering

Haha. So that’s how my goals always seem to go… I was planning to post once a week on Sundays and now I’ve missed 2!! What to do?!? Just hop right back into the saddle, I guess.

Today I was pondering, as I do when not cursing the traffic lights and the poor planning associated with them on my way to work. (Seriously… NO ONE turns there. I have NEVER seen a line to turn there. Why do we all have to sit there for a full 60 seconds for a turn signal no one needs?!?)

I woke up this morning with anxiety. I washed all my clothes yesterday, put up most of them, and set out my outfit last night. My legs were shaved and my hair washed and my body clean before I went to bed. My gym bag was packed with swim gear and running stuff (I like to keep my options open.) My phone was fully charged and the alarm even woke me up this time!! I knew what I was taking for lunch even though it needed to be repackaged. The Tupperware bowls and lids were easily accessible (yay me!!) My car had gas. I left in plenty of time with my cup of coffee in my hand – and I didn’t even spill it on my shirt! The weather was beautiful. And I was so anxious. I felt like the world was just going to explode at any minute.

Something. Bad. Was. Going. To. Happen. Any minute. No really, any second now… But it didn’t. Traffic was fine. No coffee was spilled during the drive. I went a different way that has fewer traffic lights. At work I didn’t have any nasty messages from unreasonable clients or any patients on death’s door or even any super frustrating or confusing cases. Still anxious.

Back to pondering. Some days I wake up and I feel so positive. Even when things go wrong, nothing can get me down. On those days, I am conscious of that great attitude and I try to pinpoint how I can recreate that every day. A few days might even go along that way, then – BOOM – anxiety, stress, bad attitude. Sometimes it’s hormonal. Those days, everyone is stupid and my “dealing with other people (especially their stupid shit)” tank is e-m-p-t-y. But that’s pretty predictable and transient and I can usually find a friend to commiserate. It’s the unpredictable, unexpected negative days that catch me off guard and scare me a little. I don’t want to go back down the slippery, dark slide back into depression.

I’ve decided (vaguely several weeks ago and now definitively because it’s in print – sort of) I’m going to approach these anxious days with a new tactic. I’m going to treat myself like a very young child. When I feel anxious, I’m going to say to myself, “Self, I can see you are anxious. That’s not a good feeling. Can you tell why you’re so anxious? No? That’s no fun…. Oooooh! The sky is so blue today. How pretty! I wonder what it smells like outside right now. I bet it smells like those honeysuckles across the street! Breathe in deep. Wow it feels good to have air in those lungs. They really stretch out! Blow out through your lips slowly. Let’s see how long you can blow air out….” Distraction FTW! (For the win. Is that a thing outside online gaming?  Are my nerd roots showing?)

Yes, I realize I didn’t invent the idea of focusing on your breath to bring yourself into the moment and mindfulness and all that. But my anxious mind will have to be tricked into focusing on sensations rather than speculations!  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Like most of my best-laid plans, I’ll probably stumble. A lot. But I’ll just get back up (look around to see who saw that) and keep on going.

The beauty of effort (What a grand title?! Right? Lofty aspirations)

I was part of something amazing and beautiful and moving today.  I couldn’t help but smile through it all, even the difficult parts.  It was so beautiful I cried a little bit.  My daughter liked it, even though some parts were “a little weird”.  My husband enjoyed it.  Everyone who participated was moved in some way, I think.

I am honored to be part of a semi-professional choir called Choral Arts of Chattanooga.  They are all amazing.  I feel like the weakest link, just stumbling behind, trying really hard to sing at their level.  Today we performed the Missa Gaia by Paul Winter — with additional music by Paul Halley, under the direction of our wonderful director, Keith Reas.  (Sadly, this was our last concert under his direction, as he is leaving to devote more time to his other musical talents.  He is a wonderful person and I have so enjoyed his musical direction and selection, even if they are sometimes… unusual.)

Today we performed the Earth Mass.  It included recordings of wolves, whales, harp seals, and birds.  (I know what you’re thinking, but this was really well done and not corny in the least.)  Jazz pianist and professor, Dave Walters, played with us.  We had incredible percussion and soprano sax.  As usual, David Friberg accompanied us on the organ.  I was surrounded by beautiful voices and was able to stand next to a (super fun) second soprano whose voice blended really well with mine.  Each member of the choir sang the notes we had learned individually — and together we created such beautiful and incredible music.  I am always amazed at how I feel up on stage, singing, sharing emotions and music at the same time.  It is obviously indescribable.

Things that I love and that bring joy and a sense of wonder have some things in common for me. (I noticed this today during an epiphany/performance high.)

They are individual accomplishments and group efforts at the same time.  They involve a sense of stepping outside my comfort zone (I also like to call it my tiny little safety bubble.)  They require a lot of hard work and time and effort and showing up when I don’t really feel like it.

You might have noticed that I like to sing.  I also love the feeling of successfully treating a patient with surgery or medicine.  I love seeing my daughter say or do something that makes her happy or proud.  And there are few feelings like that of crossing a finish line.

Some of these come naturally, some don’t.  But it doesn’t mean that some are harder than others.  Achieving a goal is just hard.  That’s why it means something.

Some of the music I have learned is hard.  It is really challenging.  But beautiful.

Some cases require a lot of work and second-guessing and waking up worried in the middle of the night and research and communication.  But they are rewarding and help me learn.

Being a good example for my daughter and having to tell her no or see her cry sometimes is really hard and often heartbreaking.  But it is worth it to see her grow as a little human being.

Training for an Ironman (and finally finishing one) is going to be tough.  Some days I will smile all the way through training, and some days I will cry.  Some days I will cry a lot. Those days are not pretty.  But I will show up and I will put in the effort.

Because I am finally learning from all the beautiful things I have experienced!  (And I will probably have to learn it again and again.  I’m slow like that.)  I’ve learned that in the end, it’s worth all the difficulty just to be a part of those precious moments when my heart completely overflows.

(You think a runner’s high is great?!  You should try a performance high.  Nothing.  Like.  It.)

First blog post!

Much procrastination and anxiety finally gives way to my first blog post. I’m not expecting that many will read this, so it’s really pretty safe, right? Right? I have already learned a few things on the journey to my first blog post. Lesson one: Just go ahead and write it. Lesson two: Rewrite your post in a word processing software that autosaves, then copy and paste to blog. The original post was waaaaay better, but you’ll just have to trust me on that one, since it has disappeared into the nether regions of the computer or the cloud or the server or whatever.

My original topic was something of an introduction to me and my personal situation. Maybe it was a little too personal for an introduction. Maybe my subconscious allowed it to be deleted for my own good. For better or worse, I have a new topic. It can be a bad word, so you are forewarned. Inertia. Stupid, stupid inertia. (Unless I’m already in the habit of training, then it’s Inertia!! J Yay!!)

 

in·er·tia

noun \i-ˈnər-shə, -shē-ə\

: lack of movement or activity especially when movement or activity is wanted or needed

: a feeling of not having the energy or desire that is needed to move, change, etc.

physics : a property of matter by which something that is not moving remains still and something that is moving goes at the same speed and in the same direction until another thing or force affects it

 

I’ve always thought of the physics definition when I think of the term inertia, but that’s because I am nerdy. “An object in motion tends to stay in motion; (then the cursed part…) an object at rest tends to stay at rest.” Or “It’s really hard to start training again when you’ve been sitting on your very round ass all winter and the weather is gross and you feel gross and there’s not enough daylight and work is hard and life is stressful and you’re just…so…tired”.

That’s my current battle. Mentally, I’m in a much better place than a few months ago when “The Incident” occurred and everything changed. (Did you like that teaser for a future post? Clever, I know.) I’m back to the (mostly) positive person I used to be. But I’m tired. And I know the effort that has to go into training for an Ironman triathlon because I’ve done it. Twice. But I haven’t completed either race – for a variety of reasons (also to be mulled over later). The training though? I did that. And now, just thinking about it makes me tired. I’m also really impressed with the woman who did all that. How did she do it?! It’s difficult to remind myself that that woman was me. She still is me. And I am even tougher now than I was then. So what’s the hold up, woman?! Inertia.

It’s those first few runs and rides and swims that are so hard. My husband is awesome and sympathetic but when I whine about not wanting to go run after work in the rain, he doesn’t listen. “Just go for 20 minutes. Just get back in the habit”. He’s right, of course, but he just doesn’t understand… Wait. Yes, he does. A four-time Ironman with a difficult schedule like mine, plus a crazy wife. So yeah, I guess his advice is worth taking.

I’m still struggling with making myself get out there at least 5 days a week, but with the Ironman coming up in 5 months (what did I do?!?) I’ve got some pressure on me.

This week. I’m totally going to get dedicated this week. No, really this time. Just as soon as I finish, um, the laundry. Um, and the dishes. Oh, and I need to make a grocery list. And you know. All that stuff that will be here when I get back from my run or ride or swim. J

You may be picturing someone glamorous and rich who has nannies and housekeepers and (sigh) a chef, because let’s face it, I just exude glamour. To keep things honest, I should give a bit of introduction here, I suppose. I am 35 years old, married to an incredible man who can do anything through sheer willpower. I am a small animal veterinarian in a suburb of a moderately sized city that is pretty awesome. I work with some great people and some trying people. I have one daughter who is 4 and is the most awesome person I have ever met. I have a house that is always messy and there is frequently a borderline acceptable level of dog and cat hair on the couch. I have battled depression for a long, long time. I wasn’t even aware that was a problem in high school, but I’m pretty sure it was. I went through a divorce, 2 job changes, moving to a new city, meeting my super husband, having my fantastic daughter, some successful marathon finishes, two failed Ironman attempts, the death of my father, “The Incident” and – the most difficult of all – just dealing with day to day life. Some periods of time I have been pretty ok. Some times have been really, really tough. I feel sad and down and lifeless at times, then I feel guilty for feeling sad and down and lifeless, because my life is really pretty great. Plus, I have enough food to eat, I don’t have to raise my daughter in a war zone, and we’re all healthy. I have tried some medications that helped but made me feel monotone, some medications that had REALLY terrible side effects (like making me crazy or keeping me from sleeping, which also makes you crazy), and finally a medication that makes me feel like my old, positive self! I’ve found that exercise helps with my depression more than anything else. That’s how I found myself in spandex.

I thought I would never, never wear something as ridiculous as spandex cycling gear or those weird suits people wear for triathlons. I now have a few sets. (It really does have a purpose! No, seriously.)

I saw my husband start running. I remember the day he ran around the entire 2 mile track in our local park and it was a huge accomplishment. Then I watched him work every day to get stronger. I remember the day he finished his first marathon. I remember when he took his old mountain bike and some running shorts to his first triathlon. It was the most supportive atmosphere I had seen in a long time. All shapes and sizes and speeds, all cheering for each other. (I specifically remember an especially heavyset woman who finished a full half hour after anyone else and the fact that so many people – including some of those who finished first in their age groups– standing at the finish line to cheer her through the arch emblazoned with “FINISH”) I remember the long, arduous training sessions for his first Ironman. I remember his first Ironman finish and how electric the atmosphere was at the finish line and all along the course. (I also remember driving him to the ER because the medical tent at the finish line was so full of people punished by the unseasonable heat and humidity that year).

The next week, I decided to train for a marathon. The effort that went into the training for my first marathon did wonders for my emotional state. There were runs where I felt like a superstar and runs where I cried for miles at a time. But I finished all of those training runs, and that was eye opening. I felt better about myself. I felt better about things in general. There were good days and bad days, but I could deal with them all a little better. I am still someone dealing with depression, and I still have bad days and sometimes even bad weeks. But I’m much more comfortable in my spandex than I used to be.