Options!!!

Hey there, lovelies!! I feel like I have a legit excuse for the looong time between posts this time. Seriously. I know I always have good excuses (because I am an absolute wizard at rationalization) but these are really good.

 

We moved. I started a new job. G started a new school. It’s the holidays. And it is just who I am as a person. (When I was unpacking, I came across no fewer than 8 different journals that had 1-2 entries each. There may be more, but they are still hiding among my unpacked treasures.)

 

I am pretty happy, honestly. But I am unmoored.

 

I love the new job. It’s crazy and really busy and chaotic, but it feels good and everyone there is really wonderful. I still have my usual imposter syndrome and my “I’m not doing a very good job” inner monologue, but I like being a veterinarian again. And my hair is no longer falling out in handfuls. My commute is 30 minutes (it’s not bad at all most days; my previous drive to work was 8 miles but it took 20 minutes because of all the infuriating, poorly timed lights – ugh.) and J’s commute is now 30 minutes instead of 1.5 to 2 hours. So that’s all good. But it’s new and I don’t have the familiarity with clients and clinic culture that I had for the last 10 years. So, I’m unmoored.

 

G loves her new school. But there’s not as much communication as I was used to at her old school. I don’t know if that has to do with starting mid-year or if her previous school was just super great at including parents or if it’s because her teacher also got thrown in mid-year (a week after G started, she got a new teacher – the teacher is experienced, but just took over the class all of a sudden…) So I feel disconnected there and like I have no idea what is going on. G is loving it and she is excited to go to school and she is learning well and she actually enjoys reading now, so I can’t complain too much. Again, just a little unmoored.

 

We’re in a new city. The house finally feels like home and I mostly know where I’ve put things now. But I know NOTHING about this city. And I know NOONE here. I miss Choral Arts and being in the know about what’s happening and who will be there (I totally knew all the most awesome people in town. Love you all!!) And I knew all the good races and the people who would be participating and I knew the stores to go to for specific things… Things I took for granted. Now, I don’t know what the hell is going on or where to look to find out. I’m going to join a community chorus, but I don’t really know what to expect (small-town community chorus or awesome semi-pro chorus like Choral Arts? Dunno). I want to find a new yoga class that has the same vibe as the one I had come to look forward to each week. I don’t know where to “run by” on the way home to pick up whatever it is I need. That easy familiarity is gone and I am unmoored.

 

We had an election. I can’t even go into that now. Ugh. Waves of nausea. That’s a whole separate post. Let’s move along.

 

I have more time off now and I have a much more predictable schedule (and I have gained 20 lbs and don’t exercise at all), so I’ve mostly decided on Ironman training again. Louisville probably – mark your calendars so you can come to the best finish line of all Ironman races. But I don’t know where is safe and good to ride my bike. I don’t know good places to run. I don’t know anyone on my (low) level to bike or “run” with. I don’t know how to find safe and reliable childcare while I do my long rides or long runs (once I get to those). I am unmoored.

 

And I’m farther away from my family. Not an impossible distance. 3 hours. But there is a time zone difference and a longer drive than it was. And with J’s work schedule this holiday season, it will be much harder to spend time with them during the holidays. We’ve moved away physically (and emotionally from toxic in-law family stuff back in the other city), and I miss my family.

 

All these changes are really good (moving, new job, new town, less drama), but it leaves so many things wide open. Things don’t have to be done a certain way. This is good, but it’s like having a writing assignment without a topic. “Just write something”. Um, ok. Let me sit here and stare at this page for a few hours while being paralyzed by the infinite possibilities. Infinite possibilities are great! I’m super lucky to have so many options.

 

But it’s paralyzing and stressful for someone like me who can picture all the different opportunities and different options and different outcomes. Once I choose one, the others will be gone!! What if I choose wrong? Gah!!! (If I remember my Indiana Jones correctly – and movies are pretty much the source of all facts in life – if I choose poorly, I will turn into a skeleton in a very dramatic and horrifying fashion, then my dusty remains will blow away. So that’s a lot of pressure.)

 

This year will be the year we start new holiday traditions for our little family. G will remember them when she is an adult and they will either be sweet or scarring. So much pressure! I can decide to be whatever kind of veterinarian I want to be and decide how I want to interact with clients and set the stage for how my career will continue. I can explore new places and new stores and new things. I have so many ways to choose!

 

But because the field is wide open, I can’t decide or take any action whatsoever. Which causes even more anxiety. I am unmoored and floating around and can’t even decide which way to paddle. Or which paddle to use. OMG. Did I remember to bring a paddle? Where did I put it?

 

Any words of advice are welcome – especially if it has to do with local recommendations. While I’m getting settled, I am going to try to go with the flow (at least in the new year) and just enjoy the first world problems of too many options.

Well, hello there again.

I’ve been visited by Depression’s BFF lately. Anxiety wasn’t really invited when she first stopped by, and she sure as hell has overstayed her welcome. Both Depression and Anxiety make it hard to get out of bed and function in the real world. When Depression sets up camp, I don’t want to get out of bed because what’s the point? Nothing matters. Nothing is worth getting out of bed for. I have no worth and I’m DEFINITELY not worth expending that minuscule amount of energy that I have left in my body. When Anxiety is here, I want to cover my head and curl up into a tiny ball of raw nerves that vaguely resembles the shape of a female adult human. Depression makes it hard to function because I just have no energy and no desire to do anything, even things I love doing. I live in a foggy brain that can’t make sense of the world and the sunshine. And everything feels so. damn. heavy. Anxiety makes it hard to function because every nerve in my body is ready at a moment’s notice to send out signals to run or fight or have a heart attack. Some of those nerves think it’s fun to misfire and send out those signals all day long.

I know, just KNOW in my heart that something bad is happening or is about to happen. I forgot something important or I made the wrong decision or I have a terrible disease or someone I love has something bad happening to them or the car repair is going to be super expensive or I forgot that something is coming out of the bank account or I forgot to turn off something I should have turned off or I will never get everything done that I need to do or why can’t I concentrate on anything right now or my patient is dying or I messed up that routine surgery when everything seemed totally fine but probably isn’t fine or I am going to be fired or I am going to be sued or someone is mad at me or someone is judging me or …

Actually, all those “or”s should be “and”s because all those thoughts are going through my mind at the same time and my body is pumping out crazy amounts of adrenaline and cortisol. And it is exhausting. It’s probably similar to trying to make sense of that paragraph o’ run on sentence. Welcome to my brain when Anxiety is visiting! I just want to cry all the time, but not because there is no point to being alive, like when Depression is here, but because there is just too much and I just can’t deal with all of that at once for days at a time.

Honestly, I’m pretty good in the moment when something is happening. I can deal with unexpected problems in surgery and I can deal with bad news when it is delivered and I can perform in front of big crowds and I can handle an actual emergency when it happens. (Afterward, I shake and sometimes cry, but not until that shit is under control.) I cannot deal with the constant onslaught of hormones that Anxiety brings with her. Our bodies aren’t really meant to. Those hormones and on-edge nerves are meant for sprinting, not marathons.

Anxiety is getting the hint and is starting to pack up her bags to leave, but I am worn out. And I really don’t quite know how to deal with her. She’s visited off and on since I was a teenager, but she didn’t move in with me like Depression did. I have learned some coping mechanisms for Depression (and finally found a medication that helps) but I’m still struggling with Anxiety. Exercise probably helped a lot and since I still have done nothing in the way of making that a routine again, it let Anxiety just invite herself right in.

I do have a half marathon coming up in April. Once I can quiet my mind enough to look at a training plan, I might just be able to get Anxiety out of here for awhile. You all may get tired of it, but I will try to post my workouts daily on here, for accountability.

Um… There will probably be many days (if you follow this blog and don’t “unfollow” when you see the phrase “post daily workouts”) when you think “Oh, she just forgot to post or she was too busy” and I love you for giving me credit like that. In reality, I probably found some way to rationalize not exercising that day.

I love you all and if you have any suggestions for dealing with Anxiety, I’d love to hear them. (Suggestions from experience, please.) Comment away!

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.