Sunday, 3 November 2019

Maximum responsibility revisited

So, a couple of months ago I wrote about anticipating a return to work while keeping a bunch of other balls in the air....I mean trying remember what the balls are and periodically fishing the ones I dropped out from among the dust bunnies under the bed....so how's that going you might ask?

The answer is not particularly smoothly. I have certainly been pushed to the limit the past few weeks. I won't go through it all, but I'm still at my job, and it's been about a month since the first time I seriously questioned if I was losing it and had made the wrong decision. The family is well. AJ has the "best day ever" at kindergarten, like, every day. Dani seems to have adjusted to daycare and just graduated to the toddler room.  I have counseling and mental health through work and I'm using it.

A few snapshot details:

  • During my first appointment with my counselor, I said at one point: "I feel like I've been through this before....like it's my old demons all over again" (words to that effect.) I meant it felt like other times in my life where anxiety led to feelings of overwhelm and depression. But she asked me to clarify and then went through the oh, 5 or 6 major stressors I'd told her about and said "Actually, it sounds like you are dealing with A LOT you've never dealt with before. There is a lot of new stuff." Oh. Yes. She is right. Admitting that took a lot of angst and self-blame off, oddly enough.
  • I'm working hard at coming out of my shell and talking through the various challenges with colleagues and other people to turn them into things we can deal with, not a dozen problems that I can't solve on my own before the next dozen hit. It's an ongoing process. But when I manage this I feel more optimistic and clear in my head.
  • I saw the doctor earlier this month because I was overtired and anxious and had most of the depression symptoms. And because I was waking up hot and with racing heart and hadn't had a period since July. He gave me a few days off work, directed me to counseling, and took some bloodwork. The results were fine, but my FSH levels (over 100) confirm early menopause. (I turn 40 in December). So yeeeeeeaaaaah....there's that. Even more thankful for our two miracle kids. I don't know how I feel about this. I haven't really processed it. It's not a surprise: fertility doctor told me I was in periomenopause at age 33 after all. And we weren't planning on having any more children so it's not the devastating news it would have been three years ago. Still, knowing that early menopause is likely is different from it happening in real time.  I did recently have something resembling a period finally (very light though) so I'm not in full menopause yet.....but there's little doubt in my mind I'm leaving my (semi) fertile years permanently behind. This blog had documented many beginnings and endings....and here's another one.
  • One bright side: Remember all the anxiety I had about planning birthday parties in previous years? (Well I do.) I totally am not stressed about AJ's 5th birthday party. (Coming up next weekend).  I'm cool with it: I hired a facility, personally designed the invitations, hunted down RSVP's more or less successfully, found deals on goodie bag junk....so not stressed (so far). AJ is very much into art the past few months. She wants to be an artist. (I can't help telling her it's totally OK to have a job on the side, too.) I found a arts centre that would do a party based on visual art, clay or dance. I expected her to pick a project....but she opted for a dance class party. With a unicorn theme. So that's what we are doing. She and her guests get a unicorn themed dance party. We bring the cake and food and other stuff. Sounds awesome. And I'm glad that money I'm spending is supporting artists in our community....I think we could do worse.

Anyway, I have finished my work assignment for the day and have the rest of the weekend to enjoy, so I am going to go enjoy my imperfect, complicated, often hard to deal with but still precious life. And I wish the same for anyone reading.

8 comments:

  1. 1) Super important to be as kind to you as you would be to any other person you love. 2) Hope your docs maintain you with estrogen in steady state and do not allow atrophy or hormonal swings to toss you off balance and into depression. 3) Not supporting the paper industry for female hygiene does have some positive side effects. 4) Working with spouse and 2 children is simply stressful; use paid help to reduce your load as much as you can reasonably. 5) Keep sharing in creating solutions at home and at work ... we survive by holding hands. 6) Sending you so much support and appreciation for writing AND for normalizing the stressful realities we face.

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    1. Aw, thank you for all those kind and perceptive thoughts. Seeing the counsellor regularly has been important to help me remember the self-kindness aspect. I slip into self-blame REALLY easily. Sigh.

      I haven't actually used many paper hygiene products in about 4 years, haha. I had some physical issues in 2015 and moved to reusables. I kinda need new products now but I probably won't bother at this time.

      I am super lucky in that I have a husband who is supportive and shares the family stuff 50-50 with me and takes a greater share many days. Most of the time, I do NOT come home to face a whole new burden of stress and overwhelm: and I know that's not the case for everyone (and it may not always be the case for me either: there are many ways homelife can get complex). For now, I'm grateful.

      Thank you for reminding me it's normal! people keep trying to convince me of that. I need a lot of convincing some days.

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  2. It’s great to read that you are doing a lot of self care and taking care of your mental health. Life isn’t easy, and all the different changes that sort of happen all at once can really compound and wear you down if you’re not careful and aware.

    I love the idea of AJ’s birthday party! What a neat idea, and such a wonderful bonus is supports local artists! I will have to check if we have anything like that available here. Our local trampoline park that we usually utilize for parties has closed down, so there aren’t a lot of options for a winter birthday party that are very close by.
    Hope you have a great time at the party. And Happy Birthday AJ!
    So glad the kids are adjusting so well. Sending lots of love!!!

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    1. Thank you! the party was great. Our municipal government offers some creative birthday party ideas through their recreation centres, and compared with other commercial options, they are a bit cheaper. It was our first time at this arts centre and I loved it: so cozy with all kinds of creative work everywhere. We might be back for another program, who knows.

      Thanks for all the encouragement with the life stuff. Yes, people (including my counsellor) keep reminding me it's a big transition and it takes time, time, time. My anxiety of course makes me feel like there is NO TIME, NO TIME, NO TIME. I might have to start using this blog more to refocus my thoughts on the bigger picture of my life and family and reality, as my brain likes to fixate on one or two stressors and make them into a huge deal.

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  3. Sorry to hear you are struggling with things lately. Glad to hear you are talking to someone - that sounds helpful. I can imagine impending menopause brings a lot of conflicted feelings. I'm happy to hear the girls are doing well. The unicorn dance party sounds amazing!

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    1. Thank you! we had lots of fun at the party. It was a really nice space and atmosphere and the kids were right into the program and enjoyed it (and the games of spontaneous hide and seek and balloon toss after). We have enough creative presents to keep AJ busy for weeks.

      Thanks for the encouragement with the life stuff. The older you get, the more stuff comes your way (some people of course don't even have the luxury of a relatively carefree youth) and right now I'm on a steep learning curve. I'm trying to be patient!

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  4. The party sounds great, and a fun thing to do to distract from everything else. Ooof, I'm so sorry things have been so tough. I'm glad you got validation from your counselor, because I feel like sometimes women (especially teacher-y, anxious women) can downplay their angst and think it's not all that bad, and when someone else shines a light on everything you're dealing with, it sort of lets you breathe out all the stale air you've been holding in without even noticing it. I'm glad you can take care of yourself in the midst of all the stress and complication and early menopause. I hope you were able to have a restful, enjoyable weekend around the unicorn dance party!

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    1. Thanks! it was a fun party. Balance or whatever you want to call it is a major battle right now. Part of it is work and part of it is me....the way my mind will focus and fixate on things. I'm trying to adapt to circumstances and adjust my coping mechanisms to be more healthy (and practical)....but it's a huge daily struggle and the instances like the party planning where I can stop struggling briefly are much needed. Thanks for dropping by with a comment!

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