Saturday, May 28, 2016

Seeking Serenity

After my last post (and that bit of a breakdown there), I've been doing a bit of thinking and I've made some decisions that I've been needing to make for some time. I would love to hear from my readers on this subject. Tell me what helps you clear your mind when it's jumbled up with emotions. How do you reach that place of Wise Mind?

May I have the SERENITY...

Even though I'm an atheist, I have a fondness for The Serenity Prayer. It's simple and what is requested is something we all can use. While I don't seek for a higher power to grant that serenity to me, I still seek it for it is something I need.

To ACCEPT the things I cannot change...

This is includes the people I cannot change as well. Some things are just outside of my control. I can only change myself. I can certainly hope that those whose behaviors are destructive will change but at some point, I have to do something about it when their behavior has an affect on my life.

The COURAGE to change the things I can...

This one is going to be hard. I've come to a decision about things that I will need to change in order to make my life a life worth living. They were be changes that will not be happily accepted by others. However, I cannot continue to sit in the situation I am in. A quote I saw today by Paulo Coelho says this:

“You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.”
Staying in the situation I am in is drowning. I was preparing for things to be more difficult next year as I finish my last semester and prepare to work. This is insane. Things have not changed and things will not change unless I change them.

And the WISDOM to know the difference.

It's taken me a long time to come to this point. It's easy to get confused on what we can/cannot change. It's easy to think that if you change, others will change as well. That doesn't always happen though. Sometimes, the people we start on the path with no longer can stay with us. We move on, they don't. I've struggled with accepting that and with making the changes I've needed to change. Staying is easy though frustrating. But staying is not helping me create that life worth living. I have changed. My values and goals have changed. I know what I want in my life. Unfortunately, those values and goals are not the same and I will no longer continue to live my life for someone else.

It will take time. It will not happen right away. But I have decided that I cannot live my life this way anymore. I have to change my situation. I can no longer stay submerged in the river.

I'd love to hear from you. Have you found yourself "drowning"? What did you do to get yourself out of that submerged state? What things have you had to accept instead of change?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

This is How You Drown

It starts small, a minor annoyance here, some frustration there. It's not worth it to even mention but it sits there simmering because you know you can't really talk to the person who is causing those frustrations, not when you know you'll only be invalidated.

There's the loneliness too, a lack of real social contact. You're busy though and not much of an extrovert anyway but it hurts to be excluded. Again, you can't really say anything though. What's the point, first of all? And really, you're probably making too big of a deal out of it anyway.

But it grows. You push it aside by being busy. The semester is hard and you're just barely keeping your head above water there. So you really focus on it, especially as the semester gets closer and closer to the end. You might just pass that class, maybe even get a grade above a C. You just have to keep on going a few more weeks.

In the meantime, everything else goes to heck because no one helps. Everyone expects you to do it all. Sometimes you try to in a spurt of motivation (or maybe procrastination because dang it, that one class is REALLY hard and you just don't want to deal with it right this second) but it never gets fully caught up. The tension increases but you struggle on. Sometimes you want to ugly cry but you don't. Conceal it, don't feel it. Don't let it show. You just hold it all in as best as you can. Sometimes little fights will happen but nothing big. There are problems but they aren't dealt with because you just don't have the time. Just a few more weeks to go and then I can deal with everything, you think. I just need to get through this semester.

The semester ends. You did well and made the President's List for the third semester in a row. Now it's time to get to work. You're going to tackle everything you're behind on, get everyone on a schedule. You're now home full time for the next four months. You have plans to write, blog, clean, eat better, maybe even exercise.

It's not so easy to transition to that summer vacation mindset. You're feeling unmotivated and tired all the time. You end up having to pay the rent because your husband didn't have the money for it. What?! Where did it all go?! You're frustrated and angry but determined that this too will be conquered over the summer months.

Then crisis hits. The electricity goes off because the bill (now over $1000) isn't paid. It's more than a month after April and even though there was an arrangement made, your husband didn't follow through. "I didn't think they would turn it off!" he exclaims. You have nowhere to turn. He tells you not to call your sister and when you call the coaching phone, no one responds. The electricity situation is remedied but the power won't be back on until the next morning. You shut down. No one sees it as an emergency. Perhaps it's not really but there's nothing to really distract you from it either. No power means no light, no power to charge devices, no wi-fi. You're angry with your husband because he was SO irresponsible but he won't even allow you to say anything without him turning your anger issues back at you. Besides, to him it's a big, fun, adventure like camping. He goes out and gets subs for you and the kids and you take two Xanax so you don't feel anything anymore. Conceal it, don't feel it, don't let it show.

Your sister is having her own crisis so can't help when you do finally call her. What can she or anyone do anyway? She calls the next day when you post that the power might not be back on before 3:30, more than 24 hours after it was turned off. She reassured you about the food (which would have helped the night before), then came by to take you somewhere for coffee and breakfast since you can't make coffee without electricity. At least the girls are at school and can get both breakfast and dinner.

The electricity thing gets resolved but the response from the therapist when you see him is not helpful. To be honest, you're hurt and you feel rejected when you're told that there shouldn't be more than a session a month at this point. The idea is to find NON therapy support. Yeah, lots of luck with that. That's not something that's worked well in the past.

You're back to where you were before though. Problems aren't resolved. Money is being spent on dinners out because you're not home due to babysitting. Never mind that it was a Friday and Friday is usually pizza night. Money is also being spent on a party that's planned by your 10 year old daughter. Not that a party is a bad thing but it was something thrown together with no thought to the money situation at all. Meanwhile, 20% comes out of each check for the tithes and your husband plans to pay for the two girls to attend Bible camp over the summer even though they're very likely to be eligible for financial assistance. After all, you're already receiving food stamps and the county very quickly paid off most of that $1000+ electric bill with energy assistance.

The lack of motivation doesn't improve and on top of it, you become sick with a cold. It doesn't take long for another crisis to come up though this time, it's something entirely trivial. Still, those emotions have nowhere to go anymore. It's been building and building and finally it erupts like Mt. St. Helens.

You're drowning and no one can see you are drowning. Worse, they're drowning you in the process.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Challenge of Summer Vacation

Another school year is done for me. The girls have another couple of weeks and then they'll be off school as well. It's been a difficult two weeks for me. The last few weeks of school, there was a lot to do and my focus was all on that. I had tests to study for and take, assignments to complete, papers to write, classes to attend. There was something going on nearly every day. I was either on campus or at home working on assignments. Then it all abruptly ends and trying to go from school mode to non-school mode is really hard for me. I find myself adrift, not sure what to do or where to start. The apartment is a disaster but absolutely overwhelming. My sleep schedule is trying to adjust because even though I have no classes, I still have to get the girls up in the morning for school. After they leave though, it's very tempting to just go back to sleep for a couple of hours...or four...

I'm trying to find things to do, ways to improve myself. I want to get back into blogging more and maybe, finally, work on some writing. It's hard though. I'm finding motivation difficult. Things have come up this month that have been especially challenging for me and I have not dealt with them well. I suspect there may be a bit of depression going on there under the surface. The spring months, for some reason, have never been easy for me and for whatever reason, this time of year I do tend to struggle more with depression.

I need to start from the beginning, create goals and write them down. What do I want to accomplish in the next 3-4 months. This will likely be my last "summer vacation". Next year, I graduate from my programs and will hopefully be getting a job after that so if there are things I want to accomplish, THIS is the time to do it because once I'm back in school, I probably won't have the time to really focus on those things.

What do I want out of my life? Though I have things I want to focus on over the summer, ultimately, I really want to start having some life goals of my own. It's been easy to sort of drift about and live day to day but that only goes so far. Creating a life worth living for me requires life goals. What do I want that life to look like?

What do you do when you're feeling unmotivated and stuck? How do you get yourself unstuck and going again?