project hate myself less–failure

Pretty sure this was an exercise in futility, although I have learned a few things about myself for better or for worse.

1.  My self-worth is directly proportionate to how others view me.  As much as I tell myself I don’t care what anyone thinks, I’m lying to myself.

2.  My mental health is not so healthy right now as evidenced by anxiety attacks and stress induced chest pains.

3.  My marriage is in trouble and I no longer have the strength or desire to continue fighting for it.  When I’m the one that keeps getting knocked around, I just don’t have it in me to get back up.

4.  I don’t know how to keep the goals I set for myself.  I don’t know how to achieve them.  I don’t think they’re attainable.

5.  I wish I had the courage to end my misery, either with divorce or suicide.  But on both fronts, I am a coward.

Validation VS Diminishment

Serious question for anyone out there reading this.  When you finally find the courage to discuss your struggle, does it make you feel diminished when the person you’re talking to suddenly has all the same problems you do?   In particular when they begin to take over the conversation and what they describe is nothing like what you’re going through. (I guess I’m putting my bias into the question.)  Or does it give you a feeling of camaraderie, like the other person is trying to connect to you?

One more question.  Do you feel validated when you win an argument, even though it doesn’t really change anything?  At what point is it just not worth it?

Project Hate Myself Less–day who knows 

I thought I had been making progress.  It’s year end and quarterly tax filing time at work, so I’ve been extremely busy even though the shop is in the slow season. I have even managed to leave it at work (or only work from home during work hours).  Money has been tight, but I was making it all work.  I had even found something to do that I enjoyed, was productive, and didn’t take me from my family and duties.

Except there was the problem.  I have been sorting and cataloging a trading card game I enjoy collecting and playing.  I have about 3,000 cards so I had a card table and two tv trays set up around my chair in the living room.  Three days.  I was half done, feeling a sense of accomplishment, keeping my mind busy.  The t.v. trays were only up for one evening.  My husband saw them and had a fit.  I was taking up the whole living room (really about a third).  Why didn’t  i take down the Christmas tree first?  How could I just take up the room?  He’d never be able to do that.  He’s not even able to keep his exercise bike in the living room.  (Forget the fact that I took an entire day to make a space that was only a few feet from the living room to store it, and he carries it in every day while he takes over the entire downstairs to exercize.)

I caved to him.  I put all of my stuff away, ruining days of work.  Yes, I’ll fight and argue, some would even say I’m standing up for myself, but I’m not.  He got what he wanted, he won’t be inconvienced.  

Once again, I have nothing.  He says find something out of the house.  Well he has judo Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning when he’s off work and not at a DYD class.  The kids have activities Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.  Yes, he helps transport, but it takes both of us to make sure homework is complete, they are fed, and get them to where they need to be.

I’m starting to wonder if it’s me I really hate, or if it’s the me I become in reaction to him.

Project hate myself less–days 3 and 4

So yesterday was a toss up.  We had a reasonably busy day at the shop.  There was a major cancellation due to a client with the flu, but I was able to fill three of the four vacated slots.  Then, I managed to fill today (Saturday) for both my partner and employee.  I had managed to have a talk with my partner and tried to explain my precarious state of mind.  She half listened, half tried to say she was going through it too.  I was insistent.  I explained our weekend plans and that I would be completely unreachable until Sunday evening.  She panicked at that, but I held my ground.  I felt pretty good about all of that.  Until…toward the end of the day, our employee called off for Saturday.  I won’t get into all of the issues with this here, but I now I have to start tracking her call offs because this is becoming a habit.  My partner could not handle all the scheduled clients herself, so I was stuck rescheduling several people, fingers crossed that they didn’t cancel altogether. I did not cave, though, and cancel my family’s weekend plan. After getting home, my husband tried to rush me around, but I did my rushing the day before.
As soon as we got to our cabin, I felt like this immense weight had been lifted.  That feeling remains today.  It’s another world away from phones and internet.  I can’t even post this until I get home.  The freedom from everyone and their problems feels amazing.

Project Hate Myself Less–day 4

Yeah, so as good as it was to relax and do pretty much nothing today, I consider the whole day a failure.

My daughter told me she submitted a poem to the school literary magazine–a poem about me.  She said she was mad when she wrote it.  It’s all about how I grieved for the child I lost and how I nearly lost her brother.  She said she talked about how it would have killed me, because she wasn’t good enough.  She asked me what I thought about that.  I told her she was the only thing that kept me going through all that pain and grief.  Doesn’t matter what I say, or what I have done, she wants to hate me.

I get it, I really do.  She’s 14.  She’s pulling away from me.  She thinks she needs to hate me, she wants to hate me.  I refuse to let her grow up too fast, to get into situations that will cause her suffering she isn’t ready to handle.  I get it.  She’s 14.  She doesn’t see the possible outcomes and consequences of her choices.  She wants to do what she wants to do.  Just because I understand doesn’t make it hurt any less.

How can I hate myself less when the child I have given every part of me hates me half the time?

I’m not okay.

That was a quick rise and a quick fall.  I’m in the beginning stages of an anxiety attack.  I can feel it.  Overwhelmed, crawling skin, racing thoughts. At least I know what triggered it, but how do I stop it?

Fight withmy husband.  Planning a getaway for the weekend.  He got mad when I asked if he would stay home from judo tonight to help me prepare for this trip.  Lots to be done.  I won the argument by making several key points, but it doesn’t matter.  I shouldn’t have to fight with him to put effort into something we are all doing.  I shouldn’t have to fight because I spent the morning for myself instead of preparing for our weekend.  But I did.  And I won.  And lost.  

Why bother?

Project Hate Myself Less-Day Two

I don’t know if it was writing all my thoughts and feelings out or just the act of acknowledging how I feel about myself and taking responsibility for changing it, but something is different.

Last night I was able to work with both of my children on homework, and do so with patience.  There was no yelling, and only manageable frustration.  Compared to the day before, this was amazing.  I hope it’s a change I can maintain, as it’s probably one of the most important things to me, but I’m just going to take it day by day.

I still drank way too much soda.  I feel like I’m subsiding on nicotine and caffeine.  You’d think I’d be thinner.  I only ate one meal, dinner.  I had a burger and some cheesy rice.  I watched portions, but I was satisfied.  I didn’t snack later.  I know one meal per day is not a healthy diet, but it’s probably one of the most difficult things for me to change.  If I get busy, the first thing that goes is my meal time.  You’d really think I’d be thinner.

Sleep.  Probably one of the biggest issues for anyone with bipolar disorder.  Yes, we can function on less sleep, but it’s much more harmful to  us than to a normal person who just gets tired and rundown.  Lack of sleep actually affects our mental state.  I have been sleeping about two – three hours at night and catching a one – two hour nap right after work (I only work until 1 -2 PM).  I did nap yesterday, from about 2 – 4.  However, last night I fell asleep at 9:30.  My son was already in bed, my husband had left for work.  My daughter, bless her, just took herself to bed and didn’t wake me.  I slept the entire night until nearly 8 AM.  My husband took my daughter to school at 7 so that I could sleep a little later.

I’m off work today, so I should be doing laundry, cleaning the house, and starting early prep for dinner as it’s a busy activity night with both dance and judo.  However, I think I’m going to take some time for myself and maybe play a video game or watch a program or read a book.  Maybe I’ll watch a program and color something from one my adult coloring books.  So many options and the housework will still be there later.

I need to figure out how I can increase my activity level.  I’ve never been one to exercise much, going to the gym is out of the question.  I used to dance, and I absolutely loved my ballet and jazz classes.  Unfortunately, the studio I went to discontinued adult classes because of lack of interest.  I don’t know if I have the willpower to do anything at home on my own.  I guess time will tell, once I figure out how I’m going to accomplish this goal.

As all things, the first couple of days are the easiest.  I’m not holding my breath that things will continue with this level of positivity and success.  For anyone wondering, this is not a New Year’s resolution or anything like that.  I need to make permanent life changes that have nothing to do with vowing to be a better person because we had to remove one calendar and put up a new one.  I think that’s silly.  If we see something that we need to change in ourselves, it shouldn’t require a calendar to get us started.  Personal responsibility is a year-round thing.

Project Hate Myself Less–Day One

So after the incident last night, I have come to the conclusion that I need to do something.  I already posted a pledge to write (daily if I can), and to try to find ways to change the things about myself that I hate.  I’m not going to rehash everything I talked about last night, instead I want to focus on day one.

DAY ONE

Things I think I need to accomplish to hate myself less:

  1.  Lose weight.  I have put on about 15 pounds recently, and I wasn’t small to begin with.  Add into the fact that my husband has lost over 100 pounds this last year.  I feel pretty bad about my appearance.  I’m not a shallow person, in fact, I have accepted the fact that I will never be thin, but something has to change.  I plan to do this by:
    • Cutting out soda again.  I’m drinking it way too much.
    • Watching portion sizes at meal times.
    • Avoiding nighttime snacking.
    • Increasing my activity level.
  2. Do something small for myself each day.  This does not mean nap.  Right now, naps are essential for survival.  I need to find one small thing that is just for me.  A half an hour to read a book, time to write on the blog, paint a picture, color a picture, take a hot bath.  This does not mean wait until midnight and find time for me.  I need to find a moment in the evening for myself.  Everyone relies on me for everything, but I’m not going to be able to provide anything if I don’t start taking care of myself.  (This is going to be so hard, and I’m sure I will fail more than once.)
  3. Put myself in time out.  Before a situation becomes so out of control that I cannot think before speaking, I’m giving myself permission to go to time out.  If that means that homework has to wait or dinner is late, so be it.
  4. Stop worrying so much about money and the months to come.  Yes, we are in the slow season for my business.  No, my paychecks are not regular.  Yes, we have some major expenses coming up in the next six or seven months.  There is nothing I can do to change any of those things.  I have to trust that I have planned and prepped to the best of my ability and let it go.  Worrying will not change anything except my state of mind.
  5. Sleep at night.  I need to adjust my sleep patterns.  Two hours of sleep a night is not helping me.  It may take chemical help for a few days, but I have to start sleeping at night for a normal length of time.  I work during the day.  I’m with my family in the evening.  I have to have the energy to do what’s needed and to maybe not be so miserable while doing it.
  6. Forgive myself when I fail.  None of this is going to be easy, and following through is a tough spot for someone with bipolar disorder.  I have to accept the failures and not let them cripple me.  It’s okay for everyone else to human, therefore it needs to be okay for me to be human.

Okay.  I think that’s enough for now.  These are goals to work towards.  They are not going to happen on day one, but I’m trying.

Let’s Talk

So the half glass of wine is helping.  I’ve stopped rocking and feel slightly less frantic.  My skin is still crawling, but progress is progress.  If you want to get to the heart of this post, scroll to the bold paragraph at the bottom.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately, about myself and who I am, about my business, about my writing, about my children–not necessarily in that order.  After I hit publish on the last post, I took some time to read over the last dozen or so posts I’d shared (there are many that I started, but are as yet unfinished and probably will remain so).

Anyone who has read any of my blog knows that being a good mother is the most important thing to me.  Connecting with my kids, speaking openly with them about their issues even when it means sharing some of mine, supporting them in things they want to do and achieve are all goals that I try to fulfill every day.

My daughter, now 14, is in high academic classes with straight As.  She wants to be a practicing therapist, go figure.  She still dances heavily.  But now she has a boyfriend.  I have tried to keep the lines of communication open, I have been supportive of her relationship (oh yes, it’s a relationship and don’t even suggest that it’s just a high school romance), in short, I have given her enough freedom to make some mistakes without them being life altering.  All of those things aside, I expect her to make mistakes.  I expect her to push the boundaries and maybe even rebel a little, after all, that’s part of growing up and gaining independence.  However, twice in one week, she violated my trust and pushed those boundaries too far and showed a complete lack of respect.  One day, the boyfriend was visiting, I was doing laundry.  I was out of the living room for maybe 10 minutes.  When I came back in, they were examining each other’s teeth with their tongues.  I’m not stupid, I know they’re going to experiment and kiss and maybe more.  I was disappointed that she hadn’t talked to me about it before jumping in head first, but whatever.  What really got me was that she had enough nerve and lack of thought for me that she would do it with me a room away.  I spoke to both of them candidly, she would say lectured, about how quickly things can get out of control and before you realize it, you’re doing something you’ll regret.  I let it slide with no repercussions other than a discussion and I talked with the boy’s mother when she came to pick him up.  She’s no help.  Just a few nights later, we caught her video chatting on her cellphone with him at 2:30 in the morning.  It had already been discussed that I wasn’t comfortable with the video chatting, particularly when in bed, because of screenshot capabilities.  We talked about the risks and reputations and how relationships gone bad can change someone from loving to vengeful.  So suffice it to say, i was infuriated and consequences had to be handed down.  She is no longer permitted to have her cellphone in her room.  She is no longer permitted to go to his house, because if I can’t trust her to make a good decision to hang up the phone and go to sleep, I certainly can’t trust her to make a good decision when there is sketchy supervision.  He is still permitted at our home, but there will be no making out on the couch, a respectable distance will be kept between their bodies, and he will go home by 8 o’clock.  I have not forbidden the relationship, because let’s face it, 1.  I can’t stop her from seeing him at school and 2. I refuse to make him all the more attractive while driving her away from her family.  Honestly, she got off pretty light.  You would think I was the worst person in the world from her attitude though.  They both glared at me all evening.  She is barely speaking to me.  I hate this role.  I don’t want to be the mean mother, but I refuse to be the mother who doesn’t give a shit either.Then it was time to take the boy home and he suddenly has to text to see if anyone is there because he doesn’t have his key.  He got lucky and  his sister was there.  I make it clear to my daughter that this wasn’t a spur of the moment restriction and had he not been able to go home at the designated time, he would not have been coming back for a while.  It’s the lack of respect that’s really getting me.

My son, my poor, poor son.  I feel so disconnected with him.  I know some of that is the Asperger’s, but some of that is also me.  I try very hard to be understanding of his needs and the fact that he processes and communicates differently, but I’m struggling.  My husband keeps telling me I baby him, I feel he doesn’t understand his need for accommodations.  I ended up losing it tonight during homework (which should have been done before he went to judo, but he fooled around and did very little).  I snapped in front of my son and told my husband “I can’t do this with him.”  Looking back, I’d like to swallow every one of those words.  A few weeks ago, he had a meltdown and told me he wanted a gun so he could kill himself.  He’s 11.  He’s also been thrust into puberty that’s he’s woefully unprepared for.  He didn’t understand that the pubic hair he’s growing is normal.  Anyway, after he’d calmed down he came to me and told me he was just being dramatic, but I knew some discussion was warranted.  My husband and I asked him if he ever really wanted to hurt himself, and he indicated that sometimes he thought about it.  He’s even scratched at his hands and arms.  We explained that it’s very serious to say you want to kill yourself and to even think it far enough through to know that you want a gun.  I explained some of my anxiety and depression issues and that I used to want to hurt myself, too.  Talk about a difficult conversation.  By the end of it, we agreed that if he felt like that, he will come talk to me and we’ll deal with it together because I understand what it feels like.  Now I think back on the words I said in frustration and possibly the beginnings of an anxiety attack and I have to wonder if I just gave him his very own invisible scar.

In this post, I was going to talk about the fact that I realized just last night that I hate myself and I’m embarrassed for my family to have to be seen with me.  I’ve gained 15 pounds (and I wasn’t thin to begin with), I’ve fallen back into unhealthy eating habits and I’m drinking soda like it’s going out of style.  My activity level is down and my depression is up.  I have all but given up on writing, even though I have people who message me all the time about the next book.  I hate my job, my business, but I’m stuck there.  But I think the real reason I hate myself is that I feel like I’m failing my children.

How did I get here?  How do I leave this awful place?  What steps do I need to take to change this?  I don’t do self-pity, it’s destructive and useless.  I know it’s on me to change things I don’t like.  But how does one change the fact that they hate the very person they are?  My most recent tattoo is of a woman (face in profile).  She’s pulling off a smiling mask to reveal tears and sadness underneath.  Have I been wearing my mask for so long that I fooled myself into believing it?  No wonder I’m having anxiety attacks.  I feel so out of control.

Anxiety/Panic Attack

I am currently, as in this very moment, in the middle of an anxiety attack the likes of which I haven’t seen in years.  I’m writing to try to distract myself while sipping wine instead of taking a pill because if I take a pill, I will not be able to get up in the morning with my children.  Not only to distract myself, but because I need to write as well.  I honestly have to wonder how many anxiety attacks I’ve been having and just have been too damn busy to notice the effects.  It is entirely possible to function with anxiety, perhaps not well, but possible.  I’m usually much more self-aware, but this sneaked (snuck?) up on me.

I was searching netflix on the xbox for something that might help me fall asleep.  I cannot fall asleep without background noise and light (leftover coping mechanism from the childhood abuse), but the requirements are pretty specific.  I have to either be completely bored out of my mind or it has to engage my mind so thoroughly that it is distracted from the fact that it doesn’t want to rest.  Anyway, for the last few hours, I have been fighting nighttime hunger.  I had both lunch and dinner today, but my appetite wasn’t satisfied.  I’ll discuss this more later, I think.  So I’m scrolling through netflix and I suddenly I realize that I’m rocking back and forth on the sofa.  My elderly dog, 12 year old husky, notices something and comes over, whines, and puts her head in my lap.  Not a service dog of any kind, just a wonderful pet.  I figured she wanted out.  I went to the back door and let her out and then noticed that my right fist is punching my thigh.  I only noticed because I had to force myself to stop to open the door.

So here I sit, in front of the computer, rocking back and forth on the chair as I type–absolutely stunned that I can type as well as I am in the midst of this, although not sure if any of this is coherent–drinking a half glass of wine and chain smoking.  Just half a glass.  If it doesn’t work, I’ll pour another half glass.  After that I’m done.  I’m not an alcoholic and I don’t want to be one.  I also refuse to use alcohol as a crutch even though that feels like what I’m doing at the moment.  I will retain control.  If one glass of wine doesn’t work, I’ll just suffer through it until it passes.

No one to call, only a couple friends and they’re normal and in bed.  Husband is at work.  Kids are asleep, thank god, they don’t need to see me like this.  My grandmother is not well.  My mother is crazier than I am.  Anyone have any suggestions on how to naturally ease an anxiety attack?