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?

What Do I Dislike About Myself?

So I was scanning through the blog and realized that this was a therapy assignment I never finished.  Given my current state of being, I think it’s one I need to revisit.  So here it is.

  1.  I dislike that I have a problem saying “no” to people.  I worry so much about hurting feelings that I have trouble maintaining boundaries.  I let people use me as a sounding board whenever they have frustrations, but it always comes around that they want something from me.  I have allowed myself to be pushed into situations that are causing me anxiety. Geeze, I think this one could go on forever.
  2. I dislike that I feel angry on the inside all the time, but I can’t seem to express it in a healthy way.  I suppress things I really want to say, because the only way I know how to say them would be unkind and hurtful.  Most people think I’m a nice person, despite the fact that I’ve told them I’m not.  I have mean, hateful thoughts.  I have masked my true feelings for so long, that I have learned how to speak so that I don’t sound like a raving lunatic.
  3. I dislike that I manipulate people, sometimes without even realizing I’m doing it.  I’ll want to say something mean or nasty, but instead I use passive/aggressive tactics and make someone else say it for me.  I’m so good at this, but I hate it about myself.
  4. I dislike that I am strong.  People see me as strong, someone who can take care of anything and everything.  And truth be told, if there needs to be a confrontation (and it’s something I feel strongly about), I don’t shy away.  But sometimes I just want someone to take care of something and not look at me to do it.  Sometimes I just want to be the one to be taken care of.
  5. I dislike that I am weak.  I have had to start medication for the bipolar again, which means I couldn’t handle everything in my life without breaking.  I constantly yearn for someone to take care of me.  I fake my way through life.
  6. I dislike that I am a fake.  No one knows I’m a fake, but I know.  I fake confidence.  I fake intelligence.  I fake a smile.  I fake everything.  I’m one hell of a customer service person, because nothing that comes out of me is what I really think–it’s all what everyone else wants to see and hear.
  7. I dislike that I’m a failure.  I’ve published two novels, but I don’t have the drive to publish more.  I’ve even stopped writing altogether.  I own my own business, but it’s not what I want to do–this wouldn’t be so bad, but the business is struggling.  My daughter has dealt with depression and anger problems.  She has no filter and says whatever nasty thing pops into her head.  My son has a disability and I don’t know how to help him be successful.  I worry for his future and his self-esteem.  I have failed everyone I love.
  8. I dislike that as I write this, I know someone is going to respond with something positive to try to make me feel better or minimize my negativity.  I dislike that no matter what anyone says, I will feel like this post is one of those “me, me, me” attempts to manipulate people into giving me attention.
  9. I dislike that I judge people.  Not all people, but many of them.  I dislike that all my attempts at empathy are empty and fruitless.

Okay, I think I have to stop for now.  Perhaps when I’m in a better frame of mind, I can revisit this, and work on changing some of the things I dislike.

Malcontent

mal·con·tent
[ˌmalkənˈtent, ˈmalkənˌtent]

NOUN

  1. a person who is dissatisfied and rebellious.
    synonyms: troublemaker · mischief-maker · agitator · dissident ·

    [more]
    rebel · rabble-rouser · discontent · complainer · grumbler · moaner · whiner · grouch · grump · bellyacher · kvetch · squeaky wheel

ADJECTIVE

  1. dissatisfied and complaining or making trouble.

The above is courtesy of bing, and it’s how I feel right now.

Life has been insane for the last few months.  My husband started this new “lifestyle” of healthy living–which I fully support, but has been making life difficult.  My kids, of course, are busy as always.  My grandmother went into the hospital a month ago for surgery because she’d been vomiting and losing weight for months.  A second, emergency surgery later, she has finally started to recover.  My whole family thinks I should be able to take care of everything and do everything.  My mother called me today crying because she doesn’t have her mother.

Somewhere along the way, I have lost myself again.  I’m not writing.  I have no energy.  I feel like the weight of the world rests on my shoulders.  I feel like no one appreciates the struggles I go through to do everything for them.  That doesn’t mean I want a pat on the back, or even a simple thank you.  What I would like is a little respect.  Respect the fact that I came home from work early to clean and make the house nice.  Don’t throw your things around, put them away or at least in an out of the way place.  Don’t snap at me over laundry because I took an hour to myself and napped. Don’t go out of your way to contradict me or question my methods when you have done anything and I have done all of it.

I have cooked to suit your new diet.  I have taken up all the slack when you want to do your thing–which I support because God knows, if you’re not satisfied and happy, no one can be.  I have supported you through every bad time that’s come down the pike.  But when something is going on in my family, you turn on me and say you’re trying, but you can only take so much.  I need to spend more time with you.

See.  Malcontent.  I am so unhappy.  I feel like the weight of the world is crushing me, and I don’t know how much longer I can hold it up.  I want to rebel and tell everything to fuck off, and in some ways I do, but no one takes me seriously.

The road is long and there is no end in sight.

Everyday is a Struggle

Every single day, I feel the struggle to determine if what I’m feeling is normal or if it is a bipolar reaction.  Every action, every emotion, every word has to be analyzed on the spot so that I don’t make an ass of myself or worse.  Let me tell you, it’s exhausting–not to mention nearly impossible.

How can I determine if something is “normal,” when I don’t know what normal is?  Have I ever been normal?  Most of my adult life I have watched others and thought that they were so much more grown up than me.  I have felt inferior (I don’t anymore), and like I didn’t have it together.  I think I know now that everyone is wearing a mask, and no one really feels like they have it all under control.  My mask has gotten so good over the years, that sometimes I even fool myself into believing I’ve got it together.

But then there are days, weeks, months, even years like this one.  When I’m slammed with the fact that I have control over nothing.  It’s a hard thing for me to deal with, that loss of the imagined control.  On the surface, I seem calm and reasonable (I’ve had several people tell me this in the last few days).  But I know that underneath, there is a storm brewing, threatening to consume me from the inside out.  I can feel the swirling of the hurricane in my gut as it grows larger and larger until, inevitably, I can no longer contain it.

But is that normal?  Since adulthood, this has been one of the most difficult years of my life.  I have been through abuse, therapy, the loss of a child, the loss of jobs, a bipolar diagnosis, and so much more I keep telling myself that as long as I continue to get up and move, then it hasn’t beaten me yet and I’m still strong; but part of me wonders why I always have to be so strong.  Is it defeat if I just say to hell with it all and walk away?  I’ve always thought so, but what the hell do I know?

All I know for sure, is that I’m exhausted by circumstance and then trying to figure out if I’m reacting appropriately to those circumstances.  I’m a big proponent of “life is 10% what happens, 90% how you deal with it,” but lately, I don’t feel like I’m dealing with it all.

As a side note, it worries me that whenever I log in here, I have tons of views on the post titled “Sexual Self Harm.”  I did a search and my post is number 2 in the results, and the first post doesn’t give any information specific to sexual self harm.  If you know of any resources, or places people can look for more specific information, please post them in the comments.  I’m working on a post that will be just places people can go for information and help, but it seems very limited.

Hell in a Handbasket

So, my life is falling apart around me.  It’s gone so far that I feel like the proverbial straw is stalking me.  But, I’ve indulged in enough self-pity (an absolutely useless and destructive emotion), and I want to talk about something else today.

I read this blog post (find it here:  http://driftingthrough.com/) about women de-escalating incidents that are sexist and/or threatening.  A lot of it resonated with me.  I’ve been the woman with the keys between her fingers, I’ve buried feelings of confusion by interactions with male friends because I don’t know if I’m making something out of nothing, etc.

I found unique ways to de-escalate (something I didn’t realize I was doing until I started reading the above post).  I became one of the guys.  I let everything roll of my back and took it all as a joke (even if some things hurt or confused me)–because after all, who would ever really be interested in making a pass at me.  I can tell a dirty joke with the best of them, I can make them blush faster than they can offend me, and I just keep on smiling while I do it.  But what has happened to me on the inside?

My daughter, my gorgeous 13-year-old daughter, has already had to deal with some of these things.  Two years ago, boys were harassing her in the playground and patting her ass.  The school dress code has become a joke because it puts the responsibility for behavior on how the females are dressed and not how anyone behaves.  She wants to organize a “no-bra” week.  She said if shoulders are so offensive and so dangerous to show, how would they like it if all the eighth grade girls gave up their bras for a week–technically not violating the dress code.

Now I don’t consider myself a modern day feminist–mostly because I believe the feminist agenda has changed from lifting women up to beating men down, and if you raise one by lowering another, doesn’t everyone lose?  I’m also not politically correct.  I just don’t have time to worry about every little thing that might come out of my mouth.  What I am, is sensitive to other’s feelings, and I think this was what the author of the above post was trying to get at.

If we take just a few minutes to notice how someone is reacting to our words and behavior, and modify it if they appear uncomfortable or threatened, wouldn’t a lot of this be avoided?  Everyone reacts differently to situations, and I’m not suggesting that we are totally responsible for those reactions; however, if we recognize that a bare shoulder is not an invitation to a come on, if we acknowledge that a raunchy joke may make someone feel harassed, wouldn’t it be easy them to take responsibility for our actions and reactions?

I don’t know.  Am I way off base?