I’ve been really down this past week, stuck in a low, low funk. I thought it was my period, which took it’s sweet time showing up, and made me an awful bitch for five days, and while I do think it was partly that, I’m realizing there is more too it.
There has been a lot weighing on me recently, and I’ve been a little perplexed as to why it all feels so… heavy, so burdensome. After a mini-breakdown and some tears cried on my husband’s shoulder, I think I’ve finally figured it out.
I’m dealing with some personal challenges right now, and each of them, in its own distinctive way, leaves me with an overwhelming feeling of “I don’t know how to handle this.” When I don’t know how to do something, or I feel change lies in the hands of someone else, I start to panic. I start to worry that maybe it can’t be done. That the thing that needs “fixing” can’t be fixed, and I’ll just have to keep living this way, forever.
Physically, I am still plagued with lady business issues, and I’m starting to think they’ll never go away. The idea of painful, or at least uncomfortable, sex for the rest of my life makes me incredibly depressed. And I don’t feel like I can talk to my husband about it because it makes him just as upset. I’ve done a ton of research online, I’ve seen or talked to three specialists, and I’m no closer to getting this resolved than I was a year ago. I’m supposed to go see a final specialist in March but the appointment has already been cancelled and rescheduled twice so who knows when I’ll actually get in. I have to admit, I’m not in much of a hurry to see her, because if she can’t help me there is no one who can, and I don’t have a lot of faith that she’s going to have some answer that no one else was able to come up with.
I went to the family orientation meeting at the Child and Adolescent Psychology department at Kaiser. It was fine… and depressing and upsetting and absolutely horrible. Filling out the form, answer the questions, circling the words and numbers, seeing it all there in black and white… It was a lot. I cried. My tears left warped circles on the intake paperwork.
The person I saw was very nice. Talking to him was therapeutic–I was simultaneously sure that nothing serious is wrong with my daughter and also certain that I needed help to manage her intense emotions and chronic, low-grade anxiety. I love my daughter so much, and I want to do what’s best for her, but I just don’t know how to be the endless well of patiences she needs.
I’m reading (for maybe a second time? I don’t think I finished it before) Raising Your Spirited Child and listening to Anxious Kids, Anxious Parents. I’m getting great ideas from both, but I’ll be honest, I’m sick of reading parenting books. I’m tired of not knowing how to handle things myself. I’m overwhelmed by how hard all of this is. What happened to mother’s intuition? What happened to knowing your child best? I guess I do know her best, but that doesn’t mean I know how best to handle her unique challenges. It just feels shitty to not know how to make it better for her, for me, for both of us.
And then there is the money stuff, always the money stuff, constantly in the background. I still have $2,000 left on my credit card and it starts accruing interest next month. I ran my phone through the washing machine a couple weeks ago and getting a new one killed any chance I had of putting anything toward my debt this month. I’m still not using credit cards and ended up overdrafting a few times with my debit card before I realized I was out of money (I was mentally keep track of where I was with my spending but obviously failing miserably at that). I went to the bank yesterday to change $80 worth of quarters into bills and to cash two $20 American Express Traveler’s Checks from 2006 that I found when we cleaned out all the paperwork last month. I have $120 to get me to the end of the month, including gas and groceries. I’ve already spent $45 of it (on groceries) and I have two dinners with friends planned for next week too, so….
That has been my biggest challenge on the money front so far this year. My compulsive shopping probably is almost entirely under control, but I promised myself I’d focus on friendship in 2015 and I’ve actually done a REALLY good job of keeping that promise to myself (more on this soon, I can’t believe I haven’t written about it yet). The only problem is that being with friends is EXPENSIVE. It’s not that I don’t think one can go out without spending a lot of money–friendship and savings don’t have to be mutually exclusive–but I have been meeting with women I don’t yet know very well, and we’ve been meeting after work, so dinner and/or drinks makes a lot of sense. It’s a lot harder to do frugal things with women I’m not close with. It’s also harder to spend less at night, when my kids are asleep (so we can’t meet at my house) and it’s dark out (so we have to be inside).
I know I can make cheaper choices when I am out; I can eat a little before I go to dinner and then just eat a salad or order an appetizer. I can stick to Diet Coke or just get one drink. I have definitely been indulging a bit, because it feels so good to just let go and enjoy myself, but clearly I can’t manage that AND stay within my budget.
Of course, I could always stop doing so much with friends. That is another way to save money. I guess I’m just not sure what the right answer is. Do I stop, or scale back my efforts to make new friends and deepen friendships until I’ve paid off my debt, even though I’ve identified a lack of friends as a very big and very real problem in my life? Or do I resign myself to paying interest on my debt for a few more months and nurture these burgeoning friendships that I feel so lucky to have in my life? I’m not sure what to do.
And in the end, that is what characterizes each of these situations–I don’t know how to do these things. I don’t know what the answers are. These are big issues in my life and I don’t know how to make them better–there may not even be ways to make them better–and I HATE feeling out of my depth in so many areas. I loathe feeling like I don’t know how to make things better, when they are making me miserable.
I know none of these are actually big issues. My physical stuff is not that bad and it only really affects one area of my life. The challenges I face parenting my daughter are real, but they are also absolutely manageable. She hasn’t been diagnosed with anything that requires me to rework my expectations about who she will be and what she can achieve. And the money troubles are of my own making, and very first-world at that. I recognize that these aren’t big problems, and really I just need to suck it up.
I suppose that is why I wrote this post. To remind myself that things aren’t that bad, and that it’s okay if I don’t know how to do these things yet. I can learn, even if it takes a long time and I mess up along the way. I will get better. Things will get better. And someday, maybe even soon, it won’t all feel so overwhelming.
How are you doing these days? Is there anything that feels overwhelming in your life?