Motherhood & Madness: I knew this would be hard but this is REALLY hard.

I am staring at the computer screen trying to think of how to illustrate to you how difficult I find my life now. This does not mean I hate it, it just means I spend a lot of time wanting to throw my hands up in the air and say “fuck it”. After having my son, I was supposed to not work for a year. This did not turn into a reality. B was supposed to be actively involved. This did not turn into a reality. I am trying to hardest to balance caring for my son and work to bring in money. I also take on the majority of the responsibility for the physical chores and mental work (ie: noticing my son’s needs and what our household needs to function). I am not different from the millions of women and femmes that are in these beautiful and strenuous loving caretaker roles. This is new to me though and the adjustment makes me want to rip my hair out.

I finally know what sleep deprivation feels like and it feels like stupid. I am very forgetful and cognitively slow. I never feel rested. I always feel like I’m pushing myself and running on fumes. I find myself spending longer in the bathroom or shower when I can so I can have more time to myself. I bubble with rage when B says that he’s tired because I know he has slept longer than I have. I cannot for the life of my figure out why B has time to watch a movie and I don’t. How is it that he has finished 2 books since our son was born and I have started 4 books and abandoned them all?

I am trying to balance everything because I need to radically accept that this is what is happening in my life. I was life-balance_23-2147533397given a colouring book day planner and have started to attempt to organize my time. I have decided to dedicate 2 days a week to each of my jobs. None of these days will be weekends. All the other days will be solely dedicated to my son and to doing enjoyable activities during his naps such as reading, colouring, meditating and whatever else I want. I want to enjoy my son and when I am worried about fitting in work I do not enjoy him. He deserves all of me.

Well, a new year is a chance for a new me right?

I wish you all a very happy new year and that 2017 brings you one step closer to wellbeing 🙂 We got this!!

DBT Skills: Physical Illness and Emotion Dysregulation

This Monday’s DBT class with DBT Path was about strategies that help our physical body regulate our emotions. I have heard many people deny the influence of exercise, food, sleep etc. on their mood and emotions but it is completely true! If we are not physically healthy then we are most likely not emotionally healthy and vice versa. The body needs balance!

This class got me thinking about when I was recently sick (and still am but not as bad) and how it completely dysregulated me. The Friday night before I moved into my new apartment I felt the cold coming. I had no choice but to power through for the next two days as moving could not be put on hold. While I was actually extremely skillful during the move (this was conscious and I had prepared myself for almost two weeks) I found that as the move was ending I was becoming more upset. I was tired, had a runny/stuffed up nose, I felt dizzy, was hot and was just finished! This led to some outbursts to try and ask for help. This cold also resulted in a half day at work as well as a missed day.

For the future, what can I do? I can ask for help before I get to the point of emotional outbursts. I can not rush through tasks. I can take medicine (I do not like to do this but if something must be done then I may have to give a little).

We cannot ignore our physical or emotional health. They are both important, connected and being healthy in both areas is how we can create a life worth living!

DBT: Assertive Communication Diagram

In my DBT class yesterday there was a great visual that help me understand what I’m aiming for when I communication assertively. Below is a recreation.

assertiveness

 

Assertive means there is a balance between needs. When you spend too much time focusing on your own needs and wanting everyone to do the same it is aggressive. When you spend too much time focusing on the needs of someone else you are being passive. Assertive communication is right in the middle, caring about your needs and the needs of others.

This doesn’t mean that all needs can be met as some needs can conflict with our values or now is not the appropriate time to support those needs. What assertive communication does mean, to me at least, that everyone is able to safely express what they need, negotiate what should be done and a solution is agreed upon.

I need to work on being assertive, especially within my relationship with B. I tend to only think of my own needs so finding a balance will help our communication. I am fairly assertive in my professional life so I do have personal examples to pull on which give me confidence that I can eventually master assertiveness with B.

 P.S. This is my 1400th post! Woot!

Balancing Numb and Feeling

Feeling everything…

After reading Kevin from Voices of Glass post on depression and self-esteem I started thinking about my own experience with depression.

Thinking then lead me to remember a conversation I had with one of Michael’s friends. We were talking about the treatments we had tried to treat our dysfunctional emotions and he said that he didn’t like medication because it made him feel nothing. I responded that I would give almost anything to feel nothing.

I’m shocked that I said it, that I’d sometimes rather be numb.

The face of numb

Because I had dysthymic disorder I didn’t experience episodes of depression. I chronically was depressed. If you ever see me refer to my “episode of depression” I’m referring to the time from 2003-2007ish. So from the ages of 13-18 I felt numb. My goal in life was to feel. I would do everything horrible to myself to try to feel something.

Completely recovering from dysthymia resulted in a flood of feelings. I feel everything and most of it feel involuntary.  Feeling can be painful and I don’t like how that feels.

I used to think that feeling something was better than nothing but now I’m wishing I could be a little numb once in a while.

It’s all about balance I guess. I know numb is not a desired state to be in. I’m really looking for calm.

I like the fact I don’t need to put my life on the line to feel but I don’t like how feeling too much is also putting my life at risk.

Balance. Calm. That’s goal.