Procrastinater VS Planner

Since my ability to straddle the extreme in most anything is not in question, I’ll refrain from the long list of struggles I’ve had¬†in this area.

You’re welcome. ūüôā

I do have to tell you a funny story though and in it, I’m sure you’ll see this contradiction at play.

Monday’s used to stress me out. A LOT!

I’m not a morning person, and sleep has always been an issue, so I often spend my weekend catching up on sleep, which bites me in the butt on Monday’s when I have to return to the “early bird” world. And that is just the beginning of why I hated Mondays!

In the last couple of years, I’ve implemented a solid system of planning to prevent Monday’s from being so stressful.

  • ¬†I changed my start time at work to an hour later on Monday’s and offered to do a task that can only be done at night, in return. Problem solved!
  • I make sure I have clothes ready before I go to bed Sunday night.
  • I have a back up outfit, just in case.
  • I have two alarms.
  • I refuse any and all requests of a personal nature…no eating out with friends, no dinner plans, no running of errands, nothing.
  • I tell coworkers that Monday’s are my busiest days, so I can’t plan meetings on them or cover other people who are out. Pick any other day.

So now, for the most part, my Monday’s are relatively good and even when it does get a little hectic, it’s still¬†manageable.

My planner side is typically very effective….until my procrastinating side completely undermines it.

I noticed a button on my pants has been dangling by a thread…for oh, maybe two months now. I meant to fix them…I was going to get to that soon…next time I washed them….for sure then….

So today (Monday!), I enter a stall in the bathroom at work and as I unbutton my pants, off pops the button! I have to say, if I didn’t have a planner side, it probably wouldn’t have struck me as being so funny, but I found it¬†hilarious! So I pick up the button and sit down and spend the next 25 minutes in the stall trying to weave that one remaining thread in and out the button holes and then knot it so that it stays on. I’m so grateful there is more than one stall and most of the time I was alone, because I couldn’t help but giggle at the ridiculousness of the situation. ¬†Me, planner extraordinaire, lost 25 minutes on my busiest day…to a button…and not just any button…one that I knew was close was about to fall off.

Today I’m grateful that I’m less stressed and can find humor in these things, as five years ago, that would have been the straw (button) that broke the camels back (pants)!

 

Addiction Confliction

Addiction has always been my demon. I believe having a mood disorder that went untreated for decades added to a genetic propensity for addiction leaving me vulnerable and willing when the opportunity presented itself.

My dad’s father died from complications of alcoholism and tobacco use. My mothers father died from complications of diabetes and gangrene that was a result of alcoholism.

I started overusing medication at an early age. I would sneak into the medicine cabinet all the time and take anything from baby aspirin to Di-gel tablets repeatedly. ¬†My parents insisted I was a hypochondriac and I believed that as a child. ¬†However as an adult I now can tell you for certain that¬†I took medicine because I was physically uncomfortable, even if the cause was psychological. ¬†Each time my parents would catch me and make me stop for a while. At 13 or 14 I started drinking, but it didn’t become regular until I was 15 or 16 at which time I also started smoking. When I started working at 16, I was introduced to coke, which led to meth. Once on meth, I completely gave up drinking and smoking and I was hooked on meth until I was 19.

The first time I got clean I was 20. The irony was not lost on me when I was the cleanest I’d ever been on my 21st birthday, a time when many are welcomed into adulthood with the ability to legally drink.

Once I finally made it through meth withdrawals and back to some semblance of normalcy, I had to start taking Ibuprofen to sleep each night or otherwise I couldn’t get but a few hours and it wasn’t enough for me to function.

I was also a roller coaster of emotions.  Anger was a common one, but the spectrum was readily available, welcomed or not.

I went to the doctor asking for a sleep aid and she said she would rather I take ibuprofen than risk getting hooked on a sleep aid. In hind sight, I probably should have found another doctor, but I understand her reluctance to give a former addict a potentially addictive drug.

Soon the ibuprofen wasn’t enough and I began drinking again. A little, quickly turned into everyday ¬†complete¬†with hard liquor and many binge drinking episodes over the next decade or so (prior to getting pregnant). ¬†I also smoked off and on.

When I met my ex-husband, we mostly hung out together and drank. It was fun, we didn’t have a child at the time and we always went to work, so I became a high-functioning alcoholic.

I didn’t drink during the day (unless on vacation), I didn’t crave it at all during the day. I got home, made dinner and that’s when the wine started flowing.

When I was pregnant, it was the second time I became clean. I didn’t drink,¬†smoke or do drugs¬†and I have to tell you, that period of time was horrific. Not because I was pregnant but because I couldn’t sleep and there was nothing I could do about it. I would get 5ish hours a night, when I was lucky, and stayed¬†completely miserable all day. My anxiety hit a whole new high. I was so desperate for my son to be born thinking it would surely all subside, but to my surprise things actually got worse. I didn’t realize yet how taking pain medication would throw me into deep depression. Only in hindsight (after looking back at each time I ever had to take it in the past) did I finally make the connection. So after a c-section I spent two days in a morphine haze, which turned into a deep and difficult depression.

By week 4 of baby, since I never (ever!) got milk, I decided there was no harm in drinking a little at night after baby was asleep.

I still maintained that I was not really an alcoholic because I never thought about it during the day, I didn’t miss work, I didn’t drink and drive, I just drank a bottle of wine between dinner and bed. I didn’t get drunk in case baby needed me.

Years later when my marriage hit the rocks, my bottle turned into two. I’m fairly certain I was poisoning myself daily but all I cared about was getting out.

Once I was out, 2 bottles turned back into 1 and about a year into my freedom I actually stopped drinking for 3-4 months. Then the ex’s girlfriend moved from another state, to in with him and life spun out of control once again. My drinking went from none to a bottle and a half a night, in the span of about a week.

Two years ago, the ex & his moved out of state and things settled down again. Down to one bottle I went and I drink it over 3-4 hours, so I’m not even really drunk, I just get super tired and I love that. It something no sleep aid has ever been able to accomplish without severe after¬†affects.

Lately the amount has been creeping up again. ¬†I know that my drinking is a problem. I’ve tried to quit several times as of late. I can no longer hide behind my fantasy that I’m not an alcoholic, despite all my excuses: ¬†I don’t drink during the day or even really think about it. I’m not drinking to get drunk, because I don’t like being out of control, I just drink to slowly relax and eventually induce sleep. I don’t drink and drive. I go to work.

But the truth is that it does affect me.

I want to stop.

It’s good money going out the window. It’s hard on my body. I can’t lose the weight I want to. I sometimes oversleep. I hate feeling trapped by the addiction.

So in recent conversations with my therapist, I told her of my 3 year plan. My son will be out of school. I won’t feel as vulnerable, if I should lose my job. And ever since my first addiction, I desperately wanted to do an in-patient addiction program. I’ve quit “addiction” at least 3 times on my own, it’s hard, painful and I always end up back there. So my plan was to get the kiddo through high school and check myself in.

Now is when the demon rises…whenever I get to the point that I recognize addiction holding me back, I quit. I quit drinking, I quit smoking, I quit meth. So my brain is in a tug of war over the fact that I shouldn’t wait 3 more years. I’ve quit before and I should quit now. Save the money, the fat and the bad influence on my son and just stop. So I go a day without drinking and then the next day I have two bottles. It’s like I’m on a roller coaster and it’s become mostly what I think about.

I know from past experience that by week two of being sober, I’m pretty much home free if I stay away completely, but I can’t see making it to week two¬†in my current life.

I realized last night, after drinking one bottle (all I had at home) and not being able to fall asleep, that in the last 3-4 weeks I’ve had about a dozen hair brained ideas of businesses I could start, but eventually talked myself out of.

I kept thinking it was born out of boredom. It’s not though, it’s my subconscious trying to uproot my life enough to help me quit drinking. But then addiction sweeps in and says, you can’t keep up with a business, go relax and have a glass of wine.

I want to wait and check myself in and do it right this time…with support, with medicine for the withdrawals, with no outside influence from the real world and with the proper support when reintegrating back into the real world. I want real skills to keep it at bay. I want to break the neuro-pathways for good. I want to be really healthy. I also think it would be SO¬†incredibly helpful for them to see what I’m really like not addicted so that they can be sure I’m on the right medicine to control my different brain. I’ve never had a real diagnosis and my meds are always a best guess based on how I am at the time, including addiction. Yes, my doctors are aware I drink wine with my meds. They are not happy about it, but would rather I take meds and keep functioning than possibly slip back into suicidal ideation.

Yet, I feel like I am wasting my life. I have so much to offer, but I can’t truly be stable if I’m drinking. I don’t want to keep throwing good money away. I want to lose weight before I end up with a permanent illness like diabetes or a heart condition. I want to exercise and it not kill me like it does now. I want to get off the asthma inhaler and cure the re flux…both caused by my drinking. I want to stop feeling sore everyday when I wake up. I wan’t to break out of this 9-5 job and live the american dream…be self employed, have a for-profit to fund my non-profit. Do something that really has impact on others (in a good way!) ¬†I want to find love.

There is a tiny part of me that is afraid. I keep hanging my hat on the fact that if I wasn’t drinking I would achieve so much…lose the weight, get healthy, save up for a vacation, start a business, find love…but what if I quit and none of that is true…and I’m really am the same person even without alcohol. Would that reality spawn the next deep depression.

Maybe that’s addiction talking, but maybe not…I have been sober before….

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I’m sure this will be the subject of my life for the next weeks to months, but I probably won’t be posting about it unless it’s that I quit, so don’t worry about having to go through this again anytime soon. ūüôā

 

The Alure of Danger

***Trigger Alert*** ¬† ¬†Before we start – I’m in no way feeling suicidal

Flash back close to 30 years ago. I was in a dark place and calling my behavior “reckless” would be a huge understatement.

Enter Tarek

Tarek was from Palestine…the real one, not the one in Texas. He lived there until his early teens and carried a machine gun around town to survive. His family moved to
England to get away from the war and when he finished high school, sent him to Long Beach, CA to attend college.

Tarek excelled at EVERYTHING. There wasn’t a class or a sport he couldn’t conquer and he did it with an easy going fun demeanor, despite a lot of deep seated anger.

Tarek and I had a chemistry instantly and while it would be a long time before we ever acted on that chemistry, we started feeding off of one another’s self destructive behaviors immediately. Being an overachiever and “slightly” competitive myself put us head to head often.

We both thrived off of the adrenaline rush of danger and that of meth. To me, death didn’t seem so bad compared to my life and I wonder now if he felt that way too. Our one attempt at a relationship failed over about a three day span, but the friendship and chemistry never waned.

We parted ways when we both went to our respective homes to “straighten out.” We tried to keep in touch through snail mail, but it was hard. A lot of waiting.

One night during the first few times I considered divorcing my husband, I had a dream about Tarek that was so vivid and so powerful I began trying to find him. I learned his family moved to Spain. I continued trying to find him for years, but the mail kept coming back “no one here by that name”.

Then one night when I was at a “girls night” in my old stomping grounds I found out that Tarek had died a few years earlier, by overdosing. My world shattered around me, like a hallucination, dropping in pieces to the ground and my chest felt like an elephant sat on it. I pretended to be fine, but it was so all consuming, the minutes seems like hours and even after I got home I couldn’t sleep. I felt completely frantic.

Then I remembered the dream and wondered if it was him trying to tell me something. Maybe that he was OK? I could remember the dream in such detail, but he never said anything. We were at a picnic with his girlfriend and just having a nice time. I felt safe and happy and warm. I remember feeling such peace when I woke up from that dream and now I just felt confused.

In the last few years, I’ve dreamt about him many times. I still believe in my heart, he is trying to tell me something, but I just can’t seem to figure out what it is.

This morning I was struggling to get going because my son had a touch of a stomach bug and kept me up. I finally pulled it together and out the door for work about a half an hour later than normal.

I was sitting at a light when I looked up in my rear view mirror and saw a man on a motorcycle and instantly thought of Tarek. I smiled. When the light turned green I accelerated at my usual Mario Andretti speed and I noticed him slide up to me like I was standing still….and that’s when I flashed back to a night on the freeway in SoCal…complete with euphoric, invincible adrenaline.

Tarek and I were headed back to Long Beach, I was in my car and he on his motorcycle. We were going well above the speed limit, weaving in and out of cars like complete idiots, but the rush was like a drug. He would lead for a while, then I would manage to get out in front. We were playfully chasing one another in a dangerous dance with our lives. (and probably the lives of countless others, but I didn’t even consider them in the moment)

As the man on the motorcycle came around me and moved into my lane, I couldn’t resist the desire to keep up with him. My mind raced with memories of Tarek. It was the best I’ve felt in a very long time. After I finally backed off and he was far out of sight, my brain slowed back down to a reasonable speed and so did my car.

Then it occurred to me that not everyone who is feeling suicidal ideates the same. For many it’s a sad decent into the desire to die, but for others the allure of danger is sometimes inescapable because it’s easier to put yourself in harms way then to just take your own life. I wondered if Tarek actually meant to overdose, or if it was an accident during a rush inducing, risky behavior.

I used to be that person and while I haven’t felt the allure in YEARS…I certainly felt it in that 10 minute rush this morning. Maybe I need to take up Sky Diving. I miss Tarek.

Counting Stars

Friendship, Fellowship, Comradeship

It’s something we all need and something many of us here have trouble maintaining.

I remember as a teen, it was particularly difficult to maintain anything close to good friendships because of my extreme mood swings. I usually had no idea what caused them, although in hindsight I would say extreme sleep deprivation from insomnia played an enormous role, but I never saw them coming.  I made friends easily and was the life of the party one day and completely withdrawn and uninterested in communicating the next.

As friendships tried to develop I began to experience the bitter pill I would learn to swallow frequently when a friend and I would excitedly make grand plans and then I would back out at the last minute disappointing them and derailing the friendship. It was never intentionally to disappoint or push them away, but my unpredictability made it nearly impossible to have a reciprocal¬†relationship. I got to the point where I withdrew my feelings completely and would just listen and be empathetic to others to the point where one actually snapped at me and said “I always share with you and you never share with me…it’s like you think you are better than me.” Nothing could have been¬†farther from the truth in my teen years, it was more about not being able to share the whole me. The fun part, everyone loved, but the dark part was more than they could handle.

Fast forward 30 years and I do have a few very close friends. The kind you can wake up in the middle of the night crying over a sad show you just finished watching. Not that I would, but I could!

What I never seemed to get the hang of was regular fellowship. I was not raised going to church and rarely got involved in anything that had an expectation of my unpredictable time.

Now that I’m a tiny bit more predictable, I am really striving to find that regular comradeship to look forward too. Of course, I know I’m not able to make a commitment unless it’s completely understood up front that I will, from time to time, back out last minute. ¬†I would only do that if I’m not in a good place and that happens less and less since starting Seroquel last year.

My friend, who I talked about last week¬†and I hung out last night and make eggplant bolognese & pasta¬†and watched a movie. It was a lot of fun, but she too is looking to find a larger group of people to hang out with, so that if one person (like me) cancels, everyone else can continue on, keeping the pressure off should “moody me” strike.¬†I’ve tried in the past to start get together’s, but when I backed out they fell apart, so I stopped.

I think I have turned a corner though. I think I am ready to try again. So I’m going to send a message to all the ladies in my life and try to set up a paint & wine party. There are a couple of really fun places that host them, so I don’t even have to worry about cleaning my house! LOL

Wish me luck…and a hope that “moody me” stays on the picket line!

Kittens…just a bit longer

I’m a little misty eyed. ¬†Monday, my brood is 6 weeks, the magic number for adoption. My little foster’s family decided they can’t take her, so I’m going to keep the smaller tabby behind to keep my foster¬†company until she is ready (in about a week and a half) for adoption, but I already have 4 families wanting to come adopt the rest.

Of course, I have kept my emotional distance and I haven’t named them, so I thought I was in the clear, but tonight I went and sat with them again and it was like my heart grew three sizes.

I know I will do the right thing by them and let them get happy homes, but it will be harder than I thought.

I had planned to keep them until they could be fixed, but when¬†I called they told me it could be 4 more weeks and close to $300. Since I am lucky to have made it this long without getting caught with them, I just can’t risk it, but I plan to make sure their new homes will ensure they are fixed.

The really cool thing is that several of the adopters want to adopt in pairs and I think that’s the best of all options for a kitten, so my heart is happy for them.

Once they are homed, I think I’m going to get momma cat fixed in try to bring her inside for a bit. She has really warmed up to me now that the kittens climb all over me like I’m “kitty mountain.” I can’t keep her because I’m at my pet limit (times 3), but she is becoming so docile I don’t think having her fixed and left feral is fair to her. So if I can tame her a bit more, I’m sure I can find her a good home.

I can’t believe my brood (and the foster) survived outside on my patio for 6 weeks. Nature is truly a force to be reckoned with…and I guess, maybe so is their momma cat and their human mom. ūüôā

To the kittens!!!

As if on queue

I started writing a post earlier today about the fact that I feel alone and that I’m in my head (not such a kind place) all too often.

I was beating myself up because I am not in a relationship and while I know my passion, I can’t seem to grab a hold of my purpose.

I accidentally closed the browser window before I posted it (lucky you!) and almost wrote it again, but thought maybe¬†that was a sign I shouldn’t post it.

Then it happened.

I got a text from my friend. She was about a half hour away and wanted to get together.

We hung out for a few hours and she confessed to being lonely. She goes out and does things, but inevitably feels alone. I was stunned. I thought she was so busy. I told her I was lonely too. She too was stunned.

We made a plan to get together at least once a week and either cook, or watch a movie or do something.

I felt like I had been tapped on the shoulder by my higher power saying…“get out of your head and you might find you are not so alone after all”

It was surreal.

Then after she dropped me back at my apartment, I ran into a neighbor that I had gotten to know a few years before. He was taking college classes back then too. So the first thing he asked me was how was school. I reluctantly told him that I had dropped out again. He was blown away. We talked and he told me that he was inspired by my dedication and couldn’t believe I gave up.

We chatted for a bit and just like that we were once again connected. I felt like we both walked away inspired.

He makes some mean Korean Ribs and I asked if he would make some for me if I would make one of my dishes in return and he was on board.

I walked in my apartment feeling like a different person. A confident person. A person worthy of friends.

Anxiety is a bitch…but we are innately social beings…so please don’t do what I do and turn away from the one thing that can bring you fulfillment…human interaction.

Robbie – R.I.P.

It’s with great joy that I announce, Robbie is just a fatty lipoma and nothing to be worried about! ¬†ūüôā

While I am absolutely relieved…

I have to say, it was an interesting ride!

While I had hoped for a boot in the right direction health wise (for the post about that, click here), I did get a different type of boot.

Prior to noticing Robbie, I had scheduled an out of town overnight for the family to get together to wish my mom a happy birthday. ¬†I knew I didn’t want to tell my family about Robbie, because they worry more than I do and it was my mom’s birthday, so I didn’t want to overshadow it. ¬†In the back of my mind, however, were all kinds of surreal thoughts about how if something did turn out to be wrong, we would have this fun¬†family get together to cherish before it all went down.

The other thing that was really wild, was during both the drive there and back, it seemed that every time I looked up to read a billboard sign, it was something about God or Jesus and it made me feel like I was being spiritually supported while I waited for the news.

Finally near the end of the drive home, I got the call and after hanging up said a prayer of thanks that it was nothing to worry about.

Intellectually, I know I don’t really need a huge event like a cancer scare to make changes for the better with my health, but it certainly does seem easier with something that big to back it up. ¬†Maybe for now, ever time I remember Robbie, I can get up and walk around for 5 minutes. ¬†At least that way the¬†“interesting ride”¬†won’t have been for nothing.