Sadly, despite all my good intentions for June, I hit an all time low when it came to blog entries, success and sanity. So readers, forgive me, it has been a month since my last blog-fession. I promise to try to do better in July. If I had to offer an excuse for June's absenteeism, I would say only this. I kept waiting for it all to turn funny. You've probably noticed by now, making hard things funny is how I deal. Well, weeks kept passing, and I still wasn't laughing. I'm still not.
The truth is, I've been masquerading as Wonder Woman, and Wonder Woman finally crashed. The descent from the heavens totaled her wardrobe, and as it turns out, you can't replace red spandex just anywhere. Walmart certainly doesn't carry it. But seriously (SEE, here I am trying to be funny again), I have always been an extremely goal oriented person. In fact, I have been called the “Unsinkable Molly Brown” by some; however, an individual can only go great-guns for so long, before the body decides to put the breaks on.
That, all considered, is exactly what had happened to me on the Tuesday, June 8th, when I ended up in the Emergency Room with all the classic symptoms of a heart attack. I felt absolutely ridiculous when they sent me home with a clean bill of health and instructions to rest. I felt even more ridiculous when the Adavan that they gave me in the ER to help me rest, sent me to a different planet for the next 24 hours—a planet on which I probably could have purchased red spandex. According to my mother, I spoke Spanish to her all the way home.
And it didn't end there. My two year old daughter sat on my lap that night and fed me dinner. My son asked me what I was doing out of bed every time I emerged from the bedroom. I received replies to e-mails that I do not recall sending. I wept over the deaths of tiny insects. On Thursday, I returned to my usual schedule, but all was not well. My church sent me meals for two nights, which was a tremendous boon, as suddenly the construction of a simple salad seemed like rocket science. What was WRONG with me?!
Well, the truth was a whole lot harder to swallow than the Adavan had been. Fact one: I had experienced a nervous breakdown. Fact two: I had developed an anxiety related problem that was not going to disappear simply because I wanted too. Monday morning, I reported to the doctor for my ER mandated follow-up, and I left thinking, “well that was all very nice, but now I need some practical suggestions!” You see, though I was profoundly glad she did not want to medicate me just yet (and there's not a thing wrong with that), her primary three suggestions were 1) change professions, 2) take a vacation, and 3) get some regular counseling until you're through this.
YEAH RIGHT! But with another appointment scheduled in two weeks, and being a chronic people pleaser, I hired help for the following week and planned a stay-ca-tion. During that stay-ca-tion, I made an appointment to see her recommend counselor. Two out of three isn't bad. At least when I went back, it would look like I was being a good little mental case. By the time the Tuesday rolled around that I was scheduled to see the counselor, it had been two weeks since the ER, and I thought I was doing SOOOO much better. But then.
Then it all shattered again. As soon as I started to talk about it—watching six kids for the last years, keeping up with the house, a husband with a full-time job and in school full-time, financial strain, and all the many other things that I felt were spinning out of control—I just lost it. Suddenly, I was right back where I was two weeks ago. I felt like someone was sitting on my chest. My heart hammered my back bone. My hands were clammy. My arms were weak. My breath was short. My head was absolute static.
The counselors conclusion was excruciating for me. I would have to give up my child care business—MY KIDS. I could not continue doing what I was doing and expect to recover; in fact, his prognosis for me if I continued was grim. I would be in a state of shut-down by the end of July. I needed to make a change, and I needed to do it quickly. I can not express to you the feeling of failure that hung over me as I left his offer. I was failing my customers, failing my husband, failing my children. I couldn't quit. I just couldn't.
But I did. Partially, because I didn't have any strength left to fight, but also partially because I knew this. If I didn't get better, I would fail entirely—in mind and in body and in spirit. And if I failed in those ways, I really would fail the people that mattered most to me.
Well, as you can imagine, it's been a hard month for Wonder Woman. I'll be staying on the ground for a while, but everything has worked out, and I am gradually feeling ever so much better. I am starting to find the humor in things again—starting to feel a bit more myself. The changes have all been for the good, and what I know for sure now, is that I am NOT the only one who has passed through this valley. I hope that talking about it will help someone out there. I am learning to catch myself in the negative thought processes that cause my anxiety, and turn the tide for the good—and that's something I definitely want to talk more about in the weeks to come— the positive thoughts we need to stay afloat in the midst of our anxieties, be they job related, child related, spouse related, check-book related, or yeah. Food related.
But actually, here's a positive thought, and one that was a shining light through all these trials and tribulations. Through it all, the one thing I could say that I had not failed at was my weight loss. I still stuck to the plan. One week (the week of my birthday—that's another blog in the making) I even gained about four pounds, but I did not give up. During a time when everything seemed dark, I could hang on to that one thread of success. That was important.
So. A couple days ago when I was wandering around the mall with my daughter in the stroller, and I saw this great set of gold-wristlets that looked like they could definitely deflect a few bullets—be proud of Wonder Woman. She kept on walking.