Thursday, January 16, 2014

Stress

This past year has been pretty high-stress. MM took a new position at work. He's really happy with the move, but the hours are crazy. So is the training. In August he left for 6 consecutive weeks in Alabama. The year leading up to that was filled with classes and trips away.

Just before that, my grandpa got really sick. He had a giant mass at the base of his colon that turned out to be a cancerous tumor the size of a large melon. He had to have surgery to have it removed. Afterward it was discovered he had lymphoma. Because I'm a stay-at-home-mom and my schedule is more flexible that the rest of my family's, I spent months taking him to appointments and sleeping at the hospital with him. Bless my grandma - who is a strong woman - for taking care of him on her own. It isn't easy to see someone you love in such a weakened state. I'm happy to report he came through the surgery well, but he still hasn't fully recovered. He declined chemo and is doing fairly well for the moment, but we know it's temporary. Cancer doesn't just go away on its own.

My sister got engaged in 2012 and asked me to be her maid of honor. The wedding was this past October and there was a ton of planning and work that went into it. I love my sister dearly and I was honored she asked me, but there's no way in hell I'm doing that again. Good thing her and her new husband are perfect for each other.

 Having a toddler is more work than I remember it being. It's wonderful, of course, but I'd forgotten how busy toddlers are. Especially when there's no one around but me to distract her.

TG and LM are both in high school now. TG is taking 4 AP classes plus Pre-Calc and does marching band and swim. Her schedule is so busy half the time I can't keep up with it. LM is taking honors classes and Algebra II. He does soccer and track. Between the two of them I'm run ragged...not just because of sports but also keeping them on track.

For some reason they both decided to drop the ball this year. I have a strong suspicion LM purposely tried to fail his honors classes because none of his friends are in the advanced classes. Due to the way the school schedule works, he doesn't have lunch with them either. I'm pretty sure he thought if he screwed up enough he'd get dropped from the classes and be able to hang with his friends. Of course that wasn't an option, but it took him longer than it should have to figure that out. TG was doing great until about a month in. Then she missed a couple assignments here and a couple there and before I knew it her grades went from A's to D's.

For two extremely intelligent children, their grades are pretty damn ugly. A month ago I completely gave up on trying to get them to A's and B's and started focusing on getting them to pass, something I've never had to worry about from either of them before. Sure, we had brushes with C's in the past, but neither child has ever had a D. much less an F. Until this year. I never thought I'd actually be excited to see a D from either of them, but hell if I didn't give a little cry of joy when I saw LM's English grade went from a 55% to a 61%.

We hosted the holidays again this year (something we've done for 6 or 7 years). Both MM's family and mine came to our house for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We had 20-25 people for each. Since MM's grandfather is allergic to dust and dog hair and we live in the dessert and have 3 dogs, it's a major undertaking getting the house ready. Each room has to be cleaned from ceiling to floor. Fixtures, furniture, walls, floors and everything in between get scrubbed. Closets get cleaned out and organized. It's a PITA, but we enjoy having our family around so we make the effort. Of course there's the cooking to do once all the cleaning is done, but we won't talk about that.

Added to that - because that isn't enough - I've been in a weird funk. I don't know what happened to me, but last year (at the end of 2012, really) I just..disconnected. I lost whole blocks of time. I would look at the clock at 3pm and not know what happened to 1:00 or 2:00. I lost track of our finances and the household chores. By the time I realized it was something more serious than just the winter blues things had spiraled completely out of control, including my mental state. It was a major blow to realize I'd dropped the ball so much.

That's something I still haven't fully recovered from. I worked with my doctor and started taking an antidepressant, which helped tremendously, but I still don't feel like myself. The worst part is that I no longer trust my own feelings. Did MM really stop over the line with that comment or am I just blowing something small out of proportion? The truth is, I don't know. I don't know if what I'm thinking and feeling is a result of outside circumstances or my mind playing tricks on me.

The end of the semester is tomorrow and marching band and soccer have ended. My sister is married, the holidays are past and we're in a holding pattern with my grandpa's health. All of that means I can take a much needed breath. Except it isn't that easy. TG is starting swim and PB is potty training and MM is working crazy hours and..I'm still emotionally a mess.

So what now? I don't know. I guess I just keep going. One day at a time. Until I figure out a new normal.

If that's even possible.


7 comments:

Lori said...

Ugh. It is stressful. I'm so sorry it was such a rough year. Joyful occasions can be as stressful as bad ones.

Youngest also decided to drop honors English (we let him) and realized that holy cow - I'm really smart! He decided to go back in this semester.

Those missing assignments so totally add up. Youngest gets As on all his tests, but also had an F in English (NOT the Honors one) because those missing points totally add up! So yeah, lots of lost privileges until the grades came back up.

I am totally swamped with web testing, but I miss all of you!! I think we could all use a girls day away from it all. It sucks that none of us read print anymore and that even if we did, there are no bookstores to gather at anymore. Still... let's try to find a day when we can get together.

Tracy said...

I'm so sorry you're in a funk. I've been there and it's certainly not fun. Having a toddler when you've got older kids too is hard, I'm sure.

Hang in there honey and hopefully things will get better now that you have time to breathe.

I'm with Lori - let's get together!

Rowena said...

Damn, your post stressed me out for you.

For someone who is so stressed out and so disconnected, you pull off a lot of things. You keep your family together, you keep our blog together and you're magic while doing it all. I'm sorry you're in a funk. Those are never fun, especially when you've got so much to do despite the funk.

I'm with the girls, let's get together and forget about our funks for a little bit. I think we're due.

Big hugs!

Rowena said...

Oh, and ....thank you for blogging again. Love you, bitch! ;)

Rhian Cahill said...

I feel for you Holly. (((HUGS)))
I'm going through something that sounds very similar. I'm still not on even ground but each day I get through what I need to and don't fall apart is a day to be grateful for. Hang in there.
And yes, what Rowena said. Thank you for blogging again!
Rhian

Dr J said...

I really, really wish I was closer so I could give you one of my great big hugs. I have been where you are--four kids in five years was a stress and then years later to have some of the stresses from my professional life put me on anti-depressants for a while and it was a challenge just to get up in the morning apart from all the other challenges in my life. I hope you feel the friendship and support so many are sending your way. You're such a strong vibrant person and I know you will ultimately triumph.

--Sunrise-- said...

Hi Holly,

I'm an old blogger (all the way from 2006!) and I used to love reading yours and Jazz's blogs... I mean I still do except the posts are so few and far between :( lol.

I can't relate to any of the troubles you are going through, but trust me I know that feeling of being an emotional mess. I'm so scared to even LOOK at my wounds because I'm trying my hardest to get through this period without needing medical help (I'm a medical student and I would NEVER judge anyone for it, it's just my own choice of course).. I hope you manage to find a new normal soon.

All I can say is, life isn't easy. It's the saddest thing in the world that it isn't, because it SHOULD be, but it isn't. And maybe once we accept that, we accept that being pulled in a million different directions is OK and it's a part of life too.

I would love for you to come back to blogging - what used to be incredibly colourful and therapeutic in the mid 2000s has become a dying art in the face of instant gratification social media in the early 2010s... what an absolute shame. :(

Take care of yourself and be kind to yourself, no one understands this 'one day at a time' better than me. Trust me.

:)

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