the light glowing at the end of the path

It’s still really small, but it’s a nice little glow anyway.

I’ve got my remaining classes for my degree scheduled.  I start my capstone in March 2012, which means April graduation.  It also means double classes in the September and November sessions.  I would feel upset about that notion, yet knowing that I’m making the sprint for the end clears the worry away.  I won’t be able to slack to the degree that I have been and losing that built in down-time is scary, still I can hardly wait.

This has been a long, sometimes tedious slog.  I had some digressions along the way.  I think it all has to be worth it, otherwise I might lose my mind slightly.  I’ve worried a bit about what value this is truly worth and I’m still not sure.  In my mind, the perfectionist is nattering at me, suggesting that it isn’t a REAL master’s degree.  No master’s thesis.  Writing, yes, but how heavy has it really been?

I won’t undercut the fact that I’ve made it this far and the ending is finally coming up.  All the hours do mean something.  And my husband and kids can celebrate the successful conclusion on the last day, with the submission of the last test, the last assignment.

…sigh…  April seems a long way off.  Happy August.

moonfire

acceptance?

I’ve got a wicked sinus infection (and how you get one in the middle of a heat wave is beyond me), so this may end up a wee bit disjointed.  I’m still willing to give it a shot.

It must be an extremely human need, the seeking of acceptance for who you are.  Perhaps some take it for granted, assuming that they are noted and accepted for the fullness of who and what they are.  There are others, me included, who struggle with it.  Maybe we hide our true selves, fearful that the people around us won’t tolerate our quirks.  Or maybe there are those  who can’t quite pin down their own self-acceptance, leaving them with the vague uncomfortable feeling that something isn’t quite right.  They just can’t pin it down.

Labeling can be seen as a negative, yet naming a thing can take away the power it has to hurt you.  Then there are the times when you have to excavate yourself out from under a label.  This can be hard and painful work, particularly when it’s common for those pinned to the label to deny it.  Makes it all the harder to disprove the “rightness” of the labeling in the first place.

I had a lovely experience with perception recently.  I sat, waiting not quite patiently on some stairs in the heat of early evening.  I looked up and the sky was an amazing shade of blue.  The tree across the parking lot had thick, super brilliant  green leaves and the contrast of the leaves against the sky was intense and beautiful.  No words that I could pick out would really begin to describe it – simply put, I stopped my impatience for a moment and could only think how everyone should see this moment.  Then a small white butterfly fluttered through my line of sight.

It was perfect.

I would like to be viewed as clearly as I viewed that moment.  I’d like to know that the people around me “get” me and that they’re ok with me as I am.

I’d like to be as happy with myself as I can be.

So I suppose that would be the goal, then.  I’ll continue to work with my doctor, who, by the way, I feel safe with.  With time, I feel confident that I’ll be weaned off the medications.  I will use this sense of hope to rebuild myself.  (and just had a 70’s flashback to the Million Dollar Man… sigh… childhood creeps in again!)

But now the pills are kicking in and I’m heading for sleep.

cheers,

moonfire

blech. tired, tired, tired

Combine stressed students with system slowness and what do you get?  Extremely grumpy staff.

I really do not want to go to work tomorrow.  Ugh.

In happy news my current position has been posted effective today.  It closes Aug. 15th.  I don’t get to transition to my new position until my current one is filled.  At least the countdown is making progress now.

I have done a bit of homework and now the boys and I are watching the first Harry Potter movie.  My attention span is minimal, so truthfully I’m only watching with half an eye.  I’d rather be asleep, but who am I to ruin their fun?

Perhaps I will lie on the floor and drift off a bit while the movie winds down.  Hmmm… tempting.

Nothing interesting to note.  No clever thoughts.  Writing is an effort, but I’d like to keep some momentum going, thus this pathetic little “tired” entry about nothing much at all.

sleepy moonfire

sigh… homework

It has been a very busy day.  Dealt with car repair this morning, group of 5 kids for about 3 hours, and now I’m staring at my computer, knowing full well I need to get my homework done.  I want to do it, yet I want to be NOT tired too.  Hard to think or maintain a thought when I’m this tired.

And the kids are over-tired and rambunctious.  This is not a prime homework processing environment.

I think a good solution would be to procrastinate mightily by lying down on my bed, with the lights off, and enjoy the bliss that is air conditioning.

Now I will head off to battle my conscience versus my inclinations.  Joy.

this is what tired feels like

Had the appointment with the sleep specialist today.  This is the same guy I saw 5 years ago (sleep study then showed 230 sleep interruptions, with only 16 apneas).  I’m hopeful that the apneas will hit at least 35 so I’ll qualify for CPAP.  If not, it can only be done out of our pocket and they are extremely thin.

He told me that my last sleep test showed that I’m roused out of sleep an average of every 2 minutes.  Nice.  Because it wasn’t enough full apneas, no CPAP for me.

Sigh.

August 18th is my next sleep test.  This may be ironic, but let’s hope that my apneas are high enough to warrant help.  I’m tired of being tired.

One other note:  Went through the childhood traumas list.  Perhaps I lack objectivity, but I didn’t think it was that bad.  Once I got them out there in the open (toads that they are), my doctor told me that I have very valid reasons for my behaviors and responses to things.  (She also said – halfway through the early childhood years – “Well, I’m throwing out the bipolar diagnosis.”)  It’s not to say that I should keep having certain responses to things, rather now I can look at them and note the reason I feel the way I do.

They are not minor slights or peer issues.  They were adults in positions of power who attacked, threatened, attempted murder, and abused.  I don’t want to go into details and I’m not even sure that I can write it out.  I feel guilt that I didn’t protect my sister.  I feel an overwhelming sense of protectiveness and a seeking of security, even at the risk of missing out on things.  I see my children being the ages that I was when these things happened and I am incredibly glad that (I hope) they won’t experience these things.  I want to control my environment.   I want to be able to think about these events and know that they have no more influence on my thinking.

Tonight I’m just going to let it all out.  It’s ok for me to feel sad for my little kid self.

Before it all seems like sadness and reliving bad things, I will be clear – I’m “cleaning house” because there are memories from childhood that are amazing, wonderful, and cherished.  I’d like to clear out the rubbish so that I can see all those memories that mean the most.  When I’m done, I’m going to roll around in those memories and pull out a few of my favorites.  There are some that are write-worthy.  That’s what this space needs to be about after the cleaning.

I’ll keep documenting the process though.  Because someday I’ll want to remember that it was work.

moonfire

one gentleman of Verona

Bren needed a costume for Friday’s “performance” of his part at the Shakespeare Theater camp.  Holy crap…  we’re broke and I have no time to do sewing!

Solution?  Black pants, black t-shirt (worn backwards, so the Deftones graphic doesn’t show), mom’s dark gray military-style cotton jacket and dad’s brimless cap (turned inside out so it’s black too).

And there you have it.  One “on the fly” costume, no cost and totally funky.

Valentine will look dramatic and tough!

identity

Last year I went through an incredibly negative experience in August.  I was brand new in my field, pushed hard and fast to take on my full role when I have my doubts now that I was truly ready.  In my own way, I was traumatized by that experience and by the time I hit January I was ready to leave the field for something that didn’t eat me alive psychologically and even physically.

Here it is, a few weeks shy of another August, and I’m still in the field… in the same position.  Thinking about it makes my teeth clench.  The word alone now has meaning that I never before assigned to it.  It means misery, exhaustion, and even anger.

No matter that this is a different year and I’m not the brand new person on the team.  It’s a learned behavior.  Or call it a learned response.

It’s the reason, in essence, why I sought out medication now.  I knew that there was no way I could do it again.  The fact that just knowing it is coming was enough to cause all the stress symptoms to accelerate was reason enough for me to talk to my family doctor.  She didn’t feel comfortable dealing with psych meds, so that led to the referral to the psychiatrist.  Filling out the paperwork opened the door for the memories I had tucked away and that led to my hunting down my psychologist.

So here’s the funny thing in all this:  I actually think that ultimately the psychologist will help the most.  Medication is just a bandaid over a wound.  Already I am discovering some freedom because I understand where some of the behaviors come from.  It’s not magic.  It’s not a medical issue that will require a lifetime of pills.  It’s a learned response.  What can be learned can be trained away.

I pulled a towel out of the cupboard today, saw that it was folded in that silly, illogical way, and laughed it off.  I knew why I noticed and I knew that it doesn’t matter.  And to note, yes I’m still on the lithium but I had to reduce the dose.  I cannot be losing sleep, not with the apnea issue.  By Saturday I was so ill and tired from being up and down each night that I thought I was going to fall over.  I backed off the does to 600 mg and cut my intake of liquids again.  Last night I slept for 6 hours straight.  It was bliss.

To pull back in from the digression, I think we all seek out our identities.  If we are healthy and focused and sensible, it isn’t that tough.  We can say, “I am this person and I understand what my life is about.”  Sometimes we go through periods where we might lose track, so we end up fumbling around for a bit.  Sometimes, though, we feel like we lost our way a long time ago and we don’t even know where the path should be.

About 16 years ago I was diagnosed as bipolar.  At the time it seemed to fit.  I had unreal crying jags, depression, anxiety, and my sleep pattern was horrible.  Prior to the diagnosis I was placed on Prozac for depression and had a breakdown that required 24 hour monitoring.

Things that were never asked (and I might not have known the answer to):  had I ever been identified as gifted?  Were my crying jags timed with my cycles?  Had I ever had a sleep study performed?

When I got pregnant with my first son, the mood swings stopped.  I had an incredible sense of peace while I was pregnant…  no crying jags and I felt good in comparison to all of those ups and downs.  After I delivered I had mild postpartum depression, but that was it.  After my second child was born I had a more severe case of postpartum depression mixed with anxiety related to nursing.  Since that time it has mostly been stress and anxiety… until the crying jags started.  Interestingly enough, this time I noticed that the crying jags were timing about 2 weeks prior to my cycle (the beginning of the luteal phase).  Then odd hair growth and finally acne like a teenager.

Thankfully someone wonderful at my OBGYN’s office listened… truly listened.  She told me my hormones were out of whack, put me on Beyaz and within 2 cycles I was no longer having random crying jags.  When macaroni and cheese makes you weep like your best friend has died, there is something seriously not right!

This is where I am now, although some may not agree with my choice.  I am psychologically at a point where I want to let go of these things that have caused me to feel so lost about who I am.  My job may not be perfect (who’s job is), but it helps to support my family and I’m mostly helping others.  Intellectually it’s reasonably challenging.  I either learn how to let go of these negative responses to stress and get healthy, or I am going to have to find something dull and unstimulating for work.

All this stress response that I’m holding at bay with lithium has to be processed in a healthier way.  In the process perhaps I’ll discover more of my true identity buried under the noise.

moonfire