Tiny Coconut

I have things.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Walking the Walk

I have to say, I'm sort of proud of myself.

As I've learned over the last year and a half, woman cannot live by psychopharmaceuticals alone. They may have helped me regain my stability, but without effort on my part, nothing in my life was going to change. Nor did it. Therapy, on the other hand, has rocked my world. Or, at least, I think it's therapy. Because there's no other explanation for why I'm suddenly doing stuff. Stuff to help get me on track, to help make my life more manageable, to allow me to find satisfaction in what I do well, and to actually work to change what I do badly, as opposed to wallowing in anxiety and fear and anger.

It came over me slowly. I don't want to be someone else entirely, of course, but being able to suck it up and rise to the occasion, that's no small feat.

It started when I found myself telling Baroy how I felt about something he said or did within an actual reasonable time of when he did or said it. Heck, sometimes I even told him RIGHT THEN AND THERE. Impossible! Unheard of! How strange to not have all that resentment to carry around on any given day--or at least to have less of it. Even stranger to sometimes find myself proactively letting him know about things that might lead to issues between us, before they even happen. We will be married for nine years in March, and I personally think we are in one of the best places in our marriage we've ever been in. That does not suck.

I'm also proud of having gotten through the recent Return of the Stalker with a modicum of sanity, and a nearly complete lack of breakdown. I have felt and will continue to feel emotions that are ugly and dark, but I did not let them overwhelm me. I coped. My biggest fear, these past few years, was that the next time she appeared, my rection would make the last time look
like a textbook example of sanity. Frankly, I feared I'd wind up in a hospital, and that I'd be there for a long time. I didn't. I did better this time than last.

But there's a reason that I did better this time than last: There was help. I was already talking about it. I wasn't trying to hide it, get over it, until it was too big to be hidden or gotten over. Part of my fear has always been that I would mis-assess the threat, and let my guard down when it needed to be up. So I overcompensated. Now, I have professionals--several of them--to give me their opinions. And I have friends and family who know where I went to before, and are watching to make sure I don't go there again. And I have medication that helps to keep the door to "there" shut, though not locked. I have help. It's an incredibly healing thing to be able to say, and to know in my heart is true. I have help. I don't have to do it alone.

Yesterday, I took a few more steps--baby steps, but steps nonetheless--on this path to really taking control of my life and my dissatisfactions. See, on Wednesday afternoon, I walked into therapy and announced "My life is out of control. I need to go to a meeting of Overdoers Anonymous." My therapist laughed (which is always gratifying), then we talked about things to cut out, and I complained that I don't want to cut things out, I want to add things. I want to broaden my horizons and explore my hidden passions and enjoy my life more. I don't want to limit and back off from life. And while she agreed in theory, she did point out that, in principle, I simply can't manufacture extra hours in the day, and that I was sucking the fun out of everything else by piling too much on, and making fun things into stressful chores.

What, me? Suck the fun out of things? Well, I never...

Back to reality. I finally thought of one thing I would really like to give up--being the treasurer of Em's Brownie troop. And now that we have four new parents in the troop (we went from 8 to 12 kids this year), it's a perfect time to hit one of them up to do it. And so last night I told one of the other participatory moms that I'm out as of next year--i.e., September, when the troop starts up after summer break. That felt good.

Even better was the conversation I had with my boss earlier that day. Because that was the other thing my therapist had said when I talked about my plans for my future/career, and ways to get it more aligned with what I want to be doing. She said, basically, "what are you waiting for?" And I realized, yeah, what AM I waiting for? As it turned out, my boss had come to a similar conclusion, because she called me in to talk about my totally hodge-podge schedule, which wasn't working well for any of us. It was great, because I then brought up my (not in any way unvoiced) dissatisfaction with my job, and we brainstormed about ways my time could be put to better use, and I reiterated how much I like working for her, and she talked about how important I am to the department, etc., etc., huggy, huggy, huggy. (The funny thing? It's all true. On my part, at least. She may be snowing me, but who cares? I like this kind of snow.)

So, in the end, we did a compromise thingy where I will work 70% time, down only 10% from where I am, but freeing myself up on Monday afternoons, all day Wednesdays, and Thursday afternoons as well, with 9-hour days (no biggie) on Tuesdays and Fridays. The difference in pay will be more than obliterated by the freelance work I've taken on already (just this month's earnings from that freelance job will make up for 8 months of my not working 80% time), not to mention that we'll probably pull Em from her afterschool care program and, if we want, can pull N back to three days a week at preschool, and bam. The deficit is all but gone.

And that, my friends, is that. Like I said, I'm pleased. I feel good, but not too good, ifyaknowwhatimean. I feel in control. I feel sane. I am TC, hear me no longer whimper. Who knew that would be such a major deal for me?

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