Posted in Tired of being Tired

Replacing the Spoon Theory with… the Battery Theory?

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I’ve been thinking about the Spoon Theory of mental illness for a bit, lately. Just in case you weren’t aware, I have 2 diagnosed mental illnesses (depression and anxiety), and am working on a third (hypertension). I’ve adopted the spoon theory because it just makes sense, especially as quickly as my family goes through spoons, lately! People are adopting other methods of explaining it, though, and I caught myself doing the same the other day. Then I realized that what I was using to explain it, the battery on my cell phone, was probably the most accurate and easy to understand for me. It hit me because I was thinking about getting everything off of my phone that I wanted to save (pictures, contacts…) and doing a factory reset to see if it helped with my battery life.

You see, when my phone was new and didn’t have any apps downloaded and running, nothing going on in the background, and no jobs I needed it to do, the battery lasted FOREVER! Then I downloaded the apps that I normally use, Facebook, Google Hangouts, Messenger, and Pinterest. The battery was still great, just didn’t last as long. The longer I have the phone, the more updates it gets, the more random things get loaded, the more I use those apps and some others. The battery life on my phone right now is about 4 hours. IT SUCKS. I spend the afternoon with my phone on the charger so it doesn’t die.

Now, recently, I’ve picked up my phone after it being on the charger all night and the stupid thing hasn’t been charging. In fact, it’s dying when the alarm goes off. Why? Because the USB cable is getting old and the connector is a bit loose, so it didn’t make the best contact and, thus, didn’t charge the phone.

I realized while I was debating the reset that… that’s exactly how I feel! Some meds I was on have caused me to cough, a lot. I stopped taking them after talking to my doctor, but I still wake up coughing during the night. I’m a little older than I used to be, a lot overweight, and I have a ton of things going on at one time, ALL THE TIME. I do things to help keep them straight, sure (my bullet journal, my forced down time, SCA weekends, Me Days, counting steps, drinking more water, cutting out Cokes), but it doesn’t change how much of my battery is used by all of those things (including the things I’m doing to help correct the problems!) or how bad a charge my sleep habits have been to cause a less than 100% battery charge the following morning.

These things that I have in my life are my apps, the things I’ve downloaded onto myself. I am a teacher, a mother, a wife, a sister, a SCAdian (which means an apprentice, a protege, a fighter), a crafter, a friend, a writer, a reader, a track director, a problem solver, a kitty mama, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a large and active Facebook group runner, and a person in my own right. I have interests, responsibilities, and hobbies that are all demanding of my attention, my energy, and my brain! They’re things I enjoy, like scrolling through Pinterest, and things I don’t, like cleaning the kitchen sink! When all of those apps are running at once, it drains my battery! I plug myself in (take naps, drink a Coke, eat a sugary candy bar, or put on headphones) when I need a quick recharge to keep my battery from dying, but it’s just a patch until I can plug myself in for an extended time without running any apps! When the charger is malfunctioning (ie, I wake up with crying children, or coughing, or having weird dreams), then I don’t start with a full battery to begin with and then the apps start draining what little charge I do have! And some of those apps really burn through a battery! You think Facebook is bad for a battery, try a six year old with a headache while you’re trying to cook dinner who is arguing with her sister about EVERYTHING!

So, maybe spoons aren’t the best analogy for me. Maybe I need to talk about battery life and how many apps I have running at once, instead. Right now, I’m hunting for my charger, because I seem to have misplaced it! I’m going to see if my pillow knows where it is!

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Posted in Motherhood, Word of the Month

Clarity and Failure

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

I had one of those Mom-moments tonight with Peanut that leads to a little self-clarity. I’m doing what all mothers want to do, try to save their kids a little of the trouble we experienced growing up, things that, as we get older, we’re still trying to fix because we didn’t handle them when we were younger. Exploring a growth mindset and being Mindful have helped me with this a bit, and I’ve taught myself how to get a kid to talk about what’s going on inside their heads without feeling like I’m being sarcastic or ironic. Understanding yourself is the first key to being successful, knowing your reactions, knowing what you can control and what you can’t, and understanding how all of that comes together to create opportunities and causation is a powerful thing. I’ve been doing this a little with her every now and then for a while, but I think it’s time we make this more a permanent form of communication.

Tonight, I grabbed her homework folder and find 3 deficiencies that she hasn’t shown me, homework undone, papers not signed for… you know the drill with a ten year old. You try to give them independence, but not enough to allow failure. So, I laid these things out and we talked about them. Why was homework not done? Look at these test scores and how far away from the benchmarks you are. Why did this 45 question test take you less than 30 minutes when there’s someone standing behind you to help you slow down? Why is a kid reading on a 6th grade reading level NOT scoring higher on these tests? No, I’m asking HER these questions because it’s important that SHE figure out the answers. I know why it’s happening and it is the same thing happening in every classroom across the country… apathy. She knows she knows it, she doesn’t see why she has to prove it. Tests mean nothing to her, grades mean nothing to her, consequences mean nothing to her, except that there’s one she doesn’t want to experience…failure. She does nothing to stop it, however, so getting her see the path from where she is to where she can avoid it is what I’m working on.

Tonight, when she got angry that I checked her homework and pointed out her mistakes, she scribbled other things in the place of what I circled (that were also incorrect) and I made her do them again. Before I did it the last time, though, I made her answer this one question (under a pinkie swear that she wasn’t going to get in trouble for anything she said for the next 5 minutes): What are you feeling when you hear me?

She tried to shut me off, but the freedom to tell me I was being a pain in the neck is just too much to pass up. She very maturely told me that she didn’t like it that I checked her work and that she had to go back and do it when it was already done. She got mad when I told her that what she’d written down was wrong and that it needed to be corrected. Working from that growth mindset/educator place, I translated for clarity… “so, you don’t like it when I tell you that it’s wrong, is that what I’m hearing?” (no sarcasm, just clarity). After her nod, I had to admit something, out loud, so she could hear that she’s not alone. I HATE BEING TOLD I’M WRONG! Maybe it’s pride, I don’t know. How you say it makes a big difference, but being told I’m flat out wrong bothers me on so many levels that I can’t attack the problem until I get past the anger. I want better for her than that, so I tell her the truth, and my husband vehemently backs me up on it. However, just because I hate it, doesn’t make me any more wrong than I was before, and it’s that failure of understanding that leads to being right, later. Since later is my goal, we worked through the problem again and I showed her some tricks, which lit her face up like a Christmas Tree. I showed her that she was not showing anyone else what her father and I already knew about her… she’s freakin’ brilliant. SCARY SMART kid! She reads way above where she should be reading, but is restricted by her interest and what the stupid test says she’s capable of. The test is lying and she needs to make that stop, so she can get on to showing people how amazing her mind is.

Self-growth is a particular interest of mine for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is my more recent issues. Being a better person, understanding how the person I am can effect the people around me, and using that knowledge to help them is what I’m here for.

There’s my Enlightenment for today. I found purpose and a little clarity, and maybe even a bit of peace in admitting to a personal failure of mine… I need to learn how to take being wrong more constructively and how to take criticism less personally. I sort of knew that already, but it went even deeper tonight. Through failure comes glory, right?

Posted in A Reflection on Euphoria

Days 6 and 7

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Photo by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash

 

Day 6…

This wasn’t a bad day, really. We got out, went to Hobby Lobby and my husband bought the mixing bowls I wanted for Christmas, but didn’t get, and even got a set for my mom. I held off a seizure the whole time I was in the store and let it go in the car. It was a rough one, but not the worst by far! I went to bed earlier, hoping that the earlier bedtime would head off the now-regular midnight round of seizures. I laid there for two hours unable to sleep until my husband came to bed. Then I had a seizure and went to sleep.

I had a pretty good day CRAFT-wise, as well!

Create- stitch a day, daily doodle, and crocheting on the scarf I’m knitting as a gift all went well.

Read- I read a chapter of The Undead Pool, realizing this IS the book I started but didn’t finish because my tablet died and took it along with it. I still have one more after this one, so I need to get this one finished so I can mourn the loss of another great series of books.

Activity- Shopping at Hobby Lobby, Home Depot

Focus- SURVIVE- day 5 was a bad one for seizures.

Treat Yourself- We watched the latest Pirates of the Carribean movie! ❤

Day 7—

We got up at a decent time, but after asking my husband to cook breakfast… *sighs* it ended with me cooking breakfast, just like I always do. He said I made to big a deal out of it, I say I’m really tired of it falling on my shoulders all the time. He blew me off. We moved on. After a nap that I didn’t really want to take (The cat wasn’t having me NOT taking it- sketched him as my daily doodle, so he got his!), we got dressed and went to the mall for some lunch at the food court and shopping for pants for my husband and Peanut. I wore heels, which turned out to be a BIG mistake, since my feet were killing me within an hour. I then had to listen to “I told you so” and laughing even though every step I took was agony. We found Peanut pants that fit her and a few other things at a store having a great sale, so we got them, there. Peanut got stuck on a pair of shoes at Old Navy, but we told her to hold off because she might find something she liked better somewhere else and that store was on our way back out, so we’d stop and get them if she didn’t find something else. We went into JC Penny’s, where my husband got his pants for work and the girls found some Christmas-ish shirts for PJ wear that were only $2. My husband also got stuff to replace his insoles for his shoes and some new strings. I found these amazing boots, but they were WAY more expensive than I wanted to spend on boots, so I left them there. We let the girls play for a bit while my husband was checking out at Penny’s and I got a few more rows on the scarf done. My feet were SCREAMING by then and I was starting to overheat, one of the signs of an impending attack. Yay? He caught up to us and then, within the girls’ hearing, said “Let’s go to Golden Corral,” which happens to be one of the girls’ favorite places to go (I think it’s the chocolate fountain). It would mean more walking, though. I held the attack off until I was in the car and then let it go. It was the frustrating kind that was more internal than external and I just wanted to curl up in a ball and cry. Golden Corral is a buffet, which means walking when my feet were in so much pain, already. I was the only person who didn’t get a single thing at the mall. We never made it to the other shoe store because he was DONE by then and ready to eat. I told him in the car why I didn’t want to go to Golden Corral for dinner, but it was too late to go back on it, after telling the girls we were going. I curled my hands into fists and walked the best I could to the buffet to keep the scream of pain inside as I got food. Then I started trying to figure out how much I needed for Troll to get rolling next weekend and when I asked him to fund it, he started the “we’re thin on money, Tiffany,” crap. We compromised down to printing things to handle the colors of the notebooks and clipboards. Then he looked at me and said, “You’re PMS’ing, aren’t you?” Does that tick off anyone but me? Since when does my hormonal imbalance give you the right to be an ass? You know what, I probably am hormonal right now. But that had nothing to do with my feet hurting! It had nothing to do with you spending plenty of money “providing for (your) family” by buying them clothes and completely leaving your wife out. “You should’ve said something” also ticks me off. It should be DEADLY obvious when everyone is getting shoes, and shirts, and bottoms (pants and leggies) and I’m getting NOTHING. I’m holding the bags, though, you bet that! He wanted me to hold his jacket and the bag from the shoe store, too! I could’ve slapped him right there in front of God and everyone.

*sighs*

My CRAFT didn’t get finished tonight, but I’ll make up for it tomorrow.

Create: Doodle of the Day (didn’t get to the stitch of the day), getting closer to finished with my scarf, I also printed forms and created the invoices for Troll next weekend

Read: I’m going to read another chapter of The Undead Pool, though I am really sleepy. I need to calm down and reading helps with that.

Activity: More shopping

Focus: I don’t think I had one, which was probably why this failed so badly.

Treat Yourself: I got three desserts at dinner. My stomach is rebelling against dinner, but… pecan pie, coconut cream pie, and a peanut butter crunch covered in chocolate at least soothed my need to punch something.

My take away here… I am in desperate need of me time. I am REALLY looking forward to going to BUNCO Tuesday and to the event this weekend. I need to do some mending and washing/ironing of garb before Thursday, too. The time to be me and not rely on someone else will feel good.

There’s always tomorrow,

~U4ea

Posted in A Reflection on Euphoria

Day 5

I don’t even know where to start today. It’s been a surprisingly good day, until this evening. Relatively seizure free, until I was overwhelmed by sadness at the passing of a friend who wasn’t quite close, but close enough to have impacted my life. Her work with a needle helped drive my need to be better with mine. Her work with ensuring the Kingdom boxes were stocked for the coming courts were legendary. I do not envy the person filling her shoes, there.

I am shutting off Facebook for the weekend because I just can’t handle any more than that. I will grieve in my own way. I soak that up rather thickly and it’s been hard to see my friends grieving. I want to help them, to do SOMETHING. There is nothing I can do, however, and so I withdraw.

Withdraw into my needles and myself. So, my CRAFT:

Creativity- I finished my stitch-a-day, doodle a day, I’ve tried my first petal of needle lace (it’s horrible and I’m going to take it out), I picked up knitting something frivolous.

Read- I started reading The Undead Pool by Kim Harrison. The familiarity of the characters makes me feel better.

Activity- I haven’t done anything today. Too sloppy outside. I need to correct that.

Treat yourself- I’ve been watching romantic comedies all evening. I need the standard cliches, I guess. Happy Endings and everyone ending their days happy.

 

I need more happy endings.

 

Until tomorrow,

~U4ea

Posted in A Reflection on Euphoria

Day 4

Overall, today was better than I expected it to be. We got out of the house because the guinea pigs need hay and because cabin fever is evil. The roads will be horrible tomorrow morning and I am very glad the schools cancelled for tomorrow. I’m nervous about my husband having to drive in and I’m hoping he delays for a bit first. It was a rough on me medically. Between 5 and 6 I had 4 seizures. That wasn’t all of them and they were pretty rough. I’m learning how to control them, but there’s no way I can do that and work.

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JoJo appreciates fresh hay….

I picked up the needle lace I posted at the Clover the other day and trying to give it a shot. I couldn’t find my thimbles until I was nearly finished. My fingers hate me right now. I made them do my stitch a day and doodle a day, anyway! Let them scream.

My CRAFT breakdown for today:

Create- Needle lace- Cordonette layer laid down

Read- I’m working my way through Return to the Isle of the Lost because it won’t be long before Tadpole’s begging for it.

Activity- I got out and did some shopping with the family today. Piggie groceries, people groceries, then home. 2,300 steps today. It looks like I’m going to lower my step goals to 3,000 for a while, which irks more than the 5,000 did.

Focus- I think I’m in survival mode. Just get through. Get through the seizures, get through the pain, just get through.

Treat yourself- I think I’m going to make some hot chocolate and munch on cherry cordials for a bit before bed.

 

All in all, not a bad day. Now to work on those seizures…

 

Until tomorrow,

~Tiff

 

Posted in A Reflection on Euphoria

Day 3

It snowed! Boy, did it snow! We have a good three inches in the front yard, right now. The girls and I had a great time playing in it, my husband took some great pictures (so did I!). I have an army of snow blobs guarding my house right now. It’s great!

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Then, there’s the rest of my life.

I am officially withdrawn from my Master’s classes at midnight tonight. All of the work and money I put into getting all of those classes finished… lost.

The outside unit for the HVAC is covered in ice and struggling to run, so we’ve had to turn the temp down in the house so it’s not working so hard.

I’m feeling rather sorry for myself. It’s resulted in 4 attacks today. I’ve learned that if I’m on my back, I thrash and potentially can’t move until the energy gets back into my extremities. If I lay on my side, I sleep for hours after a bad seizure. *sighs* Pick the evil, right?

My kidneys hurt, my head hurts like mad with 4 different headaches, my ankle was screaming as the front moved through, and my wrists and hands are not happy with anything I’ve done in the last two days.

Other news, My CRAFT:

Create- aside from the snow blob army, I haven’t done this much today. I’m going to try to knock out the stitching and doodle after I publish this, but I’ll be honest, I’m exhausted.

Read/Reflect: I tried to start the first Dark Tower book today by Stephen King. I downloaded some books that will require less focus because they’re free on NOOK and Kindle right now, so I’ll probably try those first.

Activity: Went outside to play in the snow twice. I still have less than 2k steps for today, though. I feel like using the weather as an excuse is just that… an excuse.

Focus: Enjoy this. I think I did pretty well with this today. I fought the exhaustion and went outside with the kids and husband when it was snowing… 3 times. When it first started to fall, when it started to accumulate, and then when it was finished. Started the dishes, but set them aside to go outside, too.

Treat Yourself- I made myself some hot chocolate with peppermint when we came in from outside. Nice big cup, too!

 

So, that’s where I am right now. The kids are out of school again tomorrow, my husband is home from work, too. I just need some motivation to get moving and I find that I am sorely lacking it, at the moment.

 

Posted in A Reflection on Euphoria

Day 2

Today was a rough day.

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Photo by Tim Wright on Unsplash

It started off alright, if you count getting up on time and having some time to do some stuff before I fell asleep again. I wake up in time to do breakfast with the girls before I sat down to do…something. I’ll be honest, I don’t even remember what.

Then I get a call from the school, and I’m thinking it’s about the weather (it’s supposed to snow here tomorrow, so that’s kinda freaky), and I continue discussing the theft of chocolate bars by my eldest daughter, why it was wrong, and how we’re going to fix it. Then I check my messages and it wasn’t the auto call about school closing, it was my boss calling to talk to me about my “position” because I was supposed to go back to work tomorrow. So, I spent the day, printing the paperwork to extend my leave the full length of the FMLA guidelines at 12 weeks, with the hopes that, by then, I’ll have a diagnosis and a plan of treatment. It’s a lot to hope for, let’s be honest, but I should at least be further than I am now by then. I’m not sure what happens after 12 weeks, to be honest, but I doubt it’ll be great, either way.

So, I return her e-mail and phone call, left messages in both places, then drove out to deliver paperwork, first to the school, then the neuro, then the PCP. I was in the car for an hour and a half doing all of that. I had a level 7 seizure in the driveway as soon as I put the truck in park. I made it inside the house, got everything put away, put something in my stomach, then crashed on the couch for the next hour waiting for my husband to get home to keep an eye on the girls. I couldn’t focus on the Hallmark movie I was watching. Don’t ask me what they said. I really don’t know. I had another seizure, then another, so that by the time my husband got home, I was pretty well vegetabled in my chair. I was conscious, though, and that’s saying something.

I made dinner (spaghetti, let’s not get excited), then sat down and taught an online class in the Clover on Time Management and Bullet Journaling. That seemed to go over pretty well, and I hope people got some stuff out of it.

I’ve had time to think in all of this, though. You see, I thought losing this job was the worst thing that could possibly happen. What I’m realizing is how much stress is put on me with it, between the kids, the parents, the new curriculums, the lack of support from administrators, the constant “gotcha” hunt from everyone, and no one actually giving a damn about why I’ve been out for 8 weeks already and why I’m not back, yet… that’s about the point that I realized that I was teaching because it’s what my degree is in. It’s what I’ve spent 15 years doing. Sure, I enjoy it, but all the enjoyment is being sucked out of it by all that other stuff. So, if I lose this job, maybe it’s because that’s what was meant to be. Maybe it’ll give me time to establish what I really want to do and who I really want to be. Maybe the door is closing, or maybe another is opening. All I can do is watch and wait. I do know that I’ve never felt so detached from something as I do this year. I’m not welcome, I’m not missed, and I’m not wanted.

I don’t have an answer to that, yet, so, let’s go back to something I do have answers to.

My CRAFT Breakdown:

Create: I am about to do my stitch a day and doodle a day (I missed that one yesterday) and do some knitting on my project.

Read/Reflect: you’re reading my reflection, I haven’t done much reading. I need to fix that, too.

Activity: Running all over Savannah delivering paperwork

Focus: BREATHE and let it go.

Treat yourself: I’ve had some Almond Joy’s today. It may be a good night for a good cup of tea before bed, though.

 

So, there’s that, I guess. We’re sitting inside the zone to get between 1-2 inches of snow tomorrow morning and afternoon, so everyone will be staying home tomorrow. It’s supposed to start raining around midnight, and then start freezing rain before turning to sleet, so we’ll have a solid base of ice to lay the snow on. It’s already below freezing here. I started the pipe in the front of the house dripping when I went outside a while ago. My husband has the back pipe going, too…I think. The snow is supposed to start around 6 AM and switch back and forth between sleet and snow all day. Right now the advisory is through 7 PM and they’re not predicting the weather to warm up very much between now and then, so… should be a gorgeous day to stay inside with some hot chocolate and a log in the fireplace. We have gas for the generator just in case we lose power and plenty of food. So…

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Image Source by Lisa Russo