The Cluttered Chaos

Another post of struggling. I seem to only write about the hard times, but I also find it is the only thing that helps right now.  In this chaotic mess of my mind, there are so MANY things that I want, need, and crave to blurt out here for my own insanity, but my list of “have to” is growing longer every day.

I have to write report cards, have to clean my classroom, have to get files done, have to make room for my new teaching partner, have to do laundry, have to clean, have to get groceries, have to, have to, have to. And all I want right now is to curl up in my bed and deny the world’s existence; to read the books sitting on my shelf or check out fanfiction or watch and rewatch Sense8.

So I am sitting in front of my screen, trying to come up with comments for the last time on a group of students who I love, but who have frustrated me and brought me more chaos in this brain of mine. I can’t focus. The intention is there, but the fingers stumble, and I blame my cold hands, so I make tea, and then find the focus linger elsewhere by the music playing. Every emotion I have right now wreaking havoc on my anxiety and causing tears to well every 5 minutes. But I HAVE TO.

And I really, really don’t want to.

People have unknowingly added to my plate this weekend, caused the anxiety to increase, to develop new layers that I do not know how to handle. The shaky feeling inside is back and I do not have the time for it. I should be yoga bound, but I cannot spare the time; I should try meditating, but I do not know if I can handle my own thoughts.

So I write. A jumbled, tumbled, messy write. Something that would not pass any muster of criticism or judging. I want to scream to the universe, to cry until there are no tears left, to rip the crap that surrounds me, physically and mentally, out of my head and my space, to get it gone so I can find some semblance of calm.

But I cannot, because there is no time, no space. And always, always there list of “have to”.

How Do You Keep Fighting?

A couple of weeks ago, during my therapy session, my therapist gave me what I considered a HUGE compliment. He said, “You seem like a Star Wars kind of person. Someone who is determined to try to save the Galaxy.” I thought it was awesome. Now, the rest of therapy ended with me as a raw and emotional mess for three days afterward, but that phrase, oh, that phrase, made me happy. I felt like a proud member of the Rebel Alliance (or the Kindergarten/Play/Let Kids Be Kids Alliance). I could CHANGE THE WORLD! 

I have been trying to affect change. I changed my practice. I have learned, read, researched, gone back to school, adapted, planned, gutted stuff and recreated. I have joined committees, meetings, planning events and spoken up with a loud voice for the rights of the child, for the importance of play in the curriculum, for the importance of authentic assessment and reporting. I know I have pissed people off with my opinions and my rantings. My soap box has been pulled out more times than I care to count. I have been told that I don’t think anywhere near the damn “box” that we are supposed to think outside of. 

And today, it seems like all of my advocating, soap box talking, arguing, and more has fallen again on deaf ears. I can’t go into more detail without giving away confidential information, but how do you keep fighting, when your battles are constantly lost and you never see any evidence of change? At what point do you just decide to trudge along with the rest of the world, and just do what you are told? It sure looks easier, and I am tired. I am tired of hearing about the testing of young children and of forcing more academic learning on younger and younger students. I am tired of play being removed from the lives of children, and of the continued insistence on tired assessments. I am tired of seeing sexism, racism, anti-environmentalism, discrimination, and people just being……MEAN. 

How do you keep up the fight? 

Random Episodes of Negative Self Talk

Yoga class tonight. It is the first time that I have come out of a yoga class not feeling…….settled. It wasn’t the teacher, it wasn’t the class, it was just me. 

I can’t even throw my anxiety out there for this one. It was a completely different part of my mental health screwing with me today. My negative self-talk came RUSHING into my brain today. What triggered it? Who the hell knows. I am learning that , much like my diabetes, my anxiety and negative talk comes without warning sometimes. The wind changes direction and I am suddenly a bag of self-loathing. Okay, it’s probably not that dramatic, but it feels like it. 

I admit the class was harder than normal, with stretches I struggled with, but my whole body felt off tonight. Like I couldn’t even attempt a downward dog, like child’s pose was a trial, and then I stupidly looked around and saw all these wonderfully bendy people doing what I was attempting, and it just brought more negative talk to my head. Enter a low blood sugar reading, and I knew I was done for the night. 

But once I am in that well of loathing, climbing out is hard. I keep looking for some sign of results from 2 months of an almost complete lifestyle overhaul, and I don’t see them. Sometimes, I think I see some progress, but it’s hard for me to tell. I am looking for “non-scale victories” but I really just want the stomach to shrink a little bit so my damn capris fit looser. I’d like to see a result in the mirror.  Maybe I can’t because I have seen this version of myself for so fucking long. 

Logically, I know that 20 years of weight gain, stress, and emotional eating will not change in 2 months, but I think I am just looking for a sign that something is working. I have been so afraid of failure every time I tried Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig, that I would start to do better and then I would sabotage myself. Two months in and I think I am dealing better with the emotional eating. I did not drive to a Dairy Queen and order a Blizzard as I sank into my self-pity. I went home, had some water, a nectarine and a square of 85% dark chocolate. 

I looked at my weird ass affirmations. Seriously, I cannot even have nice normal ones.Mine all come from movies or one particularly deep therapy session. I decided to vent on here, to let it out, and to just write my frustrations, my self-doubts, my fear that all this change will amount to nothing. I wish I believed in psychics just to have one tell me that it will work. I wish someone could show me an image of myself a year from now, with a stronger, leaner, lower A1C version of me. But they can’t.

Instead, I will try to go for a walk IN THE OUTDOORS tomorrow. (I don’t tend to go outside because there is sun and bugs and people and no bathrooms). But I’ll try it. And I’m going to back to the yoga classes I am signed up for, and I will keep working on my mantra of “I am enough”. Maybe one day, I will start believing it. 

I have to remember that each day is another chance for me, and they are not spent. I will not give in. 

How?

This weekend was hard. It was a long weekend. It shouldn’t have been hard; it should have been productive. It wasn’t.

See I had a therapy session on Friday, which was also my dad’s birthday. I was doing okay with dad’s birthday until my therapist and I met. Even after, I was okay. I met up with friends, had a drink, toasted my dad, and talked a bit about what my therapist and I discussed. But when I got home, I couldn’t settle. I ended up driving around my town, initially seeking take out, but I ended up hunting ghosts. I drove out to the farm I grew up and saw the little farmhouse I remember from my childhood. I was too little to really remember the first house I lived in, but I remembered the farm.  The house my parents designed out there where I felt like the luckiest child alive because I had a big room, with a brass double bed, and a cool toy cupboard. I couldn’t see the house, as the hedge is too high, but it’s still there. Then I did what I haven’t done in almost 17 years. I drove to the last house I lived in with my dad. The house where he got his diagnosis, which happened to be on his 60th birthday. It’s the house he left from to go the palliative care ward, and where he never returned. The house where he and I put up Christmas lights every year, where he would critique my lawn mowing skills, where we had a competition on his  computer tetris game.

(okay this not where I was initially going with this….)

All of this came about from a talk in therapy which I never saw coming. I had done my homework and was ready to talk about my negative thinking patterns or how I can re-frame my “inadequacies” into strengths, but I wasn’t expecting to talk about allowing myself to open up, to show vulnerability to others, to allow myself the opportunity to actually possibly meet someone and have a relationship with them. It was hard. I love my friends, and I think I have been getting better and being open about things and about asking for help. But opening myself up to the possibility of dating? That has been a no. Just no.

And I think talking about that opened up the floodgates of my thinking “but everyone leaves”. See, in my mind, everyone leaves. My hero, my dad, died far too young. And when that happened, I shut people out. I don’t know if I’ve ever really let them back in.  Then my beloved uncle and aunt. Another death of an amazing man who had taught me and whose daughter had been one of my closest friends. For almost two years, there were a ridiculous amount of losses. I remember thinking that everyone I loved would either leave or die.

So how? How does one “open up to the possibility” of being loved when one fears the loss of others? Hell, how does a person even try to put themselves “out there”? Online sites give my Spidey Sense the chills, and I have no idea how to proceed. The idea of opening up scares the crap out of me. I don’t even know where to start, or how to start. We talked in therapy about the idea that having someone to be there is a good thing, and I don;t disagree, but, its not a fricking movie with a suitable male lead sitting in the wings ready to be cast. I guess I’m just wondering how one does this? How?

There Is More Than One Prison

There is more than one prison. I think you carry yours wherever you go.”-Chirrut Imwe, Rogue One

If you were to tell me that I have taken Rogue One too seriously, I would probably sit you down with a nice cup of tea and try to explain myself. That could take hours, so I thought I would try to explain some of it on this blog. Here is one of my explanations. 

The above quote got to me. Deeply. I have a friend, who over the past year has been with me through some trying times. She has been through my anxiety attacks, has encouraged me to find a therapist that works for me, and so much more. But she made a comment to me that, well, it hurt a little bit but mostly because it hit really close to home. She commented that she felt badly for me, that she couldn’t live with the kind of daily fear I have, with the crippling anxiety I carry. I really hadn’t seen my life as fearful or anxiety ridden until I looked at it with her eyes. I didn’t like what I saw, and it reminded me of this quote. 

Please understand, I have had a good life so far, and I really want to continue having a good life. I have a good job, a home, friends. But I have put myself in a self-imposed prison.  

I’m not going to sit her and tell you that I ever though of myself as fearless or adventurous. I am not in that much denial about who I am, but what I have realized lately, is that I have let myself become crippled by fear.  Yes, I have type 1 diabetes, and have had it for 36 y ears, but I have let my fear of what could happen because of it prevent me from living. I am terrified of dating someone, because I have this idea that no one would want to be with someone who has to wear medical devices 24/7. I have denied myself the freedom to think that an ache or a pain is simply the by product of getting older; I always assume it is a catastoprophic medical diagnosis waiting to happen. The discovery of what I call ‘brain grape”, a 3 mm lump in my brain has sent me into the far reaching cells of my prison, where I am convinced that it just waiting to implode and kill me. Every time I get sent for a medical test, I panic, thinking this is the day that I find out I have lived so “wrongly” with this disease that it is now going to kill me. I have locked myself into a prison fearful of dying before my time. 

But this is not my only cell in this prison. Yes, I lost my dad when I was in my early 20’s and suffered more family losses in the months following. To my over anxious mind though, I have convinced myself that anyone I love will just leave me anyone, so why bother to try. I have convinced myself that I am a great friend, but not “enough” to be loved by someone wholly. It is another aspect to my prison; this idea that I am not worthy enough for some guy to look at and, well, to love. The idea of opening myself up to another human being who could be important to me almost cripples me. The idea of dating strikes absolute terror. I hate it, but there it is. The thought that someone, besides my friends, could find me attractive enough, funny enough, smart enough, talented enough, just enough for them seems improbable, impossible, unreal. The fantasy of finding companionship, of love, is comforting; the reality is terrifying. This cell in my prison has become safe from emotional hurt, from loss. It protects my heart. Hell, I won’t even get a puppy or cat because I am scared of loving something that I will either leave or that will leave me. 

My therapist is working with me on this prison, but it is awfully challenging to find all the keys for these locks. Yet. 

I have started to look at my life, my accomplishments. He has asked me to look at the long list of inadequacies I place on myself, and to look for strengths in them. I am trying. Yes, I have been “alone” for most of my adult life, and yes, I am lonely, but I know how to take care of things. I completed my Masters, for Force sake, on my own (okay I did have friends cheering me on-thanks folks!) I have survived moving out, and living on my own with this disease that I hate since I was 25, and I am doing okay. I have cried and raged through strikes, and while I have received some help from my friends, I managed to stay afloat with no help from my family. I have a strength and an independence that I need to be proud of, but I have a vulnerable side that I need to let show more to others. 

I will probably always carry some portion of this prison, I think we all have one. For now though, I am trying to release mine a little. It is starting with  going to yoga class, playing piano again, and saying no to things. It is trying to ride the anxiety wave and to live in the now. It is me trying not to see the future and not imagining the most catastrophic things possible. It’s a start. 

It is hope. 

Yoga Nidra on Star Wars Day

I’d like to begin by acknowledging that, in my world, every day is Star Wars day. I was going to write about that tonight, but my focus changed due to an interesting experience. I’d also like to note that I am NOT an expert at yoga, yoga nidra or Star Wars. I just have a deep love of the franchise and it has become my touchstone, my faith, if you will.

My understanding from my yoga class tonight is that Yoga Nidra is meant to be a deep meditation practice. I was not expecting that as I went into the restorative class I signed up for, but I am embracing all the new yoga learning as I try out this practice.

After a few restorative poses to get us all relaxed and ready, our  instructor? leader? (what is the correct term??) got us into a position on our backs all comfy with a blanket over top, and a bolster supporting the knees. (mental note: put a fuzzy blanket underneath as well so your hands don’t connect with the chilly floor) She lead us through some breathing and guided meditation which, I am not ashamed to admit, brought a tear leaking from my eye, as she asked us to repeat the words (mentally) “I am enough. I am more than enough”. I have expressed this feeling of “I am not enough” to my therapist and it is something we are working on. To hear the positive affirmation in the class, brought emotions to the surface, but I repeated the chant throughout the class and by the end, I was actually starting to get comfortable with it.

What I truly wondered afterward, was how much George Lucas knew about yoga and meditation as he created and wrote about the Jedi Order? As I traverse this yoga path, I find certain phrases being very reminiscent of Yoda’s wisdom or Chirrut’s chants to the Force. I’m not saying that I am a Jedi; I am very aware that it is a fictional creation, but is the idea of the “Force” that far from the idea of spirituality? Yoda’s writers recorded these words:

For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship. Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

During the meditation, we were asked to remember that we are in a safe space, we have nowhere to be, that the universe has a plan for us. As this was spoken, all I could think of was Chirrut’s phrase, “All will be as the Force wills it“. It is a phrase I have said to myself over and over as I wait for the CT scan and results. I say it to try and remember that there is no need to worry, that I have to have faith in the universe, much like my mantra of “I am one with the Force, the Force is with me“, also from the fabulous Guardian Chirrut Imwe. (Rogue One)

Maybe you’ll think this silly and ridiculous, but it works for me. As i continue to discover what yoga can do for my anxiety, my stress, and my fear, I’ll probably continue to find my Star Wars parallels, and you know what, it works for me.

May the Force (or the Fourth) Be With You.

 

My Love/Hate Relationship

Tonight I realized how much my diabetes won’t let me relax.  It was a moment; an epiphany, if you will.

I have always known that I am constantly consumed by the “what’s going on with the diabetes” conversation in my head. I hate that I can’t take a break from it. But tonight, I really realized deep down how it truly won’t let me relax.

I was at a restorative yoga class. I have recently taken up yoga as a means to help me relax, find some clam, and gain some flexibility back into my life. I’m enjoying it, I really am, but that’s another story.

See the whole purpose of the class tonight was to relax, to let go, to calm down and just…be. I followed the diabetic rules. I should have been fine. I checked before I started the class, and the Blood Glucose (BG) was normal. Excellent. I got into my first pose, started to relax……. BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ…LOW PREDICTED flashing on the pump. I cancelled, snuck some Dex into my mouth, and resumed. Just floating off to a lovely place…….BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ…LOW PREDICTED. This continued for about 45 minutes. Every time I got to a lovely place, I was jolted back to my reality. It was like my diabetes was yelling at me, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING RELAXING???? THINK OF ME!!” When it wasn’t telling me that death was imminent, it was reminding me to test or calibrate or sing a fracking Broadway tune.

There’s nothing much I can do about this disease. After 36 years, I should be used to it. But I’m not. I still hate it. I love that I have the pump and my CGM, but I hate my pump and my CGM. I hate the glucometer, but am so thankful that I have it and that my supplies are covered. I am so thankful for the bottles of insulin in my fridge and on my desk, but I am so sick of finding test strips bloody everywhere and medical detritus hidden in the nooks and crannies of my house. I love that I am able to control this disease for the most part, but I hate that I have it.

I hate that it is not cured.