Fibronaut At Home

Back to Work

I’ve been working at my new job for a couple weeks now.  I’m part time and the longest shift I’ve worked has been seven hours.  So far, so good.  Sometimes I have to stop and stretch and sometimes I forget to take my meds.  My body always tells me what I should be doing.  I bring a small snack for when I have to take my naproxen and I’ve been trying to drink tea instead of soda, when I can.  One night, I was so busy, I had to eat a jelly donut for dinner.  Not the best dinner, but it allowed me to take my meds and get a couple (hundred? thousand?) calories, so I wouldn’t fall over.

The mental aspect of going back to work is just as hard as the physical.  I write myself positive notes, and read them before I go in.  “I am so grateful for this opportunity,”  “I’m so happy to be working again,” “You are going to do great,” and “You got this.”  I ALWAYS smile at myself in the mirror and say, “This is going to be fun!”  If I have a setback, like a grumpy customer or something goes wrong, I just tell myself to shake it off.  I read a great quote somewhere that I come back to: “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.”  I just think of that, determine that I’m not going to let someone else’s sour mood affect me, and remind myself to be patient with myself and others.

I have a lot of former bank customers and former gas station customers that come in and that is always great.  I love talking to people again.  Then, I have someone come in who asks, “What happened?” as if the worst thing in the world is me, back at a gas station.  I’ve had a couple of these.  The first one was really tough and I felt a little defeated when he left.  Then, today, as I was thinking about the interaction, I remembered a conversation I had right before he came in.  One of my old gas station customers came in.  Every day, when picking up my kids from school, I drive by a bench in front of the high school that is dedicated to her son, who died two years ago.  Normally, I wouldn’t know what to say, but I offered my condolences anyway.  We talked for awhile and then she thanked me for remembering him.  She said, “I’ve found that for me, when he died, my world stopped, but for everyone else, it kept going.”

I cannot even begin to imagine the pain of losing a child.  My losses were nothing in comparison.  When I think about those first couple years after my diagnosis, I can relate to her description of the world stopping for me.  I am so fortunate that I had Fibromyalgia and CFS, even my anxiety and depression.  I didn’t have anything life-threatening, my family and children are healthy.  The experience was in no way easy for anyone in my life.  I’m so fortunate that I have such a supportive and understanding family, friends and husband.  I might be starting over, and I’m definitely not making what I made in the bank, but I’m confident that I’m right where I am supposed to be.

Tonight, when I had my second, “What happened?”, I smiled, said “I was sick, but now I’m better.” and left it at that.  I don’t have to explain and not everyone is going to get it anyway.

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Swift Kick in the…

I’m so glad I posted about my anxiety yesterday.  Just posting here, instead of just writing in my journal gave me the push I needed.  I thought to myself, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.  Then, I made a list of what I needed to accomplish before picking up my kids from school and I dropped off the two applications I’d already filled out.  Today’s goal is to do my cover letter for my resume and drop that off at a couple places.  I’ll also be making a few calls to see if anyone knows of any openings in the area.  Deep breath.  Here we go!

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Gasping for Air

Anxiety is in full effect today.  I’m trying not to go into ostrich-mode, but I’ve kind of been there for the last couple weeks.  The only way I’m going to deal with this, is to get it all out.  Not exactly easy.  The holidays have me feeling vulnerable.  I have my husband’s work Christmas party to go to and I always dread those.  That’s not really what has The Hamster Wheel of Death spinning in my head.

I spent some time with friends from high school.  Felt great at the time.  After, I was full of all these self-recriminations, where I was re-visiting things I said or did and just beating myself up over them.  I know I’m supposed to acknowledge these thoughts and feelings, then see them for what they are.  I know that.  But they are still eating me up inside.  Great.  Now I’m crying.  My four year old is home and really doesn’t need to see this.  She’s watching a movie, so hopefully she doesn’t notice.  I don’t really even understand why I’m beating myself up.  I had fun.  I am able to be myself with these women.  I never feel any judgement from them, just support.  We get each other.  Part of me feels like I don’t deserve their friendship, and I suppose that could be contributing to these thoughts.  I hate myself over how I treated them years ago.

I meet with my attorney tomorrow to go over my disability case, which is putting another layer of anxiety on top of the holiday mix.  This is just a preliminary appointment to go over what to expect when I have my hearing in February.  I’m gritting my teeth, my shoulders are hunched and I have butterflies in my stomach.  I’m afraid I’ll forget something.  I’m full of what-ifs.  I’m in ostrich-mode so bad on this one.  I just want to go to sleep tonight and wake up on Thursday, with it all over and taken care of.  I don’t want to deal with it.

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Here We Go

My 6th Grader

My 6th Grader

My son started 6th Grade today.  I decided that I was going to try to take my kids to school this year.  My hubby doesn’t have to be to work until 9 am right now.  Last year, he didn’t have to be to work until 8:30 am and the kids were late all the time.  We open-enroll them so the school district has to approve the kids every year and they are strict on attendance and grades.  Every three tardies is one absence.  I’m tired of worrying about them getting in trouble for tardies.  This morning went well.  I made sure I took my meds, ate a little something and had coffee before we left.  I still had to make sure I concentrate on the road.  Even small distractions are dangerous for me in the morning.  I  was distracted by a mosquito and freaked out the kids when I was trying to kill it.  I had to slam on my brakes when an old guy didn’t have his blinker on and turned in front of me when I thought he was going straight.  I started to go into the gutter when I was singing along to the radio and looking at the corn fields.  Tomorrow will be the real test when I have three kids to drop off and the traffic is tripled.

I’m not as anxious about him starting sixth grade.  I was excited for him this morning and I didn’t cry when I dropped him off.  It was a near thing.  I’m dealing with PMS so that is consuming most of my energy.  I have to do laundry today so that might affect tomorrow as well.  Wish me luck!

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Fibronaut on Vacation

I’ve been meaning to write about our vacation that we took at the end of June.  I thought about the things I did to be with my family as much as possible.  I haven’t posted about anything yet because I’ve been all up in my head since we got back.  I don’t really know where to begin.  I’ve got so much bottled up right now and I’m just trying to keep my head above water.  It was great to be able to get away.  I took it slow.  I rested as much as possible.  I’m realizing the most difficult part of vacation is coming back to reality.  I’ve really struggled the last couple weeks to get back into the swing of things.  I feel lost.  Part of the problem is that, while on vacation, we ate out every meal.  I didn’t have to worry about having the energy to feed myself or the kids.  I feel like I was able to do so much more than normal while on vacation, that now I feel like I’m doing nothing.  Now that I’ve finally realized that, you would think I would be a little easier on myself.  I continue to beat myself up about it.

Every time I sit down to rest, my brain goes to everything I should or could be doing.  I’m having trouble sleeping again and having trouble keeping my temper.  I was so rude to a girl selling magazines the other day.  I blew up at the kids for a really stupid reason.  I don’t like myself like this.  My son starts middle school at the end of this month and that is just adding to my stress.  I think I’m more anxious than he is.  I’m having trouble just breathing.  I feel like I could hyperventilate all the time.  I just want to cry and scream.  I really hate myself right now.   I don’t know how to get out of this funk.

I’m still struggling with being unable to work.  I feel like I don’t contribute anything to my family.  I know that’s not true but it feels that way sometimes.  It just sucks so bad trying to live on one income.  It isn’t fair to my kids or my hubby that I can’t work.  I even have one of those dreams that feels like it is real, where I think I’m at work again and I feel so good but then I wake up and I just feel sad.  When I worked, I missed out on a lot of things with my kids.  Sometimes they couldn’t do certain sports or activities because I couldn’t get off of work to take them.  Now I have the time but we don’t have the money for them to do those things.  It hurts to have to tell them they can’t do something because we can’t afford it.  It breaks my heart.  I would make sure I rested all day if I could just do this for them.  Makes me feel like a complete failure as a parent.  I need a hug.

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Total Panic Mode

It is nearing the one month mark since I was denied SSDI.  I am entering panic mode.  My hubby has been bugging me about contacting an attorney and updating my explanation of my difficulties.  Just writing about it has my stomach in knots.  My breathing is shallow, my stomach has butterflies and my teeth are clenched.  Last night, he started to talk to me about what he wanted me to work on and I had to cut him off.  I told him to make me a list of what he wanted me to do.  I could not deal with any of it.  I put on my headphones, listened to calming music and escaped into the book I’m reading until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  Then I went to bed and kept repeating “You can’t do anything about it tonight. Deal with it tomorrow.”  This allowed me to get to sleep last night.  Not sure why I decided to post about this when it is bringing me back to this anxious space.  The anxiety just compounds until I’m a nervous wreck, barking at my kids and in pain from all the tension.  I meet with the attorney next week.  I cannot be a basket case until then.

This is why I know going back to work is not a possibility for me.  I cannot handle stress.  I go into ostrich mode, where I just want to bury my head in the sand until the coast is clear.  Add to that the pain and fatigue and I wouldn’t be able to function.  Since the denial, I’ve considered the possibility of working from home, just to bring in a little income.  I love to sew.  Why not turn that love into something profitable.  So I checked out books from the library on starting your own Etsy shop and I can’t even get past the first chapter.  I become overwhelmed by all the what-ifs.  I know that just getting started is going to be a lot of work.  My hubby starts questioning me about certain aspects of selling online and I freak out.  I know he just wants me to be aware of all the work my idea will take but it feels like discouragement.

So, I feel like I should be doing more, but every time I try, my doubts surface and I give up.

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I Forgot

I had a kick-ass-and-take-names kind of day today. I drove my kids, by myself, to a Birthday party an hour and a half away. I helped my three-year-old in the shallow end of the pool for over an hour. Thankfully, the pool was indoor and warm. It was like having a long soak after that long drive. I was able to enjoy myself at the party, even with the pain and fatigue. Kid parties may seem boring or like too much kid-time, but kids are just my speed. I avoid all the adult drama and hang with the kids most of the time. They are always positive, looking for the bright-side and magnets for fun and silliness. My older niece’s showed me some funny videos with interesting dancing and the exchange of laughter was a memory I will cherish.

I even made the drive home. I can’t say what kind of shape I’ll be in tomorrow though. It is almost midnight and I’ve been up since 7 am but I drank coffee on the way home so now I’m exhausted but wide awake. I hurt, of course, but I’ve got heating pads rotating from my legs to my neck, shoulders and back. I started writing this post in my head on the drive home, but had to force my thoughts to singing along to the radio so I wouldn’t fall asleep. It is killing me because I had a specific message I wanted to convey, but now I can’t remember what it was. I didn’t even realize that I was starting to go into the little creative space in my mind until my eleven year old reminded me to sing along. I told him to throw something at me if I wasn’t singing along to the radio because that meant I was asleep.

This is driving me insane now. I feel like there is something to get off my chest, but I can’t remember what it is! I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep until I think of it. It had to do with anxiety. I was thinking of the anxiety that I experienced in the days leading up to this party. Now I remember. The relief is short-lived. I won’t be okay until I get this out.

I was singing along to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, featuring Mary Lambert, “Same Love”, and it hit me. Whenever I have any event, party, anything really, to go to, I immediately begin over-thinking. I could even be thinking of all the fun, positive things that could happen. Eventually though, my mind turns dark. I might imagine someone being mean to me or my kids and the ensuing drama, stress and conflict. I might imagine a misunderstanding that gets blown out of proportion or some other situation where I am in conflict with someone who doesn’t know me.

While listening to this song, I thought back to all the negative places my brain went when confronted with my attending a children’s party at a public pool. Add the stress of finding out the night before that I’d be making a drive I haven’t made in two years, and I was a mess. In one of those made up situations in my mind, a simple misunderstanding in the pool between myself and another mother, blows up. This kept creeping into my thoughts all week. At the actual party, not the one in my mind, I did have an interaction with another Mom and it was nothing like I had imagined. It was actually kind of beautiful. If you saw me and this other Mother, side by side, you would think that we had nothing in common but that we were Mothers. We never talked to each other so I’ll never know. Our babies communicated first, with eye-contact and a smile and then so did we. I feel like we so often judge each other based on what we see and that is sad. Maybe that will be a new goal for me. More eye-contact and smiles and less judging. I can do that.

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What is Next?

As I wrote yesterday, I received my Social Security Disability denial in the mail.  Bummer.  I wasn’t really surprised, just disappointed.  We will be contacting an attorney that we found on http://www.fmaware.org.  I am dreading the continuation of this whole process.  Much of my anxiety is tied to feeling judged so the possibility of months of close scrutiny has me feeling, well, anxious.

I am also torn because I am only 34 years old.  Who wants to be disabled at my age?  No one.  I feel like I’m giving up by pursuing this disability claim.  I guess deep down, I am still wishing I could be the old me.  The letter from Social Security stated that my condition is stabilized on medications and while my conditions result in some limitations, I should not be prevented from performing work I’ve done in the past as a teller.  Tellers stand at a station all day.  Even when they sit, the amount of repetitive movement required would have me resting more than working.

I’m really trying to think positively.  I have more to say but the tablet is spazzing out and I am about to chuck it.

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Let The Freak Out Commence!

I know I just posted this morning (if you haven’t read that one, scroll down now so we’re all on the same page)  but I’m beginning to panic.  I need to purge and then I will hopefully move on.  The Social Security doctor was nice enough and pretty cute but very brief.  I told my hubby the appointment was quick and dirty.  My hubby replied “just the way I like it”.  Hardy-har-har.  I told him “but he didn’t even buy me dinner.”  A heartier hardy-har-har with a snort at the end.  We were halfway home when I realized that the doctor didn’t even ask me about my depression and I forgot to put down anything about my anxiety or thyroid.

Sigh.  Cue the beginning of panic mode.  There is nothing I can do about it now.  He just went through his questions so fast.  I know he was probably trying to trip me up.  He made me walk and do all these other movements, which I can do, I just have a lot of pain during and after.  I made sure I told him that and I made sure I told him of the pain with repetitive motion.  I also made sure to mention the fatigue.  So now all I can do is wait for their decision.  I need to be realistic and not  get my hopes up.  The worst that could happen is for them to deny me.  We’ve been surviving for almost a year on one income.  We just have to keep on, keeping on.

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Happy Birthday to me!

Wish me understanding and compassion today.  Social Security wants me to see their doctor to determine whether I am disabled or not.  They picked my Birthday of all days at 9 o’clock in the morning.  I hope they don’t ask me to take my ball cap off.  Today I was going to wash my hair but it is too early for a shower.  My Mom is driving from Denver very early this morning to take me because I don’t/can’t drive this early.  Here is the endless wheel my hampster in my head is on:

– What if I forget to tell him something?  I didn’t write down a list of my complaints because I always freak out and end up not looking at the list.
– What if he is not nice?  Sometimes, when I think I can tell the doctor is ignoring me, I give up.
– What if he doesn’t believe me?  We have all had doctors that look at us like we’re crazy.  I even had one call me crazy.  He tried to laugh like I was going to laugh along!
– What if, what if, what if!

I think I’m going to meditate on the way there just so I don’t hyper-ventilate. 

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