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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I Got It!

This is a couple days late, but, I got the job!  The interview went great.  I felt so confident going into it.  I really worked on several key points that I learned from Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project”.  I acted how I wanted to feel; confident, happy, open, willing and able.  Instead of dwelling on what-if’s and worrying about what would happen or wouldn’t happen, I thought, “This is going to be fun!  This is going to go great!  I got this!  This job is mine!”, over and over.  Whenever I could feel my mind veering into uncertainty and fear, I repeated my mantra, smiled, and took a deep breath.  And it worked!

I was supposed to hear by the end of the week, but the manager called me a couple hours after my interview.  I start on Monday, and couldn’t be more excited for this next chapter in my life.  I have no doubt that I’m going to be able to balance work and family.  Knowing what my priorities are and focusing on what means the most to me is what’s key.  I know that I need to make sure I eat well and keep up with my exercise regimen to avoid any fibro or CFS flare ups.  Eating small snacks to avoid the shakes or hanger (hunger anger), making sure I take my meds on time, not focusing on little mistakes, laughing at myself, being patient with others and myself, will all be in the back of my mind.  All the things I thought I was getting away with before, but were really hurting me, I’ve done my best to address.  Now comes the test.  Can I do this?  Yes.  I can.

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Go Susie! Go Susie! Go Susie! Go Susie!

SQUEEEEEE!!!!!

I did it.  I went on an interview.  Phew.  It went really well and I’m feeling really good about this.  No ifs, ands or buts.

I have a huge balloon full of squeals in my chest.  I let a really long squeal out as soon as I was in my car.  Good thing I was parked around the corner.

Probably the best part of the interview was when I was able to say that I was confident my fibromyalgia or CFS wouldn’t affect my ability to do any of the tasks associated with the job.  THAT IS HUGE!

Now, I’m off to walk the dog and I have so much happy energy, I’m going to ZUMBA when I get back.

YAY!

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It’s All How You Look At It

Some things I’m grateful for and would not have had were it not for Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome:

-Time to bask in nature’s beauty.  I enjoy watching the leaves fall, watching the snow pile up, listening to the birds call, watching the squirrels play, sitting in the sunshine, to name a few.

-Time with my children.  I’m getting to do what I’ve wanted to since they were babies.  I pick them up from school, I share my love of reading and sewing with them, I fix them meals and I hug and kiss them and talk to them whenever I want.  I’m able to volunteer at their schools, go to class parties and other special events.

-New hobbies.  Sewing was something I always wanted to do, but never had the time.  I crafted, but not as much as I wanted to.  Now, one of my daily goals is to create or bake something.  Today, instead of cursing the tear in my son’s Halloween costume and the too-big skirt on my daughter’s, I fixed them myself.  I have lost count of all the clothes I’ve upcycled, mended and taken in, saving us money.

-Thrifting is another hobby I’ve picked up again.  It has become a way of life for us.  Anything I can get for cheap, second-hand or make myself, I do.  One of my favorite money-saving, environmental projects I’ve done is to make my own cloth napkins out of an old tablecloth.  We haven’t bought paper towels or napkins in several years.  They go in the wash with my towels and don’t take up any more room than a paper towel roll would.  It used to be a goal of mine to wear something I made or thrifted every day.  I don’t have that goal any more because the majority of my clothing is thifted or home-made.

-Recycling has become a passion of mine.  Everything that goes in our trashcan gets inspected by me first.  Plus I reuse everything I can.  I always look at something I’m thinking of throwing away and think, “Could I use this for something else?”

We’re headed out to the comic book store for our free comics today, but I know this is a subject I’ll come back to in future posts.

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The Happiness Project

I have finally started reading “The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun” by Gretchen Rubin.  Julie Ryan of Counting My Spoons, suggested the book to me months ago and I’m so glad that she did.  I’m only half-way through, but I already love the book and I’m heading back towards the totally awesome me that I found in April.  I’ve been in a slump lately, which is the main reason why I haven’t posted here.  I didn’t want anyone to know that I was struggling, though my hubby and my Mom knew.  I’m ecstatic and relieved that I’m back.

The main goal that is sticking with me now and that could be life-altering for anyone, but especially for others like me with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is, “Act the way you want to feel.”  I was already trying to do this and seeing that it worked for someone else, really helped me.  I think I went into a slump because I was starting to wonder if what I was doing was really working.  Rubin had a similar experience.  Reading that made me feel like I wasn’t alone in my doubts and gave me tools for combating the negative thoughts causing those doubts.

Even though I was doing all the right things, doubts crept in and the old conflict of to-work-or-not-to-work started playing havoc with my mind.  If I don’t work, there isn’t any money for extras and if I do work, there isn’t any time for extras.  I want a part-time job so I can still pick up the kids from school and spend my evenings and weekends with them, but most places only have full-time available, or I just can’t imagine working there.  I talk myself out of jobs before I even apply for them.  I have finally come to the conclusion that, when it’s right, it’ll happen.  When I find my mind going to that black hole of never-ending worry and what-ifs, I sing to myself, “Que sera, sera.  Whatever will be will be.”  A little silly, but it works.

We’ve also had extra stress dealing with some school issues.  I’m not going to go into it.  I think we’re almost through it and I can look back and see that despite all the stress, some good things have come out of going through this.

I’ve gone back to keeping track of all I accomplish each day.  Even if no one else notices, it makes me happy to see all these tasks completed.  I have a spreadsheet I found in Microsoft Excel that’s meant for a chores list, but works perfectly for me.  Each week, I’ll start a new spreadsheet, so I can look back and see how much progress I’ve made.  There are some tasks that I do daily, some I do twice a week or more and some I only do once a week or once a month.  I don’t have to look to my hubby or my kids for validation that I’m reaching goals.  I’ve also added several items since I started.

I’m learning to find the positive in every situation, no matter how bleak.  I’m learning to be grateful for where I am, who I’m with and everything that I once took for granted in life.  Those are some pretty big statements, but I’m confident in them.

I’ll probably post again about this book because there is so much helpful advice in it.  I would recommend this book to anyone, whether you feel like you are happy and especially if you don’t.

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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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More Workout Trial and Error

Oh Lordy Magordy!  I just did the majority of Piloxing.  It was awesome.  The workout combines boxing pilates and she even adds some dance moves.  I love Vivica Jensen, the woman who does the DVD.  She has a great attitude and reminds you to only do what you can, but to try and push yourself.  I also love that the women doing the workout with her are different sizes and different levels of fitness.  I think most fitness DVD’s only have people who are really in shape doing the exercises.  When I was huffing and puffing or had a pain face on, I could see that reflected in other women’s faces.  It was nice because I didn’t feel so bad for being out of breath or for modifying the moves if they were too much for me.

I didn’t do the floor portion of the workout, but I did try.  My muscles felt like jello after the standing portion, so I just skipped to the cool down.  The DVD also reminded me what I liked so much about pilates.  Pilates helps you to lengthen your body and muscles.  You are toning without bulking up.  I had a huge smile on my face at the end.

I also tried Belly Dance Fitness for Weight Loss: Cardio Shimmy.  I thought I’d love this one, because I loved the other belly dance DVD by the same company.  I didn’t make it past 5 minutes.  There’s a lot of fast moves on your tip-toes.  I felt like the hippo ballerinas in Fantasia, except less graceful.

After having the kids making fun of me when I was working out the other day, I decided to work out before they woke up this morning.  Don’t ever let other people’s opinion of you stop you from doing what you want or need to do.  There’s a reason I don’t go to fitness classes, and since The Peanut Gallery can’t contain their horror at me in a sports bra and shorts, I’ll just work out earlier.  It’s good for them to see what a real, unphoto-shopped body looks like though.  I think that when the cousins go home, I’ll continue my normal workout routine.  When my kids complain about me working out, I’ll just make them work out with me.  Ha!

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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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We Got This

What do I have?  A cold!  How long have I had it?  This is week number three!

I really need some positivity right now.  PMS + Cold + Fibro + Fatigue = Me, zoning out all the time, sad, feeling like a giant dog turd floating in turd soup.

Here is my attempt at We Got This Wednesday:

Drum roll please…..

  • I shaved in the shower today.  Hasn’t happened in a week.  Yay, me.
  • I straightened up the living room.  Sort of.  It’s almost ready for someone with more energy than me to vacuum.
  • I did dishes yesterday and made dinner.  It was mac and cheese and hot dogs, but it felt like I’d just climbed Everest.
  • I fed the dog today and gave the bunnies carrots.
  • I cleaned the bathtub.
  • I am really trying to come up with something else….I know there is something else.  For some stupid reason, “I’m the grumpy, old Troll, who lives under the bridge”, from Dora the Explorer keeps popping in my head.  Actually, that is a pretty apt description of me lately.  Except, now I shaved so I’m not as hairy a troll as I was before.
I have to confess, that I’m getting bored with writing these.  Yes, I need to recognize that I do more than sit on my butt and sleep, but I don’t necessarily need to write about it on my blog every week.  I feel like I’m in the fifth grade again and I’m completing a stupid journal assignment that my teacher told me to do.  I hate being forced to write about something specific, even when I’m the one forcing me.
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