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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I Really Miss Working

Really?  Yes.  Really.  I miss working so much.  I loved getting dressed up for work, feeling a sense of purpose every day, knowing I was supporting my family.  I miss my co-workers and I miss my customers.  When the reality set in, that I wouldn’t be going back to work anytime soon, I was in denial.  I had a hard time just driving by my old job, which is on the main street where I live.  Seeing people from work depressed me, even seeing them on Facebook.  I had to remove their posts from my news feed just so I wouldn’t get depressed.  The guy who cleans the bank where I used to work lives the next block over and drives by my house several times a day.  Every time he drove by, I was reminded of what I used to do and what I would never have again.

My brain has had a much easier time of admitting how much I miss working.  I have dreams that feel like they are real about work all the time.  My most recent one was pretty hilarious.  I was at my old desk at work and one of the loan officers needed me to close a loan for them.  We were lending money to Kanye West.  I am giggling as I type this.  Never, in a million years, will Kanye West ever walk into our little town, let alone, the little Ag bank that I used to work at.  Seriously, brain?  Kanye?  I did meet him and start to close the loan.  He was very polite in my dream.  Maybe that’s what woke me up.

That I can even talk about my little work issue is amazing.  I feel like I’ve grown so much in the past year.  I even looked at some former co-workers Facebook pages with only a little bit of melancholy.  I miss them so much.  I’m so glad for the time Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome has given me with my kids.  I used to wish I could stay home with them, but knew it would never happen because I HAD to work.  Funny how life kind of gives you what you need most.  I fought it, I over-thought it and I hated it.  It’s time to accept it and move on.

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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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Funk

No. Not B-O funk.  And no.  Not George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic funk either. Now The Black Eyed Peas song “Smells Like Funk” is stuck in my head, but that’s not what I’m writing about either.  I’m in a what-am-I-good-for funk.  I’m in a even-if-I-could-work-no-one-would-want-me funk.  I’ve been seriously considering whether I could return to work.  Not because I feel well enough to but with the hope that this new doctor I’m seeing next month will be able to kick fibromyalgia’s butt and I’ll be feeling like my old self again.  As I am right now, with the spasms and pain, not to mention fatigue, I know that going back to work would be impossible.  It’s funny that I think of fatigue last, when it is the biggest obstacle.  It’s hard to concentrate on what you’re doing when you’re having spasms, which can be painful or when you are in pain, period.  But it is near impossible to concentrate, let alone stand, when you are fatigued.  I’m not talking just a little tired, although I feel tired all the time, whether I’ve slept good or not, whether I’ve taken naps or not.  Fatigued means having zero energy, dizzy when standing, dozing off all day, feeling like you can’t move your arms or legs, feeling like you have a pound of bricks for brains and if your head weren’t attached, it’d go rolling off your body.  I cannot remember the majority of April.  Me and my three-year-old slept in till 10:30, we rarely went anywhere and I had a couple of trips to pick up my kids where I honestly felt like I might fall asleep while driving.  Now that we’re into June and I haven’t had any fatigue days, just pain and spasms, I’m wondering whether I can go back to work.

All I need is an employer who’ll allow me to take naps during the day, sit in a recliner so I can keep my feet elevated, and will allow me to take any sick days I need when I’m fatigued or in too much pain to work.  If the barometer is shifting, I’ll need that day off too.  Also, no stress.  I cannot handle any extra stress.  Forget socializing, because I don’t do that.  Unless you want someone with no TMI filter talking to your most important clients and board members?  Don’t I sound like the ideal candidate?

So far, the only job I can come up with is stay-at-home Mom and I’m already doing that for free!  I take that back.  I do get paid in hugs and kisses and little kid jokes.  My kids are the best and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.  Maybe a hot tub.  I really want a hot tub.  Joking!  Only joking.  The two older ones are pretty much self-sufficient.  Unfortunately, they are masters at pushing each other’s buttons, not to mention mine.  They almost make up for all the fighting, both physical and verbal, with the help they give me with the three-year-old.  In August they’ll go back to school and the little one will go to preschool, then what am I going to do with myself?  Will I finally be able to do my Deepak Chopra’s Leela game?  I really liked it the one time I got to play it.  Will I finally be able to go to the heated pool in Greeley?  The drive to Greeley and back might make the exercises in the pool pointless.  Right now, the majority of exercise I get involves laundry, dishes and picking up the crap everyone else leaves laying around.

So my funk continues…and that song is still stuck in my head!

 

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Texas

After an 8 1/2 drive we are finally in Texas.  My feet are so swollen and my knees and hips want to abandon ship.  Maybe from holding my kindle or some other unknown, my shoulders, elbows and wrists hurt.  I’m getting these come from out of nowhere pains the radiate all over my body.  For example, my thumb will hurt and a spot on the underside of my chin will hurt at the same time and it will feel like they are connected.  I’m also having really bad spasms.  I’m sitting at a desk, like I used to do every day at work, because my Mother-in-law doesn’t have wireless internet.  My right wrist and whatever fingers I happen to be using to type hurt.  When my fingers are at rest on the keys, they spasm even though I’m not telling them to move.  My left knee is hurting and I’m starting to get itching pain in my right wrist.  My left elbow refuses to be left out so I’m done here.  I think I managed 5 minutes of typing total.  Do you think someone would hire a person who can’t type more than 5 minutes and who has to lay down periodically and walk around periodically, lets say every 15 minutes?  How about someone who, after typing those 5 minutes will now have pain radiating from her finger tips to her arms and after sitting in a regular chair will have pain radiating from her hips to her knees to her ankles.  I meant to talk about my wonderful Mother-in-law and her awesome, posing dog Riley or her Chihuahua Lola who has taken to me, but I hurt to bad.  Back to the recliner, CMT (which we don’t have at home cause we can’t afford that grouping of channels) and my Dr Pepper 10 that is really yummy.  Ow!  I just got a pain that went from the left-handed side of my right hand all the way to the top of my head.  Laters Baby.

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