A free online version of the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) rated me at serious risk of impending job burnout. I can’t say that surprises me.
It happens on the regular: I put off writing about what I need to write about because I have other topics I “should” be posting, like the monthly cataloging of the blooms in my garden, or the annual missive to my son on (or around) his birthday.
Screw that. I keep this blog around for me. It’s no longer the angsty ramblings of a twenty-something who’s trying to keep in touch with all of her friends at once. This is the public journal of a middle-aged working mother. Basically, it’s a lot easier to find references to life events after the fact using an indexed database of words than it is to rifle through a handwritten journal.
The thing is, though, that there haven’t really been very many life events to record this year, with the global pandemic and all. No tropical vacation, no visiting friends and relatives in other cities, no local bands and food trucks downtown, not even any photo walks along the river.
I guess that’s one reason why I haven’t been sitting down and pouring out the contents of my brain lately: there hasn’t been anything that I especially wanted to record for posterity, or to share with others by crossposting to Facebook. I sew stuff, I grow stuff, I work, I pretend to be a badass martial artist, but it all feels like Groundhog Day.
And now autumn is settling in.
The fall foliage is beautiful, and I’m definitely a big fan of hoodie weather… but I’m solar-powered. It must be the string of chilly, overcast days that are getting to me.
Or maybe it’s the sameness of every day working from home and supervising my son’s remote learning. Maybe it’s our geriatric cat pissing on the carpet by my sewing machine, instead of her litter box, making one of my primary hobbies difficult if not impossible for the time being. Maybe it’s that jowly, puffy, saggy, tired, worn-down face staring at me from the bathroom mirror every morning. Maybe it’s my Krav Maga class getting pushed later and later in the evening, so that I leave for class about the time I’d normally be starting my son’s bedtime routine, meaning that a) I feel like I can only go once a week for his sake; and b) when I do go, I’m already tired and not at my best by the time class begins.
Maybe my brain meds need adjusted. Maybe I need more than just brain meds. Maybe I need to get off the brain meds.
Maybe everybody in the world is having a hard time right now, or maybe it’s just me.
It’s been one of those days that reminds me of what every day felt like before brain meds.
Thought maybe some sunshine would perk me up, but no dice. I suspect my constant fatigue may be related to upping my dosage of Prozac — I’ll give it some more time, then give my doctor a heads-up if I don’t feel a boost after the long holiday weekend.
I’ve been eagerly anticipating today’s med check with my doctor for weeks. He put me on Prozac over a year ago, and on Wellbutrin about a year and a half. The meds have been treating me well… up until recently.
For the past few months, things have been going slowly downhill. I’ve gained ten pounds, and my mood has become more volatile in a chicken-and-egg sort of dance. I’m down because I don’t fit into my clothes and I’m jiggly. I either wish I didn’t have to bother eating, or I can’t stop. I get tension headaches. I get irritable easily, to the point of sudden rage. I can’t focus at work. I haven’t been taking enjoyment in my hobbies. I get down on myself. I notice all my flaws, physical and otherwise. They taunt me.
My knees hurt, so I skip my workouts. I go outside for a restorative walk over lunch, only to find it gray and cold and windy.
Doc told me today that he thinks I’m not reacting well to the Wellbutrin, and told me to gradually taper off of it over the next month. At the same time, he’s having me double my dose of Prozac from what I had been taking, which was the minimum dosage available.
He also confirmed what I had suspected for some time now: I have inattentive-type ADHD. This quote from the Cleveland Clinic (emphasis mine) sums things up quite well:
Executive functions of the brain–such as verbal and nonverbal working memory, self-regulation and motivation, and planning–are thought to be impaired in adults with AD/HD. Adults who have AD/HD without hyperactivity can experience difficulties with maintaining attention and focus, using working memory and recall, and regulating emotions. Organizing and prioritizing tasks can be challenging.
As the kids said back in 2015… it me.
Our hope is that eliminating the Wellbutrin and increasing the Prozac will help resolve the emotional volatility and mitigate some of the ADHD symptoms, as well as the depression. If not, though, we’ll experiment with what he calls “real” stimulants.
I should also get myself to talk therapy. I go with Connor to some Behavioral Therapy to help him identify and regulate his emotions, and I honestly get something out of his appointments, too, even though I’m really just there as his handler / moral support / responsible adult. It’s taking that first step and reaching out that’s the hardest.
Aaron always says he can tell when something’s really bothering me because he reads it on my blog. He also told me a couple weeks back that I should act sooner if this mood dip happens again.
Agreed, 100 percent.
Sometimes, in those rare moments when I post to Facebook (i.e. where people will actually see it), I actually get what I needed.
Still feeling down, but feeling a little more OK with it.
Rocking it old-school today with a general life data dump on the blog. It’s been a while.
Last night, the owner of the karate studio pulled Connor and me into his office and told us that he thinks Connor is ready for Black Belt Club — that is, he seems to be serious about karate and wants to continue to pursue higher belts and ranks.
Honestly, the main reason Connor wanted to join BBC was to get to play with a sword.
His first go at sword was last night, and he did great. Pretty soon, though, they’ll be learning a different weapon, so we won’t be buying him his own wooden sword anytime soon — he’ll just borrow a sword until the whole group gets their new weapons.
Black Belt Club is really an ingenious way to get families into a longer-term commitment — instead of signing up for a six-month commitment, it becomes a two-year commitment. It’s hard to imagine Connor in third grade, honestly; I hope we haven’t overcommitted.
When I think about it, though, I took ballet classes from age four to age eight, and it was really just a part of my life. I loved it and looked forward to it, and I know my family had to stretch their funds to be able to afford it. Ballet had lasting benefits for me, though, just as I hope karate will for Connor.
* * *
i’ve been staring at my first attempt at a t-shirt for a week or so. It’s been hanging on a hanger in my bedroom, where I can look at it and learn from the mistakes I made while sewing: attaching the neckband to an armhole, sewing the other armband on inside-out, stitching the actual neckband all funny and uneven.
Last night, I decided I would wear it to work today.
Honestly, you really can’t tell unless I point it out that the neckline (artfully hidden under my scarf) is way wavy, or that the hem is also exceptionally wavy. It’s not just a gardening shirt, after all — it’s totally wearable.
My next go-around with a knit tee will probably involve spray starch for the hems (and maybe the seams), and a longer and wider zig-zag stitch. I’ve got plans. I’m learning. I’m damn proud of myself.
* * *
When there were no supermarket flowers awaiting me on the kitchen table this morning alongside Connor’s chocolates, I kind of hoped that I’d be getting a delivery at work today.
As usual, I was not disappointed:
Can’t help lovin’ that man of mine.
* * *
To be frank, I’ve been in kind of a funk lately. I haven’t wanted to do any sewing this week, and I’ve been spending my evenings snacking and watching YouTube (my current obsession is The Origin of Everything by PBS).
Seeing the last couple of days laid out in front of me is starting to help me shake it off. I’m pretty stoked to try sewing up my next knit t-shirt, I’m excited for Connor to extend himself and push himself in karate class (no excuses!), and I feel mighty loved, despite also still feeling like I’m disappointing others left and right.
That’s the normal state of my brain, though; I’m used to it.
Lately, I’ve been taking one lunch hour per week at The Bux next door, toting my Bluetooth keyboard with me to write. I didn’t really feel like coffee today, though, so today I’m sitting in the 6th floor cafeteria in my office building, trying super hard to ignore the conversations around me.
Yesterday morning, I took a pretty good spill downtown while crossing the street. I thought I was fine at the time — honestly, I still think I’m mostly fine — but I do have some aches and stiffness that I might not have gotten from a fall like that when I was younger. I took some strongish drugs for the aches, and I’m still wearing the anti-nausea patch I put on last night. (I’ll keep it on until I reach the three-day mark or it starts to dilate my eyes, whichever comes first.)
I kinda feel like that overall. I need to get my feet back under me and move forward. I have lots of outstanding, almost-done projects at work; my personal clutter is strewn all over the house; my clothes don’t fit right anymore; and my throat and eyes have that dry, scratchy, I’m Getting Sick kind of feeling. I can’t really focus on just one thing and fix it — I have to continue my triage and keep chipping away at things.
It probably doesn’t help that I’m also behind on my self-imposed January deadlines: posting my 2018 Year In Review, posting a roll of photos to my blog, and sewing a piece of clothing from a commercial pattern. I’ve gotten some things done, like creating a 2019 calendar, making a present for Connor’s friend, Harper, and tracking all of my meals in WW eTools. January is not a total wash by any means.
I really just feel tired, which manifests as feeling depressed and unmotivated. If I can turn things around and get my head in the right place, my brain meds can help me from continuing the spiral.
I’ll bet I can get myself out of this thing if I just focus on getting to bed earlier and being just a little more active every day. That, plus distracting myself from after-dinner snacking, which has been A Major Thing this week. Maybe I can do some meditation during my usual snack time.
I’ve got this. No worries.
Seriously. The logical part of my brain is clearly indicating that my inability to get to sleep lately, combined with the time of month, is making everything seem epic and insurmountable.
Meanwhile, my amygdala is all, “Screw It.”
Nothing is horrible. Things are generally cool. We booked our vacation recently, which has me pretty excited (except for that whole two-piece swimsuit thing, which I am so not in the right mindset for right now). I’m back on the WW wagon, tracking what I eat and exercising when I can. My son is taking karate and seems to be really enjoying it.
But all the little shit is just piling on, bit by bit.
Blog entry: from the car.
Let’s see how this works out. I’ve never dictated a blog entry using Siri while I was driving, but there’s a first time for everything.
This is actually kind of cool, except for when my phone thinks that I’m done because I pause too long.
Anyway, I wanted to talk about feeling kind of meh today, since it doesn’t happen very often anymore. (Sidenote: it seems that if I don’t use Siri, and instead I just use the microphone, it works pretty well with my Shatner-esque pauses.)
As I was checking my email on the john this morning, I learned that some friends of ours are moving 40 minutes away. They currently live about 5 to 10 minutes from our house. So, that was kind of a bummer for me, although I am super glad for them. It sounds like they’re super excited to move out to the country.
It’s kind of funny, though, because their idea of the perfect place to live is the exact opposite of what we were looking for when we wanted a house. What we wanted was something close to the highway, so we could get places quickly. What they wanted was no neighbors.
Then, when I went to drive my son to school this morning, I saw that it was spitting rain or snow or something in between. I was displeased.
So, I guess I can actually pointed to a couple of good reason why I have that familiar old feeling today. It happens. I’ll get over it.
Edit to add: Also, people who drive 15 mph through downtown infuriate me. Not what I needed.