Detachment, Depletion, and Subjugation

(How’s that for a light and fluffy title?)

There’s a certain conversation I’ve had with many of the professionals involved in my daughter’s care.  She has struggles, of course.  Right now, school and studying are front and centre as we head into exam time.

While she’s extremely bright (like over 95th percentile bright in her psych ed testing) she struggles with the typical things that many people with ASD and/or ADHD struggle with- executive functioning, organization, working through things slowly and methodically, dealing with frustration when things aren’t easy.  It drives her nuts when I say this, but she really does have the potential to do so well.  She interprets this as pressure.

Thing is, she doesn’t because, at the end of the day, she really doesn’t care.  I have to cajole and humour and convince.  She resists.  Then we devolve into yelling, frustration on both ends, and when it’s really bad, tears.  The bottom line, as her psychologist Dr. B has told me so many times…is that I can’t make her care.  It will happen when she wants it to happen. She will reap both the rewards and the consequences of her actions.

Dr. B is always quick to remind me as well that she’s not just a kid with ASD,  she is a typical, defiant almost-15 year old girl and well who is wont to disagree with her parents at every possible opportunity.  Like it is for sport.  Because that’s what almost-15 year olds do.

Better to let her fail now, and understand what that means now, rather than later, Dr B tells me.  My head knows this is right.  But it goes against what I want for her as my child.  I want my child to be happy, successful, capable, fulfilled.

Then I catch myself–all those sentences up there begin with I.  It’s all about me.  This is where I wonder if I am projecting.  If I want her success to be my definition of success.  Then I think about her holding down a job, having to pay bills, meeting her basic needs–and I start to get anxious. And then between the two of us, our collective anxiety spirals up and up until one or both of us has a meltdown of some kind.  This is never pretty.

So the only thing I can realistically counsel myself to do is detach, detach, detach.  Caring while not investing my very being into it, letting her lead her own way, with positive, gentle support and guidance from me in the background.  Remembering that my job is to create a healthy environment to facilitate her own good decision making, give her the right tools–and then remembering that it is up to her at the end of it all to pick up those tools and use them.

***

Too much focus and anxiety over her well-being also has done me harm. It has been a rough two years.  Ex-h’s drama did a number on me, then realizing that he is a narcissist has totally reframed how I deal with him now, and what our relationship was about.  It took me a long time to figure out the latter, and I’m still stunned (and a bit disappointed in myself) that it took me that long to figure him out.

It is time for me to step back and engage in some serious self-care.  I’ve been good at it at various points in my life, but at some point something has always derailed me.  I can’t afford to let that happen any more.  I can’t subjugate my needs to the changing tides of others.

Tomorrow June 1, is day one.  I am going to start by doing something good for me every single day.  I don’t know what it’ll be, big or small, but I have to feel like I am enriching myself in some way.

I’m also starting a new meds tweak – my pdoc has added Wellbutrin.  She thinks it might help with my lack of energy and motivation.  I sure hope so. I am tired of being tired, always being in a rush but walking through mud at the same time.

Wish me luck, oh internets…

How to pop a blood vessel

I sometimes have moments where I think, it can’t get any crazier or scarier or more stressful.  Then, without fail, I’m proven wrong.

I’m doing my best to keep the anxiety at bay.  The man helps me in this way immensely, but when he’s not around, it creeps up again.

I am stressed/anxious about many, many things right now.  The prospect of child support and/or alimony coming to a halt.  The Boy wanting to live at one house because he is tired of dragging his possessions around and having to keep track of what is wear.  The Girl sucking up all the energy in the room, day in and day out, not leaving space for anyone else’s needs to be met.  My mother being 89 and me waiting for the phone call that will change everything.  Moving.  Buying a house and blending a family, selling another.  A job where I am working three jobs at once and slowly losing. my. mind.

If I hear another person tell me that all I have to do is prioritize, say no, make things simple I am going to pop a blood vessel.

I need something good, something unexpected to happen.

I need to really, really believe that this too, all of it, shall pass.

I need to just be, instead of always doing.

Balance

Balance.  That elusive thing that so many of us struggle with, women especially.  I have been struggling with it more so than usual since I started full-time hours.  Have I ever really had it though?  In the years that I was at home with the kids, no.  I had an orderly house, reasonably stimulated and entertained kids, but a husband that had checked out, and a deep, lingering sense of purposelessness that I tried to mask with my increasing mastery of the domestic arts.  But I felt unappreciated, unloved, frumpy.
The end of my marriage was a very sudden amputation.  But a miraculous new limb grew from my wound, and very quickly.  I felt freer from the moment the moving van left.  I was a better friend, a happier mother, and had nothing but open, wide road in front of me.
That was five years ago.  It’s been quite a ride, with many highs and a handful of lows.  I experimented with relationships and discovered that I could be desirable. I created a new career for myself.  I became healthier in mind and body.  I revelled in the ability and freedom to make adult decisions on my own, unencumbered by resentment and silent acquiescence.
I have come so far, left so many things behind, keeping only the best of the best.
Then the smallest little comment, said in a careful, loving way, but offhand at the same time, sent my mind back to those years of being married to someone disengaged, resentful and passive-aggressive.  A trigger, set unwittingly by my most loving partner, but one that set off a cascade of anxiety and fear.
All because he commented that my saying to him (even in the humorous way that I did) to tell him it was his job on Christmas day to make sure that everyone had drinks.  It triggered him back to his own unhealthy marriage, where his ex-wife was controlling and demeaning to the worst degree.
He said to me, but you are not her.  You are not like this at all.
Which is how it, momentarily, took him by surprise.  He mentioned it then moved on.  But my mind dwelled.  And days later I am still trying to shake it off.
I guess we all live with ghost that come out of the woodwork from time to time.  He is not my ex.  He is engaged, happy, loves me like he’s loved no one before.  My reaction is disproportionate to his intent.  I know that.  But it is still unsettling.
Today though I will move on, press through, focus on the good and what I can do with a full week of vacation still ahead of me.
Which leads me back to balance.  I have only one resolution for 2015:  to work less.  I went full throttle into full-time work in the fall, at the expense of the other things in my life that contribute to my wellness.  Healthy eating, downtime, and above everything, exercise.  My body doesn’t feel or look as good as I am used to, and this has dragged me down too.  It is cumulative.
If I were feeling as healthy and attractive as I normally do, maybe that comment wouldn’t have brought up everything it did?  It is the little things. Little things that cumulatively add up to a lot.
So now I’m going to get dressed for the gym.  Make my bed.  Put a bit of makeup on.  Make the kids a nice breakfast. Get out of the house and get some sun on my face.