In the mental health field we love that joke about not shoulding on yourself, meaning don’t harass yourself with self talk about what you should and shouldn’t do. Yet that is precisely what I do- I should do this, I shouldn’t do that, should, shouldn’t. should, shouldn’t. should. shouldn’t. SHOULD. SHOULDN’T. SHOULD! SHOULDN’T!
Even though it’s been a month since I lost the baby, I’m a bit of a mess. I stay up too late, forget to eat, then eat lots of crappy stuff, and lately I’ve been working way too much. I often stay in the office until my brain shuts down in an effort to avoid free time. Something I used to love and savor so much has become something I dread: free time usually means crying and moping. Running my own business, I have no boss so it isn’t like someone stands in my doorway and says “your last client was 2 hours ago. Why are you still here?” Nope, it’s just me so I piddle away, listening to music, reorganizing my files and concocting new projects to occupy my mind.
So many of the shoulds are things that truly will help me feel better- eat more veggies, get more exercise, go outside more often, walk the dogs, lay off the coffee, lay off the sugar, for god’s sake PUT DOWN THE WINE, and so on. But I just don’t do it. Admittedly, there’s a part of me that really doesn’t want to. In the moment I enjoy the chocolate, the wine, the coffee, and the 4 consecutive episodes of True Blood. Also, part of me feels that I deserve to feel like crap and rush through each day like I’m white knuckling it on the interstate during rush hour traffic with only 1/8th of a tank of gas. I don’t have much reason to treat my body like a temple right now. After all, it feels like my body betrayed me and because of that I had to give up one of the most meaningful dreams I’m ever had- the dream of being a mother. I know it may still happen, but like I’ve written before, that dream feels far off. Like, really, really far off. I know, I see how irrational I am. I know I’ll feel better if I take care of myself, I know I’ll be in better health both physically and mentally but it all seems really… really… annoying and difficult and stupid right now. I should…. I should… I should….
I’m doing this big training for work all next week. It is a two year training intensive so it is like being in school all over again. Prior to the in-person training, I was to complete an online portion. Wouldn’t you know I put most of it off until….um….yesterday. I have to give myself some slack though, I planned to do mostof it this past month and well, things got a little crazy this last month. So yesterday I stayed up late working on the online training and got right back to it this morning. I was determined and when it was finally completed all of this dread and irritation washed over to me. How odd, right? I was so ready to be DONE with work and then when I was, I just couldn’t think straight. I told my husband, very clearly, that he HAD to pick something for us to do, that I am incapable of making decisions in my free time because everything seems kind of pointless and annoying. “Just pick something, I’ll go along with it and then I’ll be fine,” I told him. Usually I’m pretty bossy and picky about just about everything, so this probably seem extremely exciting for Q, except that I’m probably rather scary to him these days.
We managed to keep our cool (I’m so luck to have such a nice husband, because I’ve been acting really crazy lately. Thanks hormones and grief! What a combo!) and came up with a plan to take our dogs to a K9 FUN ZONE where we threw dog toys and chased the dogs around for an hour. It was fun and exhausting for all. That was followed by a walk, some sushi and then a visit from a dear friend, so I am feeling better now.
So this next week will probably be pretty hectic, which I admit is what I prefer these days. I recently decided to change offices and billers and conveniently both of these tasks have proven to be quite time consuming and attention consuming. It’s a blessing to love my work and it helps to find things to keep me busy, but I’m also aware that I’m keeping myself occupied as a way to avoid what I’m really feeling.
I’m going to keep trying, bit by bit, to take good care of myself. The shoulds don’t really help, they just make me feel worse and more frustrated. Eventually I will make it back to a yoga class and start cooking again. Also, this week’s training might help because I’ll be by the water and much of the training is about mindfulness. It might actually be beneficial to get out of the office and away from the overworking habits. In the meantime, I’ll look at some pictures of corgis and maybe go see the new Guillermo del Toro movie.