Friday, June 8, 2012
Shrinking Mountains to Mohills
This has been a really tough week. Like it has really and truly sucked. Like there have been moments...a number of them...when I have felt like curling up in a fetal position in the corner of a room and screaming...or poking my own eyes out with an ice pick...or tearing every hair out of my head.
Actually, it all started last weekend. It all went down like this:
While we were in Washington, I received an email from the director of the counselling clinic where I do non-fertility related counselling. She dissolved her contract with the company we rent offices through and decided to look for new space. In the meanwhile, we have no downtown space. Um, big problem. Most of my clients at this clinic live and work way downtown and can't travel far for appointments. Also, I get referrals from various doctors for their fertility patients, and usually sublet office space for these patients through this clinic. Since the clinics are all competitors with one another, the clinic where I work 3x week wouldn't be so thrilled about me seeing them there. I was in a total panic, but helpless to deal with it while we were away.
After picking up the kids from my in-laws when we got back to Toronto, Little A completely lost it. As per usual, she hadn't napped and was beyond exhausted and over wrought by our return after several days away. I can't really describe in words what a complete mess she becomes when she is this tired, but the fact that this is what happens pretty much every day with her now means that evenings are exhausting and frustrating.
My alarm didn't go off and when Adam woke me at 5:30am, Little A was already up. She wouldn't go back to bed, so while I worked out, she watched television. I spent the day trying to figure out where to see all my non-fertility clients. One client was willing to do a 'walk' therapy session, another decided to simply put her counselling on hold until we get new office space. Another offered to rent the board room at her condo for us to use.
Little A and I woke up with a terrible cold and I heard there is a strep throat epidemic at the daycare. On my way downtown to meet a client for our 'walk' therapy session, I get a call...turns out that the talk on fitness I thought I was supposed to give NEXT Tuesday was scheduled for today. There was a room of almost 50 people waiting for me to show up at a company an hour north of the city. This was by far the worst event of the week. I felt awful. I have never screwed up so badly like that in my life. Fortunately, talk got rescheduled for Thursday. Little A was a disaster again from the time I picked up the girls until she went to bed.
Day was alright until the evening when I dropped a glass plate at dinner and it shattered ALL over the kitchen. Little A was in a state and just completely out of control of her emotions. I developed larygitis because of the cold.
Little A was pissy in the morning. My voice was worse than ever. I drove out to do the talk, which went well because, thank goodness, they had a microphone for me to use. Afterwards, my throat hurt and I felt like crap. I volunteered at a fundraiser at Big A's school. Big A had a great time hangin' with her friends, but Little A, totally exhausted AGAIN, fell apart and Adam had to leave early to bring her home to bed.
Little A's exhaustion is now carrying over into the morning on a fairly regular basis. Anything can set her off and today eveything did. She shrieked and kicked her legs in the stroller so hard the entire way to daycare that she probably gave herself bruises. Everyone can see how tired she is and how strong-willed she is to be able to resist napping when she so desperately needs the rest, but even her doctor and daycare teachers are at a complete loss over what to do. She. Simply. Refuses. To. Nap.
But I got through all of this. And for someone who has struggled with anxiety in the past, even though there were some really challenging moments where I felt I might be on the brink of a very deep abyss, I kept myself from falling apart. I consider it a major victory that I didn't lose a night's sleep over anything, nor did I ruminate endlessly over any of the events that occurred. Before, I would have for sure.
Now some of you may be thinking, "Yeah, that sounds like a crappy week" while others are thinking, "So what, this is all part and parcel of everyday life." And really the latter is completely true. But as anyone who has struggled with an anxiety disorder knows, that reality is sometimes impossible to see. A key feature of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is the tendency to exaggerate the threat of various events and to catastrophize.
Tuesday, in particular, was really awful for me. Missing the presentation truly felt like a major crisis to me. I'd let a lot of people down and jeapardized my reputation and credibility. It was a really stupid and irresponsible thing to do. But just a few days later, I can already look back and acknowledge that it really wasn't the end of the world. I made an honest mistake. I've learned from it. I did what I could do rectify it (i.e. rearranged my Thursday so I could give the talk and apologized profusely to all parties involved), and all I can do now is move on.
What helped? I made a point of reminding myself of all the things I have to be grateful for, and putting this all into context. Given the truly horrendous circumstances, misfortune and adversity, millions of people face all over the world, this is all really nothing, and each time I was tempted to give in completely to my fears and doubts about my ability to cope with all this, I thought about both the many challenges I have successfully overcome in the past, and the relative insigificance of all of these issues.
So I am going into the weekend feeling blessed, rather than steamrollered, and confident that I am strong enough to cope with everyday challenges, that in the past, would have consumed me with anxiety and self-doubt. Yay for me!