Monday, November 10, 2014

Taking a Break is Hard

Right now, I don't like resting. It's stressing me out. I'm tired of saying no, tired of the dragging feeling that I'm letting someone down. I'm tired of not being able to "be there" for people I love. I'm ready to be better already. 
my cat patiently demonstrates daily how this
break-taking is done

While I determined to do this for the long haul, I feel like I have a timer ticking in my head. It's counting down to when people's expectations will go back up, or their patience for the reality of my recuperating will expire. I feel on edge, waiting for the backlash. I realize this is dysfunctional thinking. I can't know what people near or far are thinking unless they tell me. I can't stop them from judging me if they choose. Even if I sacrificed my wellness to do my "normal" amount, it would not be enough for everyone. So this thinking doesn't serve me, but holy cow, it's persistent. 

This makes me aware of a stigma. We call people underachievers, lazy, even moocher. People who don't bother to contribute. "If everyone did what they do, this would never work!" And I get it. The people who say that are usually sacrificing to make something happen and it's hard to understand why someone else gets a break. The judger's usually tired themselves, and could use a break but because of the obligation they feel, they believe they can't. I've been on both sides, but camping out on the Break-Taking side for a matter of months is messing with my brain. 

I only remember a parent calling me a name once as a kid. "Lazy bones." The name sunk deep down inside me because I hardly knew who I was yet. I've fought that name every day since, my soul gritting out, "It's not true. It's not true." And no matter my over-achievements, I couldn't shake it. When I married and all emotional hell broke loose, I saw a counselor who helped me shine light on this complex and so now, I know what I'm fighting. That means I get to win sometimes.

My wins have been few and far between lately, since I wake every day with an idea of what I'd like to do and who I'd like to reach out to that day. So when I get home from work and have an hour before kid pick-up, I wish I could manage more than falling asleep on my couch.

After my last post, one of you commented about "radical self-care." I thought that was perfect. It is radical. When people are praised for being overachievers and go-getters and goal oriented, pushing pause can feel like crazy town. Forward momentum people can see, heck - that I can see, feels better. Hoping that something inside my body is putting itself back together while I nap and eat better and go to bed earlier feels nebulous and defeating. Especially on days when I seem to feel worse. 

So here's what I have to say to you and to myself: the truth. We all have times of productivity and recuperation. Some of us try to power through the recuperation times because of whatever baggage we have, but the body will finally force you to take a break. I want to take my break before I'm so sick that everyone will approve. I want to spare myself the autoimmune diseases I'm vulnerable to while my adrenal's are unhealthy. I'm ginormously grateful that in the eight years I've had this going on, I haven't gotten any of those diseases. But I don't intend to push my luck. Here and now, in a holiday season when it seems impossible, I will choose what's important, not what feels urgent. I'll remember that people who love me will wait, even when it's hard. Or that they'll eventually forgive me for not being there. If it's the hardest thing I ever do, I will get myself better. 

Take care of you.

P.S. Something weird happened to my signature file and it's not getting fixed any time soon, so accept my typed, "k." Along those lines, I apologize for the state of my ReadingRoom, since Amazon's book links suddenly are not showing and their help discussion forum isn't working either. I can't face calling strangers right now and trying to think about techy stuff...while talking to strangers. Gah!

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  1. Very powerful. And an important reminder to all of us adults -- why do we think it's okay to say things like that to children? I had a close friend's dad call me unreliable in high school. I was also an overachiever. Like you said, I have fought that for 20 years now. Anytime I couldn't follow through on a commitment (which does actually happen to normal people!) I would hear his voice again.

    Great reminder -- focus on what's important, not what feels urgent. {hugs}

    1. Thanks for sharing. I've never written about this before - probably because of how small it seemed compared with how much pain it caused. You're right - it does happen to normal people and it's alright! Thanks for cheering me on. I think all this careful choosing will be a skill I'll love when I'm well.