Thursday, January 30, 2014

What's Up?

"And so I cry sometimes
When I'm lying in bed
Just to get it all out
What's in my head
And I am feeling a little peculiar
And so I wake in the morning
And I step outside
And I take a deep breath and I get real high
And I scream at the top of my lungs
What's going on?"
--What's Up?, 4 Non Blondes

I feel like shit.

I've probably listened to The Wall eleventy-teen times this week.   That's usually not a good sign.

In the echoes of the back of my mind, where my critics, both real and subconscious live, there is a little (metaphorical) voice saying "Why wouldn't you be?  Look at your life."

I know.

I work too much, I sleep too little.  I am the sole breadwinner for Team Logan.  I spend my one life, working both days and nights where I wade through the depression, psychosis, mania and addictions of a populace.  I then come home to my other life, my three kids who deserve healthy, happy parents, a clean house and all the attention we can give them, instead of a Mom who just wants to flop on the couch, drink Jack Daniels and play Skyrim.

For the record, I love what I do.  I love my kids, my house, the life that I have built for myself and the people in it.


I.  Feel.  Like.  Shit.

As I looked around bewildered one day through some unprovoked tears, I had to sit down and take a hard look at what has happened in the last year.  I spent several months off and on, in a great deal of pain in the bathroom.  After all the tests, after all the procedures, we still don't know what that was... other than it seems to have subsided in the last month. We still haven't hit the one year anniversary of Wyatt's surgery;  although he is doing very well, that experience still haunts a bit.  Work, school, Christmas, money, family, life... When you break it down along the five axes like we would with anyone else, yeah...  I've got a lot on my plate, man.

Not to put a fine point on it, but right now, my coping mechanisms aren't working too well.  Everybody has them, it is just a matter of whether they are constructive or destructive and how well they work overall.  Coping strategies that are negative for you are pretty self evident:  things like alcohol, cutting, drugs, any behaviour that is excessive and interferes with the normal functioning of your life.  The positive ones are not as fun or have the instant gratification as the other, but have longer lasting effects.  Things like distraction, visualization, exercise, going for a walk, playing an instrument, doing a craft, doing a hobby.  The other addendum to that is that when your coping starts to fail, you really don't feel like doing any of the positive ones any more. 

This blows.  Goats for quarters, even.

Some might readily point to my second born, the one with Down syndrome.  If one were to believe the grief rhetoric that parents have been force fed since... well, forever, his existence is reason alone for me to feel this tired and burned out.  Hell, if I really wanted to, I could blame any sort of thing that I did or felt on his "brokenness".  Don't forget I was warned by professionals that having a child with a disability would break up my marriage.

Um, no.

I'm going to take yet another teaching moment (gah!) and state that I refuse to spin this the other way,  to say that he is my, rock, my salvation with a magical chromosome.  I will say that all my kids, all three of them are the reason that I do anything;  from getting up in the morning to working extra hours to not sleeping, ever.  The idea that one person can cause another's depression is laughable at best and very misleading at worst.  Ultimately, like everything else in life, it all boils down to coping.  How well, when, how in particular and how much in charge you are willing to be of it.  This is not a will yourself out of a rut through the magic of bootstraps thing any more than it is madness, an unspeakable horror lingering just out of sight in the shadows.  It just is.

As a rule, I've given up most of my vices other than the occasional drink (or three) now and again and my Coca-Cola and my coffee.  Oh dear god the coffee.  Music has always been my drug of choice and I utilize it whenever I can.   My sense of humour is also so dark that it's difficult to see most days, but it gets me through.

As I tell my patients, if it's not working, do something else.  I have basically gone from work to home to work and with the exception of a brief trip at Christmas, did not go out at all for months, except for a handful of trips to the grocery store.  It's also minus a million outside and even if I do manage to see daylight ever, it is probably snowing.  So, to offset, I took a little day trip with some girlfriends last week.  At least for a little while, I found a piece of heaven.

But, one afternoon out of 365 is not enough.

If it's not working, do something else.

We frequently re-assess how things are done in Team Logan.  It's time to, once again.  As we do not have a lot of social supports around us and not a lot of opportunity for things like nights off and "date nights" (or hell, "uninterrupted meaningful conversation"), we jumped at a proposal made by Wyatt's worker.  She found a new program through Tourism Toronto that gave parents of children with disabilities a weekend of respite.  Called "Relax, Recharge and Renew", the program utilizes many of the major attractions and hotels in Toronto and creates a weekend away for parents/parents and siblings of the person with special needs.  At first, I was horrified.  However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized, yeah, I do need some respite... 

...From my life, period. 

I do really need a break, from being a parent, as parenting all my kids (like parenting any kids), is hard.  Listening to, assessing and the assisting with the anguish of strangers is hard.  Maintaining a safe environment while still maintaining the privacy and respecting the humanity of a patient is hard.  Dealing with the systemic failures, interdepartmental issues and bullying in a regional hospital is hard.  Dealing with social isolation, dealing with a personality that is very much introverted (believe it or not) most of the time, is hard.  Writing this blog and being involved in the advocacy projects I am in is hard.  Living the double life that my job life and family life are and maintaining some semblance of balance?  Hard.

This weekend is Team Logan's weekend.  From when the car service picks us up Friday afternoon, to when it deposits us back home again on Sunday, we will be hopefully be relaxing, renewing and recharging.  And reflecting and re-evaluating.  And hopefully putting some new plans in place.

To quote Spider-man (or "Spider Ma'am if you happen to be my daughter):  "with great power comes great responsibility".  I lack spiffy powers, but I do have responsibilities--to my employer, my patients, my co-workers and my family and friends--to stay on the top of my game.  I'm not at the moment.  I recognize that and it's time to do something about it. 

I'm hoping this weekend will at least be enough of an interrupt to allow us to make some changes, to allow whatever it is that is chewing my tail to fuck off.  Hell, I'd be cool with 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep, some decent tunes and a good meal.   This weekend appears to be all that and a bottle of wine.  (I'd say chips there but I've eaten far too many of those lately.)

Relaxing, renewing, recharging, re-evaluating.  Yeah.  Sounds just like what I'd recommend.  Life can really grind you down from time to time, even if you are one of the ones that you'd least expect or are well versed or considered the 'strongest' or most brave or some other silly thing.  Lets face it;  there will always be more snow, more bills, more stress, more sleeplessness, more coffee jitters, more trolls, more physical pain, more anguish, more, more, more...  Life is like that.  

Sometimes building a fort isn't enough.  Sometimes you need to step outside, take a deep breath and get some perspective.  

...So I can get back to doing what I love.  

(That may involve coffee and Skyrim too, but you get the point.)


  1. Thinking of you. Sunshine helps my brain at this time of year, too. Hopefully the sun will shine for you this weekend!

  2. I am so happy that you are doing this for yourself. Smart woman!


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