I just can't do it all....

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-2008
I just can't do it all....
Tue, 05-25-2010 - 11:40pm

Hello all! It's been nearly a year since I posted anything to this site. Things have been up and down ~ I'd love to report that all is good and the last year was spent fixing me and all my problems. Unfortunately, that is never the case. We all truck along just fine at times, then stumble and need a little lift. So here I am. I hope I manage to keep this from being a rant but if I can't, please hang in there.

Shortly after my last post (6/2009) I ended up in the hospital mental health unit. I didn't try to kill myself or anyone else, which as it turns out, that's what most of the others there had done. I didn't get arrested or assault anyone ~ I just simply couldn't quit crying. No matter what I did, who I talked to or how hard I tried, the tears just poured. SO my mom said enough is enough (bless her heart) and took me to the emergency room. They evaluated me and determined that inpatient care was what was best for me. So off I went, five days with intensive counseling, medication adjustments and group therapy. It was the best five days I had lived in two years. I felt safe, like they understood and cared, and genuinely wanted me to get better. And then I came home, to all the same things that I left behind, dirty house, arguing kids, frustrated husband, job that I hate etc... And it occurred to me that I didn't need the mental health unit, I needed the break. Silence, sweet silence. Five days of nothing but me, I'm what mattered, I could focus on completing a thought, work through an issue uninterrupted by life, able to come to conclusions and format a game plan. Has anyone ever heard of the "balance wheel"? We used this in one of our group therapy sessions. What you do is draw a 24 hour clock, things fall into five categories: Leisure, Individual Care, Free/unproductive Time, Efforts in work-activities, & sleep. You assign a color to each of the ffive things and then start blocking out your day. You must be honest in how you spend your time but when you get done, it is hugely enlightening. Most my time was spent either unproductively or work efforts. I vowed that I would balance that wheel and I am here to say that I have failed as it sits right now.
And as I ask myself why, why have I failed to take all the things that I learned and apply them to my life, succeed in what I vowed to do as I walked out that door with a renewed insight of myself. Why did I not apply all the theories and thoughts, insights and epiphanies? Because although I was ready to change and embrace these new theories, absolutely nothing around me was or is ready to change as well. And now I realize that the balance wheel is not so much how my time is spent but where, with whom, doing what, for who are you doing it and what is your purpose? I think I shall sit with that wheel again, ponder it anew and see where I find myself. What and who we surround ourselves with often (whether we like it or not) defines who we are, how we feel, how we act and how we react. Some of these things can be changed, some can be looked at in a different way but most of them just are what they are. I also learned an interesting perspective on one thing and I find myself thinking about it often. They were talking about grief, not just in the sense of a loved one dying but that grief is in a lot of things. We grieve for things we used to have or do, we grieve for jobs that have changed, kids that are growing, relationships that are not what they used to be, etc. And grief is often associated with the fact that most things are out of our control. They asked us to think about this saying: fear is the opposite of control and control is merely an illusion.

It's good to be back ladies I have really missed your support.


Avatar for firstglimpse
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2003
Wed, 05-26-2010 - 11:37am

I'd rather not say welcome back ... rather you were on your merry 'ol way with a little glimpse back to a life full of anxiety & panic. But since you're here, good to see you again.

I came up with a motto a month or so ago & it may apply here. "I'd rather it last than it be fast."

For the past 3 years I've had the exact same New Year's Resolution. 'To treat myself with respect.'

Now if a person of a strong esteem was to evaluate me s/he would think I've gotten no where. But if I stop & look back to who I was three years ago, I have changed & for the better. Some of it is what I do for myself, but most of it is just that I've learned a lot and understand more what I hope to succeed. The implementations are tiny, but they will amount to a lot later in life.

I have quit smoking. I have learned the difference between the past, future & the importance of the present. I am slowly learning how to spend more of my time in the present. I am learning most pain is begotten from expectations. I'm learning to let go of expectations - at least some of them. This is embarrassing, but I'm learning to get my hair cut every 6-8 weeks rather than once a year. I had slowly changed my diet so now almost everything I eat is whole. My main source of liquid now is water. I still drink a little coffee in the AM, but I used to suffer from migraines & by the suggestion of my OB started to drink coffee & haven't had migraines since. etc.

.... Look at the small changes you make in your life. Look at the changes you have made. The balanced wheel is your ideal, it is something to work toward - I don't think it's expected to make it your daily life immediately. It's the ultimate goal.

As you've said, you have family who are not ready to change. You cannot come in & tell them to change either. All you can do is look at what is important to you, make the changes for yourself & hope, by example, they may follow. And in some parts in life they will. My H is now drinking water with each meal. This is from my example. My DD is starting to drink water instead of milk more often with meals as well. I keep incorporating whole grains into the meals & back it off a bit if it's rejected, but slowly start putting it back in again. As a result they are slowly selecting whole more often for themselves.

Do you speak optimistically? This one is hard, especially in silent self-talk. But the more you practice the more it becomes a habit & the more your family will also feel this optimism and join in as well.

Now ... you did learn something in the hospital as well. You need breaks. My sister was forced into an institution so she had requirements to fill before they'd let her go. She purposely avoided the requirements, because she needed a break from her H & 4 children (now she has 6 kids). It's rare I hear of anybody talk of a mental hospital as a place they've enjoyed ... but now that you've mentioned it, it does seem to be moms who are the ones who state this.

So.... how about, you plan a weekend trip every 6 mos? Even if it's to a hotel in the same city! Look for a spa near the hotel. If you look around you may find something quite affordable. I was looking for a place that has a flotation tank & found prices were as low as $25. (You might want to look into flotation "isolation" tanks, they're scientifically proven to produce chemicals in the brain the help with relaxation & mental clarity.)

Personal rituals will also help you become grounded. For me it's a cup of tea after dinner. Or a yoga routine, salutations are wonderful because it's basically a number of moves repeated several times. I was hooked up to an emWave computer system a couple of weeks ago which showed I was in the process of an anxiety attack (not panic). Then I was told to use my yoga breathing & w/in a few minutes I had my heart rate balanced. This was proof to myself, that yoga & meditation really do work.

So maybe instead of looking at the things you feel you have not implemented over the past year, but rather stop & think about what small changes you have made. If you can build a good base, by making these changes habitual, by not stressing yourself (or your family) by trying to change too much too fast, then you're working toward your ideal.

I wish you peace & something to happen today that produces a good strong smile.

"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng

"Only when we are sick of our sickness shall we cease to be sick."

~ Lao-Tzu, from The Tao Te Cheng
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-1998
Wed, 05-26-2010 - 12:36pm

Hi shouldbegrateful, it's nice to meet you. I'm sorry to read about what a tough time you are having. I can sure relate to some of it. Firstglimpse has some great advice- you really do need to focus on yourself and hope that your family will understand. I also think it's important to go ahead and articulate what you would like from them because men and kids aren't necessarily real perceptive to our needs. That doesn't mean they will comply, but at least you need to put it out there.

When things were at there worst for me, I looked around my house and life and wasn't overjoyed with much of it. Day to day life felt like an overwhelming burden.

Anyhow, one of the major ways I began to take control of my life was to begin to discover who I really was- and to simplify my life to that end. One of the first things I told DH when I began this was that I might not be cooking dinner every night and that we might be eating sandwiches or frozen pizza a lot. He was surprisingly fine with that. I still cook, but I hate it as an everyday obligation so I'm simply not going to do it- at least for a while.

I began decluttering and organizing the house- again with simplification in mind. I want this house to serve me, I should not be a slave to it. DD's toys all go into plastic storage boxes and each box has a place. Clean up is fast and she can do much of it. She is also expected to clean it up when asked. I won't fight with her over it, but she has learned that if mommy cleans up her toys, they may disappear for a while.

I no longer overbuy on good deals (like laundry detergent or pasta) because that in some senses becomes clutter- one more thing that takes up space, gets tripped over, needs to be moved around on cleaning days, etc. Less really is more for me. The less that needs to be rearranged, dusted, moved, picked up, etc. the more time I have to devote to taking care of myself and my family in ways that truly matter.

One of the things that struck me as odd in this evolution was the discovery that a lot of who I was, was actually who other people expected me to be. I have always been a crafter, and so had tons of craft supplies around the house. One day I realized that I like the idea of crafts, but don't really enjoy doing many of the crafts-- it was my identity to other people. I now only do the 2 or 3 crafts I enjoy and have gotten rid of the rest. If someone makes a comment to me about my not doing what I use to do, I reply that I just don't enjoy doing it as much as I use to.

Paring my life down has been incredibly rewarding. It allows me to focus on things that really, really matter to me, instead of focusing on lots of things that just sort of matter to me.

So many of the aspects of my life that bothered me a year ago, are still a part of my everyday experience, but by controlling the things that I can for the better, it has made those things seem less volatile.

I wish you all the best. DD is saying she's ready now, so I better go...

Edited 5/26/2010 2:46 pm ET by 1fish2fish
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-11-2004
Thu, 05-27-2010 - 4:31pm

"One of the things that struck me as odd in this evolution was the discovery that a lot of who I was, was actually who other people expected me to be."

So true! I am expected to be the strong one & take care of everyone else. In fact, I am the fixer. I am tired of it. I want somebody to DO for me. To FIX their own crap. I get so dang tired of never having a break.
I want to be like a chameleon. Today, I want to be tired & lay around & let everyone else fend for themselves. Tomorrow, I might want to be the reader of a good novel & let the housework slide. I would scare the bejesus out of my mother if she stopped in & found me reading or napping & the dishes weren't done. Of for Pete's sake! It's my freakin' house! LOL (((hugs))) jan





iVillage Member
Registered: 03-11-2004
Thu, 05-27-2010 - 4:44pm
WB:) I actually think you learned a lot from your 5 day IP experience. You still have the wheel & you're still looking @ it. You know that the changes have to come from you. Others will not change for us. Life's a continuum. We merrily go along walking the line of balance when all of a sudden, we get thrown off. It takes time to get our balance back.
The French have a saying that the more we try to change, the more we stay the same. It's easier for me to make a couple of changes, than to totally change my life. Why not try to work on one area of the wheel?
I posted earlier to another board about changes in life. We may move, lose our financial stability, lose a loved one, etc. It is change for sure. Though sooner or later we'll get back in the swing, our lives are changed forever. Ppl keep wanting their old lives back. They want to be the way they were. I have come to the conclusion, that this will never happen. @ best we'll adjust to the changes. But...past is past. It can never be recovered. I think that's why 12 Step programs work so well. It's one day @ a time. Don't look back. Live this day for what it is.
Nice to have you back. GL & GBU! (((hugs))) jan