I had another rough week.
At this point I, and I assume many of you, can decipher our mother’s tone, especially when she says basic things like: please call me. I knew it meant there was bad news but that it wasn’t urgent, which allowed me to entertain the idea of not calling back for a while. I didn’t. I picked up the phone and called. The details are irrelevant but basically, a new trauma has presented itself in my family life which brings up many old wounds, reminds me of many issues other loved ones are struggling with, and forces me to confront my value system. After hearing the news I felt powerless, tortured by this new reality and eventually, very angry. I called many people and professionals for support and it took me a while to work through just some of these feelings. I couldn’t think straight for a day. Until the next massive emotional drama happened, which lasted a few days.
I didn’t complete my goals. At all.
I never know what to do in these situations. I know my life is hard (ex: in the past few months two of my immediate families members were on the brink of death). I want to be the kind of person who takes care of my loved ones, but also takes care of myself. I want to be the kind of woman who is able to be on a long call with my brother about his desire to commit suicide, but then also find the emotional energy to fulfill my goals, like job hunting. But I don’t know how. How do I strike the balance? How do I support the many people in my life who are in serious pain, work through my feelings around the situations and support myself – all in a day or two?
While I process these questions I have these difficult conversations with myself where I start asking all kinds of questions, none of which I know the answers to. Do I get too emotionally involved with my loved ones? Do I only get involved because I want an excuse not to take care of myself? Could I find ways to be more involved with my own goals? Am I unrealistic in expecting to be able to get over this tough stuff so quickly and then be able to focus on job hunting – something that is already loaded and emotionally challenging for me? Is it acceptable to give myself more downtime than I would have liked to deal with these things but then not move forward with my goals? Am I making excuses and being a victim?
Ultimately, I’m drowning. I think I had a mini-panic attack today at work.
Last week was one of the first weeks in years that I had no emergency situation. Everyone in my family was fine. It was the first week in about three years that no one had a breakdown. It was the most productive week in my job search in years. It was short lived.
I guess I really don’t know what to do. However, I do know I need a shift. Tomorrow I’m dying my hair red (get the blog post title…I will be a ginger). My best friend has all kinds of wacky theories about life but one of them is about how a change in a woman’s haircut allows her to feel differently about herself and present differently. That felt like a good step and, fortunately, it was also in tune with my self-care goal. A full hour where I can relax and be pampered.
I also decided to design emotional palate cleaners (again, get the blog post title?). In theory I would have put this in my revised PSP but I didn’t make the time for that this week (this is another thing that I don’t know how to feel about – frustrated? upset? accepting that I tried my best? What lesson should I learn from this?). My point is – I need to find short exercises or activities to do before and after emotionally intensive situations. I need things that aren’t super intensive or time-consuming since I can’t always manage that. Suggestions welcome. I am determined to find something that will help me stay strong instead of getting so unbelievably emotionally drained that I want to crawl into bed and watch TV at the end of the day, instead of doing the things I should do for myself. I have been paying such high prices in the absence of these healthy tools.