Sunday, September 26, 2010

Crisis of...something

So, I apologize for the fact that the blog, of late, has sucked. No, no, it really has lacked my typical enthusiasm and investment. And I can pinpoint where this fell off, because I stopped blogging every day. And I recognize that as a symptom, not a causative factor. But even when I go back and read what I have written, it's not my usual level of attention to detail. For example, I've been misusing May and June's names for a month - May is a year ahead of me and older than June, which is why she's May. June is my classmate that just got married. You'll notice that I just married off May, which I'm suspecting neither May's wife nor June's husband would support. And Olga has had like seven different names.

The truth of it is, there's something not right with me. And to be perfectly frank, I'm not sure what it is.

Jen suggested this morning that I'm burned out. Which, yes, definitely a part of it. I don't know how I could be running a family care home and being a chief-ish resident and functioning as a very busy first year child fellow and trying to maintain some sort of social connections and working twice a week on a very difficult insight-oriented journey without burning the candle at both ends. I'm very overwhelmed by my life right now, which makes sense, because any single component could easily by itself be overwhelming. The family care home is sucking up a lot of my time and energy, but it ways that are sometimes reasonable. I don't know how to say "here's how you can help me" without it coming out as "stop sucking the life out of me." And sometimes it just has to be what it is, like Thursday, when I was cranky and restless and all I wanted to do was go home and sit in the quiet and make frozen pizza and watch NCIS and then go to bed at 8:00. But I got to my parents' and my dad was bleeding internally. Very reasonably, we changed direction and went to the ER. All the while, though, I felt like I was sitting there looking at the end of my rope.

But I used to be able to handle that a lot better. It would not have bothered me three months ago to anywhere near the extent that it did that my minimal plans for the evening were voided. So, yes, while I feel like there's a very significant chunk of caregiver fatigue in the mix here...that ain't all it is.

There's also probably a seasonal component - I'm VERY light responsive (some would say seasonal affective), and you might have noticed, the light is dying. I have a hard time getting up in the morning. I have a hard time staying up at night. I always, always get a little more depressed when the season changes, but it's much earlier this year. Typically that doesn't kick in until November or December. So something is sensitizing me this year.

I know there's some biological stuff going on as well. My thyroid hormone replacement is still clearly inadequate. My new - if tiny - medicine to address the stress-related borderline high blood pressure I've been having might be contributing. And there may be something more systemic going on, if my stiff, sore joints are any indication. Plus, I still haven't had that sleep study I need. Maybe I have sleep apnea, who knows, but more likely I think I have some sort of REM sleep disorder. I have these ridiculously detailed, highly affectively charged, absolutely EPIC dreams that go on and on and on and on, for literally hours. I have massive sleep inertia when I wake up in the middle of one of those epic voyages (seriously, Homer had nothing on me, and it definitely interferes with my quality of sleep. So I probably need to get that looked at.

In a psychoanalytic sense, it also occurs to me that I've doubly lost my holding environment. I had one here, in NC, away from my childhood and my old life and the painful things about that, a place where I could grow and individuate that authentic self, a distance at which I could appreciate the things I loved about my family and my life back home. But at the same time, I had a safe place to go back to if there was too much trouble here. Like, when the bottom fell out of my life at the Emerald Palace, what did I do? I ran home. Now, I have neither of those places.

But then there's this deeply existential piece. I feel like I've lost my sense of my identity over the last few months. Who am I? What am I doing? What am I becoming? All of those questions suddenly have tenuous and very nebulous answers all of a sudden. My self-concept has always been ruled by outside influences, and I think in becoming more aware of that, of trying to locate that which is more authentic, I've become aware of just how diaphanous is that by which I've defined myself. Winnicott talked about the false self, the ideal persona created which we present to the outside world. Trouble is, the harder I look, the less I feel confident that I can locate an authentic self-object in my internal world. It's somewhere in my shadow, which I cannot access readily, if at all right now. That's the point of therapy, indeed, but that doesn't make me feel any more whole right now. And I think the bigger issue is, there's a lot of affect that's been split off for a long time which is now trying to reintegrate itself as my self-awareness journey proceeds. And there are reasons it left - namely, like any split off affect, it was too painful to tolerate at the time. Now, though, I'm suddenly wading in it until my fingers are pruney. Which sucks.

(Psychobabble, psychobabble, psychobabble. Sorry, it's what I do.)

The point of all of this, I think, is that it just is. There's no quick fix, no magic pill, no right answer. So I just keep going along, keep my head in the game, keep telling the story as it needs to be told (I've been reading a lot about narrative psychiatry lately). I have to identify what my needs really are before I can meet them. And I can hope that my friends' patience with me is a model and reminder of how I need to be patient and kind with myself.

Uncomfortable though it may be, this too will pass. But the only way out is through.


penguinshrink said...

You are a beautiful, loving, smart, sassy, sitting-upside-down, hard-working, tough, and a little crazy woman with whom I have the pleasure of sharing experiences at work and otherwise.

LG said...

I feel rather awkward commenting on such a personal, introspective post (especially since I don't know you personally) but....

I've been on the thyroid replacement and a tiny bit of BP meds as a result of the weight gain from the thyroid problem, and I have been feeling just as wonky as you are for the whole 8 months so far. And I too have EPIC dreams, although I rather like them. I read that's a side effect of the synthroid.

I am not an "end of my rope" person, so I've been struggling with that. Luckily, there were some things that I could cut out of my life, that I don't miss, and that eased the pressure. Still, I don't like how I have felt this year, and I am waiting for it to pass!

Tiny Tyrant said...

Hugs honey.

One day at a time. It's something I think you and I are both pretty good at.

BTW the Scrat Monster says HI to Miss Mags.

Allison said...


I just got caught up on all of this, so I'm sorry that you're frazzling. You are an amazing woman, and you are doing the right thing. Our mantra has become something along the lines of "the right thing is not necessarily the easy thing" and you are most certainly living that.

You are always welcome back to the northern parts of the world if you'd like to escape. The leaves are turning and we've got a cozy air bed in the basement :)