Thursday, January 03, 2008

Lost

Just a shadow of what I was,
Less than that of what I thought I could be.

This is something I jotted down on a piece of paper when the girls were in the NICU. It was stuck in my head for a long time. I thought I was moving on, but lately it's back and I'm feeling kinda lost, and well, just blah.

I think it has to do with the new year. You know, a new year, a fresh start, and new beginning...all that jazz. I'm just not feeling it this year.

I feel like I've lost myself. Where am I? Who am I? How did I get here?

I don't like the person that I see myself becoming, but I don't know how to stop it. I'm so sad. I feel like I am carrying a huge cloud of gloom over my head. There is always so much work to be done, and I'm not good at doing any of it. I'm tired.

I think about what my NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION should be, and the list is so long that it is overwhelming.

I need to eat more vegetables.
I need to keep up with my housekeeping.
I need to cook more.
I need to spend less time on the computer.
I need to drink more water.
I need to spend more time each day working on Eden's PT...get her in her stander, get her in the Creepster, do more stretches, more tummy time, more time in her Benik.
I need to keep up with the grocery shopping.
I need to shower at LEAST every other day...I mean, come on.
I need to quit sleeping in with the girls. If I got up an hour or so before them I could get so much more accomplished.
I need to go to bed earlier.
I need to be a better friend. At least RETURN my phone messages.
I need to answer the phone.
I need to quit procrastinating about making appointments.
I need to start thinking about preschool and researching our options.
I need to get out more often.
I need more time for myself.

I start thinking about all of these things, and I get so irritated. Who MAKES these rules? Why do I do this to myself? Why do I put so much pressure on myself to be so perfect? Why do I care so much about what other people think?

I can't do it all.

The worst part of all of this, is not all the petty things that I don't want to do, it's that I am not sure I like the sadder, more introspective, heavy-hearted person I am becoming. I long for days past, when I felt so much lighter, without a care in the world. When I could rejoice with the people in my life, and share in their happiness, rather than always feeling that stab of nagging jealousy for what I will never have. I don't want to feel this way. Will it ever go away? Will I ever feel like myself again?

My life is SO busy now. I am always taking care of someone else. Always worrying about making other people happy. I feel so guilty for the snippits of time that I get for myself.

I feel selfish for wanting so much time to myself. I feel sad, and guilty for feeling sad.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

What you're feeling isn't uncommon for anyone. I think most people, maybe all, have these thoughts and doubts, and wonder what if, and why, no matter what direction life has gone, no matter the obstacles that are faced. Prayer helps me survive. Connie

Aidan's mom said...

I am going through a bit of this funk too. I actually went back to a counselor. It is helping out a lot. I wrote about wanting my old self back in my last post...maybe it is the New Year?

Hugs to you...you are great and do so much. But it is important to feel like you and I, myself, am not exactly sure how to do that sometimes.

Sarah Furlough said...

Oh, I know exactly how you feel. I've been in such a funk lately- and I can relate to about 90% of your list. Seriously.

I sometimes wonder if the last couple of years of my life have made me into a totally different person. I like to think I've changed for the better- but I know that isn't entirely true. I think I lost a little of myself that I have been struggling to find.

Thinking of you, Billie. Your writing always hits me like a ton of bricks. Sometimes I think maybe you are reading my mind!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with what you're saying. I have a 3.5 yr old and 10m old triplets. What has enabled me to survive is creating and DEMANDING some time for me and my husband.
We now get 2 Saturdays a month alone. My parents take the babies and his take my son and the next weekend they swap. My son gets one on one time and the grandparents love it too. During these 2 days we actually go out to dinner! I forgot what resturants were! LOL! Then I do the deep cleaning that I never have time to do. I will play on the computer for 2hrs-my max allotted! And we will rent a movie. And I sleep in!!!!!
Then the following Sat my husband gets to take care of the kids. I will run errands and get lunch w/a friend and I get a few alone hours. The last Sat of the month we have a family outing-a big deal for us :-)
This has helped more that I can explain. The day to day is completely gone w/the dishes, vacuuming, cooking and the day to day things that can't be ignored.
I will also share my New Years resolution....Lose 25lbs!!! I am learning that the YMCA is great! I pay 67$ a month and I am taking the kids there 3x's a week and I exercise for 2hrs. Free babysitting w/the membership. I have also enrolled my son in a few classes that my husband takes him to.
I am a stay at home mom and for the first 6/7months after the triplets I literally did nothing but stay home w/the kids. We also had an extended stay in the NICU that added a ton of strain too. Talking on the phone was all of the socialization I could squeeze in. I got depressed and gained 15 lbs and I wasn't as interactive of a parent as I am now. The down time makes me a better mom, wife and housekeeper.
Sorry for the long post....hope it helps :-)

twinmama said...

Billie,

I wrote a piece very similar to this about a month ago, on my blog: http://galliringo.blogspot.com/search/label/scars

The trauma of such an early birth, and the ongoing struggles of loving and raising a child with disabilities really take their toll.

I am trying this New Year to incorporate some bit of "me time" into my life, as hard as it is, so that I don't just vanish into thin air or underneath piles of "to-dos" and responsibilities for other people.

I also, like a previous commenter, went back into counseling and am even taking an anti-depressant, something I never thought I would do. It has helped a tremendous amount and I wish I had done it sooner. I still feel sad and lost sometimes, but I can climb out of it more easily than I could before.

Hang in there, you are doing an amazing job.

Anonymous said...

Billie,
You are doing a wonderful job! I know how you feel though. Little people are hard to take care of and especially with special needs.
We REALLY need to get together so we can talk and give each other support and encouragment.

Love ya girl and Happy New Year!
Keep your head up. This year will be better than last. Just think we have two more angels arriving this year.

marlysmom said...

Hey Billie,
oops! didn't do my name. It's me Heather who posted last.

Vickie said...

Wow, Billie! It's like you know the song in my heart and can sing it back to me. All of those things on your list are exactly the things that I've been thinking I need to do more of. Looking at all the amazing things you do with the girls I wouldn't have guessed you felt that way, although knowing what you go through, it doesn't surprise me that you feel that way. Remember we can't always be a hundred percent, one hundred percent of the time. You're doing what you can and more. Try to take some time for yourself (easier said than done) just so you can keep your sanity. Wishing you all the best in the New Year.

Anonymous said...

Billie, a third or half the things on that list are so insignificant in the big picture. Don't torture yourself. Clean house? Grocery shopping? Cooking more?

Believe me, there are a lot worse things that a person could be than a crappy housekeeper. There is no reason in the world to feel bad about any of that. So you suck at that stuff. So what? So do tons of other people, and if they would all admit it, maybe we all could stop thinking it reflects on us as some sort of litmus to our morality and value as a person.

Anonymous said...

Billy,
It was your last comment ("I feel selfish for wanting so much time to myself. I feel sad, and guilty for feeling sad.") that prompted me to reply. You NEED time to yourself. Some of the things you listed are just that- needing some "Mommy time", time to take care of yourself! Other things, like cooking more... if that's something you enjoy, then go for it. If it's something you think you need to do to be a good mother- then forget about it (the cooking, I mean). I've seen the pictures and videos you post- Holland and Eden are very blessed to have you as their mother! One final thought- something you might have heard from social workers in the hospital (because I used to say it all the time)- caregivers have to remember to take care of themselves, too.

Anonymous said...

You don't know me but I read your blog regularly. I think your girls are beautiful and you are doing a wonderful job as their mommy.

Take life one day at a time! If your house isn't perfect...who cares? If you sleep in...enjoy it! If you don't eat more veggies...take vitamin supplements!

abby said...

Hi Billie,

I think the most important resolution on your list is to take a bit more time for yourself, and even more importantly, to be good to yourself. You're doing so much (and this has so obviously been good for the girls), but you need to be able to recharge---that's essential for you, and for them. So cross out all the stuff about housecleaning. Instead, see if you can't take long showers for you (not to get clean, but to have some you time) and don't worry about making phone calls (everyone understands, especially your friends). And grocery shopping and cooking can wait. A nice dinner out for you and John: that one might be priceless.

Happy New Year!

Michelle said...

You know. I know that things didn't turn out the way that you wanted or thought they would. But, that is the best part about it all. Without things turning out the way they did you would have two very different people in your life. Changing them would just make things different. Maybe not better. Besides who says that other people have it better. People tell me all the time that they wish I had the things I did.....I always think.....seriously, if you only knew. But they are right. Cause I could ask for a lot more, but I love things the way that they are...absolutly perfect in my eyes. I don't know you, but I lurk. I admire so many things about your family. And all I want is one. So keep your chin up....funks pass...your girls will grow older and you may just regret ever spending any time worrying about what you should be doing instead of enjoying your time in that moment. Luck, Michelle

Anonymous said...

Oh I think it is just human nature to always be searching for happiness.. To be constantly thinking if only this were this or that were that then I would be happy.. Learning to be happy with what you have and where you are right now is a difficult thing to do. But that, is the key to happiness. Don t be to hard on yourself Billie, you've been dealt a difficult hand. Its okay to feel sad and worried, its how we grow. Just don t get stuck there.. Best wishes for brighter days ahead Love to you and your beautiful Family:)

Shad Reding said...

Billie -
I totally "get" what you're saying. I know we've said it before, but the parallel lives thing really is so true. I was such a happy, joyful person before my girls were born. I miss the old me who was able to feel complete joy. I too feel stabs of jealousy all the time around my friends' children, and I hate it and feel guilty because of it. I can put on a good happy face for my friends, but I wish life had turned out differently for my girls - that they had been full term and had the chance to be all that they "should" have been. I wish I lived closer so we could commiserate with each other, and also share the huge excitement and pride that comes when our girls accomplish something new that other moms take for granted. As my girls would say a "BIG HUG" is being sent to you!
Clare (mom to Caitlin and Brianna)

Clare said...

PS - Shad is my hubbie and I accidently posted as if I was him. Oops!
:) - Clare

Kathryn said...

HI Billie,

I hope you are feeling a little better now. I think it's normal to feel totally changed by the experience of preemies, twins, motherhood and then add all you need to do differently due to cerebral palsy...it's allot.

I wrote about the changing self awhile ago and came to the conclusion that I can't get my old self back. But I am trying to realize some of the things I miss like the lightheartedness, the confidence. But carefree...I think those days for me are gone forever. And that is a sad thing but must be something all parents who take their role seriously have to face.

Hard to let go though of a past where you get regular sleep and felt on top of the world much of the time. Hang in there. There has got to be a way to move through all that to something equally as life giving. Right?!

Hugs

Anonymous said...

Honey, if you overload the lifeboat, EVERYBODY drowns. Take good care of *yourself* and you will have more energy, stamina, and joy in doing the things for *other people* that you feel you ought to be doing. You are worth taking care of. Just a thought--encourage the girls to remind you to eat your veggies, take your walk, drink your water. They will ENJOY getting to tell Mommy what to do, and you'll be showing them the importance of healthy habits. : -)

Hugs and prayers,
Monique in TX

Anonymous said...

You said what I have been feeling perfectly. I too have a daughter with CP as well as another serious health issue. I too feel depressed and sad and like I don't have the time to do all the things I should be doing for me or her.
I feel like I lost myself back in that NICU. I often think back to the last day I felt like myself and that was the day before my daughter was born. I doubt I can ever be or feel like that person again. I love my daughter dearly but my life has become consumed with therapies and helping her do the things that she should be able to do as a 2 year old. Not only that but I worry constantly about what challenges lie ahead as she grows up and I worry that those challenges might be so big that I might long for these days as difficult as they seem now.
Maybe it will get better as our little ones get older. Sorry I can't offer much in the way of cheering you up, but hey misery loves company. Right?

Anonymous said...

Dear Billie,
You need more time for yourself. Can't you delegate some of the "shit work"? I mean by ordering groceries to be delivered (or at least the basics) and get a house cleaner? I realize those things cost money, but tell yourself it is a support system for the short-term. I know that living in a picked-up house can help a lot -- you're not distracted by all the things you "should" do and it's easier to invite people over to visit! Try it for three months and see if it helps you over this hump! Two hours a week is all most houses need!

Anonymous said...

Hey Billie -

I LOVE you. That's all I wanted to say. :-)

lisa

Anonymous said...

Hi Billie
I am a lurker who has been reading your blog for awhile.
Remember you are an awesome Mom to your beautiful girls.
Please take time to do something for yourself, whether it is going out to dinner with your husband, or can you organise for your husband every second night to look after the girls for 30 minutes for you to go for a walk, the fesh air, time to yourself and small 'break' might help.

Wishing you all the very best

Moggy said...

I followed a link from David's Growing Up With A Disability over here -- I'm not a parent or dealing with CP, but... Well, my bio would take too long to read. *wry grin* Suffice to say, I've had a lifetime of experience with disability in myself, my mother, and the last two with a few of the cats I love as my own sons & daughters.

That said, I've been in the same dark place you're writing about: the darkness, physical exhaustion, even pain, loss of all joy... I eventually came to realize that the stress of everything in my life was causing depression.

There are a lot of stereotypes about depression, and I can say from reading about it a lot plus going through the various kinds, that they're wrong. If "not me, I don't ____" is going through your head, I strongly recommend you do a few web-searches for myths about depression.

It doesn't mean you necessarily have to take a prescription med, either. There are a lot of OTC & behavioral things you can try first. Exercise, chocolate, making sure you sleep enough, maximizing daylight, eating well, etc. are some of the behavioral ones. OTC, you might try St. John's Wort, 5-HTP, and/or SAM-e. (Anything you try could take up to a week of sticking with it on a schedule to work.) They didn't work for me in the long run, because my situation was really bad back then, but they *did* improve things short-term. Check around online, but Crazymeds.org has a good page on the topic. :)

The only other thing I'll say is that the first "I need" you should aim for, above all others, is "to learn to forgive myself". That was the hardest lesson for me; I had what Anne Sheffield (author of some *great* books & a website on depression) calls the "garbage truck" dumping unfairly self-judging thoughts on me. Your list looks just like that process -- in fact, I can tell my depression is getting out of hand again when those same kinds of thoughts start seeping into my head!

So...do a little reading about depression, try a few things, etc. You don't have to see a psych-doc to get help; there are great online support groups from what I'm told. If you want medication, many general docs will prescribe it if you explain that you "did your homework" about depression & medications. (I like Wellbutrin SR, it bumps energy levels up with few side effects)

I don't blog much these days, but if you're bored enough, I'm over on Tumblr.com and Twitter.com as Moggymania. :) Hope your mood improves!