Monday, April 20, 2009

Sorting it all out

I have been struggling with some things for awhile. There are probably all sorts of reasons for that, the winter blues, some health and medication issues, stresses at work. For months now, I have looked at these reasons and used them to explain and excuse what I felt happening internally. I kept waiting for these feelings to pass, for my life and emotions to normalize. Instead, I felt things continue to be disconcerting, I felt off. Just as things would begin to straighten out, something else would occur and I would succumb to withdrawing into myself again.

This weekend, I felt the anxiety creep in and my control slip away. I felt vulnerable and exposed. I wanted to run away and hide. I felt afraid. The fear that crept in was something that I had not experienced in a long time. It was irrational, I tried to push it away rather than sort it all out. I didn't want to think about it or confront it. I certainly didn't understand it. Last night, I finally gave up and went to bed. I lay sleepless and felt tears flow down my cheeks. This morning, I was sick. I awoke with a migraine and nausea. As I sat, trying to just be still, thoughts came to me. Answers and reasons, revelations popped into my mind. Some things became clear to me.

The biggest and most logical explanation (one that I had been giving myself for awhile) is that I am 50, I have been experiencing some hormonal fluctuations and (gasp, dare I say it) some menopausal symptoms. However, I have had some of these before, and while my doctor told me it was due to my age and being peri-menopausal, it was actually due to thyroid cancer. The cancer now is gone (along with my thyroid) and all of those hormones and functions it controls are now regulated by a pill. In January, I found that my dosage was dangerously low. It was adjusted, I began feeling better and then a whole new set of symptoms began. So...perhaps it is menopause or perhaps it is my body adjusting to the medication changes, or both. Whatever the reason, it is playing havoc on my body and my emotions. I don't like it one bit. My revelation has nothing to do with all of that though. My revelation has to do with my way of reacting and dealing with several things.

In my past life (the one before J) I dealt with fears, stress and frustration by withdrawing, becoming independent, being private, maintaining control. There was no intimacy in my life, I didn't allow it. I could not risk being vulnerable. I was the go to person, yet, I didn't go to anyone. I had friendships, but I kept a part of me isolated. When I met J, that all changed. I developed trust, I opened up, I began to heal. I began to blog. The writing helped me understand myself, I used it to sort through things. I opened up to others, I developed friendships, I became part of a community. I revealed everything to J, but I also took a chance and revealed many things to others as well.

One of my friends (my best friend) is like a sister to me. We have known each other for 15+ years. I had always been there for her, yet I was still private, even with her. As I began to change, our friendship began to change. I opened up more, we talked more. Things shifted to become more equal between us, she was accepting and supportive. The past year for us has been difficult, as my relationship with J grew and deepened, her relationship was betrayed and crumbled. I shared less and listened more, she needed that. Since the beginning of the year, she has been struggling. She has allowed this man back into her life, knowing that he will probably only hurt her again. However, I have been struggling too, not with the same issues, but with the health issues. Except, she wasn't there for me. I can deal with that, I knew she was dealing with her own stress. The past few months, she has changed. She has continued in her toxic relationship, but she has changed her tactics. She has become spiteful, mercenary, and vengeful (not to me, but with him). She has blamed and hurt innocent people, she has lost sight of what she really wants (it has just become about revenge and winning). She engages in these things and then relates them to me and wants my approval. I cannot give it. I am honest, I try not to be judgmental, yet I call her on it. She doesn't want to be accountable, so we have gradually drifted apart. I miss her, I hear other people talking about her, the whole situation hurts me.

At work, I have been struggling to maintain a professional detachment with my clients. I work with a small group of young men, who have mental health issues and have been referred by the courts (due to criminal involvement). At times, they are all very difficult. They all face insurmountable obstacles in their lives. Despite developing a good rapport with them, they routinely become angry and resentful towards me. They also do not want to be held accountable. I cannot divulge some of the details (due to confidentiality), but several threats have been made against me by these boys (yes, they really are boys, early 20s). I continue to work with them, I have been duly cautious and despite the threats, I struggle with not getting too emotionally attached. I look at these boys (that have fallen through the cracks), I read their histories of the horrible things that have happened to them and the horrible things that they have done, it breaks my heart.

In dealing with those things (and a few others) I resorted back to old habits. I withdrew and isolated myself, even here. I have not been posting as much. I have been struggling with the vulnerability of being on-line. I have longed for women friends, ones whom I could open up to. I have had them here all along, but I have been feeling vulnerable and silent. I have been encouraged and supported by receiving comments and notes from many of you. I am sorry that I haven't always responded or responded quickly. I also want to say that through all of this, J and I are good. I have always been open and vulnerable with Him, I cannot imagine being any other way. In fact, the more I withdrew from others, the more I needed Him.

I guess what this very long rambling post is trying to say, is that I have been lurking, I have been reading. What you all have to say has helped me tremendously. I am amazed at how many of us are going through transitional periods in our lives. I am amazed at how many of your experiences and reflections resonate with me. I am here, I will try to write more, to be more vulnerable, feel free to call me on it. I do love you all. No posts next week though, J and I are going away together. I'm sure I will be better after that!


Louise said...

That's a lot to deal with, Alice... Take your time, and please don't feel committed to write when you're tired or silent... your friends understand and love you anyway. I wish you will feel better soon, writing this post must have make you feel better!

Wishing you and J. a wonderful week.

M:e said...

You know sweety....there is always at least one thing in your postings which resonate with me....often many. This one is no exception. For me this time it was the bit about waiting for life to return to normal....and the emotions it stirs up in us when we're in the midst of flux.

I'm someone who's always felt most comfortable when I can be pretty certain my life will be the same when I wake in the morning as when I went to bed at night...that's a throw back to childhood when things were not always that way. M's world can sometimes be 'chaotic'....and that's a challenge....because I'm having to accept that this IS normal. I think my biggest submission to him sometimes is learning to be emotionally 'agile'.

I hope you and J have a fabulous time together. A healthy dose of togetherness is very restorative.

love and hugs xxx

Gillette said...

Enjoy the time with J, Alice.

The age. It has to be our age, do you think? So many of us going through the same sorts of things. Another blogger recently did my chart to talk about the transits, and she said that this time has been huge for lots of folk, with much settling energetically by the end of the month. I find that really interesting. Kinda like when I'm especially cranky then find it's a full moon or helps me.

Sounds like you have so much, so much going on. The young men reminded me of when little kids are young and are angels at daycare, devils when they come home because it's safe to be that way. Not. Easy. for you, though. Geez...

I'm glad to hear you are being gentle with yourself and are getting opportunity to detach a bit from all that and bask in his arms.


Alice said...

Thank you all. I am being easy on myself (as much as I can), I think the hormone storm is beginning to pass. J is back home (his home), but is travelling more the next few days. Though he is not going as far (I really don't know why that makes a difference to me, but it does).

I do think that much of this has to do with my age (and of course, the similarities have to do with that as an extent). Not just the hormonal stuff, but the life transitions as well. It doesn't matter though, you couldn't pay me to go back to a younger age again. I am well, things are looking up. In five days, we'll be together.