Out of Office

I booked a holiday.

No, I booked a trip. It is a holiday for me, but since it isn’t to a tropical or foreign destination and I won’t be staying in hotels or doing touristy things I assume most people wouldn’t call it a holiday exactly.

I am going to go visit friends. I am going to not work for more than just a weekend. Maybe that is a better explanation, I am taking time off work, setting my out-of-office notification and going out of town.

The out-of-town part is important, because yes, I could take time off work here at home but at home, all the stresses of daily life are still there. You can see the projects around the house that you want to get done, you can make to-do lists and busy yourself. Going out of town means getting away from the stresses.

All of those stresses will still be here when I get back, no magic elves will come while I am away to make them disappear, unfortunately, but a break from them will do me some good.

July Is Over

I was dreading July this year. It would mark a year since my step-father’s death. I wasn’t sure how anyone would handle it. I knew there wouldn’t be a big fuss made but sometimes anniversaries can hit harder than you expect.

Maybe it was because there always seemed to be some minor issue happening but July passed, not with ease, but quickly for the most part.

I had hoped, by now, things would have fallen more into place. That a system or rhythm would be worked out but that hasn’t happened.

Yes, I mostly hoped this would happen for my benefit. Selfishly I wanted my life to get back to what it was before. Was that naive? Overly optimistic? Just plain stupid? All of the above?

I’ve lost my balance and instead of righting itself that imbalance is pushing into all facets of my life. It is feeling difficult to make it through basic life. Making me eat too much and do too little. Making me depressed.

Dealing with my own day to day when everyone else needs something from me too; dealing with work so I don’t go broke. I don’t think I can deal with much of anything much longer.

I just need a break. I need some things to start going my way. I need everything to not involve a problem.

I need…I don’t know what I need.

How To Have A Nervous Breakdown

Step one: take your entire life and just throw it into a blender.

Step two: pretend like everything is totally fine while moving closer and closer to the edge.

Step three: …

Actually, I don’t know – how do you have a nervous breakdown?

Is there a guide? Am I supposed to do certain things to accomplish this task? Is it a task, or is that the problem right there, that I just tried to figure out how to schedule my nervous breakdown?

That first step up there is how mine started though. Life + Blender = 🤯

Up until 2021, I think things had been going pretty well. Sure the whole global pandemic added a new element of ick to the world, but for the most part that was manageable – there were specific things I could do to protect myself (masks, vaccinations, extreme introverted isolation). Then 2021 rolled up with an industrial-strength blender.

When the only things you need to worry about taking care of are yourself, your job and a couple of house plants; life is pretty straightforward. Then suddenly the responsible adult, who has been sheltering you from all the family drama, passes away leaving you as the responsible adult and there is massive upheaval.

Work stresses that had been growing quietly suddenly become insurmountable, but you push on, white-knuckling through, trying to put all the family drama in little boxes and organize them so you can focus back on your own life. It is difficult though.

I can be judgemental, not because I want to be, but because sometimes I don’t understand why people can’t be pragmatic and do things…well…how I think they should be done. It isn’t that I think my way is best, it is more that no one can provide an alternative and if you can’t offer that, then what is wrong with my plan? It is frustrating dealing with people who are immovable. Unwilling to make changes, despite the fact that huge changes have already occurred and they need to adapt.

I take on too much because I have trust and control issues. I don’t know how people can just abandon family and go off and do their own things. That being said, I am getting very close to just selling everything I own, buying a camper and running away.

Back to the blender, 2021 came to a close, and I did run away for a little while, visited some friends and tried to turn off. It went okay, but in the back of my mind, I was still making lists of things I needed to do.

Then 2022 rolled up and took my blender beaten life and decided to see how much more damage it could do.

The least responsible person in my life died, leaving disaster in his wake. I wanted to go running to the farthest point I could find, knowing it was not going to go well. I didn’t. It didn’t.

I tried to focus on working and organizing the other people in my life as best I could with them being fairly adamant about nothing changing. I did not manage to do so.

For a long time, there has been a growing…rage? frustration? dread? in my life. It is hard to explain, other than to say that before I was content. Things weren’t perfect, show me someone whose life is and I will show you someone who is likely lying or in denial, but I was content.

During this tax season, my boss asked me how I was doing – if I was feeling too overwhelmed by work? We’d already reduced our client base by half and work was less stressful but at the same time, I had so many personal stressors that everything was bleeding together. I think a phone call came in and we didn’t have a chance to discuss it further, which was good because I didn’t know what I would say. There was a chance I would have just said, it’s fine and gone back to my office. Would it have been the truth? No, but what else can you say?

In the past, the way I could get through stress at work was by knowing that I had my personal life organized.

The last year and a half have taken that organization, which took years to achieve and destroyed it. I feel like I am constantly failing, that at any minute the entire thing, my life, is going to explode.

Is it too much? Probably. Have I been expecting too much of myself? Absolutely. Am I sitting here typing this on the verge of tears? Yup.

My body is in pain, and my mind is screaming. I want to disappear and not have to deal with this. I want to abandon everyone and if they fail, that is fine.

Except I can’t. And it isn’t.

There is no one to take my workload on.

There is no one who will step up and deal with the family members who are struggling.

There is no one to take care of me.

I hope I can find the balance but it is seeming impossible.

So I’m asking, how do you have a nervous breakdown?

How does the responsible person lose their mind?

How do I ensure that I don’t find myself surrounded by a rubble heap made up of my mind and my life?

Even typing this I don’t know if I want to publish it? Does everyone need to know that I’m not okay? Does that help? No. Will I publish anyway? If you are reading this, then yes, but not because I want you to help me. I don’t think anyone can help me (unless someone has a couple of million dollars they want to throw my way so I can run away).

You can probably commiserate with me though because we all have problems. Big – small – real – invented; sometimes the best way to deal with them is to just scream into the void and then go back to work.

That’s how I have a nervous breakdown. This time anyway.

Sleep Mode

One of the worst things we seem to have embraced in North American culture, is that being busy equates to success. I don’t like being busy, how can we enjoy life if we are working so hard just to be able to afford our lives.

That drive to be successful/busy in our lives tends to mean we have a hard time realizing that in reality, we are burning out.

Burnout looks like different things for different people. For some it is emotionally breaking down, losing your mind over the smallest thing because all the big things have worn you down. Others find that they need to withdraw from the world, feeling like it is constantly screaming at them to do things that they don’t have the time to accomplish.

For me, it is hitting a wall where my insomnia has sucked all the energy out of me and I’ve only just made it through the workweek.

I usually don’t realize that I’ve been hanging on by a thread of sanity until I try to do something small and note that it is exhausting. Then I will sit down to relax for a moment and wake up hours later.

This happened today, I woke up this morning feeling alright, I had gotten a little sleep(that is big for me) and I had plans to organize the back room.

I moved three things in the room, sat down to rest for a moment on the couch and woke up four hours later.

I am not a napper, I avoid napping in general since I have enough sleep issues without using up precious unconsciousness during the day.

I had no plan to nap, I was hoping I’d get a good portion of the backroom sorted out, but that didn’t stop my brain from turning everything off.

It sent out the message that it had some thinking to do and it wanted some dream time. So I spent four hours having very odd dreams as my brain worked on reorganizing itself for the week ahead – at least something got organized.

Recently, I’ve felt it more and more, the knawing exhaustion as the week wears on and the burnout takes hold. In the past, I would hunker down for the weekend with a pot of tea and a tv show, movie or book and it would be enough to get me through the next week. Lately, even when I am finding time to make a pot of tea, it doesn’t seem to help.

These days I am up and out of the house before 8 am, work all day and then I pick up my brother at 6 pm to take him home, which means I am not even walking back into my house until after 7 pm usually. After a day of working, I just don’t have the energy to deal with anything, family can be draining at the best of times but when I just want to get home to eat some dinner and try to wind down before bed it is too much.

As an introvert, I need that time at home to wind down before bed, but when I get home late I have less time to do so and it means I don’t sleep well. My brain spends the night chattering away and no matter how much I tell it to shut up, it doesn’t.

In some ways, I should be glad I had the opportunity to nap and dream today, though I’m a little worried that I’ll be too awake to sleep. Hopefully, my general exhaustion and burnout from the week will allow me to just crash when I hit the pillow and maybe my nap will help salve some of that burnt brain matter.

Unintentional

Well, once again time has managed to just disappear. I was thinking ‘oh, I should write a post, it’s been a couple days’, then I checked and it’s actually been five days. I lost a whole work week.

Lost, isn’t the right word, I worked the whole work week, which is what you’re supposed to do during it. And yet, I really didn’t think five days had passed since I last wrote on here.

Tax season is definitely taking its toll, though it will really kick off when April rolls around, which given my sense of time lately will probably be in about five minutes.

I realize that I talk a lot about time these days. I’m sure my counselor would suggest that it is because I’ve had two big deaths in less than a year and that it makes you realize time is fleeting. (Madness takes its toll…(Rocky Horror reference, anyone)).

I don’t know if that is why I keep talking about it, or because me and everyone around me is getting older, or because I’m just tired, or because everyone is feeling the same way and there are tiny vibrations in the atmosphere that I’m tuning in to.

Either way, just like my lack of posts, it is unintentional.

Maybe, Maybe Not

I’ve decided it’s okay if I don’t post every day. I am going to try but right now there is too much happening with work and life that I don’t want to feel bad for not being able to come up with content.

I feel like I should have things to say and I probably do except that my brain is so overtaxed (sorry for the pun), that I start over thinking and end up with writer’s block.

Until tax season is over I’m giving myself permission to maybe, or maybe not, post something daily. It can be a surprise to both of us if something manifests itself from the brain fog.

(Like this post about posting or not posting.😉)

Inhale, Exhale

I’m in accounting and by its nature you spend your time doing the same things at the same time every year.

There is both stability and irritation in this.

Stability because you know what’s coming and you know you’ve gotten through the hectic time before so this time shouldn’t be any different.

Irritation because it always seems exceedingly unfair when other things collide with the worst periods during the year.

Tax season for example, for January through June it would be lovely if every other catastrophe, expectation or really event of any kind would stay away.

This does not happen, inevitably you have tons of work to do and something falling apart somewhere else in your life. It is exhausting.

Right now I have too much happening while tax season is going on. House renos, rental renos, dealing with family members. If I had a social life it would be in flames.

I just need a little calm, I need the eye of the storm to cross overhead and provide a reprieve, a space to breathe.

Ways To Keep Me Up Past Bedtime

  • Extreme weather TV shows (documentary)
  • Extreme weather movies

Started watching a TV show about extreme storm chasers, two hours past when I was going to head to bed and I’m still watching. Oh well, maybe if I stay up late enough I’ll be tired enough to sleep tonight. Instead of last night when I tossed for hours.

Grr…Arg…

Today was a day that disappeared quickly but was irritating.

Or maybe I was just exhausted and in a bad mood.

I don’t think I was grumpy this morning but by the end of the day I was irritated by everything.

I have a lot of plates spinning and sometimes it feels like no one is helping me, instead they are trying to knock my plates down or toss new ones into the mix.

Tomorrow shall be better, I hope. 🤞

One More Day

Until what you ask?

Until I can chew some food!

Sometimes I make decisions I question. For instance, I decided to use a juice cleanse as a precursor to an elimination diet.

I’ve learned things.

I like carbs and it’s more fun if you get to chew said carbs, say yummy bread.

I also learned that there are more fruits and vegetables that I’m allergic to than I first thought and I should avoid eating most vegetables raw.

Not new information exactly, but I went for a week without caffeine (not the first time) and didn’t care, though I remembered that I love coffee and black tea and should never be parted from them.

Also not new information, I hate dealing with food. Thinking about starting to add foods back into my diet one by one to determine if they make me feel gross, is stressing me out. I start over thinking it all. I much prefer if other people figure the whole meal thing out and I just get to eat. (Pretty sure the first thing I’d do if I was a incredibly wealthy would be to hire a personal chef).

Tomorrow is the last day of liquid only. I’m trying to determine how to go about introducing food again, because it is a slippery slope from ‘I’ll just grab my usual at the coffee shop’ to ‘screw it – better happy than grocery shopping – what’s on Skip The Dishes?’.

Plus there is the question of how my stomach will cope with food again after a week of only juice & smoothies. I’m hoping for the best, but it is all about the choices.

In reality I’d really love a pizza tomorrow for dinner but that might be too many food groups at once, so chicken/broccoli/rice will be the less decadent and practical choice.

I really am looking forward to substantial food again. My teeth just feel lazy right now. One more day though and I can eat some toast with tea. 🤤