24 January 2007

You Can't Always Get What You Want

When I was commenting at bg's little sis's blog a few days ago, I found myself writing this:

I need to work on not feeling like a victim of my own life and focus on the many good things that are going on amongst the bad.

I actually feel like I do a decent job of focusing on the good stuff. But I have a confession to make: sometimes I'm living an Al-Anon slogan and totally doing the "fake it 'til you make it" routine.

The past few weeks have been one of those times.

I have been feeling like a victim of my own life. I started the year off sick. GH's cancer treatments weren't going well. I was taking my fear about that out on him. I have been behind at work, due to my own unwillingness to focus. The babies have colds. Riley has been getting teeth and not sleeping well. I have been doing the lion's share of housework and baby care while GH has been feeling under the weather. I am behind on personal projects. My mother-in-law is visiting for two weeks, which is a stressor for me. I have been generally crabby. I have just felt tired and lonely and scared and, well, depressed.

I have lots I want to blog about--a job interview, Maddie's physical therapy, my mother-in-law's visit, Peace Corps, Al-Anon, cancer. But rather than do any serious blogging, I've needed to spend some time thinking about how I can feel better mentally.

I don't have any magic bullet answers. I've thought a lot about what Al-Anon can offer me, and what I keep coming back to is that I am the one who needs to change. I need to adjust my attitude. I can't change people and I can't (for the most part) change circumstances. I can only change me.

I feel a lot of resentment about that. I don't want to change! I carry so much weight already. Why am I always the one who has to do all the work? At the same time, I know it's true that I have to be open to the idea that, with so many other things out of my control, I need to focus on what is in my control: myself. I need to remember that I don't have to do this on my own. I can ask for help from friends, family, and professionals. I can keep blogging, because the act of writing helps me see things more clearly and the community keeps me supported.

I felt a kind of epiphany about this as I drove home from work tonight. I had a great conversation with my father, an alcoholic with 15+ years of sobriety under his belt and a lot of program wisdom to share. When I got home, I tried to be more aware of my actions and my reactions. It was hard, but I was able not to snap at my mother-in-law over every little thing she does that drives me nuts. I was able to give my tired, treatment-weary husband a hug rather than harping on him about all the work I had to do today and how hard my life is. I was able to just be in the moment while playing with Maddie and Riley. It wasn't perfect and it's hard work, but it does work.

I'm sick of the fear, I'm sick of feeling blue. I'm ready to work on it. Or at least try.


Yankee, Transferred said...

OOOH, Snick, I'm here with you! I'm in the same trying-to-turn-my-attitude-around boat about my life and its troubles, although I don't for one minute pretend to have the sadness you do. It IS hard work, keeping positive when things are falling apart. Good for you! Your cheering section is way proud!
Kiss those babies for Auntie YT!

Rev Dr Mom said...

You have a lot on your plate and I'm always impressed with how well you handle it--even when you are railing against some frustration. As YT says, good for you for being so self aware and for doing the hard work to stay positive! And it is hard work.

Cathy said...

As Rev Dr. Mom said, you have a lot on your plate. However, I think you have done an excellent job of keeping a healthy balance on your blog.

All those other things you want to blog about. those will come, too, in time.


soralis said...

I am amazed at how well you do... all I have to deal with is twins, and some days I find that overwhelming.

Good luck at changing things for yourself.

Take care

Angela said...

I'll say it again, you are one amazing woman and I admire your strength, honesty and courage. It's wonderful that you are so self-aware and you have to keep on taking care of yourself. Keep on asking for help when you need it, you cannot do this alone. Wishing you peace and strength, and sending good thoughts your way.

LCT said...

I'm a friend; can I help?

Sounds like the conversation with your dad was beneficial. I'm glad you were able to spend the evening feeling good about yourself. You're amazing.

bg's Little Sis said...

Ditto Snick, you're an amazing person, wife, mother.

As an al-anon alum so to speak, I hear what you're saying, and each day it's work, we just have to keep on it. Trying to make the work enjoyable and rewarding is the thing sometimes I guess, always feeling like it's ourselves we have to work on is hard for me when I look at it from only that perspective too. The willingness to let go of the thought that we have the "control" is huge, you're looking at it each and every day, kudos to you for all the effort, for your desire to take life head on and live it.

You're an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Coming at this from the pov of depression, I know that, for whatever reason, it is often hardest to reach out to people at the precise moment I really need them.

So, I would really encourage you to be mindful of isolation and keep up ties with people. Tell those closest to you, "If you don't hear from me, please call." It's helpful to have that support set up in advance.

Best of luck to you and your family.


OTRgirl said...

It's amazing how powerful that inner tweak can be. Good for you for regrouping in the middle of so many overwhelming life events.

I keep trying to read and comment from work, but I get booted back out. I've been reading, just 'lurking' a bit.

Anna said...

sending you some big hugs and a reminder of how good you're coping with all this on your plate. you're an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

hello Snick: this is the first time I've read al-anon blogs on line. I hear the stress in your "voice." Sometimes we are so wound up in our environment that we lose perspective. This can be dangerous to our health. Please take care of yourself before your health tells you to take care of yourself. Take it from experience, sometimes simplifying is a must.......but only you can answer what simplifying means to you. mc