10.26.2010

needed: a plan to get through the next eight weeks

Yesterday a school friend - who is also a war-resisters friend - showed me her computer screen: she's following wmtc.

First I thought, how cool. Then I thought, what a crappy time to join this blog in progress. I don't blog very much or very well during the school term. I mostly pass things along and share half-formed thoughts. Earlier this year, I had a mild freak-out about this, but I've come to accept the reduced blogging (both quality and quantity) as a necessity.

My big goal this fall was to set firmer limits and stick to them: school, war resisters, work, swimming or walking. And that's it. Stop trying to fit anything else in. I've been sticking to those limits... but now I think the limits are set too high.

As I recently told another friend: I'm in over my head. I am barely keeping up, but unwilling to drop anything. I cannot afford to work myself into a fibro crash, yet I'm not pulling back. I feel like I'm rolling down a hill, faster and faster, soon to be careening out of control. Which will come first? Winter break, or slamming to the ground at the bottom of the hill?

In the years after I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I gradually learned how to reduce the incidents of flare-ups, or crashes, as I call them. Instead of being completely out of commission for 2 or 3 days a month, I could reduce that to every-other month, then a few times a year. The flare-ups would be less severe, too, and I'd bounce back more quickly. Now, with better medication and supplements - and, undoubtedly, a good bit of luck - I haven't had any serious flare-ups for several years. All the pieces work together, but I think the single most important factor is getting enough rest.

Last fall, when I started graduate school, I felt that delicate balance being threatened for the first time in many years. At the beginning, I took a month off from the war resisters campaign and froze my gym membership. I re-joined my activism, re-joined the gym, and figured out how to do the necessary school work with the minimal possible effort. It's been working so far.

Now I feel the whole enterprise teetering. Yet I have no plan for change.

A wise friend recently emailed: "YOU have to do it. NO ONE can do it but you!" It's true. I'm not asking for your help, because there's nothing anyone else can do. But feel free to kibbitz and commiserate.

14 comments:

deang said...

I assume "barely keeping up" means that you are still keeping up, if only just, so you're still doing it, which is impressive considering all you've got going on. I think if you cut back some on posts here for a period of time, that might help. I know a few people who are the "if you want to make sure something gets done, give it to a person who's always busy" type, which is what I think you are, and I really think you'll figure out exactly what to do to make your schedule work. But then again, I only know you through your words here. I do suspect that you've at least got good moral support from Alan, but maybe you're so busy lately that there's not even enough time for conversation with him.

L-girl said...

Thank you, deang.

I do have good moral support from Allan, as well as serious physical support, in that we share everything we can. But... up until today, I hadn't talked to him about this. I was keeping it all in.

I hinted to 2 friends via email that I felt out of control, heading for a crash - then I wrote this - and that helped me see the whole thing more clearly.

Today I had a long talk with Allan about this, and a long talk with my mother, and I feel I have more clarity now.

I don't want to cut back on anything, but I'm bumping up against my limits. It's listen to my body now, or pay for it dearly later. I can't afford that - school and work are non-negotiables.

And yes, I guess I am still keeping up, but barely, and with the stress level continually rising, telling me keeping up like this is unsustainable.

Thanks for your support.

johngoldfine said...

I was sitting with a friend today whose beloved partner died a week ago. She (laughing) told me (laughing too) that her brother called a few hours after the partner's body had been removed and said, "Well, at least you're a relatively young women and can still probably find another man."

Is it possible in this universe to have have been any more insensitive than that? I hope online friends do a little better with our commiserating and kibitzing.

Amy said...

I am worried about you from reading this post. I cannot imagine trying to do all that you are doing. I know that when I feel the way you do, it makes me absolutely crazy. Stress is my enemy (one of the many reasons I do not practice law).

Do you have time to relax at all? Are you carving out some time for just breathing and emptying your mind of all the "stuff" that is making you feel overwhelmed? Yoga did wonders for me, but I think anything that forces you to stop and breathe slowly and listen will help: walking the dog, watching TV, reading just for fun, anything, even if for only 30 minutes a day.

Hang in there. The good news about school is that semesters do end.

L-girl said...

Do you have time to relax at all? Are you carving out some time for just breathing and emptying your mind of all the "stuff" that is making you feel overwhelmed? Yoga did wonders for me, but I think anything that forces you to stop and breathe slowly and listen will help: walking the dog, watching TV, reading just for fun, anything, even if for only 30 minutes a day.

Amy, thank you very much for your concern. I was a little worried about myself for a while there, too.

I am definitely carving out down time and rest time - because I have no choice. Long ago, I used to be busy every moment of every day. I didn't know how to relax. Then I got sick and all that changed.

Part of the reason I am in such a time crunch is because I must have this down-time. It's as much a need for me as breathing and eating.

So because there are fewer productive hours in each day, I must cut out some of the productive-ness. Some of the producing.

I do de-stress - by swimming, by walking Tala, and by watching either movies or baseball, depending on the calendar.

Earlier today I thought I was going to explode from stress. Writing this, and the long talks I mentioned in the comment above, helped a lot.

I know what I have to do. The hard part is doing it.

L-girl said...

her brother called a few hours after the partner's body had been removed and said, "Well, at least you're a relatively young women and can still probably find another man."

Is it possible in this universe to have have been any more insensitive than that?


If there is, I cannot imagine it.

The insensitivity of some people is absolutely unfathomable.

The only saving grace for that woman is that she probably stopped expecting sensitivity from her brother a long, long time. My guess is that's where the laughter came from.

L-girl said...

And she can probably find another man!

Oy!

impudent strumpet said...

You're right on schedule. Next week is November, which is hell month second only to March. If I were the boss of you, I'd make a rule that everything but school and work is optional in November and March, and tell you to take any paid vacation days or sick days during these months if your job has provisions for such things.

Amy said...

I am glad to hear that you are putting your health (and your sanity) first. Whatever school work or other projects you can't get done can't be as important as taking care of yourself. Maybe that sounds narrow-minded, but if you don't take care of yourself, you risk not being able to do any of it.

I know, being a Type A person myself, that is hard not to try and do everything you think you are supposed to do. I hope you find some way of prioritizing that makes you feel better.

L-girl said...

You're right on schedule. Next week is November, which is hell month second only to March.

I have on my wall what you said about March. I re-read it all the time.

If I were the boss of you, I'd make a rule that everything but school and work is optional in November and March, and tell you to take any paid vacation days or sick days during these months if your job has provisions for such things.

I can't do the latter, I get so few and they're all accounted for with other things. But I will TRY to do the former.

L-girl said...

Maybe that sounds narrow-minded, but if you don't take care of yourself, you risk not being able to do any of it.

It doesn't sound narrow-minded at all. It's the truth.

When I say I cannot risk a fibro crash right now, I mean it literally. If I get sick and can't go to work, I risk being terminated - and at the very least I won't be paid. We cannot afford that.

If I can't get school work finished on time, I risk finishing incompletes during my winter break, which would defeat the whole purpose of the break.

There is only one thing that is technically optional, although it's what I care about most: my activism. The war resisters campaign.

So it's cut back now or pay a very steep price later.

I friggin hate it. But there it is.

Amy said...

Sounds like you know the answer. Fortunately, there are lots of other people involved in the campaign so it will go on. Not to minimize your own contributions, of course, but we all know we are not indispensable in most situations, except to our families.

All the best in coping with this, and take care of yourself.

L-girl said...

Well, that's the problem - there are really very few of us who do the heavy lifting. What I don't do, simply will not get done.

It's not that I imagine I am more special than anyone else. We are all equally indispensible. :(

L-girl said...

And thank you. :)