Who needs sleep?

I woke up this morning about 3:30 to the sounds of our dog, Tinkerbell, barking.  I stumbled out of bed, sans glasses, let her out of her crate, and opened the back door to let her outside – or tried to anyway, because she felt how chilly it was out there and stayed by the door. I have no idea why she woke up in the first place.  Maybe she gets insomnia like me.

I heard go to her bowl and start eating her food and I laid down on the couch, knowing that if I go back to bed, she might actually have to go to the bathroom, but forget to let me know.  She is over a year old, but still has accidents sometimes.

As I laid there, hot and sweaty (as the house is inefficient at staying cool in the summer after an 80 degree day even if it’s 60 degrees at night), I started reviewing the day I had today and I decided I needed to get up and  write about it.

The highlight of the day was taking the girls swimming to my neighbor’s house down the street.  I didn’t want to go at first, as the girls were being really obnoxious during lunch and I was feeling lethargic most of the morning.   Some days are like that – probably due to the funky thyroid condition combined with lots of therapy ‘homework’ of exploring emotions and practicing communication skills.  I saw my therapist for an individual session on Thursday and while I feel great talking about things during the sessions, between sessions, sometimes I get really moody.

The girls finally got their act together and we went for a few hours.

I was keenly aware of how much I like my neighbor’s backyard.  My neighbor has two monstrous maple trees with stocky trunks and enormous leafy crowns which not only provided ample shade, but it was about 10 degrees cooler than in the sun.

She has a table and chairs placed beneath one and we sat and drank lemonade while the kids swam.  While I was there today, I saw a Cooper’s Hawk flying close by and sorely wished I had my camera.   We also saw a woodpecker and of course the American Goldfinch.  I decided I am extremely jealous of her with those trees.  If my yard ever had trees in it, they were long gone before we ever moved in.

The kids were having fun, and as my neighbor and I chatted, I realized how much I appreciated her in my life.  I can’t quite say we are best friends or anything, but we have routinely car-pooled the kids, she’s baby-sat for me a few times, and we do get together with the kids about once a week or so.  I’ve made attempts to invite her out with just me, and she’s always managed to decline.  I haven’t quite figured out why that is, but I’ve decided to let it go and enjoy the relationship I do have with her.

And her backyard.

I was sorry we had to cut our visit short.  And when we trudged home and in the house, the whining began almost immediately.

I don’t know why that is.  We can be having a marvelous time out of the house, and the minute we step through the thresh-hold of the door, it’s not long before the placid children turn shrew-like and all hell breaks loose.

My enjoyment of the afternoon abruptly turned sour.  My mood darkened, and the typical spots in my body started kinking up – the shoulders and neck.  I began the litany of negative, self-defeating thoughts and the struggle not to roar at them.   My old familiar enemies, anger and rage, started bubbling up inside me and I struggled to keep them at bay.

I don’t know why it is that I can go from peaceful to really irritated in 6.3 seconds.  I think I successfully contained my anger, and turned most of it inward…though I hadn’t realized until now THAT’s why I spent the remainder of the day pretty much incapacitated with a low-grade headache and depressed feelings and a sensation that my body was moving through molasses.

I hate to admit it, but this is the biggest reason why I find motherhood so challenging.  I have no idea why I can’t just ‘roll with the punches’ and not let my daughters’ moods and behavior affect me so much.  It makes parenting so hard.  It keeps me frozen in indecision on how to discipline, or if I actually am moved to action, it’s usually with a mixture of anger and resentment (I don’t want to have my peace shattered).   I can’t calm myself down enough to rationally address their obnoxious behavior, and most times I’ll choose between yelling and ignoring until things get out of hand.  And then I am full of self-reproach.

What’s worse, I could not shake the feelings for quite some time, even AFTER I asked Mr. RSG to take the girls out to dinner and the bookstore, hoping that I would return to normal (or a close approximation of it) by the time they returned.

Really, no such luck.

At least, not until I grabbed an India Pale Ale, one of the few kinds of beer I actually like to drink.   I can say NOW  I understand why people self-medicate with alcohol.  I can’t say that it made me chipper, but it certainly loosed the death grip of my thoughts long enough for me to not notice so much about how I awful I physically felt.

I don’t know what to do about this.  My therapist seems to understand.  In fact, she told me so on Thursday.  It’s quite simple you see…having an alternating neglectful and abusive mother whom you couldn’t rely on makes you anxiously attached to your own kids.  Yes, I know this, I’ve researched all about it…just tell me how to fix it, doc, and quickly, before my kids grow up.

Perhaps instead of saving for a college fund for them, I ought to start saving for their therapy sessions they are going to need when THEY grow up.

This entry was posted in abuse, Attachment Parenting, Depression, incompleteness, Intensity, mindfulness, personal growth, personal issues. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Who needs sleep?

  1. Mr. RSG says:

    I think part of the challenge is cyclical: You stay up late, you sleep late and are groggy all morning, you start “thinking” (deep, introspective thoughts) and/or feeling bad, then when it’s time for bed you’re not tired (because you slept all morning) and your mind is racing with all of your thoughts, so you stay up late…

    I know for a fact that you can be too hard on yourself for doing the “wrong” thing, and doing too much of one thing, and also for not doing anything. I think you’ve reached a point where you feel that you’re going to beat yourself up no matter what you do so you hide out in research. The interwebs don’t judge, don’t whine, don’t fight with each other, are filled with interesting people, and aren’t located inside the (too small) house. It’s easy to run there when you don’t know what to do with the kids.

    Just tossing out an idea…
    Try to get to bed early (with a sleep-aid if necessary)
    Get up early to help clear your head
    Connect with the kids as soon as they wake up (hug, cuddle, joke)
    Then (hopefully) you’ll get on a schedule that you’ll be ready to get to bed early.

    I’m hoping that being there for the kids early will help put them in a better frame of mind, and not have to bug you all day long to be with them. If they’re not as whiny throughout the day, that should help your sanity and help keep some of the more negative thoughts at bay. If you feel better, you might be off the computer more – less guilt, more availability for the girls. And the good vibes keep building, so on and so on…

    Like I said – just a thought.

    You know you can always ask me for whatever you need to support you.

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    I think you’ve reached a point where you feel that you’re going to beat yourself up no matter what you do so you hide out in research. The interwebs don’t judge, don’t whine, don’t fight with each other, are filled with interesting people, and aren’t located inside the (too small) house. It’s easy to run there when you don’t know what to do with the kids.

    Hmmm…and what a thought it is. Yes, honey, I think you might have hit the nail right on the head. Thank you for being aware of my pain and not seeing this as a simple problem nor a mere ‘addiction’, rather something covering a more complex problem.

    You do realize that getting to bed early means no more late night vegging on the TV with you. You want to spend time with me…you have to come and get me. You’ll know where to find me when you want to connect with me – I’ll be in bed. 😉

    • Mr. RSG says:

      Hey – I’m the one that needs to get up at 5:30. It would behoove me to be in bed before 11:30 instead of hitting “snooze” for 45 minutes in the morning.

  3. Rick says:

    I concur with the sleep-aid suggestion, just to return to a schedule. I’ve benefited from that many times — probably 2-3x a year I need to do that. I’d never even considered such a thing until a few years ago. Really, it was silly that I waited so long. 🙂

  4. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thanks Rick…

    I probably will need some help to re-set my internal clock. And yeah…it is probably very silly that I’ve waited this long. But then, I was always pretty notorious for doing things the hard way. My natural tendency, ever since I was a young kid, was to be a night owl. Come to think of it…I had insomnia then too. Could NOT turn off my brain and I’d often get nightmares.

    I realized today quiet time BEFORE the girls wake up is as good as quiet time AFTER they go to bed. And, it does help ‘center’ me. Guess I’ll ought to make the adjustment because it was sooo nice to wake up before my oldest daughter did (she gets up at 6 – 6:30 am every day).

    This morning, since I was already up at 3:30, I just stayed awake till everyone else woke up. Around 5:30, Mr. RSG woke up, we talked…I cried a much needed cry with him. Then when oldest daughter woke up, I just held her in my lap and snuggled – all 4 foot 5 inch, 82 pounds of her – while we watched the end of Babe. I think she really appreciated it…and I know I did.

  5. So Over says:

    I know you are working on a lot right now. It is extremely tough work. So cut yourself some slack. Also try to remember that our Over-Excitabilities do not disappear as we enter adulthood, so try to keep that in mind also. You – as a highly intelligent individual are going to have days when even with the best of self-awareness – are going to feel ‘more’. So when you get tense…It will be more tense. Crabby = more crabby. The asynchrony doesn’t go away….we just have learned to compensate. Sometimes we forget. So – In our house when I feel that sensation like I am walking on glass in my mind – I tell DH that I am ‘prickly’. I told him that prickly to me is the jumbled mess you get at the end of an untrimmed co-ax cable as it starts to fray. It’s prickly. It sticks out in many crazy directions and it is disordered. So on prickly days, I try to be aware and then I try to breathe. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it helps.

    I too need to start getting back to a morning routine. Early to bed. Early to rise. HA! I am not a morning person, but that small bit of quiet time in the morning does help. As does EE climbing up in my lap (all 60 lbs of him) and cuddling to start the day. I think that there must be some correlation on touch and endorphins – right?

    Casey – You are a good person and you are making tremendous changes in your life and your family’s. Everyday will be a struggle for sometime, but celebrate days that are not. Soon you will see…there will be more that are calm. Then you can truly rejoice.

    PS – I’d try the sleep aid. You might feel groggy at first in the am, but they do help.

  6. raisingsmartgirls says:

    So Over,

    Yes, prickly is a good word. My husband just asked me if we needed a ‘code word’ to say if either one of us was feeling overwhelmed at a particular task. I caught a cold over the weekend, so the prickly potential went up.

    Sunday, I had an epiphany, after another minor meltdown where I wasn’t able to contain it. I spend a lot of time in self-flagellation on what I do wrong and not enough time on what I do right.

    I have been feeling guilty about a lot of things, and my mother making some negative commentary about my impending trip to see my father and it’s making me upset. She told me the exact opposite of something my step-mother told me, and now I don’t know who to believe. Then I realized, the truth of their issue may NEVER be told…and that’s all right. It doesn’t really impact how I can relate to my dad.

    I guess my biggest hesitation to using a sleep aid is that when I was 18, I bought a pack of them when I ‘ran away’ from home and was planning on taking them all and committing suicide (yea, lots of emotional pain back then). Instead, I walked about 5 miles that day, trying to figure out where I was going to go and if I was going to take them at all. I ended up finding refuge at the parents of an old boyfriend and they let me spend the night. I ended up taking two of them because I was too freaked out to sleep. I don’t think they worked, I was so hopped up on adrenaline.

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