Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How much is too much?

(Not infertility related, feel free to skip.)

Even before my friend MH's murder a couple of weeks ago, but especially since that event, I find myself wondering how much stress I can take before I break.  Most days, I wake up feeling OK (some days better than others, but generally OK).  But by some point in the day, I find myself experiencing unpleasant physical manifestations of stress and anxiety.  Exactly what these sensations are and exactly when they start varies from day to day, but there hasn't been a single day in months--even on weekends--when I haven't spent some portion of the day with a tight feeling in my chest, racing heart, heartburn/indigestion, feelings of impending doom, racing thoughts and/or crying.

Sometimes I have a few hours of feeling OK in the mornings, or longer on weekends, and I sometimes "get it together" again later in the day (again, more often on weekends).  But I can't remember the last time I had a day when I didn't spend a significant portion of it feeling overwhelmed and majorly stressed out.  These feelings are worse at work and better when I'm at home with my sons. . . but even when I'm with my sons, I am rarely totally relaxed and happy these days.  (Sad but true.)

Yes, I know I have a lot going on, but this is NOT typical for me.  I have worked in high-stress jobs for the entirety of both my professional careers, and I have always juggled a lot outside of work as well.  I have often dealt with unpleasant crap in my personal life on top of all that, too.  (Example: my father and I went without speaking entirely for eight months when I was in law school.  Oh, and I think I forgot to mention here that we are not speaking currently either.)

And I haven't always been like this since the boys were born.  When I first returned to work when my sons were 10 weeks old, I missed them and felt sad at being away from them, and I felt like I was juggling a lot.  But I was coping with everything and was generally happy.  I certainly didn't feel stressed out in the way that I do now.

Nowadays, any little thing out of the ordinary that comes up can throw me into a tailspin.  I mean the kind of annoyances and inconveniences that we all deal with in daily life--like an accident on the freeway blocking traffic and making my commute double its usual length, a non-working washing machine, an extra appointment (like a trip to the pediatrician for a sick child or today's appointment with our CPA)--can completely throw me off kilter and ruin my day.

I find myself nearly unable to cope with any deviation from my usual routine.  Also very unlike me.  I have never been a "go with the flow" kind of person, but I never used to be so rigid and unable to adjust.  It's gotten to where I don't even want to schedule lunch or weekend outings with many of my friends because I just.can't.bear the thought of adding one more thing to my schedule.

I am not entirely sure why I have been feeling this way, but I know I cannot go on like this indefinitely.  So I have contacted a counselor and will be going in for an appointment on Friday evening (the only time I could fit into my schedule).

As I said, I hate the idea of adding anything extra into my schedule, but I am guessing that having a complete mental breakdown will be a much bigger inconvenience than a counseling session or two.


  1. I'm glad you have an appointment with some!

    It sounds like you maybe need to pare back some, even just temporarily, and find some new ways to cope. You shouldn't have to go through life feeling like you're going to snap all the time.

    Hoping the counselor is helpful!

    1. You are probably right that paring back would help. . . but it is not a possibility. I am pretty much pared back to the bare essentials as it is.

  2. Oh thank God you are recognizing the warning signs now and getting in to therapy to talk this through. I'm so glad you are taking care of yourself! I really hope the therapist will be able to help with strategies for coping, scaling back on some of your duties, and finding more time for YOU!

  3. I'm glad you are seeing a therapist. That is what I was going to suggest. Sounds like you are having some anxiety issues and I hope they can help you figure it out!

  4. Hoping that your counselor can help you with coping.

  5. Maybe some PPD? Maybe you've had it and it just now getting to where you aren't able to cope? Definitely anxiety. I hope your appointment went well and you can get some relief. I'll keep reading to see how things went...



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