Manage My Facebook Feed
I already have a technique for congratulating the zillions of people who announce pregnancies or births to protect myself. I write a message on their wall. If I congratulate them on the post, my notifications blow up with things like "Welcome to the club, Mama!" or "What a miracle!" and as a person decidedly NOT in the club and NOT the recipient of a miracle, that makes me sad with each ping. So, I do a separate well wishing post and then I get a couple likes or a thanks and I have been nice but not at the expense of my own well-being. Strangely I have had to do this quite a bit in the past couple of days, part of the grief salad that brought me to the events of Friday.
I also finally decided to unfollow a whole bunch of people. I hear you can do this and they can't tell unless they were weirdly calculating how often you like their posts. I felt like unfollowing was just one step off from unfriending, which I have never done. Because it sounds like middle school bullying. But, my friend said "UNFOLLOW the people whose posts do not bring you joy, who bring you sadness or anger or invite you to compare. It is freeing." And you know what? It is. So...I unfollowed people who really I'd been following on facebook because I liked to dislike them, and it would give me an outlet for irrational anger, sort of like a voodoo doll. Which is not healthy. So buh-bye. I unfollowed anyone who recently announced a pregnancy or is likely to give birth soon or who is probably going to get pregnant with a second baby and announce. I do not wish to see one more fucking ultrasound. I cannot handle that right now, and I give myself permission to let it go. I unfollowed the woman who became pregnant the day after me the cycle I miscarried, and she has a four year old and I have cats and a beautiful empty nursery. She is a lovely person, but her child is a ghost of what could have been and makes me interminably sad. So goodbye. And so it went, on and on and on. This is in the interest of better not bitter. It serves no one for me to go up there and be filled with sadness or anger, and so now my feed is a hell of a lot more pleasant. I may decide to unfollow more people. Who knows? But it is definitely freeing.
Stress Relief Yoga
I forgot I had this DVD (aren't you proud? I didn't call it a tape!) until yesterday, when my pulse rate was 118 and I was feeling very much fight or flight and Bryce said, "You know what, babe? You should go do a relaxing yoga thing. Go light some candles and shut the door so the cats don't climb on you, and do some yoga." So I did. This one is from Ashley Turner, made by Element, "Yoga for Stress Relief & Flexibility." It focuses on gentle, long holds in poses designed to get kinks out of your shoulders, your hips, your low back, your inner thighs, your neck and scalp. It also focuses on breathing techniques, which have been incredibly calming as I feel a constant state of panicky jitteriness. I got my pulse from 118 to 104. Sadly my resting pulse rate is pretty high normally, but right now I am basically a lab mouse. Or a chickadee. So this helps. So do the candles and pretending I'm with her in California or Hawaii or whatever verdant, flowery coastal place she filmed it. Also, lion breathing is hilarious and I love that she can't keep a straight face after. I don't think anyone can. Give it a go, I dare you.
I know it's all newly hip and everything, but I found myself calmed immensely by coloring. And not just coloring anything. I truly do love Jenny Lawson's You Are Here: An Owner's Manual for Dangerous Minds. It is full of short essays and sayings and things that make you laugh and things that make you feel understood. I am currently coloring a martini glass that says "I love us even when we're sober," which is strangely appropriate since with the Prednisone I have not been able to have nary a glass of wine nor margarita in a MONTH, and Bryce being sick has precluded him having anything fun either, and so it's good to know that we enjoy each other sober and hopped up on cold medicine and scary side-effect steroid drugs. But the coloring train...I'm on it.
|I went for "Tuscan Pottery" with this one.|
|The text Jenny Lawson wrote that goes with the dandelion image. I love this so much.|
|This one was instrumental on Friday. Tangle tangle tangle|
|Latest one. Yeah, let's grow weird together. Great plan.|
Putting A Hiatus on Profile Calls
This one is hard, so hard. Bryce called the agency today to say that we probably should not receive calls the month of April. I was going to do it, but he said no. He said no because he felt like I might get resistance, and I might share more than is necessary, and the resistance would be of the KEEP THE HOPE ALIVE variety when right now I would just like to restore my life to something more resembling normal. The Prednisone is truly the exacerbator here, but everything else has been piling up, and right now I have to focus on being healthy -- my eye, my sleep, my mental state, getting the panic under control, etcetera etcetera etcetera. Not that we've had a profile call since January (the one in February was a blind I just happened to find out about), but if we did get one this month I don't think I would be in a good position. First, if we'd gotten a call while Bryce was sick I think we'd have had to say no even if it was perfect, because you don't bring an infant into a house of illness like that. Second, I don't think right now with my eye and my medication woes that I am physically able to care for a newborn necessarily -- I am already sleep deprived and jittery, and I have a lovely new chest cold (that is possibly allergies and asthma) to boot, so that wouldn't be good. And then there's the whole thing of COULD I HANDLE A NO ON A PROFILE RIGHT NOW? The answer is no. No I could not. And so Bryce called and said we need a hiatus until this shakes out healthwise. Which is super sucky because we basically lost a month of our homestudy, but them's the breaks. It is necessary for self-care, for helping me to heal from this clusterfuck of physical and mental badness so that we can accept a call in the months we have left. It was a hard call, and I cried when I found out it was done, but I'm glad we did it. And I am eternally grateful to Bryce for doing it for us.
This is happening one small space at a time. Like the garden, I can't attack it all at once. I need to do small bits and pieces. So the first thing was the dust under the furniture and vacuuming. The next thing was my desk. Then some garden. Now I am going to attack the one area of the table that has associated papers and books and gifts for people that I picked up but haven't boxed up to send and about a zillion medical paperwork packets from the eye specialist and urgent care and emergency. I need to sort that crap and get the table clear. Clear surface, clear mind. But one thing at a time. Permission to not do it all at once. And to stop if it makes me tired or feels overwhelming. Small spaces at a time seems to be the key.
This, in itself, is a kind of list. And lists help me make order out of entropy. For a short while, anyway, since that is the nature of entropy. I have, completely un-ironically, a list of lists. Some of them are T-charts. Some of them are wish lists. Some of them have to do with my identity, which has been wrapped up in something that hasn't really been coming to fruition, and who am I if I am not driving the baby bus? Who am I if I've driven this baby bus straight into the ground? What are new priorities? What do I need to balance better? SO MANY LISTS. They are grounding. They help organize the chaos of What Ifs and What Nows and Where Do We Go From Heres? Because we dont' have to make the big decisions right now, but clearly when your health goes down the toilet something has to change. Lists are a powerful tool for making sense of those things. Pro/Con ones especially, as they can be incredibly surprising when you go to put things on paper and balance is different than you originally thought.
I went and did a guided meditation outside on a bamboo mat on this gorgeous 70 degree day (Thank you, Lori Lavender Luz, it was the Expansion one). It was glorious. Just being in warm air with breezes and birds is shaking some cobwebs from my soul. I would love to go for a walk in the woods, but I don't think that's a good idea by myself with the panicky feelings and the super high heart rate and the agitated asthma. But walking out into my backyard, sitting outside, feeling the grass on my toes and my fingers...it's healing. I meant to have the chaise lounge out from storage for today but we forgot. There's always tomorrow.
Talking to People Who Get It
So, I am not talking to everyone right now. There is a magic password. That password is ASK ME HOW I AM DOING. Or connect with me in some way via text or phone. Or be someone I am reaching out to who I know has gone through something eerily similar. And by similar I mean facing down the death of a dream, or having experienced loss and are able to talk to me about it without it constantly cycling back to them, or who can offer me just silence and I'm sorry. Because that is what is best. Not "this is what you should do" or "you shouldn't do this" or "Why don't you" or "Well I blah blah blah blah blah" but JUST LISTENING. And commiserating, which is the fine art of saying "I can understand some of what you feel because of this directly related experience and bring it back to your pain as much as I can." And not putting me in the position of comforting YOU for what's going on with me, not making me worry about your discomfort as I am falling apart at the seams. Oh, and not trying to fix it. That is invaluable. And I have had a handful of people serve in this capacity since Friday, and I am so thankful. If you are not one of these people, don't be offended. I need real connection right now, and I will need real connection moving forward, so you can always step in. There's no expiration date. I don't want to be coddled or to be "saved." I want to be a hot mess and have it be okay. I want a witness to my pain, but also hope that it's possible that you can go through something horrid and come out the other side and eventually be okay. People who have lost a spouse, people who have figured out their own anxiety and depression (as much as is possible), people who have fought or are fighting life-threatening illnesses, people who went through infertility and were left a family of two, people who are gifted listeners and not talkers.... this is my tribe at the moment. I don't want platitudes. That may seem harsh. But it's what I need. And in a time like this, when you are hurting and everything is totally out of whack, what you need takes precedence over pretty much anything else.
There is a lovely thing in silence, too. I need quiet time. I need naps (not that I am getting naps, because Prednisone has stolen sleep from me in a fairly significant way). I need time to read. I need time to disappear into Pinterest and add calming photos to my Serenity Now! board that is basically just one beautiful nature image after another that I can insert myself into and make my happy place. Just breathing. Just closing my eyes and trying to stop the chatter. Just having a cat on my lap. That is important, too.
Writing is therapy. Writing about all of this may make people nervous, because my goo is all out there, but that is sort of what I do. I cannot write if it is not honest, and I have been unintentionally lying to myself about the level of pain that I'm in and the level of stress that I feel and the imaginary obligations I have to anyone who ever asks me a question I don't truly want to answer... including myself. So writing gets it out. I have written before about being sadness or rage constipated, and writing is the best laxative for that sort of thing. Write write write.
This is not an exhaustive list by any means. But it's what's helping me right now, and it's a pretty good list. It's for me to come back to and hopefully it's helpful to someone else, at a difficult time, too.