Togetherness

by Jen on October 17, 2008

in I'm all out of clever today,Rant of the Week

For the life of me, I cannot get my shit together these days. Or keep it together for very long, on the rare occasions where I do feel like I’m on top of things.

Over the summer, I never really felt I got a handle on the situation: the new two-child family situation. By the time school started in August and I returned to work, we still didn’t have a schedule and were only functioning with a bare bones routine. Since then, we’ve hammered out a routine, the child portion of which starts around 4:30 in the morning (sometimes earlier) and doesn’t end until 9 p.m. This leaves very little grown-up time. On days when the Hubster works late or is out of town, I usually don’t eat dinner until after nine.

Luckily, the baby still sleeps through the night nine out of ten days. (He will be thankful he did this when he reaches the teen years and I exact my revenge on his brother for not doing the same by waking him every four hours repeatedly over a two-year-span.) Though I am short on personal time, I should feel reasonably well rested and mentally acute enough to greet the day. Inexplicably, this is not the case. For some reason, I am exhausted. Exhausted like I was last year, but with no handy pregnancy excuse. The new-baby-excuse works well when talking to other people (hey, as far as they know I could be up two, three, seventeen times a night), but I know that it’s bullshit. Still, I’m dragging myself out of bed like I spent most of the night cramming for a Poli Sci exam. And, some days, nearly falling asleep on my drive to work. (Because of this, I really am thinking about taking up coffee drinking.)

Mentally, I’m also struggling. While pregnant with the Monkey, I commented to a friend that I felt I’d dropped ten I.Q. points. She agreed and said that for her, the feeling lasted until her youngest child turned five. Five? Sweet Holy Moses. I don’t have five more years of this in me. But my physical exhaustion is translating to mental exhaustion. I can’t concentrate. My memory sucks (in fact, I thought of a much wittier title for this post, but by the time I got my draft open again, I’d forgotten it). And often I’m barely able to form coherent thoughts or hold a lucid conversation. Sometimes I lose focus in the middle of a topic and start a new thought with no rational segue. This has made teaching my history classes all the more an adventure. Every day, it’s a gamble as to what will come out of my mouth. Either my students think I’m a fun, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of teacher or they think I’ve completely lost my mind.

There are other physical symptoms, common to the post-partum hormone plunge, that are dragging my spirit down. My hair, so long and luxurious during pregnancy that I only had it cut once in all that time and it nearly reached my waist (it’s never been that long before and never will again), has been falling out. In clumps.

I haven’t lost any weight since my post-partum checkup at eight weeks. Which was two months ago. In fact, I think I might actually be putting weight back on. Not long after school started I had to bite the bullet and buy new work clothes, because I still didn’t – and still don’t – fit into my “fat” clothes.

Because of all of this, my attitude stinks. I’m feeling understandably blue. My self-image is suffering. I feel fatigued, chubby, unattractive, slow and generally overwhelmed. Wasn’t it Ozzie who said, “I’m sick and tired of bein’ sick and tired?” I could triple the length of this rant listing all the things I’m tired of, but I’m too fucking tired to do it. And in truth, if there’s anything at all I learned from reading Prozac Nation, it’s that the only thing more depressing than being depressed yourself is reading about someone else’s depression.

Last weekend, I mentioned all of this to Dr. Friend (actually, I have three doctor/friends, so I suppose I should come up with a better pseudonym for her, however she is the only one who is my actual doctor in addition to being a friend) and she said it wouldn’t hurt to check my TSH. (Actually, I mentioned it and she agreed with me, since you know I’m all about diagnosing myself for these things, what with my degree from Google School of Medicine and all). Rather than have me make an office visit just to get the test order, she mailed it to my house (a little friend-courtesy; it helps to know people). I noticed that she ordered not only a TSH test, but a complete CBC and further tests for anemia.

This morning on my drive to work she called me about my results. Everything is normal, except that my iron is a little low, but not enough to classify me as anemic. While I’m glad that there isn’t anything medically wrong with me (well, nothing new, that is), this still leaves me with absolutely no fucking reason for being fat and tired. Or more accurately, no excuse.

I think I keep hoping that somehow these issues will work themselves out. That isn’t happening. Apparently, I’m going to have to be more proactive. I must stop looking for excuses and figure out how to carve an actual life out of my days, one with a workable schedule of job, family-time, meals, laundry, and the ever-popular etc. (It’s the etcetera that’s killing me). Hopefully then I can whittle out some me-time. Maybe start running again. Get it together.

But first, self-medication. Does anyone have advice for a non-coffee drinker on starting to drink coffee?

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