Thursday, December 10, 2009

Two Things

First, I have to tell you what happened today. I have been bartering one of my skills with someone who has something I want for Hubby for Christmas (remember, I can only spend $15). Well, the woman I was bartering with told me she thought this $15 thing was just being stingy. That took me back a step. I never once considered this odyssey we are taking as stingy. In fact, it is the only thing that is keeping me going right now. Up until that moment I was having fun coming up with truly meaningful gifts that came from the heart and not my wallet. Have we lost our sense of Christmas so much that people think that you can't love someone unless you lavish them with gifts you can't afford? That's just sad. Just a 100 years ago kids were happy to get an orange and a corn husk doll as their total Christmas. Oh well, I refuse to consider myself stingy.

Second, as many of you have been reading for a while know and have probably figured out from my last few posts, I am once again spiraling into my depression mode. I take heart in the fact that this is the longest I have gone in my adult life in between "episodes" and my therapist told me to expect it to happen right now especially, so I was warned. But it doesn't make it easier.

I've noticed my posts about my obsessive need to do everything get the most hits and the most comments. Many of you can't understand why I just can't say no to things and just let things fall between the cracks. I don't either. That's part of the reason I am in therapy. In fact, one anonymous commenter suggested: How do you let things go undone? Just don't do them. You will find out that the world doesn't fall apart. I suggest taking just one day at a time. The first day, don't make the bed. Find out the world still functions. Then maybe the next day try something else. You will feel such a great relief to realize that not everything has to get done! That comment alone almost sent me into a panic attack. Things that don't get done weigh on me until I obsess so much about them I get out of bed at 2:00 AM to take care of it. So just saying "don't do it" isn't the answer for me.

But I hear what you all are saying. I want to get to the point where I say no. I do...really. I did say no to something. We were going to have some new church members over for lunch this Saturday and I just said I couldn't do it. I couldn't do the cleaning, cooking and preparing that that would entail. I am trying to's just not easy.

So if anyone has anything more than "just don't do it", I'm listening. I think I am just a worse case than you think I am, because I also justify my actions by saying "what's wrong with being in control and responsible?" Anywho, I ask that you bear with me over the next few weeks because I suspect my next few posts will be about this subject as I mull over why I am the way I am. But I bet there are more than a few of you who are walking the same road I am, so maybe, just maybe, me talking about it will help you this season.

Oh, and Assassin, I miss you, too. I still haven't made any real, kick you in the shins when you are down to get you up kind of friends. I think that is part of my problem right now.

Lastly, my malignant cough seems to be releasing its hold on me. The death rattle is now just a wee little wheeze. Hopefully getting my health back and being able to exercise again will help, too.


Jocelyn said...

Saying no is huge. Don't forget the power of Delegate! Delegate! Delegate!

Sunday dinner: sure, I can do Sunday dinner if we do it covered dish style and you help with clean up.

I am a HUGE control freak. I have a hard time letting go. I still can't let my husband drive the car but I have learned to compromise. I have to keep telling myself that's not the way I would do it, but at least I DIDN'T HAVE TO DO IT!!

Good luck to you over these next few weeks. There's plenty going on, don't let it eat you up.

Jeannie said...

I absolutely know it's hard to say no - and at first the guilt weighs on you but you also have to talk yourself out of that. What helps is having a friend to call and remind you that your physical, emotional and mental health are also very very important and sometimes saying no is the best thing to do.

Of course, other people who want you to do these things will not be pleased. It is not pleasant to have others displeased with you.

Newsflash: You are not required to like everyone. It is not necessary that everyone like you. Doing things for others does not make them like you. Some people LOVE to manipulate others and get the people pleasers to do stuff for them so they won't have to. Others like to hang guilt trips on others. These people are not your friends. Well, they might be but when they do this, they are tweaking their own pleasure centres and don't give a damn about yours. It is very freeing to know that your world won't crumble just because you refused to do what another has expected of you. You are important too. Maybe not to them, maybe not to me (this is hypothetical ok?) but you are important to yourself. You are important to your daughter. You are important to your husband. You are likely important to a few other people too. And they likely don't mind if you let down someone who thinks less of you than they do. And they will also get over it if you let them down once in a while. You will likely be more relaxed, more fun and more loving if you practice prioritizing - remembering that you matter too. I realize that being a pastor's wife puts you in a special category of people who are expected to do more for others. Too bad. They have to learn sometime that they did not hire you. They hired your husband and probably do not even pay him particularly well. My sister was a pastor's wife. She refused to be bullied into things. My current pastor's wife made it clear from the start that she was merely another member of the congregation and no one held it against her because the one before that was much the same. They are involved only in things they want to be involved in. Period. There were always a few hens cackling about it but those are the same people that feel it is necessary to cackle about everyone that doesn't live up to what they feel is right. Give yourself permission to be an ordinary human being instead of living up to some unrealistic ideal that you have created for yourself from the expectations of others. Envision a "lesser" but happier you, still a loving, giving person but one who takes care of herself for the sake of herself. It is NOT selfish.

Linda and Denny said...

Jeannie said it so much better than I could. The hardest part is letting go of the need to be liked by those who do not really matter in the scheme of your life. Once I started to develop a "f*ck it" attitude towards those I could not please, life became simpler and more enjoyable. It hasn't come easily to me, but I like myself more now.

Anonymous said...

I have refrained from commenting - (I have under-refrained previously); you need to work through things at your own pace, when you are ready.

If these compulsions make you unhappy, then it's a problem.

The term that comes to mind is overcompensation.

I was much more take charge about things earlier in my life. I do still channel this aspect of myself at work, where it is a job requirement.

At home though, I have probably swung too far in the other direction. The thing about taking charge like this is that you can drive the people in your life nuts. You think you're helping them, but sometimes it comes across as controlling or interfering. Not that I'm saying thats what *you're* doing, but I have experienced it from my mother and I don't want to continue that family dynamic.

Again, as I've probably said previously, if you are on a frantic hamster wheel of trying to manage everything, then it's hard to live life and *enjoy* life in the moment. And that's where life can be truly sweet, and you'll miss it if you're racing around trying to accomplish things that ultimately might not have much meaning to you.

Take some time for yourself over the holidays - you deserve it.


floridagirl said...

Well, a former boss of mine who is also a mental health counselor told me that I have the problem of wanting to please everyone. I know where it comes from- being oldest child of an alcoholic and mentally ill parent. I was in charge of so much at such a young age that I couldn't just turn it off.
I have worked on it for years and have gotten much, much better. It's tough (I will be 50 next year) I totally understand how you feel.
I haven't gone the total opposite, either , and let everything go to shit- I think I've found a happy medium. It got worse when menopause set in but thanks to the wonderful world of hormones, I have mellowed out tremendously. Got diagnosed 2 summers ago with high blood pressure and once I started those meds, I didn't feel in "high gear" so much of the time.
The hormones and BP meds are now referred to as my "happy pills." Don't want to go on anti-depressants but would if I needed to.
Hope this helps you some! Happy Holidays- it will get better.