2020-05-23 Laundry Day 🐱

Yesterday was the worst day I’ve had in a long time. I was on such an emotional edge almost all day and barely made it through all the things I had to do.

I participated in an early meeting with a client in which my only responsibility was to take notes and have my brain on to ask intelligent questions. I had no intelligent questions and spent most of the meeting with my head down on the desk. It’s a good thing that everything is Zoom and with the customer it’s audio only.

To be honest, I’m all Zoomed out.

The second meeting was out daily internal team meeting. I said “fuck it” nobody reads these notes anyhow so I didn’t take notes. I mean, I like having the notes because Confluence makes it easy to search for stuff and when people ask about a certain thing, it makes me seem like a damn genius because I have the answer in like a minute.

Again, had my head down listening to the same broken record conversation as every day and thinking about Z and C and how effed up things are right now, I wept. I literally put myself on mute and fought really hard to keep myself together but then let go.

I was also getting FB instant messenger notifications on my phone from my writing group and one of my friends was going through the loss of a pet and I knew that’s what it was about and it just hurts me to think of her hurting and to remember loosing Louie Louie. My sweet first pet as an adult. It was just all too much.

I took some time in the afternoon to get some more of my annuals in pots before the rain came and then it was back inside for my third meeting of the day… sprint retrospective.

This time I was up front about not taking notes. I told the PM before hand that I was having a tough day and didn’t feel like the internal notes for this wasn’t really necessary. Which was self-serving, but whatever.

This time I had more to say so I had to pay attention for my opportunities. The project is on two week sprints and the devs have established a bad pattern of not getting their tickets done. They are supposed to do their work, internal code reviews with each other and then merge all the code changes into the dev branch where KK and I can log in and do QA testing. The tickets can’t be closed until we QA them. So if they wait until the last day of the sprint (or even worse, the weekend after), KK and I are stuck testing on the weekend. That fucking sucks!

She’s the PM and responsible for steering the ship and helping correct that behavior, but there was some serious push back and discussion. If it does not change with the next sprint (after which we release a new version to the customer), it’s going to murder us. I know it’s going to happen again and that makes me want to cry too.

Last time we released to the customer we went into Friday with so much broken it was sickening. We worked our asses off all weekend. Our bosses bought us lunch on Sunday and the week after I received flowers from the company.

To that I say, that’s nice.. and thoughtful, and appreciated, but it doesn’t make up for the lost time with family or the anxiety that affects my health. If I’m burned out or dead, I’ll be useless to the project. It’s disturbing.

What did I not have to do?

I basically ducked out of three different personal meetups yesterday. Virtual happy hour with my company and I was so wrecked that was the last thing I wanted to do. Another one on one with a friend who I’ve been trying to connect with for a while and I just reached out to her to reschedule. And a third meetup with Josh who wanted to meet in person and I just wasn’t in the mood for dealing with the anxiety of that, nor did I feel like getting in my car to drive to meet him. You know, putting real clothes on and trying to make it look like I hadn’t been crying all morning.

So that’s me venting. And I let go last night and drank a bunch and Jim and I had a good night of saying “fuck it” to everything. We got take out. We talked all evening and I have no idea what time we stumbled to the bedroom.

Today I’m not doing any laundry, except maybe airing this dirty nonsense.

I’ve got work to do. I’ve got lit mag stuff to do. And Z Is coming back home so we can hang out more just the two of us.

My aim? Balance and restoration.

That’s it. Thanks for reading.
Happy Caturday,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-10-11 World Mental Health Day

World mental health day was yesterday apparently. I missed it because I worked all freaking day while sick and tired. I had a lovely 4.5 hours of sleep because of congestion and probably anxiety about two Work calls I have today and maybe the caffeine I took at 6pm to make it through the evening. I dunno. I could lament more about how crappy my week has been so far but would that do any good? Actually it might.

I realized yesterday that one thing that happens when you work from home is working while being sick. I couldn’t take a sick day and almost nobody I had interactions with knew I wasn’t feeling well. My boss (one of my bosses) called at 8AM and at the top of the conversation he asked how I was. I told him I was feeling I’ll. I received a quick “awww man, that sucks” and that was that. I still worked like a 10 hour day because the clock on the release of the next version of software doesn’t stop for the low man on the totem pole even though I’m the only QA person right now. I did my due diligence all day long on that and ran point on like 4 other projects. I checked all the boxes an powered through.

I didn’t get any sympathy from my teenagers either. It’s not their strong suit. I had a nice conversation with Jim but it wasn’t the same thing as being in person. When you have a person, a partner, you just want to be with that person. Instead we talked while I walked on the treadmill – yeah, trying to walk myself into feeling better (apparently it didn’t work).

Last night I lay in my bed for 2 hours not able to fall asleep and that just doesn’t happen. I’m usually so exhausted by 10 pm I can hardly stay awake. I tried to read but could not focus. I tried to sleep but tossed and tossed. I wrote a little, but that was mostly nonsense. I woke up this AM exhausted as hell. I’ve got no choice but to do it all over again.

I get the kids up, breakfast, fight about being behind schedule, and eventually get them to school. I’ve got another full set of work to do despite how I’m feeling. I’ve got one call that’s supposed to be a training session and I’ve been given very little direction on. I’d be better with that if I was a SME but I’m just a freaking newbie. That’s weighing on me. I’ve got another project call to facilitate today. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel prepared for those sorts of things.

I feel like I just need a sick day. Call it a true sick day or a mental health day or whatever. If the world has a day dedicated to mental health, I think I’d like to have one too. I know all the responsibility will still be there tomorrow… school, work, kids, but I’d like to just ignore it all for a day (or maybe two). Maybe if I get through enough today then tomorrow it would be possible.

Guess this post was a test to see if complaining would make me feel better, and it really didn’t. Oh well, oh well.

Winning Some and Losing Some,
~Miss SugarCookie

2018-07-28 My Beautiful Broken Mirror

I slept in again today. It’s Saturday so somehow I feel like the workweek pressure is off even though the day of the week doesn’t matter much with my job when I haven’t yet logged my minimum hours for the week. Still getting almost 9 hours sleep feels like a million bucks. I love to open my Fitbit app and see those stars across the board!

My weight went back up this week which makes sense. For me that confirms that the 5 or 6 lbs I lost during Residency was due to stress and anxiety and serious loss of appetite a couple of days. Now that I’m back to the norm, I’m also back to trying to solve the health/diet puzzle. I just need to press on pushing up on all the fronts to keep elevating myself.

Jim loves me just the way I am and has encouraged me just to accept my current status. In a way, he doesn’t understand the issues I have with the way I look, like most people wouldn’t. However most people also don’t know my struggles and my history and what it’s like to live in a body with a mind whose self-image mirror has been broken. Correcting that..Lots of people do or would understand but I rarely talk about it with people.

Hell, there’s really only a small percentage of people who have ever talked with about my discontent. If I told someone I was on a diet, they would look me up and down and wave me off like a crazy person. So I just don’t. Jim knows I’m not happy with the way I look and doesn’t quite understand but he’s smart enough to suspect there’s more to the story.

He’s been nothing but supportive when I tell him “I’m not eating gluten this week” or “I’m fasting from 8 pm to 11am” or some other random thing. He reminds me that I’m beautiful just the way I am and then says he’ll support me no matter what. Writing this I feel like I should probably let him in on the backstory. I don’t want to repeat mistakes I’ve made in the past, keeping things inside, and somehow I just know he will take it in stride. Perhaps one night next week when the kids are at their dads, we can have a conversation about it. Perhaps.

When I started writing today, like most days, I don’t know where it’s going to go. I just start and end up where I end up. I rarely have a topic I want to go after and write about that specifically, so finding myself here, now on a lazy Saturday when I have no-where else to be, feels serendipitous somehow, because I can just keep writing. (spoiler alert – this could get long)… I’m feeling a desire to write in more detail about the history and my beautiful broken mirror. It’s a metaphor for my past and present struggles with self image issues and living with/dealing with having or having had an eating disorder.

I’ve always been thin. I was a skinny kid, a short thin teenager, always smallest in my class, and as I matured into adulthood, that really didn’t change. In my 20s I gained weight and lost weight and really didn’t think too much about diet and exercise because I didn’t have to. I didn’t eat healthy, because I hated veggies, and was just living those years enjoying all my favorite things and not caring much about my weight. I had great metabolism and even late in my 20s, when I was 10 lbs heavier than I am now, I still never thought about it. It was only when I started trying to get pregnant that I started paying attention to what I was eating and my weight.

I struggled to get pregnant and like many American women in my situation, sought medical help for answers. I was diagnosed with PCOS which is a disorder more commonly occurring in heavier women. I took metformin/glucophage (which is a medication they give to diabetics) to get my blood sugar in check which, in turn, regulated my hormones and helped my body begin to function normally with regard to monthly cycles (which it had never been in the past). It worked and I was able to conceive my daughter.

While pregnant I gained a lot of weight and ate to my hearts desire and didn’t realize how unhealthy that was. At the time, I was ignorant and just thought that since I was eating for two, it was OK. It was OK, but not great and after I had her, I literally broke down and cried because I was left with what looked to me like an ugly body and was faced, for the the first time in my life, with the challenge of losing weight. I did a lot of research into my “condition” and came to the conclusion that I had made things worse by my diet and eating choices. I started eating better and lost the weight, so much so, that when I started trying for my second child, it was a lot easier. I’d figured out the magic formula, which worked, and in no time I was PG with my C.

The second time around I was smarter about choices while I was pregnant and didn’t gain as much weight. The pounds still added up though and after having him, I struggled much more than with my daughter taking the weight back off. In fact, at one point I got down to 140 and then started gaining again. Something in my metabolism had changed and I was not able to loose the weight with the same magic formula as I had used before. I looked in the mirror and hated what I saw. I made losing weight a priority and it became extremely important to me. Almost obsessively important.

All of this backstory is just accounting. It’s all just facts and figures that contribute to the story as a whole. The other puzzle piece that is of importance was my husband and our relationship and the parallel struggles I was having with that. He’s attracted to thin women and thinks that super-skinny is super sexy. It’s probably one of the things he liked about me when we were dating. I was his type, physically. Once I gained weight and didn’t look the same, I wasn’t really fitting that same type anymore and it was just one more problem to add to the pile of problems we had with the life we were living. I wanted to be thin and I very much felt like if I wasn’t attractive to him, then I was failing as a partner. At the time I didn’t see it, but looking back, years later, it seems clear.

We would go to Hockey games and he would point out women he thought were attractive. “Look at that one”, he’d say. I remember the show Alley McBeal and how skinny Calista Flockhart was and how he always comment on how sexy she was. Or Lara Flynn Boyle who was on a show right after and even thinner. What was I supposed to do with that? I’d look at myself in the mirror and compare myself to others, in a very unhealthy, unrealistic way, and then resolve to loose more weight. And I did. For a long time, I stuck to a very strict diet plan, counting calories using some web application I had found and joined a gym and was working out (for the first time in my life). I lost a bunch of weight and got myself back down to LESS than I had been in my 20s.

Yeah, in my 30s I weighed less than I did in my 20s yet somehow that was still not good enough. I had gone from 140 to 135, 135 to 130, 130 to 125, 125 to 120, 120 to 115, and every time I lost another 5, I would say to myself, just 5 more and then I’ll be satisfied. But I was never satisfied. I bottomed out at 115 and my marriage was shit. In my mind, I had associated my weight and the way I looked with my failing relationship. If I could lose 5 more pounds, maybe then I could turn things around. It’s crazy now when I think about it, but at the time, it made sense, even if I wasn’t aware that that is what was going on.

Then, along the way at some point, and I don’t remember the timing exactly but I became upset with the fact that I had gotten stuck at 115 and just wanted to loose 5 more pounds. I already knew the “calories in/calories out” equation and didn’t want to sacrifice eating what I was allowing myself to have any more than I already was so I started purging after meals. If the calories don’t go in, then they don’t get counted. It wasn’t too often at first, just after I had a big meal or a desert. It wasn’t long after that when the binging started. I wanted to eat and be full and satisfied and started over-eating, enjoying the food so much and then purging right after.

I would eat 4 large slices of pizza (when normally I would only have one or two) and then feel so guilty and bad and full and sick to my stomach after that I would go to the bathroom and just get rid of it. It always made me feel better, but never really had an impact on my weight. I didn’t get any validation that it was doing anything for the way I looked, which in hind sight was probably a good thing, because it made it easier to eventually stop.

It wasn’t until 6 months after my divorce was final and I started trying to date again that I really came to terms with what I was dealing with and forced myself to stop. I still remember, as clear as it was yesterday, going out to Olive Garden on a date and eating way, way too much food. After dinner we went to his house and sat on the couch. I was in agony with how I felt, yet I forced myself to just sit there and suffer, digesting the food. Minute by minute sitting, fighting the urge to excuse myself to the bathroom. When the night was over, and I finally felt better, I realized I had just had a breakthrough. I did it and I knew I could do it again.

After that, I was able to continue to control my behavior and recognize situations which put me at risk. I stopped binging, and eventually re-occurences of the scenario became rare. Rare, but not extinct. That’s a key point, now. The recognition that I was suffering from an actual disorder and couldn’t even see how harmful it was. I was in denial that it was a problem and not healthy and detrimental on so many levels to my physical, mental, and emotional well being. I couldn’t see that until I was some distance in the future away from it all.

I really never sought professional help, outside of telling some counselor I had during my divorce that I was binging and purging. That counselor didn’t do anything to help that I can recall, which is a sad commentary on professional services. Only a few people even knew about it, my ex husband being one. He just made a joke of it, which was probably payback since I had ruined his life by asking for a separation and subsequent divorce. I eventually told the person I dated for 6 months (the one I went to Olive Garden with), and then Matt knew too after we had been dating for a while. Matt always hated my “fad diets” and was never very supportive in that regard. I was between 115 and 120 pounds then which was fine in his eyes, so he could not understand why I was always so unhappy with the way I looked or sometimes obsessed over just a few pounds.

The fact of the matter is, the eating disorder and the thought processes that go along with it never really leave my mind. They are always there with me even if not active and probably always will be. This story will always be a part of my history and I may never be satisfied when I look in a mirror. I still struggle daily with worry about the way I look and I don’t know if I will ever be able to fully get away from that. Having someone who loves me just the way I am now helps tremendously and I’m extremely grateful for that even though I have not yet been able to talk about it openly or articulate why I feel the way I do or why I think the way I do.

Writing this is helping me too. Just the act of formulating my thoughts and going over the history and putting that in perspective with where I am at now is extremely valuable. In a way, I’m probably more prepared to have that conversation with Jim because of it. I really didn’t intend to spill my guts on this today (terrible, horrible pun – I know), but there you go.

In any case, that’s probably enough for now and I’ve lingered too long here and need to get back to doing the rest of the Saturday things which includes work, house chores, and a party at Jim’s later with his family. I’ve got to make the most of what is left of this day.

Peace and Love,
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-10-17 The Ultimate Broken Record

Sometimes I say the same things over and over and that can get really boring. But just like that song that is “your ultimate favorite”, there’s another record out there we repeat over and over again and it remains just as sweet as the day (night) before… sleep.

No doubts about it, I’m a huge fan. I’ve gone through times in my life where a good night sleep has been really elusive. From those times I can make two direct connections.

First is the fact that the status of my life and relationships and work impact my sleep. Without fail. In tough times when I’m stressed or have too much going on or dealing with a large life problem, I can’t sleep. I’m afflicted with insomnia. I wake up at all hours and my brain is firing on all cylinders. It’s trying to find a way out. It’s trying to solve the problem.

You only have to rewind right here on this very blog to earlier this year to read the evidence. I was a complete mess and inside the darkest place. That darkness was terrifying and I didn’t want to close my eyes for the monsters waiting at 2AM.

I was dealing with the end of a five year relationship that I could not let go of and on top of that a job that was killing me. Every day a new crisis and I felt responsible for all of it. The not sleeping well bled into the day and resulted in exhaustion and the inability to function. I was “on” when I had to be and very much “off” the rest of the time.

This meant my home life suffered, my children suffered, and I personally suffered. Which leads directly to the second connection and that is that lack of sleep causes mental distress.

If you don’t get enough, you start to go coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs. Sadness, anxiety, memory loss, mental focus, and lack of enthusiasm for life are all intensified by sleep deprivation. What’s worse is that all of this leads right back to the first problem.

This is an ugly viscous cycle that can be a downward spiral into oblivion. You’re stressed and can’t sleep and the lack of sleep makes the stress worse. If you don’t break the cycle how can you ever recover? And what if it’s something worse like depression. That spiral can lead to thoughts of suicide. That’s when the brain has exhausted all other solutions and come to the conclusion that it’s the only way out.

Thankfully I did not fall far enough to get to that place, but I was not so far from it that I could not see it. I could see how someone might end up in that place. I could recognize my own dark thoughts about not wanting to try and navigate my life as it was any longer and for a moment had a glimpse of what that would be like. It was terrifying.

I drank so much one night that I ended up drunk and naked in my shower with the water pouring down on me as I cried aloud that “I just can’t do it anymore” and that “I don’t want to have to do it anymore”. Most of the rest of that night was a blur, and thankfully I had a friend close by that took care of me.

Even in my despair I recognized sleep as a key factor for finding my way back. Again rewind to blog post after blog post where I wrote about sleep. So many times, in fact, that I created a category for it so anyone who wanted to follow just that part of my journey could tune into all things sleep related. So far just this year, I’ve written about sleep 46 times, 47 if you count this one (gotta love statistics).

I went through trials of taking sleep aid meds, trying to regulate my sleep by going to bed at the same time every night, and watching the results on my FitBit to see my progress. Each week I was becoming increasingly more aware that it would be a combination of stress reduction and better choices. If you are following along, this culminated in me deciding to quit my job and take some time off of work. It was the best decision of my life.

Every day I’m awake and every night I sleep I get farther and farther away from that terrible state I was in. I’m pleased to report that I’m sleeping well almost every night now and have been free of medications and suppliments for months. I’m not yet getting a full solid 8 hours a night, but I am able to sleep through the night and I think it is now down to just choosing to go to bed at 10 every night. My average night sleep is hovering right around 7 hours, which is worlds better than where I was.

Thankfully the cycle works in the other direction too. The less stress you have, the better sleep you get, and the more relaxed and stress free your days are. I’m not yet to the point of going back to work, but I know that when I do, I will be able to take on whatever challenges are before me. I’m actually getting excited at some of the possibilities that are out there. I’m attributing a huge amount of my bounce back to getting this sleep thing under control.

The bottom line is, whatever is going on in life, sleep is a concern and needs to be a priority. In the constant balancing act between self and work and relationships and family, there should be no compromise when it comes to sleep.

That being stated, I’m just one person and by no means an expert so don’t take my word for it. Here’s a really great article that goes into a deeper dive about sleep and it’s importance in your overall health. Just one more click down the rabbit hole and you’ll be a believer too.

The Importance of Sleep

From this article it’s clear that sleep deprivation can lead to all sorts of issues and has a huge impact on your physical health as well. It’s just one more supporting set of facts that confirm that my quitting my job may actually add years back to my life.😃

No need to bookmark any of this though, because like sleep, this is one record that will always be on repeat and I am sure if one waits long enough, it WILL “play” it again.

No Longer Sleepless in Omaha,
~Miss SugarCookie