I admit it: I'm depressed. It feels a bit more intense than my usual end of the year, post-holiday, too much sugar and noise, depression. After some serious thought, I realize the reason I'm so depressed this year is because I am absolutely exhausted. I've worn myself out to the core and I simply do not have another ounce of thought, energy, emotion or knowledge to give. Somehow though, I have to keep giving. Otherwise this hectic but beautiful life of mine will come crashing down. What to do?
Usually, I don't make New Year's resolutions. Instead I lean toward general promises, like last year when I said I would "Be kinder to myself." I can say that despite my crazy life, I've managed to make some progress on that promise. I'm eating better (if you exclude December... and November... and September... and... never mind). I'm exercising more (except for December... and November... and September...). But mainly, I'm just not being so hard on myself. My tendency is to punish myself for any perception of weakness, like this...
You only got a B on that test? Why didn't you study harder?
You just had to eat that other cookie, didn't you? You have no self control!
Stop being such a whiney baby!
Oh for heaven's sake, stop crying. I don't care if you're tired. You've got dishes to do!
But in 2010, I managed to combat that evil, vindictive voice in my head with thoughts like this...
It's okay. You're tired. The dishes can wait.
You're a human being, Terena. Remember that.
Queen Teen can wait a minute. Finish your shower.
Look at everything you've taken on this year. No wonder you're worn out.
And so, instead of beating myself up for being tired, depressed, 10 pounds overweight and in a bad mood, I sat myself down and asked myself out loud, "Why are you feeling this way? What can you do to change that?"
Besides the obvious of finishing grad school, there is the not so obvious fact (at least to me) that I am doing all of it with very little help. My husband and I struggle to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. We work hard to care for our child, who at 15 is still unable to be left alone for any length of time. Our families live far away and our friends are scattered with busy lives of their own. Ultimately, caring for Queen Teen falls to me. Rick helps when he can, but he needs to work more or the bills go unpaid. He and I are overstressed and overburdened. Something has to change.
And so, my New Year's resolution in 2011 is "Look for more help, and ask for it."
It won't be easy. With California's budget not just in the toilet, but all the way at the bottom of the fiscal septic tank, services for people with disabilities and their families are extremely limited. What little we had is being cut even more. But we need help, and I am determined to find it.
Being capable can be a curse. People look at me and see how strong and responsible I am, how much Queen Teen is thriving, how hard we all work and manage so beautifully. Because I appear so on-top-of-it, people don't think to ask if we need help. Well I am here to state for the record that
WE NEED HELP!!!!!!!!!!!
Was that loud enough?
I need help. Really. I know I look like I've got everything under control, but inside I am a shaking, weary, terrified, mess in need of a housekeeper, cook, secretary and chauffeur. I need therapy and a massage. I need two weeks of sleep and one-on-one meditation lessons followed by a month of yoga.
But I'll settle for someone to point me in the right direction toward getting more support for my family.