On being the mother of a teenage boy

I only have one child. I love him dearly. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. I’d give my life for him, and God help anyone who tried to harm him.

But there are times when I just get so frustrated with the boy, and I wonder WTF he’s thinking.

How many times do I have to tell him to put soap in the dishwasher when he does dishes?
Why should I have to tell him to put soap in the dishwasher in the first place?
Why did I have to put a sign above the washing machine after he kept forgetting to use laundry detergent?

Use Soap

He takes the trash out every week. Every other week our recycling goes out. We’ve had a large box sitting by the recycling bin for about a month now. It needed to be cut down & put into the bin (they won’t take it, otherwise). Has the boy done it? No. He takes the bins to the curb & he leaves the large box at the side of the house. Exposed to the elements….. It’s been rained on numerous times, and dried. It’s quite “ookey” at this point. Today I got tired of looking at it. I cut it up and put it in the recycling bin.

If I want clean dishes, I have to do them.

If I want a clean house, I make a list of chores. I give him things to do. I do what’s on my list. He breezes through his list and I know he hasn’t thoroughly cleaned anything. I have to stop what I’m doing, go behind him and point out everything he’s missed. Why can’t he see the dust? Why can’t he see the dirt? Why do I have to make a list to begin with? Why can’t he just see what needs to be done and do it?

What’s he going to do when he’s on his own? :: headdesk ::

And the world goes sideways….

I was diagnosed with epilepsy at the age of 10, and I’ve been dealing with generalized seizures ever since. For most of my life, I would just have partial complex seizures, with no warning. However, I’ve noticed over the past year or so I experience simple-partial seizures, too. I’ve changed neurologists at various points throughout the years, and one of the most difficult questions to answer is asked in that initial visit: “Can you describe your seizures?”

Yeah….  Well, a full convulsion isn’t that difficult to describe; it’s the simple-partial seizures they’re asking about. That’s what I’m writing about today.

Simple-partial seizures are a type of generalized seizure, but the patient remains conscious and is aware of his or her surroundings. There are no convulsions. Because they are generalized, they can affect different areas of the brain, causing different symptoms. When I’ve had one of these, I have experienced odd tastes, auditory hallucinations, extreme emotional mood swings, but the one common symptom I always feel is that “shift” out of phase from everything else going on around me. I literally feel the world move sideways, and suddenly all my responses are just that much slower. If you ask me a question, I have the answer in my head, but it takes me two-to-three times longer just to get my words (which is damn frustrating).

Then there is the floating feeling. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a vacuum, or floating. You might say it’s like being high – without doing anything illegal. But it’s not a good feeling. It scares the crap out of me. Even if it just lasts a few seconds, I’m not in control of my senses, my body, my responses, or anything. If the simple-partial seizure progresses to a full-blown complex, I won’t be able to stop it.

I think the vacuum feeling and the half-step-out-of-phase feeling may be related. I feel isolated… out of body. And with all of this, it takes longer to describe than to experience. Once it passes, it takes me about 30 minutes to recover. I may not be disoriented, but I am shaken.

Lastly, there’s that feeling of embarrassment when this happens in a social situation. I know there is no need to feel embarrassed, but if I’m with a group of people and we’re doing something, I need to stop for a moment. I feel as though I’m bringing  everyone to a screeching halt and it’s my fault. Oh, I suppose I have some good, old-fashioned, Catholic Guilt in there, too. 😉

So, that’s what it’s like…for me. Your mileage may vary.

Time away

One needs time away. I call it “hitting the mental reset button.” A little over a week ago, I left for a 4-day cruise to Cozumel. Considering I’m not working, I consider myself lucky to have been there. I had a great time with my friends, but what really helped were the times I would awaken early, before anyone else, and just go sit out on deck. The alone time allowed me to truly unwind, decompress, and let things go. The vast, blue “nothing” contrbuted, as well. I sorted through some major stuff in my head and laid it to rest at sea.

Water is good for that.

This weekend my my husband is working ConDFW, so we get to visit friends in Dallas together. It’s a great trip, but I must admit; it will be nice to be at home next weekend. 😉

A year goes by

It’s Saturday morning. I should not be up at the ungodly hour of 5:30am. I don’t have to be awake this early. I’m writing this morning because I woke from a dream that stirred a bit of melancholy within me.

You see, a year ago yesterday, my long-term working relationship ended with my former employer. Given the current economy, I understand this happens to a lot of people. In my former position, one of the things I got to do was travel to India once or twice a year. I considered myself lucky.

Last night I dreamed I was in Bangalore.

There was some festival going on and we were at some temple. It was beautiful. There was music and dancing. I got to participate at some point, because I was visiting. There was a waterfall nearby, some of the water splashed in my face as I was laughing and it got in my mouth. I remember thinking, “Oh, crap. I’m going to be sick for the rest of the trip.” But I kept dancing and enjoying the moment because it was a new experience, and I never knew if I was going to come back (we all had that attitude about the trips to India).

Then I woke up.

There are things that I do not miss about my former working environment, but there are things that I miss very much. I miss some of the people I worked with. I miss the travel opportunities, exposure to different cultures and new experiences.

A year later, I still grieve the ending of the long-term working relationship. I was with that company for just one month shy of 13 years. It’s uncommon to find someone who’s worked with a company longer than 5 years anymore. However, there are those “long-timers” out there.

With the current U.S. economy, many of these “long-timers” are finding themselves at the bad end of a business decision. So what happens to that long-timer? How does that person handle the end of that working relationship?

It’s a lot like a divorce. The emotions are identical. It even follows closely to what occurs when the couple has that final “it’s over” discussion:

  1. You have a private discussion with your manager. This is where you’re told “it’s over”. Your reaction may vary. You may immediately go to anger here. You may step over to “isn’t there something we can do?” Or, you may follow the path of the victim and ask, “what did I do wrong?”
  2. You’re packing your things (or maybe that’s done for you). You’re in shock.
  3. You’re at home now, just you and your boxes. It sinks in now.
      • Anger
      • Rejection
      • Betrayal
      • Sadness
      • Fear

And how about those former co-workers? Aren’t those some awkward conversations after the fact? It’s like running into that one person who managed to remain friends with both of you after the divorce – the friendship remained but it never was quite the same.

I’ve lost touch with nearly everyone I used to work with. I’m not upset about this, nor am I offended in any manner. It is awkward. What do you say when you are still working for the company? Or maybe it’s just my perception and I’m pushing them away. That is quite possible. Communicating with them reminds me they used to be co-workers and they aren’t anymore. It reminds me of the former relationship. Perhaps it’s a little bit of both.

Regardless, I made it through a year of emotional growth and change. It’s been an interesting ride.

Eating disorders and disordered eating

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with food. Growing up, I was a compulsive overeater. I hit that “obese” mark early in childhood and tried every diet known to mankind. But the bottom line wasn’t what I was eating, it was why I was eating. I was turning to food for the same reasons my mother turned to alcohol.

Of course, as I grew older and my weight increased, this impacted my health. My weight peaked during my pregnancy at just over 300 pounds. I had high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and although I wasn’t diagnosed, I had the symptoms of Type II diabetes (my spouse at the time was diabetic and I would test my sugar levels every now and then…. I was borderline…).

After having a baby, I kept trying to lose weight but a lifetime of habits don’t go away overnight. The decision to have weight loss surgery was a difficult choice. I knew this was only a tool to force me to change my eating habits, get my weight under control and, oh, be healthy so I could be around for my kid. It still took me a year to make that decision.

I’ve kept the weight off, and I no longer have the co-morbidities I had at 282 pounds, when I had my surgery.

I should weigh 140 pounds. I weigh 133, and it’s a struggle to maintain that weight.

I still have a problem with food.

You see, when I’m under stress, I just don’t eat. It’s not like I’m intentionally starving myself. I don’t have the typical anorexic symptoms (God knows, I’m not exercising enough for that, nor am I afraid of gaining weight). I’m not binging and purging, either. I just have no hunger trigger. I have no desire to eat. I look at the fridge, I know I should eat, but I don’t want to.

There is a name for this type of disordered eating. It’s called “depression”. Sometimes it’s referred to as “anxiety”, or “stress”. When it kicks in, you have to comfort your inner child and reassure that inner child that everything is ok. I thought about this analogy, and my need to gain some weight, and put two and two together. If my inner child needs comforting in those moments where I just don’t want to eat, maybe I need to keep “kid” food around. Mac’n’cheese is quick and easy when you just don’t want to…. and appeals to the inner child. Add some protein to it and you have a quick lunch.

I still do not regret my choice of having weight loss surgery. I do not believe I would be around today if I hadn’t gone that route. However, I do believe I would have done some things differently. I would have pursued therapy prior to and after WLS instead of coping with the change on my own. If I had done that, maybe I wouldn’t have this “stress diet” problem today. So I post this for anyone considering WLS as an option. It does work, but it is not a fix. It is a tool. And if you’ve been dealing with an eating disorder all your life, you’re still going to have to face those issues after the surgery. Getting a therapist to help work through those issues will help immensely.