I Have a Drinking Problem. Or a Social Problem. Or Both…

Back in the day, my recreational sport of preference was drinking my face off and partying until I literally banged my face off the floor. I hit a phase, shortly after I dropped out of college, that was literally sleep all day, party all night. I had social anxiety back then too, but I tried to numb it all with booze (and I was more successful at it than I am now. Huzzah!)

It wasn’t a good time of my life. I wasn’t as bad as some people, but I also wasn’t smart about it. I hung out with other people who were in a similar phase of drinking and having fun.

After having kids, my priorities changed completely. I no longer was that girl that drank all the time. I sort of completely submerged myself into the land of parenting. I still had the occasional glass of wine after a rough day, but I didn’t drink like I used to.

My social anxiety seems to have gotten worse and worse with every year that passes. My ability to cope with things in social functions, and to roll with the punches worsens. Almost alarmingly so.

When I was younger, I didn’t get a belly full of twisted nerves at the prospect of going to a party. I was okay, because my friends would be there and they would have my back. But times changed, and I was stuck in self-inflicted isolation for so long…I became paranoid of everyone’s intentions with me. Each not-so-stellar experience I had at a party solidified my anxieties about dealing with other people in that kind of setting.

The few times I’ve ventured out to a party, I went in with the mindset of get so drunk I can’t even hear myself think…because if I heard myself think, I would hear the unpleasant analyzing of every encounter. In an attempt to calm my anxiety, I would drink too much too soon. I used alcohol as a buffer, a shield from my anxieties. 

I’m an emotional person, and emotional people do not make good drunk people. They make emotional drunk people, which is ten thousand times worse than being just an emotional person. 

I also get sloppy. Alcohol is wonderful in that it dulls the pain receptors and makes pain a little more bearable. Naturally, it dulls the control you have over your body as well. Thus making me klutzier and, well, sloppy. I limp more. I slosh my drink because even when I’m not drunk, I do not have the same control over my limbs as someone else does. It’s a thousand times more obvious when I’ve been drinking.

My attempts to calm my social anxiety with alcohol have always back-fired. Plus, it exhausts me. Drinking, being out, socializing when the anxiety is overwhelmingly powerful, being in pain (even if I can’t feel it as much in that moment)…all that is exhausting. I get insecure, because I’m not the hot drunk girl, I’m the sloppy drunk girl. I don’t want to be the sloppy drunk girl…

The new reality of party going, for me, is always a belly full of nerves, anxiety through the rough followed by a sloppy drunk me, calling it quits early because I just can’t do the all night party scene…even when sloshed straight into “white girl wasted” territory.

There is a party coming up that I was looking forward to. My favourite holiday is Halloween, and naturally…costume parties are the best. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about it…about who I am when I’m drinking, when I’m in that environment…and I don’t like that person at all.

I have a drinking problem even though I’m actually not at all dependent on alcohol. I don’t need it and I don’t regularly drink it, but to use it as a social buffer makes it a problem. When you find yourself knocking them back to quiet the nerves, clutching the glass of some alcoholic beverage like a lifeline, then it may very well be a problem. Drinking in social situations where my anxiety is sky-rocketing is still not something I should do. 

So, I’ve decided that I am going to willingly miss out on the upcoming Halloween party…or at least, go and not partake in any of the drinking and still leave early because I will undoubtedly be a hot mess because of all the anxiety.

It’s not that I want to hide behind my anxieties and avoid doing anything that makes me uncomfortable, oh hell no. I honestly do a lot of things that make me feel extremely uncomfortable. Like taking Archer to playgroups, or taking the kids to town events. I guess I just “tap out” when it comes to things I can avoid. I know that I can’t avoid doing things that the kids would enjoy, but when it comes to a “grown up” party where the kids’ happiness and entertainment is not at stake…well. The cons outweigh the pros. I can only think of one pro…and that’s seeing people that I haven’t seen in a while.

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And, well. Then there’s the cons. There will be a lot of people there, people that I don’t know (and some that I don’t like). I’ll say awkward things, I’ll be awkward. I’ll be insecure about my awkwardness. I won’t know what to talk about, and if the topic lands on me I will be uncomfortable, and I’ll likely want to go home within minutes of getting there anyway.

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I’m all about saving money too…so if I don’t go, then I’ll save money on a babysitter and a costume. And I’ll probably get called lame…a lot.

But I’m good with being lame.

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Much Share, Very Wow.

I did a lot of stuff today, and it’s only 3pm. I did so many stuffs today that I think I deserve a nap (though I likely won’t get one).

I took Archer to a farm this morning, on a play date with my friend and her son. We petted the sheep and goats, went down the huge slide, and played in the sand.

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In the afternoon, Matt and I took Archer and both dogs to the dog park. Bane had never been to a dog park before, and Ivy has but not with us. I’ve been hesitant because the idea seemed intimating…two dogs and one toddler to a dog park where other dogs are? What if the other dogs aren’t good with kids? What if there’s an aggressive dog or a dog fight? So, I kept putting it off…preferring to go to take our walks along rarely used trails and street sidewalks, with leashes.

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But they were both awesome, they loved it and came back when we called them. Archer had fun too, throwing balls for the dogs and running around with reckless abandon. Keeping an eye on Archer wasn’t as challenging as I thought. He knows not to approach strange dogs without asking their owners. Naturally, we’re still super careful and watchful, keeping very near him at all times…but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. In fact, it was awesome. We’ll definitely be back.

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Of all the things I did today, writing hasn’t yet been one of them. I’m beginning to feel like a cliché. I’m a writer that doesn’t write? Right now, anyway…or I haven’t been, anyway. Hopefully that will change…tonight.

In the mean time, I did stuff and I felt like sharing what that stuff was. Tada!

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Outlines & Outtakes

Do you know whats incredibly frustrating? When you are literally almost, nearly finished writing a book and are completely stuck on actually finishing it. I believe they call it “writer’s block”, and I have a very bad case of it right now.

It’s like this…I can see the ending in my mind. I know what’s going to happen…but every single time I sit down to actually write, I freeze. My mind whirls and pops with all the ideas and voices, but my limbs remain still. My fingers twitch with anticipation and eagerness, but aside from the twitch…the words won’t spill out from my brain through my fingers to the computer screen.

Maybe it’s the distractions…oh, I have plenty of those. Little voices and furry faces that interrupt with demands for food, affection and attention. Which they all need immediately the moment my ass lands in front of the computer.

Maybe it’s the fact that I am mentally psyching myself out. I’m so close to the ending…so close…and yet…so very far.

Maybe it’s because NaNoWriMo is around the corner, and I keep thinking about how I need a new plot for that. You can’t use a work in progress that’s already halfway done.

I’ve been reading tips, things other authors suggest when faced with writer’s block. Sit down and write. It doesn’t matter what you write, so long as you write…every day.

I’ve been doing that, I’ve been writing every single day. I’ve either been firing out blog posts or writing in my paper journal. Aside from that, I’m stuck. Unable to finish my current manuscript thanks to this massive writer’s block that I can’t seem to beat down.

I’m hoping NaNoWriMo will give me the mojo I need to overcome this writer’s block, but I’m also hoping it won’t take that long. I’m hoping I can at least fire out a few more chapters of my current manuscript before I take a break for NaNoWriMo.

In the mean time, here is a picture of my face:

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Also, a random thought…why do people harp on other people for taking selfies? I never used to like the way I looked. In high school, I downright hated my appearance. As I’ve aged, I’ve found myself appreciating my own beauty…both inner and outer. I don’t think that’s conceded at all, I think it’s remarkable and refreshing to go from hiding behind multiple layers and denying myself any postive comments about my looks, to embracing the body I’ve been given and feeling good about myself.

So, next time you make a joke about a “selfie addict”, remember…self love is good and feeling good about ones own appearance is a good thing. If posting pictures of yourself is not your style, well…so be it. Just don’t make jokes at someone else’s expense and make them feel bad for it, or I’ll have to bust out my preaching skills.

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Nature

This morning, I desperately wanted to go for a walk with the dogs and Archer. Naturally, taking two large breed dogs and a toddler out on a walk solo isn’t exactly most people’s idea of fun. Especially if one (or more) of the dogs has to go nuts every time they see a small breed dog, and especially if the toddler loves to run away at top speed…towards oncoming traffic or cliffs that overhang rivers.

Luckily, Matt had the day off…meaning my walk plans could actually happen and could actually be enjoyable!

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I completely forgot it was the middle of October, the weather was so sunny and warm. It barely felt like autumn at all.

We watched for fish in the creek and ran about in the wooded area. Archer got tired pretty quick, so it wasn’t as long as I would have liked…but still. It’s a chance to get out of the house and exercise…I desperately needed it.

It will get easier, dog walking…when Archer cooperates a little better. He’s beginning to now, which is awesome. But the time will one day come when I won’t have to chase him away from roads and cliffs, when he sticks to my side and doesn’t try and make a run for a total stranger.

I suppose shortly after that happens, I will likely encounter a new challenge…kids that simply don’t want to go out for a walk.
The grass is always greener, I suppose…

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Shut Off

Humans tend to say hurtful and cruel things when in a fight or disagreement, because they feel hurt and angry and they want to make the other person feel exactly how they are feeling. The best way to do that is to say mean things, to be hurtful, to project the hurt onto that other person in hopes that they get it.

Only, the result doesn’t work out that way. You end up more hurt, more angry, more frustrated because you aren’t actually getting your point across, you aren’t actually explaining your reasons for feeling hurt, angry and frustrated – you’re just creating new ways for that other person to feel hurt, angry and frustrated. You’re just adding wedges, maiming and lashing out. And sometimes…there’s truth in it. Cold, hard to digest, truth.

Matt and I are both hot headed and stubborn. We’ve gotten a lot better in the last few years about arguing, but we still have a lot of work to do on ourselves. Marriage takes work, and anybody who sits there and says that it constantly comes easy to them is either lying through their teeth, completely oblivious to how their partner really feels, or is actually not human.

Last night, we had an argument. A stupid, pointless argument that probably didn’t need to happen at all. I was feeling vulnerable and sad, for reasons I will probably explain later (they had nothing to do with Matt, go figure). I took offence to something he said, he took offence to my offence over something he said, then BOOM. An argument where both of us struggled to make the other person hear our side without actually listening to the other person.

My main argument was that I felt as if he didn’t understand or see where I was coming from, that I felt as if he weighed his depression as a heavier thing than my chronic pain/depression, and I often got the shit end of the stick.

His main argument was that he can’t tell what’s going on with me. I am shut off, I have on expression and I hide behind walls that I’ve built around myself. I don’t explain to him what’s going on with me, emotionally or physically, so how could he know? He pointed out that in the morning, when he takes his anti-depressant pill, he is a zombie for an hour. That’s usually when I’m losing my sanity, because I can’t just jump out of bed and start moving and rushing. My pain is extremely high in the morning, and my patience and tolerance is extremely low.

Matt is right, and Matt is wrong. I do have walls built up, I do shut off because I can’t cope with all the nerve sensory overload from pain. I do hide what’s going on with my body because I get very tired of explaining what’s going on with it to people who don’t and can’t understand, people that I am convinced will just think I’m lazy…because how can they know any different?

But each time I ask for help, I feel lazy. I feel like by saying, “I’m in pain, I’m sore,” it still isn’t enough to justify it. It does look lazy when I ask him to get me a drink because I’m so tired and sore that I just don’t want to move anymore. It does look lazy when I beg him to make dinner because I don’t think I can stand a second longer. It does look lazy, because that’s what we perceive as lazy…someone shrugging off their tasks to someone else because “they don’t want to do it”. The reasons, no matter how legitimate, don’t matter because we’re still asking someone else to do it.

I’ve been called lazy my entire life, so naturally, I don’t want to explain anymore. I don’t want to have my words fall upon ears that just don’t get it because there is no way to get it unless they, too, are living it. So, I don’t really give him a chance to get it. I suppose that’s unfair, but in the past when I have tried to explain myself, his solution has been to tell me to go to the doctor and get it fixed. He believes, because he must believe, that the doctors will have a solution for my pain. He needs to believe this because both of our children inherited my MHE, and he needs to feel like something can be done for them.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. You can’t fix things with doctors and magic pills. I’m still recovering from my last surgery that was supposed to make walking and standing easier. It’s slightly more bearable, but it’s not better or solved by any stretch. I still can’t stand for long at all…even washing dishes is difficult for me, and walking is still incredibly painful.

I feel betrayed by my own body 99.9% of the time. I should be able to do these things with ease. It shouldn’t be an issue, to wake up with your children and go about your morning routine. It shouldn’t feel like you’ve got concrete limbs and razors in your heels.

So, my defense mechanism is to shut off. To wrap myself up in mental blankets to try and shelter myself from it all…from explaining it, from feeling it. I’ve tried, especially harder in the last few years, to solve this problem. I’ve seen my doctor so many times I’ve lost count. I’ve asked for pain management help. I’ve asked for surgeries that may help. I’ve asked and asked and asked. I am limited on medications to manage the pain because of my bleeding disorder. I have an appointment on November 5th to see a doctor for a last resort…but each appointment I get is months away, always. That’s just how it works in Ontario. You need something, you wait.

And wait.

And wait some more.

I chose to write about this because I feel it’s something I haven’t really addressed ever…the shut off valve that someone who suffers from chronic pain tends to go too a little too often. A hide away, trade secret. This is why people who suffer from chronic pain “sleep a lot”.

And truthfully, I tend to be silent about this, because I am ashamed. I try to “not let my MHE, depression, or any other ailment define me”, but the cold reality is that it often does…through no fault of my own, I’m trying my hardest to not let it define me…but it happens anyway, the same way I am defined by having brown hair and green eyes.

Matt, bless his soul, tries his hardest to get it. He does help out a hell of a lot, and when I lash out at him…it’s because I feel as though I’m failing, failing because I need more help than what I am already getting. Failing because I just want to do it all by myself and not be a heavy burden.

I try to keep moving, because that’s all I can do…but a lot of the time, I’m moving while shut off.

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These are a few of my Favourite Things

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Last week, Archer and I decorated the front porch. This is something I’ve wanted to do forever….but I just never got around to it. I psyched myself out each year, convincing myself that money could be better spent elsewhere. This year, I thought…why the hell not? I bought a wreath we could use next year. I bought a couple of pumpkins and a hay bale and tada! I also have some corn stocks ready to go up as well.

The kids already have their Halloween costumes, they are going as Toothless (Archer) and Hiccup (Nolan) from How to Train Your Dragon 2. I can’t wait to see them dressed up!

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The dogs have been loving the cooler weather. When they aren’t snuggling up to us (or hogging the bed while I try to fold laundry), they can be found outside playing in the leaves.

I’m enjoying the cooler weather too…it’s just cool enough that walks can be more enjoyable (and less sweaty). I do love this time of the year…the crunch of leaves under my feet, the smell of decay as everything dies off…I know that sounds a little morbid, but there’s nothing like fall.

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I haven’t found my writing mojo just yet. I did sit down to write this morning, but naturally…all hell broke loose. The kids and the dogs started going nuts, and I got a phone call from a friend who needed to talk. I need to adjust my creative time to the evening, when there will be less distractions.

Still, I’m writing down my ideas as they come to me. It should be easy to get them out when the time comes that I am not distracted…

Thanksgiving weekend means I am thinking a lot about what I have been blessed with, what I am thankful for…no time like the present to do a thankful list:

1. I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for their support and their health and their kindness. I am thankful for their love.

2. I am thankful for our home, for food in the fridge and for all the small things I tend to take for granted.

3. I am thankful for my husband, for all that he does. I am thankful for our love for each other, even when he’s driving me nuts. I am thankful for him in my life, he’s given me everything I could have ever wanted and he is my rock.

4. I am thankful for the two beautiful children we have, for the lessons they teach me in patience and kindness and being humble.

5. I am thankful for dogs…my dogs. They’re goofy, they’re loyal and loving, and they teach us that empathy and kindness is a necessity.

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We will be having dinner with Matt’s moms side on Monday, and just enjoying our extended weekend together…if my thigh feels better tomorrow, a family hike will definitely be happening.

I needed this weekend to refocus and rejuvenate, and so far so good!

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Slacking

I’ve been slacking a lot lately, on several areas in my life. Mainly writing, but also exercising. Archer’s been a little sick, and I took on a new semi-regular babysitting job, and I’ve been all over the place really, fluttering from task to task with limited focus. I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing.

I need to regroup. My mini-vacation is up, and starting tomorrow, I will be putting in two hours of writing time at least each morning.

Someone hold me to it, okay?

Oh, and look what [finally] happened yesterday….

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I’ve been talking about this tattoo for two years now, and it’s finally been brought to life! I couldn’t be happier with the result. We are going to add a splash of colour in December, which will be another hour and a half of work tops. I’m pretty ecstatic about it.

So, there’s that!

What’s new with you?

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