I haven't been able to write for several weeks now. I'm not really sure why, but I have a few theories. First, ever since I shared my story of living with depression publicly at church about a month ago I just am not sure what to talk about. That was such an intense experience that maybe I just felt like I needed to crawl back in my shell for a bit? Another possible theory is the "my life is crazy" theory. This has been a really tough last several months for me. Both of my sons are having difficult years in school (10th and 7th grade) and the tension and conflict in the house is really creating a lot of stress. On top of this we got a new dog, a one year old bulldog, right around the time school started. She is having a harder time of settling in than we had hoped, and it really feels similar to having a toddler back in the house. She chews things and we need to watch her most of the time. The combination of these two things has me so busy and stressed I don't often have time to slow down and reflect.
Whatever the reason, I don't like it. I miss writing, I miss publishing things, and I miss the cathartic experience of putting things on "paper" and sharing it with the world. When life is stressful I need that release that writing brings me even more. So here I am, trying again to write. Seeing what may come. I'm guessing this won't be one of my better posts, and it will likely reflect where my mind is right now. Scattered.
These last several weeks have been particularly challenging. Truthfully, we are at the point of not being sure if we will be able to keep our new dog. This is a really difficult decision to make because our youngest son has become really attached to her and we worry about the effect giving her up would have on him. We have a trainer we have worked with before, and are going to give that a shot before making any decisions. Part of this is that she requires so much attention and energy, and our boys haven't been as helpful as we had hoped. They are struggling to keep up with their workload in school as it is.
So in this time the question I am often asked by my therapist is, "What can you do to take care of yourself?" Well... I suppose that's an area where I'm a bit of a mixed bag right now. On the one hand, I'm going to yoga once or twice a week. I really love yoga and it clears my head and gives me a fresh perspective most of the time. On the other hand, I find myself turning to alcohol a bit more frequently after a stressful day. Not an excessive amount, but it likely makes me more worn out in the long run. I think my biggest barrier to self-care though is just being hard on myself. Expecting myself to be perfect, getting down on myself for not always reacting in the best way when things get tough with my sons. Life is just hard sometimes, and now is one of those times. This is always a difficult time of year with the days getting shorter, the long stretch of school from August to November without many breaks, and just getting worn down. I need to remind myself that I don't have to be perfect. I need to remember all of the good things that I do, and not dwell on my struggles but learn from them. I need to keep writing, connecting, and reaching out when I feel overwhelmed and disconnected. I'm starting to do those things a bit more this last week, and I can feel the difference.
So despite the fact that my household feels much like a battle zone these days, I am hanging in there. I am doing my very best to be a good parent, husband, teacher, and person while still working to take care of myself. I'm certainly not doing it perfectly, but that isn't my goal anyway. Doing my best, being transparent about what is happening, and living with the results is what I'm striving for.