So…I don’t know if I would call this an “ah-ha” moment or a tiny epiphany, but recently…and by recently I mean just a few minutes ago, I made a discovery.
I sort of calculated, albeit loosely, the amount of “alone time” time I actually require/need to feel some semblance of inner-peace. Then I started looking at the amount of “quiet time” I might need each day or even each week to maintain a somewhat reasonable state of homeostasis. To be clear, quiet time does not have to actually be spent ALONE, it just needs to be, well ya know…quiet. Next, I figured sleep into the equation as well, which surprisingly enough falls on the shorter end of what I should refer to as my “Peaceful Enough” spectrum.
Perhaps, I should give you a brief description of what constitutes each of the above variables for ME, because obviously my definition of alone-time and your definition, by all accounts, may be vastly different. Same applies for “‘quiet-time” and “sleep”. So here ya go:
1. Alone-Time: For me to feel like I am having alone time, a few criteria must be met. First and foremost, although I dearly love and cherish my children…they must never, ever, NEVER EVER be present during alone-time or else it becomes 100% null and void, no matter the level of quiet, peace or sleep I may have experienced during that time, it does NOT count. There is not much more criteria…except maybe that NOBODY’S children can be present. (an exception might be a newborn, who is adorable and sleepy and I can snuggle in my arms until it starts to stir) This also affords me the added “bonus peace” that is achieved by secretly basking in the glory of NOT having a newborn! **If newborn is screaming, this “exception” is now also null and void. So, yeah…I can be around adults (certain ones) but must still have the ability to kick back, relax and do whatever the flippity fuck I want, or else it is not considered ALONE TIME.
2. QUIET TIME: Unlike alone time, the criteria for quiet time allows for the occasional presence of children. However, and I am sure you can see where I am going with this, they have to be QUIET!! Now to be clear, a mere few minutes of quiet does NOT count on my peaceful enough scale. I am referencing a particular kind of extended quiet; for example, this may look like, my children are given new video games and they become so sucked into the process, so engrossed in the lights and the sensory assault, that they are rendered speechless for a solid three hour minimum. That counts. Also, not to be confusing but “Quiet time” can also be during an alone time period…but NEVER EVER NEVER shall we consider sleep as part of “quiet time” or “alone time” for that matter, ya know, as it applies to this scale.
Of course, I am well aware that it is traditionally quiet when you are asleep, but in this instance, if I am unconscious, than I can’t appreciate the quiet and therefore…it simply does not count!
3. Sleep: Sleep is… when I am asleep. NOW, That sleep shall be uninterrupted, pain-free, nightmare free and the bed in which it is occurring shall be free of all children. So…if I have a bad dream, I am achy, somebody wakes me up or there is a kid in my bed, then that does not get counted on my peace, calm enough, scale spectrum thingy. Calculated sleep MUST BE the type where I am relatively cozy and wake up refreshed, the actual hours slept don’t matter so much as the above variables do.
O.k, so you get it…those are the specific things I was considering when pondering the calm/peace question. Just exactly how much of all of those things do I need to feel a decent level of inner-peace, calm and homeostasis in my daily life?
Well, to be completely honest, I don’t think I can actually calculate that shit. I can tell you this…My baseline…which is sort of like my absolute bare minimum amount of alone-time, quiet-time and sleep needed for optimal mental functioning, is (I think) on the higher end of the “normal” spectrum. I can’t tell you that for sure, since I haven’t asked anybody else this exact question. So, in all reality I suppose it could be on the lower end of the spectrum.
Here is what I know for sure…I have kids. They are the greatest loves I have ever known. (insert great things about kids here if you are sensitive to speaking the
TRUTH challenges of children) So yeah, kids… they are the loudest creatures I have ever known. They are messy and needy…VERY VERY NEEDY. (I can not over-emphasize this!) Alone time? It does not seem this is a priority for my children. Unless of course, I actually need them to do something WITH me…then they suddenly NEED ALONE TIME. Children are infamous for sleep issues and mine are no different. Now infants, of course they don’t sleep for extended hours. But as time goes by…they tend to sleep more, yet I can’t help but notice, it still it seems that they want to disrupt your sleep.
Now…This can take on many forms…it may be bloody noses, coughing, vomiting, bad dreams, good dreams, fevers, scared of the dark, scared of the light, that scary movie, that scary commercial for that scary movie, that… (insert pretty much anything here) and the infamous, “your bed is just more cozy and I want to snuggle.” (added guilt layer) There are more ways the sleep issue can play out, but you get it and perhaps your living it, so no need to elaborate further. Children, bless their beautiful hearts, have a very high probability of fucking up a perfectly good sleep for a ridiculously extended amount of years. (we are not even going to touch on the sex factor…that is an all together different
shit show subject .)
So yeah…the answer to where do I fall on my “peaceful enough” scale? What is the answer? Ummm… FUCK that nonsense…after just writing this post, it has become abundantly clear to me, that YES, perhaps my need for quiet, alone, and sleep time is higher than the average human…or not. BUT, I think I can infer from my hastily collected data…that as a mom, a full-time parent (and yes I have a husband who helps, but he is not the mamma) My data shows…an incredibly high probability that I will be in the negative for those experiences for an unknown and extended period of time. Some nights…that simply feels intolerable, I fantasize about running away to a hotel room, by MYSELF, with magazines and coffee and laying in the bed for days and nights on end, ordering room service, eating it bed and answering to no one!
I fantasize for a moment about flying off to a tiny cottage in Europe, with a cobble stone walk way, a small garden and tea, a cozy simple bed and bistro table for one…I wander about the countryside picking berries and going back to my cottage to plant my flowers (because they’re not going to plant themselves!) and then off to paint in my court-yard that is overlooking the sea.
Ahhhh….as I am alone, in a quiet room, writing this…I feel a sense of peacefulness wash over me. The only thing I hear is the whirring of the ceiling fan and the strokes of the keyboard. I can see the sun peeking through the clouds, as I look out the window from my favorite, most cozy recliner. It’s not Europe, I am not wandering the country side…but it’s a moment damn it… and I’ll take it. So…my reality is this, as a parent, I think it’s safe to say, at least in my case (not speaking for you) I will not be getting my “ideal” levels of peace ,calm or sleep met anytime soon, however, I literally have to work on CLAIMING THE SHIT out of the moments I do find. (which just so happens to be this very second…so, ta ta for now… and may you find and claim some peaceful moments of your own)
Final Disclaimer: I ACTUALLY PUT A REAL PICTURE OF MYSELF ON HERE…SO IF MY THERAPY PRACTICE GOES IN THE SHITTER… I BETTER BE ABLE TO WRITE A BOOK ABOUT THIS.
So…I don’t know if anyone else will find this fucked up or not, so I will just throw it out there. MAY IS LUPUS AWARENESS MONTH. MAY IS BRAIN TUMOR AWARENESS MONTH. MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH. MAY IS MY BIRTHDAY.
Let’s just throw all the cards on the table and say…is it some kind of freaky shit show of a coincidence or karma or fate or JESUS? Is it a taurus thing? BUT…I have LUPUS. I HAVE A BRAIN TUMOR…I AM A SURVIVOR OF DEPRESSION, ANXIETY AND TRAUMA (let’s not forget my ADHD diagnosis too) . I also happen to be a freakin’ clinical psychotherapist who continually advocates for mental health issues.
What the friggity FUCK May? I think I am going to look at this like the universe has given me my own special month to kill as many fucked up birds with several colorful awareness ribbons. (I mean of course they would have to be strangled, because the old “two birds with one stone” wouldn’t actually work in this scenario) But death by ribbon, with little birds might work. (people I am kidding, I love birds and ribbons for that matter)
I mean, I totally appreciate the awareness. It is in fact critical and shines a beacon of light and hopefully research and cash on these very real struggles. (not really my birthday part though… just to be clear)
But really…it’s honestly got me wondering what might have been in the water in MAY? This is the trifecta of some weird alignment in the stars in the 70’s.
Forgive me for sharing this quirky observation…perhaps it means NOTHING…but just as a PSA, It might be prudent to just go ahead and check those damn ribbons aligned with your birthday.
(let me know if I am on to something)
And one more question…is it excessive to celebrate them all AND where the rubber awareness bracelets too? I totally don’t want to steal the fucking show?
But honestly. It’s MY MOTHERFUCKING BIRTHDAY. So doesn’t that give me carte blanche to just be a shit show of ribbons and rubber bracelets?
I think so…yes, I think it does.
Wow…It is my first ever end of the week blog. It is Friday and I did not deactivate my blog due to the burden of poor grammar, no followers or the gross overuse of phrases and words I happen to love. *see the abuse of “Reckless Abandon” in ALL of my posts this week.
As I reflect on this huge accomplishment, and bathe in the glory of achieving my own personal best, by which I mean…living the dream of SELF-ESTEEM. YES. That rhymes and feel free to use that because I, for sure won’t use it again. “Living the dream of self-esteem”…what might I mean by that? Listen here…
I didn’t delete, deactivate or give up on writing. I hit publish with ya know (reck—-Ab–don) I’m done with that. I used poor grammar, foul language and really did not know what I was doing with this whole publish, draft, save…add media, visual etc. I still don’t know how to use the little boxes on top of this “writing square.” Yes…the one with the b. the I. the link, the b-quote, the del, the ins.
Those buttons seem important and one day I will know them and own them and they will know me, but not today because I DON’T HAVE TO KNOW EVERYTHING TO START SOMETHING!!!!
RIGHT? This is genius and as a mental health professional and consumer of mental health stuff (by “stuff” I mean years of being therapized), I think it is the freakin’ most important idea!!
You Don’t Have To Know Everything To Start Something.
I want to write…so I am writing. Embracing the mistakes and all. Loving my three followers and knowing they can leave or more can come and I AM STILL WHOLE and important and lovable.
MY Goal is to stick and stay and see what happens while I accept it all.
MY Anti-Goal (meaning what i hope i won’t do) is to start writing and feel crappy about it and leave and say…”Well that sucked and I should never put myself out there again, because me and actually, everyone, just blows.” Yeah, I don’t want to do that.
I am practicing the art of good enough in all things. Enough of the bullshit. I am learning what I so easily can teach and that is to TOLERATE WHAT FEELS INTOLERABLE. Yes people (or person) Distress Tolerance, Radical Acceptance…the whole lot of it!
I have moved through (yes through, not over or around, actually through) anxiety and depression and trauma. And it sucked and was scary but I did it. (with support of professionals and other stuff) And I struggle sometimes but most days are better, because I took the risks, I did the hard, painful work, processed the hell out of stuff and worked (and continue to work) my shit out. It doesn’t go away but it gets so much better and you learn crap about yourself that you never thought you would. And you use it and much of it helps.
So on to my new chapter and that is writing about being a therapist, being a mom, a wife, a human among humans…in the middle of the herd. Packed in tight but not afraid to stand out.
Risking my professional reputation and putting my human condition out there for the world to see. (sort of, I mean..I haven’t really linked my name to this blog yet for fear of my professional life going in the shitter) but wait for it. Till then I am o.k with “Pixiedust72 or therapyontherun or watchmewait…or no matter my screen name. I am human. I assure you that.
So seriously…Happy Friday Bloggers…Go do stuff that scares you and you think you suck at- because ultimately it helps you to LIVE your truth. That kind of matters.
OH…and Also, celebrate little victories…like eating one slice of cake instead of the whole cake. Or successfully sleeping on your left more than your right. OR…not deleting your blog.
Carry on friend. (friends?) I don’t want to seem cocky…
So the emotional reaction I am having to let’s just say…”several” people FOLLOWING this blog is nothing short of, at the very least, mildly concerning. First of all, the fact that I can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that people can see this should be enough for me to stop this process NOW. But the idea that one could see it and actually want to come back and possibly read more…should really solidify my “run now” radar. WHY? Well, for starters…I really have my self-esteem tied up in twitter and Facebook right now and I am not sure my ego can honestly handle this possible assault. Secondly, I tend to be a tad overzealous with my aspirations in the beginning of whatever it is that I just started. For instance, I can’t just write a blog…I have to imagine this is finally my path to DIVINE GREATNESS. I know it is not logical, rational OR mature and as a mental health professional, I think i would call this “MAGICAL THINKING”. It is really what a child does…(usually not in this type of situation, but for this example, so be it) It’s kind of like when your kid goes through a phase and they like dinosaurs, they are all like “I’m going to be a dinosaur man discoverer” and you encourage that shit and tell everyone how your four-year old is going to be a paleontologist, or Maybe they really like band-aids…so they are totally going to be a doctor, no…scratch that, a BRAIN SURGEON.
This is exactly what I mean in my About/bio page thingy when I say…”Passionate about many things and dedicated to a few”…
I tend to get crazy, blazing, fire engine red HOT passion for whatever I am interested in during any given moment and that is when my shit blows up. I am seriously planning on what to wear on Ellen and The Today Show when this shit goes crazy viral, or whatever happens when random stuff on the internet makes you rich and famous. I mean, I hear about that all the time. Even my mom told me…”my friends videotape their kids playing blocks and legos and now they quit their jobs and are totally freaking’ bankrolled for life just letting their kids sit on the floor eating Cheerios and playing with Little People Farm Animals!!! WHAT THE FUCK? I secretly kind of want that!! BUT…
Then the war takes begins in my mind…the war between greedy little girl who wants to be recognized for her humor, amazing world view, astounding clinical mind and dynamic contributions in the field of mental health-VS- the 42-year-old writing for inner-growth, personal gratification, and quite comfortable with the idea that if this were to help but one person feel something positive than that would be quite enough to nourish my soul. Yes…that sort of describes the chaos in my mind on most topics. I am passionate and slightly hypo-manic about most things that inspire me. and I would say…my truth is somewhere in between. Let me explain.
Honestly, I would explain,but that takes SUSTAINED passion,(all together different from my momentary bursts of passion) and that, quite honestly, I just don’t have right now. So, for tonight, I just have to attempt to do what I teach people to do and that is live in the gray area. It’s not black and white and it really doesn’t have to be. Perhaps, I don’t have to be WORLD FAMOUS or become a RENOWNED New York Times Bestselling blogger turned author/therapist to the stars. And MAYBE I won’t “just” change one life…maybe, it might be plausible that I could write, be content “ish” about it and have SOME (not all the people of the world) just SOME people in the world read it. Some of those people might even smile or relate or somehow feel less alone is this crazy ass world by some random thing i say. and that would totally rock. I actually do think it would be o.k to inspire just “One” person, because what if that one person really needed to be inspired, and I did that? I am cool with that.
Let’s just say this and then GOOD NIGHT…I am practicing moderation in my thinking, I am practicing what I preach and I am totally head over heals in LOVE with the “several” people who read my magically published posts. I am totally o.k with being “just enough”…not “everything” not “nothing”…but just enough. So thank you dear readers…I am in awe of you and your phenomenal taste. I promise, I WILL NOT be that girl who forgets you when…well, you know…I AM FUCKING FAMOUS. XXOXOX
MAD LOVE TO MY FOLLOWERS. All two of you. seriously.
A funny thing happened on the way to therapy…this blog is attempt 432 to start a blog that I don’t fuck up, lose to the black hole of the internet, give up on or simply “forget” that I started. Blogging as a tech challenged “40-something” a lot get’s lost and it takes me the better part of a day to learn how to edit a page. this blog will have feeble attempts at humor, observations from my life and my career and hopefully be honest-ish, encourage you to be the same. life is fucking hard sometimes(actually more than one would expect, i think)and honestly, i just want to write the shit out of that. i don’t claim to be a writer but i read some quote that said “If you want to be a writer, than write”…so yeah, then I guess I am a writer. I can tell you this…i have bad grammar, a bad mouth, a passion for many things and dedication to a few. stick around and see what happens…i am trained professional, so what could go wrong?