If I’m being totally honest, last year felt quite challenging in a lot of ways. M left home and moved in with his dad and while I’m still not used to the way things are, I’m working on being okay with what is. While I hoped that things would calm down once M left, there were still far too many confrontations with my ex and his wife and I grew increasingly anxious whenever I received any messages from either of them. T was diagnosed with cancer and we missed a whole whack of therapy. I hate to admit it, but the wheels pretty much fell off the cart. While T did come back we only ended up meeting once a week and somewhere along the way I placed completely unrealistic restrictions on contacting him via text, phone or email–something in my pea-brain told me that I had to leave him alone or he would go away forever. Even though he came back in October, I’ve yet to settle into the new way we do things.
A few weeks before the end of December I’d sent a message to T something along the lines of how 2019 felt like it’d been an absolute nightmare and I wanted it to be over. Not in 3 weeks. But then. I wanted it to be over at that very moment in time. I was so stuck in an awful place where everything felt intense. The days felt long. Long and dark. Even when the sun peeked through the clouds, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t feel it. It just felt dark. I told him that I found life incessantly frustrating and I wanted to give up. No, that’s not right. It was more like giving in. I wanted to give in. Just, surrender.
I could feel things escalating inside. He no longer existed when I walked out the door and I was back at that point where I literally felt myself start to unravel after 4 or 5 days. By day 6 I’d practically be hiding under my desk willing myself to tear my skin off. I needed more. Whatever it was that I could manage to get over the last while just never felt like enough. There was always something missing. I was feeling frustrated and angry and tired. Everything always lead back to those feelings. Everything. I couldn’t help but wonder if it would ever stop feeling like that. We talked a bit about it and I think we’re going to start going back to 2 days a week (it’s quite obvious I was never ready for just 1).
I think the email to T was mostly triggered by how crap I’d been feeling. After a year of doing better, my lupus reared it’s ugly little head and basically kicked my butt most of November and all of December. It left me with little energy leftover and Christmas became a struggle as I just couldn’t do much. I tried my best but kept things as simple as possible. One of the things I wanted to do for 2019 was to teach the boys that it was more important to spend time together rather than worrying about materialistic crap. So, I went electronic-free at Christmas, cut out all of the dramatic family visits that even I don’t like to do, made only easy meals that didn’t take hours to cook, took the boys skating, had pajama days, made a snow fort in the backyard, built Lego and watched movies with them. And you know what? They were just fine with what we did. Nobody had a meltdown and nobody went without and it just might be a new way of doing things.
As for the lupus, it’s still being a pesky pain in the joints but I’m now taking a new medication so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it starts working soon. I’ve gone through the entire NSAID list and this is the last go before moving on to something else to deal with the symptoms. The side effects are a bit hard to take (it feels like someone is jabbing a red hot poker into my abdomen most days) but I’m hoping they ease up shortly.
And while 2019 was difficult, there were a couple of good things that happened. In February I spent a weekend with one of my oldest friends at a fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis and we got snowed in with the biggest storm of the winter. In August, I took the boys on our second trip to Prince Edward Island with the same friend and her husband and we had the most fantastic time. I wish we could have stayed forever in that little cottage by the ocean, just us and the wide open salty air. Then, in October one of my good friends from work got married and it really was one of the best weddings I’ve been to. And while Christmas was hard, we made our own, new traditions that I think will stick around for a long time.
I’m hoping 2020 is less hectic.
For me, there are 4 areas that I’d like to work on this year:
- THERAPY: This is a big thing I want to work on this year. I want to learn to trust T more (not just sometimes, but always). I also want to work on being more independent from him. I no longer want it to feel like the wheels have fallen off the cart and I’m careening down a hill out of control watching my life flash before my eyes whenever something changes that has to do with him and I.
I really want to learn to not feel like I need to crawl under my desk and scratch my skin off when there is too much time between sessions.
I really hope that this is the year that we can get down to 1 session per week and that I can actually be okay with it. Because c’mon, let’s face it, T isn’t going to work forever and eventually I just won’t have him anymore (but that’s a posting for another day).
2. MY EX: I want–no, I NEED–to work on keeping steadier boundaries with my ex and his wife and learn to push back sometimes instead of letting things always go their way. I want to learn to say ‘that isn’t my problem, deal with it yourselves‘.
3. MY BOYS: I want to continue on the path of teaching my boys that doing things together is so much more important than spending money on frivolous things that we don’t need. I need to learn that it’s okay to slow down with them for awhile and that the world won’t end if they don’t get the same things as their friends. I want them to learn that nature–trees, animals, water– are the things that will matter much longer than a Nintendo Switch.
4. ME: I want to try, just a little bit harder, to sometimes make things only about me and to not feel bad about it. I NEED to learn to say no. To say no, when I’m too tired. To say no, when I’m not feeling well. To say no, if it’s not something I can put my full commitment into. It’s not something I’m good at, but I want to work on it.
I also need to learn to be a better advocate for myself when it comes to my family doctor. I need to learn that if I’m not feeling well it just might be a big deal and that I should keep pushing for him to listen and help me until I do start to feel better. One way I’m doing this is by keeping a journal of my symptoms–because I freeze when I get to his office and forget to tell him half of the things that have happened.
So that’s my list of the things I want to work on in 2020. I think they’re fairly realistic expectations but I’m not going to be too hard on myself if I don’t master all of them.
Goodbye 2019. I won’t miss you at all.