Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Fog Lifted Today

Today was a good day. A happy day. The fog lifted today and I felt like myself for the first time in a long time.

And I think I'm ready to tell you all about it.

In my last post I mentioned that something happened last fall that rocked my world, and not in a good way.

Last October, the day after Homecoming for all my marching band friends, I began experiencing some... symptoms. Within a few days I realized I was pregnant. Unexpectedly, surprisingly, ridiculously, pregnant. I was 41 years old, with a history of infertility, on birth control, and pregnant.

But at our first doctor's visit they told us things weren't looking good, and there was only about a 50% chance of survival for my babies. I did, in fact, miscarry 10-week-old twins, but my body did not cooperate and on November 7, 2018 I had a D&C.

And I grieved. We were not planning on ever having more babies. If you would have asked me I would have said I didn't want any more children. But oh! My babies. How I wanted them after all! And so I grieved the loss of babies I never knew I ever wanted.

I have lived in a fog since then. I debated whether what I was experiencing was just part of the normal grieving process, after all I don't remember being like this after my other miscarriage. Maybe I was depressed? Maybe it was anxiety?

I don't know. Still don't. I know I haven't been myself since. Responsibilities fell to the wayside and I thought about quitting, well, just about everything.

Last year, because we had planned on doing much more traveling this past year, we signed the girls up for online homeschool and intentionally didn't sign up for any co-ops or community groups. The travel plan fell through, but I am so glad we'd done those things. So many days just getting them to sign in and listen to someone else teach felt like more work than I could do.

I'm still the VP of my Alumni Band, but I've scraped by this year, feeling like I'm doing the bare minimum for my office and I've debated resigning, for the good of the organization as well as myself, pretty regularly since last November.

I'm still the Team Manager for Jena's soccer team. I've missed deadlines, and squeaked in paperwork at the last minute more than once.

My house, always a struggle for me to keep tidy as I've mentioned many times before, reached probably the worst state it's ever been in.

Everything, everything, felt overwhelming. I don't know how to explain this in words, but absolutely everything was TOO MUCH. Leaving the house was a struggle. Every. Time. My kids asking to go the park was enough for me to feel it in my chest - the stress, the overwhelm. I have to do what? They want to go where? I can't do it! It's just too much!

Every little thing felt so big. Overwhelming was the only word I can think of to describe it. I didn't feel depressed. I can't even say I felt anxious. But overwhelmed. Everything was just TOO MUCH. The littlest thing - going to the park, or responding to an email, or sweeping the floor - anything and everything just absolutely overwhelmed me.

Then comes the reasoning. In my mind, I knew these were all small things. I knew I'd done all these things before. I hadn't taken on anything new, and in fact with the online homeschool and no community groups this year, I actually had less commitments than in the past. I felt like a failure. Sure, I was managing, but I wasn't managing well. I wasn't doing anything well. I was squeaking by in every area of my life.

Ugh. As I re-read what I just wrote I realize how inadequate it is to really explain what was going on inside me. I don't know how to explain it. I wish I could say it better.

But about a month or so ago, I started to feel a little better. And with it, I cautiously started doing more, worried I was making a mistake and wouldn't be able to cope.

I still felt completely overwhelmed and stressed out at the littlest thing, but I slowly started to purge things from our house. In the past few weeks I've given away, donated, or sold probably 20 or more boxes and bags of items. And probably thrown away at least as much. I've made a concentrated effort to work on tidying up and cleaning the house, and while we are far from where I'd like it to be (I'm still not inviting anyone over), it's the cleanest it's been in months. And I have to give a shout-out to my girls, especially Jena, who has joined in my efforts and helped me clean as well. Last month I went to a Symposium for college alumni bands, and this week kicked off registration for fall soccer.

But today... today... unexpectedly, unexplainedly, without notice... the fog lifted.

I feel like myself again. It was a good day. It was a happy day. Not because anything in particular happened, but from the moment I woke up I could feel the difference in myself.

Now like anyone who's struggled with depression, or anxiety, or whatever-this-was, I am well aware that the fog could show up again tomorrow, or next week, or maybe it'll hold off for a year, or maybe just maybe it'll stay gone forever.

But I've enjoyed today. I'm looking forward to many more days. I'm looking forward to getting caught up on a to-do list that desperately needs my attention, and yes, even cleaning my house. I took my girls out to a restaurant and two stores today, and you know what? None of it felt overwhelming. Or stressful. It felt good, and happy, and I enjoyed it.

I don't really know where I'm going with this. Mostly I just wanted to tell someone. So... as always, thanks for checking in!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

It's Been a Whirlwind of a Year

Well, the past almost-year has been a whirlwind, to say the least. Figured it was time I caught ya'll up, if anyone is still out there reading these, LOL.

Last May we found out that our business wasn't doing nearly as well as our business manager had been telling us. We went from "yes, we should clear enough for Jason to quit his full time job and support your family entirely from the business in a month or so" to "the business is going under and our only option is to sell" literally overnight.

We had been told for months that everything was going very well, the business was making lots of money, we'd be able to insure our employees, including ourselves, very soon and increase what the owners were getting paid enough that we could, finally, solely support ourselves off of the business. We trusted this person, trusted the reports and numbers he showed us.

Thank goodness Jason  never actually resigned.

Because it was all lies. We got three days notice that we had no choice but to sell before it actually went under.

Our business manager had known long enough that he'd already applied for, interviewed for, and accepted a position at another company. As time has gone on, we've come to realize that he probably knew for about a year the true financial position of the company, and had been leading us on for at least that long.

And yes, we realize that that probably means that he was skimming off the top as well.

It was devastating and life changing, to say the least.

Not even touching on the part where someone we trusted was conning us for an extended period of time, we didn't know how we were going to support our family. You see, Jason's salary at the firehouse has never made more than about 40% of our household income.

We immediately cut back on our expenses, and Jason immediately began exploring other ways to make money. The sale of the business was final in August, but the proceeds barely covered the business' debt.

We considered me going back to work, and I put a few feelers out there, but in the end we decided that it would be too much upheaval for the girls for us to do it unless it was an absolute last resort. I still stay home with them, and we still homeschool, so me going back to work would absolutely turn their world upside down.

The  new owners of the business asked Jason to stay on part time, and that pay has been a God-send. Jason also started a new business, helping clients with digital marketing. He taught himself when he was growing our original business and became quite good at it, specifically GoogleAds.

I'm still the Vice President of my university Alumni Band, and that's been amazing. Last May, the week before we got this news, I traveled to Austin, TX for a nationwide Alumni Band Symposium. What a great experience!

I coordinated all the activities for Homecoming, which was last October, and it was a smashing success if I do say so myself.

At the same time, I became the Team Manager for Jena's soccer team. She's become quite good, and is now playing competitively.

There was another event that occurred last fall, but I feel it deserves it's own post, so for now let's just say it rocked my world, but not in a good way.

And then... in January we started another company. We help new businesses get started and grow their company, specifically in the Pressure Washing and Christmas Light Installation niches.

As part of that business we decided to host our very own Christmas Light convention. Yep, you read that right. We're hosting an entire convention.

Our life has never been particularly... stable. It seems every year or so we have a go through a major change in our family, but this past year has been... overwhelming, to say the least.

I've been feeling very stretched thin lately, but at the same time I don't feel like I can drop any of the balls I'm desperately trying to juggle.

I could expound on any one of those things, or all of them, but it seems that would take nearly a year in and of itself.

I would like to be on here more, but again, I feel stretched so thin already.

We have started a family YouTube channel that we post to sporadically. I find videos easier to do in short spurts from my phone than blogging. Fortunately / Unfortunately. I like the videos, but I really prefer writing myself. But if you want to follow us over there, feel free.

In the meantime, that's all for now. I hope you all are doing well. If there's anything you're curious about, comment and I'll try to make that my next update.

Thanks for checking in!
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