Lethargy Has Hit Hard

The energy levels still aren’t back.

I am going t mention the lack of energy and motivation to my therapist today.

It’s not that I am not doing anything. I am still doing things.

I go to work. I clean the house. I cook. I play with my toddler.

I just don’t really want to do anything.

Maybe lethargy isn’t the right word. Maybe it is more like apathy? I just don’t care enough to do more.

Either way, I figure I will mention it tonight.

It’s a new thing for me. Normally in the past, when I have felt really down, I couldn’t find the energy to even do the bare minimum. This is why I feel like this is different? It’s new.

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Break is Over Tomorrow

Do you remember when you were a kid and your holiday break was ending and you realized that it meant going back to school? And it was so sad?

Well, teachers still feel that.

It was a good break.

Not especially productive, but good.

I read four books (but none of the plays I had meant to read). I got super into a whole bunch of different web comic series and binged them like crazy (but forgot to run some basic errands). My cold finally went away (but I forgot to lesson plan). I mailed out my grad school application (but ended up having to beg someone else to write a letter of recommendation last minute since somebody ghosted me). I cleaned up all of the Thanksgiving decor (but haven’t taken out the Christmas stuff yet). I played with my toddler a bunch (but forgot to go to the Renaissance festival which we had purchased tickets for).

Oh!

And I really like my new therapist.

That is definitely good.

But tomorrow looms and who knows what that will bring?

Thanksgiving Break is Serving as My Sick Day

Teachers are given very few sick days each year. We work with children (who bring every disease EVER into our classrooms year-round) and these days count for when we are sick/have jury/go on vacation/etc. If you use all of your days and then you need to take another day for any reason, it gets deducted from your pay. There is a nice feature where some of your days are eligible to be “rolled over” into the next school year if you do not use them (even if you change districts, they follow you); these are the days appointed by the state, the other days are appointed by the the local district and do not roll over. This was very convenient when I had my baby, because I had saved up those days since I started teaching (we were trying to have a baby for quite awhile) and was able to get paid for three and a half weeks of my maternity leave.

Teachers will therefore try to save their “state” days to roll-over in case you ever want to go on vacation/have another baby/whatever. Since “local” days do not roll over and expire at year’s end, teachers use all the local days first.

Last year I used all of my sick days because I had a newborn. She had pediatrician appointments. She would get a fever and I would have to go get her from daycare. She was sick with an ear infection. Teething would cause her so much discomfort.

My husband and I are both trying to save up sick days as best as we can for this same reason this year. We rarely take sick days for ourselves unless we have to.  Something like the flu. Bronchitis.

I have already used two this year: one for a mental day after a really bad depressive episode that has led me to change therapists; the other the day I took my GRE.

I am still immensely sick, though. I am trying so hard to not have to take another sick day since break is only 8 school days away. DON’T WASTE A DAY NOW. The baby hasn’t needed me to take any days yet, but goodness knows that the moment I use up all of my days will be the time when she gets really sick and then I will get docked pay to stay home with her. Isn’t that a proven fact? You use all of something thinking that you have enough and then find out you totally did not have enough?

Yes, I know people may think “But it is only one day you would take. How can that be that big of a deal in the end?”

Because the school year calendar is in no way actually two equal semesters. The fall semester is 16 weeks of in-class days. The spring semester is either 20 or 21. We are in week 11. Mathematically, I am not even a third of the way through the actual school days. Winter is not in full force here. My toddler is in daycare. The percentage of her getting sick over the next three months is statistically high (and would match up all of her colds and bugs from last year, which she kindly gave us as well).

Plus, it is only eight more days of teaching. EIGHT.

Surely I can make it, right?

I am a woman. I am used to being sick and not getting to take a break. To still having to do things at work, for the kids, around the house, function. Insert stereotypical “man-cold” comparison joke here and you get the point.

But, man. Please get here, break.

We Are Down with the Sickness

You might even say it has Disturbed our home life. Oh, ah, ah, ah, ah.

All music puns aside, it has not been fun.

The baby is still too young for medicine. Plus, her body woke her up 30 minutes earlier than she normally would get up… but since it was Daylight Savings… It was a very early morning here.

My fever hasn’t broke yet, so I am alternating between chills and sweats. It doesn’t look like either of them have a fever yet, but their sniffles have turned into really gross coughs, which I am starting to get too.

All in all, yucky stuff.

So, not a long post today. Trying to snuggle the baby to help her feel better. I really hate when she is sick because I just want to help her but can’t. If the best I can do for now is cuddles and reading, so be it.

For Some People, Seeing is the Only Way of Believing

I was getting gas last night. A lady parked in the handicap spot and went into the store. The people at the pump next to me were making comments about her not looking handicapped.

Invisible ailments are a common thing. But for some people, they don’t believe in it unless they see a person dealing with what they expect when they hear that ailment.

One of my friends has a three year old son who has quite a few severe allergies. She is a great mom, super diligent about making sure that his food doesn’t have cross-contamination. She raises awareness about allergies. She has mentioned having people in restaurants get frustrated with her for asking questions about menu items.

I think back to when I was a server and we would have guests who had a lot of allergy modifications we had to input into the system. It was a lot of extra steps, but we always did it. Better safe than sorry. But now, I get it. Do we have to see the child having an allergic reaction to believe that he is allergic to dairy and eggs? Just because he has allergies doesn’t mean his family shouldn’t be able to go out and enjoy a nice meal. They are proactive about it. Why can’t they go out?

Just because someone is not in a wheelchair does not mean they are not handicapped.

I suffer from severe depression and an anxiety disorder. Do I have to be self-harming myself or having a panic attack in front of you for you to believe me? I try to be proactive about it. I go to a therapist. I work on coping and trying to be positive. Some days I do better than others.

People who have auto-immune diseases may not “look” sick. People who have pain disorders may not “look” like they are hurting.

Yes, some people say they have an allergy when they really are trying a diet. Some people say they are depressed when they are sad or anxious when they are stressed. But they are not the majority.

If someone says they have an allergy, I will believe them.
If someone says they are sick, I will believe them.
If someone says they need help, I will believe them.

I am trying to be better about invisibility. I do not know what someone is going through. Telling someone who is upset to “just be happy” or “not be so negative” may seem like you are trying to help. But if they suffer from depression, it doesn’t exactly work that way. It can actually make them feel worse.

I know that it doesn’t make me feel better when I hear that. Whether the person knows I suffer from depression is irrelevant. If I know it hurts me, I don’t want to do it to others.

Like I said, I am working on it.

I want to start asking “How can I help?” more often instead of offering advice when I may not know the whole situation. But as someone who suffers from mental illnesses, I know that I cannot always answer that question myself.

I am working on being present with people. Finding ways to show that I want to help. Listening.

I am trying to be better to others and be better myself. Like I said, some days I do better than others.

Life is hard. Why should I be an obstacle to myself? Why should I cause obstacles for others? I am working on it.

 

Cooking is Important to Me, But Not to Him

He doesn’t mean to, but my husband occasionally makes me feel really terrible about myself.

Or maybe he does mean to.

Who knows, who cares.

I really love to cook. I blame it on my Italian heritage. My grandma always relished in cooking for her family and meals became more like parties. Good food, good conversation, good times. I was so looking forward to having a family that I could cook for myself.

Before I got married, I wasn’t too big on cooking on the daily. And I mean COOKING. Like, from scratch stuff. I don’t mean I never ate. In the sense that, I loved to cook but I never really saw myself as being enough of a reason to cook. So I would make super basic, super easy meals. Whenever given the chance, I would cook up a big meal for friends, like Friendsgiving. Cakes and cookies for birthday or celebrations. But when it was just me? Not worth it.

When my now husband and I got engaged and moved in together, I began cooking dinner for us. He had been living the bachelor life for so long that he stored stuff in his oven. I enjoyed getting to cook for him, for us.

Once we got married and I started teaching, time became scarcer. I still cooked for us, but I found a nice “menu” of 15-ish meals that I could rotate through on weeknights when time was harder to come by. I could try out new recipes on the weekend and see if I was able to add them into the rotation.

For the record, my husband hates almost all vegetables. I’d try to incorporate them in different ways, but most of the time, it was all for naught. Since he would often throw them out, it seemed a waste to buy zucchini just for me. (Yes, there is that thought again.) The rotation was healthy-ish but not as healthy as it could be, without additional veggies.

Our daughter is 15 months and eats what we eat. She is an excellent eater. She will try everything. I make it a point of her seeing that we are eating the same things as her and we all eat together. I want her to be healthy, so I have been replacing many of the old “stand-bys” with meals that have protein, starch/carbs, vegetables. We have fruit for dessert.

I have read so much about how important it is for her to be given a wide array of foods early. For her to see us also eating these healthy foods. To not see disordered eating. As someone who has battles eating disorders, this is a big deal to me.

My mom is incredibly skinny. Like uncomfortably thin. The large reason for that now is due to medications she is on, but she was skinny when I was a kid, too. She didn’t think she was. She would make dinner for my brothers and me, and she might have a small salad. Or cottage cheese. I grew up seeing her do a plethora of diets. She always was trying to lose weight. I became a teenager and my body changed. I was not a skinny mini like my mother. I was curvy. Yet I had spent my whole childhood hearing that she wasn’t skinny. Oh God. I must have been a cow.

I stopped eating. I developed anorexia. There were times I would pass out. I got into trouble for this. So when I felt like I was bout to pass out, I gorged to curb it. Then I would feel guilty and throw up later. I developed bulimia.

I ended up hospitalized for a short while. I am constantly aware of this still, in the sense that I will make myself eat something (even just a protein pack) if it has been too long since I have eaten. By keeping myself on a pretty regimented schedule, I don’t let myself fall back to these old patterns.

But this is not the point. So I will get back on track.

I do not want my daughter to see this. So we all eat the same thing at dinner. When I make us breakfast on the weekends, we all eat the same thing. She will see that it is alright to eat healthy!

I give my husband the smallest portion of vegetables out of the three of us and he still doesn’t finish them most of the time. Eye rolls for days, but still not the point today.

I have mentioned to him several times that the honest highlight of my day is our dinner time together. I love to cook for my family and eat with my family. Cooking is my love language to them.

My husband made an off hand comment tonight about how dinner was prepared. I told him what it was because I was just trying to engage in conversation and be a part of something. He went off on me saying that meant I was trying to correct him all the time because all I ever do is correct him and who cares, it’s just food anyways.

Oh.

It didn’t occur to him that this felt like he was essentially saying that I am wasting my time cooking for them. That food is such a small, insignificant thing. That my loving contribution amounts to nothing. It would be just as fine for me to throw together something in 30 seconds and yell out “Slop’s on!”

It hurt. It also made me feel really lonely.

Old me would have just stopped cooking. Let him figure out what he wants for dinner himself. But it isn’t like I can just NOT cook tomorrow. My daughter needs to eat.

I felt really underappreciated for something that I thought I was doing as a sign of love.

This House Elf will just go back to the dirty corner I sleep in, hoping that someday Master will recognize me as an equal.