Every other Tuesday I post my feature called “Things That Drive Me Crazy”. I changed the schedule from every Monday so I could free up some time to work on another feature I have been compelled to write this month called “The Lives of Women”. The topic of my (TTDMC) today is me. This is the first time but probably won’t be the last time I am the subject of what drives me crazy (remember my tag line is “The crazy thoughts of a sane woman”). So here we go . . .
I drive myself crazy in a lot of ways but the one I am going to focus on today is being an over, overachiever. Yes you read that right. There are two overs and yes they are both necessary. I started reading the dictionary when I was 12 years-old (hey it helped me win the Citywide Spelling Bee in sixth grade). My favorite word was lackadaisical. It’s a very fancy way to call someone lazy!
I wrote God a letter detailing all the characteristics I wanted in my husband at 14 years-old. I planned on being married at 18 (I had even picked the guy). I applied to one college in my senior year of high school (Cornell University) and I got in. My overachieving has definitely benefited me but it has been bad for me too and that’s when I start driving myself crazy.
Somewhere along the way I made myself believe that keeping a clean house was a moral imperative and if I went to bed with dishes in my sink I was a bad person. Now doing the dishes every night before bed is not a big deal unless you have a chronic pain condition and bending over the sink sends your muscles into spasm mode. My overachiever self felt guilty if I was not feeling well enough to clean my kitchen. If I am honest, I still don’t like to do it but I cut myself a break now.
When I started gaining weight I nearly lost my mind because I could not understand how this could happen to me. I ran three miles a day three to four times a week for fun! I worked out because I liked doing it. I was a personal trainer for my friends so when the pounds started piling on me my brain almost broke. I changed my eating habits and I started walking but the weight went nowhere. I didn’t know that it was the medicine that was causing the weight gain but when I figured that out I still had issues because I believed I was supposed to be able to outsmart the medicine.
My hard work is supposed to be able to conquer all, right? No! But you could not tell me that. I sunk into a serious depression. I felt unattractive and even tried to push my fiancé away. It took therapy and an anxiety control group to get my mind right. I had to come to the realization that what I was going through was the result of something that happened to me and it was not my fault. Oh yes, I blamed myself for everything. Thankfully I know Jesus but the roller coaster ride was pretty scary for a good while.
The most recent thing I have done to raise my own blood pressure actually came from a good place. I am 34 years-old and I am getting married for the first time in August and I have no children. Since I have been waiting all these years to get married and then have children, I decided that I was going get pregnant on my honeymoon. Doesn’t that sound romantic? I get off of birth control in the beginning of August and we go on our honeymoon at the end of the month. We spend eight days in the Bahamas and I come home with a bun in the oven.
The problem with this beautiful picture I just painted is I have been taking very strong medication for several years. If I hope to have a healthy baby with 10 fingers and 10 toes I need to be off of most if not all of the medication I am taking. I started weaning myself off of the narcotics in September. I have been doing pretty well. I was on six medications. Currently I am only on two. Believe me it was not an easy thing to do. Withdrawal is real and it is ugly!
As I realized August was getting closer I started putting more and more pressure on myself to be medication free and the pressure got so bad I had a panic attack. I was waiting for my ride to pick me up from physical therapy and all of a sudden I felt like I was suffocating. People were walking back and forth around me and they weren’t close to me but their presence was freaking me out. It got so bad I had to go wait outside in the cold. I recognized what was happening so I was able to go home and calm myself down but that was a horrifying experience.
I had been talking to my physical therapist about my pregnancy plans and something in my brain snapped. A few days later I talked to my therapist about it and a few days after that I decided that I would wait at least until after my honeymoon to start trying to get pregnant. That decision changed my whole mindset and took me off the edge of the cliff I was on.
I would like to make a note of the fact that it is my resolve that has changed and not my pain. I still need medication but I am trying to do without it as much as I possibly can. And thank you God for Jesus because I would be “hot mess central” if it wasn’t for him.