Apathy

I’m done, y’all.

What Is Apathy?

 Webmd says: “Apathy is when you lack motivation to do anything or just don’t care about what’s going on around you. Apathy can be a symptom of mental health problems, Parkinson’s disease, or Alzheimer’s disease. It often lasts a long time. You may lack the desire to do anything that involves thinking or your emotions. The term comes from the Greek word “pathos,” which means passion or emotion. Apathy is a lack of those feelings.

“But it isn’t the same thing as depression, although it can be hard to tell the two conditions apart. Feeling “blah” about life is common in both conditions. It isn’t sadness or anger, either. Rather than feeling these emotions, you don’t feel much of anything. Things that used to make you happy don’t excite you anymore. You no longer feel motivated to achieve your goals.

“Everyone loses interest in things at one time or another, but when it happens a lot, it can affect your relationships, your job, and your ability to enjoy life. Treatment can make a big difference, so talk to your doctor or a mental health professional to get the help you need.” Quoted from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/what-is-apathy

This is me right now. I struggle with anxiety, but now it seems apathy has come to visit. It”s unpacked it’s bags and doesn’t show any signs of leaving. I don’t want to let it get comfortable, and need to find a way to get it to leave before it takes up permanent residency. Anxiety and depression are on the back porch, where they hang out and encourage Apathy.

I hit a wall, y’all. It was a small thing that triggered it, as often happens. The straw and the proverbial camel’s back. I found out that I am going to have to start going into the office three days a week. I didn’t realize that they were in the process of establishing a brick-and-mortar office in my town, but apparently they did. They said to me, “Hey you get to go into the office now! Three days a week! Oh, and you get to greet visitors and answer the phone, too!”

Me:

My face: What’chu talkin’ about, Willis?!?!?

Y’all, this is not happy news. I haven’t worn a bra in a year, and the thought of getting in real clothes instead of t-shirts and lounge pants makes me want to hurl! AND, and . . . I am currently in a temperature controlled environment. One that is controlled to my liking, and it’s COLD. Eskimos would be cold. I am 1) post-menopausal and 2) overweight. My ideal temperature range is 68 to 70 degrees fahrenheit. Summer and winter. I will be sharing the office space with a co-worker, a lovely woman with whom I get along. She is delightful.

But she is skinny. She is older than I, but very thin. Very thin people generally get cold easier. I can’t stand to be hot. I will take my desk fan but likely I will be a sweaty mess by afternoon, especially in the summertime. The office windows face west, which means afternoon temps are likely to be sweltering, even with AC.

I am verklempt.

THIS!!!!!

What does this have to do with Apathy? you ask. I’m so glad you asked! I have three years to retirement, and I was told that this job would be fully remote, even after COVID. I was so excited because that’s always been my dream. To work in HR and to work from home. I thought I had it made. I was going to skate into retirement exactly the way I wanted to do it.

And then bam! That rug was yanked out from under me, and now I have to go into the office 24 hours a week. I don’t like it, y’all. Before you offer to call the whaaaambulance, I really do love working from home.

Call whine-1-1 !

I thought I had it made. I thought everything was gonna be great until I retired and now this. It just made me hit a wall. I just can’t take it anymore! Yet again, something I loved was taken away from me. I’ve gotten to where I no longer trust happiness, because every time, it gets taken away. I had the perfect little house that I’ve always dreamed of, and it burned to the ground after I only lived there three years. I raised two children by myself because their dad’s new wife didn’t want him to spend time with them and he let her. I had cancer in 2015. There are too many things to list here that have happened and I just feel like I can’t catch a break. As each of these things happened, I pulled myself up, stepped up and kept a positive attitude and kept marching forward.

Then yesterday in a virtual meeting, the owner of the company blasted the Leadership Team and yelled and said the “f-word.” He went from zero to 100 because he didn’t like that something hadn’t been done. I don’t know why bosses and company owners feel the need to blast their team and make them feel like shit. I don’t think he thought about how demoralizing and demeaning it feels to have the boss go off on us like that. He does this on the regular, too. He fusses about all the “red tape” we have to go through to get things done. He doesn’t understand that he went from a small 20 person company to a 75 person company and that there are rules we have to follow, especially in California and that’s why I was hired. But he doesn’t like it, and he often bypasses rules and regulations to hire someone he wants. And we can’t say no. He is the owner of the company.

I was furious when I found out I have to stop working from home three days a week. Then the boss went off on everyone in the meeting. I can’t anymore. I just can’t. I have a letter of resignation all made up but I need this job so I haven’t sent it. It felt good to write it, though.

I am now apathetic. I am completely out of f*cks to give. I feel like I’ve got a 100 lb weight on my shoulders. I don’t care about pretty much anything. Work asks me, “Are these forms fine?” I answer, “yep.” Didn’t even look at them. It would serve them right to get sued for non-compliance because they don’t like the answers I give. Right now, I don’t care about anything and I have absolutely nothing left to give. I’ve pounded my head on the wall so long I’m numb.

This will pass. Meanwhile, I’m just sort of numb.

Thanks for reading. If this has or is happening to you, you are not alone.

Cheers!

Sunday Evening Musings

It’s 12:30am on a Sunday night (well, technically it’s early Monday morning, but I am not ready to let go of Sunday yet). Weekends are often a combination of relaxation and busy-ness. Between helping my 90 year old Mom, and my own errands, laundry, grocery shopping, etc., time just seems to fly by.

I am a night owl by nature, and while I try to go to bed by midnight, I just didn’t make it this time. When I was unemployed in 2019 for several months, my body automatically reverted to it’s natural circadian rhythm, which is go to bed around 2am and wake up around 10am. Eight hours of sleep, and that is normal for me on weekends, too. However, “they” say that you are supposed to keep your same sleep/wake cycle on the weekends so you don’t get messed up for the work week. One of the joys of working from home is that I can wake up at 7:30 am for a 8:00 am start time.

I love working from home. I believe that so many people who currently work from home are not going to want to change that. Just like there are individuals who can’t wait to get back to the office so they can be around people. One of the things that this pandemic has done for me as an introvert is it has allowed me to stay in my “safe space” while still earning a living. The thought of going back to the office is not something that thrills me. I am hoping that I will still continue to be able to work from home most of the time and then only go into the office for an occasional meeting.

Right now, I wear lounge pants and a t-shirt with no bra most of the time. I only wear a bra when absolutely necessary, and the thought of having to go back to wearing a bra eight hours a day just makes me stressed out. One of the things I’ve discovered is that I am not looking forward to having to go back to socializing, either. And not having to do it for over a year has made the thought of doing it even more dreadful.

My mother is very excited that perhaps by summer we can start having get-togethers with my brother and his wife, and with my aunt and uncle and cousin. That just makes me anxious thinking about it. I’ve lost whatever social muscle I had, which was flabby to begin with (I’d honestly rather be home reading). If you’re not an introvert, you may not understand at all.

It’s like this: All people have an emotional “tank.” Extroverts’ tanks empty the more they are by themselves, and only start to replenish when they’re around other people. Introverts are the complete opposite. It’s draining and exhausting to socialize. After a couple of hours at a party, I am done. I have a hard time making myself go to parties. It always sounds like fun, but then when it’s time to go I just can’t make myself go. The minute I get there I just want to go home. Small talk about nothing, the cacophony — music, people talking, laughing — it’s too much! I just can’t.

I am an Empath, which means that I feel the energy and feelings of the people around me. I absorb it all and if I don’t work on blocking it, I just can’t go places with a lot of people. All I ever want to do is go home and have peace and quiet. That’s when my emotional tank begins to fill.

I am tired, and need to go to bed. At this point, I’m just rambling.

G’night all! Cheers!

Clean My House!

Awhile back, I heard a joke that went like this:

A woman is sitting at a bar enjoying a drink with her girlfriends when an exceptionally tall, handsome man enters.

He is so striking that the woman can not take her eyes off him. The man notices her overly attentive stares and walks directly toward her.

Before she can offer her apologies for rudely staring he leans over and whispers, “I’ll do anything, absolutely anything that you want me to do for $20. But only on one condition.”

Flabbergasted, the woman asks what the condition is.

“You have to tell me what you want me to do in just three words.”

The woman considers his proposition for a moment and then removes a $20 bill from her purse, which she presses into the man’s hand along with her address.

She then looks deeply into his eyes, and slowly, and meaningfully says, “Clean my house!

Now. I don’t know about you, but I can totally relate to this lady!! Part of my anxiety comes from the fact that I am physically and emotionally unable to keep my house clean by myself. I’ve lived in my apartment for two years, and never really deep cleaned it. My roommate is much neater and cleaner than I am, but he doesn’t do much housework as far as sweeping and vacuuming floors, etc. I believe that he thinks it’s “women’s work” but that’s just a guess. He’s a nice guy, 42 years old and a friend of mine. But it’s difficult to communicate things like this because English is a second language and sometimes we have a difficult time communicating very meaningfully.

However, we agreed to split the cost of having a cleaning service come and deep clean the apartment. This meant the living room, dining room, kitchen and hallway. I paid extra to have them clean my bedroom and bathroom. My roomie did not want that, so that was fine.

They came three weeks ago (I think I mentioned this before in a previous post) they came and spent four hours making this place sparkle! It felt SOOO good! They were able to get into places that I physically can’t. They scrubbed the oven and stove top inside and out (it was gross!!). They cleaned the countertops, swept and mopped the floor, the area rugs, wiped down the cabinet faces, wiped down the outside of the refrigerator, cleaned the baseboards everywhere, wiped down the washer and dryer, and scrubbed my bathroom from top to bottom and it looks like new.

I was so happy!! It looked amazing and I noticed that my anxiety had eased. I didn’t realize how much my guilt over not having a clean house caused so much anxiety that I couldn’t make myself clean up even the dishes! I have pretty much kept up with everything, but the last week I’ve been slipping, and I feel my anxiety rising again. I still have anxiety over other things, even things that don’t exist (it’s the “waiting for the other shoe to drop because no way I can be this happy and if I am, then something bad will happen” anxiety. The generalized anxiety disorder. When things in my life are going well, I get nervous and anxious and unable to enjoy it much. Anyone else have this? It’s very annoying.

Btw, there is a comment box on my posts, if you are so inclined to comment. All you have to do is click on the Comment button at the top of each post! 🙂

Since that cleaning gave me so much relief, I am going to see about having the service come out once a month a nd clean. That way it can be maintained. By “maintained” I mean both the cleanliness of my house and the reduction of my anxiety. Goodness knows if I can keep even one part of my anxiety at bay, it’s a win. Unless I stress about paying for it…. There’s always something to worry about. It’s a wonder my adrenal glands aren’t fatigued, since I live in “fight or flight” mode most of the time.

Thank you for reading, and comment if you would like!

Cheers!

Parental Shaming

I am a huge fan of the TV Show New Amsterdam. I’ve loved it when it first aired and have loved it ever since. This is their third season, and it is riveting! I am a medical show aficionado ever since the show “Emergency” in the 70s. I’ve watched just about all of them, although I never really got into Grey’s Anatomy which really is more of a soap opera.

I watched Marcus Welby, MD, Quincy ME, St. Elsewhere, Doogie Howser, Diagnosis Murder, Scrubs, E.R., House, Chicago Med, Code Black, The Good Doctor… so many. New Amsterdam is set in a hospital in Canada.

What is different about this show is that they don’t sugar coat ANYTHING. They deal with many issues that regular people struggle with, and they show it in all it’s raw emotion. From losing staff because of COVID-19, to a beloved doctor who had COVID 19 and dealt with the damage to his heart. Doctors and nurses and psychologists grappling with things like addition, body issues, PTSD. It’s not depressing at all. It shows that the struggle is real, and the pain is real, and it’s okay to show emotions. It walks the audience through what the character is dealing with and it’s so real! So inspiring! It is by far my favorite show of all time. So far. 🙂

SPOILER ALERT! If you’re a fan and haven’t watched the latest episode, skip this paragraph!!

On the last episode, the resident psychologist, Iggy, was showing symptoms and one of his friends on staff came to find out what was going on. What was revealed in that story was that Iggy broke down and confessed that he’d been binging and then starving himself. He was extremely body conscious because of the way his father shamed him for being overweight. I cried listening to the types of shaming his father put him through. Maybe his father was cruel; maybe he thought he was doing the right thing. But Iggy ended up with such low self-esteem and self-hatred that he couldn’t even accept a compliment. But this was SO real!! He and the other doctor (who is a recovering addict) went through several conversations throughout the day, yelling at each other, then Iggy breaking down, and it was incredible. What a very real and raw performance.

And that brings me to shaming. I was born in the late 1950s. My parents were born in the late 20s and early 30s and grew up during the depression. Their parenting philosophy, probably the same one their parents used, was that shaming a child for misbehaving was a way to motivate them to improve.

Not this child. Not at all! Especially when I was a teenager. Teenage girls are notoriously dramatic, pouty, etc. I’m sure I put my parents through hell. But they didn’t know what to do with me! My dad, especially, thought I was behaving the way I was on purpose to piss them off. I did not. I was working through hormones, and boys, and middle school and high school with very little support! My parents’ philosophy was, act right in public. Be pleasant at all times, and if you can’t be pleasant, go into your room and don’t come out until you can be pleasant. Meaning I never was taught how to deal with my emotions. I wasn’t to be to boisterous and I wasn’t to be sad in public. “Behave like a lady” was a running theme. While self control in public is important (just go to a Walmart on any given day and you can see inappropriate public behavior), stuffing down emotions 24 hours a day just results in disaster. I eat my feelings.

I was and am a people pleaser, and it devastated me every time my parents (especially my dad) shamed me. I felt them withdraw their love when I was “bad” and then only got love when I was perfect. This led to the anxious, fearful, insecure adult I am today.

When I was 19, the summer between freshman and sophomore years of college, I did a temporary job for one of Dad’s friends. Mind you, this was my very first job EVER. After three weeks of tying vines in their vineyard, I was asked by Dad’s friend if I enjoyed it. Apparently I told him how hot and awful and boring it was. Which he promptly relayed to my dad. My dad bailed hay in the 30s and 40s on a farm, and a good work ethic was the foundation of who he was.

He exploded at me. He told me in no uncertain terms that I was a lazy, disrespectful, ungrateful person and that I was not his daughter! That I was spoiled and didn’t know what hard work really is. Most of that is a blur but I remember the feelings it generated in me. I was crying, and I went to Dad for a hug and he pushed me away and said you’re not my daughter, get away from me!” Instead of making this a teachable moment, he destroyed me.

I ran down the hall crying to my room. I wanted to lock my door, but I knew that would just piss him off even more and because he always believed this kind of behavior was me trying to make him feel bad. He ALWAYS thought that. Dinner was served about an hour later and my mom came to try and get me to come out. I didn’t want to. I wasn’t hungry, I was beyond devastated. I can’t even think of a word that is strong enough. But I went out to the table. I ate as much as I could even though I felt like throwing up. I had to “be pleasant” and pretend that nothing had happened. Our family was really good at pretending. I had to pretend that Dad hadn’t just gutted me with his words.

Keep in mind a child’s relationship with the opposite sex parent forms their relationship with the opposite sex. Since my dad didn’t treat me like I was valuable, I didn’t think I was valuable. I went back to college that fall and started drinking, smoking pot, and I lost my virginity and then began sleeping around. I was desperately trying to get male approval and that did not work.

Broken Relationships

Somehow I managed to graduate from college and go on to work. I married a man and had two children with him. But because I had a broken chooser, he cheated and ended up marrying (one of) the women he cheated on me with. I married a second time a few years later, and that was even more of a disaster. He was verbally abusive to my children, and quite frankly, scarred them for life. I divorced him and after about eight years, I married a third man whom I thought was stable. Had a good job, was kind, etc. But he was on some strong antidepressants and I personally feel he is bipolar, but he hated my kids and while they were nearly grown by then, he didn’t like that they still lived with us. He was verbally and psychologically abusive to me. He called me names, yelled at me, said all our problems was my fault, that his kids would never live with us ever if they lived in the same town. He got mad that I wouldn’t have sex with him (gee, wonder why, you verbally abuse me then expect me to have sex with you?) and so he started having affairs. He currently lives with the last one. He said he’ll never get married again because of me. I told him, “Ditto.”

I left him for my own peace of mind, and he filed for divorce. I didn’t care. Like many abusive men, he never ever saw anything as his own fault. Quite frankly, I feel sorry for his girlfriend, having to put up with him. She can have him!

(Side note: one of his daughters had three kids by three different men, and after our divorce, she and the three kids lived with him and his girlfriend for a couple of years, and his girlfriend didn’t work either. Karma?)

I am damaged. I know that I am emotionally damaged. I am working on it. I can’t afford therapy but I can afford self-help websites and books. I will never marry or even be in a relationship again. I can’t be a good partner to anyone because all I want is to be left alone. After a father and three husbands, I am done. I do have a roommate, which is out of financial necessity, but I don’t have to answer to anyone but myself. If I mistake, no one criticizes.

So. Long post but dear God, if you have children, help them grow up to be secure individuals who are guided with love not fear and shame. Don’t spank. Ever. I don’t understand why it was ever an acceptable thing to hit a child for doing wrong. That teaches nothing but fear. The child will begin to fear the parent. Believe me, I know.

Thank you for reading. Cheers!

7 Things People With Generalized Anxiety Disorder Wish Others Would Stop Saying

This article was copied from an amazing website called The Mighty. The link to the original article is here: 7 Things People With Generalized Anxiety Disorder Wish Others Would Stop Saying.


Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive, persistent and unrealistic worry, and caused by genetic factors, brain chemistry and personality. In fact, 40 million people in the United States are affected by an anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America

As someone with GAD, here are 7 things I’d like to ask you to stop saying.

1. “Stop thinking about it.” Don’t you think if it was that easy I would not think about it? It maybe easy for you, but as a person with GAD I have to practice the coping strategies I’ve learned in therapy. And sometimes I can’t even do that. So telling me to not worry simply does not cut it.

Instead, try asking me to go for a walk or if there is anything you can do to help me process what is happening.

2. “Everyone feels anxious.” Yes, everyone feels anxious, and it is completely natural. Anxiety actually pushes us to get things done, but when your anxiety stops you from being able to function, guess what? That’s a problem. So please do not compare GADers (yes, I created this word) with non-GADers (this word too).

Instead, acknowledge what I’m going through. Say, “I see this is really hard for you. Would you like to talk about it?”

3. “I’m stressed too.” Not to discredit your stress, but you are certainly discrediting ours. What you do not understand is that we have a hard time controlling our thoughts, and whether you realize it or not, no matter how small it may seem to you, our anxiety tends to maximize everything.

Instead, try offering some words of encouragement.

4. “I know how you feel.” Unless you have GAD you do not know how I feel, so please stop saying that you do.

Instead, say, “I don’t understand exactly how you feel, but would you be willing to help me understand?”

5. “You need to calm down.” When people suffer from GAD, there are times when his/her anxiety is through the roof and it takes me time to calm down. It is always a three-ring circus going on in our heads. That advice is like telling someone who is sick to stop coughing. So no, we cannot calm down right now.

Instead say, “Is there anything I can do to help you?”

6. “You are doing too much.” (Translation: “You are being dramatic.”) Thank you for your words of comfort. We know our thoughts can be irrational at times, but that is how our brain works. Can you imagine 1,000 tabs on your computer are opened, and you cannot stop new tabs from opening? Well, that is how we feel. Just because our disorder is invisible does not mean it is not real.

Instead, ask me about what methods I use to ease anxiety (like breathing methods and yoga), and remind me what’s worked in the past.

7. “You worry too much.” Yes, we worry too much and we know that, but if you have not figured it out by now, we cannot control it. Telling us we worry too much does not help. We were already worrying about 50 things prior to this unnecessary statement, and now we are worrying about worrying.

Instead, say, “It’s OK to feel this way. I know your anxiety can be difficult, but I’m here for you.”  

Keep calm and carry on! Cheers!

Four Milk Duds

Good morning! What did you have for breakfast this morning? I’m not very good at making sure I eat this most important meal of the day. This morning so far, I’ve had four Milk Duds. Nutrition be damned! I know that I will need to eat something else soon, because I’m very hungry and, to be honest, a little nauseous.

Today is an anxiety day. Actually, the last few days have been anxiety days. I can tell, because the dishwasher is still loaded with clean dishes, and the piles on my kitchen counters are high. Yesterday was Wednesday, and I showered for the first time in five days. Ick, I know. I had to force myself to shower yesterday because I had to go to the windshield place to have the chip in my windshield fixed before it went from being a $35 chip repair to a $300 windshield replacement. Payday is tomorrow and that will alleviate some of my stress.

The good news is that tomorrow is Friday! Which is followed by two whole days off. I have a cleaning lady coming on Saturday to deep clean my whole apartment (except my roommate’s bedroom and bathroom. He’s way cleaner than I am.) I don’t like cleaning on the best of days but having anxiety just makes everything worse. It’s the snowball effect.

I am going to go fix myself something to eat, even if it is just cereal or instant oatmeal.

Cheers!

p.s. Update: I was ambitious and fixed scrambled eggs with cheese, and two slices of sourdough toast with jam. I have more piles on my counters but I feel much, much better. Onward and upward!

It Usually Starts with a Dirty Dish

I have anxiety. GAD, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I struggle with this daily. I hate to use the word suffer, but rather use the word struggle. Yes, it is a daily struggle. Well-meaning people will tell me that if I just tried hard enough, I could overcome it. But anxiety is like an internal war, battling with my inner voice that constantly tells me I’m good-for-nothing, stupid, fat and lazy. The fat part is true. I mean, fat is fat and I don’t fool anyone. But I am far from stupid, and my anxiety keeps me from completing tasks, which looks like lazy. Simple tasks, like doing the dishes, overwhelm me and I start to shut down. Anxiety is like slogging through quicksand. It’s extremely difficult to pull myself out of it while it is sucking at my energy, my self-esteem, and my motivation.

Anxiety makes me enervated, keeping me from being able to do, well, just about anything. I can have brief periods of positive energy. Usually that only happens when everything in my life is going smoothly — circumstances, life, financial, etc. But when I get a negative balance in my checking account,and payday isn’t until another week and a half, that can send me over the edge. If everything is going smoothly with my adult kids and my 90-year-old mom, I can skate on good vibrations. But the precarious perch upon which I emotionally sit can knock me off balance with just one simple thing.

Case in point: I know that I am sinking into another quicksand of anxiety when I see the dishes start to pile up. It always starts with one dirty dish. I finish a meal, and just leave my dirty dishes on the counter, telling myself “I will put them in the dishwasher later,” my procrastinator brain lies.

And then, the next dirty dish, and discarded containers of fast food because I just. can’t. deal. with prepping a meal. I can measure the depth of my anxiety by the depth of dishes and detritus on my kitchen countertops, the unwashed laundry, unmade bed, un-scooped cat litter box. It overwhelms, and my anxiety ramps up. So far, (knock wood) no panic attacks. Just mounds of dirty dishes and laundry, and everything.

I sink back into my recliner with my comfort food, my TV remote, my computer and try to pretend none of it is there. I can’t even read, because my ex-husband’s voice is in my head, yelling at me that I have no business reading when there are “things” that need to be done. Ten years divorced and his ugly words hurtle against my brain again and again.

Until it comes the time that my roommate is spraying the kitchen with air freshener because it smells. Until I don’t have any forks or spoons or knives to eat with, no clean plates, no more money for food delivery. This is the face of my anxiety and probably depression. And I do the dishes. Sometimes it takes me several hours, because the overwhelming anxiety causes me to stop and rest for awhile. Because, my brain screams at me, “WHAT IF IT’S NOT PERFECT???”

Today, my kitchen counters are full. My motivation is low and I am feeling overwhelmed. But soon I am going to have to force myself to clean it up. I just have to.