Day one of my official break

Never mind the fact that I’ve technically been on break for almost a week now; this time I’m just making it official.

I’m discovering that I am really, really bad at not working. This is supposed to be “self-care” time and I’m really bad at that, too.

I did look at a couple of job listings today and had to talk myself out of applying for them. It might take a while for me to catch on to what I’m supposed to be doing (or more accurately, not doing.)

Everyone I’ve told about taking time off for myself to just be is totally supportive of it. I just can’t seem to be yet. The relationship between myself and my productivity is so stubbornly intertwined that I don’t even know how to begin to disentangle them.

My husband said that he thinks that I haven’t been this burned out since the last time I tried working outside the home, which I think was 3 years ago? I know that I am crashing hard from everything catching up with me, particularly regarding his cancer diagnosis. I honestly still haven’t dealt with that at all.

I think a lot of my burnout also has to do with Dylan being away at school, both because I’ve taken on all the things he used to do and in terms of carrying the mental weight of making sure he’s okay.

I talked to him last night and he sounds like he’s doing much better overall. He loves the grocery chain down where he is, which is well-known throughout Texas but hasn’t expanded to the Dallas area yet. He’s also discovered that it’s a lot harder to get good grades in college than it was in high school, which is probably due to the major he’s in, which is notoriously hard.

However, I’m also worried about that because he has to maintain a 3.5 GPA to pursue his chosen major and he currently doesn’t have that. I just have to keep telling myself that I can’t worry about his academic performance and he knows what’s required of him. If he doesn’t make it, he doesn’t make it. That kind of hands-off approach is difficult for me, I admit, but it’s not like I can micro-manage him into performing better anyway.

Frankly, at this point, he’s had such a rough adjustment that I’m just really glad he’s still hanging in there at all.

J told me that he’s going to be on chemo both for Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is going to be challenging, I think. It’s also the first time he’s had to take them during the holidays. I’m certain it’s much more of a drag for him than for me but it is definitely going to cast a shadow over the holidays.

I also told my psych nurse practitioner today that I didn’t want to go on another drug in the same class as Abilify, in part because they’re so risky. But I also explained that I don’t necessarily think it’s realistic to try to expect to be happy right now and that I’ve been trying to medicate away my feelings about the fact that J’s going to die.

I told her that I didn’t think that was healthy and that I just need to let myself feel it. That may mean that I’ll be depressed, some days more than others. To my surprise, she totally agreed with me.

So I guess here I go into the uncharted territory of letting myself feel whatever comes up. I’m releasing the expectation of productivity from myself. It still feels very strange and abnormal. But hopefully, in this I’ll find my value and reason for existence that is neither defined by my role as wife or as writer. I have to be okay with myself just as I am. That’s going to be a tough journey at times but I hope it will be worth it.

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