Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Lately I've felt like my weaknesses have become the dominant force in my life.  Ironic, considering it's still quite close to the beginning of the year, but I feel like I was so much stronger and in control just a few months ago.

Blowing out my knee has been really hard for me in so many ways.  I can't run as far or as fast as I used to (I feel like I was a better runner when I was pregnant than I am right now!)  Doing 96 30-count sets of physical therapy exercises every day has been absolutely horrible for my latent OCD tendencies.  I found myself hyperventilating the other day while I was counting reps.  It's bad, folks, and I'm starting to feel very despairing about the whole thing.  I don't know whether I'm doing more mental damage as I try to repair the physical damage that doesn't seem to be healing as I'd like it to.  I'm looking ahead at my planned race calendar for the year and wondering if I'll be in shape to do any of it--I should be starting training for my first race in another week and I'm only averaging 15-20 miles a week right now.  I really want to run a marathon, but my husband's work schedule has ramped up to the point where I don't think that will be possible, and that's been emotionally wrenching.

I feel like my biggest thing right now is that I am constantly feeling guilty and inadequate.  Guilt for not pushing my husband to work 80-hour weeks the last six years so that we would be finished with school.  Guilt for not making our family time together more meaningful during those years so that when he wasn't working those hours, the time he was with us really counted.  Guilt for not spending enough quality time with all of my children.  Guilt for staying up too late reading because I am so desperate to finally have some quiet time to myself.  Guilt for my unmopped kitchen floor, which I should be mopping right now rather than typing this.  Guilt for not running today because my hips were popping and aching from this awful flu that has been plaguing me for the last week.  Guilt for so many things.  Just a big dark cloud sitting on my head.  I feel like my life is slipping away from me and I can't reach out and grab it because I am beset by so many small things that I'm losing my grasp on the big things, but I can't let the small things go because they're vital to the day-to-day functioning around here.  I don't know how to prioritize things of eternal significance right now because I feel so buffeted by my mortal woes, and I feel guilt for not having this all figured out.  I feel like I should be doing so many things that I'm not doing:  homeschooling, getting up at 5 am, actually studying my scriptures rather than just reading, planning more interesting meals that my family actually likes, fixing the leaky toilets instead of just waiting for Neil to do it, etc.  I've been sitting here staring at the blinking cursor trying to think of something that I feel happy and confident about right now and I'm coming up empty-handed.

I think the most troubling thing for me right now is that I liked myself a lot better two years ago.  I felt that I was a more patient mother and loving wife, and stronger and more capable and more energized and more in control of my life.  I feel like I've backslid a lot, and that's not a comfortable feeling, but I feel so harried that I can't figure out how to recapture the me that I like.

My blog seems to swing back and forth from one extreme to the other with a vengeance, doesn't it?  Maybe I'll go running now.


Kayli said...

So - just a few thoughts I had after reading this. First, you've probably already read this talk, but it might be good to read it again because Patricia Holland talks about feeling much the same way you seem to be feeling, and then gives some great counsel:

Another thing, my sister recently wrote a post about her word to focus on during the year, and what she said I think could be relevant to you too- to give yourself space to be imperfect and let grace work.


And finally, in another blog I read, the lady says that her mother always tells her 'life is long.' You don't have to achieve everything right now. Times and seasons.

Anyway, I hope these could be beneficial and that I'm not coming across as preachy or anything. Best wishes!

Jolena said...

I can't say I have a fantastic piece of advice to give on how to suddenly fix everything and feel better, but I just want to say that I sympathize and I have total faith in you that you will make it through. One thought I had while reading is that being sick is definitely not the time to think about how you're doing with life but more of a time to hunker down and get through and think about it later. Probably not helpful, but I find when I feel bad, I'm prone to see everything as much worse than it might actually be.

Also, I totally feel your pain with school being never ending. My husband has not been doing his PhD for 6 years, but he's been in school forever it feels like and still has a couple years to go and sometimes that is just so rough. It will pass though. There will actually be a time where we get to see our husbands before O' dark hundred whenever they manage to arrive back home and fall into bed. That's a stage too and you will make it through even though it feels like an eternity.

I second Kayli's comment about life being about times and seasons. Just when we can't stand this one anymore, it seems like it changes and new good things as well as challenging things come along and we'll be happy for the change. Don't beat yourself up too much. Two years ago you had one less child to juggle but were still doing a lot of the same things you are now. Adding another warm body to take care of makes a big difference. You can do this! Just hang in there and you'll get through.

Brittanie said...

Thanks for being "real"! This post I understand. I have been struggling with some very similar feelings.

Dani said...

Ditto! That's totally where I'm at right now. Let me know if/how you figure it out.

Meghan said...

Jolena and Kayli said all the things I was thinking--especially about feeling better when you feel better, because you feel bad when you feel bad. Love you, sweetie.

Elise said...

Couple things: for the physical therapy reps, would setting a timer that you can't see help? then you can just do the reps until you hear the timer beep and not worry about counting.

Second, I've been thinking a lot about the feelings you described. That was pretty much the sum of my week last week, and this Sunday all of our church meetings seemed to be focused on overcoming discouragement. I'll look and see if there's anything of use in my notebook that I wrote down, but I think just the particular focus on these talks and scriptures really helped me.

Also, I saw this Mormon message of Elder Holland today that seemed to encapsulate everything I was feeling: http://www.lds.org/pages/mormon-messages?lang=eng#good-things-to-come

and President Uchtdorf's talks are always so great for making me feel better.

I'm sorry you've been feeling this way. I was thinking this Sunday as I heard people bear their testimonies throughout church that I thought I was the only one suffering from discouragement but then I realized that so many other people around me felt the same. I hope you feel better soon and that you can feel relief through the scriptures, the apostles, your family, and the constant love from Heavenly Father.

Bryce Moore said...

Going through physical therapy on my broken elbow right now, I can commiserate somewhat with your knee. (Especially since the elbow knocked out one of my big release systems: writing. Not being able to do that the way I was used to was a big blow.)

One of the things I do that helps me be a better person is take time for myself on a regular basis. I know that sounds really greedy, but if I don't get that me time, then I deteriorate quickly. To me, it's like that whole "put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then help others" bit you hear on airplanes. (Or, well, the bit people ignore on airplanes.) If you're not in a good place, emotionally/mentally/spiritually/physically, then it's hard to help others. That said, the me time I give me isn't reading my scriptures. It's reading genre fiction, or playing video games, or playing guitar, or baking, or watching movies--it's stuff I really truly want to do, not stuff I have to do. Luckily, a lot of that stuff is stuff I can involve other people in, but I'm not doing it because I feel like I should be spending time with those other people--I'm doing it for me.

Guilt is an awful thing, but it's also (unfortunately) a tool that's been used a lot in the Church (and society and families) to motivate people to do things. I think it's terrible. Doing something because you feel guilty gets no one anywhere--even once you've done it, you still feel bad because you only did it because you felt guilty. Cut yourself a break. Sit down, pick the top five things that are important to you, and focus on them. When other things have to slip by the wayside, let them slip. They're not as important.

Anyway--no clue if any of this helps. I just read your post and had to post a response. Cheer up. :-) And I hope your recovery is speedy.

Rachel Mae said...

Amen to what Bryce said, especially the bit about guilt! Not to denigrate anything that you wrote, but the part where you were feeling guilty for not running while sick was almost comical. I only mention that because sometimes it helps me to step back and laugh a bit at myself. It's easy to get so tied up in a line of thinking that it takes us to ridiculous places, sometimes. Guilt is one of those lines that as overachieving LDS women we're especially prone too. So when I'm feeling that way (and I just got done feeling that way about Valentine's when I saw the flood of homemade crafts flood my house, crafts I hadn't had time to make with Zoe), I try to remind myself that guilt itself is not a feeling I want to pass on to my children.

Liebe Libby Lebih said...

Wow, sounds rough. You have some great comments and advice here already, so I'll just say ditto and do what I do for Ethan when he feels guilty:

"Rachel, I absolve you of all guilt!"

And imagine me waving my hand in front of your face while I say that.

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