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I THINK I CAN'T, I THINK I CAN'T...

3 May 2003

This is one of those entries that I'm writing for myself and it probably is going to lose cohesiveness for everyone else somewhere around...oh...the second sentence or so. I decided I had to write it when I realized I was eating my third piece of bread piled thick with peanut butter and that I really had no conscious memory of eating it--that my hands had just been grabbing anything that I could to stuff in my mouth because I was stressed to the max and the only thing I could do about it was to eat.

I hate that about me.

It's amazing how quickly things can turn. Yesterday was a wonderful day. The work day was wonderful, it was a lovely evening. I had a smile on my face all evening and felt very good about life in general. I felt on top of things. I was getting stuff accomplished. I felt very good about myself.

I went to sleep around 9:30 and got up at 3:30 to attack that stack of tapes. I made incredible progress. By 9, when I was getting ready to go to work, I had six tapes ready to return to Dr. G. One of them was defective so I wasn't able to transcribe it (which was an added bonus for me--not so for Dr. G, who has to redictate it!)

The plan for the day was to go through the bank statement (that old monster rearing its ugly head), come to some sort of a balance, take it to the bank, confer with our rep there and get it "pristeen" (Dr. G's term) so I could turn the book over to him, come home, get the psychiatrist's transcription finished--or at least put a major dent in it, then pack my suitcase and be ready to leave at the crack of dawn tomorrow for a weekend in Boise.

(Yes--peripatetic me. A weekend in Houston. A weekend in Boise. You'd think I had money or something!)

When did it all come crashing down? When did I lose control? When did I find myself pulling my hair out and eating peanutbutter?

I can't remember exactly the sequence of events, but it was remembering the --is it 6?--tapes that I have from the psychiatrist (who, bless him, is the most patient person in the world and who never, ever complains, but I know another tape is coming on Monday and I know I can't work over the weekend) and having him call to let me know he has a rush job -- one of the longer ones --that needs to be done Monday. "Monday the 6th," he said. I shrieked--Monday couldn't be the 6th. (turns out it's not, but Tuesday is the 6th--two days before I had it in the back of my head was the 6th--I have a major feature story that has to be written for the newspaper and turned in by the morning of the 6th...and it will require several interviews before I can write it.)

So that's a major (about 15 pages) report to be transcribed by Monday, a feature story due to be turned in on Tuesday morning, two more tapes of Dr. G's that I promised to have for him Monday morning, and the @#$% checkbook which I didn't have time to balance after all. I had to cancel the meeting with the bank rep because I left a page of the bank ledger at the office. She wants to meet with me on Tuesday...and that's our full day of patients. I don't know if I can do it.

Suddenly the walls were closing in. I'm trying to figure out if I can take a transcription unit with me to Boise so I can work while Olivia is sleeping.

The problem is that I have not learned the words "no," "not now" or "I can't." This has been a huge problem my entire life. It's not so much that I want to be a good guy--a savior--Superwoman in my own little world. It's because of this sense...this drive in me that I have to do everything. That I am somehow "less" if I can't do it all. That I'm a wimp if I ask for help.

What's the name of that book? "I feel guilty when I say 'no'" ?? That's me. Even when people offer to help, or to take some of the work off my hands, I feel like a failure if I give the jobs away. I should be able to do it all. I should be able to juggle 25 bazillion things at one time.

It was always a struggle for me, but I did it. "I don't know how you DO it" people would tell me. Then I'd feel guilty because they noticed me doing too much. Not only should I do it all, but I should do it without appearing to be working hard--and I should keep a tidy house at the same time. Naturally, I have never achieved that goal. I've failed miserably at all of it.

And what do I do when I fail? I eat, of course. See how this all works?

But you know what? I'm SIXTY, for God's sake. I'm slowing down. I couldn't do it easily at 30 and I sure as hell can't do it easily now. I'm damn tired. I'm tired of not having a night without work somewhere in the back of my head. Even if I take a night off...or a weekend off...I'm never away from it because I know that it's waiting for me when I get home.

At WeightWatchers, our leader always talks about the nice ways to treat yourself--sitting down at night with a cup of tea as you watch television. I watch at a lot of television, but never look at the screen because I'm working, or preparing to work, or feeling guilty because I can't face another second of listening to those voices in my ears again.

It becomes a vicious cycle. The more work I have to do the less I actually accomplish. I get so wound up that I don't even know where to start, so I start by eating something that I don't even realize I've eaten until I'm standing there with crumbs on my fingers wondering what happened to the loaf of bread.

I don't know what the answer is, but I'm reaching burnout. And today was just really, really, really horrible. What's more, I've just taken half an hour to write this entry and that was half an hour I should have been working. I still have the long report. I still have Dr. G's two tapes that need to be done by Monday. I still have the unbalanced checkbook.  I still have a feature story to turn in Tuesday morning.  And I'm still getting on a plane tomorrow at the crack of dawn where I will relax on the surface, but in the back of my head will be the knowledge of how much work I have to do in how short a time when I get home.

The act of writing this has left me with: a knot in my stomach, a headache, ice cold hands, and a desperate need to go pace somewhere. The only GOOD thing is that there is no chocolate anywhere in the house.

Quote of the Day

Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.

~ Stephen Wright

Today's Photo

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One Year Ago
Pissy Moods
(Hmmm...maybe it's an annual thing!)

Two Years Ago
At the mercy of the elements
(Weather...we got weather...)

Three Years Ago
Stranded!
(Missing my plane!)



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 ;
Pounds Lost:  67.6
(this figure is updated on Tuesdays)

On the Odometer

Blue Angel Total 928.6
2003 YTD Cumulative:  430.2

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