ABD Day #1: Got to Keep On Goin’ On

So I’ve got to keep on moving on

This first day was more productive than I anticipated, despite some early challenges. Challenge #0 is every day’s challenge: The 17-month-old and his 6:30 a.m. wake-up poop.

anxietyChallenge #1: I woke with a racing heart and upset stomach. That’s my version of anxiety. It’s physical and never-ending. I’ve been dealing with it for the last month. That and depression. I’m slowly reaching up over the depressed part, thanks to pharmaceutical adjustments, but the anxiety is still there, lurking, seething, overwhelming.

ScissorsChallenge #2: My morning interview subject cancelled our interview. I know I’m coming out of my depression because if I was depressed, the cancellation would be a welcome relief. I would see it as a Godly-divined pronouncement to get back into my bed for some unknown hours. But instead I gathered my materials, jumped in my car, and went to print out some of my interviews. After that, I met with my writing partners and coded one interview by hand, cutting paper like they did in the pre-computer days, stashing excerpts in envelopes to the chagrin of my writing/dissertating partners. And I stayed out of the bed all day.

Things are getting better. If I could just get this constantly flight (of the fight-or-flight response) to die a quick death, things would be much better. But, in spite of the challenges:

  • I wrote 238 words over 4 hours.
  • I ran for 20 minutes.
  • I saw my psychologist.

Doing these things represent a huge improvement over last week where the only dissertation work I could manage was to conduct two one-hour interviews. That’s two hours of some huge number of possible working hours. But I was depressed, like want to do nothing depressed. Like taking 4 hours “naps” depressed. And the anxiety meds make me sleepy. I couldn’t stop the cycle.

But over the weekend, the meds increase started to work, and I could make different decisions. On Saturday I sat outside for 90 minutes during a rain storm to watch my daughter play soccer. Like, just sit there and get pelted and do so calmly, without the mind chatter of “this sucks,” “we should go sit in the car,” “how much longer can this possibly last,” “omg, I’m so effing wet,” and so on.

On Sunday I cooked THREE meals to take our family of five through the week: chicken and lentils, fried chicken, and pork stew (two of three shown below. The other was still a glob in the crockpot).

Chicken and Lentils
Chicken and Lentils
Gluten-free Fried Chicken
Gluten-free Fried Chicken

And today, instead of worrying about how my kids ate through $60 worth of school snack and school lunch in less than two weeks, I calmly explained to them that they are no longer allowed to order lunch or breakfast unless I specifically tell them they can. I endured the questions of “what if you forget to pack us lunch?” and “what if we are really, really hungry?” with the answer, “then tell them to call your mother.”

Sigh. It’s 7pm and I’m tired. And that was only Day #1. Still need to give baths, read stories, and quiz spelling.

220 more days to go.

Until tomorrow…

And I won’t stop for nothing

P.S. My daughter just made a funny…her dad told her to do something and she just ignored him. I say, “when daddy tells you to do something, you do it.” She says, “But Baby A has a shirt that says ‘Daddy and I agree that Mommy is the boss.‘ So Daddy already knows he’s not the boss, you are!”

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