Monday, March 2, 2009

Balancing Apathy and Empathy

Let me start with an apology to Jessica Gottlieb and Ms Single Mama. I totally blew them off this weekend. I have no good excuse, other than I wasn't in a place where I felt I could deal with people.

I also apologize to every blogger since I think at this point, I've not commented or not read at least a few posts by all of you. Again, just couldn't deal.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not exactly depressed. I'm not angry with anyone. It's only been in the past 36 hours that I've been aware that anything is even wrong.

And in the past 18(ish) hours, I've begun my journey to come to terms with it.

My first clue came on Saturday night, when I realized how much I'm escaping. I can pat myself on the back for getting the very basics done. I get my kids to school, make their lunches, dinners, etc., and they're almost caught up on their medical appointments. I've even started going to the dentist myself lately (which is another post altogether). We all have clean clothes to wear, there's food in the fridge, and the bills are paid.

More and more, however, that little voice in the back of my head is nagging at me about all of the things I'm not doing. And I've been doing a very good job of ignoring it, drowning it out with another episode of West Wing, or turning the music up and playing a game of FreeCell. You can only imagine all the possibilities on the many more productive things I could be doing. Heck, even keeping up with my Reader would be a step up!

Yesterday, my big effort was watching both Meet the Press and This Week with George S...but I only got through about 15 minutes of George after the full Meet the Press hour. I was hoping for at least blog fodder, but at the same time, I don't even want to go there in my political stuff.

Things are heating up again with the efforts to overturn Prop 8, and I don't even want to talk about that anymore. (Shocking, I know.)

So what the heck is wrong with me?

I just don't want to think anymore. At least, that's what I thought it was.

And then it hit me. I don't want to feel anymore. I don't want to care anymore. I don't want to fight for Obama's plans because I don't want to be let down when they all get weakened and screwed up in the legislative process. I don't want to put my heart into fighting Prop 8 to have my heart broken again.

But there are even more important things, places where I could actually have an impact. Of course, it all starts at home.

Sylvia's really been suffering lately because her father hasn't called her in weeks. I talked to her on Saturday night about it, and she was going to call him on Sunday.

At first, I didn't want to be the one to bring it up. But then, she wasn't, so I did. And she didn't want to deal. She's learning my escapism. She just didn't want to have that conversation. Because she didn't want her heart to shatter anymore than it has already by what he might say (or not say) on the other end.

So I'm left wondering just how much harm I'm doing my girls in not dealing right now. But, and this probably makes me a bad mother, it's still not enough motivation for me to do the things I don't want to do, either. I still prefer escaping.

I'm hoping it's like everything else, and it's just how I feel for now. I'm hoping that I'll wake up one morning with the passion necessary to just do things. At the same time, I'm aware that my inaction is making me pretty comfortable right now. And maybe my thoughts of just not being ready yet are just total rationalizations to continue not to deal.

But I'm also sick of having my heart broken. I'm also sick of trying and failing and feeling powerless. Maybe, so long as I continue to do the bare minimum, I'll be able to keep my emotions in check. I'm starting to think of my emotions as a liability rather than an asset.

So maybe I need this time of apathy to balance my pendulum and find a healthy, balanced emotional place. Or maybe I'm just rationalizing. Or maybe I need to suck up the extra costs and just get myself back in therapy, even if my therapist is no longer on my insurance plan. Or maybe I need to find a new therapist.

Or maybe I just need to get through today, and see what tomorrow brings.


Anonymous said...

April, I can so relate to what you express here, I, too, have taken a step back from interactions. Can it be a bad thing to stop putting our hearts out there all the time just to be chastened or demoralized by what does, or doesn't, come back. Hunkering down into a shell is not a bad thing, isn't that how all manner of animals protect themselves?

Love and hugs to you and your daughters.

Tara R. said...

I'm with you too April. Here lately all I've wanted is to runaway and just stop worrying about everything. It is the feeling powerless that is the toughest part.

Anonymous said...

Remember when I told you that I hadn't watched Obama's speech? This is why. I don't want to deal with it anymore. I'm tired of thinking too hard about everything. So, I've made the decision to turn my thoughts inward, into my little circle and improve what is within immediate reach, like my parenting and the way I handle my every day situations. At least in these areas, changes are within my grasp. I can't do anything about the economy and stressing about it isn't making it any better. Perhaps I could be more active in my community, but there are so many uphill battles and I don't have the time or energy for them.

Basically, I get it. I'm not sure what to tell you about the girl's dad, except to say that there will come a time where she is no longer hurt about it. My dad was pretty uninvolved when I was growing up, though I did do the whole visit every other weekend thing. But, he really never acted interested and I'm sure that did something to me, but I learned long ago not to let it bother me superficially. She'll learn to handle it, too, it's just too bad she has to learn it at all.

Kori said...

I disagree with Natalie; Sam's dad has been gone for over two years, hasn't even spoken to him at all, and the hurt doesn't go away; it just becomes something else to deal with. In time, there will be peace, but she has to figure out how to get there herself. As for the rest of the post? I love you- and it will pass, I think, just give it time. you are NOT bad mother, either.

Anonymous said...

As a child of divorce with a selfish father, that is how I handled it. Not everyone is the same, but kids do learn how to adapt. Did my mom help me get there? Probably not. Does my dad's distance still hurt? Yes, in a way, but not in a crush my soul kind of way. I'd rather think Sylvia's going to adapt than to think she is going to hurt like this for the rest of her life, you know?

Julie@My5monkeys said...

totally understand wanting to cocoon up at time. I do get tired of being let down too and with my vote...It seems whether I vote one or another it doesn't count and don't me started on the budget either. Hugs...this too shall pass and it will be okay for your are there for them.

Florinda said...

I've been having some similar feelings lately myself, but for different reasons. I'm just kind of overwhelmed these days, and the general climate of uncertainty is just plain exhausting sometimes.

If we actually had winter here, we could chalk some of it up to SAD or the "winter blahs," but I don't think we get to use that excuse in L.A.

The tricky part is that it's starting to get comfortable for you right now. Been there, and stayed there until it wasn't comfortable any more - at which point, I finally got some therapy.

I wish I could help, April. Hang in there.

FreedomFirst said...

I think everyone deserves to just say "f^&* it" every now and then. As long as you don't let it take over your life for good. For me, that time was when I was pregnant. When I was pregnant, I just couldn't deal. I let my Mom's calls go to voicemail, didn't feel bad about not making dinner, all that stuff.

The biggest step toward working through it is knowing that it can't last, so I think you're well on the way to getting over this eventually.

Julia@SometimesLucid said...

Wow! What a timely and relatable post. I feel like as long as I keep moving I don't need to confront my feelings and/or emotions.

I hope you go back and see someone. Even if it doesn't help 100% it will make up feel better.

won said...

Ahoe to the last line April.

I kept thinking as I was reading along how you sound so truly overwhelmed, something I know can and does happen to all of us.

And I kept willing you to just stay in the moment. That's when I read your last line.

I think that is so much of it right there. It is all so much! Always will be. So we ask ourselves, what do I have to do now or in the next moment?

I know you will get "there." One moment at a time...

MindyMom said...

Well April, I've been there a bit longer than 36 hours! I have the very same feelings you describe sometimes and I just have to shut down and not deal and not feel for a bit. I always get back to normal at some point but I do think it's OK to hit pause every now and then.

Jessica Gottlieb said...

You need to slow down. I invite you, and you decide if you can make it.

We'll get together another time, because trust me, I don't feel like leaving the house every day either.

jenn said...

I can relate to this. Sometimes I just get to a place where I don't care anymore. I do what is required and nothing else. Hope you feel better soon.

Shiona said...

I know how that goes. The whole political thing. I won't get started. That along with other personal stuff is causing me to be easily aggravated and morose. I hope I have the energy to blog tomorrow.