The past week has been just like many others…simply overwhelming. It is amazing to me that time and time again, I am able to realize that God puts random people in my life for my better good. When I first enrolled into graduate school, I was determined yet afraid. All of my friends had already obtained their credentials from graduate school so I felt isolated when I began school. To be honest I feel kind of isolated all the time lately. It seems that my inner circle as supportive as ever can’t really identify how and why I feel….off these days. So, when I began my grad career in an even more isolated form via online…I was not sure exactly how this would all work out. I began to utilize the supports of financial and academic advisors to ease my transition from overworked social worker in crisis mode daily to a student….in crisis mode…working full time with a newborn. I have developed a pretty awesome relationship with my academic advisor who just seems to be intrigued by me…and my story. He is careful to listen and slow to speak. Allowing me to truly vent about anything, because after all everything is connected and comes full circle.
The past week I felt myself breaking down….my energy being sucked out of me and my body quickly following suit. I realized that every time I combed my hair clumps of hair would fall out… no matter how hard I smiled…it just didn’t feel right. There were never-ending migraines with nausea. Restless nights, erratic appetites and jittery hands. Over all, I was overwhelmed with the idea of being overwhelmed…. and I was angry at myself. Everyday that the tension in my body grew I became more upset with ME. I felt that this time period should be OVER. I should not still be dealing with post partum, after all my daughter is 6 months old. I should be feeling better. I should be happier…. my daughter and I are flourishing in spite of the ups and downs of finances and the struggles of single motherhood. I should be okay with my new role as a parent…. not STILL frustrate about doing it along. I was upset that I was upset. I started to just cry day in and out…mopped around my house and seemed to lack direction in making myself feel better. Despite feeling this way, I was exhaustedly ensuring that no one knew why I felt this way. I would muster all my energy and fake my way through meetings with pageant smiles and mindless chatter. I never missed a homework assignment….never missed a day of work….oh the critic!
I had been contemplating running away…or seeking out help. I called both my spiritual and secular therapist to make psych appointments…enlisted supports to take Erilyn for a day or two….I went into social work mode, oh but that was just scratching the surface. While driving and making all these arrangements I received a phone call from no one other than my beloved academic advisor to just “check in on ya” before I knew it I just had diarrhea of the mouth…I admitted all the things I had hidden and was ashamed to admit. I told him how angry I was at myself when he told me to STOP!!!!! He said this doesn’t sound like you….this sounds like your critic. The critic is that voice in your head telling you that you SHOULD be doing more even though you’re already exhausted yourself. The critic could care less about what you have accomplished despite difficulties, because the critic wants what it wants…CONTROL! I sat and thought….well he could be onto something here. I thought about how much energy I was putting into beating my own self up knowing that I had no business doing so. I realized that the motivation behind such behavior was nobody other than my nosey critic who keeps her opinion in everything. Once I identified my critic, I assessed that she means me no well. Though I identify with her desire to “make me the best” the best is not realistic. I had to realize that I had to be stronger than my critic and silence it…or better yet tell her, ” Look Ma’am… I am doing the best I can do…have a seat.” My advisor charged me to tell the critic aloud every time to HAVE A SEAT!!!! I decided that I will have to do this more often because I need to put more energy into making me healthy. I realized that my critic though loud and obnoxious has become quite tame after the acknowledgement that she exists. I have yet to truly silence her but with the enlistment of help it will b easier to simpky tell her to shut the entire help up. I will tell her i love her but im doing the BEST i can though it feels like im not….. i will simply learn to ignore her beautiful yet annoying voice.