Wednesday, September 05, 2018

overload/overwhelm

Dawn commented on my last post, and the end of her comment read:

"I am wondering how you handle overload/overwhelm. I tend to shut down and then nothing gets done. Do you have ways to climb out of that?"

Oh Dawn.

Good timing.

Because I am definitely in that zone, right here, right now.  I honestly was hyperventilating at work today, staring at my inboxes (yes plural; there's the electronic medical record where we get results and patient/staff questions, and there's my outlook work email, and admittedly I had my gmail open at some points too) and gazing at the multitude of meetings ahead in my outlook calendar.  Every day seems to have some sort of logistical challenge built into it -- like - I have a meeting at 3:30, but it's in another building I have to drive to, and a 12:30 meeting but an 11:30 patient who is allowed to come up to 30 minutes late and be seen . . . etc, etc, etc.  Add in the pumping, which I am basically obsessive/compulsive about because I seem to produce just enough and only with great effort . . . 

Also, add in:
- chronic work stress from clinical duties (unfortunately, certain things do not seem to be getting less stressful with time)
- residency responsibilities (which seem to be exponentially increasing - and I DO have time blocked off for them, but it's hard to really keep things compartmentalized and I feel like I am just getting more behind every day)
- the teaching (and coordination of med students), which I do not have the time to prepare for the way I would like
- the fact that I have to coordinate childcare coverage for some days our nanny will be out soon (I have multiple options, but none will be stress-free)
- workouts (because honestly without them I feel even more on edge)
- the podcast (though thankfully we've had a bit of a break due to some strategically pre-recorded episodes!)
- this blog 
- new school year for A&C
- multiple pages of worksheets and @$*@#! BOOK REPORTS every week in first grade 
- G's extra appointments for her blasted helmet
- the pumping (yes, I know I already mentioned it)
- anxiety ABOUT the pumping
- SLEEP DEPRIVATION because G is still not sleeping through the night (typically wakes 1-2x, I feed her, she goes back to sleep -- which I know is perfectly normal at her age and could be worse)

(PLEASE NOTE, after rereading this post I recognize this is all really very . . . low-level.  I have no real problems.  I have amazing help (from family, our nanny, my colleagues), healthy children, and no real stressors.  So, that's really important to note.  But I will say that I still am struggling a little.)

I had an attending during my training who had multiple children and at some point -- when they were young -- it seemed like she just sort of gave up.  It was infuriating to be her trainee at that point, to be honest.  I DO NOT WANT TO BE THIS ATTENDING. 

But I do feel like I am currently in a bit of a low point.   I recognize the pumping is temporary (down to less than 3 months!), and without it I will be less stressed.  But I stubbornly DO NOT want to give it up now; I honestly feel anger and a sense of oppression when I think about my 'right' to breastfeed G being taken away from me before I am ready (and having gone this long, I'd like to make it to my Dec 1 goal).  

I don't know what I am trying to say with this post.  In part, I guess I want everyone to know that I do NOT always have it all together, in case that was unclear.  I wanted to write out what feels difficult, so I can see that some of it is temporary.  And -- back to Dawn, and her question.  How can I -- we -- climb out?

My answer to her was that I often like to take some time to just slack, as much as possible, only to return stronger at a later date (this was sort of my mindset as I took most of August off of working out, for example).  The idea of "Low Power Mode" on the Happier Podcast resonated with me.  I also am trying to just focus on ONE thing at a time and not look too far ahead (unless I'm looking ahead to fun things next year, which is pleasant!).  Yet I am struggling to figure out what that could really look like right now.  

If you have ideas for me (or Dawn), please share.