I actually have a job, a “real” job, with a supervisor even, that pays by the hour. Thank God this is one of those online “work when you’re available” type of jobs, because otherwise I would so be fired. As it is, I feel like I stay in hot water, because even though I’m good at what I do (tutoring, in case you wondered) I rarely have the time to sit down and do it.
It’s not like updating the blog, or quickly checking out twitter, or even occasionally getting to dash out a few words of a story. I can start and stop those things at will. When I’m tutoring, I can’t put it down and walk away if something happens. If one of the boys hurts himself, or the three year old needs to go potty (still working on that…) or if I have to refill a drink, or fix breakfast/lunch/snack… if I’m tutoring at that time, I have to put the kids on hold until I’m done, which could be 5 minutes or 50 minutes. It is unfair to my kids. It is unfair to my students.
When I first got the tutoring job the older two boys were still in the public school system, and the youngest one still took a daily two hour nap. I was able to set aside those two hours for tutoring every day. But, as it always happens, things changed.
In case I haven’t mentioned it before now, I homeschool the boys. There are three of them, current ages 9, 6, and 3. When you hear kids joke that at school all they learn is how to pass standardized tests, I’ve discovered that a lot of the time they actually aren’t joking. That’s true for here, at least. So that plus other reasons led us down the homeschool path.
And it’s been an adventure. They are learning and I am, too. We are also learning, slowly but surely, how to get along better as a family. And we all are so less stressed now. Instead of, “memorize this and we’ll test you on it,” now it’s “lets work on this until you understand it.”
While my husband is at work, the days are often hectic and typically full. So working during the day is something of an impossibility. I’ve tried it, and it’s always turned into me getting frustrated, yelling at the boys, “I’m trying to work!” and not accomplishing much except for putting everyone in an ill mood. As I mentioned, it’s unfair to all parties.
I’ve tried tutoring at night. That creates a whole other type of chaos in my life. The name of my blog is “Slightly Less Than Insane” for good reason. I deal with a variety of problems including, but probably not limited to: depression, seasonal affective disorder, anxiety, stress and anger management, mild dyslexia (both visual and auditory), diminished depth perception, insomnia, nightmare disorder, and trauma-induced hyperawareness, on top of other health issues including vertigo, low blood sugar, endometriosis, and possibly fibromyalgia. (I say possibly on the last because the only rheumatologist my insurance seemed to cover in a 50 mile radius was a complete ass when I had a consult with him and acted like someone my age surely couldn’t have that much daily pain. So he said I “could” have fibro, sent me home with a pamphlet, and basically just said “good luck.” Which pissed me off severely. And it’s possible that some of the fibro-like pain could be caused by endo. But until such a time that the endo is bad enough for me to have surgery, that possibility goes untested.)
Also, I say I “deal with” and not “suffer from” these problems for two reasons: 1) if I get a decent amount of good sleep, at least six or seven hours where I don’t wake up every hour from a nightmare (and yes, if I start the nightmare cycle, I literally have at least one every hour, I’ve been able to time them because they completely wake me), then I have the mental and emotional facilities to push through everything else throughout the day.
2) I don’t like to say I suffer, because when I do get good sleep, I can manage. And while just getting through each day is by no means a perfect solution, I know, and know of, people who legitimately suffer 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with depression, or bi-polar disorder, or other debilitating mental illnesses.
All of that being said: I have my insomnia routine. If you’ve dealt with long term insomnia, you know what I’m talking about. Some people meditate, do yoga, read, visualize a peaceful scene…. Mine is to spend between 1-3 hours every night with my headphones on, music blaring, while I am damned-near chain smoking. This is the best method I’ve found, especially since I’m apparently immune to sleep meds.
Yes I am aware than smoking can, in general, cause sleeping problems. However I have smoked off and on for nearly two decades. Even my sleep therapist agrees that if it works, don’t change it. And I did quit smoking for a few months last year, I slept like shit.
But, in my routine, I literally drive the stress of the day and of life in general out of my brain. It may seem to some like a waste of a few hours, but if I don’t do it, I get crap sleep full of awful nightmares, and I am functionally worthless the next day. All of those things, the depression, the anxiety, the stress, all of that overwhelms me. The dyslexia amps up because I can’t focus enough on what I’m reading/listening to. The hyperawareness skyrockets, so that I’m hearing all these sounds, but can’t figure out what they are saying. Synesthesia joins the party, and every loud sound (and every sound is loud with hyperawareness) causes a light flash that blinds me for a few seconds.
Have you ever seen someone have a panic attack in a lethargic state? It’s… interesting.
All of that is to say: tutoring at night doesn’t work for me.
I think I’m going to have to just give that up for now. I might try to do some freelance editing (any author friends looking to hire an editor, keep me in mind!), or dig up some of my old work and self-publish it on Amazon, or even put a Zazzle thing on the blog, and upload some original designs or something.
I don’t know. I’m not sure if this post even has a point, but it’s nice to get to talk this out. So, thanks for reading. 🙂
P.S. for those interested: this post took at least four different sessions to put together, some of it typed while cooking dinner between stirs.
Also, I should probably point out that we don’t smoke in the house, before someone blasts me for that…
Mandi Rei Serra (@MandiReiSerra) said:
Panic attacks suck. Insomnia sucks. So does the super power of not succumbing to sleep meds. After I had my eldest, my glucose levels skyrocketed (15 mins after birth, 358 OMG. Felt oh so very not special when I got the IV of insulin.) and I couldn’t sleep. Couldn’t nap. They gave me ambien… did not work. Knocked me out for an hour. “Oh, you’re awake?” “Uh, yeah.”
It’s hard when work and personal life coincide for twenty-four hours as a habitual thing. Can be incredibly frustrating, but then there are the golden moments, brief as they are, which makes it worthwhile.