Monday, March 29, 2010
Turning the Coin Over
First day of Spring Break. An entire week with my girls, starting out with playdates and a birthday party and ending with a long stretch of free time to hang out and shop for my sister's baby-girl-to-be. Eve is downstairs plotting out her novel on the kitchen computer, Lola's enjoying time with SpongeBob and I'm lounging under the covers, snug in the soft flannel with a 12 pound cat on my chest. As my fingers twine through her thick, velvety fur and she rumbles appreciatively my thoughts turn to the past two weeks.
I know I'm in trouble when I can't even hear my own instincts. For the past two weeks, it's been a struggle to make any decision simply because I don't feel that I can trust myself. I'm so afraid to mess up that I'm paralyzed. Instead, I've been focused on little inconsequential things like setting out fresh seed for the robins and chickadees and jays who have popped up with the sunshine, nectar for the hummingbirds, and throwing the ball for the dog who has a serious case of Spring Fever. Rather than planning meals for a week and shopping once, I've been flying by the seat of my pants, visiting the grocery store nearly every day and throwing together meals as they come up.
Friday night we made the final decision about where Eve will go to school next year and it was such a relief. I'm determined to not look back or second-guess. We went with our hearts and that has to be good enough. Saturday morning the girls and I met friends to walk in a 5K to raise money for local kids with special needs. Eve whined a bit, Lola was exasperated with how slow the rest of us were, and it turns out that starting the day like that was the perfect balm for my self-doubt. Walking with Lola's teacher and her kids, meeting up with Eve's old classmate who is still as-yet undiagnosed but a sunny presence, and running in to the deaf-mute teenager who has taught the girls sign language since they were five was pure bliss. The weather was perfect, the fair that followed the walk was fun for the kids, and we all went home feeling good about ourselves.
As my antidepressants begin to clear the dark fog in my head I find that I am increasingly able to turn my thoughts outward. As I spend time with my therapist I am increasingly able to find perspective. Rhythmically rubbing the cat's neck, I came to some clarity. Most of my days in the past weeks have been characterized by avoidance tactics, what I've come to know as "loss aversion." My decisions have been made on the basis of the principle of the lesser of two evils. Instead of thinking about what I want, I've been worried about avoiding the outcome I don't want. No wonder I can't find my instincts. My instincts are positive. They are intentional.
I need to get back in to the habit of thinking about what I want and giving myself permission to want. Recognizing that I deserve to have desires and wishes, too, and act on them. Then I can begin to feel better about my decisions.