Up down turn it around

OH DUDES, today has been a feral one indeed. I could feel it brewing yesterday and put it down to hormones and (yet again) not enough sleep. So last night I got enough sleep but today I was as cranky as all get out.

I kept replaying parts of a conversation I had with someone the other week, the parts where they said to me some major things had to change in my life because I could not maintain this level of stress and you know, live. I agreed but internally was thinking, ‘it’s just a phase, life is always hard with pre-school children then couple that with Oscar and impending surgery and blah de blah blahs’.

Then the bank rang with a ‘courtesy’ call to put money in the account or else – by 1.30. Which I did and when I rang then to tell them I’d done so at 1.20 they had already dishonoured the two direct debits that were meant to go out. Let’s just say that I raised my voice. And when she said they didn’t have to give us the courtesy call at all I kind of raised it and started sobbing. In the car. In the carpark at Warringah Mall. What can I say, I am nothing if not classy. I mean, why the fuck bother to give someone a courtesy call with a grace period if you’re then going to go and ignore that grace period anyway? Anyway, then I rang Chef and left a sobbing snotty melodramatic catastrophising ‘I can’t do this anymore’ voicemail. Because apart from being classy I am generous. To a fault.

Oh, and I’m fat. Which is actually stressing me out more than the bank balance (or lack thereof). Even the fat jeans are tight. G’AH.

So look, I want your input. What have you done when the going got so tough you just couldn’t stand it anymore. Did you quit your job? Did you get a job? Did you slam some doors, tighten the belt, sigh a lot, start drinking?

Tell me, share the blood, guts and gore of it all.

Onward!

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  • Mrs Woog

    My skinny jeans are at vinnies, my comfy jeans do not fit, my fat jeans are like leggings.

    When I cannot stand it anymore, I plan things to look forward to.

    xo

  • kim at allconsuming

    It's the muffin top that is slaying me. I mean, it is just horrific.

    But the planning things to look forward to? That I can do. And a great idea.

  • 74 Lime Lane

    I cry, then I usually drink. Can't imagine that's that helpful though 🙂
    Misery loves comapany? ~ if it make you feel any better I haven't done my taxes yet, for 2008-2009. Still in one big chaotic box …

  • Anonymous

    I wear tracksuit pants & console my self with a big lemon lime & bitters!
    Siobhan

  • fifi

    I walked in to the office and quit on the spot. went home, cried, walked around in a daze.

    I am stiil soundly abused for walking out of my job and "giving up" on everything else.

    I was quite broken at the time. Then good things came. I'm pretty stressed now, but I can deal with it.

    It gets better.

    and I'm fat too. fatty fat fat. I was about 100 m from you. You could have come and cried at me.

  • Alex

    As sappy as this sounds, I just read a book for book club (I know!!) called the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, I kind of had to read it because the author is called Gretchen and that just made me laugh plus I just don't get time to read otherwise.

    I was recently having a 'it's all a big pile of poo day and I'm fed up and it's like Groundhog Day without the Hollywood budget'.

    Anyhoo, friend suggested this for book club, which is the only book I get time to read each month. Sort of sappy, some interesting, some totally pants but all stuff you know anyway in your logical part of the brain but good to read and be reaffirmed kind of thing. And I am not a self-help kind of gal usually.

    So, long blathering story short, I am now walking early in the morning a few times a week – and I am not a morning person but it's so quiet and calm and I get to listen to my iPod. THen at least I feel marginally virtuous for the day and it actually does lift my spirits.

    Blather over now. But worth a peek.

  • Janet

    Um, totally nerdy but I rock the list. Crossing even the most minor thing of a list (even if it's one thing a week) makes me feel better.

    Also some new jeans. Wearing uncomfortable jeans all day would just shit me. I like target big lady (don't know whether you are plus sized enough for them but I find they are a good fit).

    Then a good drinking/baking/whatever session.Or whatever it takes for you to get through it.

  • Janet

    Oh and blogging – that would get me through it too!

    And I might cry.

    Then drink.

  • Anonymous

    Oh honey, been there done that many many times.
    I live in a state of depression, sometimes is slightly better but most of the time I am down and whatnot.
    I find relief going to the gym where I can kick and punch and generally release all the anger and stress. I'm a physical person.
    Alcohol helps a lot, but not around our waistline so think about that too.
    As baking, which a love …
    Anyway, I'm hugging you tight.
    Paola

  • blackbird

    Drink.
    Gnash teeth.
    Cigarettes!
    (Oh, yes, I'm afraid so.)
    I got a job, but my boys are grown. Go to the op shop and pick up some jeans that fit you.
    I remember once sobbing on the phone to K WHILE HE WAS ON LOCATION IN THE PHILIPPINES. He just let me rant and then I felt better.
    As you've done the equivalent of that I'll say that I am sending you hugs.
    (Oh, and, if I were you? I'd stop beating myself up re waistline. You can focus on that MUCH LATER.)

  • ThirdCat

    yes, well, whatever you do, when Chef comes home and says, 'We could move to Abu Dhabi' do not say yes. It won't even solve your financial issues.

    For me, the answer has been to cut it right back. One or two or – at the most three – things, and for six months everything else has to wait. I chose exercise and children. Actually at first I chose wine and gin. Do not do this either. AFter that, I chose exercise and children.

    Getting a job will help in some ways, make things worse in others.

    For what it's worth, I really do think you're rather amazing.

  • Carey

    I also recently finished The Happiness Project and found it very enlightening, thought provoking, and helpful. There have been times when the stress and pressure is too much and at those times what has helped me is checking off items on the to do list, asking for help on those things I can't or don't have the energy for, and I do something that I love and revel in that happiness. Good luck to you and find the joy in anything you can – it is often all you can do until it gets better

  • kurrabikid

    Well, there are lots of fantastic suggestions here. I don't know if mine will be of any use to you, but here's what works for me when I feel the way you do right now.

    I exercise. This is a revelation to me – call me a slow learner, but while I have known for a long time about the powers of exercise it's only been this year that I have truly EXERCISED. Feeling frustrated at how housebound I was with the kids earlier this year, I went to Salvos, spent $25 on an exercise bike. I use it for 20 mins a day. I go as hard as I can, and zone out when I can. This is my only real 'me time'. The result is a couple of kilos off (without dieting), far better mood, and much improved sleep. At home, no-one can laugh at you exercising in your PJs (as I do). Well, they can but who cares…!

    The other thing that worked for me was looking for little ways 'out'. Here's how I empowered myself a bit. I sold a couple of bits and pieces on eBay. Seriously, before you know it you've got $100 or whatever to knock off a bill. I also put some TLC into my garden and got some good vegies going. Saves a surprising amount of $ and is of course very satisfying.

    I also joined the library. Again, I may be a slow learner, but – wow – these days you can order in any book you want from your home computer (at our library anyway). I love that. Escapism at its finest and cheapest…!

    Anyhow, you may roll your eyes at all the above. Just thought I'd throw it in.

  • Anonymous

    1) I try to get some morning sun every day. I don't know why, but it helps me. (Double the pleasure if I'm hanging my laundry outside. Weird, I know.)
    2) I love my beer-thirty, but too much can end up making me sad.
    3) HUGS! MASSAGES! SEX! (releases oxytocin)
    4) Something—anything—that makes for a good laugh.
    5) I second the exercise, especially cardio for happy endorphins.
    6) When all else fails, I "step sideways" and ditch my routine, shake things up a bit. Drive a different route, have breakfast for dinner, go out of town—WHATEVER. Shake things up.

    Good luck. You are much loved, you know!

    J, off to start beer-thirty

  • fifi

    I forgot to mention the obious: swim. hard and long. In the sea. Especially today, its very flat, very warm, and the sun is out.

  • Elizabeth

    These are all such great suggestions. What worked for me: I made a budget and stuck to it, even when it was boring boring and more boring. I worked some more hours and that meant putting the children into care for 2 days but it bought in much needed $. I got rid of our credit card and would never get another one as the interest rate is beyond hideous. I got more exercise and dropped 10kg and cut back on alcohol. My list sounds boring and so not fun but to get out of debt, have some control over our finances and feel good about myself is liberating. Good luck and take care.

  • Duyvken

    Hi love,
    Sorry you are having a tough time. There are some good suggestions up there! I have a few 'tips' but they're rather dull so you might want to start yawning now so that you're ahead of the game.
    1. I only opened mail ONCE A WEEK. Thursday was mail day. I'd sit down, open up the bills we had no money to pay, shift the paperwork around paying what was most urgent, writing PAID 8.8.2004 on it with a big flourish and then filing it. Filing those suckers was ridiculously satisfying.
    2. We consolidated the debts so that we had only 1 repayment to make each month. We kept one credit card for convenience and to cope with unexpected expenses but were very honest about its use. If you paid for something with the credit card you then transferred the money to pay it off as soon as you got home. The only things that remained on the card were large purchases like car servicing, unexpected medical expenses, etc.
    3. We looked at where we were spending money and cut out extras. We borrowed books from the library rather than buying them, the kids did a 4 day intensive swim programme in the summer rather than lessons all year, etc, etc.
    4. Resist the urge to hold on to everything and de-clutter a bit. Feeling more in control of the space around me helped me feel more in control generally.
    5. Pick up some freelance work if you can. There's a lot on your plate at the moment and returning to part-time or full-time work may not be the right decision right now. Don't beat yourself up it, just accept it and move onto what you can do to earn some extra cash. I sold a bunch of stuff on ebay and while none of it was worth very much being able to pay $100 off our debt every now and again was very satisfying.
    5. Relish the things that you love to do and make space and money for them. Baking? Stitching? Set a reasonable budget for it but continue to enjoy these things and NEVER feel bad about it.
    6. Recognise when you are feeling frantic (you know when that internal accelerator is pressed and the whirring begins one unexpected bill can turn into an inner dialogue about not travelling the world and living life as you'd imagined it) and be gentle with yourself. It is tempting to pretend to those close to you that none of this is happening but I don't think it's wise. Choose a few friends and be open and honest with them about your situation. Everyone has, or has had, issues around money and they'll probably be very sympathetic. It eases the mental burden quite a lot.
    6. We had one of those daggy thermometer drawings on the fridge and coloured it in little by little until we were debt-free. It feels VERY good to get the red pencil out and colour in just a smidge more every few weeks. It also allowed the kids to see that we had good reason to be cautious with our spending and showed them that we were making progress.
    7. I avoided activities that put me in money spending situations. Ths shops were very dull because, even though I didn't need anything, being surrounded by consumption throws a spotlight on your lack of spending money. I still don't go to the shops often other than to do the grocery shopping. I seem to have lost the knack.
    8. There will always be other people who, on their own paths through life, seem to have more, do more, etc but make an effort to concentrate on your life and family. Celebrate what you and Chef have built, continue to nurture it, take care of one another and remember that you have many reasons to smile.
    9. BABY STEPS GET YOU THERE EVENTUALLY.

    I love exercise and it definitely helps my mood but people find bliss in all different place so find yours (not in that bottle of gin, dear) and make the most of it.

    lots of love from me,
    A

  • Kill

    Prayer my dear – reconnect, be specific, no airy fairy 'please help me' stuff but nut out exactly what you want God to help you with and lay it on Him. It will help you gain clarity too. 🙂

  • Stomper Girl

    Put the music on REALLY loud. Sing at top of lungs. Or shake your groove thang. For quick release of tension. Long term money shit though probably not solved so much by this. I have a separate (so-called) savings account which I force us both to direct debit to each fortnight. It's actually my bail-us-out of trouble fund. It is also the one all the direct debits come out of because it does not zero out like my normal one does.

  • Suse

    I think the idea of setting some little treats ahead of you in the future to look forward to is a great way of coping.

    So too all those sensible strategies for saving and paying off the debt that Duyvken wrote.

    Also, go to the op shop for clothes, footy boots, books, fabric etc, don't go near the supermarket or shops after school or any time when you have the kids with you, and talk some more with that ex employer about more freelance work. I wouldn't recommend going back to work, not with two preschoolers and everything else on your plate. You tried that before, remember?

    Swim more, sit on the computer less.

  • Mary

    That sun thing is a good tip – last year I had all my bloods done and the thing I was severely lacking was Vitamin D! So sun on arms and face daily was recommended by the doctor. It also was apparently responsible (in part) for my ongoing sadness.

    A friend and I are signing up for City to Surf – just to walk it mind you – but as a goal – otherwise I would give up exercise YET AGAIN…

    I also want to exercise regularly so I can eat what I want. Sick of the eating/weight guilt thing.

    Re money – how gorgeous and practical is our Duyvken? I could not add to that.

    Oh this wonderful blogging world – what loving advice you have received..

  • ul

    Mine is a combination of opposites.

    First, digging out a favourite movie that always makes you a bit weepy, add a glass of wine (or 2, or 3), a darkened room, and cry your eyes out. It's a great release while being focused on something else.

    Second, the exercise thing many others have suggested. It helps take your mind off all the other things, and as a side benefit helps with the weight. But the main purpose is to take your mind off the other stuff and give you some alone time. The weight loss is a bonus.

  • Uli

    That last comment was from me. Stupid early hitting of the return button!

  • Jodie

    I have nothing to add but I am here and I am hearing you….and just wishing it were better.

    fat lot of stupid use I am !