Tuesday, February 01, 2011

And it better not be fake blood, either....

This blog may sound like a whine, but I don’t mean it to be. It’s just that I’m at the end of my rope, and the knot I’ve tied doesn’t feel real sturdy.

I’m in what I call “Blood and Fire Mode.” That pretty much means that unless something is actively on fire or there’s massive amounts of blood, I really can’t help you. My To Do list has reached critical mass, my calendar causes me to hyperventilate, and I can’t even face my inbox. I can’t make a list because it will only depress me – instead of getting a kick out of breaking down the task into things I can scratch off once I accomplish them, I’m left wondering where to start and is it even possible to break this down into organized steps?

This is a different feeling than that one I get when it’s three days before I leave for conference and there’s so! Much! To! Do! This is a feeling of dread that settles in my stomach. I’ve learned to recognize it over the last thirty-something years. I know myself. A meltdown is approaching.

I know it’s coming because I don’t want to check my email. Watching twenty messages download onto my computer doesn’t give me a thrill. I don’t really care what’s there, don’t want to face it, and I go surf blogs instead. Then, two hours later, I’m still just as far behind only now I feel really guilty for not using that time more productively. Then some fresh hell does ping into my inbox, and all I can do is roll my eyes before I go off to read blogs that make fun of Twilight.

If I try to make progress on the To Do list, there’s always something throwing a monkey wrench into the plans: people not returning my calls, a piece of paperwork that must be done before we can move to the next step – only that piece of paperwork is in Nebraska, and the only person who can fax it to me can’t find it, and even if she could, the person who needs to sign it is out on vacation until Thursday. Forward progress comes to a screeching halt, and the ripple effect screws everything else.

Meanwhile, the To Do list grows longer and more emails ping into my in box. Sigh.

Unfortunately, it’s not something I can rally the Playfriends around to get through. I can’t call in support troops. They’re already in place, holding the hill and drawing enemy fire while I muddle through. Someone told me it sounded like I was on the edge of Depression, so I asked Counselor Shelley about it. Not only did she not offer me drugs (or sympathy, for that matter; free BFF counseling lacks nice “So-how- does-that-make-you-feel?” statements), she found no signs of depression. Overwhelmed? Maybe. Stressed? Probably. Depressed? No.

No way out but through, so get moving, kiddo. (Remind me to find a more sympathetic counselor. I’d add it to my To Do list, but…)

So Blood and Fire Mode is really a self-protection mode. In a way, it’s good, because it allows me to focus on what I *need* to be doing, instead of being talked into making eight dozen cookies for the PTA bake sale. The PTA is neither on fire nor bleeding, so they don’t get a place on my to-do list at the moment. (And even if they were on fire or bleeding, the PTA is full of adults who know how to call 911, operate a fire extinguisher, and if necessary, tie a tourniquet. ) I get to prioritize my list without feeling guilty. I can ruthlessly decide that No, I don’t have the time (or the energy or the inclination) to drop everything and work on someone else’s problem. My plate is full, thankyouverymuch. Call me next month.

So, if you’re on fire or bleeding (Or under the age of ten and about to vomit), then make sure the subject line in your email clearly states that.

Does this make me sound like a raving, selfish bitch? Or have you gone into Blood and Fire Mode yourself?



Cheryl said...

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt...And I don't want to wear it. In your case I think you are like me - avoiding it because nothing about WORK is fun. All of it is work and there's nothing amusing about it. I have to make little lists for each day and pray I will get through it. Try that, set small goals - eat that elephant one bite at a time.

Okay so much for advice. I say it's okay to whine, makes me feel better any way. And, delegate - hand some of the menial tasks over to a minion (I don't have one but I keep hoping).

Hope you make it (I know you will!).

Jean Hovey said...

Make pan cookies. Two 9X13 pans will get you 8 dozen once they are cut. And you don't have to stand there and drop them or roll them out.

I been where you are but it's been a long time. One day I turned my ankle and my first thought was, "I hope I broke it so I can get some rest." I did not break my ankle but I started making changes that day. Which did not help that day. A year later, it was better.

Playground Monitor said...

Nope, not whiny at all. I am involved with two different organizations and hold multiple jobs with each. I need to look for a job, but I'm not sure when I'd fit it in right now. Add in wrangling with the federal government about my insurance and another visit to my attorney to see why I still haven't received certain things I'm supposed to be getting, and my stress levels have gone through the roof.

Oh... and it's tax time and I have to pull together all my stuff for my CPA. At least I have her. Let me say this aloud -- Heaven bless my CPA AKA my sister! I have some of the dumbest questions and she patiently answers them while working 100 hour weeks AND training for her first marathon, which will be on February 13.

Angel said...

I think I need to push myself into blood and fire mode, instead of continuing to try to handle everything myself. Unfortunately, it seems like a new crisis presents itself every week, and I see no end for the time being.

I've been trying to make my To Do lists more of a priority listing. Okay, you need to go to the doctor (son had strep), that goes to the top of the list. The Christmas tree still overflowing its box in my living room, but not hurting anyone, not as important.

Its working okay. I haven't cried today, much. :)


Problem Child said...

Y'all understand. Good.

It really is a protective mode. I feel kind of like a hedgehog -- sticking out the prickles to keep everything else at bay.

Instigator said...

Oh, I use Blood and Fire mode all the time. The girls know that when I'm working, if it doesn't involve blood and/or fire then it can wait until I'm done. I don't post the B&F warning very often, but when I do I mean it. And Zilla and the girls have learned. I do give them fair warning though...

Hoping things settle down for you soon, PC! I know you know this, but we're here if you need us.


robertsonreads said...

Good luck sister!

Lately here at the school it has been B&F for me. Why do you think I have not got to visit like I should??? I so look forward to spring break when I can take a few days of vacation and not feel guilty.