Monday, June 10, 2013

Not as together as I look

I may have been fooling some of you. I certainly had been fooling myself.

For most of the last 8-10 months, I've had this sense that I was doing alright. I felt like I'd finally gotten my legs under me as a single parent. I felt a little more 'with it' at work. I had a routine down that seemed to be working in terms of the logistics of running the Rhoads household post-Aimee. Then I met a great woman and began dating her. The road was not easy, but it felt like things were definitely on the consistently upward path.

But, maybe not as smoothly as I thought.

It all started last year with my unwillingness to go to sleep at a decent hour. I had horrible visions of Aimee's last moments whenever I went to bed, and so I took to waiting until 3am or later before I'd pry myself off the couch and crawl upstairs to my room. Essentially, I'd wait until I could no longer keep my eyes open before I'd attempt to sleep, because then I was out as soon as my head hit the pillow. Viola, no wrenching visions to contend with. Worked like a friggin' charm.

Except the pattern has never gone away, and chronic lack of sleep is extremely harmful to your body.

The result? My health is deteriorating, especially in the last few months. After spending most of my life as an extremely healthy person who didn't get sick very often. I have been sick for the majority of this year (including right now). I am putting on weight (a common symptom of lack of sleep), and I was already too heavy for my own good. I had the flu for the first time earlier this year, every cold I get now is much worse than they used to be, and my digestive system has been such a disaster that my doctor tested me for five different conditions including Celiac Disease (thankfully all came back negative).

It's not just health. Things I used to be consistently on top of are now slipping. Two days ago I discovered the bill for my homeowner's insurance. It was due two months ago. Damn good thing the house didn't burn down last month. I NEVER paid bills late. Ever. And I tracked expenses, followed a budget, and balanced my checking account several times a month. At this moment, I haven't balanced my checking account since early April, and I haven't yet kept my spending under my income since Aimee died.

All of these problems can be fixed by the application of some simple self-discipline. Get more sleep, eat better, get more exercise, and watch my motivation, concentration, etc improve, and so on. Just one problem.

I have no self discipline right now.

Here's a great example. When I talked to my girlfriend on the phone earlier, I told her I'd be in bed by midnight (she's trying to encourage me and, at my request, hold me at least somewhat accountable). What time is it as I sit here and write this? 1:12am.

I know I don't have any excuses, but I can't seem to break out of this cycle.


  1. Don't worry Pat! I think the first step to change is to identify what could be changed and admitting you have things to work on. Then you can get to work on it. You're halfway there! - Emily Thousand

  2. I agree with Emily. Take it one step at a time. I know on that day your whole life and world changed in one horrific moment. And for a while it seemed as your whole world was frozen in time, that is was a bad dream. It takes time to get back in the routine you use to be in. Your eating sleeping, and bill paying habits will all fall back in to place. You have great friends and family here for you. Keep your head up.

  3. I can understand how overwhelming your new life is. Think about it, your "workload" has doubled. You used to have a partner to share everything from paperwork to meal prep to errands to childcare. You are now doing everything on your own - for the household, for your child, for your life. Sure, lots of single parents deal with this everyday, but you have the added burden of grief keeping you up at night, and a strong desire to have things run as smoothly as they once did, for the sake of your child. Parents who have been single from the beginning, or find themselves there after the end of an unsupportive marriage, may not set the bar so high, and are more used to letting things slide.

    Apart from making sure the bills are paid (especially insurance!), and you don't lose your job, you are right that the next step is addressing your health. Remember the graphic in the airplane about putting your own oxygen mask on before you put one on your child? That's right. In order to be there for Rowan in the long run, you have to keep yourself well. Do whatever it takes.

    Do you have a YMCA membership? Maybe you could sign Rowan up for an activity there, and while she is entertained, you can clock some miles on the treadmill.

    Summer is coming. Outdoor time is calling. I have a feeling you'll be feeling stronger real soon. I'm praying for you.

  4. Still think you're an awesome dad and still praying for you! AND, during the river flood in Puyallup a couple years ago, Tony and I could not for the life of us remember if we had paid the insurance on the Washington house. What's worse? We couldn't recall who it was even insured with! Hopefully writing this blog post helped relieve a bit of frustration and helped you to identify what you need to work on. But be gentle on yourself...Order will return to your life, healthy habits will appear again, the weight will come just may take time to regain the will and self discipline you're used to...