Dead Silence on the Other End

I keep finding myself at this place where I am so overwhelmed with life that I don’t know which direction I should look or if I should be looking up or down or which bright light I should be following.

Maybe for the first time I don’t feel like I am trapped inside a dark tunnel.  And the stimulus of freedom is stifling.

Like – I don’t know what to do with the choices.

On the other hand, as I’ve been out exploring the world without the safety net of school work and dissertation writing and all the other constraints that have surrounded me, I’ve discovered some things about myself.

Principally, I really struggle playing by the rules.  And not because I don’t respect the rules or believe in the value of having a structure to follow – but because I don’t think within traditional confines.

And when I have to work within designated boxes, I shut down.

I shut down to the point where I feel shackled to a stake driven deeply into a hard earth that keeps me from moving forward in life.

And that is where I am.


And burnt out.

I’ve reached this new place of exhaustion that I’m not quite sure what to do with.

And with the exhaustion is this pressing anxiety that I’m not doing enough.

Even though I rarely find a moment in the day that I”m not working or raising 3 kids that seem to do anything and everything to make my day a bit longer and tiring.

It seems like everyone I talk to is on this intentional plan to somewhere.  Plans for careers and jobs and houses and decorating and events and parties and shopping and the list goes on.

Perhaps because the people who I seem to spend the most time with are living their version of the perfect suburban life with a house and a husband and 2.5 children eating organic foods and drinking organic green juice.

Everyone busy doing something important loving their lives and the wonderful impact they have on their worlds.

And then there is me.

So grossly overwhelmed with everything that I have hit a point where I can’t do anything.

So the piles of work grow taller because 8pm comes along and the kids are finally in bed and I’m too damn tired to care.

Too tired.

And apathetic because all this doesn’t seem to add up to much.

It doesn’t open doors.

It doesn’t pay the bills.

It doesn’t make me feel good about how I spent the day or who I spent it with.

It’s life going through the motions.

Maybe it’s post-doctorate depression.  One psychologist once told me that after every major life event you go through a phase of “post-partum depression” and in some cases it is more severe than others.

Maybe that’s my problem.

I’ve spent nearly the last three years surviving…working toward this elusive goal of Ph.D.  Overcoming a debilitating divorce and raising three kids all at the same time.

It sucked.

It was hard.

I survived.

It was my handrail to life.

And I don’t have it anymore.

And I’m clearly not doing so well without it to hang on to.

Today was a rough day.

I spent all day trying to file the rough edges of life into a smooth, soft, and approachable reality.

The Handrail of My Life And it was one cluster fuck after another.

The world was against me.

And I fought on to a point of exhaustion.

By the time I put my kids to bed I turned into “ugly mommy” and wanted to disappear.

But, here I am.

Looking for a bit of calm that seems to reside in the spaces between the endless ramble of words I fill the pages with.

And maybe it helped.

Tomorrow is another day.

Another chance to find another handrail.

Another opportunity to be better.

Make better.

Find purpose.

Today wasn’t my day.

Perhaps it wasn’t meant to be.

I keep knocking on the door of tomorrow, but for now, there is nothing but dead silence on the other end.



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Living life live from the Candy Jar.
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9 Responses to Dead Silence on the Other End

  1. The pressure of the last three Phd years has been your anchor and now you are drifting without a rudder and you don’t know what to do with yourself. The doctor makes a good point. When you first took up your studies, that was t.o.u.g.h. Now that it’s over, this is another life change.

    Why do people who lose their jobs or retire feel lost? They no longer know who they are. They have lost their identify. You identified with the struggle of work, children and study. One of those identifiers is gone. You’ve lost your balance. You need time to regroup. :-D

  2. candidkay says:

    Here’s what does it for me: meditation. No lie. It’s hard–damn hard–to sit there. But, after awhile, your quiet inner voice is able to come through–and monkey mind shuts up for a few mins. at a time. Which is where you’re led to your plan. No quiet inner voice to drown out the others–no plan. At least, that’s the way it works for me. The muse needs a space to enter:).

    • I do need to meditate.

      Part of my problem…I think…is that I have been avoiding my entire yoga practice as well….so, I have all these pieces of crazy taking over my brain…and never doing anything to silence them and focus them. I need to go back to yoga. And in that return, activate a practice of meditation. You’re right.

      Thank you <3

  3. As my friend Tess said, you lost an anchor and now you are circling this great huge drain called “who the hell am I now”. When you add to this, divorce and your shedding of other emotional baggage, well this is what is left; “now what the fuck do I do with myself and who the hell am I?”

    Believe me, I am right there with you. So pick one or two things that you know make you feel better. Just one or two. Ignore the rest for now.

    I love you. You have my number, call if you want to talk.

    • You’re right.
      I’m confused.

      I wish I had a million dollars so I could treat us to week retreat somewhere to ‘find ourselves’ together. Seems like the BEST IDEA ever.

      Until then…my the blogosphere…and maybe a phone call…keep us trekking through this together.

      <3 <3 <3

  4. alainadbn says:

    A week before xmas 6 years ago my mothers home flooded. My sister was in town and we left for the movies and returned 3 hours later to water ankle deep in half of the first floor. The supply line in the upstairs bathroom had burst. This was the first day of the rest of my life, up to and sometimes including yesterday, today and tomorrow.
    I did what I always do and pulled up my sleeves and took over, little did I know that not only was I taking over the reconstruction of my mothers home but within 4 months of that moment she would be initially diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and 6 months later that diagnosis would be changed to the extremely rare and terminal MSA, Multiple Systems Atrophy, and I would become instant caregiver.
    I’m not even going to address the life I had outside of mine and my mothers relationship in this tale other than to say that I have three children and at the time had a husband who never did anything to make my life any easier.
    From first diagnosis of Parkinson’s to April of 2011 I raised my kids by telephone and did everything I could to give my mother everything she needed. Did I mention that I was separated from her and my two younger sisters at 12, they were 10 and 8, by 1000 miles because of my choice to separate our family and stay with my father. I had my sleeves rolled up the whole time.
    The night she died was without a doubt the most horrifying experience of my life, all I can say is that sitting at the beside of someone you love but someone who has never known a day of peace in their life and watching them fight with every breath not to go to a place that is as unknown as the tomorrows of their life is something know one should ever experience, on either side really.
    I had to keep the sleeves rolled up and pushed through, alone, of course.
    6 months later I was gutting and opening a restaurant. I swung the hammer, ran the wire, laid the pipe, set the tile and ran the saw. Then I created the menu, prepped the food and did everything that it takes to open and run a business all by myself, no right hand (first and biggest mistake) with dreams of finally making myself happy.
    It was within 8 months of this that that moment in time finally came. I was sitting on the couch after a night of trying to build another section of bar in hopes that that would save my business, I had just asked him for a couple of hours of help that night before, he said yes but with an agenda, to be as mean and nasty and hateful to me as he possibly could and he did just that. So when I asked him that morning why and the yelling started, that script of how bad I was and how know one liked me and how everything was all my fault, a voice finally appeared in my head that had been whispering before then, it was shouting now “Get the fuck out of here NOW! before that other guy who lives here in your head wins and you do put that gun to your head and pull the trigger!” And I listened, I heard that voice loud and clear and knew the next one was gonna be that other guy. I picked up the phone and left that moment. Hysteria ensued. Within a month of then I was closing the doors to my restaurant, Dec 30, and on January 3 it was nervous breakdown time after quickly becoming addicted to todays mothers little helped Colonopin and a likening to Jack Daniels.

    This is quite a summary of the last 6 years and the holes are the juiciest part. My point is now I sit paralyzed, with a roof over my head, finally a secured relationship with my children (sporadically with my son who is now 16 and a real pain in the ass at times) no other family to speak of, (mental illness is an exhausting thing to live with in a family) no job and a level of fear that is turning me into a hermit. My handrail is gone as well. I don’t know how to or even want to roll my sleeves up right now. This morning I met with a woman that I myself have pursued during my “Daring Greatly” moments in hopes of a mutual business venture and was an unfocused, insecure idiot. I couldn’t have been further away from Daring Greatly” and I can’t believe I did that to myself, but I did. I have nothing to grab ahold of. I truly am like a new born baby, except with out a mother or a father or a family or even a home(I’ve never really had any roots) and while it could potentially be the greatest opportunity of my life I am frozen and I’m not sure in what. I do see and embrace the good parts and I very consciously am present on a good day but it does not take long to quickly jump in my car and retreat in fear of possibly having to deal with something or someone or life itself.

  5. First.
    I love you. And am in tears and inspired all at the same time. Your story is more than most people can deal with and, you said it best with, “the holes are the juciest part”– This begs the question of how do we survive our own trauma and learn how to move on. Detachment tells us to move on, perhaps learning from the experience, but from a place of separation…at least on an emotional level. But, detachment is nearly impossible when it means separating yourself completely from everything you know and everything you do that makes you who you are. It’s hard to be detached from events that teach us our self-concept and make our identity. And Fear. Fear.
    How can we not look fear in the face without feeling doom. I have these moments of unfiltered bravery where I can drink in the world and tell everyone who gets in my way to fuck-off if they aren’t there to help me.
    But, fear.
    Fear overshadows those fleeting moments of bravery. And I read your story and I WANT you to get out there and fight again…push up those sleeves because that is WHO you are. And you deserve to be who you are….even with the daunting past that brings fear with it to today and tomorrow.

    My advice is to look at the opportunity from your frozen point of view and jump at it. Lunge at it and tackle the shit out of it it. What do you have to lose?
    The answer is nothing.
    Nothing to lose.
    You’ve been to the bottom and survived by drinking the brown water that muddled at your feet. You know what that feels like. You also know you can overcome it.
    I need to suck it up and fight back, too.
    You and me.
    Throwing the Fuck You finger to the world. We can be tired. We can bitch back and forth…but, even when I’m sad and beyond tired….I know I’ve got more fight in me.

    And I know you do, too….
    Or you wouldn’t have written.

    Life isn’t fair.
    It isn’t meant to be.
    It is meant to challenge us and find motivation to kick shit and eat dirt when we’ve got nothing else.

    We’ve got this.

    We do.

    Trust me.

    Keep me updated.

    And remember.
    I love you.

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