I am the tree. The tree is me.

I did some front yard maintenance this year and that included cleaning up our front yard and planting a new plum tree. My research suggested that it was best to leave the tree to grow on its own rather than tether it to support. However, it’s been a very windy spring in Edmonton. Still, the “little tree that could” has survived for weeks of high winds. I’m still in the habit of checking out my front window to make sure she’s ok.

Moving forward, I’ll refer to my tree with “she”.

I woke up to tragedy this morning. I was feeling a little sad and worn out this morning and looked out the window and saw my new tree down for the count… The universe has beat down my beloved tree. She might be lost. There could be no better analogy to how I feel right now than seeing an already fragile tree broken and down from the wind.

She was practically lying flat. I tried to right her but she just fell over again. I was crushed.

It doesn’t seem rationale but at one point I was brought to tears. I failed the tree. She couldn’t survive on her own and I let her down by not setting up support poles. And from her perspective, she tried her best to make it thru the wind, but she just couldn’t make it. Her falling was the best that she could do to scream out and ask for help. Without help, she wouldn’t survive.

She survived a lot already, but she just couldn’t hold up to the continuous and constant barrage from the wind. She’s still alive. She survived weeks of wind but the wind finally won. And it seemed like a tipping point for me. My ability to handle any adversity right now is close to zero.

The little things

Little things at golf are getting to me. My last 3 rounds have had terrible front nines. I started my last round of golf with +2 +1 +3 +2 for a +8 start to my round after 4 holes. How can I play so differently in 4 hours on the front nine compared to the back nine? I was at my limit. I immediately thought of quitting the round, not persevering. I told my playing partner that I was done after the front 9; that I didn’t have the energy to play a round like this. But once again, I managed to turn things around and play thru the bad holes. I’ve shown this in the past that I can turn things around quickly and rebounded on the back nine. But my resiliency to handle it right now is very low.

Little things at work are getting to me. From two-factor authentication, to 5 minute timeouts, to updates/reboots, to issues with attachments, to rebooked meetings, to rejected meetings, to the constant change and daily fighting fires…heck hourly. It’s just work. It’s all stuff that I manage every day. But lately, I can’t handle it well.

Little things at home are getting to me. It doesn’t take much. Dogs walking in front of me or just following me around every second of the day. Remote controls not working. TVs not working. Computers crashing. TV shows not taping. Telephones are staticky. Hearing aids are crackling. Headphones acting up.

I’m getting stressed about my bike race in August. It’s 140km and I’m way behind on my training. I’m having trouble with some hot spots on my bike on longer rides. I have an appointment this week to make some tweaks. But I’m barely at 100km training with 2 months to go. I haven’t been able to go on more than 1 ride per week this spring. At this point, I’m almost unmotivated. I feel like giving up on my goal. It’s a chore to continue. But I can’t give up on myself. I can’t make a decision to move to a shorter race…yet.

And this weather…! It’s atrocious. The smoke. The haze. The wind. Now the rain. I hide inside the house for most of the weekend. My lungs are killing me. Cycling canclled on Sunday due to smoke. Golf cancelled Tuesday due to rain. Golf lesson cancelled Wednesday due to wind and rain. I’m not playing or practicing or cycling when it’s raining and the wind is gusting to 60 km/hr. Yes, the wind last night for my golf lesson was gusting to 60 km/hr.

Overwhelmed

That 60 km/hr gusting wind yesterday…that’s the wind that broke me and broke my beloved tree.

I’m overwhelmed right now, in nearly all aspects of my life. The wind continues to blow and I’m feeling it from all sides. I feel fragile, weak and worn out. I feel like the next storm is going to blow me over. I’ve survived a lot of wind over the last 2 years. But it just KEEPS BLOWING! That must be how my little tree felt. Since I planted my new tree, it’s been extremely windy!

I know it’s windy. And for the most part, I’m hanging in there. But things are a bit dicey. And losing it over a tree toppling is a clear sign that I’m not managing it properly. Then Maggie almost tripped me this morning, and I lost my temper. I lost my temper on a 16-year-old mostly blind, mostly deaf dog. Good job! I feel real “pRoUd” of myself. – *sarcasm* These are signs I’m not doing ok.

How can you get mad at these beautiful puppies??!! It was a moment of weakness.

It’s important that we know our thresholds for healthy behaviour. In the past, I might lean back to drinking and hiding my feelings. I might be able to hide feeling overwhelmed for weeks without dealing with it. That’s just not healthy. I no longer have that option.

Healthy self care

Since I quit drinking, I’m more self aware and more willing to experience my emotions. Sure, I still get overwhelmed like anyone. I just don’t turn to hiding and drinking it away anymore. I need to face it head on.

Here’s what happens now when I get overwhelmed:

  1. I talk to my best friend, my wife, about my struggles. Has that happened this week? It sure has.
  2. I talk to close friends about struggling. Has that happened this week? It sure has!
  3. Some people might journal about struggles. I’ve made blogging my journal. So did I blog this week? I sure did. You’re reading it.
  4. I talk to my psychologist about my struggles. Did that happen this week? Well, no, I had my standing appointment last week. So we talked about it last week. And if I need to, I’ll call Dan and book another appointment.
  5. I jump on my bicycle or go for a run. Did that happen this week? Kind of. Due to crappy weather, outside activity has been sidelined. But I kept up with my morning treadmill walks, and walked/biked at lunch indoors a couple of times. Staying active is key to my mental health even if it means the inconvenience of doing it indoors.
  6. Take a breath and relax. Spend a couple of minutes breathing and ground myself. I didn’t really do this. Frankly, my meditation practice has been non-existent this spring and I’m feeling the results of this. I allowed myself to escalate far past a normal reaction when I saw my poor tree. Luckily for me, the weather was terrible, so I couldn’t do anything immediately about it. I had a medical appointment this morning. I was able to stop at Rona and pick up a support pole. I was also able to just relax and breath a little bit. When I returned home from my appointment, the tree had recovered somewhat.

She rebounded at lunch!!!

What’s next?

Well, what’s next? If I’m doing all that I can and I’m still getting overwhelmed, what do I do? It sounds funny, but I need to do less. I need to simplify life a little. There is a lot going on everywhere. I’m staying busy and avoiding meditation to stay away from my internal thoughts. I think it’s more important to face these. I need to be more accepting of myself and more accepting of my life.

It’s ok. I’m ok. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed. It’s ok to cry because your tree toppled. It’s ok to lose your temper. It’s ok to let the little things get to you. It’s ok.

Things aren’t that bad. Things could be worse. Things will get better. It’s ok.

Wrap Up

At the end of the day, my little tree is fine, and I’m fine. We both need a little support right now, and that’s ok. If you need support, please reach out to a loved one or a professional and ask for help. It’s ok to need help. Once in a while, the wind blows, we get overwhelmed and we need help.

No worries, she’s got support. She’s going to be ok. And I’ll be ok too because I have support! Thanks to those that support me…you know who you are!

2 Responses

  1. That little tree has wisdom to share! Listen to her! It’s hard to get support when you just keep yourself busy. The overwhelm comes as it did to your beloved tree – we stand until we can’t. Take care of yourself. Thank God for trees!

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