When You Hit Your Wall

I generally run at two speeds, Super-fast, and Sleep-mode. It's the way I'm wired. But I'll bet money each and every one of you know what I mean when I say "hitting your wall".

It doesn't matter how you operate, there comes a time when your energy depletes to zero.

Most of the time the wall surprises me. That's because I always think I can get one more task done before I rest. Today, I know better. I can feel the wall coming for me.

I mentioned it to Greg yesterday, but I don't think he understood how imminent it was. He should. The last time something was imminent, I told him I was going to faint. (We were way up in the mountains and the air was super thin.) He kept telling me, 'You won't faint'. And that's when I dropped. He barely caught me!

Walls are personal creatures. They're as tall and impenetrable to each individual's threshold. I've hit it several times in my life. It's so sudden and painful I can barely move afterward. Part of that is my fault. I always think I can do more and that's when I'm reminded I'm only human--and a puny human at that.

Judging from what I read on social media, I think other people are hitting their walls too. They're tired of covid, politics, masks, and drama queens. We're tired both mentally and physically.

Now add that to my other burdens. I've got a dog that won't eat enough, another who goes lame, a cat that may or may not die depending on the time of day, and a husband who needs more medical attention than he used to.  Thank God the rest of my family is healthy!

Let's also add garden chores, preserving produce, cleaning pens, caring for farm animals, and keeping up with things that break down on a regular basis. 

Oh, and let's not forget the latest--greedy Terrell, Tx. wants to annex our unincorporated countryside. The last thing we need are higher property taxes.

I can feel that wall growing, brick by brick. I can tell it's coming because I sleep harder but rest less. Worse yet, I thoroughly resent Every. Single. Task. It's so unlike me. Before I just got them done, but now it takes enormous willpower not to snap at Greg for not helping.

Before I hit that wall, I can soften the blow with a few preemptive measures.

The first thing on my list is to stop adding to my list. I'm not taking on any more favors, jobs, or honey-dos.

Tip #2 is to get help. It's hard to get Greg to take on any of my stressors. He generally gets up a couple of hours after I do. In that time, I give the cat his medicine, feed dogs (and cat), unload the dishwasher or dryer, clean the litter box, walk one or both dogs, check my email, and pull out food from the freezer for dinner that night. Occasionally I'll feed the outside animals if he gets up extra late. 

Once he's up, he makes his coffee and then he sits down because his back hurts. Back pain is nothing to sneeze at. I think he has a compressed disc so I'm trying to do the heavier lifting myself so he doesn't make it worse. I make him breakfast and then we check gardens (they're still producing!), feed animals, and I clean the goat pens.

From there I either work on the gardens, or put up produce, unless we have errands to run in town. I hardly ever get around to house cleaning which drives me insane.

Even this blog is wearing me down. My goal is always to be upbeat and helpful. Today I decided to go for honest because I know I'm not the only one running head-first into that wall.

Which leads me to my third tip.

Write it out. Identify what's dragging you down. Identify the bricks building your wall. Can you discard a few or put them off until later? Can you change the way you do things?

You can't help it if people or animals get hurt or sick. That's part of life and you have to work around them. The trick is not to add to your burdens--which as you can guess I'm not very good at doing.

So how do you tackle "the Wall"? Do you try to take preventative measures before it gets too big or do you push through the pain?


Mike Keyton said…
I couldn’t cope with your routine, Maria. Just reading it I can feel my blood pressure rise. I hope very much you can find your way through it. You’re both on my prayer list, which may remove or lighten some very small bricks. Take care both
Maria Zannini said…
Thanks, Mike. I think it's a blessing that I can at least see it coming. Forewarned is forearmed. :)
Jackie said…
My "wall" comes every day at some point Maria and I never have a forewarning from it unfortunately.

Like Mike your particular routine makes my blood pressure wonky, my prayers and best wishes go out to you and relief that even when fully mobile on my worst day that my chores never equaled what you face.

RE: "So how do you tackle "the Wall"? Do you try to take preventative measures before it gets too big or do you push through the pain?"

My answer varies from day to day and the severity of what I face. If lucky laying down for a short rest helps sometimes and others nothing works.
Your routine has always amazed me, Maria. I'd usually hit the wall just reading about it! :)

I have no doubt you will figure all of this out. Hang in there!
the author said…
Profound, pal.

When you're a go-to/do-everything/problem solver who hates making mistakes and/or asking for help, I think you unconsciously build your walls. I certainly do. I've probably built castles out of mine.

Saying enough and no are the two hardest things for me to do. They're also the only things that keep my walls from dividing my life and my sanity like ye olde Berlin.

Writing, unplugging from the internet, journaling and sewing mostly help me from smashing head-first into the walls I know I'll never be able to tear down. It used to feel selfish to devote time to things that make me happy. But a happy me doesn't get into fights with walls, or build new ones.

Hang in there.
My husband sleeps in, as well, and he's slowed down on chores. I constantly remind myself he's eight years older than I am, and is now 73. If I ever hinted at this (it sounds like I think he's, ahem, "old") he'd probably start doing more just to prove I'm wrong. He might hurt himself.

I really hope you are able to get through everything, Maria. Walls are necessary sometimes, to force us to get the rest we need. But I understand the frustration that once you're down, the work around you does not get done. In your case, animals can suffer, and I know that weighs on you.

One thing you said jumped out at me, though. I realize I don't know anything about your husband's situation so please shut me out if I'm wrong. Sitting down because his back hurts is usually the worse thing he can do. Especially right after getting up in the morning. He DOES need to be careful and take it easy but moving around, stretching, and walking are the things that will help his pain. Sitting compresses the spine MORE.

Dru Ann said…
It worse when you are alone, because there is no one to pick up the slack. So I basically give in and don't do a thing until I feel like it.

Take some time for you. You need a "me" day.

Dru Ann
Unknown said…
There is no way I could keep that pace. You are something else. Just try to slow down and rest when you can. I pray a lot when I have a lite on my plate. It helps give you stamina and strength to endure. Love you sweetie! Sending hugs for you and Greg and the critters.
Maria Zannini said…
Jackie: It's different when you're facing your own personal crutches like disease or disability. You face far worse on a regular basis. I'm humbled by your resilience.
Maria Zannini said…
Madeline: That's just my morning routine. LOL! But I try to do all the heavy lifting first thing in the morning. I can always crater later that evening.
Maria Zannini said…
Lynn: I've been watching your progress with your sewing and journaling. I think it's important to refill the well. It is just as important to keep from hitting that wall head on. I keep telling myself that I'll reward myself with some painting or other idle pursuits as soon as things let up. I've come to realize that life never lets up. As soon as you fix one thing something else needs tending.

I do need to get my housekeeping up to date though. Maybe then I can give myself permission to do something creative.

Thank you for letting me see some solutions.
Maria Zannini said…
Marlene: You're absolutely right about the sitting. He tends to sit in a semi reclined position unless he's drinking his coffee. I bought him one of those spine openers. It's a little plastic doohicky that seems to help him as long as the dogs don't find him and lick him to death. LOL!

I'd like him to use one of those inversion beds too. I think that might help. Right now he's relying on heat and Naproxen.

You're also right about work not getting done when you hit that wall. I think that scares me more than anything else. I'm afraid what will happen if I stop.

I know what you mean about not letting Himself do stuff. You have to protect them. I'm sure your hubby is a lot like mine. They've done their share. I can carry the load for a while.
Maria Zannini said…
re: It worse when you are alone, because there is no one to pick up the slack.

Absolutely! I spent nearly 15 years apart from Greg. It was tough, but by the same token I think it made me a better person. Or at least more independent.

When you're alone you have to give yourself permission to rest.
Maria Zannini said…
Unknown: Beth? It sounds like you.

It's a routine, which once you get accustomed to it, becomes normal. It's only when other stuff gets piled on that plate that you begin to feel smothered. I save my prayers for people in more need than me. I have it easy compared to many.
Angela Brown said…
Pushing through the pain has been a staple of my life. I don't think it was purposefully taught, but I saw my late mother habitually push through her pain. When she was finally hospitalized, we found out she'd suffered a mild heart attack that she hadn't sought treatment for, leaving her bruised heart ripe for the double-whammy stroke and heart attack that transitioned her home.

I pushed through two years of harassment and molestation from the age of 14 to 16 at a local job because that pain didn't outweigh the chance to help my mother financially. I didn't tell her about it knowing she'd make me quit.

I pushed through surviving sexual assault at 14 because I told myself it had been my fault for being alone with a boy anyway. Took years for me to realize how much worse I treated myself in doing that.

I pushed through the trauma of witnessing a murder because in my neighborhood, who could afford a psychiatrist anyway?

I pushed through the pain at work during my divorce so no one knew my suffering. I worked in a building with mostly men and they weren't exactly sympathetic of anything except their guns. Lots of talk about ammo caliber, the best gun for a specific animal to hunt, and then automobiles.

I pushed through the pain of unequal treatment as a black woman when I did seek help, usually reminded that I was "a strong black woman" and if things got worse, then they would consider looking into it. I went to a different doctor and got the help I needed.

I pushed through the pain because it is what was expected of me by others and myself.

I'm slowly recognizing that I must give myself permission to be "not strong" and listen when my body says to sit and sip a glass of lemonade and rest. Interestingly enough, the world keeps turning, but I am able to get back to things with my well filled just a little more.
Angela Brown said…
Sorry, Maria, that was a lot shared to say I understand why you push and appreciate your honesty. I pray you're able to to find that place of balance that you truly deserve.☺️
Jenny Schwartz said…
Hitting the wall sucks. I'm sending huge hugs from Australia. For me, it tends to mean reassessing what I'm doing. And what I'm assuming I have to do. This year has really driven home that there is help if I just ask. The kindness of strangers is a powerful thing - as well as family and friends, obviously!
Maria Zannini said…
Angela: I'm glad I gave you a welcoming place to share. We all have crosses.
Maria Zannini said…
Jenny: I know what you mean about reassessing, but it bothers me to do it. It makes me feel like I failed somehow, or wasted time having made the wrong decision. It's necessary though. No point in beating a dead horse.

PS I know you disappeared for a while and was hoping to hear why. I wanted to write you but I couldn't find an email address. I know I had one for you, but I might've lost it when I transferred to my latest computer. I hope things are back on track for you.
Jenny Schwartz said…
Maria, I'm not sure I've got your email either. All is okay with me! It's just been a tough year as Dad's dementia (complicated situation since he has other health issues as a Vietnam Vet) worsened. Moving him from home to a high care nursing home managed to combine the challenges of navigating the health care and aged care systems (plus all the other government agencies) and dealing with issues in the family that got stirred up by the change. Dad's now safely settled in a centre with wonderful staff, which is a huge relief. COVID19 complicated everything. 2021 has to be a better year, right? :)
Maria Zannini said…
Oh, Jenny. How awful! The most important thing is that he's safe. I hope he's somewhere near so he can get lots of visits.

My (2nd) mother came down with Alzheimer's. I would bring her things from her past. Even though she couldn't remember my name anymore, she knew I was a friend and "safe". She really enjoyed seeing her keepsakes. I would bring her pictures of my dog whom she loved dearly. Isis had died years before, but in her mind she was alive and I would tell her stories about what Isis had done that day.

Take care of yourself, sweetie. Taking care of someone with dementia even part time takes a lot out of you.
Luba Meader said…
Maria, I loved your post, it left me in tears.😥 However, after some thought, it dawned on me, I think just the opposite. I perceive you removing the bricks instead of building them. Just look how far you've come and all you've accomplished. And just like Rosie the Riverter, you are strong. Mentally and physically. Everything you need to accomplish your goals is already in you. Take heart. I will pray for you and Greg....🙏🙏🙏

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will." ~Mahatma Gandhi
Maria Zannini said…
Luba: What a lovely way to look at it. Perspective is everything.

I think I'm just tired of fighting. I need a break. I am slowly chipping away at those bricks. For some reason it seems to take longer than it used to. Age? LOL!

Thank you for lifting me up!