Do you ever have that feeling where your cup, your metaphorical cup of kindness, love, patience, and kindness, is emptying? You give and give and give and then you realize you didn’t leave enough love in your cup for yourself. I want to talk about filling your cup but let me first share with you about my own bare glass.
My cup has been emptying for awhile. There is only a tiny sip left. I don’t feel like I have anything left to give. I always know when my cup is becoming desolate. There are telltale signs. I tend to ignore the signs until it is too late however. At that point, my glass begins to fill with things I don’t need. I call this the “muck”. The muck is stress, anger, disappointment with myself, etc. When my glass is filled with this muck, it is even harder to fill it with the love and kindness I need. There isn’t enough room for both.
One sign that my cup is emptying is that I start becoming short with people. I go off over things that normally wouldn’t bother me. My tolerance for inconveniences is very low. I get frustrated when the mail doesn’t come on time. I cuss about Arby’s forgetting my marinara sauce. I start using the word “hate” a lot and I hate using that word (I know, ironic).
Speaking of Arby’s, I also start overeating (my favorite/least favorite coping style). It is like I am trying to fill that metaphorical cup with mozzarella sticks. If only it worked that way! But when I do this kind of eating, I am not coping and I am putting myself in a worse position. My physical health is affected when I start on one of these fast food binges, which then makes everything else more complicated and here comes all the muck.
My cup is currently emptying because I am so stressed about my alcoholic mom. The holidays are coming up and we have the family events on the way. These family events are supposed to be wonderful but everyone is worried that she will show up drunk or that she won’t show up at all. I don’t really know what is worse. On top of that, my sibling is about to have a baby any day now. We want the baby to be welcomed into a loving and wonderful family but we also need to make sure drunk mom doesn’t come to the hospital or try to hold the baby or go missing when everyone is at the hospital.
Add on the regular holiday stress, buying gifts for in-laws, holiday work parties, friends who give you presents that you weren’t planning to get a gift, ordering Christmas cards, etc., and you have one stressful winter season!
So in the midst of all of this, I am trying to be the most supportive sibling I can possibly be. This is a stressful time and they need extra support with a baby on the way. I am trying to arrange all of the gifts for my husband’s family ahead of time so we aren’t trying to pay for the gifts all at once. I am trying to attend all of the holiday parties so no friends are offended. I am trying to think of how we are going to afford going out and seeing family over the holidays. I am tiptoeing around my mother so nothing triggers her. I am praying that she is able to take care of herself because I so badly want her to be there for every event, as long as she is sober.
So here I am with a mucky glass. I am stressed. I am eating so much. I am snapping at people. My glass is looking pretty gross. I want a hug. I want a puppy. I want a glass of wine. I want a punching bag. I want a chocolate milkshake. I want a nap. But what do I need?
I NEED to say no to some things. I need to be honest with my friends why I am saying no without feeling guilty. I need to explain to my family that we are on a tight budget without any expectations that they will understand. I need to stop eating Arby’s (for real). I need to make Christmas less materialistic. And above all, I need to continue to talk about my mom’s alcoholism.
Starting this blog has been the most therapeutic coping skill I have developed. Every time I write, I feel like I am rinsing my cup and starting fresh. It has given me the courage to be honest with people and to combat the shame I feel that she struggles with alcoholism. It makes people uncomfortable but every time I share, it gets a little easier. I grow a little more confident and I feel great when someone says they understand because they have a loved one struggling too.
What do you do to take care of yourself? How do you know your cup is emptying? What cleanses your cup and fills it up?
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