Root cause is a buzz word I've heard thrown around the I.T. industry for at least a handful of years - coined by someone who I'm sure copyrighted it and is making tons of money just by my referring to it here in some way. Basically it means that every problem can be traced back to the very beginning of any chain reaction where you can find the very first thing that happened to set things in motion. Once you understand the root cause of an issue, you then know how to fix it at the most basic level. See, fancy name for a pretty simple concept.
I don't hide that I am a problem-solver with OCD tendencies in every aspect of my life. Remember, I'm the one who has a spreadsheet to plan Thanksgiving dinner to the Nth degree of minutia. (Although in my defense my sister's spreadsheet is even bigger and better than mine...) So it might surprise you that it took me several months to even put my finger on the fact that I had an issue that needed to be solved.
So what, you ask, is my problem? I am losing my mind.
There. I said it.
Here's a few items of proof illustrating just how bad it is:
- I say things that come out of my mouth followed by me immediately wondering where the hell the comment came from.
- I am short (and sometimes borderline mean) to my kids. I've become the mom who yells - and swears - all the time.
- I have zero patience with Hubby. Well, everyone, really.
- I'm a totally raging bitch basically every day. And I don't mean bitch in a positive way this time, either.
- I have zero ambition or drive to push myself in anything - whether it's writing or running or just getting the dishes done at night.
- I have constant cravings to eat junk food and find myself standing in front of the pantry without memory of how I got there. (Luckily I've had enough will power to not buy junk so there's nothing I actually find...)
- And inside my head where it's just me, I don't fundamentally feel like me anymore.
It has all been building slowly over the last couple of months. The fact that it did sneak up on me slowly probably explains why I didn't notice it. This past weekend it came to a head - filled with crazy and ready to burst. Like the big zit on the neck of the kid sitting in front of you in 9th grade English. So big you could see it stretching beyond the containment limits so far you were worried it would burst and spurt right at you while you watched and wondered why the kid couldn't see it himself to take care of the thing. It was that kind of coming to a head.
I knew something was super wrong with me when I let an entire weekend slip by - one with an extra day in it for the holiday - and I didn't go for a single run. Me, who used to wake up and first thing to pop in my head was planning when I'd get to run that day. Me, who has a Ragnar to run in less than three weeks. I let four days slip by without a run and at least two distinct times consciously decided to skip it and "do it tomorrow instead" with no solid plan as to when I'd have time to fit it in. The thought had even occurred to me that I could be suffering from some sort of depression since it was so unexplainable otherwise. Pretty damn scary especially for this girl who has always had everything under control. I feel like I can't cope with day to day life anymore.
I was talking to a handful of women I work with yesterday and the subject of permanent sterilization versus birth control options came up. Several have or have had IUDs, a couple have taken more permanent sterilization measures either on their own or their husbands. One just went off all birth control so she could get pregnant again. And then there were two of us who had just recently switched from an IUD and started back on the good old 'pill'. Yours truly fits into this particular category. (Oopsie, forgot the disclaimer that we were going to be talking uterus and all things related!) As the other girl currently taking the pill was describing how crazy she has been the last couple of months and why she hates taking the pill because of it, it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was like she had been living inside my skull because she had just defined everything about how I'd been feeling but until now had been unable to articulate.
And then everything clicked into place. With a big shiny spotlight pointed directly at the root cause I hadn't even consciously been looking for. (Queue hallelujah chorus.) I looked back through my blog posts and found that everything suddenly changed in late January - when I'd started on the damn pill. God I miss my IUD and wish it didn't cost $900 to replace it... but this isn't a blog post about the ridiculous cost of healthcare or the pitfalls of having high-deductible insurance coverage so we won't go there.
Just the knowledge that I know why I feel crazy and helpless and lethargic all the time gives me hope and has me excited to take control of my life back. First thing first: I MUST find a different form of birth control. Immediately! Then, once I feel like myself again mentally, maybe I can finally shed the last ten pounds from my injury-induced weight gain that even though I've been running again and eating right won't budge from my hips and - what do you know - can also be explained by that goddamn pill.
I'm hopeful now and looking forward to getting back to normal...