Thursday, March 24, 2011

Daydreaming My Problems Away

When I was younger I always daydreamed my life away. I would imagine myself married to famous people or in a compromising position with that guy I had a crush on. I would play the martyr to the people who I wanted to like me but who in real life paid no attention to me or made fun of me. My parents, strangers, celebrities, everyone admired and adored me in my daydreams.

My daydreaming contributed to my sleep problems because when I got in bed I would pick up where I had left off the previous night and spend hours spinning these fantastic tales in my head rather than sleeping. Sometimes I would write down these stories but they never seemed as fantastic on paper as they were in my mind. Recently these daydreams have returned to me.

I think that I daydreamed so much when I was younger because I was escaping from the reality of the drama in my life or creating a life in times when I was bored or in a rut. I'm not sure which of these applies now. I have found local success as a Zumba instructor which has added a whole new group of friends and social activities to my life. I continue to be active in meetup groups and have formed friendships with people there. I have been promoted at work to the job that I always wanted but wasn't sure I could get. So whats the problem?

I have two dogs that I love dearly but who have a lot of behavioral problems which drive me crazy. I can only walk my dogs in my neighborhood at certain times of day because so many people in my neighborhood let their dogs run offleash which makes the walks very dangerous and stressful for me and the dogs. There is also a lot of vehicle traffic in my neighborhood where people driving twice the speed limit on the main roads and run stop signs and take blind turns at high speeds regularly. The police are aware of the problem and have officers posted but after 15 minutes all the cops have met their ticket quota and leave the neighborhood until the next time a neighbor complains. I know this is not a problem that will go away. I feel like I'm dodging one problem or another everytime I walk out of my house.

We have a large fenced in yard but on two sides we have neighbors who also have dogs that enjoy fence fighting with our dogs. We take our dogs out on leashes when these dogs are out because the dog's excitement level gets too high if they are allowed to meet the other dogs at the fence. Another neighbor is a grandmother who watches her grandchildren. The grandmother stays in the house while the grandchildren play in the yard. The children stand by the fence and poke their fingers through the holes to taunt my dogs and actually bark and make noise to try to attract the dogs. I try to avoid them as well.

I know that everytime I walk out the door I am carrying the stress of dealing with any one of these problems. I know that affects my dogs; that they sense my apprehension. But I would tell anyone who asked me that the key to any dogs behavioral problems starts with making sure the dog gets enough exercise. I feel like a hypocrite because I know my dogs aren't getting enough.

My flexible work schedule and my husband's regimented work schedule makes this problem even more difficult. When he is available to help me with the dogs we are usually not comfortable taking the dogs out for long periods of time due to the external stresses. The dog's behavioral problems makes it difficult for me to walk the dogs alone unless I wake up early in the morning and drive to a nearby neighborhood with sidewalks and less distractions. In order to do this, I must fall asleep at a reasonable time so that I can wake up early.

Last night I couldn't stop my brain from daydreaming so I spent 2 hours in bed not sleeping. Then I got 4 hours of choppy sleep over the next 5 hours. I got out of bed at 7:30 am. Way too late to take the dogs out for a long walk. I feel exhausted because I didn't get any sleep and disappointed in myself because I didn't exercise the dogs. I am irritable towards my husband on mornings like this. I take the simplest acts, him watching TV the moment he gets out of bed, the wrong way because I am dealing with two dogs that are wound up and misbehaving before he wakes up and there is no break from this stress after he wakes up.

The dog behavioral problem has also taken a toll on our intimacy. With pets it is difficult to find alone time no matter how well behaved they are but it is even more difficult with misbehaving pets. So not only am I wound up because of the dog and sleep problems but I don't have the great stress relief that our intimacy used to provide.

I'm not sure if there is one solution to all of these problems but I know that I need to find a better escape from my problems than daydreaming. I need to make a commitment to taking better care of my dogs, myself and my relationship. But I know that is much easier to write than to implement.

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