The farm is taking a toll, need to talk to someone who has been there...
I guess I just need to talk to someone who may have been there with the whole starting a farm as a business from scratch and it taking a toll on them and their family. In my position as an instructor/trainer, I need to show no weakness to those around me, be the pillar of strength, authority, and reassurance in order to keep my students safe. My dear husband has so very much on his plate already... and the dog and horses can do no more than supply some kisses. I post regularly on the board, and am hoping to turn to all of you who have been there for me before, as an Alter this time, since I do not want medical and financial information made public.
I have terrible insomnia coupled with sleep paralysis. I have been to my Dr and been sent to the sleep lab and both have told me that they can not help me and hand me the same sheet on "good sleep habits," all of which I have already exhausted as I have been battling this for many years now. Since this has hit, it feels as though my IQ has dropped dramatically. I used to be so much brighter than I am now, I could multi-task with the best of them. Everything just came easy, and now getting through an average day doing what I love is a struggle.
Every last drop of my energy and focus gets wedged into the farm and my riding programs, which even though it is growing quite a bit, it is still just squeaking by. I wake up at 6 after falling asleep at 4 most nights, run all day for the business (teaching, chores, errands, etc.), find time to make dinner for my husband for when he gets home from his job, than go right back to work until 9, when I can call it a day and come in, shower, and than battle with my insomnia. I can't find time to do paperwork, which only causes more problems, when I am packed doing the physical work because I can not yet afford qualified help, and if the work isn't done than money does not come in. This also leaves me with no mental resources left to take the time and analyze the business to try to make it more profitable, so I can help my husband out more with expenses. I feel like I am running on full steam and only creating more problems with this business, and having to put even more burden on my husband when something goes wrong, such as the main and direly needed tow vehicle that is sitting in the shop racking up a huge bill which is now wiping out all profits from the last 3 months after expenses, for something that was supposed to be small and simple. Who knew you needed to replace 1/2 the truck to get brakes changed out...
I had someone say something to me that hit me like a ton of bricks once I thought about it. Someone who knows how much he has on his plate financially said, "If something happens to him, what would you do with your business? How would you live?" I know the answer to that; I would be emotionally and financially wrecked. But it was my after-thought that ripped me to shreds, if something happened to me, he would be better off than he is now. He'd miss me, but he wouldn't have to worry about supporting me and the business I have us both so wrapped up in, he could take the risk and go for a job that he really wanted, instead of being miserable where he is now, and might be able to find someone who would be able to be more of a partner instead of a burden that shows up with another problem on the farm, and can't seem to make it to dinner without smelling like a horse and having hay crusted in her helmet headed hair...
All this has me riddled with chest pains, nauseousness, and exhaustion, after stressing so much about this today.
Keep the farm, find a trainer to take over most of the teaching, get a regular job (even part time) to fill in the money that you won't be making teaching and teach on the weekends so that you can still do what you enjoy. Find another sleep center and get another opinion. Talk to your husband, or show him this post so that he knows how much you appreciate all he does for you.
Have you seen a psychiatrist or some kind of mental health provider? If your insomnia or at least its worsening is mostly due to the stresses in your life or anxiety, a sleep center may be able to do no more for you than rule out an organic cause.
I do agree, too - don't keep throwing a bucket down a dry well! The farm needs to be restructured radically. Don't get behind on paperwork (like taxes, payments, etc.). It just becomes a spiral.
Can you separate emotionally from the farm business a bit, and try to really clearly see where maybe cutting back can help? I mean, if it's a business, and you have (for example) 10 retired horses and three giving lessons, that's a real imbalance of working animals bringing in lesson money. If you have a lot of non-income-producing animals, can some of them be sold or rehomed? If it's really all about having the animals you love, and you really don't care as much about the lessons as you do about having your favorite horses, etc., then scale back the teaching (way back) so you have more time, and get a more profitable job during the days; opening that time for another trainer to take over is one idea. You might also find that with a side job you can pay some kid minimum wage to load hay, mow, paint, etc so the basic heavy work is getting done and you can focus your free time on teaching a few select students, or just enjoying your own riding.
Anyway, just some ideas. I don't know the details. But I'd bet your health is surely being affected by your stress, so battle the stress. Sometimes all it takes is finally coming up with a plan and acting on it, and you can breathe a big sigh of relief.
Good luck! (PS haven't been there in a farm context, though I've been through many business ups and downs, self-employed, etc over the years).
STOP take a deep breath, put on the kettle make some tea.
Do a simple list, whats your base income from your business, not extras just base monthly.
Lessons can you hire or bring in a outside instructor who will pick up your lessons??And give you a percentage? we wont' talk insurance it muddies the basics up right now.
Whats the option to get a good working student?
How much of what you do, do you really want to be doing??? If you are this stressed can you scale back to basics?
I hate to bring this up, but sounds like health wise you need some mediacl interention. Anxiety issues that need counseling and short term medication.
The counseling alone will bring you relief and help you cope until you find a business solution.
Medication will allow you to function once again to your mental capacity.
This sounds like a cry to aloow yourself to say its OK to fold the tent. Its not defeat to sub-lease your business and take a back seat and possibly just manage the book side for a while.
Take a part time job or just do the teaching.
With out knowing what kind of business you run and how many boarders or lessons this is all a stab in the dark.
Take a couple weekend with no cell phone, and YES you can. Decide what road the both of you really want to take together.
You're having some very complex problems. There are, IMHO, no simple, easy answers—otherwise you're a smart cookie, you'd have found them.
I would suggest (check it and see if it sounds right) you've got a cycle of anxiety-->insomnia-->overwork for the amount of sleep-->stress and anxiety etc. etc. Does this sound right? Well, *if* (and that's a mighty big *if*) it does, how can you break the cycle?
I'm making an assumption that if you've been to a sleep center, you've got health insurance. Do you like your primary care physician? If yes, go back to him. You need his help, short- and long-term. If you don't like him, FIND A NEW ONE. You need a good doctor that's going to help/support you through a difficult time in your life.
Here are some observations/suggestions:
You've made a profit? With horses? You're living your dream AND you're doing something very few people manage to do: make money with horses. Congratulation on your accomplishment. You sure as h@ll have earned it.
Do NOT worry about DH. Did you ever stop to think that while he may be struggling because of your issues, he wants you happy? Does your business make you happy? It is very hard in life to find those things that make us happy...if you've found something, be an absolute pit bull. Don't let go! Life is just too short.
How can you break the cycle? Take a week off; what changes?
DRUGS. A low dose of valium (2 mgs) is non-habit forming. Talk to your doc. What else would break the cycle? Are you near a University with a medical college? They might have a more sophisticated sleep center. What about Ambien? I am suggesting this route, VIA YOUR DOCTOR (<-- important) because they may be help with some of your issues.
Take a MANDATORY break of 1.5 hours a day. The horses won't die, the students won't evaporate, the house won't fall down. Read a book (do NOT watch TV) take a walk, cuddle with a dog or horse. Do something—anything—meditation, take a bath, ANYTHING, to help you r-e-l-a-x. Yeah, OK. Something might not get done. Too bad. It will be there tomorrow.
There are solutions, take heart. BUT, you must make an effort to find them. I would start with the mandatory 1.5 hour break. Think of it as your *mental health* 90 minutes. NOBODY is allowed to bother you unless there is blood involved.
And hugs, sweetie. You'll come through this just fine. So will the horses, students, and DH. I think maybe you've just been sidetracked a little and forgotten how to enjoy the little things.
P.S. Re truck. Hey, a friend's truck just had a huge flat tire. I just lost my job. Someone I know has cancer. LIFE is not easy...sh!t WILL happen. Roll with the punches and don't fight it ... there is ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS someone worse off than you.
P.P.S. Hope this helps.
"For God hates utterly
The bray of bragging tongues."
Sophocles, Antigone Spoken by the Leader of the Chorus of Theban Elders
You are suffering from sleep deprivation and it affects every aspect of your life. This is your first order of business. You can't think clearly without proper rest.
Find a new doctor and show him or her this post. Most doctors don't understand that lack of sleep can have severe consequences. Please try to find ones that does.
Many hugs to you. Try to stay positive and take time to relax.
O-Mom's post is dead-on. Don't give up on the horse farm until you can get some help with the sleep. It is amazing what a good night's sleep can do.
Try working with your doctor on the anxiety. My mom has done really well on Effexor. You may need to experiment.
Insomnia is an illness and needs to be treated. You need to break the cycle and train your body to sleep at night. Then you can back off the meds if you don't like to be on medication.
And get some help. Try to find a kid or three who can help with the barnwork in exchange for extra rides/lessons/whatever. Or an ammy/college student who would be interested in the same (even better!).
Hang in there. It can be so tough, and it is all so much tougher if you aren't rested and well. Hugs to you.
Last edited by fordtraktor; Jul. 8, 2010 at 02:47 PM.
Jingles for some serious sleep and rest for you ~ then the rest to be dealt with ~ Jingle Jingle Jingle & AO ~ Always Optimistic ! If I was in your area ? I would come "pitch" in and try to lighten your load somewhere ~
Last edited by Zu Zu; Jul. 8, 2010 at 10:09 AM.
Thank you all, for listening. I do truly love what I do. I am miserable doing anything else. I have a small facility, all but one of my horses, a young baby, are working 6 days a week carrying one or two lessons a day, so I don't think it is the horses themselves that are what is fundamentally the issue. I have been cutting expenses on the fly but really do need to step back and see how I can make this better. My business has grown radically in the last year, so something must be right, I just don't think I am managing it right on my end.
Health-wise today, I am a mess, I may have to do what I hate doing the most and cancel my lessons for the day to go be checked out, losing that income only stresses me out more. I think I do need a new physician, many people swear by him, but I don't think he has the expertise to deal with this. He put me on Ambien, it worked fantastic for a few days, but than did what every other OTC remedy did and stopped working.
I just feel like the weak link in this chain, I have a business that is very busy and growing like a weed, a wonderful supportive husband, my dream job, but I can't make it work without more time and the ability to think clearly.
I agree with all of the above. I've had my business up/running for only 8 years now and it's been... hard. The farm is feast/famine. My busy time is during the winter when I triple my expenses. My slow time is spring/summer when I could be doing everything myself! It is very frustrating. I've been through good help that had to move on, bad help, lack of help, 2 farm robberies by someone on the inside (meaning every. single. thing. I. owned. - equipment, tools, jewelry from house, misc stuff).
I can say there are only a few things that keep me going.
1. my love of horses and having them at home, even if it means putting up with clients in order to afford that.
2. I have always known how to take breaks/down time. Work hard, play hard- that is my motto. I always take a vacation, a weekend away here/there, quiet dinners with my husband. It revitalizes me.
3. I stay on top of paperwork. Every week I update so I don't fall behind. Usually it is Friday nights with a glass of wine. I've been there too- with a moving box full of receipts I didn't know where to file. I know I can't be in that place again. ever. I'm now timely in sending out invoices. I sit down on the 14th and they are in the mail on the 15th. always.
4. I sleep. well. I'm sorry about your sleep troubles and hope you find a center/doctor that can get you past this. It is so very important to rest your mind and body.
Lack of memory can be attributed to stress This is what my doctor said was my problem when I thought it was because of my 3rd split-open head accident. I still have trouble remembering the most simple things.
Take the advice of pps, eat/sleep/rest, and see your doctor.
Have you been evaluated for fibromyalgia? Exhaustion/insomnia affect a lot of people with FM, as well as the "brain fog". The pain component is the other part, but generally sleep problems/fatigue are also a common thing (and often misdiagnised). I have FM so PM me if you want to talk more.
I have to say - I think you have too many lesson horses. They need to do more than one or two lessons a day (unless your lessons are over an hour long or they are doing a lot of jumping) each one should be capable of up to 4 lessons a day.
OP, have you had all your blood work checked? Anemia, thyroid? Get your thyroid numbers, if they are high normal, you may benefit from thyroid meds. Learn to meditate. It helps with the anxiety, it that's what is keeping you awake.
Unless you have a pain issue, I would doubt it fibromyalgia (or lyme for that matter).
Good luck, been there, done that. I sleep fine, now.
My Dear, if you don't have your health, you will not have anything. Get a good physical. Ask about the effects of depression. My husband of 44 years walked off three months ago with another woman, and refuses to support me in any way, even though he knows I do not work, nor likely to soon land a job. My mother died on Mother's Day. I hurt everywhere, aches and pains that I've never experienced before. Could not make a decision. Was unable to remember things, and worst of all, could not sleep the night through. I have always been so lucky that no more than 5 minutes after my head hits the pillow, I am gone and sleep soundly until the alarm wakes me. I was beginning to have "bad thoughts" so took myself to the doctor and begged her to do something. She put me on an antidepressant, and two months later, the stress is again manageable, I sleep well at night, my brain fog has cleared up and best of all the strange aches and pains are nearly gone. And so is the good for nothing husband. It sounds like you are on the same type of downward spiral. Do it for your sake and your husband's sake as well. Good luck with your growing business.
"I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you..."