Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mommy is funny.

Mommy is funny.

Especially when she's cleaning out the car at the car wash and misjudges the distance between her head and the ceiling. A swift crack to the skull, and hilarity ensues.

Mommy is funny.

Especially when she doesn't see the coloring book on the kitchen floor as she's hurrying across. Dowwwwn she goes. Has there ever been anything more hysterical?

Mommy is funny.

Especially when somebody cuts her off on the highway and she yells out nonsensical insults such as, "Ya dumb buzzard!" and follows up with a string of Reallys? and Seriouslys? Giggles just can't be helped in this instance.

Mommy is funny.

Especially when a certain little person crawls in her bed at 2 am and step on her legs, stomach, face, and basically any other easily accessible body part. The best part is that she knows she can't be mad or yell because she was little once, too. It is still very funny.

Mommy is funny.

Especially when she hasn't been sleeping for a consecutive amount of days (months) and walks around zombie-style forgetting her own name and putting coffee in her sugar. This dum-dum version of Mommy is a source of endless entertainment.

Mommy is very, very funny.

Especially when she sees a mouse and turns into a little girl all over again.

Don't believe it? Check out Mommy's guest post over at @story3girl's blog Hard to Mommy today. Oh yes, my first guest post. I'm rather excited.

Share your thoughts, cyberspace.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

An Objective View of PPD

I'm thinking about it a lot this week.

I've just had a bad few weeks. As I've said before, I've gotten super spectacular at hiding, suppressing, and ignoring many problems that plague me. They're snowballing and avalanching, however, and I can't seem to keep up.

That said, we'll say today is a decent day. As long as I don't think too hard about the recent chain of events that's sent my head reeling, I'm fine. (Do I want to talk about it? No. It's highly personal. Have I done anything wrong? No. Has anyone close to me done anything wrong? No. Some things have come to light that are threatening to completely shatter me if I let them. We'll leave it at that.)

Today, I am thinking objectively about PPD and why it is so hard to seek help.

1) It is SO hard to trust people. Especially for me. I already feel as though depression is a weakness. I despise crybabying and whining and moaning and griping. I never want to seem like that kind of person. EVER. You can say that part of the equation is nothing more than having too much pride. And you'd be right. Also, this world has gone downhill. We're so focused on technology and material things and getting things done NOW and getting what we want NOW that we as humans tend to be a bit self-absorbed. That being the case, it's hard to speak with people when we feel like a burden - a whiny, nutty, messy burden. Add to that the low self esteem that comes with depression, and we genuinely feel as if nobody cares to know.

2) We don't feel as if anything is REALLY wrong. Maybe this is also pride, maybe this is denial. Maybe this is just part of our human tendency to be unable to admit fault. If we admit we are depressed, we admit we have a problem - a problem we already feel is somehow our fault, even if it isn't. That can be a monumental task in and of itself.

3) We have experience with depressed persons. You know that one person who just seems to be a walking black hole? They drag everyone around them down into the abyss with them. Every waking moment for them is filled with heartache and tears and me-me-me, sad-sad-sad, die-die-die. It gets old. It gets annoying. We despise those traits. We decide we never want to BE that person. And then we become that person. And then we despise ourselves.

4) We feel as though being depressed equals being crazy. Or even lazy. I mean, who in their right mind would have such a constant, negative outlook? Well that's just it. You're NOT in your right mind. But you're not crazy. Depression, these days, is wayyyy too common. If you don't get down and overwhelmed and sad from time to time, then you might want to question your sanity. As far as laziness? Never that. Depression is a killer and a disease. It will rob you of your health, your happiness, and your energy. Depression does not equal laziness.

5) We understand that others close to us are depressed, too. When we know that someone else feels just as bad as we do, it can be next to impossible to willingly unload our burden upon that person as well.

6) Therapy carries SUCH a stigma. "You're taking off work? Oh, what for? Where you headed?" Nowhere, just to the nut-doctor so he can fix my head. Nobody wants to admit to that! We don't want the world to look at us like we're crazy, we're weak, we've lost our everlovin' mind. But that's hardly the case. It takes strength to ask for help, to reach out, and to work towards getting better. Letting yourself wallow takes no strength; yes, it saps you of your energy, but it doesn't require strength or persistence. Moving forward does. And sometimes, it hurts. It hurts like Hades. But that which does not kill you can only make you stronger.

7) There is a comfort in depression. Now THAT sounds odd to say. But it's true. After a while, it becomes what we know, and it gets comfortable. Is that a good thing? Hardly! When your scary thoughts stop scaring you, it is REALLY beyond time to get help!

8) We feel like nobody could really understand. This is not at all true. We know, deep down, it's not true. Other people have been through what we have been through. Others have suffered. It's so cliche, but others have it much worse. Depression makes it hard to be objective, however. Regardless, even, of the fact that those we love have never experienced the things we have, they love us enough (usually) to TRY. They can exercise empathy and put themselves in our shoes and work to see why we feel the way we feel. We just have to ask, and then we have to let them. And if that person lets you down, don't give up. Find someone else to listen. Persevere. And if YOU happen to be the one approached by a depressed person, just LISTEN. Just try. You might make a world of difference.

9) It's not depression; it's just anger. WRONG. Depression can manifest itself in anger, bitterness, and frustration. And sometimes, boyyyy is it overwhelming. Bad. We almost turn into a completely different person. Think: "Hulk SMASH!!" It's something like that. If you have an anger problem, you need to seek help and find out why before you hurt yourself or someone else.

10) We let ourselves imagine that if we wait a little while, give it more time, it will go away on its own. That's not exactly the case. Sometimes, it gets buried, and then it rots and festers and begins to eat away at your insides. It's only a matter of time before it bubbles up again, and this time, it's a nasty, snarling, human-eating beast. That's never a good scenario. It's good to seek help BEFORE the inner beast gets too big to tackle.

Writing helps. Total self-evaluation helps. At least for me. I know part of my problem is failure to rely fully on Jehovah. So I don't need to hear about how I should work on that. Thanks, but I'm aware. Even still, I probably need therapy to deal with some of these seemingly insurmountable issues. (Yeah, probably is pushing it. I DO - no ifs, ands, or butts. See? Still have problems admitting to it.)

My best advice, and my conclusion?

To the depressed, Just. Seek. Help. That's all you have to do. Get the ball rolling. It'll all fall together from there. Just stick with it and be persistent.

To those dealing with the depressed,  I beg you, Have. Patience. Try to understand. Keep your judgments and harsh comments to yourself. They DO. NOT. HELP. And they will only make that person NEVER want to come to you again. Do you really want that? Before you quickly say yes, think about it.

Sigh. What a piece of work. That took a lot out of me. Zombie mom is now off to do something that requires considerably less effort.

Til next time, cyberspace.

Friday, October 21, 2011

My Journey Back to Sanity

I am a writer. Heart, body, and soul. Nearly every part of me, nearly every aspect of my personality, has something to do with writing.

I'm a control freak. I love inventing stories, dictating the way a character's life plays out, planning and imagining every minute detail. Which brings me to my next character trait.

I'm slightly OCD. Detail, detail, detail. Perfection! I am my own worst critic. I like having things JUST SO, and when things are out of order, my whole BRAIN gets out of order, and it's impossible to function. This works out well when building a story that actually flows well and makes sense.

I am a hopeless romantic. Ahh, that wonderfully dreadful writer's trait. If it weren't for the romanticism of the writer, we wouldn't have such beautiful stories as The Notebook, eh?

I love to read. I can spend hours with my nose stuck in a book reading the imaginings of another human being. It is endlessly fascinating.

I use big words. Come on now. This is self explanatory.

I feel better after I write. Reading over my last blog post, I was a little shocked at the honesty and disgusted at the wallowing self pity. I already felt better just getting it out of my system. Today, I wrote a guest post for a fellow blogger and Twitter friend, and I'm nearly floating on the clouds. I feel really, REALLY good about what I wrote.

I need to do better.

I stopped writing. It's hard to do with two kids, a husband, and a full time job. I am a growed up now. I have the big R word: Responsibilities.

But I also have a responsibility to myself. And that is to maintain my sanity so I can maintain all of the above mentioned responsibilities.


I need to write more. Nothing exorcises inner demons better than the written word.

I'm ready to get better. I'm ready to BE better.

Sanity... here we come!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Honesty. Brutal honesty.

This is a post I started a while ago. It's been sitting because I think I'm half afraid to finish it.

I've had a lot of time for self-reflection, lately, driving back and forth to work. Psychology is a subject I very much enjoy. I feel like I need to know and understand WHY we do the things we do. It's fascinating to me.

Lately, however, I've been falling short. I haven't had time for self-reflection or I'm too tired or too frazzled or [insert a million other excuses here]. I avoid and deny. For a long time, I thought that meant living life one day at a time. I thought that meant being strong and pushing forward. Now, though, I'm not so sure.

Things come up. Things happen. It's like having little earthquakes, and suddenly a fracture appears. It's not necessarily due to the strength of the earthquake, but rather an underlying, hidden weakness. That's how I feel. I feel like it's going to take one more earthquake, and I'm going to fracture.

It's amazing to me. Things have happened in my life that I am STILL uncertain about how I got through. Sometimes I really wonder why the heck I am still standing. I know my family history. We tend to crack. There's a definite history of depression and anxiety... and maybe more than a few breakdowns. With a million small things and a handful of horrible I-wouldn't-wish-this-on-my-worst-enemy things piling up... why haven't I cracked? What's going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back? It's a nervous feeling. It's a terrible feeling because I know the last time I had a horrible earth-shaking, heart-stopping terrible life event, I was all but deserted. The people I thought cared were suddenly nowhere to be found. I can't say I've forgiven them - because I haven't. It's hard to forget. It's hard to trust people. I still care about those people. But would I go running to them again? HECK. To the. NO. That begs the question, Where do you go?

I know we're supposed to rely on Jehovah. In my head, I understand that. In my heart, I'm human, I'm fleshly, I'm weak. I withdraw from God in tough situations. I don't think it's because I blame him. I blame me. Self-hate presents a serious road block. I need help and encouragement and love from others. Is that right to demand? I don't know. But it's the simple truth.

I have been blocking too much. It has made me a mean and hateful and angry and bitter person. Maybe I never beat my PPD. Maybe I just buried it. Ignored it. Pretended it didn't exist. Hoped it would go away. None of that worked. It's like capping a volcano. Your efforts are futile, and it will only result in making a bigger mess.

Since I wrote those previous paragraphs, I feel like I have cracked. I have become an emotional, teary basketcase. I'm overwhelmed with an avalanche of emotions and shortcomings. And I hate myself for it. In my eyes, depression is a weakness. I am not a weak person. Well. I like to think I am not. And the fact that I feel the way I do makes me absolutely furious. Why can't I just make myself better? Why can't I get around this and be happy? Why aren't I trying harder? What the heck is the matter with me?!?!!

You can't imagine the self-loathing that comes along with this sort of breakdown.

I went to someone - a close friend - for help. Admittedly, I can be a very proud person. I despise asking for help. I loathe being seen as a weakling. I absolutely abhor crying in front of people. It makes me want to kick my own teeth in.

Well that person let me down. They got angry with me. Maybe I'm not good at saying what I'm trying to say or making sense of the jumbled mess in my head. I opened myself wayyyy up. That is something I very fervently hate to do because EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. I have ever seriously loved has let me down. This is no exaggeration. I've been let down, dropped on my head, in some serious ways. All I needed was some caring, some love, some understanding. And this person couldn't provide. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I hate being left open. I hate exposing myself. But I did. And it backfired.

So now... I'm rather lost. I don't even know what it is that I need. I was told I just need therapy because this individual is unable - or unwilling - to help me with my "problems."

I don't think I'm crazy. Which is funny because I know that crazy people never realize that they are crazy. I feel like I'm failing. I've been trying SO freaking hard, and I still feel like I'm failing. It's a miserable feeling. And for the first time in a long time, I just don't feel like smiling. I don't feel like teasing or joking or being funny. And that is a very strange and foreign sensation for someone as goofy as me.

And I'm not looking for pity. Don't you dare pity me. Pity feeds the angry beast and turns her into a nightmarish horror. I just need to vent. To breathe a little. To expel some demons. To let go a little.

Maybe I need to know and understand that I'm not alone. Maybe I need someone to validate my feelings and just say, "YES. I understand. And it is okay to feel that way." I pretty much grew up being told my feelings don't matter. The pattern didn't change as I got older.

Mind over matter, I tell myself. You can get past anything if you just MAKE yourself do it, I say.

This week, that's just not working for me.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I can't stand to hurt.

It surprised me that I managed to write my post about miscarrying with such a nonchalant air. I could easily say it's okay now, I got my baby. But it feels strange that I no longer mourn the loss of the other pregnancies as I once did. I mean, I felt and still feel as if that was a loss of life, a loss of opportunity. But when I speak about it, it's as if I'm telling someone else's story. Not mine. Thus it's very easy to be nonchalant.

That's a rather creepy thought.

I have a horrible defense mechanism. I stop caring.


People have done some pretty bad things to me. Ones I counted as my closest friends have turned their back on me in some bad ways. Where I was once attached at the hip to one person, I now feel nothing at all.


I cut my feelings off. I can really make believe that you simply DO NOT and never did exist. As for how I do it... I couldn't tell you.

It's rather bothersome, however. You can only run so long until things catch up to you. I guess my goal is to keep running right on into the new system. I don't ever want it to catch up to me. At this point, the things I've buried have become an avalanche, and I feel like it's right on my heels. I'm halfway afraid to look over my shoulder, for fear I may stumble, and it might catch me.

That's surely no way to live. But it's working so far.

People think I'm strong to have survived some of the things I've survived and still be moving. But I'm not. Not even. Far from it. I'm a flipping coward.

That's a humbling thought.

Enough self reflection. Gotta keep running. Any more deep thinking, and I might implode.


Monday, October 10, 2011

My Miscarriage Story

I am writing for Pregnancy and Baby Loss Remembrance Day, coming up October 15th, and as prompted by Sisters 'n Cloth.

I can't remember if I've ever written my story. But... here goes.

My daughter was born fall 2008. When she was about a year old, we decided it didn't seem like a terrible idea to have another baby. It wasn't long before we got pregnant in late November of 2009, and we weren't even actively "trying". I started getting bloated and nauseous very quickly. A lot of mothers keep the good news to themselves, but I was so certain nothing would go wrong that I happily paraded about announcing my pregnancy. By my calculations, I would have been due August 2010.

One Friday afternoon in December, I began to spot. My best friend was pregnant at the time, and at the beginning of her pregnancy, she'd had a good two weeks of heavy bleeding. We both agreed it was probably nothing. The next day, I went shopping with my cousin. The cramping was getting worse, but still I toted my one-year-old tot from store to store. You can tell me that letting her walk wouldn't have made a difference, but I can't help but wonder.

That evening, the bleeding worsened as well. I kept denying it in my head, telling myself that everything was okay, but that I should go to the hospital "just in case".

When I got to the hospital and began changing into the gown, I was greeted with a massive clot, the sort of size I'd never seen in my life. And that's when I knew. Though I still denied it.

They did the ultrasound and couldn't find a heartbeat, of course, but I still insisted that, even though I was close to 7 weeks, it was probably impossible to find anyway and that the baby might be okay. They sent me home with a diagnosis of "threatened miscarriage," told me to rest, and advised me to set up an appointment with my OB/Gyn the next week after having labwork.

The worst part of a miscarriage might possibly be the waiting. Waiting for labwork, waiting for something to happen, just waiting. Sunday, however, when the cramps became as severe as labor pains, I couldn't deny or pretend anymore. It was REALLY happening. To me. I had my hubby pull out the sleeper sofa, and I laid curled up on the thin mattress alllllllll. day. long. It hurt. Inside, outside, all over. Someone told me it's like being in labor without the baby. That is exactly how I felt. There's no escaping it. The entire day was a constant reminder that all the plans I'd made and the whole life I had imagined were gone, would never exist.

I was out of work for a week. I just stayed home and... well, hid. When I went to the follow-up, I didn't really need to hear the doctor say my hcg levels had dropped. Of course I knew. I didn't really want to hear that it wasn't my fault. I didn't want to hear that the baby probably wasn't developing correctly or maybe was never even there. To me, I had lost a baby. Real or not, broken or not, a baby.

I was told to wait three months by one doctor, six months by another. We found out we were pregnant again in the beginning of April, 2010. This baby would have been due in December 2010. I remember being so eager to find out if I was pregnant, buying the test and rushing home to take it. It was positive - a faint positive, but definitely positive.

Immediately, an overwhelming sense of dread came crashing down on me. It was almost suffocating. It was a strange mix of terrible fear and a sense of foreboding. This time, it wasn't even a week before I started bleeding.

I think, by this time, I was numb. I just wanted to get past it. I didn't want sympathy or hugs. I wanted to pretend it'd never happened. How could I possibly acknowledge that my failure of a body had killed two consecutive babies, babies that were perfectly healthy in my mind, no matter what science says? I was only out of work for two days.

Months passed. We were finally ready again. Or something like that. This time, I told no one, not even my husband. On a Monday in late October 2010, I bought a Dollar Tree test on lunch the first day of my missed period. It was a negative. I shrugged, tossed the test in my pocket, and tried not to feel crushed. I was careful not to throw it in the trash because I didn't want coworkers seeing it. The next day and a half were spent waiting for my period - which, by the way, did not come.

Fast forward to Tuesday night. I was sorting laundry and emptying my scrub pockets. (Because of course I always take pens home with me.) Lo and behold, this little Dollar Tree test had grown a second pink line overnight! I felt strange and anxious - but not necessarily a bad anxious. I couldn't wait to get my hands on a "real" pregnancy test the next morning.

The next test was, of course, positive. This time, I don't know what I felt. Maybe I was a little excited. Apprehensive. Nervous. Uncertain.

The "danger" weeks passed at a snail's pace. I was convinced something was going to go wrong. It made it hard to feel settled, even after I got past that elusive seventh week I hadn't managed to see through previously. The first ultrasound at thirteen weeks made it finally seem REAL. There was a real baby in there, and it looked like the baby might really be born!

This is not to say that my happy ending came here. I had a rough, painful pregnancy with sciatica from four months on. At times, I could hardly walk. I had contractions for most of my third trimester. I was worn out and resentful. I think part of me was afraid to get attached because I was convinced, even still, that something was going to go wrong.

My son was born at the end of June. A big 8 lb. 7 oz. 21 in. chub of healthy baby.

I didn't like him at first.

Sure, he was adorable. Sure, he was pleasant and sweet and precious. But I could NOT get attached. I think part of me was still terrified, still in disbelief that something this amazing could happen to us.

And then it happened. He began to kick, and coo, and smile, and then laugh. And I fell head over heels in love with this little man. As a matter of fact, we now have an agreement. He is only going to love his mommy - and nobody else! - for the rest of forever. (We'll see how long that lasts.)

I guess the moral of the story is that happy endings DO exist. I would never blame God for the tragedy of the miscarriages I experienced, but I certainly thank him for the wonderful and miraculous blessing He gave me in my son - AND daughter.

That being said, I'm done! I'm so done with pregnancy and childbirth! One boy, one girl, and our little family is complete. Thank you for allowing me to share my story, which I firmly believe is a big part of the healing process. And the only advice I can offer to someone through a miscarriage is to just let yourself hurt. Let yourself grieve, let yourself heal, and lean on your loved ones. And maybe one day - by childbirth or adoption - you will finally hold a baby in your arms and feel that unimaginably potent love that only a mother knows.