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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The ups and downs

One of the hardest things for me are the ups and downs that depression leaves me with.  More days than not, the things I want to get done don't get done.  Every night when I go to sleep I think about what I want to do tomorrow.  I feel hope that tomorrow will be better than today.  Tomorrow isn't better than today, no matter how many times I tell myself it will be.

My favorite therapist told me not to think of today as failure.  Think of tomorrow as hopeful.

As a person with chronic depression, I have to think tomorrow will be better.  If I don't, what am I living for?  When I think that question to myself or aloud, it doesn't sound good, does it?  I've been told it sounds like I don't want to live anymore.  That is absolutely not the truth.  Questioning my purpose in life doesn't mean I don't want to live my life.

I want to be normal.  I don't want to be on medication.  I've tried going off my medication and it did not go well.  That was in 2007.  After much research and talking to professionals, I understand that I have a chemical imbalance in my brain.  After taking a psychology class, I understand the intricacies of the brain.  I still ask, why me?  How do I get myself out of this hole?

One of my biggest fears is that my kids will remember me as that mom.  The mom that was up and down.  Up and down. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Conquering a fear

Fair warning...my mind is very scattered today.

I had two anxiety attacks today.  We were at a bowling tournament for my son.  Unsurprisingly, there were an abundance of people.  Being shoulder to shoulder with strangers is stifling.  The fact that I am 5'2" doesn't help; not only are we wall-to-wall, everyone but the kids tower over me.  Some kids even do.  I held it together by focusing on my son, walking outside, and generally staying engaged with the parents.  I didn't think until just now that I made it through the anxiety/panic attack with no medication.  I just did it naturally.  I suppose that is what mom's do.

It was a few hours after we got home that I was hit with another anxiety attack.  This one was worse than the first, which was strange.  I got dizzy, couldn't get enough air, and started feeling claustrophobic in my own house.  That was a horrible feeling that got me really worked up.  My home is the only place that I have felt safe since the anxiety and panic attacks started.  Frankly, I don't leave the house alone.

In what seems like a past life, I was a runner.  Once I got into the routine, I was exercising 5-6 days a week. Now, going outside for a fraking walk is almost more than I can bear.  I guess the claustrophobia helped me today because I was so upset that I had to leave the house.  Alone.  I took a walk down the street to a little park we have in our subdivision.  All I wanted to do was sit in the sun (40 degrees or not) and soak it up.  I concentrated on my breathing and calmed down.  Some.

It can be strange what triggers certain thoughts.  Sitting on a bench in the sun, I looked down at my shoes.  White and black checkered Vans (one of my favorite pairs of shoes).  I started thinking that it feels like my life is like a checker board.  I'm at the beginning again.  It has been a year since I became unemployed and I haven't found my footing.  I don't know how to move to the middle of the board, let alone the other side.  I sat there until the sun went down and walked home.  When I got home, I realized something.

I was a conqueror today.   

Friday, February 8, 2013

A perpetual state of panic

I just updated my blog template and noticed that it's been over a year since the last time I posted on this blog. That's quite some time. It took me three months to decide if I wanted to use this blog or blog anonymously about what I have been doing and going through in that time. In the end I decided what the hell? I'm not looking for sympathy. It's more a diary (hence the MyDiary template) or forum to get my feelings out there. I've googled a lot and if anything I post helps one person, it's worth it. So this is my way of saying, here I am. Back on the world wide web. I'll start with a short beginning of my story.  

pan·ic /ňąpanik/ (n) Sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behavior. I have had a history of depression for as long as I can remember. I have had brief moments with anxiety, but nothing that an average person hasn't felt now and then. I have even felt panic; when I couldn't reach my kids from work, when we were in the emergency room. Situations like that. Anytime I felt panic it wasn't in relation to myself.

I didn't realize what I felt because after I lost my job on 2/14/12 (a memorable date), I turned myself into a recluse. Sure, I left the house. It was gradual, but it was less and less. Until when I did go out, I would have panic attacks. Hyperventilate. Get dizzy. My vision pinpoints so I can't see much of anything. So I stopped leaving the house. Except for going to the bus stop or school. I would make appointments only to cancel them even if it would cost me a $60 cancellation fee.

Having this happen to me was so embarrassing that I didn't know what to do at first. I tried to hide it, like a drug addict would hide their habit. I was ashamed and didn't even know where or who to go to for help. I felt like someone that went from being strong to someone being weak. Even though I have dealt with depression and been in therapy, I always had some sort of handle on it. I didn't have any sort of handle on this. I am getting a handle on it, but I don't go to the mall by myself. My panic attacks aren't as bad in general. As of this moment, I can be in larger crowds, but not for a large length of time. There has been progress, even since the beginning of the year.

If you have a bad week, think of the past month. Progress is just that.  Progress.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The trials of single parenting

I wrote this post several weeks ago.  I've gone back and forth on whether to post it.,  Eventually I decided to share it because writing is what I do and many of my friends aren't people that I can just go across the street and knock on her door (you know who you are).  Most of you have known Kelsey, in one way or another, since she was a teeny-weeny little baby.  That's what decided me.  I need you.

                                                                              

I never envisioned being a single parent.  I suppose I should consider myself lucky that it's only parenting single, not financially single.  Still, it begs the question that's been circling my mind, how the hell do you single working mom's do it?  How do you get through the day with enough left for your kids?  With enough left for yourself?  Not like you can think much about yourself because by the time you actually have time to do that, all you want to do is hit the pillow.  Or that's all I want to do.

"When it rains, it pours."

That saying seems to have always applied to my life in some aspect.  Not one thing can go wrong at a time.  No, I'm not that lucky.  It's always multiple things at once.  At this point, I would be thrilled with "bad things come in threes".  Yeah, that train has left the station.  I think it's in Maine right now.  I ask myself if I'm cursed.  I ask myself if I'm just that unlucky.  I ask myself why the fuck I can't get a break.  Do I make these things happen?  I'm clear on the last answer to that.  It's hell fucking no. 

I'm going to tell you a story about a nine year old girl name Kelsey.  Many of you know and love her.  I would die for her.  Though maybe in this particular story I shouldn't use the word die.

Things had been going swimmingly as well as could be considering the circumstances.  Kelsey was acting out more than usual, but that was to be expected.  What was unexpected was her regression to the behavior she began showing around age 4.  The hair pulling (pulling her own hair out of her head).  The rages (not temper tantrums) that can last up to an hour.  The hitting of herself with her own hand.  The scratches she would inflict on herself.  When that behavior started showing again, I was alarmed.  Reasonably so.  Kelsey is a 9 year old girl that, while somewhat explosive, knows how to expressive her feelings in a more appropriate manner.  She also knows that those behaviors do nothing for her.  Back into counseling for her.  I am hyper-vigilant about both my kids behavior, especially at this time in our lives. 

On Sunday I got a little nuclear bomb dropped on me when I found out that Kelsey said she didn't want to live.  As in she wanted to die.  As in she wanted to kill herself.  A nine year old girl.  My nine year old baby thought her life was so bad for one moment in time that she didn't want to be there anymore.  I fucking freaked.  Put that in with her recent behavior and I damn well took it seriously.  I never imagined that I would be going through either of my kids rooms taking out pencils, scissors, anything sharp, belts, headphones, anything heavy, etc.  I cried while I was doing it and she cried watching me.  All that while I kept having to tell her that I wasn't mad.  It's my job to protect her.  It's my job to make sure she's safe.  I had to tell her that over and over again.  She wasn't in trouble. 

Forget the drink, after that I needed to check myself into the psych ward.

It's been touch and go since then.  We've been to see her counselor and psychiatrist.  The counselor really got her to open up which was great.  What might be one of the worst moments of my life was when the counselor asked, "Kelsey, have you felt like you haven't wanted to be alive before?" and she whispered in this tiny little un-Kelsey like voice, "Yes." 

Which leads me to the conclusion.  I'm a fucking failure.  Or maybe I feel like a failure.  All I know is that my nine year old daughter is having thoughts and feelings that no girl (or boy) her age should.  So where have I gone wrong?  What have I done?  What haven't I done? 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bill

Dear Bill,

You are so sensitive about turning 30. I am sure it has something to do with me have no idea why. To mark this very special occasion, I'm going to take the time to tell you 30 things I love about you.

1. You make me laugh.
2. You pull out every gray hair you find.
3. You're a clothes whore and won't admit it.
4. You watch The Colony.
5. You want to visit a pawn shop in Vegas that you've seen on the History channel.
6. You watch Man Woman Wild with Kelsey every Saturday morning.
7. You kiss me every time I walk in the door.
8. You kiss me goodnight even when I'm sleeping.
9. You love Molly even though you hate cats.
10. You play two square in the driveway.
11. You get as excited as me when you find a foot long zucchini in the garden.
12. You coach a soccer team of ten 6-8 year old girls and don't complain. Much.
13. You can always find the good in a situation.
14. You're ambitious at work.
15. You support me when I worry about being bi-polar.
16. You eat soy crumbles and try to pretend it's ground beef.
17. You talk about the Cold War and Cuba with Will and don't lose your patience.
18. You encourage Will to be a chef even though you would love for him to play football.
19. You challenged me to make a goal--which led to a half marathon (that I haven't done) (and also led to an injury).
20. You want to get travelers checks for Las Vegas (so cute).
21. You let me take your phone upgrade so I could get the Droid I've been wanting for what seems like forever.
22. You've been paying attention to my moods and asking me what's wrong when you notice something is off.
23. You take just as long to get yourself through security at the airport as I take to get the kids and myself through (this is only amusing after the fact).
24. You didn't bat an eye when my family moved to Boise right after we did.
25. You put up with love my brother like he's your brother.
26. You managed to grow up and not turn out like Alan (sorry if you're reading this Alan).
27. You'll let me get another dog if I want one.
28. You watch iCarly and like it.
29. You help with the laundry.
30. You love me despite all my faults.

We are going to have a great time celebrating your 30th, Bill. It's going to be a weekend that we're not going to let you forget.

I love you.

xoxo
Your Wife

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Will's Journey: Part I

I've always known that Will was special.  Not like in the way that a parent believes their child is special.  No, I've always thought that Will was "change the world" special.  Okay, maybe not that special, but special nonetheless.  When everything started declining in his fourth grade year, I pulled up my big girl mommy panties and told Will the way it was going to be.  The way it was going to be was that he was going to do what I said.  The only thing that he didn't have to do was have a smile on his face while doing it.  Imagine my surprise when my angel turned into a devil.  Homework sessions that should be fifteen minutes turned into two hours.  There was homework missing, lying, crying.  It wasn't a simple case of laziness.  That's what I contributed it to at first.  That's why it wasn't until May that the light bulb went off.  Lets get Will tested for ADD. 

By the time we got the testing started, it was already mid-July.  Not exactly an ideal time for testing when most of his problems stem from being in school.  After I discussed my concerns with the psychologist, I was convinced that it wouldn't matter enough to change the result.  Will either had ADD or he didn't.  I didn't tell anyone about the testing except for my sister and my best friend.  I wasn't one of those mom's that was looking to throw medication at a problem.  Will was not (and is not) a problem to me.  I felt that there was a problem that needed to be addressed before it was out of my control. 

We got the official results on September 1st.  Will has ADHD (inattentive type).  They don't differentiate with ADHD and ADD anymore.  They clarify with inattentive or hyperactive.  Will is by no means hyperactive.  That is laughable and anyone that knows Will is probably smiling at the thought.  It changed everything and nothing for our family.  It changed everything because Will has to try harder.  I have to work harder to make sure I'm attentive to his needs.  If he needs help, I have to see it almost before he does.  I walked out of the office that day and I was in tears before I got to my car.  All I kept thinking was of how hard it was going to be.  I kept forgetting that it might have been hard with a kid within the normal boundaries of ADHD.  Will isn't normal.  He's special.  We've already had our ups and downs.  We'll continue to have them.  I still cry, but it's less now.

Will wasn't with us on September 1st.  We took him back the following week so the psychologist could explain the results to him.  When it was explained to him, he said "I already know that homework is hard for me".  All that was missing was a "duh" at the end of his sentence.

I love that kid.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Coming out on the other side

As I've said many, many times, depression is a hard thing to live with.  It's something that will affect everyone around you; your family, your friends, even your co-workers.  In the times that you feel so bad that you wonder if you'll every feel normal again, you have to know that you will.  When that day comes, it's important to reflect that you have made it.  You made it.  You know it will come again, but that's not something that you need to think about now.  All you need to think about is that you feel like yourself again.

I feel like myself again.  I feel better than I have in a long time.  I've felt better for a couple of weeks, but it's something that I've held close as if I shared it I would have to give it away.  Sometimes I feel like it will just be gone in a second.  That is happening less and less as I just take one day at a time.  At times I take one minute at a time.  That's all I can do when I'm trying to get through something that feels unmanageable.  When I think about going through another bout of depression, it feels unmanageable so I don't let myself think about it.  Not this minute anyway.

There's no magic potion that I've taken to make it better.  Medication is definitely a portion of my "treatment", something that I have vowed to myself will on day be unnecessary.  I don't know if that's true, but for now I say it will be.  The biggest difference is my sleep cycle and exercise.  I am getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night.  No more, no less.  I wake up within the same two hours (5:30-7:30am) everyday.  Even the weekends.  Yes, it can suck but it makes a huge difference.  With the help of a friend, I have taken up a half-marathon training schedule.  I'm running 3x a week and cross training 3x a week.  In addition to the weight loss (10lbs!!!!), the energy I feel is freaking amazing.  While I haven't felt the runners high (someday I hope), I don't want to give up what I feel when I get back from a run.  The feeling of accomplishment is something I can't quite explain. 

My life isn't perfect and it's not easy.  I've worked hard to get from where I was in May to where I am now.  I feel 100% different.  I just want people to know that it will get better.  Don't give up hope.