growinghumans


New Year
December 29, 2015, 2:50 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Dear 2015,

I did my best with you.

I searched for joy wherever I could–

We took our Tiny Human to Disney World for the first time.

I traveled to the mountains and viewed America’s biggest mansion twice and imagined I was living in Downton Abbey.

I put my writing out into the world on a larger scale, and to my palpable shock, the world took it.

I was brave.

I endured a handful of different kinds of medications, all doing terrible things to my body.

I overcame suicidal thoughts. Repeatedly.

I dealt with the absence of my husband due to his horrific work schedule near the end of the year. My Tiny Human and I clung to one another and searched for joy together. We found it–in early morning cuddle sessions, in grocery store, in the airport as we traveled for Christmas by ourselves. I taught my 5 year old to find the joy.

It’s not hard for a 5 year old to find joy. It’s a lot harder for a 31 year old. I can tell you that much.

I had a hard time with Christmas this year–with the whole business of it. I didn’t put up many decorations. I bought gifts that didn’t seem to excite many people. I didn’t get that magical, emotional feeling in my gut when I saw lights or heard songs or ate cookies.

I have many resolutions for next year, as every person living with a mental disorder, I’m sure. Be happy. Be brave. Keep swimming. Keep writing. Think bigger. Be better.

But, my silly and non-important resolution is to make next Christmas magical; to go over the top. The tree will be perfect. The house will be full of lights. We will ride a Christmas train. We will make 37 different kinds of cookies. The gifts will be perfect. My Tiny Human will feel the magic of Christmas, for once. The magic that I felt when I was growing up.

So, 2016.

I see you. You will probably be hard, as 2015 was.

As 2014 was.

But I am going to continue to be brave and clever and well spoken. I am going to branch out and write about new things.

I may even give podcasts or vlogging a try.

I am going to continue to stick my freakishly long neck out and see what happens. That is the only way to find joy, you know.

It doesn’t just happen. You have to look around for it. Under rocks, behind closed doors, across the street. Sometimes the thought of achieving what I want to do with my life seems like the long walk to Mordor.

But, I mean, I am basically a hobbit. I can do this, right? I can do all of these things.

I can do hard things, and so can you.

Happy New Year.



It Sucks.
December 12, 2015, 10:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

My husband works a retail job managing a store.

My husband has always worked retail so it’s a way of life that I have just become used to, I guess.

I don’t let my brain rest on the details of what that means often, because I don’t have time.

Today, as I was running errands with a best friend, she asked if he was working. “Yes,” I said. “Of course.”

She asked how often he has to work weekend. I said every weekend.

“That’s not great for you guys. That’s really hard.”

I shrugged it off that it was just how we have always done things.

But you know, the more I have thought about it this afternoon, the more I have gone into an emotional fetal position.

Because it sucks, guys.

I see my husband for 15 minutes in the morning. I am always in bed when he gets home from work. My Tiny Human is almost always asleep.

I do a lot on my own. I do most on my own. I keep up the house. I grocery shop on Sundays. I do the laundry. I buy Christmas presents. I decorate the tree. I make cookies with my daughter.

Alone.

On top of working 40 hours a week.

It’s a treat if he can do anything with us. We went grocery shopping last weekend at Walmart just so we could go early before his shift.

I look at other, normal families who go to Holiday light shows, or a Santa train on the weekends, and it hurts me. It physically hurts me.

I could take her.

But it would just be me.

My husband, because of his work schedule, will not even spend Christmas with us this year. He will drive up to Connecticut three days later. It’s made getting excited for what is usually my favorite time of year almost impossible.

I know it kills him. I know he would rather be with us. I am not faulting him. He is doing his best for his family and we love him for it.

But it’s a shit situation 90% of the time.

I know this is just idle complaining and that there are moms out there who have it worse–single moms, moms who have deployed partners, etc.

But I miss my husband. I wish we felt more like a family and not a two person mommy and daughter show with an occasional special guest: dad.

As I sit here in my dark house, waiting for my Tiny Human to get up from her nap so we can make some Christmas cookies, I find myself wondering if I have the strength to keep it all up, to keep it all together. It takes a lot–right now it’s taking an extremely strong egg nog and a Klonipin.

My husband works in retail.

And it just sucks.

That’s all.



My Sister Had a Baby
December 11, 2015, 10:40 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I got the call Sunday night, around 9:30.

My little sister’s water had broke and they were on their way to the hospital. I hunkered down for a long night of correspondance. I changed my phone tones so that if I happened to drift off to sleep, I would immediately wake up if an update came through.

My brother in law did not miss a beat. He let me know every time they moved, every time she dilated, every time she needed something.

I lay in bed, through the wee hours of the night and clutched my phone, knowing that this was as close to being there that I could possibly be. I felt small.

Finally, at 6, I dragged myself out of bed and brushed my teeth. I had to go into work, staying at home and resting  and waiting was not an option that day. Things were progressing, but slowly, and I had hopes for a longer labor so that I wouldn’t miss the moment. I had a long labor and perhaps my sister would follow in my footsteps.

By the time I got to work, frazzled and high on adrenaline, she was at 5 centimeters. An hour later she was at 8, and I started to panic.

Less than an hour later my little sister dilated to 10 centimeters and began pushing.

I panicked. I wasn’t ready. I wanted to be in a room, alone. Not in a noisy classroom, surrounded by other people who needed things from me at that moment.

I needed to close my eyes and send my strong energy to my sister as she began this last and more horrendous part of her journey.

My brave, warrior little sister, did not need my thoughts.

She labored for less than 12 hours. She endured relentless contractions from the moment she was admitted to the hospital. She did all of this without the aid of any sort of medication.

And she pushed out her glorious daughter by 9 am the next morning.

I was sent a text, a picture, “She’s here.” I didn’t know what to do. I stood very still and felt how different the world felt suddenly now that this perfectly formed little person was now taking up space. It felt different.

States away, far from my grasp, my little sister lay in her bed with her baby and her husband and blissfully nursed her.

Everything had gone to plan. If you held up her birth plan like a check list, all of her points would be checked off.

My sister, my brave little sister, fought for this child. She fought through the pregnancy and did everything she was supposed to do–she did yoga, attended classes, read books. She was bullied for her weight gain from her original doctor’s office but eventually found a group who embraced motherhood for what it really is. All through this, all the long nine months, she was adamant:

I am going to have her naturally. I am going to push her out. I am going to breastfeed.

She willed it into existence. She had her birth moment that so many mother’s are robbed of. I am in awe

awe

absolute awe

of my sister, her body, and this small little person that I can now call my niece.

 



What is wrong with me?
December 5, 2015, 6:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I went back to the psychiatrist this week to get the results from my genetic test. I had to go with my Tiny Human which always feels like child abuse, but what can you do?

I sat on the nice, white, leather sofa as the psychiatrist asked me how I had been feeling since going off all medication.

“Not great. Not in control. Super weepy.”

She asked me how my motivation to get things done was doing and I laughed because I had just finished having my parents at my house for a week, my mother being sick, my Tiny Human’s birthday party, and Thanksgiving. Dear doctor, I didn’t have a chance to not be motivated. Someone had to do all of this crap.

She then took out her computer and pulled up my results. She said there were two things that stood out to her:

One, I had an enzyme, or something, that was making it hard to metabolize certain medications. What this means is that when I was test out certain prescriptions and not feeling anything, there was a reason. I needed a much higher mg level to feel anything with these drugs.

Second, I was lacking receptors in my brain that grab serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that people normally have that makes them able to feel happiness. I wasn’t able to receive as much of it as normal people.

I asked for a print off of the results. I clutched them to my chest as we walked out of the office. Once we got to the elevator, my Tiny Human asked why I was crying.

“Because,” I told her.

“Because there’s actually something wrong with me.”

When you have depression, anxiety, OCD, anything…you get to a point in your treatment where you plateau. Nothing seems to be helping and you begin to wonder if there even is something wrong with you.

Maybe I’m just being dramatic? Maybe I just need to suck it up? Maybe I’m just having a bad week, month, year?

Maybe I need to do more yoga, pray, exercise, walk in the sunshine, take vitamins.

But, no, look here. There is something chemically–biologically–wrong with me.

This isn’t just about wanting attention or feeling bad for myself or asking too much from life.

My brain

cannot

be as happy as normal people.

To hear that, to see it written down was such a relief that I quietly broke down for the two minutes it took to walk from the elevator to the car.

And now, we have a better plan. I’m not just taking arbitrary medications that make me feel awful. I’m trying an old prescription; I stopped taking it because I felt it wasn’t doing anything but never noticed many side effects. I am slowly, but aggressively increasing the mg level over the next few weeks to almost the max recommended. I will then take blood tests to monitor what it’s doing in my body.

Before, on Lithium, I felt like we were just throwing bombs from the air at random places. The exact target wasn’t quite being hit and the destruction level was high. Now, I feel like I have a team of snipers on my side.

We have scoped out the enemy. We know where they live. We are dialing in and firing well-calculated shots that shouldn’t disrupt anything else around them.

At least, that’s my hope.

It’s easy to be negative about everything at this point, after everything I’ve been through.

But you know what? Let’s give positive a try. Let’s brush the dust off of optimistic, get out the jumper cables and give it a go.