Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Nothing is a guarantee, but you still have to try

"O Captain! My Captain!" (prescription medication being my adversarial captain)

Well, tomorrow I go back into the trenches. My second dose of the "mild stimulant."

I am dreading it.

I have hemmed and hawed over giving it another shot and still don't know if I want to take it. The doc said if it doesn't work tomorrow I will go on a regular dose rather than a slow release so it will come out of my system quicker and I can take it twice a day.

When I asked the doc if he thought this would be something that could get better his answer was "You're sensitive to these things. It could get worse, it could get better, it could stay the same..." Pretty much what I already knew from all the years of going through med trials, but asked for my husbands sake.

The major reason I am going to take tomorrows dose is for my husband. He saw a glimmer of the "old me" and it really gave him some hope that I could get better. It's saying something that the poor guy is actually expressing his opinion about me giving it another go. His take this time is more like "You have to be optimistic about this and give it a try." "Stay positive and keep trying." He is usually pretty comfortable with my decisions because he doesn't know this business. I think he is banking on this medicine's efficacy. I am afraid he will be greatly disappointed.

I am sick to my stomach thinking that in about eight hours I am going to take a pill that is going to wreak havoc on me for 48 hours. Eighteen milligrams of hell. But hey, who knows, it might not be as bad as the first dose. The amount of times I have heard this and gone through this is actually pathetic!

The first few hours of my first dose was almost ethereal.

I was chatty and upbeat, dare I say bubbly. There was a look in my husband's eyes that said "where the hell have you been these last five years? Welcome back and don't ever go away. And can I go out with the guys, and can you deal with all the shit you haven't been able to do because I really need a break and I am so happy you're back. I really, really missed you! And maybe later I can get lucky?" It was quite a look.

I actually had to mentally tamp myself down because I knew it was a medicinal effect and not an actual behavior. It was too fast and too good. I had the shakes and jitters. They were mild at first, like I had too much coffee, but then I got that tired feeling like when you've had two beers. Not enough to get you drunk, just enough to make you want to go to bed. But it was also a feeling of exhaustion on another level. A mental level. Like my brain and body were saying okay "that little shit of a pill you took earlier is acting like a fucking four year old in here and we want it out." The little bastard took it's sweet time leaving too!

Went home, took a bath, "relaxed" in bed, tossed and turned and obsessed and clenched jaw and clenched fists and clenched neck. I was even sucking on my checks like a baby rooting for her next feeding. When I closed my eyes I could see swirls of light and dark almost paisley patterns. It was AWFUL! Tried to wake my husband who was in corpse pose and snoring like a champ. I finally got up at 3 a.m. took a bath. Too hot, too cold, too hot. Got out took a Benadryl and did a crossword puzzle with the dog until I felt like I could lay down and actually sleep, or a least lay still. The next day I was anxious and emotional and really disappointed. For me, for my kids and more so for my poor husband.

We have been together over twelve years and for the first seven I was in an almost "remission" of sorts from the depression. I had my days but nothing like I was earlier in my life. And then I became pregnant with my son.

During my pregnancy it all came crumbling down.

I honestly thought I had kicked the depression, kicked the deep dark stuff. It came back like one of those Lord of the Rings Dark Riders. Faceless, looming, terrifying. It might leave for a bit but it would smell or feel me out and come back, just as scary and just as dark.

There have been hospitalizations and really, really terrible times. My family have seen me go from active to bedridden time and again.

So to say I want this med to work is the understatement of a lifetime! I want it to work for Z and T and S and me. I want to feel truly alive again. I want the multiple stimuli sensitivity to go away so I can be in the same room with them, TV on, kettle whistling and water running without feeling like I need to get out immediately or I will explode. I want to be able to "handle" things again. I don't want my husband to have to come looking for me, to find me cowered in a corner of our garage behind a motorcycle and some galvanized cans rocking back and forth because I am beyond calming down and afraid my children will see me in this state. I want better for them.

I will take this pill tomorrow, and if it doesn't work, which I really feel terrible saying, will most likely be the case, then I will call the doc on Thursday and get yet another script and take that and see how that goes. After that if it doesn't work my guess is he will have me take a break and see how things go. I know this routine like the back of my hand.

I want to live for my family, but more importantly I want to want to live for me. I am still here and much to my shock and awe still clawing at the mud as it crumbles down around me, as I slide and dig my feet into the side of the mountain. I am not sure if the slide will stop and I will be able to crawl to the top and see a panoramic view or if I will be stuck in that place, sliding ceased but hanging on for dear life, or if I will let go.

I fear each of those outcomes equally.


A bad trip...cure, or sure fire way to be institutionalized for good?

I do not think I am a good candidate for stimulants. Last night, three days after taking a half tab of a new med I was cramping from anxiety curled up in a ball on my yoga mat, that is a position right?

I know this med is supposed to give me energy but this is the wrong type of energy. This energy is in the pit of my stomach and makes my chest tight and my head spin, rather like the energy Linda Blare gave off in the Exorcist. I kinda think I will eventually projectile the green vomit. Hopefully it will be my anxiety coming out.

That's it, I need an exorcism! Screw this Pharma shit I need a Priest STAT!

The thought of having a priest come in an help me with my anxiety feels rather oxymornish due to my recovering catholic status. Could it be a reverend from the UU or maybe a buddhist monk? However I don't think they would get my anxiety to bubble up in the way I need it to.

Maybe I need a trip to Peru for a good Ayahuasca experience. I have friends that did it and they definitely purged!!!! My fear is that I would run in the jungle and end up a cannibal's kept wife. That doesn't sit well with my whole being a vegetarian thing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayahuasca

Monday, December 8, 2014

Mild Stimulant or Major Agitator?

Captains Log 2

Day one 

SUCKED!

So far...FOE!

Will try every other day per doc. I am really not looking forward to the next dose. :(

I hate this process. Can't even write.

More to follow...


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Moments of Madness: SAY HELLO TO MY little FRIEND?

Moments of Madness: SAY HELLO TO MY little FRIEND?

SAY HELLO TO MY little FRIEND?


Captain's Log 1

Well, today is the day I begin my "small dose" of a stimulant. Friend or Foe, we shall see!

As requested, and something I do mostly to amuse myself, I read the side effects. Ahhhh, they didn't disappoint.

A few stand outs: 

"An empty tablet shell may appear in your stool. This effect is harmless" 
Well, since the pill is smaller than a tic tac I assume I should feel no pain; I have birthed two children. So far, just skeeved by the wording "tablet shell in stool."

Mild Side effect: 
"Sudden outbursts of words/sounds that are hard to control" 
Okay, so I may be able to focus and get my laundry done, but I will now have Tourette's Syndrome...might be a fair trade. Ask my family, I already have sudden outbursts. Getting the laundry done whilst outbursting is a win in my book!

VERY SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS
"Fainting, seizures, symptoms of heart attack or stroke, rash, itching/swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing"
Hmmmm. Well, if it helps with my executive functioning skills what's a little partial paralysis, weeping eczema, and inability to breathe?!

AND MY PERSONAL FAVORITE (which seems to be more common in most medications these days) 
"An erection lasting four or more hours"
If I get an erection that last that long I'm not leaving the house, nor am I calling anyone, especially the doctor!

And this is "NOT A COMPLETE LIST OF POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS" 
For that you have to call the FDA 1-800 number where they make you listen to the rest which is read by that same annoying person in the commercials that speaks at the speed of light to fit in as much of the warnings as possible without anyone actually being able to understand a word of what they are saying.

Ahhhhhh, "Better living through chemistry." Let the games begin.

First stop, nephew's second birthday party. If I try to pop out of his Toy Story cake as Jessie I think I may have to call my doctor.

...to be continued.

Thanks for coming along for the ride!

LET'S DO THIS!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Just say NO to HIBERNATION AND MOURNING!

So, my psychiatrist asked me why I missed my Mother so much...um, because she's DEAD!

I would have come back with a sassier remark but I was too busy pinching myself to see if this was yet another nightmare! Apparently he doesn't have a close relationship with his Mother. Maybe she is his MOTHER to her NORMAN?!?!

I realize he is basically just my drug dealer so I shouldn't be surprised by his abrupt cluelessness, but damn.

Then after asking me how I am doing he concluded that "you want to go into hibernation." Is that in the DSM 5? Is there a pill for that? Apparently YES! I am now going to try a "small dose" of a stimulant. So basically I take a pill to wake up and a pill to go to sleep. The way I am now I'm afraid they will be taken within an hour of each other! Stay tuned for future post on that!

Then we got into a bit of a conversation about religion where he deduced that all the conflict really came down to the ideology of one sex or another, male or female Gods...another hint at the Oedipus pattern....

So, lesson one: don't go to your psychiatrist on Friday, go on Monday, Monday's already SUCK!
And lesson two: ...I honestly don't think there is another lesson.

Happy Friday!

...Oh, one more thing that stood out. I said that being a woman was a cruel fate and he said "Being born is a cruel fate!" Just chew on that for a while!!!! This man prescribes my meds!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Caesar Divine doesn't do 5AM!

My dog is driving me absolutely batty. He likes to sleep on the bed, my mistake. If I don't let him up he whines. He follows me around like I am made out of dog food, and he has decided the cat is his nemesis because she exists.

I am awaken this morning by the frantic jingling of his collar as he scratches his neck. He is a short-haired Queensland pointer mix and his hair is constantly shedding. Why I don't take that off at night as I do my own jewelry is a mystery to me, but then again I am still a mystery to a smattering of therapist that lay in my wake.

I finally summon the dog over and pet his head while he sits. Of course I find a tick, I find one or two every day. As a girl who did not grow up in the woods I am continually skeeved by the little bloodsuckers.

I head upstairs knowing that the dog will follow me like the gravy train. I walk into the bathroom and that is when he decides "eh, maybe she's not so great after all." I have to drag him into the bathroom and, with crust still in both of our eyes, find the tick on his black fur around his ears. He is constantly trying to get out of the bathroom by sliding backwards on his nails like Michael Jackson, if M.J. were a dog. I find the little bugger and the dog inevitably moves so I have to drag him back and look for it again, and this goes on, far too long for my taste since it's 5 a.m. I am able to get a hold of it, I pull and I don't think I get it so I shake the tweezers and head back it, looks like I got most of it, where is the bit I took off? After I remove the piece left in I start shaking him down like a NYC pick pocket. Then I look all over myself and the floor. At this point I am cleaning my bathroom because I HATE TICKS!

I open the door, kitty is standing there and the dog immediately goes into Cujo mode, for those of you who are too young to know who Cujo is, just think of a dog that Caesar Milan hasn't gotten to meet yet. Now mind you this is all at 5AM, and we live in a less than 1000 sq. ft. home, and the rest of the foursome is still asleep. The cat is meowing because she wants to eat, she is 20 lbs,  of course she wants to eat. The dog is in a tizzy because, well, "CAT!" With jaw clenched and back spasmed I get the dog to go to his bed by way of pointing with two fingers and my best Divine voice "BED, BED, BED!" He cowers and goes, only because I am following him with fingers jabbing in the air and THE VOICE.

I walk downstairs and feed the cat, I normally wouldn't at that time of the morn but she won't stop meowing and the dog is salivating. I pour her cuppa chow and the minute the feed hits the bowl the dog is up and at the top of the stairs. I then go into my routine and get him to his bed. I then feed him and decide to get a tea to calm my nerves before I jack myself up on java.

He eats, and has since we got him, like he is in a "eat the most hot dogs in an minute" race. He wins! I do the routine a few more times because now the asshole cat is taunting him...I will deal with her later! "Bed, bed, bed," making sure he is submissive I walk away and go back a few times just to make sure he still knows I am CAESAR DIVINE! Pissed off C.D. at 5 a.m. is NOT pretty.

I finally have a few minutes to write and the cat comes in and goes right to her favorite place where the mice like to come out, sing songs and sew pretty garments. The dog gets up with tunnel vision for the cat. I have to do my routine over, and over, and over again. The cat is still sitting in her position and the dog is between the kitchen and living room watching her and me with equal intensity, ears perked and in full pointer pose, only when I look over at him he wags his tail. If he could he would lean against the wall, twirl his fingers and roll his eyes like Bugs Bunny dressed up like a teenager in saddle shoes.

I have NO idea how long this will go on. I have to get the canine out into the woods and let him run. I never thought this dog, this RESCUE dog, who was so meek when we got him he didn't even bark, would turn out like this. The "foster parent" wasn't sure he would ever bark again. Well, I got news for him...he's a barking champ! Especially at 5 a.m. when a cat crosses his path!

Buddha Grant Me The Serenity!

This story brought to you by Honey Lavender Stress Relief Tea and Jim Beam, "Breakfast of Champions, and Caesar Divine.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"Do not go gentle into that good night"...easier said than done!

This is my view right now. I am CAMPING (on my deck). Anyone who knows me knows I don't like camping. But I couldn't breathe. The anxiety and pure shock of the news that Robin Williams committed suicide has shaken me to my core. 

After a long walk with Ganesh in the pitch dark of town we sat at the bench at the top of the hill and watched the lights of Boston. I cried. I saw two shooting stars shortly there after.

I cried for Phillip Seymore Hoffman, for Robin Williams, and I cried for myself and everyone else battling not only the diseases, but maybe even worse, the stigmas.

We all had one thing in common, mental illness. I too have a sense of humor and use it as a coping mechanism, but I am no comic genius. I still can't help relating to them. And those that say it was a "selfish act" don't judge until you've slogged in their shoes, crawled out of their skin and begged and pleaded to any and all Gods to take the illnesses away. If it can happen to them, it can happen to any of us.

I am blowing this stigma to pieces. I fear for my life on a daily basis not from the hands of others but from my own. Most don't understand. They don't comment on posts I write about my depression and depression in general. I will be heard! I hope others will join me.

I am so angry that another talented and entertaining human being has taken his life because he felt the shame and sheer torture of living with the highly misunderstood illnesses of mental illness and addiction.

(I am also mourning all the horrible atrocities going on throughout our world, but this one hits home on a different level. My Uncle took his own life in the same manner as Robin Williams. I wish I could talk to him and get some insight into what his struggles were. I don't know that I would have helped him, but maybe I could have made him feel supported, less alone and less stigmatized). Sadly, in the end I believe he still would have taken his own life.

Unacceptable!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Oh fuck Zen, it's overrated!


That is the new title of my book. The one I haven't written yet because I am a procrastinator and can't focus on projects very well. Yes another one of those people who has the mythical "ADHD" (among the other DSM diagnoses). 

Apparently, when I was just a wee one and not sleeping, my brilliant pediatrician told my Mom she could either put me on meds, or give me Coca Cola. She opted for the Coke. NO, it didn't work. It only made me more hyper and probably a little anxious. And by little I mean crawl out of your skin anxious. Conveniently my Dr. and dentist shared a building, what luck because I was back and forth quite a bit. My mouth is full of so much mercury if I stand in the correct position on a clear day I can tap into Nasa's phone system.

Anyway I digress. Where was I?

My latest venture is into the world of Mindfulness. Yes, the therapy "discovered" by Jon Kabat-Zinn (what kinda man hyphenates? I mean seriously!) while working at the hospital in my hometown of Worcester, Mass.

So anyway, I was assigned with the task of buying a workbook that, in 8 weeks, "would help me become more aware of the seven signs of driven-doing and cultivate the precious human potential for mindfulness we all possess," "learn to recognize my thought patterns for what they really are -- just thought patterns -- and then graceful[ly] disengage from them..." and "learn to recognize ruminative worry and driven -- doing as they arise...and see THEM for what THEY really are!"

What they really are is fucking annoying, so yes, I told my therapist I was all in and I went an bought that workbook. Said workbook came with a handy-dandy cd of guided meditations. Oh, minor disclaimer "Mindfulness will not eliminate all of life's pain and stresses, but it can help us respond to them in a way that is kinder and more compassionate to ourselves and to those around us." (Remember that last part!)

Today I decided I would work on the first exercise before I see my therapist this afternoon. I had already read most of the first chapter and used my highlighter like a good little student of mental freedom. 

First exercise: Mindfully Eating a Raisin (okay, seriously?) 

Well since we didn't have organic raisins, because hubby went against my request to protect the very lives of our family from deadly pesticides, I broke out the month old, organic dried apricot, date, plum medley a friend gave me (don't ask). Now, I honestly can't tell the difference between the three, they all look like shriveled up bulls balls to me, so I took two at random, ready to work my mindfulness.

I popped the cd into the player in the kitchen and sat down at the table facing the bird feeders, lit a non-toxic candle, and waited to hear the calming voice of a true master of mindfulness. As I waited I fondled the sticky testicular-like nodules waiting...waiting...waiting.... Hmmm, I get up and press play and it blinks and I press play again, hear the sound of it spinning and sit down, again. Waiting...waiting...waiting.... I give several more attempts seeing if it was the volume or the setting. Then I decided to take it into my sons room where there's another player. I hopscotch around the Lego littered floor and get to the player. Pop the cd into the machine and sit on his bed ready to go. 

Palming, now uncomfortabley moist and warm mini sacks, I close my eyes and wait for it...and wait...and wait...and wait. I hear the spinning (...or is that my mind?) I get up, trying to stay Zen, I open the cover, close it again and check the settings and volume. Press play and jump onto the bed. NOTHING. Okay, deep, cleansing breaths. I take the cd out of the player with my sticky fingers and grab the other player from downstairs. 

This time I bring my show to the couch, it's a cold raw day and we don't put the heat on in June. I set the player up next to me, blanket tucked around me, legs in yogic position, balls in hand; shrinking by the second, maybe they will be raisins after all! I press the button and "Whheeeeeeeegggggggggggggggggeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggrggggguunnngggggrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..." 
My neighbor across the street decides he needs to rototill. I nod my head and try to get in the moment, meanwhile the cd has not said a fucking thing to me yet. 

I come to the conclusion that this is a test by the authors to see if I can get through this without stressing out, staying mindful, basically proving their point at the very beginning, that you really do need this workbook! I check the settings and the fucking volume and I close my eyes trying to block out the construction work across the street. I press play, I wonder how long would they have me sit before they said "Are you still there? "How're you doing? "Are you ruminating?" Then I smell something. I open my eyes and look to the left, my dog is sitting next to me, stark straight, staring at me with his cat-shit breath. I reposition myself and the dog settles down facing away from me and I press the buttons again. 

It never spoke to me, not a fucking word. 

Either these guys are genius, or I got a faulty cd. I chuck my bull-ball raisins into my mouth and head straight for the coffee. I plop down at the computer and look up the word ruminate. Here is the definition I found: 

ru·mi·nate verb \ˈrü-mə-ˌnāt\
: to think carefully and deeply about something
of an animal : to bring up and chew again what has already been chewed and swallowed

I sit and ruminate on the definition. Then I type in "does ruminate originate from Rumi the philosopher?" It brings up "assfiles" and I decide to call it quits!

I tongue a tooth that has some of my leftover prop on it and think, according to the definition this was a total set up to ruminate. Not only did I think carefully about how much I hate the guys that wrote this book and planted an empty cd in the back, but I hate my neighbor and his stupid rototiller and his perfect yard and Legos and cold June days and cat-shit breath and eating shriveled bulls balls.

...but I love coffee.


  

Friday, June 6, 2014

Just a thought...

I think it should be mandatory for docs to triple up on dosages of anxiety and depression medications during PMS. Taking a regular dose during this time is like taking a tick tack for a mouth full of shit.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Signs you can't ignore

I was on my way into the Woo, but hadn't heard back from the person I was going to see, so I took a left and figured I would go to a cafe and write for a while and wait for a message.

While driving I was listening to a segment on NPR called Death and Taxes. The story playing was about Hospice and the interviewer was talking to a nurse and family members of the patients. It hit home pretty hard, but like a car accident or a Brittany Spears video, even though you probably shouldn't, you just have to tune in. I was in tears hearing the labored breathing and that all too familiar way someone who is dying attempts to speak, like a bad ventriloquist, very monotone, no energy to put into pronunciation never mind just mustering up the words. "Do you want a shower?" "No, no, I can't." Resonated right in the middle of my chest.

While listening to this I came out near the reservoir in a town nowhere near where I thought I would.  I was on the same street as my Mom's credit union. The one I have been avoiding, I am on the account and have to close it. She died December 15, 2012, here it is April 26, 2014. I couldn't ignore the signs. They closed at 1 p.m. and it was 12:30 p.m. Short and sweet. Get in and get out. No one is going to want to stay late, so the chances they won't drag out the process were in my favor.

Mom had that account for more years than I can remember. She used to tell me "Today is the anniversary of the day I opened my account back in...." I mean, Mom celebrated everything, including the day she opened up her own credit union account. She remembered that my brother Michael had his spleen removed on Flag Day back in 19XX... I mean she remembered and celebrated all sorts of things.

My license and a signature, and it was closed. A ten minute transaction and she was no longer a "Member." I held my tears back until I got into the car and then let them go. If someone were to be on a commercial praising this place it should have been Mom. She always talked about how wonderful they were and how they were the first financial institution to give her a loan. How they were so friendly to her (I believe she brought that out in people). She always had a smile and a kind word. She was very good at meaningful small talk. Even going to the oncology floor with Mom was like walking in with a movie star!

Today I feel like she is just one more step removed from this Earth.

I ache to hear her voice daily, some days I am okay, and some days I am definitely NOT okay.

Grief, "not a linear process." Death, so much more than just the actual act of dying, or losing the person at their last breath. So, so much more.

She is no longer a member.

xo Mom ox

Friday, April 25, 2014

Hitting a New Low?

It's totally acceptable to borrow a $1 from a kids piggy bank and then put said dollar under said kid's pillow, from the Tooth Fairy, right???? I mean who really has cash on them these days anyway? Is this our new low, or just a sign of the times?

We were going to leave a fiver and a note asking that she leave change for the Fairy to pick up the following night, but thought, with our lack of follow through it would just set us up for more dodging questions about imaginary figures someone created to make parents feel even less qualified for this position than we already do!

We'll pay it back, with interest. Whether we actually put the cash back in that pastel-stripped piggy or not...

...we'll pay!!!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

An American Won...

An American won. Med is the true definition of AN American. He is someone who came to this country from another at the age of 12 and calls America his home. American is a place for anyone who wants to live here! Let's us learn from this.
We are proud to call Meb an American as the winner of the Boston Marathon, Let us also be proud to call him an American because he lives here. He is an immigrant and works hard at what he does and is one of us...a HUMAN!

Meb is a HUMAN who lives in the United States.

Acceptance cannot just be granted on the merits of winning a marathon, it must be given to all of us, relatives of immigrants who once came to this country as Irish, Finish, Italian, African, Nepalese...we are ONE!

HUMAN STRONG! 
Meb Keflezighi Becomes First American Boston Marathon Champion since 1983 - Boston.com
www.boston.com
Meb Keflezighi became the first American champion of the Boston Marathon since 1983 Monday.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Good Friday?

Zoe asked why she had Friday off and because I don't participate in the Catholic traditions or go to church anymore I told her "Good Friday is a day where you get to have a day off from school, but you have to be good ALL day!" I'm not sure she bought it, but what else am I going to say "It was the day the Catholics believe a man was nailed to a cross and that is why you have the day off?" Hmmm, wait a minute, that IS what they told me....
Oh, that reminds me, I have therapy Friday!

Monday, April 7, 2014

It's SPRING Dammit!! WE WILL BE HAPPPY!!!!!!!



It's SPRING Dammit!! WE WILL BE HAPPPY!!!!!!!

So, obviously many local bakeries now have some STIFF competition! 

Moments of Madness Happy Confections sponsored by Pfizer and Kraken Rum are ready for your orders!

While I am confident I will get customers coming out of the woodwork I fear my chances of obtaining a storefront might be difficult at best. Wish me luck!

Easter Bunny might not make it anywhere else after he hits our house so fingers crossed he gets to everyone else first!

(So, this is what happens when I am in the kitchen putting cupcakes away and see my prescription bag on the counter...As some brilliant and funny person said to me today "My mind is a dangerous neighborhood." Do I have that correct, person who shall remain nameless?)


And yes, I put the medications away in a safe place out of reach of children, the rum too, and covered the cupcakes. This was solely for humor and not to be taken out of context. Just feeling a bit sassy...a good sign for me! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

A day of normalcy, a blessing not gone by unnoticed

This Saturday I expereienced what most people woud consider a normal day with the family. A long one, a throughly enjoyable one. Not something I can usually get through. My anxiety most often ends up taking over and after struggling to decide to go or not to go I watch the door close behind my husband and kids while they venture out.

As they drive away I feel guilt for not being a good mother; for not being a good wife and for leaving my husband with the brunt of the parental duties. For not making myself an integral part of their fun childhood memories.

I am fortunate, I have a husband that is excellent in the role of Father and Husband. He works full time and when he comes home he has another full-time job taking care of us. Sad but true, I require more care than, in my opinion, a wife should. I need help when I am having a tough time. I need help coming up with meal ideas and getting started. I need help getting laundry and dishes going. I need help with Z's math and T's boundless energy. Getting out of bed. Getting through a long week, and even a long weekend. I need help, and I HATE it! I feel weak and pathetic and I feel that the kids and husband would be better off without me. He insists that is not true.

There are days when I am functional, hell there were years when I was functional. It all kicked off again when I became pregnant with my son in 2009 and I have not been mentally well since. They warned me in 2000 when I became pregnant with my daughter that I had a very high probability of getting post-partum depression with her. I knew, that is why I was so fearful of ever having children. I was so fortunate with my daughter, I had a few down days and that was it. I thought surely I lucked out!

Z was a surprise and one of the best I ever got. T was planned. We did not want Z to be an only child, and after seven years of putting it off we decided it was now or never. We lost one child to ectopic pregnancy and I had to go into surgery to have the baby and the fallopian tube removed. The docs told me I may not be able to get pregnant again. I was pregnant the first try after the surgery. This boy was a force from his very inception!

I knew we were tempting fate because of our good fortune with Z and the fact that she was an amazing baby. As well, how lucky could we get? I was always very conscious of how lucky we were and made it a point of being incredibly grateful for our good graces.

I started becoming depressed early in my pregnancy with T and it kept up. After his quite dramatic birth in my car I hoped the depression would leave now that we had this beautiful baby boy. He was colicy and had an immature digestive system. If he wasn't nursing he was crying. He was not a happy baby, and I was not a happy Mama. I felt like such a failure. And Z didn't really enjoy her new brother because he wasn't any fun and his crying hurt her very sensitive ears. It was a very tough first year. As a matter of fact it was Dr. recommended that he start going to daycare, for both of our sakes. It was the best recommendation, although it definitely further instilled my sense of failure. I spent many days in bed crying. I ended up in the hospital several times and couldn't for the life of me believe that I tempted fate like this. I brought it on myself. I was angry at my husband for not agreeeing to adoption. For wanting another child with our genes. I told him the chance we were taking, and part of me blammed him for not taking me more seriously.

So, I was laid off, depressed, a Mom of two who could not even take care of herself. My sister-in-law stepped up, she was laid off, so when I went into the hospital she stayed with my family and took care of them. She cooked beautiuful and delicious meals. She cleaned and organized the house. Painted my basement. Sang and danced with my children. Did arts and crafts with them and brought a sense of joy and "normalcy" to this house that so needed it. She helped my husband by freeing him up to work and not worry about the kids. He came home to homework done, homecooked meals and a glass of wine; a clean house and happy, healthy, clean kids.

She did this for two of my hospitalizations, (maybe three) and each time stayed a little longer to make sure I was settled in and acclimated to being home. Each time she left I cried like a baby knowing I was losing our rock. Knowing I couldn'y possibly live up to Auntie B's legacy. And I missed her company. Her energy. Her zest for life and functional vibe. Her ability to just get things done and not dwell. To problemsolve and especially her ability to be present and alive. Fully alive and completely enjoy life in the now. Now my family was left with me. What a rip off for them!

The last time she stayed with us I had to let her go before I was ready, my dying Mother needed someone to stay with her. B was the one for the job. The best caretaker anyone would be fortunate enough to have in their home. She treated my Mother like a Queeen and I know it was right that she was with her. It was more than right, it was such a beautiful gift for my mother. The way everyone's mother should be treated in her dying weeks.

My brother died in October, an my Mother passed in December. The day after Mom's funeral my brother and sister-in-law packed their little car and headed to the farm in Pennsylvania. They would eventually end up moving to South Carolina. I have not physically seen her since December 2012. I feel like when I lost my Mom I lost my sister-in-law in a way as well. I lost two pillars in my life.

I have struggled through the past few years, avoiding the hospital and trying alternative therapies to get well.

The winters are brutal, the anniversaries are painful and the mothering and wifely functionality are still incredibly difficult.

So, when I have a 12 hour day spent out of my house, at the Mountain, skiing and laughing with my family and friends, watching my children riding in the box sled we made and decorated together as a family with huge smiles on their faces, the sun shining down on us, I am so grateful for it. Feeling so blessed to have been able to expereince a day of  normalcy, a beautiful, simple, a much needed gift!

 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

...And now back to your regularly scheduled program

I'm Baaaaack, sorta.

I was, as we with mental illness like to say, "in a complete state of fucked-upness."
I am not out of the woods, as I never know when, or if I will just slide back down or come out of it for a little and get sucked back into the vortex of hell.

The winter was brutal and I caved and went to the doc to see if he could help me with a new med. As per usual, the process of figuring out what medication works at what level and how long it takes to work is, in my opinion, torturous.

Last summer I had it in my head that within a year I would get off Pharma meds and onto tinctures, naturopathic therapies and yoga. A few weeks ago I would have mainlined Cheez Whiz if someone told me it would cure me of the debilitating anxiety and depression.

I believe I am in my third week of the new med and it is clear that it is adding anxious energy and nothing else. I am OVER IT! I have been unavailable to my kids and my husband, escaping to the confines of my bed, even more that usual. Our house is VERY small, like 950 sq. ft. so while I am laying there I am listening to the three year old pound through the house like a giant looking for his stolen harp. The ten year old is stomping and whining because she can't wear shorts and a tank top outside to play, in winter, and the husband is feverishly storming the castle attempting to catch up with the household duties that I have been unable to do.

Yes, I have the headphones the block out sound but sometimes I forget to put them on. They do work. My fear is that I will become too attached and I will not be able to survive without constantly wearing the "green chainsawing ear muffs!"

Sometimes I wonder if it I could legally opt to become deaf, someway giving my ability to hear to someone who can't, but wants to, would I do it? Would it help me with my sensitivities to all stimuli which cause me to clench, go within and eventually send me into bed. I mean the pills don't work. The small house is not my sanctuary, and leaving the house every time I get overwhelmed would be, well, it would be abandonment of my family!

Hmmmmmmm, something to think about...




Thursday, March 6, 2014

Acceptance

I haven't written in a few days, and I'm not too happy with myself. The thing is, this is something that I always worry about when it comes to something I want to commit to daily. I know it's no big deal to other people, it's not like I have a huge fan base, however I let myself down when I don't stick to a goal. It's pretty hard to get me to commit to something because of my fear of failure. My fear of breaking the commitment. It's like if I agree to do it I am setting myself up for failure. I guess I have to look at it in a different way. A few days off is no big deal and the cool thing about a blog is I could write three posts in a day to catch up. I have my reasons for not blogging the last few nights, med changes, emotional crap, just exhausted. I need to let myself off the hook and say "no big deal, when you are up to it you'll pick it up again." I am not feeling it tonight. No sass, so spunk, but I did feel like I wanted to get a post done to at least say I did it. And so this is it for tonight and maybe tomorrow I will have more in me. That's the best I can do for now and I will accept that and call it a night!  :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Shed your winter woolies one and all!

I did it. I took the leap. The winter has broken me down so low that I figured if I took this desperate measure maybe, just maybe, it would trump that useless flabby excuse for a meteorologist, Punksatawney Phil.

It was sort of a quick thought, but then it became somewhat of a superstitious obsession really. So, tonight I finally, for all of the people who are giving the old middle finger to Mother Nature, I did it...I shaved my legs.

I know, some will click feverishly to avoid reading further, most being of the male persuasion. Stick with me here. Let me esplaine you why Lucy might want to keep her winter layer, just as Ricky may don a beard. There are common reasons, as well as different reasons we females choose to keep a wooly coat, just like our brawny counterparts.

A man may grow a beard to look a little more rugged while chopping wood. A pair of Carhart chaps, a thick, plaid long-sleeved LL Bean Shirt and some shitkickers and you turn into Paul Bunion. The beard brings out your eyes and hides those little imperfections leftover from puberty.

We lady folk do not grow our leg hair, and occasionally armpit and nether-region hair (NO, no, no...stick with me, please, you've come this far) to feel more rugged. We don't do it so that you will look down at the space between sock and pant and think, "now that is a girl who knows how to get through a winter! I'd sure like to cuddle up in front of a roaring fire with her!" We know it won't bring our the color of our eyes, only the shock popping eyes of those that get a sneak peek. We know we can't get too close to a fire while in our natural state due to probable singeing of our entire lower half.

No, we know it's not something that will turn you on, which is also part of why we do it. But I get digress.

A man with a beard looks like he can fix things. He may have the handyman skills of Richard Simmons, but with a face full of hair, to us, you appear as though any leaks, outages, logs too large to spilt on our own, means you are the MAN for the job!

As woman with fur laden legs, and the rest, that I won't mention for fear of losing you, we too give off the appearance of someone with handyman skills. We may be better suited to more delicate jobs like making photo albums of holidays gone by, or trying out that new gluten-free, no-bake protein ball recipe. But for some reason we end up at an elderly neighbors house with a blowtorch in one hand and a Home Depot “How To” book in the other.

There are other reasons we, both buck and doe, choose to take a season off. To simply get a break from shaving. It's labor intensive, razors are expensive and frankly our skin just needs to be left alone!

After you get through the gross, and frankly hazardously prickly stage, it's all smooth sailing from there. Men can have scratchy beards, but most women's hair, during the growing season is long and quite soft. Certainly the look can be a turn off, but if one can get past that, the smoothness might be even better than the five minutes after using the Lady Shick Ultra. I mean, I have always associated this bizarre, and frankly quite infuriating phenomenon to my Irish heritage. Five minutes after I have shaved, towel dried and applied lotion (I have long gams so it's a labor intensive gig for me) I inevitably get the chills and a 1/4" of stubble immediately emerges from every pore that has just been stripped clean of all hair, and usually some skin as well. I literally grow a 5 O'Clock shadow within five minutes of a 20-minute maintenance protocol. Sometimes I will tell my husband "quick feel how soft, like right now while I'm in the bath," because I know the minute I emerge from the water I will take on the tactile resemblance of a fucking porcupine. "Come feel the silky smoothness that one would associate with a REAL woman," a well quaffed lady, a Brazilian model, or maid (they all look the same). I really do attribute that horrible, and quite frankly, libido killer of a trait to my Irish heritage. Could be the Finnish heritage too, not exactly smooth and supple peoples, the Irish, nor the Finns! We all have crosses to bear.

So remember men, we women need a break too. We need a winter without razor burn or stubble or cleaning out the bathtub that, which after we get through with resembles those magna doodles with that guys face and the little magnet on a red stick for you to give him a beard, mustache and eye brows. We too want to be warmer, to just be the hairy beasts we are so not encouraged to be, if only for a few months.

Have no fear, most of us, come spring will tidy up all our lady parts to your liking, while looking forward to seeing the face we haven't seen since "Movemeber."

In light of all this I am establishing a women's movement to grow hair for a cause to give the men some competition, which we all know they love. While they will continue to raise awareness of men's health issues, ours would be a fundraiser to protect beaver habitats far and wide. We shall call it "Beavember!"

Game on boys. GAME ON!


Just another manic Sunday

In a perfect world Sunday nights would include a relaxed evening meal, talk about the weekend and week to come, baths, books and bed. I would have the backpacks hanging on their respective hooks and hubby's work bag near the door. My home desk would be orderly and ready for work in the morning.

My reality is making a salad after the main dinner is already served because I can never figure out what I should eat (I have food issues). The three year old complaining that the food is "too spicy" and he doesn't like any of it and decides to get up and circle the dog in an attempt to satiate his need to constantly be in motion while simultaneously not listening. The ten year old who demands her brother stop bothering the dog and sit down, she can't NOT scold him, she feels a loss of control which, if she would just listen to me, she would realise she's right, she doesn't have any control. "Let it go and let Mom and Dad be the parents" (who are also not in control!)

After we hectically ingest our food it's back to the computer for me, catching up on work and pushing my blog on more platforms than I cared to know about. Filling out online sign-up forms and adding to the list of passwords that I will never remember. I think I "Tweeted." I am "Following" people I do not know (I'm hoping that isn't code for "stalking") and I am pretty sure I gave permission for Bloglovin' to help themselves to one of my organs if I did not reach 75,000 likes in 30 days. 

I walked the dog and carried poo in a biodegradable bag, I even collected poo that may not have been that of my own dogs (so I guess I did a good deed for the day.) I did zero laundry. I barely kept the fire going. I took my morning meds too late and took my night meds too late. The son is asleep. The daughter keeps making excuses to see what else is on the Oscars, and with every prompt to get back to bed she performs her own Oscar-worthy performance, stomping back into her room and throwing herself on her bed in tears at the injustice. Husband is sleeping like someone who enjoyed his Saturday night. And I, in typical "me" fashion, have been trying to write my blog and watch the Oscars, just proving to myself that it really is NOT possible to multitask. Not on a Sunday. Not with this head. And not with the Oscars on!!!!!!

Now to see what Monday shall bring...



Sunday, March 2, 2014

Bloglovin

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Saturday, March 1, 2014

It was fun while it lasted...

I like to write my blog based on things that happened either recently or that day, or at least something that is relevant at that moment in my life. At this point though I am not sure I should. Because while I sit with the iPad in my lap I am looking across at my husband. He is sitting up, book in lap, completely passed out and in FULL-ON, alcohol-induced, sleep apnea coma. H.O.T ----N.O.T.!

We were invited to a birthday party and had a lovely time, actually we didn't really see each other the entire time. I had wonderful conversations with people I usually only see as we are hectically dropping off or picking up our children at preschool. It was nice to see each other in a relaxed, showered and made up way (I speak for myself when I say that I am NEVER showered, made up nor relaxed, I am not a morning person and I lack executive-functioning skills, so I am constantly looking as though I am late for something or have lost something).

Tonight my husband was quite relaxed and enjoyed meeting some guys from town that we have only met a few other times, but again don't really ever get to converse at length with; I was glad to see him enjoying himself.

After I finished listening to THE BEST story about a couple (that shall remain nameless) who moved into a co-housing community only to find out it was polyamorous AFTER they signed their names and got the keys to their eco-townhouse. I tell you if I didn't think she should write about it I would fill my blog about this place. Talk about a creative writers dream. What a refreshing night, to hear her talk about this place, so much better than going on about benchmarks and MCAS and the sucky weather! Anyway, after hearing this story I saw we were close to being the last ones to leave. I think it is always best policy to NEVER be the last ones to leave unless it's someone you are extremely close to, or a member of your family.

I jumped up and told dear hubby it was time to go. We went and made the farewell and thank you rounds. At one point we were told to grab a bag of left over BBQ, I being a vegetarian passed and I knew Steve would pass because he rarely takes leftovers. What I didn't expect to hear was "Nah, I don't need to take any leftovers, but I'll take a few beers for the road."

"ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?" is what my inside voice said. I tried to throw him a horrified look but he was not looking in my direction, he was finishing his beer. I asked for the keys several times as he was getting his to go 6-pack together.

I mean, this is probably the third town party we have been invited to and I, at that point thought, "well, they were really nice to have invited us, and it was fun while it lasted..."

So, as I sit here across from him, bathed in light, head turned to the ceiling as if he is sunning himself on the beach, each time the apnea kicks in and the breathing stops I think, "should I wake him?" He eventually wakes himself with the loud snort, snorkel and eventual jolt associated with drinking induced apnea. I keep assuming he will head down to bed, but when I suggest it he mumbles something about why does he have to go to bed, "ashshshshsahsahshash."

I plug away at my blog and as I near the end he wakes up, heads to the kitchen, comes out and looks at me surprised "When did you move up here?"

Yep, that's the man I choose to be my life partner. The father of my children and the man who may have just sealed our fate when it comes to being invited to anymore birthday parties, or parties of any kind in this town.

It was fun while it lasted. Now to Google CPAP machines and see just how sexy I can really make him look.

Disclaimer: I am totally attracted to and in love with my husband. I know he is a good man who doesn't have the highest tolerance for alcohol. I also know he deserves to let his hair down occasionally. I also know that he is used to hanging around with rugby gang and that it might take some getting used going to parties that don't involve drinking out of a cleat, but rather having a few beers with preschool parents that tell stories about their polyamorous cohousing.

Here' s hoping for second chances.















Friday, February 28, 2014

Damned if you do and Damned if you don't

I missed posting yesterday. I have been in the middle of a medication change and what started out as "Amazeballs," quickly turned into a pumpkin at the end of it's six-hour shift. The cut off on this medication was awful, and happened at my normal tough time of day on top of that. I took it the next day and wasn't feeling right. Heightened anxiety and then the cut off again. I got in touch with my doc the third day and he told me to quarter it. I tried that and felt nothing but agitation and frustration. I ended up in bed at 6:30 and woke up this morning at 11:30 a.m. with the headache from hell that is still with me. I took a half pill today and feeling meh. The headache is so stubborn, even Aleeve hasn't  touched it. Hence the rigamarole of figuring out a new med dosage, one of my most dreaded things to do in the whole wide fucking world.

The reason med changes are so difficult for me, and I am sure for almost everyone else that is looking for medication therapy, is that it's a guessing game. I am a test dummy. Take this, cut a little, add a little, tweak here, add something for the side effect of that, tweak and raise and lower again. It is TORTURE! I have been doing this for too many years. Last year I swore I would be off PHARMA meds and onto natural therapies by this coming summer. After the winter from hell I was desperate for help and went to a new Psychiatrist. 

This not only effects me, it effects my family because I am unpredictable. I usually have to lay down and I can't always take part in family fun because I am too anxious or have a pounding head ache or am on sensory overload. 

Depression and anxiety have robbed me, and my family of so many good times. So many so-so times and just plain time. I am so sick and tired of being sick and tired. I know writers should avoid cliches but it fits so well.

I know I need help. If I didn't get help when I first melted down I would NEVER have lived to see today. I accept that I am someone who may always need help off and on. 

It gets exhausting. It gets old. It gets aggravating and frustrating and down right makes me despise my illness, and sometimes me.

In 2012 I was hospitalized and the doctor just didn't think traditional medicine was working for me so he recommended ECT. For those of you who don't know the acronym it stands for Electric Shock Therapy. I was mortified. My husband was more so than I was, and we were both scared. I saw those people in the morning waiting for their breakfast tray, sitting in a wheel chair looking like, well, looking like they just got electrocuted! I did NOT want to be one of them. 

My husband came into the hospital and we watched a video on the treatment and how far it has come today and how it isn't as barbaric. We were almost convinced, but something inside me said no.

I did pretty well on meds, not 100% but well enough. I made it through the deaths of my Mother, Brother and my beloved cat and did not end up back in the hospital. I belong to a bereavement group, yoga and a group at my daughters school as well as therapy. I have definitely had my days where I felt I needed to go back to the hospital, that I couldn't take it any more, but I got through it with some coping mechanisms and support. It wasn't pretty and my heart breaks for what we have all endured, but we got through it.

I have NO idea if this med will work. If when Springtime comes and I decide to try something more natural. I don't know. I just know I want to live and I don't want to have to work so hard to get through the days. I want to function and create and enjoy my family and be able to be a part of their lives on a consistent basis rather than basing my social life on how I am going to feel that day. 

I would not wish this on my worst enemy. Sometimes it's tolerable and I can live with it, but when it comes to trying to figure out meds I feel frightened and somewhat out of control and very conflicted as to whether I should have started the endeavor or not. Is it fair to any of the people in my life, including myself. 

It feels like there are certain times in my life with my illness that no matter what I do I am damned if I do, and damned if I don't.









Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Northern Exposure

Yep, it's come to that time of year when the weather is the topic of conversation, and the bane of my existence. The Northeast is where my family and I choose to call home. I say choose and I have to shake my head. Why do we choose to stay in a location where I bitch about the weather nine months out of the year?

Why do we stay in a location where my dog doesn't even want to go out to relieve himself?

Why do we choose to stay in a location where we have to dress our children from head to toe in layers of clothes rendering them barely able to walk to the car never mind fit in their car seats?

Why? Why? Why?

I could go on with the scenarios, but I am preaching (mostly) to the choir. I mean it even snowed in Georgia this year! IS NO ONE SAFE?

We live in the Northeast. I grew up here and except for a brief stint in the midwest I have never known another place to call home.

That being said, I have, since as far back as I can remember, always dreamed of living elsewhere.
More specifically someplace with a fairly consistent temperature with the needle leaning more to the right of 70 than the left!

I LOVE Summer. I used to love fall until fall became Finter. We are losing entire seasons in this four season region. Spring isn't even really spring, it's more of a Sprinter.

Winter
Summer
Sprinter and
Finter

It's like our seasons are morphing into reindeer, the animal most closely associated with THE NORTH FUCKING POLE!!!!!!

I find this unacceptable and I will not go gently into this deep freeze.

I know, as I stated earlier, that it is by choice that we live here. I have been talking to my husband, originally from Brazil, for several years about moving to warmer climates. It seems I married the only Brazilian on the planet that quite enjoys freezing his nuts off rather than sweating them off!
He loves snowboarding, chopping and stacking wood and just breathing in the lung paralyzing air of Massachusetts winters. WHY?!?!?!?!!

I should have known when he took me to his family reunion...in MICHIGAN, WTF????? I married a Brazilian, silly me thought I might get to vacation on the sands of Sao Paulo HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, you will go to NORTHERN Michigan, and you will like it!

Full disclosure: the family compound is stellar. In the summer, on the lake, by the infinity pool, as cousin Moni makes caiperinihas in the cabana until the limes run out, if you close your eyes you might actually feel as though you are in South America. There are people speaking Portuguese, Spanish, French and Bull Shit, or as we like to call it Landoltese. It truly is an escape, kind of like Alcatraz (You'd have to experience it to understand my comparison.)

I am normally a pessimist but I am still holding out hope that one of these years we will be drinking our Caips on a beach in northern BRAZIL!!!!!!!!!!

Until then, saúde!









Gotta do what we gotta do

I haven't felt this tired at bedtime in a long time. Real, honest to goodness tired. Not tired from depression, or from racing thoughts and panic attacks. It's from functioning through an entire day with focus and energy.

I started a new med, which I am very nervous about. I have been on a mission to live a more natural life, but this winter was starting to bring me down to the depths! I know what I want to do and will eventually get myself there, naturally, but in the mean time I needed a little help from chemistry. It pained me to accept the prescription. I felt a bit of failure, but I also felt like I was doing something unselfish. My family needs me, they love me and they have seen too many bouts of taking to bed, crying jags and bursts of rage. It's not fair to them. They love me and I love them. And I think I may even love myself, but that is a whole other post further down the pike!

I want to be a functioning human being and a productive member of this family. I have two incredible  kids and a husband who has endured more than his share of trauma at the hands of my illness. It's time we all get a break and time for me to life my life, our life, a life worth living!

I started the medication this morning around 10 a.m. and I knew it was working by 11 a.m. when my sister-in-law asked me the name of the script and I answered "AMAZEBALLS!"

It's definitely stimulating, but not as jarring as the others the docs have tried in the past. The ones where I walk around in circles doing a little of everything and not finishing anything and feeling so many inspirational things but they were just out of my grasp because the stimulation was not helpful, it was over the top, and a feeling I can't imagine anyone wanting to feel for any period of time!

Today I ate breakfast with my son and we went to to the local romp and stomp and hung at a new library and I was able to patiently and lovingly explore the globe with him and the planets. It was an absolute pleasure. I actually enjoyed my son, and I enjoyed how I was with him. I can't tell you what a feeling that is, it's like finding a lost family heirloom, so precious and so appreciated and so dearly missed. Having feared it would never surface, thinking you may have to just let it go and accept that it is gone for good.

I'm taking it one day at a time and I am still of the belief that meds are temporary and my goal is to live a more natural and less chemical life. But for now I will do what it takes, and I will be okay with it.

One day at a time.

AMAZEBALLS! Ask for it by name. ;)





Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Shrink, Shrank, Shrunk

Today I met my 3,742nd psychiatrist. Let's just say there were no surprises, not on my end anyway.

I had to get out of the last "group practice" I was in because it was just plain sketchy. First of all the reception area speaks to the doctors through Nextel walkie talkies. Drug deals and walkie talkies do not make a good combination, even in an office setting, and it makes for a very bad first impression! (I thought, surely their phone system must be down for the day but next visit there they were copy thatn' same as before.)

"COLLEEN MULLANEY THE DOCTOR WILL SEE YOU NOW" "Okay doctor patient is on her way in." Like the place was palatial; it was the first floor of a three tenement in Worcester. If that wasn't irritating enough they forgot about me the first day. I am all for people watching, but enough already..."breaker one-nine, when is it my fucking turn?" When I finally get into the Docs office I am, well, overwhelmed by his collection. Cases and cases, Entertainment Centers, Armoires, Curio Cabinets FULL of PHARMA Chachkies. Everything from Cymbalta coffee mugs, to Prozac pens and Viagra plaques. Each one set at just the right angle, catching the sunlight streaming in through his bent metal blind overlooking Price Choppers parking lot. I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.
As I tried to hide my complete and utter shock at the vastness of his collection, I noticed he barely looked up from his computer as he asked me how I was, and if it was my first time here and what he could do for me, all the while typing. Apparently his walkie-talkie packin' office staff did not take dictation. I rather admired his kindness to take on some of the office work himself, noble.

He spoke in a thick middle eastern accent. I, loving people of all cultures, decided to ask him where he was from. "Where do you think I am from," as he looked up from his computer with only his eyes. Um, shit, talk about being put on the spot. What if I said the wrong country? I've seen CNN, Oh man, I should have just kept my stupid mouth shut and got the friggin prescription. "Um, Lebanon?" I said with a shaky voice and a very awkward, forced smile. He looked up with a smile and said, rather loudly "SYRIA, so close, so close! Do you know of my country?" Oh fuck, seriously, I was listening to NPR on the way in here, of course know of your country, shit. "Um, yes, yes, um very difficult time for your people." Shit was that racist "your people?"  "Seriously Colleen?????" "Yes, very difficult." I could have let it go at that but he seemed okay, so I continued my nervous banter "Do you still have family there?" "NO, no, no, they are all here. All safe." "Oh, good, I am glad to hear that." Seriously, I came to get antidepressants and now all I wanted was a fucking shot of vodka and cigarette...and I don't smoke!

He asked me very few questions about my history, gave me a prescription and sent me on my way. His knockwurst size fingers still typing as his wife came in to bring him lunch. I saw him once after that and I just couldn't do it again. I felt like one of these times I was going to be part of a sting operation and there I will be on the front page of the newspaper busted in front of a cabinet full of Viagra dinnerware for twelve, no thanks!

So my lovely new therapist referred me to a doc near her office that she said she thought highly of, and I trust her so I went for it.

The process of seeing a psychiatrist for the first time is pretty much the same, except for my Syrian Viagra friend.

They basically ask you to sum up your life story in 45 minutes. It's hell and there is absolutely no way to make anyone's family sound "good" with such a short amount of time and cut to the quick Q&A.

What brought you here? What happened at 18? Would you consider your childhood happy? Parents? Siblings in order. Medical, Mental and Medication history as well as hospitalizations and any traumatic events we may have missed. After 45 minutes they should just admit everyone for observation as a matter of standard procedure because if you didn't walk in there feeling like shit, you certainly left there remembering why you were seeing a psychiatrist in the first place!

This doc wasn't too bad. There were no walkie-talkies, no chachkies and he looked at me occasionally, usually because I wasn't answering fast enough and he was taking notes in a notebook which I thought was a sign he was really paying attention.

I told him I had a terrible memory and then he proceeded to, as every other frickin' doc before him has, ask me to name every medication I have ever been on, if they worked, if they didn't, and why? This is 25 years of psychiatric history. I recognize the names, hell I might even recognize the pill and maybe a few might trigger a memory of the nasty side effect, but honestly you may as well as a stranger on the street, or better yet, LOOK IN THE FUCKING COMPUTER SYSTEM where they are supposed to have all that info stored?!?!?! Do not depend on a hippocampus that probably resembles a Sun Maid prune. THIS IS A TEST...! Oye.

I told him I thought my memory was mush because of all the meds I have been on through out the years, he insisted it wasn't possible, it was more likely the depression itself...debatable, but maybe half and half. I don't believe most of the shit fed to me, but I'll give him half.

Then he asked what hobbies and activities I have partaken in and if I had ever had head injuries. When I told him I played rugby and yes I had a few concussions he said "What would you go and do that for, that games nuts!" Ah, hello, look where we are doc. Nice bedside manner. He asked me how my ears were and I assured him I was cauliflower free, he said his brother played in college and has cauliflower ear, "crazy guy!" I said "Let me guess, you rowed?" He almost fell of his chair "how would you ever have come to that?" "I deduced :)" "Good skills!" There is no better feeling than fucking with a man whose job it is to study people's mental health condition :) I actually started to enjoy my visit and relax a bit. He was a bit smug and was okay when I gave it back. At the end of our appt. he told me I MUST exercise and eat better, and he added a med and said he would see me in four weeks, goal being to eventually cut down dosages.

As we were walking out I said " So, am I hopeless?" He looked at me with a big smile and said "Oh definitely, no hope for you, no hope at all!"

I would so much rather hear, "no hope" from a doc with a smile on his face than "see you next time" from a doc surrounded my promotional freebees advertising medication for erectile dysfunction! I've got enough issues, I'll deal with that when the time comes ;)














Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ambushed!

I was completely ambushed yesterday. I couldn't handle all the stimuli. Every "noise" felt multiplied by 100. The radio, the whining three year old, the barking dog, the furnace kicking on, the dishwasher, anything and everything that was out there felt like a physical assault. I couldn't answer the simplest of questions, and I couldn't handle being in the same room with anyone, including my pets, which is highly unusual. I could barely stand being in the room with myself.

My husband knew I needed time so he took the kids out, unfortunately I was not any better when he returned. I decided it wasn't fair to anyone else to have to deal with me, so I went to my bed and I didn't come up for air until almost 24 hours later.

My husband and I have been together for over 12 years now and he knows me well. He has the amazing ability to pick up the slack when my "symptoms" are taking me over. He knows that most times his words don't work so he does what he knows will help, and that is to take care of the kids and himself while I sort myself out, whatever that means.

My bed and I have a love hate relationship. It is both my refuge and my escape. Yesterday it was my escape. I buried myself deep under the covers so even the dog couldn't cuddle me and I put on the noise canceling headphones and I begged whatever to just take me away from it all, I had fitful sleep, if it you could even call it sleep. It felt more like an exorcism. I sweat buckets. I had vivid, delusional, insane nightmares. I remember some, but not most. I do remember waking up, looking around and then going back under the cave of blankets again. I felt so tired, weak even. I knew I wasn't getting a flu, I knew this feeling all to well. This was depression, mixed with being a woman at a certain time, something that has plagued me since I became of age.

It's at time's like these when I wish they still had the sanatorium in Princeton so I could go there and both give my family the freedom to live normally, and allow me to purge myself of the foul, painful, debilitating emotions that steal "me" for what could be days. For what has been years.

Fortunately it was less than a full 24 hours and while still emotional, the depression seems lifted and the anger has subsided and I can handle the world around me without sensory overload. I wonder, did I become the victim again? Did I give in? I didn't know what else to do. I feel it was the right option for my family, and me. And that it didn't turn into another day I have to go with that and accept that I needed to check out for a spell.

You can't really explain this to people and expect them to understand unless they have gone through it themselves, many women will understand part of it, some will understand all of it and some men will understand some, but as individuals we go through things that we wish people could understand so we could feel validated and supported rather than alone and freakish.

I know I am someone with mental illness. I know I have a very hard time during my monthly cycle. I have decided to not let my illness define me, nor will I be victim any more. I may suffer from it but I refuse to let it be who I am. It is certainly a part of me, I have journals full of me and my depression. I have blue bracelets from the times me and my depression went on vacation together. I have discharge papers that I have promised myself I will frame and put above my desk like some do with their diplomas. They are my diplomas, I earned them. I worked my ass off for them. And I am NOT ashamed of them. I am who I am and depression and anxiety, while they are part of me, are not me. I am more than that!

So tomorrow I will wake up, and I will fight if I have to. I know it won't be the last time I will have to fight to get through a day. My goal is to stay out of bed, to be productive and be gentle with myself. If I can do that then I will not be the victim!













Saturday, February 22, 2014

Venturing out of our little town, exhausting!

An outing with the family today made us realise we really like living in an underpopulated rural setting.

We used to spend a lot of time in Boston when we first started dating, went to a lot of music shows and bars. We did the Worcester scene with our rugby pals. Then we moved to the "country." Today reminded both of us how much we prefer less.

We wanted to go to REI to get some much needed boots for little man, REI has the best sales! We decided to make a day of it. We hit the road for Framingham and twenty minutes in already had to stop for a Father son pit stop at the RTE 140 gas station toilet where, as my son puts it "Me and Daddy peed at the same time!!!!!"

Most of the ride Z was car sick and needed complete silence, something her father is incapable of when requested. I tried to explain to him that when you are car sick silence is golden. He just kept on and on with "It's okay Z just breath in and out, there's no reason to be sick." And on and on... As someone who has suffered from car sickness my entire life I empathised with Z and kept telling Steve it wasn't helpful. See Steve is a lecturer by nature, or nurture, I am not quite sure. Regardless, he is a lecturer, even when he is trying to help. When one sentence will suffice, twelve is the given. I don't want to offed him when I ask him to back down, but I know how bad it sucks to have someone rambling on and on when you can't even comprehend what they are saying because you are trying to control your entire being in an effort not to projectile vomit all over the back seat.

Window down, Tristan "I'm cold" window up.
Zoe "I'm going to be sick" window down,
Tristan "It's raining on me," window up.

The ride from Princeton to to Framingham felt longer than last summers drive from Princeton to Michigan, seriously!

We finally made it. I had Steve drop us a little ways away from the restaurant so Zoe could get her land legs, and stomach back. "That was close one" she said! Oh man, I so know exactly what she was talking about. We met T and Steve at John Harvards and had a nice meal. We watched the Olympic Hockey Team lose to Canada. Tristan kept falling under the table because his booster seat was at a slant and he choked on an ice cube, and once again my long pointer finger saved the day, that and some hot chocolate to melt the piece that remained stuck in his throat for a little bit. Zoe decided to work on her rainbow loom skills while lunching. We should always have a list of what we brought because the things that she would have left behind are too numerous to list. As I handed her each article of clothing and item, mostly from under the table, (the cleanest place in any restaurant) she just took them not even thinking if hadn't handed them to her they would be lost forever. This is an ongoing theme for the Z-Meister, she has some organizational difficulties (apparently hereditary!) Seems we need a professional for all of us at this point!

Then it's off to REI, by way of taking our lives in our hands getting out of our parking spot and the lot in general at Shopper's World. The name alone makes me feel ashamed to be there. It screams "I AM CONSUMING TODAY. I AM SPENDING MONEY ON THINGS I PROBABLY DON'T NEED, but that's what you do when you're at Shopper's World. It's like Sea World for those that love to shop, only THEY are the entertainment.

We hit REI with full bellies and bladders so first stop, potty. Then the three of us, Z, Steve and myself simultaneously checked out the sales racks and chased a fully fueled, three year old who can dodge and hide behind and between racks like it's an Olympic sport! It's exactly my idea of how NOT to spend your time. Totally not conducive to shopping if you want to make a conscious purchase. In the end I got nothing, we found boots for Tristan and Steve. The kids were obsessed with all the little chachkie things by the register that NO ONE NEEDS and just made the trip all the more enjoyable as we tried to leave the store.

I really wanted to hit a few more stores but wasn't sure any of us could handle it. We went to Marshall's but by then my mind was mush, my eyes were blurry and I had no idea why I was even there. The kids had caught onto the "Can I get" concept very quickly so we found a few small things and headed for the car, again.

"Do we have avocados at home?" "I don't think so." Well, maybe we could just do a quick stop at Whole Foods?" That is such an oxymoron, "quick stop at Whole Foods" is like getting a healthy meal at Five Guys, FAT CHANCE! We knew what we were getting into but we are rarely in that area so we bit the bullet. Another hell parking lot experience and into the lovely confines of Whole Foods. Where you want to stop and smell and read everything. You want to spend the day there smelling and tasting and just admiring the mere gravity defying formation of produce. It's a magical place. A highly over-priced magical place, but magical nonetheless. It's like Disney World for adults who are trying to be conscious about their food choices.

Kids, well...three year old found the freezer section to be most entertaining because an open freezer door was like a chalkboard, even if there was a guy stocking same said freezer, apparently there was plenty of room for the stock person and le petit arti'st! Ten year old found the bakery counter and couldn't decide between the mini fruit tart or the large holiday size; I did inform her that she could get a treat, but nothing would be in the form of 8" round, even if it was covered in fruit!

We got stuck staring at cheese we've never heard of, coffee bags the size of the ones Juan Valdez's burrow used to carry, the dog bone section and the bakery section.

We did make it out having spent just over $100 which is amazing for a Whole Foods Trip, but two bags at that price just doesn't feel right. Especially since we skipped almost all the isles in the middle!

Then the ride home. Steve took the day off and couldn't for the life of himself understand why the traffic was so heavy. We were in five o'clock traffic, on Friday. Hooray!!!!!!!

Three year old ate a chocolate treat and then proceeded to chant and kick the back of my seat most of the ride home. Ten year old worked on her rainbow looms and bickered with chocolate induced brother in her Tweeny attitude voice that grates on ones nerves like not much else can.

Husband and I just couldn't imagine doing that daily. The traffic, the shopping, the kids in and out of the car, the parking lots and rude people, the miserable people, the people in general. The consumerism. We find that living in the country we don't feel the need to buy, buy, buy. And when we do it's usually planned and minimally stressful. We agreed that while we love going into the city, we definitely prefer the quiet, slower paced and less commercial townie life!

So good to be back in the sticks!
 













Friday, February 21, 2014

I just can't go there...

I've been thinking a lot about my brother lately. Not sure what is triggering the increase in thoughts about him. I mean he is always there in the back of my mind, in a place I don't really want to go. Not yet. Maybe not ever, but probably will have to at some point.

When he first died I was devastated. He was too young to die. It was too sudden. He was going to fight, and we were going to help him, and he was going to win, again. He was tougher than cancer. And he showed the will to live, that's all it took for me to believe he had to survive since he had the desire.

Michael and I had a complicated relationship, I think there are more people that could say the same thing. He had a special few that had a one of a kind relationship with Michael, they got each other. I didn't always get Michael, and I KNOW he didn't always get me.

I grew up seeing him from a distance. He was pretty much out of the house by the time I had the ability to remember. He went into the Army, he went to Berkely School of Music, he worked at a recording studio. To me he was a rock star. There was a distance between us, again I think many people could say that about Michael. I mean if you went to his local haunts you couldn't find one person who had a bad thing to say about Mike Mullaney. "He was a character." "He was a great guy!" Most people knew him better than I did, or did they? I think they knew an aspect of Michael better than I did. I knew Michael in different capacities. I knew him as my older brother. I knew him as my fun drinking buddy. I knew him as a thinker. As an atheist. A guy who loved his vodka lemonades and his Newports. He loved to get out on the pond and fish, always catch and release. I knew a guy who loved his solitude, but didn't necessarily love himself. He was complex, and for that I always felt there was a disconnect between us, yet such a similarity it was undeniable we were cut from the same cloth. He didn't like to go certain places when it came to talk. Other times he loved to push me to talk about things that I did not want to talk about. He could piss me off like no one else could. He could hurt my feelings. He could cut me out. And he could distance himself like no other.

I looked up to him. I loved his love of books and history. His knowledge of business and his philosophical views. He didn' often get talking to me about these things, I mostly thought he assumed I wasn't deep enough, I wouldn't get it. That it wouldn't be a worthwhile conversation because I didn't have much to offer. I often felt he didn't give me enough credit. I don't think I gave him enough either. I resented him for his purposeful distancing of his family.

He was Mike, and he was Michael. Anyone in the family will know exactly what I mean by that. His friends who didn't know him around his biological family woudln't have recognized him as he sat in my Mother's living room. Tight-lipped Michael staring at the TV, answering questions in yes or no format. Very seldom did he take my Mom up on her offer to feed him or give him something to take home. He was stoic. We would practically light ourselves on fire trying to engage him, but to no avail.

Then there was Mike, the life of the party. The guy who could tell a joke or a story and banter with the best of 'em. He was like Norm, he'd walk into one of his favorite places and everyone knew him. He would remember details from the last chat he had with someone and he would ask how their kid was who went to UMASS or how their Mom was who was in the hospital. He was charismatic and communicative. He was fun and funny. He was relaxed and himself.

I'm not sure if the real Mike was somewhere in the middle. I experienced both, and I loved both. Sometimes I even hated both.

To even venture into that place in my mind where I don't want to go would be to believe that he is gone, and I can't do it. It brings me to the days he was so sick and so anxious thinking about what might be in store, it is to see him in that bed in Boston, that chair with a thumbs up after surgery, to be in that room when the doctors, through tears, told us just how bad it really was. It's to go through one of the worst days of our lives and I am NOT going there right now, not yet.

I think I'd rather be sitting in my Mom's living room trying to get a word or a smile out of him, or down at the pub having a drink and listening to him talk to the old gang.

Fact is, I don't ever want to go to that place in my mind. What I want is to wake up and know that it was all a terrible nightmare. I want to pick up the phone and ask "Is Mike Mullaney available please?" and hear "He's out to lunch, can I have him call you when he gets back?"

YES

...PLEASE!