Monday, July 29, 2013

Sand castles

Depression is worse than awful.  There are no words to describe the deep abyss one feels when they feel at the worst.  Despair.  Darkness.  Madness.  Sadness.  All of these fit into the giant ball that rounds out the crazy.  Please stop.  Please let me be normal.

I can barely control the mad thoughts that tangle into my head without screaming aloud.  How do normal people act?  How can I pretend to be one of them when I really want to just give into the madness?  What keeps me from falling over and giving into the unknown?  I don't know.  It's a question I haven't answered in my head.  I have yet to master my emotions, to mask my pain and to drive myself towards the courage to  continue through each day without the fear that comes from this disease that I have to carry.

Depression hurts.  It's physically painful, mentally challenging, and emotionally draining.  It effects  not only me, but my family as well.   Hearing my son pray for mommy to get better every night is heartbreaking.  I try.  But it's an act and I can only play the role for so long.  I need an understudy if this is the life that I've been given.  Unfortunately, there's no understudy in the wings so I must carry on.  I try, I honestly try.

I wish I could write what I'm feeling.  I wish my fingers could type what's in my heart, what I'm feeling.  But no words are possible.  I hurt for my family.   I don't like hurting them.  I remember happier days but they're so long ago that they're really distant memories.  I feel like they're like sand flowing through my fingers and they're slowly disappearing.

There are some memories of Ava at the beach.  Her little footprints in the sand.  I remember watching her crawl.  I have so many more memories of her than the boys.  I have no idea why, but I assume it's the psych meds.

I remember Noah's birth.  He was huge.  I remember they tried to put me to sleep after his c-section but it didn't work.  All I did was hallucinate and talk about all of the pretty boxes falling from the sky.  I fell in love with him at first sight.  Sadly, that euphoric love didn't last forever.  I feel for him.  I will love him to death and beyond, but he has seen the manic me and the depressed me too many times for him to feel at all like a son should feel for his mother.  My responsibility.  I failed him.

Ammon, on the other hand, won't let me not love him.  When I'm mad at him, he uses his big brown eyes, hugs my legs, and smiles.  He has taken to toddler fits, but I have learned to just walk away.  It works. He's a sly one, that kid.  I caught him in the pantry sucking on the honey bear.  Yes, you read that right.  He was trying to chug honey. Poor kid.

And poor, Emmett.  He's a munchkin.  He had his nine month appointment today and was only 14 pounds.  He's doing ok for length and head measurements, but that 14 pounds is a killer.  We've got to bulk this kiddo up.  Now that he's done projectile vomiting at me, we're friends again.

These guys are the reason I hold onto the sand as tight as I can.  It may be slipping through my fingers but  there's hope left.  If I try hard enough,  I maybe, just maybe make a sand castle with that sand I I have left.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Night shouldn't happen

I have never blogged at night.  It's always been an early morning thing when I can't sleep and have something on my mind.  This is a little different for me.  It's a little unnerving actually.  I just took my medication and I'm wondering how long it takes for it to make me do the equivalent of drunk dialing. That would be great. If I tell you all that I love you and start singing songs from the 70's, you know that the Klonipin is fully functioning and my hands should be removed from the keyboard.

So, today I was a hero.  To myself anyway.  Someone that I know was fostering two very sweet dogs because their owners had their trailer foreclosed.   She couldn't keep fostering them anymore though because she had 8 dogs in her house!  Eight!! They weren't hers but still I can't imagine.  She was begging for help and had been for a week for someone to take these sweet little guys.  They were scheduled to be put down tomorrow due to their age.  The no-kill shelter was full and no one is going to adopt 13 year old dogs, let alone the 2 together.  In their 13 years they had never been apart.  So I took them.  I already have my hands full.  Yes, I already have a dog (although she's on vacation with the woman who sold us our house), but I saved the lives of two innocent little guys.    Oh, and they're sweet.  In the entire time we've had them, they've never barked.  They've let the cats smell them.  They're just cute in every way.  It was my good deed for the day.  Pictures of these sweethearts will come, I promise.  I found my camera so I can actually include pictures in my blog again.

The rest of my day was rough.  Being a staying-at-home mom is a lot harder than you'd think.  It's like a zookeeper, trying to keep the animals in their cages.  Ava and Noah are usually pretty good on their own, but they can be quite mean to Ammon. Sometimes Ammon stands his ground, but often he comes downstairs to "tell" on the others.  All he can do is point and cry, and I'll ask him if they  had been mean, and he'll nod.  I can't wait until he communicates. 

I've been working with Emmett on sitting.  We've got super developmental delays there.  He doesn't sit yet, although he does scoot.  He also gets up on his knees, so any day now, he'll be off and running and we'll need ANOTHER gate in this house.

Uh oh.  Medication is starting to work.  The wise girl would stop writing but now is the time when I'm open to anything and everything.  My fingers are free.  Until I can't see no more, my heart is spilling out what it wants to say.

I am so over this house.  It was built just the way I wanted it but I'm the only one who seems to take pride in it.   Dave, in hi infinite wisdom, bought the kids a huge box of Poptarts the other day at Costco.  We now have Poptarts all over the house.  Can I get acquitted for Poptart rage?  He should have known better.  I'm tired of being the only person unpacking, especially since my back is in so much pain. 

I'm sorry to complain, but damn, my van sucks in front end accidents.  The only relief that I'm going to get is pain management, which I've heard is shots.  Yea! As if the Botox wasn't bad enough.

And the fools cancelled my Botox for this month.  If I have to wait 4 months to get on the list, heads will roll.  Funny.  I didn't even mean for that to be related to neurology. 

Ok, here's the real blog.  You know the stuff you want to read about?  It's almost my anniversary.  David and I have been married 13 years.  That's a long time, people.  There's been some really good years, and then some really rough, hanging on by your nails while you hands are digging into a cliff type of years.  Year 13 was like that.

He doesn't read my blog, I think, so I think that it's safe to say that I'm going to make him a thumb drive of music that has inspired us over the years for an anniversary present.  It will be a challenge because we have moved on from the sappy love songs of the first years of marriage to something more mature.

We fight.  We kiss and we make up.   At the end of the day, we're still together whether one of us is sulking or not.  We're in it for the long haul so it hardly matters.  The inscription inside my ring says  "Together Forever" and truly I have to believe that.

Writing at night makes me write all over the place.  I don't think I like that.  I prefer to have a more civilized and organized blog.   The space in my head gets quiet when the medication starts to work.  It tells me to stop.   I should listen.

Monday, July 22, 2013

There is nothing like a glowing computer screen and a quiet house.   I love to write in the early mornings because it gives me time alone, to put my thoughts together without having to deal with children arguing, screaming, or David interrupting me about something that is usually unimportant.

Someone told me that I should write a novel.  While that is a very sweet compliment, I only know reality.  My reality is not what I imagined. 

Fiction would be nice.  I'd love to be able to write something that is creative and fun, but my brain only functions in the real world, which is sad because it would be nice to imagine myself away sometime.  Falling down the rabbit's hole like Alice in Wonderland would be a sweet escape from diapers and teething, homework and peanut butter and honey sandwiches. 

I can only write about me.  I have stories to share that, hopefully, if told right can be entertaining enough to forget the fiction.  I don't always have time to write because I can only write when my babies are sleeping but my life is better than fiction.  It's true.  It's in your face. It's reality.  I share it without shame and hope that my readers feel the passion I have for my writing, for what I have to say.  I may not be able to write fiction, but I can tell you stories that are just as entertaining.

Robert Pattinson almost killed me... the very least he almost destroyed my marriage.  Or perhaps I should blame Stephanie Meyer.  Either way, one of the two made me wish I had married a vampire.  I'm not interested in being indestructible or living forever, but the adoration that never leaves, well, let's just say that Robbie played that part up a little too well for my liking.  As I watched his complete devotion to his Bella, I used to think that I got the bum end of the deal.  I thought about it too much and eventually ended up in the psych ward because I lost my perception of reality.  I started to resent David for not letting his life gravitate around mine, that my life wasn't the pole that his life spun around.  Let's get real...David is never going to adore me for life.  The cutsey newlywed stage left years ago and now we've settled in the "we're approaching middle age and have been together so long that we know each other's idiosyncrasies."  Robbie never did that.  Bella is a lucky girl.

Approaching middle age is kind of weird.  In your head you're the same person you were in say, high school, but your body says either wise.  I personally gained eighty pounds from my 18 year old self.  I blame it on my second child because of his birth weight but the truth is that I just like food.  Somewhere around 26, my thyroid decided it hated me and it jumped on a train with my metabolism.   Eating the same foods that I could previously eat made me approach a number twice the size of my high school self.  The self hatred began.  Then came the psych medications, which helped skyrocket my weight even more.  I was a mess.  No one told me that pysch meds would make me gain weight because of the carb cravings.  I just took them like I was told.

My health changed. I couldn't run anymore because I developed asthma.  Who develops asthma so late in their life?  Oh, that's right?  Me.  I win when it comes to all things detrimental to my health and well-being. 

I got cancer.  Those words are scary enough even if the survival rate for your particular type is high.  Cancer is cruel, but under the age of 30, brutal.

What most people don't know is that the cancer left me a shell.   I gave up religion and started to drink.  I couldn't understand how a loving God could make a person go through so much.  Physical pain is something that I would never wish on my worst enemy, and the mental pain that I was experiencing, well, that was enough to put me away for a few days.   I finally gave up drinking when I almost died.  Alcohol poisoning is no joke.  I blew a 3.6 when I was sober enough to even take a breathalyzer.  I was 4 1/2 times over the legal driving limit, and very lucky that my liver was functioning because with the Percocet that I had taken, I shouldn't be here.  Then I realized that God really must be looking out for me.  

In a novel I started reading recently, I came across a passage and it struck me.  It felt like it was written for me, and for me alone.   It reads, "God does not make the way smooth for those He loves.  He sends hardships to try them.  Those that God loves best are those that suffer the worst."   (The Constant Princess, Phillippa Gregory). 

God must really love me, I think.

Like moving through jello,

I was slowly heading toward the little SUV in front of me and I knew that I couldn't avoid it.  I was braking but my brakes felt useless against the death wagon I drive.  Apparently it takes more time to stop a mini-van than it does to stop a little car.  Who knew, right?

We collided.  The car in front pushed into the car in front of him and I found myself in serious trouble.  My seatbelt didn't lock and I was thrown forward.  I smashed my head against the steering wheel then the momentum drove my head back to the headrest.  My knees slid forward and hit the dash.  I did real  damage to my body.

Luckily, I don't have anything truly seriously wrong with me.  There aren't any brain bleeds or broken bones.  Sadly though, I have these chronic pain problems that keep me up and make it so that I have a hard time functioning.   The hit on the steering wheel caused a concussion.  I now have short term memory loss.  I can't remember things told to me minutes after we discussed them.  It's frustrating as I have to carry a planner and cell phone just to remind myself where I have to be and who I'm supposed to meet.  Oh, and don't get me started on the physical pain.  The whiplash hurts so bad that that I can't sleep at night and holding a squirming baby is pure torture.  I've been here before.  I know it can last for months but I don't remember it hurting THIS bad.

Two days ago, I dropped a toy on my foot trying to clean the toy room.  It's now all bruised.  I can honestly say that I hurt from my head to the bottom of my toes. 

Man, this is a depressing post.  Some days are like that though, right?  Especially at 4 in the morning when sleep eludes you because pain is just too much to bear anymore.

Monday, July 15, 2013

So, have you ever wondered?

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be locked up in a psych ward?  I can tell you.  I've been there, done that on so many occasions that I should get frequent flyer miles.  Delaware, Ohio, even Alabama are some of the places that I got to see.  Some hospitals are better than others, like any other medical facility.  St. Jones hospital in Delaware was really good. We had therapy, group time, exercise time, crafts, and really good food.  In contrast, the other facilities I've been in have involved mostly coloring in the Day Room.  Yes, you read that right.  Coloring.  Nothing makes you more sane than a few markers and a some geometric shapes to color to get your mental health in order. The food in Ohio was yummy, but there had to be a trade-off somewhere and it was actually doing something productive with our time.  We colored.  And colored some more.  

There were something you have to know about St. Jones.  Only about six chairs in the Day Room were actually comfortable and soft.  We would all rush for these plushy pleather chairs whenever we got up,  or were taken back from an activity since the other chairs would hurt your back.  We sat in the Day Room for a good part of the day as we waited for therapy and activity transition so it was funny to see grown men and women scramble for chairs.  It became a game that the less medicated always won.  I'll admit, I was usually victorious, but I was a good winner.  I never gloated to those who had to sit their fannies unto the less desirable. 

Every few hours, the medication window would open and we would all line up as the registered nurse in charge of the pills that day gave us what we needed.  Most of the time this process took forever, so at the sound of the metal window going up, another mad dash would began.  I'm ashamed to say that I did at one time push an old woman in a wheelchair out of the way to get there sooner.  I'll burn for that but I really needed my anxiety medication.  And it wasn't a real push.  It was a slight nudge with my foot.  It's not MY fault she went further than I expected and people actually saw it happen.

On my next stay, karma caught up to me so my soul might be safe after all.  I thought I was happily roommate free because there was no mattress on the other bed in my room.   As fate would have it, I soon would cohabitate with a woman in a wheelchair.  Isn't it funny how fate has a way of turning around and biting you in the butt? 

On her first night, Mrs. X refused to go to bed.  She was falling asleep in the Day Room and wanted to stay there.  I know this because I could hear her all the way down the hall from our room.

"Leave me alone," she yelled as the nurses told her they were going to take her to her bed.

"My feet, my feet," she screamed, as she stubbornly tried to stop from being moved in her wheelchair.  It was to no avail.  She was brought to our room anyway.

The nurses tried to convince her to get into bed.  Mrs. X pretended to be asleep.  Finally, they gave up and with a sympathetic smile toward me, they left.  The second they left the room,  her eyes snapped open and shifted toward me.  I smiled and tried to return to my reading.  I couldn't.  I couldn't help but notice she was not sleeping and was staring at me in an eerie "I might die at any moment or I might be possessed and kill you" look.  All righty.

"Good night," I said.  I turned out the light. I didn't want to see her anymore.  I'd be lying if I didn't say that I wasn't scared.

I awoke in the morning (which says a lot, doesn't it?) to an old lady who needed someone to change one of the adult diapers that were so neatly stacked on our dressers.  She started asking me about her relatives and whether each and everyone of them were ok.   My first thought was to respond "How the hell should I know?" After all, I was in a psych ward, folks, and I'm not known for being diplomatic when I'm locked up.  I bit my tongue though and reassured her that they were all doing well.

I started for the bathroom for the brief period we had in the morning to get to the Day Room to start the day.  Let's face it, I wanted a cushy chair.  I started to brush my teeth when I hear her tell me that she and her husband " didn't have intercourse"  during their visit the night before. 

I choked on my toothbrush.  Toothpaste flew out my mouth and splayed across the mirror.  That mental picture was enough for me. I had to leave my room. 

Another day in lockup, I finished the longest game of war in my life.  I played against a man who alternated between suicidal and homicidal idealizations.  Somewhere in the back of my mind, I realized I should probably let him win for these reasons but I'm too my competitive.  Besides, it's a game of chance so he can't be that upset about it, right? I figured if he was waiting for me in the parking lot with a tire iron when we were both released, I chose wrong.

It is amazing how many people "visit" a psych ward and believe they are there for no reason.  They refuse to accept any responsibility for their actions, for their faults, for their behaviors.  They blame their spouses, their children, even the cops.  I've even heard of someone blaming Dr. Phil. It makes you want to scream that it will only increase their stay because they're fighting a machine.  We're just cattle trying to make it through and get out.

People often walk around like zombies.  One woman across from where I was eating on one of my stays fell asleep in her lunch.  She was so heavily medicated.  Her manic state was so bad that the nurses couldn't deal with her so they doped her up. 

She returned to the Day Room and volunteered for a game of Spades.  That was really interesting.

Once, in Delaware, a man lost his pie privileges.  At lunch, he attempted to break the dessert rule.  Anyone who had two dessert plates on their trays were caught and had to put one back.  I don't even like banana cream pie but the pie at this particular facility was to die for so it upset quite a few patients when he came up with the ingenious plan to quickly shove two pieces unto one plate, leaving the empty plate on the cooling rack. He got past the dessert monitor easily.  His mistake, however, was that empty plate.   Seeing as how it was the last piece of pie, the other patients complained.  A full scale search was launched.  Like any good boy, Mr. Y had saved his dessert for last.  He was immediately busted.  No more pie for him, which was a shame because it was really that good.

After awhile, you see people come and go and you start to get down on yourself.  You always want your freedom.  You start to feel like "where is my get out of jail free card"? And then you realize you traded it for your sanity and lost the damn game.

The woman who was so doped up came out of her medication stupor enough to start having a conversation with her pillow.  It made me kind of want whatever she was on because she was not suffering through the hours as much as I was.  However, I did kind of get offended when she wandered into my room, stripped off all of her clothes, and tried on all of mine.  The staff came and got her, wrapped her in a gown and brought her out.  I laughed but I felt sorry for this ball of energy and her medication-induced dementia.

There are other memories but these are the most poignant.  Being locked up is a miserable experience, especially when all they allow you to do is color and bring in a dog once a week for therapy. 

If you've ever wondered about being in a psychiatric ward, I've been there.  I'm not proud of it, but there you go.  It's blatantly unpleasant but sometimes it's just what the what the doctor ordered.  After all, don't we all need a little crazy in our lives?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I used to be a writer.  It was always my essays that were chosen to be read in school, in Spanish or English.  Now my Spanish is limited to "I'll have the numero tres" at Taco Bell and my writing sucks.  I'm fairly confident that every child that made itself nice and cozy in my body took all of my thinking skills so I'm lucky NOT to be in the corner drooling.  However, if you listen to David, I do that anyway.  Don't get me wrong.  I complain about them, but I do have 4 beautiful kids.  They just drive me bonkers.  If it wasn't for my medication, I WOULD be drooling in the corner and rocking from the lack of brain function.
I imagine myself as Taylor Swift but with less angst.  I have lots to be angry about but less good looking men in my past.  My three relationships are hardly worth Grammy nominations and I definitely don't have the goods and the beauty of the singer.  I don't know who that leaves me as except the fat mom who at one time had high hopes for herself and now sits at home and wonders where the hell it all went wrong.
I am unhappy.  There.  I said it.  It's been brewing inside me for years but I've never actually written it out.  I'm the Crazy Girl in my family.  My husband has to divvy up medication every night like a psychiatric nurse and every day I take those pills and hate myself even more.  All I ever wanted was to be a stay at home mom and now, given the chance, all I do is moan about the situation.  I can't even go back to work because I take almost 50 pills a day for my mental conditions.  It's a little outrageous.  I really am Crazy Girl.

There is a house here in Arizona.  It's beautiful and huge.  But it's a shell.  It was never completed because some poor couple put all their retirement money into building it and then the construction company went bankrupt.  They lost $750,000 in the deal and had no retirement left.  I can't imagine. But I'm that house.  On the outside, I'm *mostly* structurally stable, but on the inside, well, that's a different story.  I feel like that shell and I have empathy for that house.  He and I have a lot in common.

This is my blog and I can say what I want, right?  Well, here goes.  I had a hysterectomy in March.  At the time, I thought it was the best decision I could possibly make.  Now I'm starting to regret that choice.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not wanting another baby but I've been in such a funk since it's happened that, well, that medication is truly necessary.

In every marriage, there are good times and bad.  We all know that.  It's in marriage vows, right? You vow to honor and cherish your spouse in those times.  Well, let's just say that this has not been the year for David and I.  We SHOULD be happy.  But we can barely stand to look at each other.  I don't know how we got off track, but if we don't get back in tune together, I might have to learn to play the guitar and channel my inner Taylor Swift. My mantra is that things can only improve.  Hey, Taylor Swift always bounces back, right?  This was our 13th year of marriage and 13 is an unlucky number.  Year 14 is one month away and I imagine it filled with unicorns and rainbows because things WILL be better or you'll be hearing some really awful song lyrics that will make you cringe and wonder if they have put me on way too much of something.  I wonder how Taylor Swift does it?
I hate technology.  I just wrote an entire blog and my computer ate it.  And I'm typing without an a key because the bugger just doesn't want to stay on.  I'm not an advocate of Asus computers.  But on the with the show.

So on June 24th, I played the idiot. Again.  Driving home from an appointment that had been cancelled without my knowledge, I see someone driving ahead of me STOP, even though there was no on coming traffic, to make a right turn on a busy intersection.  The car behind him was able to stop just barely in time but unfortunately, as hard as I braked, I rammed into them with the death wagon.  Luckily, my car sustained most of the damage, and even better, I was the only one hurt. 

The police were called and I asked for medical help because unfortunately for me, my seat belt never locked and my air bag sensors were too low to go off.  At the collision, my head sprung forward and I hit it on the steering wheel and then it bounced back and hit the headrest.  I was in major pain.  Thankfully, it was determined that I didn't have a brain bleed but unfortunately, I do have a concussion.

If you have never had your head hit a steering wheel before, let me tell you what it feels like...well, actually, I don't remember.  I may not have a brain bleed but I do have short term memory loss and as I like to say on here, it sucks donkey balls.  I have to carry around notebooks, a daily diary, and a phone constantly so I can remember what I'm supposed to be doing.  Dave will tell me something and it's instantly forgotten. He thinks it's because I'm not listening, but it's a stupid head injury.  And it hurts.  Goodness does it hurt, even days later.  I have excruciating headaches that just don't go away.

If that isn't bad enough, I've discovered new places that are hurting.  My neck, from being thrown forward.  My back from tensing up  to try and avoid impact.  And the worst of it RIGHT NOW, my knees which are all bruised.   Living in a multi-level home where I have to climb stairs is pretty rough. I'm assuming that they too must have hit the dash board because they're purple.  Driving for long periods is probably the punishment I deserve for every wrong thing I've done since it hurts that bad. 

So that's it.  We got our van back yesterday.  Almost $6000 worth of damage.  I'm so talented.  I, of course, got a traffic citation and have to take care of that.  I haven't called on that yet.  The citation said the police officer gave me a card with details on what to do.  Well, if he did, he did it while I was lying on a gurney in a trauma room with a neck collar on so I'm pretty sure that disappeared.  It's all right though.  I can take the on-line class and get an Arizona driving license.  Those suckers don't expire until you're like 60. 

I think sometimes I shouldn't be allowed to be out of the house.  I've been pretty content with my kiddos here the past few days and truthfully, I'm scared to drive anymore.  I've learned to really keep my distance, but I have yet to get back in the van.  I'm scared I'm going to have a panic attack the first time I drive the thing, but I'll be ok.  Like I told my mom, I always am.