Friday, August 16, 2013

Stepford Wives Syndrome Guilt

It's simple enough.  I have it.  There isn't a cure for it unfortunately.  If someone could invent a simple injection, it would be nice because I could stop feeling the pressure of keeping myself and everything else together.

I have four kids.  That's a scary thought.  They depend on me for diaper changes, food preparation, and the occasional tuck into bed (that part is generally left up to daddy).  But there's holes in my day so big you could drive a semi through it.  Some days it's the kids or the house. 

Do you know those women at the bus stop with their kid with their hair perfectly coiffed and their makeup smoothly applied?  I'm lucky to be out of my pajamas at 7 a.m. when the bus comes.  Who am I kidding?  I'm lucky to be out of bed at that hour.  I let myself sleep since the kids can dress themselves.  Dave can pour their cereal and the bus stop is in front of our house.  We are the laziest family you will probably ever meet. Oh, and yes, I said cereal.  The sugary kind.  I think right now it's fruit rings but we also have golden puffs.  That might warrant a CPS call to those perfect women.

I have this guilt that nothing gets accomplished because I want EVERYTHING to get done. My stomach is in knots because I still haven't put together my office or my closet.  My closet looks like it threw up on itself.  We still haven't unpacked completely from our last trip and we'll be leaving again in a week.  Thus, I have what I like to call "Stepford Wives Syndrome Guilt." I wanted this house.  I thought it would be nice to have room to spread out.  All I can say is I'm glad we don't have more square footage or my guilt would probably multiply by a thousand.  There is only one room in our house that I think is actually done and that's the guest room/nursery.  It took me forever to do but it's adorable.  When I can figure out this picture thing (windows 8 sucks), I'll add pictures. There's still work to be done in all of the other rooms of the house: hanging a shower curtain in the kids bathroom, actually cleaning the kids bathroom, folding the boys laundry (my nemesis), you guessed it..  I have something to do in every room from the bottom floor to the our room.

I don't meet my husband at the door looking all fancy.  In fact, the majority of the time my hair is just up in a clip so the baby doesn't  pull on it.  I'm usually wearing a shirt that has spit up on it, and I'll be honest, I'm losing weight but not enough to lose the muffin top I have with pretty much everything I wear.  The good news is I'm almost at the lowest weight I have been at in five years.  Thanks to my friend, who keeps me motivated to actually walk, I usually get a little exercise in everyday. I don't know whether my husband has even noticed but it's a twenty pound loss and I'm super proud of myself.   I have about 20 pounds to go before I'll be happy again, but a good Stepford Wife would weigh between a 0 and a 4.  A 6 would be pushing it.  I'll get there one day.  My friend was recently complaining that her "fat pants" were a size 8.  I wanted to punch her in the face (just kidding, twinsie.  You know I love you).  I think it's easier to bounce back having just one kid though.

Being a Stepford Wife would mean that there would be a hot meal on the table when Dave gets home.  Not going to happen.   First, I don't cook.  I really try but most of what I make is a fail.  I don't know why. I don't enjoy cooking at all because despite my ability to follow directions, something always goes wrong and I create something that the kids complain about and we all try to gag down. Yep, not Stepford Wife material at all.

So, let's review: I'm not a Stepford Wife because the house is a mess, there's no dinner on the table when daddy gets home, and I look like a wreck when David walks through the door.  That pretty much sums it up.  Oh, and did I mention our kids aren't perfect either?  I think they're just kids but David's expectations are slightly higher than mine.

How do they do it?  How do parents do PTO and soccer practice?  Balance ballet with violin lessons?  That's where the guilt comes because you know that there are women doing these things and will actually sleep at night without having to get up and blog about their failures.

Stepford Wife, I'm not.  Sorry, Dave but it looks like you got the cheap version, like the pretend Barbies that will lose their head in no time at all.  I don't have a term for me yet.  I'll have to work on that.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It's twilight, the kids are hyped up from a late dinner, and I don't feel like cleaning.  So here I am again.  Twilight is the worst time of the day.  There's something gloomy about it, the foreboding stillness and the knowledge that darkness will come.  I don't like the dark.  Dark things happen in the dark.  Some of you will understand that.  Other people will just roll their eyes.

I realized that in the 3 years I have had this blog I've never really described myself.  I kind of like that.  My friends know who I am because I share my postings on Facebook, but to the rest of the world, I'm just a nobody who writes random things about her life.   I've also never truly described my husband, that guy I've been married to for 13 years.  I don't know if I'll ever do that either.  He's just a man.  My man.   I claim him most of the time.

I've waited so long to write that darkness is now looming.  It's going to be a bad night.  I see all of the stuff that I need to do tomorrow and I'm overwhelmed.  So much to do.  So little time.  I wish I could just ignore it and I go to sleep but I know that sleep will be just out of reach, playing with me, and making me more and more anxious.  Oh how I hate the night.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Journey from "Normal"

I just got into a fight with my husband.  Sometimes that triggers the urge to write.  I guess I channel my inner Taylor Swift after all.  However, there will be no guitar and no award shows for me.  I get to blog instead.

A friend of mine whom I knew years ago recently sent me a Facebook message.  She was curious about how I've come to be me.  Actually, Katie, I don't know how I've come to be me.  Something must have happened that triggered something in my noggin.

As I said, Katie was a good friend in high school.  We shared lockers two years in a row, had so many of the same classes that I can't even remember them all.  I brought candy to share in our Honors Biology class and we played games with it.  She was smart.  We had the same undergraduate degree but Katie was very educated and went on to get her PhD.  I can call her Dr. Katie. 

All right, that's the background of why this post is happening.  I laugh about being crazy but I have several things wrong with me that I wish, wish, wish I could fix. I like to make people think my life is a joke but it's a reality and it sucks.

I was "normal" in high school.  I could sleep without having to take anything.  I didn't suffer from depression nor bipolar disorder.  I was just me.  The old me that I miss tremendously.  I was smart. I was an athlete.  I had friends.  Nothing in high school would ever lead you to believe that I would turn into this.

I had a boyfriend.  We were together all of the time.  I loved him deeply.  He proposed.  I accepted.  The only catch is he had to serve a mission for our church.  We were separated for 2 years with nothing but letters to keep us together.  Half of my heart left when he left.  When he left, the separation anxiety started.  I spent an entire month in bed.  I showed up at school only to turn in papers and to take tests.  I didn't want to do anything.  I cried.  A lot.  There was really no relief from the pain.

My mom finally took me to the doctor.  He made a stupid joke about having thyroid cancer.  Ha ha when 10 years to the day I actually did get thyroid cancer.  He prescribed an antidepressant.  The plan was to start me on medication for a year and see if I could go off them and be "normal" again.

I guess it kind of worked because my husband liked me for me.  I was still taking the medication but I was functioning.  I even had a job while I went to school.  However, I started showing signs of being ocd.

My husband joined the Air Force.  Suddenly my separation anxiety skyrocketed.  I held myself together for the six weeks he was at Basic Training,  but when I saw him at graduation, it felt like the wax that had been holding me together melted.  I had come undone.  I got to spend a couple of days with him but the last night before he had to report back to Basic Training was one of the worst nights of my life. That was the night I had my first panic attack.  It lasted for about 3 hours.  I ended up at the hospital where they gave me some Ativan and sent me home.  I knew it would be several more months before I would see him again because he had more schooling to go to and I had to go home.  I fell apart that night.  That was the first time I had ever had to take a benzo for attacks but it would most definitely would not be the last.

David and I struggled secretly with fertility for four years.  No one knew we were trying to get pregnant.  We kept all of that to ourselves.  We never even sought out help from a doctor.  We just kept trying and believing it wasn't our time.  I had many panic attacks over those years. Silly things would set them off. I had a psychiatrist that I worked with that I absolutely hated at first.  He never seemed to listen or care about my problems. My episodes meant nothing to him. In reality, they were small ones where an Ativan would calm me down and make me go to sleep.  Oh, those years.

Then one day, as I explained in a previous post, we got the surprise pregnancy we had wanted.  I had to stop taking some of the medications that I was on but my psychiatrist, who I actually grew to love, and I made the decision that some medications were a necessary evil. 

Ava was born.  She was beautiful and perfect.  She had ten little fingers and ten little toes.  But something went wrong at about six weeks after her birth.  While I loved her, I couldn't stop crying. I couldn't figure out why I wasn't happy.  She was rolling over and smiling.  She was sleeping well.  She wasn't big on food but that was no big deal.  We were working on that.  She was wonderful, and yet I felt detached from my child and I cried all of the time.  I just couldn't stop.  By the time she was nine weeks old, I knew I needed help.  I called the suicide hotline but ironically their number had been disconnected.  David still didn't think there was a problem but I knew that this was something that a mere Ativan could handle so one day, while he was upstairs in the bathroom, I kissed her on the head, put her in her swing so I knew she'd be safe, and drove myself to the hospital.  Postpartum depression is not a pretty thing and it was the first time that I had experienced it. I agreed to go inpatient to a psychiatric ward for a few days to get my medications changed and get myself well.  I've never regretted that decision even though I did miss my daughter like crazy.

How else can I answer your question, Katie?  Hmmm,  I'll just say I'm not a good manic, I don't remember what my psychiatrist saw, but they were definitely signs of mania.   I'm a rapid cycling/mixed manic depressive, which basically means I can be both manic and depressed at the same time and obviously I cycle quickly.  I can wake up in the morning not knowing who I'm going to be and it's scary.  I'm not a fun manic.  Some people like it because they get all of these great thoughts.  I do too but they come so fast that I wish there was  a pause button on my brain.  It's like watching a shooting star, which is beautiful and then being attacked by the entire night sky. I physically shake out energy through my body.  Mania is bad.  It means that I'm damaged goods.  I'm that can of corn that got dropped on the floor, all dinged up, and put back on the shelf that no one wants anymore. 

Unfortunately, being bipolar isn't enough for me.  I may or may not have borderline personality disorder as well. It's very similar to being bipolar and they often overlap.  I've had different psychiatrists say I am, I've had different psychiatrists say I'm not.  I fit the definitions, like reckless driving, intense emotions and mood swings,  aggressive behavior, and feeling empty inside. I've done those.  I've even got a record.  However, I don't like the diagnosis. Nobody wants a personality disorder.  That's even worse than the damaged can of corn.   A personality disorder you can't really fix.  You spend years in therapy and try to manage.   However, since I do respond to medication, my psychiatrist thinks that I'm at least more bipolar than anything else. 

What does it take to keep stable?  2 anti-depressants in the morning with 4 milligrams of clonazepam (the generic form of Klonipin, which is like Ativan's grandfather), and a mood stabilizer.  At lunch, I get 4 more milligrams of clonazepam and the mood stabilizer again.  After dinner, I take a different mood stabilizer.  Finally, my nightly cocktail.  You guessed it.  4 milligrams of clonazepam, 30 milligrams of temazepam , and a final mood stabilizer.  I know I'm forgetting medications but you get the general idea.  The problem is this will work for now.  In say, six months, I'll have an episode and this will have to change.  Oh and the temazepam, my regular doctor says is what they give old people to help them sleep.  I'm moved beyond Ambien.  My life sucks that bad. 

I really don't know if that answered your question.  I can only tell you that at one point, something triggered in me and I just lost myself.  I'd like me back, please. 

I hate being the damaged can.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

So THIS is what being an adult feels like

Because it kind of sucks.  Some people won't get this post.  Some people will.  I write mainly for that crowd.  If this is something that is truly no big deal to you, read no further because I'd hate to waste time in your day.  If you think of animals as just animals, you won't understand this.  If you can understand how they become a part of your family, I write to you.

I am truly heartbroken right now.  Truly.  I can't stop crying and unless someone forces me to eat, I just don't.  I can't.  I feel like I have been bombarded, like the last person standing in the middle of a Dodgeball game.  Is that how you spell Dodgeball?  I guess I don't really care.

I received bad news that the cause of all my sickness is my animals.  I've been tested before and pet dander never showed up on the list. For some reason, though, according to this doctor, my asthma is bad because of my pets and I'm even showing scarring on my lungs from the asthma attacks and treatments.

The only solution we have is to give away our animals.  I cry just thinking about it.  Remember those precious dogs that I saved so they could stay together?  Who knows what will happen to them.  Ava's cats are going to be separated for the first time in their lives as well.  And poor Dinah.  We've had her since our first house.  She's been with us through a dozen moves and just as many years.  I found a shelter that promises they're a no-kill shelter but our animals won't be adopted out at the same time and our little family is out of sorts because of me.  As for Missy and Shadow, they stay.  Pet dander or not, I drew a line in the sand. I'm not losing everything because of one man's diagnosis.

I should have got a second opinion.  I should have.  Those adorable dogs will probably have no problems getting homes.  Their only setback is their age.  Being 13 is rough.  I pray they get to stay to stay together because they were meant to be a team:  "Laurel and Hardy." 

Being a grown up sucks.  I have to tell Ava that her animals will be gone on Friday.  She is attached to the dogs already and telling her that she's going to have to give up her cats is going to rip my heart out.  I know children bounce back and she'll probably forget, but will I?  Will I forget her face when she hears the news?  Will she cry?  I don't really want to know frankly.  How long will it take before I can get the sound of Dinah's meow out of my head or forget seeing sweet little Hardy lead Laurel into the house? It gave me a panic attack thinking about it yesterday.  Dinah's only offense is she sheds too much.  Really?

 The worst part is that I feel fine.  I take medication for my allergies and my asthma. No big deal.  I could completely continue that without getting rid of anybody but David is adamant that since the doctor has said my lungs would improve, we do it anyway.  Again, I should have got a second opinion.

Everyone is pushing me to make this change.  I have nobody to stand with.  I don't even have a friend to talk to about it because everyone believes this is going to make a huge difference.  It's not.  I know that.  I wish I could scream it in everyone else's faces because I know this is an overreaction.

Being an adult sucks.  My heart is breaking and there's no one to turn to to make the hurt go away.  If only someone could invent heart bandaid's.  Until then, I'd prefer to just keep my toys and pets and play in my corner, thank you very much.