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Archive for the ‘Mental health issues’ Category

So I’ve really not been ok. I don’t think I realized how far under the water I was until I started to surface recently. I don’t know how I mistook the murky deep for light or air. All I know is that I didn’t know how bad I was feeling until I started feeling better. Depression is tricky that way. It’s like the frog who doesn’t feel the water getting hotter as he starts to boil because it’s been happening so gradually.

Thankfully I have found a good nurse practitioner who recognized the need to up my medication. Every once in a while I’ll have these flashes of hope and light, and their existence is quite a surprise to me. That buoyant feeling means its working!

My new therapist reminded me that in the past six months I have moved across the country, left my job, left my girlfriends, AND my sister died. So a little depression really shouldn’t be surprising me–or a cause to panic. I LOVE her. People think you have to be crazy to go to a therapist. I say I’d be CRAZY not to see one. She helps me realize that I am quite sane.

So, I’ll be here, trudging along–skipping occasionally–and working my way up out of the water.

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Sometimes I just want to throw up the badness. Or, I wish I could find the Depression-Off-Switch. At least I’d like to get some kind of schedule of WHEN I am going to feel horrible. I don’t even know what it is. The grey skies? The holidays without Tate? The tuna melt I had for dinner?

So I’m feeling so emotionally saggy–like gravity is pulling my face DOWN–and I have to go to Awana and play the tambourine. Yeah. I have a gig. I take my yellow charismatic professional-grade instrument and provide stellar percussion to the likes of The B-I-B-L-E or I’ve Got a River of Life or This is the Day. Children from ages 3 to 13 rock out to my beat. I’m actually part of the ‘band’. Someone plays the piano, there are a couple guitars, a saxophone and a guy that leads the songs. Normally I’m pretty excited (and I act like I’m the leader of the band as a joke, but they don’t always get it–like they think I’m all serious about it and don’t know that I am so aware that it takes SO LITTLE TALENT to play…)–but I had to DRAG myself down there tonight. Then when I got there, I actually had fun playing.  Maybe I generated some seratonin between jangles. Then I came back and remembered that I felt bad.

I forgot my point. Pass me the Prozac.

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I’m feeling a little better today. Although Dan has been telling me for YEARS, and every book on depression mentions EXERCISE, I finally have begun a routine. I have been sporadic for years with exercise, but thanks to some great motivational friends here, I have been reaping some benefits of those wonderful endorphins.

I never thought I’d say this, but I like running. Not like I’m actually RUNNING per se…more like jogging reeeeallly slowly, but enough to get my heart going and give my mood a kick. My friend Betsy won’t let me run any more than a mile right now (even if I feel like running more…)–I’m amazed that God gave me a friend who seems to know that I have a teensy tendency to over do it at the beginning.

So we’ll be side by side on the treadmills (she runs FOUR miles…) and I’ll see that I’ve hit one mile, and I keep going and try to block her view of my numbers, yet she still somehow KNOWS and says “Shelley, are you sure you shouldn’t be WALKING right now???” Yes, I mumble with my head hanging because she caught me. “You can run more NEXT week.” she promises me.

Oh, goody, can I?? 🙂 (You bet I will…)

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It’s the usual summer stress: convincing Sadie that she DOES NOT need to be occupied every second of the live-long day. She does NOT need a friend over the minute her first friend of the day leaves. Same issue, different state. What is most frustrating to me is that I have created this world for her. I have scrambled and schemed and made plans and provided her with a fairyland life where all her almost 6 year old dreams come true. She doesn’t have to learn to entertain herself…not when Shelley-the-Cruise-Director is at the helm. Bored? Let me fix that for you. I’ll dance and sing and win the Camp Counselor of the Year award. Meanwhile, deep inside me rumbles resentment and anger. I’m upset because she NEEDS me to entertain her. But I can’t be angry at her…though I want to. I want to say Stop being so demanding of me! I want to shout Leave me alone for two seconds to read the paper for crying out loud! I want to run away and escape, but I can only blame myself, and I’d be taking my stupid-self with me.

It’s sticky; sticky. I have this anxiety that Sadie will have the same experience as I did as a kid (following my mom around while she cleaned…) so I do the OPPOSITE, which is not get a thing done around the house when she is home for fear that she’ll feel that cleaning is more important than her. There is no balance here. Because I end up wanting to send away my demanding child, the monster that I have created with my own dysfunction. She hounds me, hounds me, hounds me, and then I lose it and shut her out completely in a stompy huff. AND the house is still a mess. Same coin–different side.

It’s not like this is a new issue in my life–I’m sure I’ve devoted many blog posts to it. Which is why I created a category called “Things I can’t stop talking about.” I’ve had this suffocating attention/resentful ambivalence issue with Sadie literally since the day I brought her home from the hospital. Sometimes I think it’s because Sadie is an only child. (Another subject I can’t seem to stop talking about…) Like I believe the solution in a perfect world would be to say “Go play with your sister!” But my rational brain tells me that if I had two children, I’d have twice the anxiety, and I’d be worrying that one or the other one would need to go to therapy and talk about how I didn’t give them enough of my undivided attention. As it is, my one child is going to go to therapy because her mother is alternately ‘let’s play’, and angrily ‘leave me alone.’

A big fear of mine is that Sadie will get this message that she is a burden, or just an issue that needs to be slogged through, and not a person who I deeply love. As it stands, she is a tool in God’s hands for sure, and I know I need to learn these lessons quick: setting boundaries, allowing her negative emotions, finding my own healthy detatchment, and basically figuring out how to NOT bend my life around the whims of a six year old.

Yeah, she’s going to need therapy for sure.

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So I was talking to my good friend Charlie today about mommy-guilt. She was saying that it comes with every baby. Well I feel plagued with it right now. I mean, simply PLAGUED! I have to keep telling myself that I do not have to be my child’s sister. You know, the one I haven’t provided for her since she is an only child?? I almost have to say out loud that I am not depriving her and that she is not going to be crazy or demented or damaged in any way because she doesn’t have siblings. I do not have to feel bad because I don’t feel like playing with her today. And I don’t feel like making 50 calls to find someone else to entertain her.

Why do I feel so frantic about leaving her alone to entertain herself? I mean, she resists it for sure. She asks me every three minutes who she can call and when she can play with some one. I don’t want to entertain myself, she says. Many times I give in instead of giving her the gift of solitude and imagination. I don’t give her the chance to enjoy her own company, because she resist so. loudly.

So I feel guilty about catering to her need for entertainment, AND for not. For playing with her when I don’t feel like it, and then for saying with an annoyed sigh that I’ve had enough! It’s not my job to entertain you! Which isn’t something she needs to hear, necessarily, but something I need to say to myself. Because I know it’s not my job. But yet I still feel compelled to do it. Then feel angry at myself for not being the mom, and for giving in to my own compulsions. I worry that I’m putting her off and off and she’s going to get this message that I don’t want to be with her. And the truth is, I DON’T want to be with her in the role of ‘playmate.’ Mom, yes. Playmate and Cruise Director, NO. But that’s what I feel like sometimes. LIke I HAVE to be the cruise director–like that’s my punishment for having only one.

Sometimes I wish for a second child just to entertain my first. I don’t want another child to love and cherish and train and get to know as their own person. No. I just want someone there to let me off the hook. Which is why we ARE not having a second child by the way. Because I just want a servant girl at Sadie’s beck and call so I don’t have to fight her off. I get so weary of the battle. So I don’t REALLY want a second child. I want a child-in-waiting who is assigned to my daughter so I don’t have to be.

Of course this discussion always leads to OVERCOMPENSATION. Worrying that I’ll be so busy that Sadie will have to follow me around and talk to my back (i.e my own childhood…) but that’s so irrational. I’m not my mom…and my mom’s not even that person anymore. But I’m stuck there just the same.

(Damned if I do…damned if I don’t.)

There has to be some spacious free place within motherhood that lets me make mistakes. And allows me to be myself and trust my instincts and think of what’s best for Sadie, even if she is protesting madly. I just haven’t found it yet.

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Since I’m beyond remembering what was significant about the post I lost, I’ll just move on. I haven’t been posting for awhile because 1) I’ve been wheezy sick. If I laugh a little bit, I sound like I’ve been smoking for 100 years (and I don’t smoke, except for that one time in college when we were around the campfire and the guys were smoking old-man pipes and reading poetry and being all literary and I took teeny puff–awful putrid stuff–but the guys thought they were so cool at the time…) ANYWAY, I looked up symptoms of pneumonia but as is customary for me, I’m jumping to the worst possible conclusion and really what I have is a lingering cold/cough that half of my town has, so I just should get over myself and stop worrying about the fact that I’ve never been able to spit. I’m serious. I couldn’t hork to save my life. I think it has to do with my irrational fear of throwing up. It is kind of in that same category to me. And I’ve heard that if you have pneumonia, you have to get all that gunk out of your lungs somehow and I’ve been wondering what on earth I’m going to do. I know this is totally gross, and isn’t your body supposed to know how to get the stuff out? Maybe it’s because I didn’t have brothers or something, but every time I try to work up to spitting, my throat closes and I swallow automatically.  Sorry. I hope you weren’t eating.

The number 2) reason I haven’t posted in a while is because it’s spring  break around here, and for this family, that means House Project Time! We have our tax refund money and are in the process of repainting, reflooring and DE-cluttering. In the past two days, Dan has painted the entire living room, dining room, entryway, and main hallway. Including primer and two colors: a lovely cafe latte/cream combo. Thanks to Trish over at Simple Pink for her mad consulting skills, we are on our way to a brand new space. Seriously. She could run one of those shows where the experts go in and look at your space and find stuff somewhere else in your house and make these simple suggestions that you would have NEVER thought of in your life, and BAM. Your house is amazing on a budget. I have long despised my hideous couch, and Trish suggested to switch it out for the cool-looking futon that we have in our spare bedroom. Why didn’t I think of that? It looks incredible in the living room. So we’re really on a roll. And the computer has been down so Dan can paint, and now since he’s done, we’re up and running again. Oh, and also, Trish found a great little computer desk in our garage. Dan had all of his oil changing stuff on this old wooden thing that we’ve had forever, and she said “hey, that would be a great little computer desk.” Oh. MY. Word. It changes the whole look of the living room. She’s amazing, that one.  Thanks again, Trish!!

So to sum up: wheezing, obsessing and redecorating.

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I have officially morphed into That Insane Mom. Sadie lost her little lovie, Rosie, the other day. It’s her sweet little white bunny that she takes EVERYWHERE with her. I thought maybe we left it at the Dr’s office. So I called the front desk and told the lady that I had an EMERGENCY. I literally said this during the height of the worst flu epidemic our town has seen in AGES. (It was an emergency to me…) I told her that we had been in that morning, and it was of the UTMOST IMPORTANCE that we find the white bunny.

She transferred me over to the office manager. I got her voice mail, so I left her an URGENT message explaining that my daughter can’t sleep without this Webkinz bunny, and here is what it looks like: it has two hair bands on it’s ears like ponytails–bright purple and green–you can’t miss it–so could she PLEASE do a thorough search of room three, the kids waiting area, and everywhere in between?

I didn’t hear back from her, so I called again and said I NEED to speak to a real person, and the office manager is not answering her phone. Could you please look for this lost white bunny? Could a nurse go back there and scour the area? And the front desk lady said, oh, we looked all over for it this morning and didn’t find anything. She was so nonchalant! Didn’t she GET that Rosie MUST BE FOUND? So I asked her if we could stop in after school and look for it ourselves. Whatever, she said.

So we showed up after school and went up to lady sitting at the desk and I said “did I talk to you earlier about the white bunny?” She looked at me like I was speaking gibberish. Apparently she was NOT the person I had talked to. So it’s super busy in there, and the phone is ringing off the hook, and I’m like ‘do you have kids? My daughter lost her favorite white bunny here this morning, and I was hoping we could go back there and look for it ourselves.’ She can barely contain her huffy sigh, and picks up the phone and calls back to the nurse and explains the situation. I catch a teeny eye roll. “Uh huh. Yeah, they’re here…” she covers up the mouthpiece and says “the nurse said she ALREADY looked for it and didn’t find it.” I am feeling panicky and I say a little too quickly, ‘did she check behind the bed? In the crate with the toys? Can I go back there and look myself?’ She sighs again and talks to the nurse again. She looks back up at us and says, no, I’m sorry, we can’t allow you to go back there, we have a patient in that room…wait, the dr. knows who you are and he said he’ll send the nurse out to get you (ahh, small towns!)

So a nurse comes out to the front and looks at us and says “White bunny?” She is not amused. Sadie and I follow her back to the room and she tells me again that she even looked in drawers and cupboards and couldn’t find it. I tell her that I’m a little OCD (!?) and that I’m really glad she is letting us look. Of course we don’t find anything. The doctor (who we love, and who knows I have a teeny anxiety problem) says they’ll call if they find anything.

I am almost crying (but I don’t let Sadie see it…I’ve got to keep it together!) but I am so sad–it’s like a piece of her little soul is missing. I keep thinking of Rosie’s ears in the little ponytails and my heart just hurts. So we go to the store and buy her another Webkinz. She gets a cat and names her Isabella, but I can tell it just isn’t the same. She is not NEARLY as huggable as Rosie. We say a prayer that night that God will help us find Rosie, but I’m secretly thinking that some kid swiped her from Room Three at the medical center. The next day Sadie says how sad she still is about losing Rosie, and how she hopes she will someday forget about her. I think I’m taking it harder than her. I know it’s crazy, but I can’t help it.

I went to her school after lunch to volunteer, and on a whim I stopped in the office and asked if anyone had found a white bunny. The office lady said “Does it have hair bands around it’s ears like ponytails? Bright green and purple?” ROSIE! I yell. She told me that someone had found her on the floor yesterday and had brought her to the office. I told her the whole story about how awful it has been (for me especially) without Rosie and about the dr’s office, and she patted my arm and said her daughter lost her Sunshine blanket once, and she CALLED HER DOCTOR AT HOME to come open up the medical center after hours.

Thank you office lady! Thank you for understanding.

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