Friday, October 3, 2014


So it's been nearly a year since I've posted here. It's also a day shy of my 5th wedding anniversary, a few months past my son's third birthday and a year since I started taking medication for depression.

Those are all milestones.

I will admit, it has not been an easy year. I wanted so badly for 2014 to be full of good things, and certainly we won't dismiss the goof things that have happened, a million tiny brilliant moments.

But the can you push aside events that rock the foundations of your life?

Something odd and ugly happened when i started to get better. It was like with the pressure of my problem relieving, my husbands rose to new and painful levels.His anger issues are not new, we've been addressing them for the almost ten years we've been a couple. But they've always been fleeting moments, intense but brief arguments. They got worse once we had our son,  because of the immense pressure on him to provide for his new family on a single income. He was scared, our economy wasn't stable, our friends were getting laid off left and right, and he had this tiny person depending on him and a wife who was falling apart at the seams. So while the outbursts were bad, they were still fairly rare. Then I started to get better, and things went rapidly down hill.

I don't want to get into specifics. I don't want to relive our dark moments, or demonize a man i love more than anything second to our son. The abuse was only ever verbal, no one was ever hurt physically but it WAS abuse. Emotional abuse is a real thing, and it's learned. There is no doubt his anger stems from a life time with a father who made sure he knew he would never be good enough, and treated the women is his life like things. I know why the anger exists and why it was aimed at me. I know how he hates himself every time it happens, usually within moments after it happens. But it happened. And that's not okay.

I had some very good friends help me through it, not just survive it but actively help me work to make it better. Never once did someone tell me to leave him, but never once did they let me think it was okay or healthy what was happening. I had a few friends too who dismissed it, saying that oh they do this every year for awhile, it'll stop soon, or they would get annoyed when I'd pull out of plans because I was scared of the aftermath at home. I even had people taking bets on whether or not our marriage would make it..

But we did, with counseling and antidepressants and a lot of very difficult conversations. We've come out stronger for it, healthier for it, and know that even as our legs are still wobbly from everything that's happened, we'll be okay. I am so very grateful for that.

I am still sad for no reason sometimes. I've learned to reach out then, and not hole up. I am still unkind to myself sometimes, I've learned to focus on something else and not feed that feeling. I am still paranoid about relationships sometimes, but I've learned instead of wondering to ask questions, trust that the people around me want to be there, and to let go when someone doesn't. I can do that because the medication turns those feelings down enough that i can think through them. It was never meant as a cure all, just volume control.

5 years of a love I have proven I am willing to fight for, three years of a tiny human being I am convinced is made out of distilled joy and stubbornness, and one year in the start of a journey to take care of myself.

Happy anniversary.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A life more ordinary

So it's been two months since I started medication.

I can't even begin to describe the difference.

For me depression was like having my emotions turned all the way up, like being at a party where the music and background noise is so loud you can't even hear yourself when you speak. I felt everything to such an extreme that I couldn't think straight or focus, making every small thing a great big thing.

Depression is different for everyone. Some people feel numb. I get overwhelmed.

It was small at first. I would start to fall apart, picked apart by a paranoia that everyone secretly hated me. But I was able to see it happening and say "I don't want this, it's not going to ruin my day." and I let myself fall apart for a few moments, then made myself return to the presence of people I trusted and enjoy, ignoring that impulse to hide away knowing connecting was what I needed.

Slowly I started to be able to let those insecurities go rather than feed them when they'd arrive. They still come, but I can face them, and it has saved a few of my friendships. I have a lot of good people in my life. They wouldn't be there if I hadn't done something to make them want to be.

I hadn't realized how bad it had gotten, just how miserable I was. How much I had stopped enjoying things I loved and how much I had pulled away. This is the kind of thing we do when we 'suck it up' we hurt ourselves, and by proxy those we care about. I lose my temper less now, I am finding energy to do things again, seek out things I love, and know when it's time to step away from things for awhile.

I'm getting there, slowly, and it's the biggest relief I've had in a long time.

Now if I could just get a car!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A White Flag

I just got off the phone with my doctor. I'm going on medication.

I really didn't want to. Not because I don't believe it can help, I do and have used it before. Last time I was on it, it was to help me keep calm so I could learn to use strategies to manage my anxiety. It also had all sorts of side effects. The side effects are part of the reason I have avoided it.

I also just didn't want admit I needed them to deal with this. But I do.

My depression is starting to cause issues it never has before. I used to bottle it up, deal with it by myself and that almost literally killed me.

Over the past few weeks I have been learning that doing the opposite is coming off as bitching. It's making people avoid me. People are sick of me. I'm sick of me. And last night I started shutting down.

I feel okay speaking here because mostly if you're reading this it's for a reason. I am not inflicting myself upon you. I am glad I have somewhere, because I don't know what else to do.

My husband, sweet man that he is, suffers from his own depression and says he's 'tired' of me being sad all the time. I know he feels frustrated, because he wants to fix the problem, and doesn't understand that it's not all something that can be fixed. I tried to talk through things with my mom, but things are hard for her too, and that didn't go so well.

I started to vent on G+ and it just seemed so pathetic I took it down. I've decided to stop talking about it, except for my counselor and here. I need people, I don't want to drive them away.

The big issue right now is that my car has broken down and is starting to look like it's not going to recover, which is tough enough even when the same thing happened to your husband's car four weeks prior. We're actually doing a little bit better financially as far as monthly expenses go, but there is no reserve cash anywhere for replacing the car. We were only able to replace my husband's car because of some inheritance my grandfather left my mother, who then gave some to my brother and I.

Not having a car, well, it hinders many of my feel better efforts. No gym, no daycare, no activities outside the house for little man and me. Can't even walk, since the road we live on is narrow and very busy.

But first world problems right? I shouldn't complain. Big picture. Right.

I think that's the hardest part about depression. It's like snowflakes. Sure, we lump it all together and call it 'snow' but no two are the same. So it makes it hard, even if someone else is suffering too, to understand what it's like. It's different for everyone. Some people get angry, some feel numb. I feel overwhelmed, like my emotions are cranked up so loud I can't feel or think straight. All I want is peace and quiet in my head, to be able to think clearly again, to not be paranoid about every relationship and exchange, to not hate myself for every little mistake. To enjoy the things I love again.

So I'm going to try medication. Because while I have a lot of legitimate reason's to be stressed, I shouldn't be crying after my husband and son are asleep, wishing I wasn't so broken. I should be able to deal with this. This moment sucks, but I know my life is good. I just can't hold onto that right now.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The nature of Helplessness

I think one of the hardest parts of becoming a parent is a prevailing sense of losing power over your life. Everything you do is dictated by this new small person, and any parent of a toddler can tell you they are in fact tiny dictators in adorable, often jelly covered, outfits.

While it seems backwards, they are in fact, the ones who tell you when you can eat, sleep, bathe, socialize, even use the bathroom. They control what you can do and when, where you can and cannot go. Most of this fact is eased by the knowledge that this is in dedications to your little ones needs. They are now numero uno in your life, their needs come first, and that includes things like privacy and clean clothes.

But sometimes things around you also steal away your power. We by our very nature feel secure when we have some sort of control, and when we lose that it throws off entirely off kilter.

I have just waded through the perfect storm of losing control.

It began with our car dying. Just caput-dead. To be fair to the old boy, it was a 13 year old sedan with the muffler bungee corded on. But none the less, it died and this was a major issue. Now, we've just been informed we are inheriting a sum of money from my amazing grandfather, so lo, we have money for a used car. But we had big plans for that money, plans that included paying off our two most stressful debts and taking a night away. But now the car needs that money, the choice has been removed from us. Those debts will go unpaid, and I feel like a precious gift of well being has been snatched from my hands.

The same evening the car died we had a storm, and the wind knocked a nest of baby birds into our chimney and down the wood stove pipe. Over the course of two days  the baby birds slid one by one from the stuck nest into range for us to be able to get them with a make shift net, up to our shoulders in the wood stove and pipe filled with pointy screws. They were fledglings, so all the experts said they should go back outside where the parents could find them. So after the toddler got a chance to view and make fawning noises, the four baby birds (it had seemed every time we rescued one there was another behind it) we placed them in the tall grass next to the house. After night one, one bird disappeared. I have tried to help baby birds before, bunnies too, and the truth is they are so very fragile that there are far more sad stories than happy ones, and so I expected such an ending to this one despite the victories of getting them out of the pipe.

But finding a second one had died this morning was far more crushing than it should have been. But knowledge like the fact that they are so fragile, and that at least they hadn't died in that awful pipe, are not much consolation when you see that tiny life snuffed and knowing there was nothing more you could have done. The mother in you fights it. You constantly wonder if there was something you might have done. You cry for them after you son goes to sleep, having told him the babies had gone back to their mom and dad and were fine.

Those little birds were just the last thing in a long list of things that you were powerless to help. The birds. The car. The debt. The toddler determined to injure himself by throwing himself off every available climbable thing in your house after running behind you undoing all of your cleaning. The depression.

So tonight I am crying for losing sight of land in the sea of stress. And for baby birds I wanted nothing more than to save from dying in the dark.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Learning to say goodbye

"I'm the kind of person who wants to fix everything, "
"Yeah, I noticed"

That was my counselor's response when I was talking about my relationships. Well, really anything given enough glue, duct tape and time.

It's been a very difficult couple of weeks, a large and sweeping drama of stupidity and tears worthy of any soap opera or average day in the life of a high schooler. There were confessions of love (I shit you not) and broken hearts (Not the one you'd expect) and a lot of confusion as to What. The. Hell. Is. Happening.

What is boils down to is a person in my life I care about needs some space to figure themselves out. But their internal problems are being projected onto me as if I were personally sitting in their innards poking their heart with a teeny tiny pitchfork with the cheap cartoon devil get up and everything.

Naturally, I being the one who feels badly for killing the lawn grubs who are trying to destroy my yard, almost started to believe that I was indeed, the bad guy.

But I am not, in fact. I am a good friend, a good WIFE and a good mother. I am a decent human being. I (shockingly) also have feelings and concerns that are all my own. I'm getting better at acknowledging this, and better at pointing it out when even people I love forget it. This person has. They have a hurt that needs a villain, and it cannot be me.

So my counselor said "You can't fix it. You didn't break it, it's not yours to fix." And I had to put down my super glue and remove my cloak of diplomacy and admit that what happens from this moment on is in their hands, not mine. It's going to break my heart, but it was happening anyways the way things were going, and maybe we can recover from this. The friendship is precious to me, I hope it can be saved, but it's out of my control. All I can do is step back, and hope it is as strong as I had always thought.

It is very hard to not see it as giving up. But just like my baby turnips and radishes, the best I can do for it is let it be.

I have fought for a lot of friendships. I have lost a few. Some have recovered. Some linger on, either because my heart cannot let go or I am unable to because of other factors.

I really hope this is "See you later" and not "Goodbye."

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My head is on fire, but my legs are fine

So I have been much quieter the last few weeks. Truth is, it's largely because I have been spending my free time in my new yard, tending green growing things, digging holes, squashing grubs and trying to wrangle my son away from the temptress that is our street full of speeding cars.

The other part of why is that this activity has left me happier than I have been in a very long time. I've cut down my visits with my councilor to twice a month and have had a much better time with Perfect Mommy and her obnoxious lackeys. My diet changes and the increase in exercise have done wonders, and I am down four pounds and have lost two inches from both my waist and hips. And I still eat ice cream. In fact, I was 'bad' last week when the hormones were at their worst and ate stuff I have been generally trying to avoid, but magically, I did not over indulge in any of it. And at the end of it none of the weight had come back, emotionally or literally. It's proof how much of my weight issues have been related to depression.

I'm not 100%. I don't think I will be for awhile. Paranoia about relationships still hovers behind my thoughts and I have backed out/nearly backed out of fun things as a result. I've found being honest about these times and the emotions that cause them has been really helpful, and my amazing friends have responded with reassurance, frankness and understanding. There have still been a couple of nights where I have cried, but it's been in response to something specific, no longer the crushing doubt over nothing.

I can appreciate and celebrate the wonder that is my life again, and I cannot begin to tell you how that feels. Even when I start to feel overwhelmed or down, I am able to use strategies again to stop the negative cycle of thinking and action. It has also allowed me to address some tough things. Like when baby number two will be coming.

We'd planned on starting to discuss it in January 2014, and have made the difficult decision to push that back to the same time the following year. Some of this is financial, we're more stable than we were three months ago, but we know not to take it for granted. We have no savings to have our backs. The main reason though, is to take care of me. Physically sure, I need two years in between if I want to try and have a natural birth after the C-Sec, but I need more time to recover my sense of who I am and to be just Jack's mom for a little longer. This was hard, because until Jack is an older brother I don't quite feel like our family is whole. Even my husband, who blanches at the thought of doing this again just yet, says he is always looking for 'the other one' (he is an identical twin).

Funny how taking action, no matter how small, gives you some of that control back, and gives you the foundation to build back from depression. I am very thankful for that.

And I will leave you with this:

My son loves most everything, and like his parents he is very affectionate. Today he has hugged the following:

  • Me
  • The cat
  • His uncle
  • The other cat
  • The flour jar
  • His cars
  • The first cat again
  • The jar of chocolate chips
  • His toothbrush
  • A potato
  • A book
  • A box of cake mix
  • The first cat yet again (the second won't tolerate multiple)
It should be noted that all hugs are accompanied by him saying "awwww" and giving a pat.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Boston Strong

Dear Jack,

In less than two years I have held you tightly and cried because a select few individuals made the choice to harm people they didn't even know. I wept for the parents who would never hold their children again like I held you, I wept for the families who would never be whole and for the many lives forever altered because someone made an unforgivable choice.

Part of me was glad you are too young too ask why I was crying, or why grampy was over so early and we all watched the news instead of our usual Friday playtime. I was glad you didn't have to go to school, that neither your father or I had to go to work, because all I could do that day is keep kissing your head and holding your hand and watch the internet like a hawk for updates and acknowledgments that the people we loved were safe, and when they were still mourn for those who could not say the same.

The other part of me knew that we would have some other tragedy one day, and it would not be as simple as reading you your favorite book and turning off the TV. And I know we'll talk then, because I hope we can always talk about the things that scare you and make you sad just as the things that make you happy, but when you read about the things that happened here, now, I know there will be things I want to say.

Look beyond the men who sought to hurt and inspire fear. Look beyond them and see how the rest of humanity responds. See the people who want to help. The truth is my boyo that they are the majority, and they will prove to you why having faith in people is not a faith misplaced. They will go beyond the limits of common courtesy. Walls will drop and we cease to be anything other than fellow human beings and they will inspire you. Take that with you in the dark days, and the amount of light that we put back into the world, while it can never completely snuff the darkness, will overwhelm it.

In the days that follow, keep that light, that faith and love for the world, because wounds will be raw and all wounded creatures snap. People will say foolish things, they will look for someone or something to blame, and it is up to everyone to keep that amazing energy of hope and brotherhood. As long as we do that then those few, terrified and angry people who try to inflict themselves on the world can never succeed. We can prove the world better than they think it.

So my sweet boy, when dark days come again, and I am sad to say that they will as long as fear permeates the hearts of some, look for the helpers as Mr. Rogers says. Look for the good and don't let one speck of darkness turn your eyes and heart away from the light that is the world.

Be strong. Be kind. Be you.

Love mom.