The monster is completely out of the box and causing a ruckus.
I’ve been trying to ignore the fact that my depression has been steadily worsening over the past six months or so. I’ll start to take my meds, sometimes for up to two weeks, and then start “forgetting” them when the situational stuff seems under control. The problem is that the chemical part is nowhere near under control. I have good days - days when I can actually function as a mom, wife and homemaker. Those are the days that I can bake, pay bills, do some cleaning, and socialize with my friends for a bit. More often than not, I’ve been having bad days recently. Everything is overwhelming. The only way I can cope is to pack Michael up, get out of the house, and hang out with my friends. Meanwhile, the mess at home grows (and becomes more overwhelming), and it all falls on John’s shoulders. I also get into this feedback loop - it’s my job to do X, I tell John repeatedly that I’ll do X, hours/days pass and X is left undone, finally either John does X or I do after some more procrastinating. This doesn’t only apply to the house, but everything. I haven’t checked my email in the past week for fear of seeing requests for my mothers’ group’s newsletter, or yet another note asking me how I am. I just now realized that our monthly meeting was last week, not tomorrow like I thought, and it sent me into a tizzy of failed obligations. Right now my perceptions are so out of whack, anything is likely to set me off and I hide even more.
I was first diagnosed with Major Depression when I was eighteen after my first suicide attempt. At that point, I had been living with at least clinical depression for years and major depression for about a year prior to that. I was hospitalized for two weeks and finally found out that the way I was feeling wasn’t just a pity party, that I wasn’t weak or selfish, that pulling myself up by my bootstraps wasn’t an option, and most of all that it wasn’t my fault. Then I got sent home.
That first hospitalization stripped all of the defenses that I had built up so I could function in my family. Yes, the people at the hospital told me I was sick, that I had a valid medical problem. My parents told me the exact opposite. I won’t go into the details because I have accepted what happened and rehashing it here isn’t going to do anyone any good. It took five years for my parents to accept and understand what had and continues to happen to me. Since then I have enjoyed their support. I’ve waded through the blame-game and come out on the other side. I’ve been able to function in my family without carefully constructed defenses for years now.
Those five years still haunt me. I am a huge proponent of seeking treatment for mental illness. I’m the first to suggest talk therapy, share my experiences with various meds and treatments, and tell of my journey through life dealing with this disease. The problem lies in taking this advice for myself. I still do talk therapy every other week and have been with the same therapist for the past five years, but that isn’t enough - I need medication. Even though I’ve grown so much, I know my illness and the signs of its ebb and flow, I still cannot do this thing for myself.
I am a classic non-compliant patient. I’ll go in, talk to the psychiatrist, tell him what I need and apologize for not keeping up with my meds, take the meds religiously for a few weeks, and then start to “forget”. No matter how much I know intellectually that I have a chemical imbalance in my brain, that the soul-crushing emotional pain is not normal or my lot in life, I am still that eighteen year-old hearing the daily message that all of this is somehow my own fault.
This cannot continue.
I have set very strict limits on my self-destructive behaviors. I have a small child who I stay at home with, certain things, not matter how much steam they’ll let off, just can’t happen. I also have way too many people who care about me who would notice and ask uncomfortable questions. The past few days (weeks, months), I’ve been fighting very strong urges to do some of these things, and my resolve is starting to get a bit shaky. A hospitalization has been looking very attractive, a time to fall back and regroup. The problem is that it’s never really that. Just like my first hospitalization, coming home is always harder and things feel/seem worse than they did before I went in.
I have to change for Michael. Not that John doesn’t deserve that change as well - we went through hell the first year of our marriage - he really does, but I have to be here for Michael and our future children. I’ve seen too many accounts of adult children who lived with a non-compliant mentally ill parent to not know the damage this causes. Sure, I just have depression, that’s not too bad, I can cope with it. Right now bad times for me result in him eating Veggie Booty and watching too much TV while I doze on the couch or compulsively knit in an effort not to think - that’s not that bad, right?
Realistically, I could probably keep this up for several years, I read about women who do it all the time - mending the cage that holds the monster until it’s more duct tape than steel. Women who manage to go through all the right motions, and a couple of days a month where their child is being raised by the TV and subsisting on junk food isn’t the end of the world - heck who wouldn’t want to watch TV all day, not get dressed, and eat potato chips for breakfast, lunch and dinner? That’s not the whole story though, just the surface. There’s the black cloud hanging over me, the short temper, the exhaustion, the hiding from people and tasks, the annoyance radiating from John when another day passes without my doing X even though I swore up and down that X would be done, the fear radiating from John as he waits for the shoe to drop, and the ever growing guilt. Sure, this is functioning, but it’s not living.
I started taking my meds again this morning. John, unfortunately, is being placed in the position of making sure that I “remember”, but he’s willing to do it and it really does need doing. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist next week so we can do the compliance song and dance. We have talked and made plans, once again. With some luck, it’ll stick this time. When Michael is in therapy as an adult (as I’m sure he will be), I’d like him to be telling a story about how my refusal to let him have five servings of ice cream when he was six damaged him for life, rather than expressing a wish that his mother would have taken her meds so she could be happy.
as always, my apologies to Strunk and White
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
The monster is completely out of the box and causing a ruckus.
I don't know what to think - the chicken pox scare may have been all a false alarm. You can take a look at the back story here.
His speech therapist is pregnant, so I thought it best that she know that he had been exposed and leave it up to her as to whether she felt comfortable seeing him or not. We cancelled last week and I called her this morning to tell her that he was still showing no signs but was still within the three week incubation period, so she chose to cancel to be on the safe side. In the interrim, I also received a letter from the agency that the infected therapist (special instructor) works for saying that she and two of the children she sees have confirmed cases of the chicken pox.
Well. I just got off the phone with the speech therapist. She had a meeting this morning where the infected therapist was present. She refused to come into the home, because she has no immunity to chicken pox. The infected therapist reassured her that she did not have the chicken pox and it was never confirmed. Two of her kids were sick - one with the measles and another with chicken pox, but she just had a viral infection and had been back to work for a few days. The infected therapist has not called me to reschedule any appointments AND most importantly in my book, did not call to tell me that she didn't have chicken pox in the first place! I stayed home all last week and even felt guilty for seeing the one kid we did even though he'd been vaccinated. A few days last week, Michael was sporting little green circles on his chest and back as I obsessed over every spot/bump I saw or imagined for fear that it was pox. Hell, my mom even stopped by one night to take a look at him since she had been through pox with all of us. Arrgghhh!
In general, I like his special instructor. She's been working with Michael since November and he has a decent rapport with her. The past few months her performance has been getting sketchy. Michael has become more and more frustrated with the activities they've been doing, I've been a little uncomfortable with some of her methods (pretending to cry when he was not complying), she's almost always late, and there have been a few too many last-minute cancellations for my liking. In my attempt to bury my head in the sand, I've been ignoring much of this, but the chicken pox thing is too much. I'm going to call his coordinator tomorrow and request a new special instructor. I have enough shit going on, I don't need this on top of it.
Posted by Jenn at 5:12 PM
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I received a letter in the mail this afternoon and the more I think about it the more creepy it becomes. It was just a non-descript letter-sized envelope with my name and address hand-written on the front. The postage was canceled, but it was done with one of the newer computerized methods so all I call tell is that it was sent from somewhere in Southeastern PA. There was no return address. Inside was a square of blue paper - like a post-it without the glue. On one side was written, "I love you, friend." On the other side its says:
Come to know and love Jesus
"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."John 8:24
John did some searching and it's a quote most often used by the Jehova's Witnesses. Most of the people I've talked to think they got my name and possibly my address from my mother's group - I used to be the Membership VP so my address was pretty much sent to everyone. The anonimity of it bugs me the most. When the Witnesses come knocking at the door I just firmly say, "No thank you," and send them on their way, ditto with the ones hanging out in train stations. This just feels like a violation and leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
Posted by Jenn at 10:23 PM
but whining on the blog at 2 AM?
It's been a day of highs and lows. Michael was a dream today. While we were just hanging out at home this evening, he was super cuddly which is just what I needed.
The date for my super value-sized surgery has been set and two of the three appointments that I need are scheduled. Of course, they are scheduled at an bad time for John (summer libray programs), but the reason being his wife needs surgery should trump things nicely. I'm going to take a friend's advice and pick up some good vitamins this weekend to start prepping myself. I'm also thinking of doing a detox, but life without coffee isn't worth living - vitamins, exercise, and teas will have to be enough.
I've been putzing with my sister's wedding invitations for the past month. I've known that I needed to cut the stencil for the embossing for weeks and of course just started doing it tonight. It's a very nice filigree pattern, complete with lots of curlycues (?sp), and just about impossible to cut by hand, at least with the materials I have. John had the great idea of using the Dremel, and if I had a different kind of sheet plastic and a couple of days to work on it it would have been a great idea. Instead, I'm using the original inspiration for the filigree - the Fiskars texture plate. It's like fingernails on a blackboard for me - the filigree just isn't as crisp as true embossing and I can't stand this lack of perfection. Hopefully, this is just my anal-retentiveness winning out and my sister and her fiance won't see any problems. John didn't, but I'm pretty sure he's blind when it comes to these things (or at least when the creator is me). This is going to bug me for quite a while so more ranting to come.
I'm pretty sure my mom's talk about how I should dress for my sister's wedding things is a way to tell me that I need to shave my armpits.
On a crafting front, not too much has been happening. I've been designing a infant/toddler dress and that's been taking up a lot of time. I started to knit it flat, got eight inches of the skirt done and frogged the whole mess because I thought it was too sloppy. I'm almost at the same spot doing it in the round and am much happier with the results - my knitting is much more even without those dreaded purls. It gets a little wonky with one of the stitches but I'm told that it's not noticeable (see above). The sewing maching saw a flurry of use a few weeks ago, but has not been used since. I have some baby carrier designs that I want to test out, but machine sewing requires a proper time investment to be done correctly and I just haven't had the energy. The gall bladder and possible pox has put my super baby product idea on a way back burner for a while. I'm hoping John will get some time to do some patent research for me soon so I can get that ball rolling.
Oh, and word domination. Mustn't forget the word domination...
Posted by Jenn at 1:10 AM
Friday, June 23, 2006
I woke up to my period this morning, and it'wasn't one of those, "Ahem, you may want to think about some tylenol and a panty liner," but a, "Well HOWDY! You're gonna need some narcotics and a beach towel," kind of moments. The hangover wasn't bad, probably because my body was still metabolizing the vodka. After a very slow start, I met up with my girlfriend and her son and it turned into a wonderful day. I got new and much needed shoes and Michael was a dream. The hour we spent at the playground was mostly spent sitting on a bench in the shade while the kids played. I got a bit nervous when he was on the jungle gym, but he did wonderfully. He also went down for bed tonight in about 15 minutes which is such a nice change from the hour plus of settling we've been having. Well, I'm off to steam clean the carpet - happy weekend all!
Posted by Jenn at 9:56 PM
Thursday, June 22, 2006
- Still a bit freaked by the surgery prospects
- had a heart-to-heart with the husband about stuff better left unsaid on the blog
- just finished drinking a several ounces of cheap vodka mixed with Country Time Lemonade
- somehow have the presence of mind to type in the HTML for a bulleted list - Yay me!
- Rain and possible pox suck
- I am the lizard queen!!!! (it was quite a bit of vodka - the $7 a fifth vodka so you know it's good enough*
*to strip paint that is
Brought to you by Drunken HTML! Read this now because it will most likely be deleted in the hungover, oh-my-god-what the f-in hell did I write on my blog and how did I manage to write HTML ontop of it morning.
Take a look at this for a bit of a laugh.
Ahhh, distilled potatoe juice.....
Posted by Jenn at 10:52 PM
Met with the surgeon this morning for the gall bladder and found out that I can have both the gall bladder and the pelvic laparoscopy done at the same time. The only problem is that the surgeon works at one hospital and the GYN works at another. I called my gyn to ask him what I should do and he told me he'd find a general surgeon to do my gall bladder when he does the pelvic lap. I should be releived by this but I am majorly freaked out. The pelvic lap is scheduled for July 28th and hopefully that date won't change with the addition of the lap-coli. Michael is getting into something so I must dash...
Posted by Jenn at 12:47 PM
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
John and I have an ongoing debate as to who the better super hero is - Batman or Superman. Well, this is what he got Michael for his birthday...
My mom bought it for him and actually apologized to me because I seemed so upset about it. Just you wait, I spend the most time with him so I'll be sure that he knows who is better.
Posted by Jenn at 11:15 AM
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
I found out yesterday that one of Michael's therapists has the chicken pox. She saw him on Tuesday and started feeling sick on Thursday so he just hit the cusp of the 48 hour period before symptoms start for being contagious. Now I just have to wait and see what happens.
I have very mixed feelings about it. The varicella vaccine was the only one he didn't get, my feeling being that I would prefer him to get it naturally and if he didn't by the time he was in regular school I'd consider getting him vaxed then. In the same token, I also feel pretty strongly about not exposing him on purpose. I know the chances of complications are very very small, but I couldn't live with myself if he ended up with one of them and it was my fault he was in that position in the first place.
I called his ped's office yesterday just to double check about exposure to others and boy was that a mistake. Every place I read said pretty much the same thing about when he would be contagious. I, of course, got the jerk nurse who made it sound like Michael was carrying the plague and spread so much misinformation about chicken pox it wasn't even funny. He also tried three times during the conversation to get me to have Michael vaccinated. I finally had to to tell him firmly that I made an informed decision about this vaccine and this was the way that I hoped Michael would get it. Later that day I got hit with the mommy guilt about the vaccine, but I'm working through that.
Chances are that he doesn't have chicken pox, but I'm still going to have to maintain a low profile for at least a week until we're sure. Oh, joy...
Posted by Jenn at 10:25 AM
Friday, June 16, 2006
surrupticiously drinking a Woodchuck Hard Cider in her Starbucks cup at the park this afternoon. It was warm and sunny - the perfect day for a beer/carbonated alcoholic beverage. Michael only slept for 20 minutes this afternoon and had two meltdowns complete with kicking and screaming - you're lucky I wasn't walking around taking swigs from a bottle of Jack Daniels.
Actually I have to accept full responsibility for both the short nap and the meltdowns. I haven't had any quality time with both of my girlfriends in a while and I really was asking too much from Michael today. I knew sitting inside to have lunch with my friends was going to result in a miniscule nap, but I did it anyway thinking that the consequenses would be worth it, and after two years maybe this time would be different. It wasn't.
The meltdown in the Gap was the worst though - I was trying to get him out of the stroller and into the pouch. As I started to lift him up I felt the stroller start to tip backwards. Trying to corrale a cranky two year-old who has had enough with one hand and keep a stroller from tipping with the other is no easy task. Of course Michael escaped my grasp but was watched by one of my friends and stroller fell backwards, along with my full cup of coffee and full cup of water. I righted the stroller and got him aside so I could get him in the pouch when the store was treated to his screams of outrage and overtiredness. This is made all the more ammusing by the fact that I'm wearing a new bra that pushes my boobs practically up to my chin and a blouse with buttons that don't want to stay closed. Screaming child, white-knuckled mom, boobs - you get the picture. Once we got out of the store, he was happy as a clam sitting on my back singing to himself. We did one more store after that, but it was pretty quick because he and most definitely I had had enough.
In my own defense, It's been quite a while since I've tried to do something like this with him and once again proved that I need to go with my gut and do what's best for him because in reality it's what's best for both of us.
Posted by Jenn at 7:56 PM
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
Much ado has been going on as of late - I've found baby zen again and have been making good progress with disciplining the way I want to. I have gallstones and will most likely be getting my gallbladded removed sometime this summer. I made my first pouch today and I think it came out pretty well - sewing a flat-felled seam on a curve is a major pain in the ass though. Lastly, I had a super cool idea for a baby product - John's going to look into patenting/marketing it for me. I have the technical skills to make a working prototype, but I think some engineering may need to be involved and that is a bit beyond me.
Off to bed...
Posted by Jenn at 11:00 PM