That thing where you wake at 2am, prepare to drift gently back to sleep, then your asshole brain whispers "What if your house caught fire?"
— Caroline Moore (@sixhours) February 27, 2015
It’s been a rough week. Talking about it is hard. Writing about it is harder. Everything I say is laid under a microscope of my own making, scrutinized, and ultimately rejected.
Am I overreacting? What would people think? Should I even say anything at all?
I wonder if it’s just a bad day, or a bad week, or a bad month. I worry it’s the beginning of a slide.
Is this temporary? Should I have my meds adjusted? Is everything still going to suck when I wake up tomorrow?
I wonder if I’ll spend the rest of my life questioning my mental health at every turn. I ask myself “why”, which turns into a vortex of self-doubt that usually ends at, “There must be something wrong with me.”
Not enough exercise? Genetics? Too much sugar? Hormones? Seasonal? Too negative? Too much stress? Brain chemistry? Not enough water?
I think I’ve been operating under the assumption that the medication is a temporary stopgap and eventually I won’t need it. At some point, I will go back to being “just me.”
But what if I can’t? How will I know? How do I adapt?
All the wondering turns to worrying which is exhausting, which just makes everything worse. So I go for a walk and I feel a little better. Black cherry frozen greek yogurt helps, too.
Then I wake up today, and I feel good. Capable. “Normal,” save for the feeling I’ve just had an unsatisfying whirlwind fling with a real jerk of a person, who happens to be…me.
Depression is such an annoying, unpredictable bitch.
The irony of being a WordPress geek who rarely blogs is not lost on me. I spend most of my days in front of a screen, working with this very interface, but how much of that time is actually spent blogging for me? Practically none. And it’s not that I don’t have anything to write about; I have plenty! In fact, I have a list of potential blog topics a mile long, dating back to this spring.
I’m going to make an effort to work through the list in the next couple weeks, in preparation for (my first!) NaNoWriMo. I figure if I flex my writing muscles here, I’m more likely to complete the month of November with a workable first draft.
Topics covered may include:
- Our new house and its myriad of slow-going projects
- What happens when you drop a pot of coffee on your kid (spoiler alert: Bad things!)
- How I wrote a novel I’ll never be able to publish
- This year’s Halloween costumes
- Life with a newly-minted two-year-old
- Life with a newly-minted Kindergardener
- Health update
But I’m going to start on a high note (hah) by writing about my biggest reason for not writing: Depression.
I tried to write about it sooner, but everything came out morose and dark and un-fun. Makes sense; depression is a pretty morose, dark, and un-fun thing. I have a list of saved drafts that, from my newly medicated perspective, sound like sad whining. I’m grateful I didn’t publish them, but I’m also grateful I wrote them for me.
(Why do I feel like everything I publish here should be light and fluffy? I don’t know. New therapy topic!)
Here’s an excerpt from one of those drafts:
Originally, I thought it was the winter blues, lingering. Then I thought it was situational stress, that would get better once we’d sold the condo and moved. Then I chalked it up to ye olde woman’s woes — oh, those pesky hormones! Then I tried telling myself to get over it, snap out of it, and suck it up, which, as you can probably guess, went over really well with my anxiety-ridden brain. But now I’m beginning to think that whatever Eeyore-esque cloud has settled around me is not going to magically disappear, no matter how much I try to brush it off as nothing, or pretend it doesn’t exist, or yell at it to go away.
On my best days, I’m mostly neutral. On my worst days, I’m non-functional. Thankfully (?) there are mostly neutral days and not a lot of bad days, but just one day where I can’t get out of bed because the world is nothing but black, crushing anxiety, is one too damn many.
The ability to feel genuine excitement or joy would be nice, too. I miss that.
The me of today, the Celexa-and-therapy me, is feeling awesome. I no longer wake up and dread getting out of bed. A messy house will not give me a panic attack. I can actually feel happy about things again.
The amount of stuff we’ve been through in the last year makes my head spin. I suppose I needed a reality check; at my first therapy session, I began to list all the things I felt I had to keep track of, and after the sixth or seventh major item, my therapist’s eyes said it all.
Lady, you’re going to make an excellent client.
Two little kids. New puppy. Moving. Selling our house. Renovations. New living arrangements. Full-time job with travel. Crappy internet. Weight loss. Exercise. Me time. Husband time. Family time.
Over the summer, I shed a couple of those items, and now I’m managing my crazy life and mostly enjoying it, rather than suffering and dreading it. It’s amazing what a little pill and regular talking can do for your perspective. Depression made it hard to want to talk about anything, and not writing got me out of the habit. Now that the former is being addressed, I can work on the latter, and hopefully the result will be a more active personal blog!
Apparently Gwen’s pregnancy did more than just wreak havoc on my bladder, pelvis, stomach and the usual postpartum fare–it brought my stupid gallbladder* out of hiding, and boy is it pissed! Yes, pregnancy and an admittedly rich diet seems to have triggered gallbladder attacks, something I’d never experienced before, something I definitely never wanted to experience for sure. Ow. Thankfully I’ve only had two short episodes in the last week–I hope that means we caught this early.
You’d think having to push a baby out of my vagina and the subsequent sleep deprivation that goes along with having a newborn would have been punishment enough for one maternity leave, but no. Let’s throw a random medical issue into the mix for good fun. And here I was, feeling all smug for having successfully dodged two c-sections.
I’m seeing a surgeon on Friday to go over the ultrasound and (most likely) schedule a cholecystectomy. Of course, I’ve consulted with Dr. Google enough to have some anxiety about the process. Many people say they’ve had easy recoveries but there are enough horror stories out there to make me worry.
(Truth be told, I’m also worried about how this will impact my future ability to eat pizza without gastrointestinal discomfort. Hey, priorities. And I wonder how I got into this mess!)
Tim will also be out of the country (and by that I mean temporarily not on this continent–not just in Canada!) for a week very soon, so I’m already a little (read: a lot) anxious about that. I’m just a giant ball of freak-out these days, really. Thankfully I’ll have help from my parents (love you guys!) and hopefully I can put off the surgery until after Tim gets back so I have his support if the recovery is rough.
Sucky silver lining: I now have something to hold over Gwen’s head when she’s a teenager and driving me batty. With Ellie, I had a 30-something hour labor–easy guilt fodder there. But Gwen’s labor was only 8 hours–not effective for guilt purposes. Instead, I’ll be able to say, “You gave me gallstones–the least you can do is clean your room!”
As if to make up for my pain and suffering (cue overly dramatic sigh) Miss Gwen recently decided to sleep through the night, three nights in a row! Seven hours at a stretch! It’s pure sleepytime bliss up in here. I don’t know whether to celebrate or knock on wood to avoid jinxing it, so I’m just going to shut up about that now.
She’s also started smiling! And this is the part where I say it’s hard to believe she’s already a month old, I lament how fast she’s growing up, yadda yadda yadda. *sniffle*
* From here on out, I’m just going to refer to it as “my stupid gallbladder” because that’s exactly what it is. Stupid, stupid gallbladder.