Friday, April 11, 2014

Day 90: Which Direction?

So, we're moving.

Out of state.

Back "home".  Closer to family.

Except that this place has come to feel a whole lot like home over the past 5 years.  And our friends here have become our family, too.

People assume we're moving because HH got a new job.  Which he did.  But, he got that new job for me.  So that, in a crisis, I can have help.  So that, when I get overwhelmed with life, someone can come help me handle it.  So that, if/when I need to go to the hospital again, someone can take care of the kids.  And I see the good and the logic in that.

But, it feels like defeat.

Instead of choosing where we want to live based on "normal" reasons, this is yet another choice that feels like it's just been made for us.  Because of my mental health.  Mental illness.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited to live close to our family again.  Ever since the kids were small, we've felt a pull to get them closer to their cousins and other extended family.  I love and enjoy being around my family and HH's family.

And I'm excited about the location.  I get to be in the mountains again.  We can take the kids camping without dying from the heat and humidity.  We can teach the kids to ski.  We can show them where we grew up.  We can hike.  We can maybe enroll them in sports where all the games won't be played on Sundays.

But still...

I just wish I could feel like this is happening because it's what we fully want.

But, we looked at other locations.  Places closer to family, but that had other appeal as well.  Climate, new places to explore, fun things to do.

Ultimately, we kept coming back to this though.  Knowing it's what we have to do because it's what I need.

And I'm tired of making choices where my needs supersede everyone and everything else.

Not to mention the fact that I am desperately going miss all of these people I've grown to love and trust.  Especially, the few that I've recently grown close enough to to really let down my guard and trust them with things only HH and my therapist have known.  That's something invaluable.  And I know I can still call them, but there is something about being in the company of someone like that that is renewing.

So, I know I should be excited.  And some of me is.

I hope I haven't hurt or offended any of you that I will be moving closer.  Like I said, I am excited about that prospect.

It's just that, it's complicated.  This is me we're dealing with here.  And if I'm good at one thing, it's making things complicated.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Day 89: Reassurance Being Found

Me and Baby B when he was actually a baby.

I wish I could always hold him and make things right in his world.

Thanks for your kind reassurance.  I actually went from one reassuring person to the next during my day yesterday.

The drop off was rough.  I held it together until I got in the car and then I bawled the whole way home. But, it was April Fool's, so I got to keep myself busy making fun prankster foods for the kids.  (And Baby B got his wormy apple on his way home that night).

The pick up went well and he was so well-behaved all evening.

While I have great faith in this program, I know better than to believe his improved behavior was a sign of progress.  Not yet, anyway.  I think he was just relieved to be home.  The caregivers told me he had a pretty good first day.  He even earned a prize to take home from his good behavior.

He told me he did nothing all day.  Except go on time out.

That made me want to laugh and cry at the same time.  Laugh because I know it wasn't true and because he looked so cute with his mad pouty face.  And cry because, well, he's my baby.

Anyway, it's still hard and I've missed him so much yesterday and today, but I'm choosing to focus on the fact that I know this program is the right thing right now.  And not on how sad it makes me.

As with so many things, I got so worked up beforehand because of all the unknown and uncertainty.  But now that we've begun down the path, a lot of my concerns are already at rest because I can see where we're headed.  And it definitely looks like higher ground.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 87: Reassurance Needed!

I love being a mom.

Saturday night I was able to attend an amazing meeting for women, and for the first time ever, my Sweet P (on the left) got to come with me.  Every few minutes I would look over at her sitting by my side and tear up a bit at how fabulous it is to have her growing up and being a part of things with me.

Motherhood has been one of the most amazing experiences of my journey here on earth.

But, sometimes, I feel like I'm doing a really terrible job of it.

Some of you know, Baby B was a crazy easy baby.  Then right around 16-17 months he became just plain crazy.  A flip was switched and our sweet baby was transformed into a bit of a monster.  Sometimes we still see that sweet little guy, but the monstrous part seems to be getting worse.  He's getting violent and aggressive.

And he has become one of the most significant triggers for me in my struggles.

Not the best combination.

So, I took him to the pediatrician, thinking maybe a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome was in order.  However, he *can* have pretty good social skills and he's verbally advanced, so we've mostly ruled that out.  Although, a sensory processing disorder does seem quite likely.  Which is something I've suspected for a while, so it came as no surprise.

Because she witnessed his aggression in the form of him  knocking poor little Darling A around during our appointment, our doctor referred us to a sort of "daycare/preschool" facility that focuses on behavior modification.  Mainly through positive reinforcement.  But, the program is facilitated by specialists and therapists and the like, so it's actually covered by insurance as a mental health treatment.

I felt really strongly that this was the right decision for us at this time.  So, I began the process a couple of weeks ago.  Initially, excited at the prospect of helping him not only change his behavior, but also learn to take in the world in a way that allows him to be happy, rather than overwhelmed and stressed.  Plus, there's a weekly family therapy session that will help all of us know how to help him (and, I'm guessing/hoping) improve our overall family dynamics.

But, as his start date drew nearer, that optimism has been completely overshadowed by feelings of doubt and guilt.  Mostly guilt.

I keep thinking about all of the activities and moments he will miss out on.  He will still attend his regular preschool twice a week, but he will spend the majority each day at this behavior facility.

And it makes me sick with guilt.

I feel like a terrible mom.  Shipping him off because I can't handle him.  I keep thinking that it's ridiculous.  Aren't I supposed to be the one best suited to teach him and mold him and to help him grow and develop?  If only I were more patient/strong/happy/stable/etc., then he wouldn't have to do this.  

He'd be free to have play dates with his friends.  For me to tell stories to at nap time.  To have a silly April Fool's Day snack when the other kids get home from school tomorrow.

Because his start date is tomorrow (it was supposed to be today, but I pushed it back so he could have one final lunch play date with a bunch of his friends, and thankfully, he had so much fun).

And I've been fighting of tears and feelings of self-loathing all day.

I ran 6 miles this morning.

Twice as far as I should have.

As if I could run away from how much I hate that I am doing this to him.

All the while feeling like it really is the best thing right now.  And that it could be a life changing opportunity for him.   And maybe for our whole family.

And maybe an opportunity for me to be able to heal and recover a bit myself.  But, that brings with it its own bag of guilt, so we'll save that for another day...

I'm just so sad for him.  Not just about all of the things that he'll miss.  But because I keep picturing him there, wondering why he's there all day.  Every day.  Abandoned.  By the mom who is supposed to nurture him at every turn.

And I'm sad for me.  Because in between the fits and the anger and the frustration, he can be the sweetest sweetest child.  He'll give me huge bear hugs and non-stop kisses and tell me I look beautiful. And he says the funniest things.

And I'm going to miss him.

So, tell me that I'm not a terrible person.  That this is not a sign that I've given up on him.  That this really is a good thing.  The right thing.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day 86: Safety First

I'm going to have to keep this short because I sorely need a nap.

I've been feeling better from the mono.  Finally.

But now comes the challenge of learning to let life back in without over doing it.  If I get a nap every day, I think I can do that.

But, that's not really what this post is about.

What is it about?

Well, when I sat down to write it, I discovered a partially written post from a few weeks ago.  If just having a title counts as a partially written post, that is.

Okay, so I'm stalling.  Because I'm not sure how to articulate, or where exactly I want to go.

The unwritten post was about an epiphany I had a few weeks ago while reading the account of Abraham being asked to sacrifice his son Isaac, in the bible.  Not that I'm at all equating my experience with his, it got me thinking about sacrifice in my life.

I've been really angry these past few months as my health just continued to deteriorate.  I felt like I was giving up more and more of the things (hobbies, activities, responsibilities) that make me me.  Like I was completely losing (or sacrificing) my very self.

But, on the morning of the epiphany I realized that I wasn't losing myself at all.  In reality, those were the things keeping me from knowing myself.  Those were the things I did to try and gain approval and admiration of everyone.  Including my Father in Heaven.  Instead, I was so busy with them I allow myself the opportunity to feel my Father's love and approval for the me that I really am.

Does that make sense?

I don't know.  But, I'm moving on.

Now that I've let go of so many things, I'm finally seeing progress.  Well, I'm pretty sure my new medication is helping a ton, too.  But, whatever the source, progress is happening.

  • I don't care nearly as much (sometimes not at all) about what other people think.
  • I'm not so hard on myself.
  • I accept that I can't do it all
  • I accept that I can't do it all by myself
  • I accept that I can't do it all perfectly
  • I not only know that I need others, but I'm loving it
  • I have a couple friends that I trust fully and don't feel insecure with--meaning I can call on them for help and/or a listening ear, without feeling guilty that they'd rather be doing just about anything else and are only helping me because they are good people.
  • I nap almost every day, even though it means that sometimes my kids come home to a messy house and dinner is not amazing and sometimes even late.
  • I don't hate myself for all of my mistakes and shortcomings.
  • I know that my actions don't change my worth, for better or for worse
Those are probably the main points of progress.

And I'm proud of them.

The problem is, somewhere along the way, I developed some not so good habits when it comes to dealing with stress.  And stress is kind of a natural part of life.  And I'm kind of hypersensitive to it.

So, yesterday's therapy appointment was about creating a "First Aid Kit" to intervene when things start to get stressful, but before I get completely overwhelmed.  It's basically a container full of things to help me break the stress train of thought.  Like good quotes, an essential oil scent that always makes me feel better, songs I like, sudoku puzzles, or whatever else might get me back to a better state of mind.

I totally see the reason for this.  And it makes sense.  And I can see that it can help.

But, I'm still really angry about the fact that it's something I need.  I just feel really stupid about it.  There are a lot of reasons about this.  But, when I tried to explain it to HH last night, I don't think he really understood.

So, it's probably just because I'm still struggling with denial.

I've been known to spend excessive time with denial a few times over the years.

So, there you have it.

Super short post, right?

Nap time.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day 85: Safe and Sound

I had about 4 good days.  In a row.

It was magical.

Seriously can't explain how it felt.

Then yesterday hit like an express train.  It was a train wreck.  Baby B had just had a couple of off days in a row and yesterday put me way past my breaking point.  If I was a cursing woman, it would have sounded like a bunch of sailors were storming around my house.

As it was, I couldn't help but yelling a bit as HH and I drove to my therapy appointment.  Not necessarily at HH.  I just was so mad.

I have mixed feelings about how effective, or not that made our therapy appointment.  My therapist thought it was great timing.  At least I felt a little less stressed and angry when it was over.

HH and I came home and got the kids in bed and then just chilled with a movie.  I felt better.  Until I had a meltdown at bedtime, convinced that the next few days will be nightmares and I might not make it through.

Fortunately, HH just held me in bed until I fell asleep.  That always helps me feel safe and secure.

And I woke up this morning feeling a bit more optimistic about things.  A walk/jog (easing in slowly, even if it's tortuous) helped further that optimism.

Then, an interesting and helpful appointment with my psychiatrist.  We actually spent the vast majority of that appointment discussing Baby B, but that is part of a story that will most likely make its way into a future post all its own.  But, he also helped to reassure me that this new medication should help with the fallout from the stress of recent months that is most troubling to me lately.

I realize that last sentence was worded a little awkwardly.  I'm not changing it.

And then lunch with a friend who has been a lifesaver these past months, over and over again.

I'm going to pull through, folks.  I really think I will.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Day 84: These Posts Don't Write Themselves

I have sat down to write a post a few times since that last post.

But, I felt like I had nothing to write about.

Things here have been messy and ugly and I've been trying to pretend and force my way through it.  I have felt so confused, out of control, and helpless.  But, I'm so tired of explaining (and feeling like I'm complaining) to my caring friends and family.  So, I tried my hardest to keep it all under wraps.  That's a big part of why I haven't posted here either.  I'm just tired of being so messed up.

I think I mentioned that my new psychiatrist put me on a new medication.  And that I was feeling quite optimistic about it.  That optimism lasted about a day and then life got crazy and stressful and I couldn't ever get back on track.

And then I felt like my emotions spiraled completely out of control.  Last week, my therapist stopped me mid-appointment and asked, "Where are you (mood-wise) on a scale of 1-10?"  I said, "I can't really tell you."  He tried to clarify, "Usually, I can get a pretty good read on you from the moment you walk into my office.  I can see when you're doing pretty well, and I can tell when it's been a rough week.  But today, I'm having a very difficult time getting a read on you."  I nodded my head and repeated, "I can't really say myself.  I'm all over the place.  When I started driving here, I felt sick to my stomach because I didn't want to tell you some of the things that have been going on with me.  Then some good songs came on the radio and Darling A and I were rocking out and I was feeling great.  And now, I've shared with you all of those yucky things I didn't want to have to say, and I'm not feeling so great again."

And that kind of summed up my day.  Every day.  For a couple of weeks.

And I started to seriously wonder if I'm just on a slow train to Crazyville.  Which is not a pleasant subject to contemplate.

So, I've been scared, confused, angry, frustrated, and irritable.

Super fun for my family.

But, along the way I discovered (through help from the Holy Ghost) that my nurse practitioner had prescribed THREE medications and supplements that are actually known to increase manic episodes in people with bipolar.

That's really responsible medicine there, folks.

So, I went off of them.

And I think that may have been a big cause of the roller coaster ride.  But, it lasted a lot longer than I expected it to and I was afraid it was never going to end, hence the train ride concerns.  I even found myself wishing I could just go back to September.  Before my break down.  Before the hospital.  Before all of the interventions.

Because things were not great then, but at least I felt like my insanity was intact.  And I could have a good day here and there.  And I wasn't snapping at my family all the time.  Or hating myself.

But, I finally started to be able to work out again last week.  The mono seems to be improving bit by bit.  I can exercise and do some work around the house and as long as I get a nap in, I'm doing alright.  It is still a struggle to not feel like a lazy slob and freak out about getting out of shape, but it's a struggle that is (slowly) getting easier to fight.

I even had a small opportunity to help a friend out last Friday.  And it took me a couple of hours to make the connection, but that simple act of service really lifted my mood.  And I remembered how much serving used to really help me combat the depression.

Until I got sick mentally and physically and everyone said, "Stop.  You just need to take care of you."  Good advice, I know.  But, there is a reason we feel better when we help others.  Lots of reasons, really.  So, I need that too.

The good news is that my good mood has lasted since last Friday.  It even survived a truly horrendous morning today, full of ornery and misbehave children.  That hasn't happened in forever.  I'm a little nervous to be typing this, for fear that I will jinx it.

But, I'm really hoping (while trying to keep my expectations low) that this is a sign that all of that junk is out of my system and my new med is finally kicking in.

Whatever the cause, HH and I are just really grateful for today.  And yesterday.  And Saturday.  Good days had become like a distant memory.  Maybe that sounds a little melodramatic, but it really was beginning to feel like I'd never have a good day again.

So, I'm happy for this moment.  Regardless of what the next moment may bring.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Day 83: Let Me 'Splain

No, there is too much.  Let me sum up.  Buttercup is marry Humperdink in a little less than half an hour.  So, all we have to do is get in, break up the wedding, steal the princess, make our escape... after I  kill Count Rugen.

Oh, wait.  Wrong sum up.

Okay, so Sunday the kids had a recital.  I had documentary issues, so nothing here, by way of visual fun.  But Sweet P and Little M did great.  And we had a house full of friends and family to support them.  And it made me really happy and grateful.  For the kids' hours of practicing and the audience.  And my own hours of practice.

Just being honest.

Monday we had a sort of awesome Family Home Evening.  That happens about once a millennium.  So, this was exciting.  It was the lesson that was supposed to happen last week.  But, remember, I was at Urgent Care.  I'd had the kids read this article, after a discussion earlier regarding people who choose to leave the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, even after once having a testimony.  I wanted them to know how they can avoid this and maintain their testimonies of Jesus Christ.  So, I told them to read and star sections they liked and circle words and parts they didn't understand.  It was definitely a longer lesson than usual, but it went so well because the kids already knew what I was talking about and we had a really great discussion.

Tuesday--I can't really remember.  I'm pretty sure I took a couple naps while my mom took care of everything and everyone.  Oh, and I took a quick trip to Target pharmacy for a refill and to grab a couple essentials before the snow storm.

Wednesday was a snow day.  I'm so grateful this happened while Grandma was here.  It was so much fun for all of them.  I, was at a doctor's office.  And then the Target pharmacy for a new prescription.  Only they didn't have it on hand.  It would come in the next day.  But, the good news is the doctor is a new psychiatrist.  And he is the exact opposite of every other psychiatrist I've ever been to.  I had two questions I wanted answered.  He answered them both with far more thoroughness than I expected.  Or even hoped for.  Maybe this is a tad excessive, but he made me feel like I'm kind of a normal person.  A normal for for a person with mental illness.  And he provided a bit of hope.  Always appreciated.

Thursday--More naps.  And another trip to Target pharmacy.  Yeah.  For real.

Friday--Started with a trip to Target pharmacy.  Stay tuned for the rest.