Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Fresh Start

While part of me is sad that the summer is over, the other part acknowledges that this summer completely sucked and I am more than ready for a clean slate. Obviously I've made no headway on any "summer goals" but I continue to be hopeful that I'm returning to myself. I'm making plans! In my planner! The last week I planned out in my planner was from mid-June. Hooray for the "un-calendar" so that the pages aren't wasted. The shorter days became suddenly obvious this week, in the mornings and evenings. The passing of seasons still seems wondrous, if bittersweet.

My eating got completely out of hand the past few weeks, so I'm working on cleaning up my diet, and I've gotten back into working out (I really only skipped the week and a half during/after my trip). Sleeping is going less well. I'm usually able to fall asleep (with or without amb!en) but my sleep is fragmented---I keep drifting in and out of sleep and wake up later than usual and STILL exhausted. Its a known SSRI thing and may not go away. I'm trying to get in bed earlier so I have overall more sleep but its so inefficient!

B starts 1st grade next week. I'm worried a bit about this. He's been SO GREAT this summer, just so much more pleasant to be around. Having more down time and more physical activity is so good for him. He loves to read and write and do math in his head and listen to stories but he does all things while jumping all over the house and bouncing off the walls. The whole sit-still-pay-attention thing does not work for him right now. I don't know if it ever will. I was a perfect fit for traditional schooling so it never occurred to me before how limiting it can be.

L on the other hand has been challenging, a tiny whirling dervish of rage, that spits & hits & scratches & calls me names; "meany-head stupid mommy" has bruises). I'm so glad he is not starting KG this year, though I had initially lamented another year of daycare tuition. He's slowly dropping his nap and the evenings after he doesn't nap he transforms into a little monster until he eventually spits & hits & screams himself to sleep on the floor for a catnap.We are planning his birthday party---he'll be FIVE in a month. WHOA.

I made a list of posts I want to do: recent reads & one-liner reviews, September/fall goals, how things are easier these days with my kids. What else should I write about?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Crawling out...

Obviously I never did get around to blogging during our trip. I think I forgot to mention that, in addition to me being alone with the two boys for the week at my parents, my sister and BIL dropped their kids off and went on a vacation. So really there were FOUR kids, 3 6-year-olds and a 4 year old. So it was chaos. But also a good way to get out of my own head for a bit. On the plus side: we went to the park and splash pads, I organized "Olympics", I did a 1000 piece puzzle with my mom, I read some mediocre books, we played Uno and Scrabble Junior, I got lots of cuddles. I also broke up lots of fights, untangled my niece's thick and long hair several times, gave baths to everyone in an assembly line fashion, dispenses 1000 snacks, dealt with picky eating and tantrums and "forgetting" to flush the toilet (why!).

So when the kids were settled down to the antics of their favorite monkey, I had no desire to "connect" or communicate, I just wanted to be alone and recuperate before it started again.

I picked up the benzos before the trip but never took them. One, I didn't really need it---the ramp-up anxiety was pretty much gone by the day we left. But also, I didn't know how it would affect me and I felt uncomfortable potentially being knocked out or loopy when I was solely responsible for the kids. But they are there if I need them. I upped the dose of the P@xil from 10 to 20 mg on Monday and I felt extremely tired all day (and wired at night) for a few days. I saw the psychiatrist yesterday who told me to take it at night---so I skipped it this morning and omg its been the most productive day I've had in WEEKS if not MONTHS. I've worked through a big backlog of stuff---no big thinking projects, unfortunately, but stuff that I've been putting off like student evals, patient phone calls, prepping for a course I'm taking that starts next week, submitting reimbursements, sending off lab letters to referring docs, etc... Also made doctor appointments for the kids, rescheduled my therapy & dentist appointments, signed B up for aftercare, updated my budget for next month, and donated $ to B's school fundraising drive. And its only 3PM!

I also have been feeling flashes (short-lived, but definitely there) of what seems a lot like contentment. That general feeling of being OK with life in the moment that I haven't felt in several months. I felt it last night, snuggling with the kids on the couch after we all came home exhausted our first day back into camp/work/daycare routine. And this morning, walking in to work after a sweet goodbye from my boys.

It faded quickly, and I started to feel the usual panic about all I have to do and discomfort with the uncertain parts of life. But it was THERE. It gave me hope.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Stream of...something...

I switched to the new med this weekend and here we go again. Total ramped up anxiety, jittery, can't sleep, can't concentrate. I messaged my doctor asking if she could please prescribe something quick acting that I can use until this goes away because I really really just can't deal anymore. Except, of course, I have to deal. So I do. (but I can't)

Also my phone isn't working. Its my work phone, and I need it, so I need to figure it out (the actual PHONE part isn't working, I can't hear anyone on the phone unless I use the speaker which is...not ideal obviously). I called the work telecom support and they told me to take it to the store---and there are no appointments at said store until next week.

The boys and I are leaving in 2 days to visit my parents. G is getting a break (though he has a big project happening at work so will probably just work more while we're gone). It'll be a bit boring, but fine. I haven't spent time with my parents since they came for spring break, so its good that we'll have some time to catch up. I have to make sure my kindle is loaded with books. I may blog to pass the time. I need to finish season 7 of gilmore girls. So you know, to do list getting long.

On the other hand, I had a super depressing conversation with my mom yesterday. She is bored & having a hard time filling her time these days. It made me so sad, because she's pretty healthy and I wish she was enjoying this stage of life more. She takes care of the house and exercises every day, but that doesn't fill all the hours. I told her to take a class, volunteer, get a pet...but there are excuses for all of it. A lot of her friends have moved away to be closer to kids. I wonder if she is depressed. I need to work that out and then convince her to get help if she is. I need to call more.

My dad still works full time...another discussion we are going to have next week. My sister is pressuring him to quit to "spend time with the grandkids" and he said he would retire at the end of this year. But actually I'm scared he will wither away without work; he is still healthy and able, and has no real hobbies, and has plenty of vacation time for travel (plus my parents have traveled a LOT the past 20 years, I think they've gone everywhere they've wanted to go), so why give up the thing that gives you purpose in life? How much time could they spend with the grandkids, really? Even if they move closer to her/us, the kids are in school and activities. My sister and I each try to get down there once or twice a year, and they come up 2-3 times (but only once so far this year), which I think is pretty good given all of us have full time jobs and another side of the family to visit. 

Thinking about my parents and MIL (who has similar issues, though hers are added to by the stress of unemployment) just depresses the HELL out of me, but also makes me want to be proactive about planning for old age...not just financially but also building social support, interests outside of work, etc... I know its decades away for me, but I guess its currently on my radar because of spending time with the older generation.

On a positive note, I read a few good books lately: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (it was partly depressing and partly hopeful) and Eligible (just plain fun, I loved it and devoured it in 2 days). Also a YA futuristic fiction manuscript written by a woman in our neighborhood book group which needs to be published, it is so good and I need to read the second part ASAP. I'm currently reading "Brideshead Revisited" which came with great recommendations but I'm finding boring so far (5% in).

Anyways. Thoughts and feelings. I've got them. I'll share them when I can.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Another Friday

I left the PMD today with an rx for P@xil, more Ambi3n and a tetanus booster. Aaah, primary care!
She thinks the insomnia from the c3lexa will not get better, and in fact, will get worse with increased dose; she finds P@xil to be more sedating and less likely to cause insomnia. I'm game. I'll start it this weekend and see how it goes. The plan is to increase from 10 mg to 20 mg within the next month and then go back to my scheduled psych appointment.

The thought of a 5- or 10-year plan was really overwhelming for me right now, so I started small. I tried to picture the perfect day, or week, or weekend. My ideal evening involves less TV/internet/laying in bed reading and more going out and doing stuff, or just trying something new once in a while (while still allowing time to decompress/chill out). More socialization, less isolation (both at home and at work). Also deliberate time to plan and reflect, rather than just going from one thing to the next and wondering where the day/week/month went.

I'm taken by the idea of giving back to our community with time, in addition to the $ we already give. If we could make it a family activity, even better. Fostering animals for the shelter down the road? (bonus: kittens!) I could get more involved in our school's friends-of group, but it seems really political and extrovert-friendly---with schmoozing and money raising and planning events and manning booths and "partnering" with businesses. Those are not my strong suit. f they need someone to stuff envelopes or keep accounts or something, I'm in, though.

Some of this involves learning (or re-learning) what I actually find "fun". We usually spend our weekends trying to do things to entertain and exhaust the kids, with little regard to what we (or lets face it, I) actually enjoy. Other than my gym classes (which ARE fun for me), the rest of our weekends are fun in an other-focused "oh, I enjoy seeing the kids enjoy themselves" way. On rare occasions I may go out with friends, or we'll have a monthly-ish date night, but those evenings are usually focused on eating/drinking, maybe talking. Ideas I'm mulling over: taking a dance class, G & I taking some sort of class (not dance!) together---cooking? wine tasting?, learning a new hobby---knitting sounds relaxing, doing more relaxing activities like games/puzzles as a couple or family.

Its soothing to think about things, and realize I can make them happen. They are very small things, but small steps begin the journey.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Food for Thought

I saw the therapist again, who thought maybe the apathy was worsened by the traz@done I'm taking for sleep, so I decided not to take it anymore and see how it goes (spoiler: I won't sleep and will be exhausted). She also thought I should be seeing some effect from the SSRI by now, and its probably a good idea to switch. I'm going to the PCP tomorrow so I'll get her opinion too.

I almost canceled the session, because I wasn't sure what to talk about. I just feel so blah. The first half of the session was her asking questions and me sighing, saying "I don't know", and "I don't really care". She looked at me quizzically, because I guess I didn't seem like myself, and asked how long I'd been feeling like this and so we went through the timeline of events, trying to figure out what might have triggered my mood shift this spring. She asked about possible medical stuff and traumatic experiences---nope. Then she asked about any "anniversaries, good or bad" and again, nope, except for turning 40.

"And how did you feel about that milestone?"

Well....  not that great, actually.

And we talked about that. About how starting this new decade also meant closing the door on a decade of tremendous growth and accomplishment, both personally and professionally. What is in store for the future? I don't know. I just can't get excited about it. I still feel wistful about the third child we'll never have. My kids are entering a new phase---which is AWESOME in so many ways---but I feel unready, and unsure of how to best use the space that's opened up in my life.

She thought maybe that was it. That I needed to figure out my purpose for the next 5-10 years, to give me something to strive for and anticipate rather than seeing the future as a string of unending days of the same struggles: work, difficult kids, marital troubles, loneliness.

I need to set aside some time to think about this, because I have no idea.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


So I'm about 4 weeks into the SSRI and I feel...the same. The same constant anxiety and sadness, the difficulty breathing  because of the weight on my chest, the not caring about anything because what does it matter and what's the point anyways? For a while it was a relief, the not caring, but now I'm trying desperately to care. To get excited, or hopeful, or even curious about the outcome. To want more out of the day then simply making it through.

I was reading over old posts and I was struck by how many many things I wanted and strived for in my life. I miss the thrill of embarking on a new project and the satisfaction of seeing it through. I miss being excited about the possibilities held in a day, a weekend, a season. I feel so detached from everything these days. This weekend was, objectively, quite nice. But I didn't enjoy it at all. I know I am missing so much....and yet knowing this doesn't change how I feel and makes me even more sad and anxious!

I have an appointment with the therapist tomorrow and with the PMD to follow up on Friday. I don't know if I should increase the dose of the c3lexa, switch to another SSRI, switch classes of anti-depressants...I was really hoping this little pill was the answer but I guess I've got a longer road ahead of me.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Fits and Starts

I got bored of life-blogging my mental health crisis so I had to step away for a while. I think I'm starting to feel a little better. Not great, not happy, but not depressed anymore. Still anxious, which validates the psychiatrist's statement that low doses of SSRI are great for depression but don't touch the anxiety very well. The tr@zadone does help me sleep a little better, without too much of a hang-over effect. I feel groggy, yes, but you know what else makes me feel groggy? Yup, not sleeping.

My MIL is here, its day 10/22. Its going OK. Some routine annoyances, generally related to her over-indulging the kids with treats and screen time. But I think we've hit some kind of breakthrough in our relationship, which is freaking me out a bit and will take a while to process.

See, I've hated her for years. Sincerely hated her. And for good reason---she's done some awful shit in the past. I've completely demonized her to the point where even thinking about her was causing me major anxiety, not to mention gearing up for her visits and enduring them. It was always an antagonistic relationship, and while I was civil, I was never warm and I never tried to have an actual relationship with her.

Right before she came this time, G told me she'd been having some issues with panic attacks, mostly due to financial worries (no details, but we are going to need to help her out). She is considering selling the house, is looking aggressively for jobs (she's been out of work for a couple of years, but has been steadily job-hunting, its just hard for a 60+-year old to find a job), and is also the primary care-giver for her mother, who has moderate dementia.  The day she came, I was sitting with her in the living room and she opened up to me about all this.

Maybe it was because I feeling so fragile myself (this was still during the SSRI-initiation horror phase) but I really felt for her. I've always "felt bad" for her---I felt pity on this poor, pathetic, hateful old lady who seemed like she would never be happy. This time, though, I actually felt empathy and compassion. I used to think "well, she should have planned better, she should've saved more when she was working, its her own fault she is terrible with money and now WE have to deal with it?" But I'm realizing that it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that she "should've" done this and "could've" done that. She did what she did and she did what she could; it wasn't like she had a high-paying professional career, she got whatever admin type jobs she could with her high school degree, and she saved what she could and then spent down the savings when she couldn't find work because the bills keep coming.

I don't even know who I am anymore! She annoys me on a daily basis, don't get me wrong; we are very different and she's got some f-ed up ways of thinking about things and the superstition and religion drives me batty. But...I don't hate her. I've been helping her cook, and going on outings with her on the weekend with the kids and talking to her. I'm not like "opening up" to her or anything, I am VERY private, even with my family (which is one reason I have this space, because if I don't get it out I will burst!) But we talk a bit about the kids, and about cooking and gardening and Hillary Clinton (she's a fan).

I'm sure there is still a lot of conflict in our future, I don't see that every going away, but its sort of weirdly nice to not have to expend my energy on hating her. I hope it lasts.