Posts Tagged ‘deep thoughts’

Sunshiny Days

Friday, September 7th, 2012

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I stopped taking my Zoloft back in June simply because I ran out. I kept meaning to make a follow up appointment to talk to my doctor about a refill, but as each day went by I felt better and warmer and happier and decided it was as good a time as any to stop. It wasn’t necessarily a smart, well thought out, medically advised decision. There was just so much going on – so many adventures, so many trips, so much SUNSHINE – that I forgot to make the appointment and before I knew it I was too busy to feel sad and frustrated and angry all the time.

It wasn’t an act of God or a miracle that I felt better. My anxiety reached an all-time high when Caroline was about 15 months old, which was exactly when we began weaning. A few people reached out to tell me they had experienced the same crazy hormone fluctuations and depression when they had stopped breastfeeding. It turns out it’s an actual thing, although not something that’s extremely well known.

The Zoloft got me through weaning and over that hormonal bump that made me feel like I was losing my mind. It was like a key and a sliver of light under the door I was banging my head against, trying to figure out how to escape my frustration.

Besides the medication, I think the light (sunshine, brightness, longer days) made a huge difference. I used to roll my eyes at people who claimed Seasonal Affective Disorder with their sunlamps and their dread of winter. How can that be a real thing?

My apologies to everyone who I ever secretly thought was making it up, since there is no doubt in my mind that the short dark days played a huge part in my anxiety.

Maybe it’s an actual vitamin D deficiency or maybe it’s a feeling-the-sunshine-on-my-skin-makes-me-happy deficiency, but when the days warm up and we spend more time outside I am always better. A better mom, a better wife, a better person. The lightness makes me lighter.

With Labor Day weekend behind us the evenings getting shorter by the day and I’m starting to worry a little bit. September and October are beautiful, fun-filled months for us in New England. There’s still plenty of time to spend outside, plenty of apples to be picked, the perfect pumpkins to find for jack-o-lanterns, hay mazes to explore.

But beyond that, there’s winter. Cold. Dark. The stress of the holidays. Although December might be my very favorite month now (Caroline’s birthday AND Christmas!) there’s no doubt trying to split up family time and E’s crazy work schedule and weather-related delays and cancellations and ruined travel plans can crush my festive spirit pretty quickly. I’m feeling a little stressed just thinking about it. And the heating bill. And the snow. And now my eye is twitching.

I’m thinking I should probably go ahead and make an appointment now to talk to my doctor, rather than waiting until I get overwhelmed and the thought of adding one more thing to my plate makes me want to just curl up under the covers and cry. I don’t necessarily want to restart the Zoloft (or anything else) now. I’d like to be prescription free when we start trying for baby #3 if possible, although I’m also a little worried pregnancy could do what weaning did and things might get out of control again quickly. But I think it’s a good door to have open.

So for now I’m floating through the end of summer, mindful of what’s coming but not letting it overshadow these beautiful days. This weekend is the best weekend of the year around here (Greek Festival and Italian Food Festival within walking distance, town fair in our old town) and my biggest problem is we have too many friends to hang out with. It’s a pleasant kind of busy-ness, rather than the overwhelming kind. Let’s hope I can recognize the difference if and when it comes and know enough to ask for help.

I feel like this cat knows everything I wish I did about life.

writing on Writing

Monday, August 13th, 2012

This is not another BlogHer recap post, so don’t run away. It is, sort of, a reaction to BlogHer and the many many BlogHer recap posts that have been written. It’s also about what I learned at BlogHer, what I didn’t learn at BlogHer and what I suspect I will never learn no matter how many BlogHers I attend.

You cannot teach someone to be talented. Talent is something you either have or you don’t have, like a super fast metabolism or a crazy drunk grandmother. You’re either someone who can eat cheeseburgers and ice cream and pop all day and still fit in your high school jeans or more likely you aren’t. One may become thin by exercising and watching what one eats and skipping dessert and working hard but it’s never the same as just having it. Talent is like that. You can foster a love of something and learn the technical aspects and search out things that inspire you and work your ass off – but you will always be at a disadvantage to those who were born with a natural skill.

I do not have a talent for writing. I enjoy writing. I like to think I am pretty good at writing. I once had a creative writing teacher read my essay out loud in class. But that was in 2003 and I’m still bringing it up now so obviously the accolades are few and far between. I have no illusions that I am going to wake up one morning and sit down at my typewriter and pound out the next great American novel. At best I might Instagram a photo of myself sitting in front of my dad’s old typewriter making duck lips and holding a gin & tonic.

My blog isn’t poetry, it isn’t how-to, it isn’t deep thoughts, it isn’t photo essays, it isn’t brilliance. It’s in a no-mans land, a junkyard, an oasis of random – except that there are hundreds of other bloggers here with me. It’s the world’s most crowded deserted island and I feel like we spend half our time sharing coconuts and the other half fighting over who gets to sleep in the cool kid’s hut. We’re all struggling to tell our stories and capture a snapshot of our lives with the words we do know, limited as they may be, so people will stand up with us and say “I share this experience” or “Wow!” or even just “Cool story, bro”. Maybe we’re all crazy narcissists for thinking our lives are worth documenting – but does it make it better if we realize that’s what we are? If I’m willing to acknowledge that I have reached maximum saturation among people who like red headed children, occasional recipes and mediocre photography do I win an award of some kind? If I admit I am not that good do I get to keep writing?

Maybe these words right here are some of the most unnecessary ever posted on the internet. Since the fact that everyone is writing about writing has already been written, why bother to publish my thoughts at all? Why am I asking so many questions I have no intention of answering? Why is the rum gone?

In the end, the thing I love about blogging is my space gets to be mine. I am the captain of my blogging destiny, or at least the only one with the login to my WordPress dashboard. I don’t have to be the greatest. I’m not competing for Babble’s list of the Top 10 Bloggers Whose Posts You Think Are Super Deep But You’re Not Really Sure Because Your Eyes Cross Half Way Through or even just Top 10 Mom Bloggers As Chosen By Their Friends Who Also Work Here. The rules for blogging are not actual rules and there are no blog police who can shut you down for not being good enough.  There is more than enough room on the internet for everyone.

Let’s be friends.

evan and caroline friends

Smack Judgement

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

The internet, from Facebook to Instagram, is full of scathing reports of parents behaving badly in public. From shouting at their kids in Walmart to spanking them in the bathroom stall at Disney world, we love to call out others for their mistakes. We can make them sound like monsters, terrible adults taking preying on the defenseless, unable to control their emotions and anger. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT, we shout into the series of tubes, SO SHOCKING.

Today, I am sure someone is gleefully reporting on the mother they saw hit her three year old at the zoo. AWFUL.

That mother was me. I smacked Evan, right out in the open for God and the Italian ice girl and the wrinkled, judging eyes of the elephants to see.  He staggered sideways, his eyes filling with tears as I picked him up and held him while casting furtive glaces around to see if anyone was calling Child Protective Services. No one went that far, but the looks I got made my scalp prickle.

The whole thing was an accident, but even if you suspected that you have already started judging me. I was explaining elephants to Caroline, crouched slightly to point out their ears and tusks and big feet at a level she could understand both physically and developmentally. Evan was tired of the elephants – “Mommy, don’t wanna see the elephants! Wanna see the tortoises, fighting tortoises Mommy, this way!” (To lighten the tone of this post, I’ll tell you the tortoises weren’t fighting but since that’s what Evan called the thing they were doing – and doing loudly – I didn’t correct him.) In his excitement, Evan grabbed my leg and yanked, twisting me off balance. As I tipped toward the pavement I flung my arms out involuntarily and one of them connected with the side of his body. It hurt me more than it hurt him, truly. He was surprised and shocked but not actually injured. I swallowed my quick flash of adrenaline and hugged him as tight as I could, murmuring apologies and looking for bruises.

But if you had also been looking at the elephant’s ears and tusk and big feet you would have turned when you heard the unmistakable sound of flesh hitting flesh followed by a crying child. You would have seen a mother looking guilty and ashamed and a little boy saying “I sorry Mommy! Please don’t hit me!” You would have judged and condemned. You might have tweeted or taken a picture of us as we walked away to put on Instagram. You might have shared what you had seen with your message board. I might have done the same, before I was on the other end.

We are reminded all the time not to judge other people’s choices. “You don’t know what they’re going through” we chant, “You don’t know their circumstances. Do what is right for your family.” But we make exceptions for the Really Bad Things. We know we are better than Those People and Those Choices and no matter what they say there is No Excuse. And sometimes that is true. I’m not saying you should doubt your instincts if you see a child being harmed or in danger. But I am saying things are not always what they look like, even when you see them with your own eyes, and maybe a private yet public social media shaming shouldn’t be your first reaction.

Much Better

Friday, April 13th, 2012

My blog has a serious case of whiplash this week, with the insane direction changing – epic party with professional photos! sponsored post! deep feelings! – but my LIFE feels like it has a serious case of whiplash recently so it makes sense. To me, anyways. I probably owe you some extra strength Motrin and a glass of wine.

It’s been a while now since I decided leaving supportive comments on blog posts about depression and anxiety was nice and all, but wasn’t really the same as doing something about my own anxiety. Then I did something, and IMMEDIATELY felt better. So immediately better, in fact, that I started to doubt the medication had anything to do with my feelings and maybe I was placebo-ing myself into believing all my brain-crazy was fixed. Which made me feel even crazier, so then I felt like the medication wasn’t helping AT ALL. Good times!

My doctor made me schedule a follow up when she wrote my first prescription, and when I went back in I tried to explain my worries. She told me I was probably right about BOTH things – Zoloft doesn’t usually work quite so fast, but it could be helping enough that I had noticed, but it probably wasn’t a good idea to stop, but we could always switch to something else if I wanted. We decided since I was almost done breastfeeding we would try a slightly higher dose of Zoloft and I could come back in either when I felt I needed a change or I ran out of pills.

And then I sort of…forgot about it. Life kept happening and I kept dealing with it, only with less screaming and fewer moments where I felt like I was the worst mother in the world. Caroline weaned (which I think had a LOT to do with reaching my absolute worst point). I got a lot more sleep. I managed to go on vacation and truly enjoy myself (besides one teeny tiny panic attack) and came back feeling like a totally new person. And then yesterday, despite a really challenging day with Evan (man, 3 year olds have a LOT of emotions), I got to 7 pm without even once considering getting in my car and driving away. I joked with E about doing shots after bedtime but didn’t really mean it. And after both kids fell asleep I snuck into their rooms to kiss them one more time because I missed them.

My friend Brandy wrote about her experience with PPD this week and although my experience isn’t exactly the same, the way she writes – so straight forward and matter of fact – REALLY resonated with me. Because even as I was reacting in totally irrational ways I could SEE myself being totally irrational and recognized it wasn’t normal. I just couldn’t STOP it. Now I feel less overwhelmed by all the things I haven’t done and more like I am CHOOSING not to bother with those dishes in the sink. But now it’s because I’m too busy playing trains or having tea parties, instead of because I feel like nothing matters. It’s much, much better.

30

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Funny, I don’t feel any more ancient than I did yesterday even though I’m officially now at an age kids, teenagers and college students alike would all agree might as well be a bazillion. Hey kids, let me tell you about the time I walked to school barefoot in the snow uphill both ways! While fighting off dinosaurs! With a stick! Now get off my lawn!

My big plans for the day include Stroller Strides, Target, writing a blog post and not cooking dinner – so, basically, a regular Tuesday. But no one’s allowed to complain I didn’t make dinner, so that will be special.

I have a bad habit of starting in on the “It’s for my birthday!” excuse way too early so I don’t actually get anything special ON my birthday. Like that ring E bought me on vacation or the day-trip to the lighthouse we bought at the charity auction or the laser hair removal I bought myself (and am obscenely excited about). “It can be my 30th birthday present!” sounded SO GOOD at the time but now I won’t be getting any real presents and I’m a little sad. Because even though I’m a bazillion I still act like a spoiled 10 year old on my birthday. I guess my real gift is that E has put up with me for the last 10 years.

I was trying to find pictures of my last “big” birthday – my 21st – because it was the first one E and I celebrated as a couple. He rented a limo and took my best friend (the same best friend who was just here for Little Evan’s birthday!) and I out to dinner and to a club where we drank too much and danced and I fell down the stairs and injured myself pretty badly. It was everything a 21st birthday should be (I still can’t drink vanilla vodka)…but I have no pictures. It wasn’t the healthiest or most stable time in my life and I threw out most of the photos because I hated looking at them. I was so very hard on myself at that age. I wish I could go back and give that poor sad, hungry girl a hug and say “It’s ok! You’re beautiful! You’re allowed to be happy!” But that’s the problem with hindsight – I know my 21 year old self wouldn’t have listened. I needed practically every day of my 20’s to learn to give myself a break.

But I did learn and thank GOD because perfection in motherhood is impossible and the me that could stare at the pores on my nose for an hour could NOT handle kids. And I couldn’t even imagine my life now without them. I hate this kind of statement enormous amounts coming out of almost anyone else’s mouth but truly, I am so so blessed.

I was going to make a list of stuff I’ve done in the last 30 years and stuff I want to do in the next 30, but all I really want to do is hang out with the two little humans I grew inside my body and watch them grow up. Any maybe have some wine.

Happy birthday to me!