Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Duct Tape Parenting Method.

Hell does not involve fiery flames of doom, licking the souls of the damned. No fire. No scorching heat or downtrodden sinners. There is no Satan with his pitchfork(although if there was, he could throw a couple of hot dogs on that fork and get some dinner started). But no. Dante was wrong, wrong, WRONG.

Hell is yet another rainy day and three high energy children stuck inside the house. Again. And I am here to entertain them. That is my purpose in this life, apparently. They wait for me to don the jester’s hat, the striped one with the little bells, and dance a jig for them. Or maybe they’re waiting for me to clone, right there in the kitchen, so one of me can make dinner (since the sweaty guy with the pitchfork isn’t getting around to it), one can feed the baby and one can play “tag” and chase the other two around the room. Actually, now that I think about it, that would be a good trick. Meanwhile, the real me could slip away with a good book and a glass of wine, or maybe take a nap. Ahh. My once torrid fantasies about steamy sex in the rain with strong, muscular men have been reduced to this. Fantasies that involve bed, yes, but no illicit sex or cabana boys. Just a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. Hmmm...could you imagine? A nap? Sleeping in the daytime? Oh. Yeah. I’m really being naughty now.

Anyway...Ironically, all three of the kids are actually asleep right now. Granted, it is after 10:00pm, but I could be sleeping. But I’m not. I have a few minutes of peace and quiet and I’m going to take advantage of it. Even if I can’t stop yawning. Oh, just typing that made me yawn again. Weird. And actually, two of the three kids are asleep in my bed so there really isn’t all that much room for me, since they tend to sleep sideways and upside down. Yawn. Again. Argh. I used to be such a night owl. 10:00 pm used to be early. The night was just beginning. But this whole parenthood thing had made a mess of my schedule. After nearly six years of it, you’d think I’d have something figured out by now. I know people out there who claim to have real children, yet, have all this free time and they have time for “date” night and dinner in real restaurants. Their “kids” are obediently in their own beds (where they stay, all night) by 8:00pm and they take naps when they’re told and when they’re in trouble (which is rare, after all) they respectfully do their time-out, without a peep or a protest. They eat their organic vegetables and they never, ever watch tv.

I messed up somewhere along the way. I can’t even get the bedtime thing right. And time-out? Really? Oh, how I try. I try and try. And it undoubtedly becomes a one on one wrestling match. I walk my eldest to the time-out chair and sit him down. He stands up. I sit him down. He stands up. Rinse and repeat. And repeat and repeat. Do I use duct tape? Is that allowed? I take my daughter to time-out. She jumps off and giggles. Then jumps back on. Jumps off. Jumps on. Giggle, giggle. Isn’t time-out fun? Giggle. Jump. Maybe the third try is the charm. My one year old will be the organic veggie-eating-whale-saving-homeless-feeding-saint. That’s what I’m
banking on, anyway.

I think maybe I need a visit from the Super Nanny or Nanny 911 or whatever those Help!-I’m-a-bad-parent tv shows are. I’ve never actually seen any of them, but my mom insists they’d be helpful to watch. I’m not sure what she means by that...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Growing up

Yesterday was my son’s first birthday. I had a little party for him; mostly family and a few close friends. Thankfully, it was a small gathering because I was in no mood to entertain. I didn’t even get the invitations out on time. I printed them, but never sent them, so I had to call to invite people. Because of the short notice, many couldn’t come and quite honestly, I was relieved. I just couldn’t think straight and my organization skills were...well, even less organized than usual. I’d like to say it was controlled chaos but there was nothing controlled about it. I flew around the house that morning, trying to clean and get things done. I still had to finish the cake, pick up the dog poop in the backyard, clean the upstairs bathroom...the list went on and on and on. I ended up promising my husband sex if he’d clean the backyard for me. One job down. I finished the cake. Cleaned the kitchen. Vacuumed. The bathroom never saw the scrubbing bubbles, so I blocked the top of the stairs with the child gate and closed all the upstairs curtains so it would be dark and as inhospitable as I could make it, to deter anyone from feeling the need to pee upstairs. And besides, I think the people that go out of their way to use the upstairs bathroom are just being nosy and want to look in the bedrooms... at least that’s what I do when I’m at other people’s homes. Ahem. Anyway. Party. People came, ate cheese and crackers, opened presents, sang happy birthday, ate cake and ice cream and then toddled on home. And the birthday boy only cried a little. And I only cried when no one was looking. One. One year old. Already. Since I do not plan on having anymore kids, this milestone was a little sad. He’s no longer a baby and those pudgy little legs are gaining more and more balance; before long, he will be racing across the carpet, keeping up with brother and sister. That sweet baby babble is starting to be more and more intentional; before long, he will be bossing me around like the other two. He’s growing up
so, so fast.

But for now, he’s still my baby. My soft and squishy boy, who puts his head on my shoulder when he’s tired and for whom only mommy will do when he’s ready to sleep. Right now, I’m still his favorite person and I’m going to savor that while I still can. Sigh.

I’m a bit down today, actually and I’m not sure why. Part of the whole depression thing, I reckon. I know I can’t expect the drugs to immediately start pumping their magic into my brain, but it’s hard to tell if there is any improvement. My mom claims there is. I no longer sound like I’m “at death’s door” when I call her and I “look better”. Which isn’t saying a lot, I wouldn’t think. I’m still losing weight. I’m down to 104 pounds and I don’t think I’ve ever weighed that little. I was thinking about that, wondering why I wasn’t eating, because it’s hardly a conscious decision. I just don’t. I make food for the kids, make sure they get all their food groups (fruit snacks count, right?) at meals, but I never make anything for me. I just don’t have any kind of appetite and when I do eat, I tend to get sick to my stomach quickly. I think a lot of it is the effort. I just don’t want to put out the effort to eat. It sounds like so much work that I just don’t bother with it. But I need to start. I saw a recent picture of myself in my swimming suit and I look awful. I hate how the bones in my chest protrude. I don’t know what that one is called...your sternum? Hmmm. Not sure. Whatever it is, it’s ghastly when you can see it through the skin like that. I look like Kate Moss from the neck down. The neck up? Yeah...not so much. I need some doughnuts or something. Coke. Snickers bars. Ice Cream. Mmmm. Ice cream.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Financial Chaos

My husband and I have a strange relationship with my depression. We don’t speak of it. Ever. It’s like it doesn’t exist. Granted, I think he misses a lot of it, being the workaholic he is. And maybe that’s for the best. I don’t know how to talk about it, either. He knows that I’m on medication and have been since before I met him, but I don’t think he completely grasps the implications of the depression. Obviously, the effects are hard to hide. Especially lately, I’ve been in the throes of one of the worst episodes I’ve ever had and that’s hard to ignore. But he still manages to sidestep it; the house is filthy but he pretends not to notice. I’ve fallen way behind on laundry and he never has clean clothes, so he’s taken to throwing a few loads in. When I say I can’t do it any longer, he laughs and says “sure you can”, thinking that I’m kidding. But the most obvious consequence of my lapse of reason has been our financial state.

That’s impossible to ignore.

For several months, I’ve managed to forget everything that I was supposed to do. I’ve lost important paperwork, I never sent in our car registrations, I’ve just been writing checks without writing them down in either our personal account or the business account. I honestly have no idea just how late we are on a lot of our bills. I mean, obviously, we’re late because the phone won’t stop ringing, but since I don’t answer it, I’m not sure. Since we still have a phone, I assume that the phone bill is relatively current. Although they did come to shut our water off the other day and I had to run to town hall and make a payment to keep it on. Being self employed, we have numerous tax bills, state included. We recently got a lien notice because we haven’t paid. I called, confused, because I had forgot we even owed anything. They said they had sent coupons and I vehemently denied ever receiving them. Then a few days ago I was looking through my “filing” (if you can call what I do “filing”.) cabinet and lo an behold, there before me in a huge brown package, still sealed, were the coupons that were sent about 5 months ago. We have another tax issue that I also know is my fault, I know I just never did it, and I’m so ashamed to admit it to my husband. I just need to fix it somehow. I’ve made such a mess of the checking accounts that now they’re both overdrawn. Not only did I not write anything down but the addition was wrong where I did try and figure it. Going over them last night with my husband was excruciating. I know he was frustrated and upset, but he never said anything to me, I could see it in the way he acted. That’s so much worse than if he’d just talk to me about it. As it stands, I think he just thinks I’m stupid.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hanging by a thread

I have so much to do today that I’m paralyzed. I can’t think. I don’t even know where to start. So I sit here, and do nothing.

Yesterday was kind of a bad day. I was nauseous most of the day and I just didn’t have any energy. I couldn’t stop yawning. I don’t know if the latter is a symptom of the drug or a symptom of the illness. I was also a bit lightheaded for most the day. Driving was really difficult, mainly because I still can’t concentrate; I kept having to remind myself that I was driving. “Pay attention! You’re in a car! Driving!” but also because my vision Somehow things seemed farther away and a bit tunnel-like. Like looking through a fish-eye lense. I assume that
had something to do with the drug and the whole “detached” feeling I’ve kind of been having.

I woke up this morning, the hysteria bubbling just under the surface. I lost my temper immediately at D, my two year old daughter who wouldn’t stop crying. Some days I can’t take it. She woke up too early, thanks to N, her five year old brother. Since I’m out of diapers (how did I run out of diapers???) I asked her to get some panties so I could change her, and instead she laid on the stairs and cried because she wanted a diaper. Then she cried because she wanted cinnamon toast after I had already told her I didn’t have any bread (Out of bread, too???). N got mouthy, and makes these faces at me that just make me want to haul off and smack him. I put him in time-out instead. Rather calmly, I thought. The kids seem to have radar and know when I’m hanging on by a thread; they immediately start to gnaw on it.

One thing I’ve noticed (am I noticing things now, because the drug combo is kicking in, or am I naturally cycling out?) that the house is out of a lot of essential things. I usually don’t let it get this far. Diapers! How can I run out of diapers? I’ve been in this fog and haven’t been paying attention to the things I should have been. Which makes me nervous and quite honestly makes me want to go back up those stairs and crawl into bed. Hovering in the corners of my mind,trying to break in, are the towering piles of neglected things that I am going to have to deal with.

And I’m not ready. I am so not ready. God, I can feel the panic in my chest, trying to surface. It's hard to breath.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wellbutrin and Lexapro; Taken together?

I have been on an antidepressant of one kind or another for about 10 years. For the last 5 or so, I’ve been on Wellbutrin 150XL, which seemed to be adequate. I’d have...moments, but all in all it seemed like it was effective. And as my doctor at the time said, it has minimum sexual side effects. Now that I’m married with three kids (themselves, in fact, sexual side effects...get it? Huh, huh? ) sexual side effects are the least of my worries. While I know I’d been having problems... inability to concentrate, to think, to organize, even driving was becoming a struggle. I just couldn’t keep my mind on anything. But I just kind of pushed it aside. You kind of go on automatic pilot sometimes, just getting through the day. You get used to living in the gray, without even realizing that’s what you’re doing. It just becomes part of who you are; the depression, the anxiety, the irritability. I stopped playing with my kids and got mad at them for little, petty things that weren’t worth the anger. I stopped opening the mail and writing down debits from my checking account. I was just existing, and barely. I lived for bedtime, anxiously
awaiting the time I could crawl under the covers and not think about anything, or anyone for a few blissful hours.

The turning point came one night a few weeks ago. My husband was at a meeting and I had my two oldest in bed (they currently share a room) and I had taken the baby to bed with me, trying to get him to sleep. A thunder storm passed through and set my two oldest kids screaming and crying. And I lost it. They woke up the baby and the house went from silent to hysterics in 30 seconds. All four of us were crying. They came into my bedroom and I was out of control, screaming at them, crying and shaking the bed like a madwoman. And then I saw the cowering on the bed, with fear in their eyes and something snapped. I thought, “My God! What am I doing to my children?” I made a doctor appointment the next day.

While I know that there are people, despite the medical evidence, certain members of my family included, believe that depression is not a real illness. That you can just “shake it off” or “snap out of it.” That is so not true. There is a difference in having a bad day or being in a bad mood. Yes, those things will pass and maybe you can “snap out of it”. Depression is a different animal. It drains every ounce of life from your body so that you become a shell of who you were. Even talking becomes difficult. It’s too hard to find the right words, they just don’t connect in your
brain. It takes too much effort. You don’t want to do anything. You become so convinced of your utter uselessness that waking up gets harder and harder. I didn’t care what I wore...and I know that sounds like a petty thing, but in my case, that’s big. I love clothes and make up and jewelry and shoes. (!) I’m a girly girl. I don’t even own a pair of sweats. I don’t leave my house without make up and doing my hair. And suddenly, I'm leaving the house without showering.

I don’t know what triggers it, these...episodes. In my case, we are having severe financial problems, so perhaps that was a trigger. Perhaps it was a coincidence.

But put me on Lexapro, to be taken with the Wellbutrin and Valium, as needed. I was worried about the double dose, but it was explained to me that they work on different parts of the brain. Lexapro is a SSRI and according to the website :

“Serotonin is released from one nerve cell and passed to the next. In the process, some of the serotonin released is reabsorbed by the first nerve cell SSRIs block the reabsorption of serotonin into the first nerve cell. It is this blocking action that causes an increased amount of serotonin to become available at the next nerve cell. This is how SSRIs affect the balance of serotonin in the brain.”

Wellbutrin, or buproprion, works by affecting two chemicals in the brain that are believed to help regulate your mood which are dopamine and norepinephrine.

I’ve been on it for a week now. The first few days I was extremely sick to my stomach and had a faint headache. I also felt a little lightheaded. Now, the physical side effects seem to have pretty much passed. I’m still waiting on the mental improvements.

A cool animation on how depression affects the brain:

From the Mayo Clinic, a comprehensive list of symptoms:

Symptoms of depression include:

Loss of interest in normal daily activities
Feeling sad or down
Feeling hopeless
Crying spells for no apparent reason
Problems sleeping
Trouble focusing or concentrating
Difficulty making decisions
Unintentional weight gain or loss
Being easily annoyed
Feeling fatigued or weak
Feeling worthless
Loss of interest in sex
Thoughts of suicide or suicidal behavior
Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

Depression Test

A good link to a Depression Self Dianosis Test. There's some good information on there.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Crying Over Spilt Milk

Ok, first post. I’m starting this for many reasons. Mainly selfish ones, obviously, but also on theoff chance that something I’ve learned the hard way might make something a bit easier forsomeone else. There’s also the fact that my doctor recommended I speak to a counselor as part of the management plan for my major depressive disorder. And I’m not a talker. I’m a writer. I felt like this might be a viable alternative.

A little about me...I know there is an “About Me” segment on the profile, but apparently I am too wordy, so I’ll expand a bit here. I am a happily (well...most of the time) married, stay at home mom with a one year old, a 2 year old and a 5 year old. Some days are blissfully happy and I find myself effusively thanking the powers that be. Other days I want to crawl behind the couch, curl up in a little ball and cry. But then I look behind the couch and find that missing sippy cup of milk, lid off, congealed and stinky, stiffening the carpet. Then the baby starts crying because I'm out of sight, my toddler takes her poopy diaper off in the hallway and the oldest thinks it might be a good idea to slide down the stairs on a piece of cardboard. And I find myself wishing it wasn't noon so I could have that glass of red wine. But alas, I cannot drink with my antidepressant and besides, it's time to make lunch for three kids who are going to complain no matter what I make. “Can't we just have ice cream?" they’ll whine. And actually I would alsoreally like a nice big bowl of ice cream, but since I'm trying to be the grown up here, I make sandwiches instead. I'll just sneak some candy when they aren't looking...Smarties, preferably. Or a nice Snickers bar.

I have days when getting out of bed, for my neurotic mind, is as monumental as climbing Everest. There are days when I’m sure I’m not going to make it.

But I’m still here. And I think I’ll be here tomorrow. So I’m going to try and make the best of it.


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