First Weeks Of Life

Where do I begin?

The baby (I really need to find a bloggity name for him) is happy, healthy, and growing like a weed.  We have the semblance of a daily routine.  We are surviving and sort of accomplishing things most days.  We went to his first Renaissance Fair!  He has given us his first smiles.  We have learned that we definitely need more bottles.  No progress has been made on any house cleaning.

DH is back to work from his paternity leave.  I’m very bummed about it.  We’ve enjoyed our time together so much.  The baby was just icing on the cake.  It’s the longest we’ve gotten to spend together since block leave when he left for deployment.  We found it sorta sad that I had to push a screaming human out of my hoo-ha to get that kind of time together.

My mom came down this past weekend, and it was so refreshing and lovely to have her around.  I’m very taken aback by how much I want my mom here.  I really want to show off my little nugget, but I’m really, really wanting my mom’s company too.  Baby’s do weird things to people.  I never thought I’d be wanting my mom like this.

DH’s mom was here the first weekend, and the visit turned into a disaster.  It’s way, way too complicated to go into right now.  The short version is she monumentally overstepped some boundaries.  I’m very angry about it still.  It’s going to be one of those things that takes me a very long time to come to terms with, which makes me even madder because it will forever be linked to my first memories with my lil boy.  Ugh.  The whole situation pisses me off.

I’d like to save my first thoughts and feelings about birthing and motherhood for a separate post.  They deserve their own space and time to breathe, but I wanted to let everyone know that we’re hanging in there.

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Medicated

I just wanted to post a quick update.  I started medication on Monday after an appointment with my OB.  They seem really willing to help with prenatal depression, which was reassuring, but I’m going to wait and see until after my therapy appointment tomorrow whether or not she recommends that I still go to a psychiatrist.

I’m so out of my element with this medication thing.  Supposedly it should take awhile to feel the affects, and I might have to go through several dosage adjustments to find my level, so I can’t really tell if it’s working.  I feel relief though knowing that at least it will end.  I don’t have to worry about what if I can’t get a handle on this before the baby gets here or while DH is gone.  At least the decision is made, and I know I will eventually feel better regardless.

So yeah, that’s where I’m at.  Red and I have been talking when we can.  Having her already have navigated these waters is really reassuring.  She keeps reminding me that this is the right choice, and I’m being proactive instead of waiting for what we all know will turn into postpartum depression.  She had another baby boy in December, by the way.  He’s adorable, but he’s getting in the way of my phone calls.

I’ll keep you updated in how this whole medication thing goes, but I’m optimistic and that’s good.

Dark Place

Some bummer news…  Over the past few weeks my mental outlook has continued to decline at an alarmingly fast rate.  I’ve been seeing my therapist (who is the absolute best) rather sporadically because of the hours of my new job, but at the last meeting she was really concerned.  I’m upping my meeting back to weekly, she called in a favor to a psychiatrist friend, and I have an appointment with my OB to discuss putting me on antidepressants.

Prenatal depression isn’t exactly uncommon, although obviously it gets less attention than postpartum depression, and I am at a much higher risk with my past history, but I’m still bummed.  I’ve never had to go on antidepressants before (although maybe I should have), and it feels like such a failure.  I’m worried about the side effects because I know these meds are serious drugs.  I’m worried about taking too long to figure out the med situation and being too late because I know it takes awhile to get the right combination/level of these drugs.  I’m worried about this being the right choice because I’ve been able to deal with this on my own in the past.

It just sucks!  Health-wise I’m doing so well.  My stomach issues are calm.  The baby couldn’t be growing more perfectly.  I’m just starting to hate the baby and this pregnancy for so many reasons.  I hate that it’s changing my relationship with DH.  I hate the pressure I feel having to shop for it.  I hate the intrusion I feel from my family because they’re excited for it.  I hate how my body’s changing to accommodate it.  I hate strangers asking personal questions about it.  I hate the uncomfortableness and the squirminess and the sleeplessness that it’s causing me.  I hate the public expectation to be overjoyed over it.  I hate everything right now.  I’m stressing over the birth, over shopping, over single-parenting while DH is gone…  It doesn’t end.

I’m bummed that I have to go through this healing process again, but I’m more worried that because of its different causes, this time is going to be harder and I’m not going to be able to be a good parent.  I already feel like it’s unfair for DH to live and deal with a mentally ill person regularly, but a kid isn’t going to understand.  I don’t want to burden him with it when he should be worry-free and ignorant of such problems.  And that’s how my thought process goes full circle and I start feeling like crap again.

Madness

I picked up the book Madness by Marya Hornbacher recently.  I’ve been feeling horrible and isolated and was looking for something when a patron returned it and said it was one of the best books they’ve read in a long time.  It’s a memoir of a bipolar life, and I took it home to see if it did the subject of mental illness justice.

I’ve read depression memoirs before, notably William Styron’s Darkness Visible, and was disappointed.  I always searched for the words I couldn’t put to my own feelings.  I guess I thought professional authors or at least someone who wrote well enough to get published could articulate the struggle better than myself.  I was wrong.  It’s never the right words unless they’re yours.  Anyway, I was willing to give Madness a try.

I’ve only just started, but I’m impressed and honestly a little scared by the book.  The book is good.  Really good.  So good that the feelings Hornbacher describes feel a bit too real.  I feel like my current lowness is feeding off the emotions in the book, and I’m not sure that’s so good right now.  There’s a few songs that I used the last time through this, and I still can’t listen to them without being sent back to the bottom of the pit.  This book might hit too close to home like that.

I don’t know if people who haven’t been through this fully grasp that we don’t know.  We don’t always know why we’re feeling this way or what will make us feel worse.  We don’t always understand what we need from others.  We’re hurting and we just want to feel better.  I get that from Madness, and I’m already getting the sense that she doesn’t have answers either.  I need to quit looking for them, I know, but I’m always surprised at how little I find comfort in knowing that others feel just as isolated inside themselves as I do.

I know I’m not giving a very good image of the book right now, but I really am enjoying it.  My mood just isn’t cooperating right now.

I Will Never Repeat This Again

I think maybe this deployment might have been a good thing.  The best thing.

Millions of mil spouses around the world just dropped what they were doing, mouths hanging open, wishing they could smack some sense into me.

I know…that same part of me is screaming about how insane I am and will never understand what I’m about to say.

In some ways, I have never been happier than these past months.  Knowing that the buck stops with me, that if an emergency arises I am the only person capable of fixing it, has sort of helped my anxiety.  There is no other option to worry about.  I have to step up and take care of it.  And there’s a lot to take care of!  It’s kept me fairly busy, which limits my worry time.  Don’t get me wrong, I still worry and plan all the time but much less than before.  There’s only so much I can do.  I’ve accepted that, which helps a lot too.  I can let somethings go, and it feels like there’s no one around to plan or worry for…if that makes any sense.

I planned this deployment so far in advance, that I’ve kept myself very busy and focused on the next task.  I’m doing things I’ve never done before because I have myself focused on this goal of surviving aloneness.  I’d like to be able to do things like this in the future for me because I enjoy them and not necessarily for a deployment or for DH.  That’s a big distinction for me, but I’m ok with it being a goal and not achieved yet.

I don’t think I could have accomplished these things with DH here.  I needed a catalyst.  I miss him terribly.  I would choose his company over everything else in the whole world, which obviously shows.  I have not made as much progress as I could have because I loved our relationship.  I wanted to rely on him.  I wanted to do everything with him because I knew that our time was limited.  It might have felt great at the time, but it postponed and stunted me mentally.  This time apart has allowed me to grow while maintaining the relationship I treasure.  In that respect, I am incredibly lucky because not many people get that opportunity.

I feel truly happy for the first time in a long time.  Happy without a shadow in the background.  Happy without a worry that any minute the happiness would turn into a pumpkin at midnight.

I liken to a jar in the cupboard.  When I was deep in depression, the jar was the only option I had to choose.  I reached for it every time because it was the only thing there.  Then I started getting better and I had one depression jar and maybe two or three others.  I had to consciously avoid grabbing for that bad jar.  Sometimes I could and other times I couldn’t.  It was always there right in front, and I had to try hard to reach around it for something else.  Now that jar’s still there, but it’s way in the back.  I have a whole cupboard full of other stuff blocking it.  I have options, way better options, and I can safely reach into the cupboard without worrying about accidentally grabbing the bad jar.  Depending on the day it might gravitate more to the front, but I don’t feel like it’s going to take over.  It’s an awesome feeling to finally get to that point, but I also feel like I need to actively keep my cupboard full of good choices so that one jar doesn’t become the only option again.

Don’t misunderstand me though, it’s incredibly hard.  Being alone everyday is hard.  Managing a house, job, groceries, yard, dog, and work is hard.  Always thinking up ways to keep up DH’s moral (and my own) is hard.  If there was any other way to accomplish this, I would have done it in a heartbeat.  I fear a whole other kind of depression when the stress of being a family of one gets to be too much.  But I’m doing  it now.  I’m functioning, living, enjoying NOW.  That is freaking amazing, and I am so proud of myself. 

As always, I have a small reservation.  Can I only be this happy without DH around?  Does the nature of our relationship suck all the good jars out of my cupboard?  I don’t know the answer for sure.  I hope not.  I hope that I have used this time to learn how to do this on my own.  I hope that DH and I can adjust our relationship, like we’ve done before, to allow for my personal growth.  I know that he is proud of me.  I know that he has wanted this for me for a long, long time.  I just can’t help but feel that I don’t want this deployment to end.

…I will never say that again.

Bummed

I wanted to write an upbeat post about this huge accomplishment.  Change of plans.

Earlier this week I called up some friends and asked them out for a day of picking fruit and canning jam.  Plans fell through at the last minute.  I feel more disappointed than I should.

This was in no way my fault.  Stuff comes up that’s way beyond my control.  I can’t help but feel like such a failure though.  I was so excited about it.  I wanted to show people what I know and hang out with friends.  It was all my idea, and I started feeling so stressed about the details.  My car’s still out of commission, so the loose ends I intended to tie up on Friday became big obstacles that I handled…for nothing.

I’ve been dealing with this big empty house by never giving myself a minute to think about it.  I don’t sit down in the quiet until I’m crawling into bed, exhausted, around midnight.  Now I’m stuck here with nothing to do and no car.  I feel bad enough, but I have no way to get out.  I feel so bad and realizing that I’m still getting these feelings after everything I’ve been doing and all the time I’ve spent working on it, makes me feel even worse.  I’m just so mad and disappointed in myself.

More than anything else I want to be able to do life on my own without feeling overwhelmed and needing to hurt myself to cope.  It’s the only thing that works, however temporarily.  I feel horrible for not being able to move past it.  It scares me and I want help, but there’s nothing else.  It just keeps coming back.  I want someone to hold my hands and tell me it’s going to be ok until the feelings are gone.

I’m so disgusted that after all these months, it’s jam that’s putting me in this position.  Jam!

Busy Doesn’t Begin to Describe Me

I’ve been plenty busy lately and wanted to do a hodge podge post of all that I’ve been up to.  It’s been a whirwind the last couple weeks.  I’ve got so many projects in the works that I want to hopefully finish up soon in anticipation of new projects later this summer.  The pace is making the time go by so fast.  I love it.

I haven’t abandoned my cooking self challenge, I’ve just been sick of posting about it.  It felt like that’s the only time I got around to blogging, and this is not a food blog.  I’ve made turkey pot pie from scratch, pulled pork sandwhiches, and country rib and mushroom stew.  The stew was from an Italian soups cookbook, and I know it didn’t do it justice but it was fabulous.  Maybe I’ll bake for next week…

The other problem was I was eating badly.  This cooking self challenge turned into watch me gain the deployment 15 challenge.  Not fun.  Plus all I hear from DH is how he’s been hitting the gym for hours everyday and is getting in great shape.  At the store I got tons of yummy salad fixin’s for this week instead, but I also made enchilladas.  I girl still needs her protien!  But I’m back to hitting the gym a little bit more frequently for a killer workout and am watching my portions a bit better.  It was the snacking that was killing me.  Hopefully in a few weeks I can report that the svelt me is back and I can post about  something yummy again.

Life just keeps plugging away.  It’s a busy month at work, so my infrequent off time has been spent with appointments and errands.  I indulged with a little retail therapy this past Saturday and realized I should never go shoe shopping unsupervised.  My shoe population is going to easily double before DH gets home.  But they were just soooo cute!  And then I needed a snappy dress to match…

Several of my blogging friends have opened my eyes to Etsy.  It’s fantastic.  It’s like a craft/thrift/flea market all the time!  In your house!  In your jammies if you want!!  I’m embarking on decorating my bedroom in a minimalist Asian style since it is the last room in the house that still looks unlived in if you ignore the dirty clothes on the floor.  My furniture is three different colors as it is all a conglomeration of stuff from me and my parents over the years.  Before DH gets home I want to paint the furniture and get curtains up.  The curtains are happening sooner rather than later.  I have a wall of west facing windows, and the Southern sun is baking my room.  I found vintage kimono fabric on Etsy.  It’s absolutely gorgeous and was totally worth the wait.  I’m so excited.  I picked out purple curtains and I’m going to add my kimono silk to them.  I bit of deconstruction is necessary, however.  I wanted to make my own curtains, but I just have too many windows that are super huge.  It would cost me a fortune to buy that much fabric.  The store didn’t have enough panels in stock, so I was going to order them online.  I was tired to making the trip across town and my bank account cannot stand another shopping detour.  Unfortunately they aren’t sold online at all.  Bummer.  It’s like the universe is telling me to go shoe shopping again.  I have found that I have no self control when it comes to this.

Red is still struggling.  I feel so badly for her.  I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about my own recovery.  Parts of me are so grateful to be feeling better, however temporarily, and can’t wrap my head around it anymore.  But she is thinking about coming and visiting this summer, and I’m so excited!  I need to start brainstorming ways we can get ourselves into trouble.  I’m thinking a trip the beach might be in order.

I meant to expand one most of these ideas, but I just got too far behind.  I’m hoping once I get some of these projects finished I can post some pictures.  Anyhoo…back to business I suppose.

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