Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Does It Have To Be Real?

This past week has been very emotional. The "new normal" of bad things in the news. Hearing about struggles that friends are having to go through. One friend who has already survived cancer is having major surgery (but hopefully won't hurt anymore afterwards). Another friend lost a child very late in pregnancy after enduring more loss in the past few years than anyone should ever have to endure. In my own life some one very very dear to me has been diagnosed with cirrhosis. Not from drinking or risky behaviors not that that would make it any easier to accept. This person is a loving, hard working person who adores their family and just doesn't deserve to deal with a disease in which the only cure is a liver transplant.
Some days it's hard to get up in the morning when you are afraid the day will bring more bad news. You want to scream "WHY?" Why does it feel like wonderful people have to go through such hell when there are so many evil people that coast through.

 I know every person in the world has their struggles to go through. Life is full of ups and downs. You have to weather the storm to appreciate the rainbow. Its the continuous storm with no sign of a rainbow that takes its toll.

Hard times are a part of life but it doesn't make the anger less real.
Or the worry of the unknown less real.
Or the sadness the real.
Or the struggle less real.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Finding Comfort

Comfort is a weird thing. It is so personal yet needed by everyone. Comfort can be found wrapped in the arms of a favorite old sweater, in the wet, dirty kiss from your three year old, from a late night snuggle from your partner. I find comfort daily in my husband, my kids and little things. The comfort I struggle to find right now is deep in my core. I live constantly overstimulated by kids/life/thoughts and ill at ease with myself. The closer I get to 40, the more I realize that I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. When I was twenty I couldn't set my sights on anything because there were so many things that caught my attention. So many things I wanted to accomplish. So many that I ended up doing very few of them. I can't say I regret things I did or didn't do because I know had anything changed in my life - the things that mean the most to me right now would not be the same. I wouldn't have the same husband or the same kids if my life had taken a different direction. The issue is that now I don't have a direction.

Three years ago I finally got someone to believe that I had issues focusing. I was given Adderal and it was so much more helpful than I ever thought possible. When we had a period of no health insurance, I had to stop taking it due to financial reasons. Now I am thinking I need to find someone in this state who will believe me again. Today I found myself, armed with a to-do list, walking around in a circle because i couldn't focus on any of the tasks. I often wonder how things would have been had I started the medicine while in college.
Regardless of my inability to focus, I am still trying to find my calling. The only things beside motherhood that have ever really grabbed the attention of my mind and my heart were Americorps and working for a women's reproductive health non-profit. I know that whatever I do needs to be something where I feel like I am making a difference to someone. I need to help others as a career and by doing that - I will also help myself find the comfort I need.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

I asked for things to change - and boy did I get it!!

Since posting last in November, life has changed. A lot.
My children ended up having a wonderful Christmas thanks to friends and family who made it magical. I don't know what I would have done without their love and support. December was hectic and went by quickly, January was busy with packing a house while hubby was in another state, February was full of unpacking, March-April-and now May - it has taken this long to realize that I haven't been writing and I miss it.

In January my husband took a new job. Better pay, better benefits. Only we had to move away from all our friends and family. 8 hours away from those family and friends. Two states away. We are now in the lovely state of Georgia.

It's been interesting. The kids seem to be thriving. They are doing well in school, making friends, and have adjusted better than I even expected.

Hubby's job is going ok. I know it is exhausting for him. He doesn't have an office so he works from his truck/home and has had to get used to making sure he has everything with him. I know he is frustrated a lot and hoping he made the right choice.

As for me - i haven't found my spot yet.

I feel like I don’t really exist here. In NC I was a preschool teacher, a massage therapist, a friend, a daughter, a dance mom, kindergarten room mom, local girl. I had a history. I had a support group. I had friends. I had extended family.

Here my children are doing well. Our living space is better. Our finances are better. 
I am not better. 
Not yet.
 I have great neighbors who are very helpful and I really like them. I miss my friends though. I miss my girls that I could call and say hey lets get lunch and vent for a while. I don’t have a purpose other than my kids. I know for some that would be enough. Maybe I need to make it enough. I fell like I am losing a bit of myself every day. I don’t feel like I can talk to my mom about it because then she worries and misses us more.
I don’t feel I can talk to my husband about it because he is working so hard. Long days, long drives, coming home sprayed with foul smelling stuff and having to think about all the little parts of work he has to remember since he doesn’t have an office. I don’t feel like I should trouble him. I need to get a life in every sense of the word. I need to find a way to earn a little money so I feel like I am contributing to our family, to our life, to my own brain. I need to make a name for myself even in a small group so I gain some identity back. 

Because right now I feel so lost that I am worried I won't be found.

I have been consumed with making sure everyone else is adjusting ok and is happy. With making our rental house a home. With getting used to our new surrounding. I forgot to take a little time to look up things for me to do.

I can do this - I just need to take the time.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Today I woke up poor....and grateful.

Today I woke up poor.
Now I didn't wake up with any less money than I had yesterday, but I woke up to the reality of the situation. After finally turning off my brain and falling asleep around 3 am - I woke up at 4 am to realize that I was poor. I realized that we needed toilet paper, paper towels, and tampons. I realized that after putting gas in my husband's car so he could get to work this week - we would only be able to afford one of those items. I told my brain to shut up, that I would figure it out in the morning and to let me go back to sleep.

Today I woke up to reality.
Your reality is what you make of it. A year or two ago - I thought we were poor. We lived paycheck to paycheck. This wasn't anything new. I grew up that way. I knew we weren't rich but I never felt anything other than "regular". I remember thinking a year ago that things could get worse but at the time it seemed unreal. Until it happened. Now I am having to reinvent our reality and persuade my children to accept a new reality but that it doesn't have to be all negative. No we can't go to the roller skating event for your school because it costs too much but we can go to the botanical gardens and take a great walk all together. You can help think of creative dinners based on what is in the pantry. No I don't mind if you just want cereal for dinner.

Today I woke up a bad mom.
 I have learned that there is a direct correlation between the amount of money in the bank and the level at which my voice rises through the day. It is not constant bad mom-ness but I find that when I am trying to sort my thoughts and figure things out, it doesn't take very much to see the bad side.

Today I woke up aware.
 I am completely aware that there are so many people who are in a much worse position than I. A friend mentioned that I should put our name on the angel tree at school so the kids would get stuff for Christmas. I can't do it. My kids will have Christmas presents from relatives - whether they get anything from us. They will be ok. They have clothes to wear that fit and toys to play with. I have seen the kids at their school that have neither. They deserve to have their names on the angel tree - we don't. I am aware that yes - things could indeed get even worse but I have such hope that they will get better.

Today I woke up grateful.
I am grateful that we have a house and the lights are still on. I am grateful I have been able to pay enough of the cable bill to keep them happy. I am grateful that I was able to fill up my husband's car. I am grateful that my children can forgive and sometimes forget my bad mom-ness. I am grateful that pancake mix is very cheap and my kids love pancakes.....at least for now!  I am grateful that my mother was told to take the paper products from a job that was ending and she was able to give me two rolls of paper towels and three rolls of toilet paper. I am grateful that I still went to the dollar store instead of the grocery store because that way I still had a few dollars left enabling the toothfairy to visit tonight. I am grateful our toothfairy has always given just a dollar (well two for the first tooth but only a dollar after that) and that she never got sucked in to all the hoopla I see online about kids receiving toys, extravagant presents and five or ten dollars per tooth. If that had happened, we would have been screwed right now. I am grateful I am able to turn off the part of my brain that prefers certain brands of toilet paper and tampons. I am grateful that this morning I needed both and tonight I have both.

I am grateful for my husband.
I am grateful for my kids.
I am grateful that I am upright and breathing.

Tomorrow I will be grateful that there doesn't appear to be anything toxic in dollar store tampons and I survived the night. (Ok so I can't completely turn off the brand preference....)!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Coming back from the edge.....

In case you noticed (or not) my blog used to be called "Musings of an (In)Sane Life". This past spring insane hit a little too close to home and I couldn't stomach the title any longer. I haven't posted since May because this past spring I lost my mind. In March I started taking Welbutrin to quit smoking. My husband quit 5 years ago and I wanted to be good to me. I say Welbutrin but it was the generic form (which after doing some research means it is really "close" but not exactly the same). I was told to take it for 2-3 months before quitting and then to take it for a few months after. Within the first week positive things were happening. I really didn't want to smoke as often. I didn't feel the need. Another positive was it increased my libido - WHOA, wasnt' expecting that one! It was an unexpected side effect. I felt like a 15 year old boy and lucky for me my husband was a good sport ;). The increase in physical contact came at a needed time in our relationship where I was trying to increase intimacy anyway. After a few weeks though, the negative effects started showing although I didn't connect them to the medicine until the end of June.

When I first started taking it, I was not depressed. Tired? sure. But not depressed. I have always been an emotional person but a lot of people didn't see it. I was never one to cry in front of people when I was sad - at least not often. When bad things happened, I could hold it together pretty well until I was in a comfortable place. People would see me cry at happy occasions because I was overwhelmed with emotion. Family events, my wedding (started crying the minute I started down the aisle), reading an essay on motherhood in front of an audience and the birth of my kids. I would cry at sappy songs that reminded me of things. After about a month on the medication, I started to cry. I cried at anything and everything for about 5 weeks straight. Everything stressed me out, I became severely insecure about my looks, my mind, my marriage, my parenting skills - everything. I doubted everything about myself, about my life. I was anxious all day. I had many mornings while driving my daughter to school that my heart would start racing and I would think "What the hell? I am having a panic attack!" I had never had one of those before. Nothing about taking her to school stressed me out and there was never anything after dropoff that I was dreading. I could not figure it out.

I have always rolled with the punches pretty well when plans would change or stressful things came up during the day. Not that they wouldn't stress me but I could usually find the humor in them. Suddenly the smallest thing like a spilled drink or a leaky poopy diaper would sned me into the bathroom where I would sit on the floor and sob. I was so scared because I thought I was losing my mind and I didn't understand why. My family knew I was crying all the time - crying so much that it became an aggravation rather than a concern. None of them ever knew how petrified I really was about what was going on in my head. The final straw was on the first of July. I had felt stressed about various things all day and I ended up sitting outside in the pouring rain crying for over an hour and wanting to run away because I thought everyone who knew me would be better off if I did. That night in bed, I couldn't sleep. I ran through everything in my head trying to figure out where my mind had gone, why was it gone and where the hell did this depression come from. The next morning I started researching Welbutrin and the generic form. Guess what I found?

This drug, while used on many to treat depression, also had been documented as causing severe depression and anxiety in those using it for reasons other than depression. This was more common for the generic form and the depression ranged from pretty severe to debilitating to extreme suicidal thoughts. The more I read, the more convinced I was that this medicine was the problem. I called the pharmacist immediately and talked to her about how to go off safely and how long it would take to get out of my system. I felt a bit better within a few days and felt close to normal by the end of the month. I knew I was getting better because of my reactions to things that were happening (extreme house issues, flooding, new job for spouse, financial issues but all that is a future blog!) I really don't know if I could have made it through all that in the condition I had been in.

I no longer cry at everything. I don't feel like I am about to dehydrate from the outpouring of emotion. I am not hiding in the bathroom anymore (or hitting walls or having panic attacks or wanting to run away). I am glad my friends and family didn't turn their back on me during all that but I really wish I had communicated my fears a little better so they could have understood how bad off I really was.
No I have not quit smoking....yet. I have been focusing on getting my mind back. As soon as I finish my mental "spring cleaning" and have gotten the cobwebs out - I will get back on track (sans medicine)!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"You got to hold on, Hey you got to hold on...." - Alabama Shakes

When my husband and I were first together we were very cuddly. Every night in bed he would spoon me then after a bit we would both roll over and I would spoon him. Then when we were ready to sleep, we would separate. I remember wanting to be able to snuggle him all night but I just couldn't. I was so used to sleeping alone that it was hard for me to fall asleep unless I had rolled away.

Then we started having kids. The first did start out in a bassinet next to our bed but my eyesight is so awful with my contacts out that I would panic every night because I couldn't SEE her and see if she was breathing, in a good position, etc. That's how she ended up in the bed (and as a dedicated but lazy breastfeeding mama - i could doze while nursing her).

My husband and I still slept next to each other because he was afraid he would roll on her. Once she got older, she ended up in middle. Then came child #2. She never slept anywhere else but our bed. She would be on one side of me and #1 would be on the other. Hubby didn't mind them in the middle at this point because we discovered we slept better with them and didn't roll on them. Slept better when they were babies that is.

Child #3 also was/is a bed partner. For the longest time, he was the middle person in the bed. Some nights #1 would join up, the next night #2 or sometimes both. Even a king size bed does not seem very big with 5 people in it. Hubby and I have talked about it a lot and we don't plan on kicking them out of bed - it's a safe, warm place for them. Plus I have always thought it was weird that Mommy and Daddy can go to bed together and have someone to snuggle, curl up next to after a bad dream, and just feel comfort that someone is near  - yet we send small children (with vivid imaginations) to bed alone.

There are nights where we don't enjoy it, especially with legs getting longer each day but as long as they do not come in too early - we are still fine with it. We have changed things though.

My husband and I had a few months that were a little rough. It was just easier to distance ourselves rather than paying attention to what each other needed. The funny thing is the more you focus on your own needs and not on your partners - the less support and affection you both get. You are too busy feeling ignored to actually pay attention to the other person! We decided to change that and it has been wonderful. A big change has been nighttime cuddles.

We have been going to bed at the same time more often and when we do, #3 is moved over to the side of the bed. If the other two wander in at some point, we tell them "climb on in! - beside your brother." Sometimes there are complaints about wanting to be next me but I am telling them "You get a lot of my time and attention during the day, it's daddy's turn now."

Now my husband and I are next to each other. We are making our relationship a priority and paying attention to the fact that we need each others attention. We don't want to get to that place again.

Every night in bed he spoons me then after a bit we both roll over and I spoon him. The difference now is we don't roll apart. Whether it's because we don't get to give each other a lot of attention during the day, subconscious worries that if we let go, we might drift apart again, or because we have found our safe, warm place - the reason doesn't matter.

What is important is now we hold on to each other until morning and even then it's hard to let go....

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"Listen To Your Mother" is not just a show, it is an Experience.

I am such a bundle of emotions right now (which makes me prone to overusing adjectives and even wordier than usual). Tonight was the "Listen To Your Mother" show. It was so magical, powerful, validating, wonderful, emotional, raw, truthful and real.

It's been a long time since I felt a part of something that meant so much to me. I have been looking forward to this for a while and now that it's done - I feel completely overwhelmed with feelings:

I am so proud to have been a part of the inaugural show in the Raleigh-Durham area.

I am so honored to have been a part of something that had so many remarkable people in it.

I am so elated with how well my piece went over with the audience.

I am so humbled by the comments from family, friends and complete strangers.

I am so very sad that it is over.

I feel like I am in mourning yet I am high on a cloud at the same time. I want to laugh at how remarkable this all was. I want to dance from the thrill of being on stage again (a stage that I performed on many times in college and haven't stood on in almost 20 years). I want to sing from the joy it gave me to hear that I struck a chord with people I have never met that came up to me after the show to comment on my piece. I want to cry because I don't want any of these feelings to end.

I am writing this down to hold myself accountable. This has inspired me to find my writing voice again, to find ways to perform again, to find me. Even though my time with "Listen To Your Mother" is over - I will find ways to create these feelings in my life.

Plus I am not sure of the rules regarding submitting a written piece to LTYM next year - but I will keep trying every year in the hopes of doing it again one day - but next time I will stay longer at the after party!!