Friday, July 31, 2015

Survey says!

Cannot tell if he is happier waking up in the morning or sporting an overfilled diaper!



This is why I have protective flannel mats all over the place! He is totally content to lie in wait with the mother lode while I unwittingly pick him up from his crawling position to find myself gooed (he was on his belly when he planted this trap).

Oh, the simple things :)

On a side note, the hubster and I just bought this pack of onesies (it's supposed to be space themed but he looks like a Cowboys cheerleader in this one, much to our chagrin) and it's supposedly 12 months size but they're already stretched and he's popped a seam in the pit! Pffffft.


Still tired and easily overwhelmed but feeling better and despite hardly any food this morning I was able to feed myself lunch, so that's something. Going out tonight and having our first non-family sitter watch the baby. I'm in knots! *gag* She's coming over early for a walk through and observation period, so we shall see... and the hubs is sitting up surveillance ;) Hoping I can let loose and enjoy some live music with family and friends at a local restaurant. Here we go parenthood adventures # 437!

The Pitfalls of Living in Hiding

Living with a mental illness means hiding in plain sight for me. Most people IRL don't know I have bipolar II and while I have been more open with my first family and even in-laws, and occasionally I leave mental health related comments on FB pages I follow, I tend to remain incognito. (The hubbo would say "unacknowledged" vs. incognito)

This week my hiding in plain sight tactic set me up for an uncomfortable situation.

One of the ladies I met through a board game gaming group invited me out for a walk (we ran a 5k together before Baby but then kinda fell outta touch). Well, she had received some "bipolar texts" from her mother and proceeded to talk all about her crazy mother and her bipolar-oh, and her mother happens to be on cocaine. For whatever reason the bipolar was emphasized as the offending aspect much more than the effect of hard drugs... never mind the mixing of the two.

It was awkward for me to be walking along hearing her rant and deprecate bipolar and even self harm and suicidal episodes ("if you don't get it right the 1st time, and you do the same thing the next time and fail again, obviously it's just for attention!") completely unaware that I had personal experience with all those issues. 

I couldn't bring myself to say, "Well, I have bipolar II and I have cut myself, banged my wrists, slammed my head against walls, I've written suicide notes, I've wanted to die and I'm not the same as your crackhead mother." ***I could probably come up with something better to say, more meaningful, but I can't think of it ATM***

The whole thing made think of how I live my life with so many people not having a clue who I really am. I suppose this isn't a strange thing, I'm certainly not alone in this, but that awkward walk conversation really brought it home for me and made me wonder what being "out" would be like.

Living in hiding wasn't really a choice, it just happened. I grew up with feelings not being okay and mental health being irrelevant AKA ignored (if we don't acknowledge it, there isn't a problem!). I'm not sure what living honestly would look like, it's not like mental health comes up in casual conversations, but sometimes I want to take up arms and make a stand.

Part of what motivates me is my own loneliness. All the days and nights I wonder if other families go through what we go through. I wonder if there are other seemingly "normal" folks that hide their pain, struggle in private, feel as lonely and isolated as the hubs and I. I wonder if my living honestly would help them feel better, if maybe in the long run it would combat my loneliness as well, help create a more accepting community around me or in society. It's so invalidating hiding like I do, every dishonest "I'm fine" to each "How are you?" leaves little tears in my heart.

But I also hide because of fear. I see what people write and hear what people say, things like what my friend said that perpetuate erroneous stereotypes and cultivate fear. I've seen the blank, terrified stares of someone who has no clue how to react when they hear me talk honestly and openly about mental illness, and I've read the "just kill yourself" or "I'm glad they're dead" comments online.

I don't know where I'll end up with this, living in hiding or leading a charge for acceptance or something in between, but I know that I need to keep thinking on it. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Resurfacing

Things got dark really fast this afternoon, and things were a little different... I'm not sure if was motherhood or the stress levels but my darkness was different. When you have an illness like I do you become familiar with it, especially with the dark shadowy bits. The dark spells have certain feelings, patterns, even a sense of "normal" after a while even though being suicidal should never really be normalized...

Well, today I was definitely experiencing my "normal" crash but there was a new element. My dark logic, when my brain starts rationalizing suicide and the depressive propaganda machine gets going, for whatever reason it latched onto an insecurity regarding the hubbo. I found myself texting him gobbledygook about how he has always wanted me to eventually kill myself, that he's wanted to be a widower from the get-go, that his whole reason for being with me involves my eventual suicide somehow. Never had this bubbled to the surface before.

In hindsight, it seems totally batshit, but at the time I thought I was unveiling some concealed truth, pointing out an elephant in the room we had neglected to address. It was so blatantly "out there" the hubs texted and voicemailed me, "You are not yourself!" and tried to reason with me, repeating over and over that I was out of my mind and not myself. It made some impact but at that point I was already breaking down, barely able to move or speak. Thankfully at that stage the likelihood of self harm also breaks down (I'm just not capable of much of anything).

He got home, fed me, and took care of Baby while I rezoned. I laid down with a book on tape in my ears, did some puzzles, rested, and then I went to the table and resumed an art project. I was compelled, it was almost unthinking. This was a bit unusual, as the project had been causing me stress, but I resumed it with a "I do what I want and whatever happens happens, if I end up throwing it all away oh well" instead of having a hard goal. With that approach the artwork became therapeutic. I still wasn't speaking or looking at the hubs or Baby, but after completing the second smaller painting, I was able to speak and make some eye contact. I was back, if only somewhat.

I painted the warthog several days ago and then failed at 3 subsequent attempts at other letters.
Today I painted an "E is for Eider" and "L is for Little Brown Bat," enjoying myself instead of pressuring
and I like what I turned out. I couldn't communicate brain-voice, but I could function brain-paper, and that
seemed to help get the rest back on line as well.


We went on to interview some potential babysitters, handled a plumbing issue with our landlord, and had dinner, then I discovered the wonderful comments on my blog and I cried happy tears. I feel so alone, so lonely so much of the time, so invisible. Seeing so many comments, being seen in that way, it is so anchoring. Like tethers in solid ground holding back this black balloon that was carrying me off. Thank you all, so much. It means so, so much.

I know the darkness will be back someday. I'm so tired of living in fear and fighting myself. I know life isn't easy, but I think it would be easier fighting something outside myself, something solid, something beside my own mind and body. It is so hard to be torn apart from within, so hard to grasp this slippery sickness, so hard to reconcile the urge to live dwelling in the same space as the urge to die.

But having people that understand, that share the burden, somehow that helps. It helps a lot.

Thank you.

Make it stop

I just want it to stop, I thought of HALT, Ive got all 4. i dont want to eat ive been angry for so long i give up, i'm sick of being lonely all the time, i'm tired. so tired, physically and in so many other ways, i want to stop this eternal tooth and nail battle. i just want it to stop. just want it to stop. i'm sick of fighting.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Upping the Ante

1) Baby is taking his teething up a notch. Still don't seem to have any teeth pushing through but he's getting into some intense spells of fussiness.

He becomes clammy and inconsolable, thankfully nursing seems to work but then we have to deal with the spitting up! He enjoys groping our cool, empty cans of sparkling water but last night he cut himself (a little chink out of his finger, nothing major but some blood) so we have to figure out a new solution for him. It's soooooo stressful.

I feel like I'm barely managing as is and then to have this happen?! The poor hubster was losing hair too. I was worried about Baby getting teeth and nursing and my poor nipples, now I just want this to be over with!

2) Therapy was... different yesterday. It was upsetting but I'm ashamed to admit it because the only upsetting part was that I was off base on a self-analysis I had made earlier in the weekend. I had snapped at the hubs and said something bitchy and I thought it must've been because I was feeling insecure, like how a bully attacks other people because they feel bad about themselves, but after talking with my therapist it seems like I snapped because I was just overworked and tapped out.

It makes sense, it's reasonable, but for whatever reason not being right about something and then being reminded that I'm not hanging in there as well as I thought really brought me down. Somehow being made aware of my exhaustion made it weigh more on me and that evening I was cranky and tired and plodding. The hubster took the lead with baby care but I was still agitated and we were snippy and cranky with each other. Thankfully we were aware of this and able to work through it instead of marinating but it was a tiring evening!

3) It seems like Baby is getting dangerously close to crawling. I know it could be another few months so I'm not gonna get too worked up, but I'm already dreading the baby proofing and challenge of a mobile baby.

And Fio better watch his tail....

Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Missive #3

Dear Hubbo,

I know that lately things have been harder than usual for us. Trying to take care of the baby and take care of ourselves as well has been whooping our butts sometimes. 

I'm sorry that my struggles have hijacked so much energy and resources. I know that I'm not the only one adjusting, but I get overly focused on my own short comings and struggles, often overlooking the challenges you might have or the stress in your life. I'm sorry.

I'm so happy for you that you are looking into getting your degree finished and even got accepted at the uni that you want, it's awesome. I know I harp on your for dragging you feet on certain things, but you are impressing me with your go-get-it-ness about your degree :)

That said, I'm worried. It's not that I'm not on board, I totally am, I'm just worried about keeping my shit together. I know it's not all about me, but I know how much I can drag the family down when I'm not well. You seem to have a certain faith that everything will work out and I trust in your captainship, it's just hard for me to internalize.

I think you were totally spot on when you made that observation about how I might resent you for being more functional than me. It's not fun being the anchor. Not a grounded, "good" anchor, a "drag us down" anchor. I am working up to handling what"s on my plate now and here you are reaching for more challenge! I'm definitely a bit envious, especially when you get to do school. Ya know I love school!

Thankfully, it's that subconscious, filmy type of feeling that on one level is true but on many others is just a flare of human ego, all emotion without any conscious truth behind it. I don't hate you, I don't wish you wouldn't do this, I'm glad for you and proud of you and excited for the potential this brings to our future together. Thank you for helping me work through these feelings and know that I will try my best to help you (mainly by trying to keep myself together as best as possible).

I know we will get a babysitter arranged for extra help before you begin classes and I know that you have faith in me. I will try my best not to freak out any more than I already am and support you :)

Very happy for you and happily yours,
Hannah

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Little Escape, Reflections

Thursday the hubbo and I snagged a timeshare opening up north for a little impromptu getaway to Birch Bay (up by Blaine). It was a little stressful getting the dog to the kennel and navigating some traffic but in the end it was lovely just to shake things up and change our surroundings. Not to mention the glorious rain and snuggly clouds that rolled in on Friday.

Felt lovely walking in the rain and looking over the bay from Western's (my alma mater) student union building... Interesting going back to my old uni. So much has changed in the 5-almost-6 years since I left there.

Old memories flooded back to me and felt so distant, like they were translated from another language in order to reach me as I am now. I am a different person now, my internal landscape as altered as my outside appearance. Walking around the campus with my husband and baby filled stroller further emphasized the immense changes that have occurred since I attended school there... It was such an odd, sweet feeling looking back and realizing how differently my life turned out than how I had planned or expected and yet how much more wonderful this reality is.

Here are some pictures :)

Baby and I trying to get ready to meet a friend for latte and donut
before the trip north

gelato and espresso in Fairhaven
no such thing as too much coffee right?

on the boardwalk, we have this thing about taking pics of me nursing
and decided to add a family selfie to the mix!

thinkin' of cutting my hair but not sure if I'm ready
 to say goodbye to my long hair just yet

baby's beach bod
actually he just spit up all over his shirt...
uh, yeah, just now 5 months old.
he's a beast

And my 3 top favs...




Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"I should've said no" to "Damn, I am good"

My mom asked me to do the thumbprint guestbook for my sister's baby shower coming up next month and despite feeling totally overwhelmed with Baby and like I would never be able to craft anything I said yes. It's been wearing on me for a while now and the hubster has asked multiple times, "Why didn't you just say no!?"

I have agonized over the project for days after putting it off for weeks and tonight I finally just banged it out. The hubster helped keep Baby occupied and happy and I just went with my gut.

These where the ideas my mom gave me to work with A & B, and this is how my project evolved:







I asked the hubbo and he said that it doesn't reflect any of the anger or resentment I've been coping with, so I'm claiming bonus points for that! I'm pretty happy with how it turned out except for the font, I feel like I could've done better on that part. 

Now I'm excited to try and do some nursery art with my watercolors, we shall see...

Adventures in Breastfeeding As Told Through Memes


As I've mentioned before the hubster and I have encountered resistance while breastfeeding in public or (specifically) in relatives' homes. Sadly, the most guff we've gotten has been in the homes of our family members. But despite those few horrible instances of shaming I have had many wonderful "Julie Andrews" moments, especially when I get to breastfeed outside. For some reason I find nursing outside especially wonderful and uplifting. NOTE TO SELF: breastfeed outside more often!




This meme totally reminds me of the hubster and how he leaps to my defense whenever I get a negative look or someone says something shaming about my nursing. He's very rational and assertive and even recites "breastfeeding is a federally protected right!" while puffing his chest and clenching his fists. Well, maybe not exactly like that, but you get the idea.


We don't have teeth buds in sight yet but Baby has his "bad days" when the teeth forming in his gums cause him pain and cause the entire family agony and fussiness! The other night was a "bad day" and the hubbo said, "sounds like teething fussiness to me" and I said "sounds like 'gird yer nipples' to me!" 


I haven't spilled milk yet but I definitely get upset if we "waste" any of my freezer stash. I've had to throw some out and it is so upsetting.... So much work and it doesn't get used! I know people say "donate to the milk bank" but that's not for me, too much pressure and stress. Anyways...


Oh yes. Me and too much milk means fire boobs much more often than I'd like. Whoever claims engorgement only lasts a few days is full of it!! PS I hate that song and just looking at this gets it stuck in my head.


The magical effect of breastfeeding on an infant. I cannot express how many times nursing has saved my sanity and my hubbo's, and it works much faster than a pint of ale!


Of course, I'm blogging about Baby (in a way) so he just had to interject with a massive poo. Blew out front ways, thankfully onto a flannel pad instead of the carpet or play gym. No cries, just a scrunchy face. What a weird one, this kiddo! Good thing I checked on him! I will spare the universe an "Adventures in Baby Poop As Told Through Memes," but it would be epic, I assure you.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Poop Runaround, I'm Not Crazy, and Marshmallows

The Runaround

Yesterday was quite a day. It could've been a train wreck but somehow I bumbled my way through it without getting bowled over.

To kick off the day, Baby had a sleeper diaper. Sleeper as in first diaper of the morning but also as in "sleeper cell." I had no idea he was cheerfully sitting on a secret mother lode. I was unzipping his sleeper sack when I noticed a blotch of telltale orange and then found more... and more. After cleaning him up and stain sticking his sleeper (quite thoroughly) I retraced my steps to find where I had laid my poop-laden sleeper whilst being unaware of his hazardous cargo. I found little poo stains in his crib, in our bed, and on the blanket in his bassinet in our bedroom. Prolific this child!

I was already staring down the barrel of a crapton of laundry, but the morning's antics just upgraded it to shitton. Somewhat literally to boot. To top off the minor cluster I started my period all while having had slept in as long as I thought we could to still make therapy on time. Oy.

I managed to eat brekkie and make it to therapy, deciding to hit up the local latte stand (very friendly owners that always cheer me up) on the way instead of waiting to swap laundry. It was a pretty good session, I had a few rambles but actively tried to focus on quality discourse and made my way back on topic (with the therapist's help) much more than usual. I often get over-chatty not having had much socialization over the week!

I'm Not Crazy

During our session we talked a lot about motherhood and my parenting style, which is apparently pretty similar to "attachment parenting." I have been having a hard time coping with Baby's cries when I can't get to him before he cries or I can't comfort him (say, during car rides or when the hubbo has him and I'm occupied) and was worried that I was "over responsive."

She said no, that's not possible and it's actually very good that I'm so responsive. She explained that right now, before Baby has begun differentiating, he thinks that we are one, he and I as one being, so my responding to him isn't just building his trust in me it's building his self confidence. When I meet his needs and respond promptly he feels like he is meeting his own needs, building self reliance, esteem, and confidence. All things that we want! I'm not crazy!

I found this helpful not just for reassuring myself that I'm not an over-aggressive AP parent or over the top/helicopter type parent but also as a bridge of sorts to help bring the hubbo and I together in our parenting. He's been having a hard time understanding why I get so upset when Baby cries and why it's so difficult for me when he takes longer to respond to Baby's fussies. Now I feel like I have the tools to explain!

Marshmallows

Another therapy plus was a random discussion about my sister. It spawned from some worries I had about my mothers' visit, that she might bring up my blog and tell me to stop it for my sister's sake. A little "out there" since I'm not even sure my mom is aware of the blog but whatever...

I mentioned that my sister has seemed to threaten me about my blog a couple of times, like she would reveal my secret identity or something. Emotional honesty is pretty risque in my family, so I have tried to keep this blog mostly anonymous while maintaining the levels of disclosure I require for a therapeutic effect and genuineness but I think it still shows up when you blog my full name and look through the results somewhat thoroughly. Due to the content and needing to feel free to express myself, I've tried to keep this blog from my family (other than hubbo).

Well, a few times in certain family talks my sister will randomly say something about this blog. Something like "I know about that blog" combined with a challenging look that makes me freeze in fear. It's threatening! It's scary! I mentioned this in therapy and my therapist asked, "Well, is there any validity behind the threat? Is there anything dangerous in you blog?" and I quickly realized there wasn't. My sister was being an emotional terrorist!

The visual I came up with was marshmallows. In a way she was threatening to call the cops on me for having marshmallows in my pantry. I freak out thinking she has a case, but when I think about it... marshmallows are legal, I have nothing to fear! She's threatening to "out" me and my honest feelings which are considered "illegal" in my first family, but in reality, I have nothing to fear.


As I said, it could have been a doozey day, but I managed to keep a level head, stay fed, watered, and even keeled through all the laundry and baby care and emotional waves, so... yay me. I'm grateful and happy for a successful day, I needed it!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Missive #2

Another therapeutic letter...

Dear Hannah,

I know things are hard for you right now. I know that you are incredibly lonely and that you wonder if something is wrong with you. I know that you wonder if you are doing something wrong that makes people avoid you, if you are inherently flawed and incapable of making and keeping friends.

Not being an omniscient being I cannot offer you assured veracity but I can give you my best guess and my best guess is that you are not irrevocably damaged. My best guess is that your pain is an accumulation of factors within and without yourself.

Being human we're wired for social interaction, we're wired for community but in today's world that hard-wired need isn't being met. Instead physical wires replace heart strings and we are often left wanting. Unfortunately people don't know how to cope with this. You are not alone in your struggle.

I suspect that those you have difficulty connecting with are burdened by the same challenges yet may be unaware of the true nature of their pain. You are keenly aware of the pain you are in, why you experience it, the roadblocks to connection that hamper your recovery and that awareness creates a sharper edge to your loneliness. 


It's not an option for you to slip into a mindless existence of satellite TV and compulsive shopping like so many others. This difficulty doesn't just increase you pain it complicates your ability to interact with people. They don't want to acknowledge that the haphazard bandage of distraction isn't solving their loneliness and they don't want you there to remind them. Most likely, they do not realize this consciously but subconsciously attempt to protect themselves by leaving you hanging.

I know this sounds grim. I know it seems like you will never find friendship and that the plague of loneliness will continue its rampage unchecked, but I don't think it's optimistic or misguided to say that this isn't so. If you have such awareness of these issues, it stands to reason that there must be others. It's not a popular view, the masses prefer their defensive ignorant bliss, but there are others out there that share your convictions. Somehow, you will find each other.

I don't know when and I don't know how, but I think it is inevitable that you will find like-hearted people, it's just harder to find what there are fewer of in the world!

Stay strong, protect your hope, and soldier on.

Lovingly,
Hannah

Friday, July 17, 2015

1000 Days

This evening after dinner the hubbo mentioned that my marriage ticker hit 1000 days today! So we decided to get out and commemorate the occasion (also gave me a pressing reason to shower, big bonus).

There have been ups and downs but overall I'd say its been a good thousand....

The blowout diaper was a good touch too. Ha!

Resting Day

Yesterday was exhausting. I heeded my note, or so I thought, and tried to take it easy while getting done what I had to get done, but still came out of the day barely able to keep my head up. I think my body was weaker from the cold than I thought.

Started off with a couple errands (drive-thru pharmacy for the new thyroid med, new type and new dose and a pick up at the library, I parallel parked like a boss, driving a subcompact may have helped) and then I met up with a mom for a "moms" walk. We had walked together twice before, she has two older sons, twins, and a 4 month going on 5 month old like Baby. I enjoyed our walk, only  brief flares of social anxiety!

After that was nurse the baby so we could get home in one piece before starting laundry, taking a shower, and getting dressed before my mom arrived for an afternoon visit. I didn't do all the cleaning that my manic mind had initially connived but I was a little wound up for her visit.

It was a little awkward. I think I've worked up a decent boundary and some distance since we last saw each other and it was weird feeling so.... unconcerned. The hubbo came home from work a bit early with pizza to spare me too much time alone with her and hopefully curtail any potential "we need to talks" that she may have had in mind. Not ready for that! My boundaries are little stone garden walls, not quite barricades!

My hubby said that things were a little awkward but not too bad, so I'll go by his 3rd party view. I think what was missing was the highly charged emotional conversations where I would normally take the bait and become invested in the drama, I just didn't care. I didn't want to talk about my sister or her baby daddy or what my dad does wrong. I just left a lot of that on the table or said something diffusing.

So. It was different and felt weird, but I think it was good.

She left before dinner and we had a calm evening with some old school Star Trek and tea before bed. I didn't get all the sleep I needed last night but Baby did a great job sleeping in this morning, so I'm feeling a bit better :)

Got a busy day tomorrow, going to a baby wearing thing to explore some carrier options and then a ladies night out (for me at least) going color bowling. Or space bowling or whatever that nighttime laser show bowling is called. Gonna be hubbo's longest solo stretch yet!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Rejoice

Tank tops. Shorts. Skirts. I've been wearing them all a lot more often than ever before this summer and it's not just the heat. I have been more appreciative of my body after giving birth. Yes, things still chafe, jiggle, and bulge and I'm not totally comfortable in these summer staples just yet but I've noticed a major shift and I am very much enjoying the freedom-mentally as well as physically.

It took my hubbo pointing it out, but I also have good progress to celebrate and appreciate in another way. In fact, I can show instead of just tell:


I wrote this note to myself last night after staying up to finish watching "Star Trek Into Darkness." It says "you are feeling manic DO NOT over exert yourself <3 H." I was feeling a bit "I can do anything" after the exciting movie and anticipating the urge to clean and do too much too fast the next morning. 

This morning I actually did need the reminder and it came in handy but the hubster was most impressed by the fact that I was being easier on myself not to mention more courteous in a way, instead of beating up on myself or just bemoaning the mood shift. Feels good to be proactive.

More jollyness... I know I'm not exactly stable but it feels good not to feel horrible and it makes it so much easier to appreciate Baby. Since it's not always the case, I wanted to share some cute pics and a video and relish this state of mind a bit! Warning: I am utterly obnoxious in the video but Baby's sigh and face at the end is hilarious, as if to say "Well, thank goodness that's over, maybe she'll leave me alone now."

He used to ignore the mobile and now instead of just gazing at it, he dismantles it!
Definitely working on those motor skills.

It's a prime spit up scenario but he sure loves his play gym,
the flannel helps a bit with spit up, when he hasn't yanked it out of the way...
He's rolling over in both directions now and really yanking on those toys!



video

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Argh. A break would be nice.

Give a gal a break. I'm not just talking a break from Baby, I'm sure that would be helpful, but I'd rather have a break from my warped, messed up self. I'd like to have a day where I can make it through without wanting to self harm, being able to take care of my child as well as I'd like, eating and sleeping in a healthy fashion.

That's the break that I want. That's the Publisher's Clearing House prize, The Price is Right showcase, the lotto jackpot that I wish to win.

It won't happen. There is no ticket I can buy, there is no luck involved. It's a slow grind, tooth and nail, a fight to get those days.

I just have to keep believing that someday I can make it there.

And this is where the hubbo starts singing "Don't Stop Believin'."

Monday, July 13, 2015

Monday Missive #1

I've decided to try a weekly format for my therapeutic letter writing. I suppose there is a chance I'll resolve all my issues and run out of letters to write, but somehow I doubt that will happen.

What I hope happens is that I begin to have an easier time expressing my emotions and let off some steam. I don't have a strict format but plan to write letters to whomever about whatever, expressing some hard, negative feelings as well as sharing gratitude and positive feelings; anything to keep my emotional pipes unclogged and free flowing.

With that all in mind, here's my first "Monday Missive." We'll just have to wait and see where this takes us :)

Dear Sister,

We've had a rocky history. A rocky history that I fully accept partial responsibility for, but only partial. Lately I've come to realize that I've borne too much blame for the tension between us, too much guilt and too much sadness. 

The origins and history of these extra burdens is unimportant, but what happens now as I accept my awareness of these pains is important. It's important for you to know that I'm done investing hope in you. It's important for you to know that I'm drawing a line, building a moat on that line and creating some distance between us. 

For too many years I've thrown my well being under the bus because I thought it was owed under some twisted familial obligation. Well, no longer. I'm not the worthless snot rag of our family and I don't have to endlessly listen and advise without any reciprocation or repayment. I have a right to take care of myself first and I'm invoking it. I'm not going to wait around hoping that things change any longer.

All these feelings are exacerbated by recent events, mostly your untimely pregnancy and ridiculous engagement. I am disappointed in you. Not just for the violation of family standards (it rankles me to no end how much shit you talk about our cousin that conceived out of wedlock and then subsequently married the immature baby-daddy and yet here you are mirroring her mistakes to a T) but also for the selfish way you carry out your pregnancy like a reality TV show with hardly any perceivable concern for you child's welfare. 

I still can't believe that you are a moron but it's either that or you are completely deluded about the situation you have created for yourself. I tend to think you, like our mother, avoid reality as much as possible. That is disappointing and frustrating to no end, but slightly better than you being a complete imbecile. 

Why does this matter? Because I feel pressure to partake in your delusion and I am not interested. As far as I'm concerned, your pregnancy and engagement are facets of a quarter-life train wreck and I, for one, am not going to be merrily sipping champagne when the train chugs off a cliff. I just don't need this shit.

I'm not interested in feeding your need for attention or entertaining your romanticisms about the mess that you've made. I acknowledge the fact that everything could turn out well, your child may not have a horrible childhood and your marriage (assuming it even begins) may not be a complete sham, but I truly doubt this and anticipate a barrage of stressors from the fallout of your train wreck to befall me and my family.

Again, I'm not interested. I'm not interested in advising, listening, troubleshooting, enabling, or rehashing any of your drama. I will not feel guilty for avoiding you and the stress you represent to me and I will not feel bad for putting myself and my family first.

I am digging this mother fuckin' moat and if ever there comes a day when it becomes troublesome, I accept those repurcussions as a result of my decision to distance myself from you at this juncture and I'll accept responsibility, but for now, I will savor the peace my safe space gives me. 

I hereby relinquish any hope or expectation for us to be sisterly sisters and simply accept that we happen to be related and occasionally in close physical proximity. I will be decent and helpful when I can but retain the right to be a downright bitch as necessary in order to protect my well being and that of my family.

Your sister,
Hannah

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Baby

I'm talkin' with a frog in my throat today. I had hoped the cold would start alleviating but I guess I have to put in some more time.

The baby has started coughing too. It's horrible. He seems in fine spirits, but seeing him sick is a first the hubby and I aren't excited about.

In other news, he is hitting his milestones and doing well. He's been grabbing his feet and sticking them in his mouth like crazy, even taking pieces out of his swing mobile when he used to ignore the thing.

At his last check-in his percentiles were still high, 99% for weight, 97% for head, and 80% for height, but the lower height percentile irks me. I feel like I'm back in school and not getting the grades that I want. He doesn't look wrong, it's not like he's disproportionate, but it bothers me. I hope he jumps back up into the 90s for his next check up. But maybe if he doesn't I can use it as a learning opportunity, coming to terms with imperfections?

My mood was crappy yesterday and while I'm not feeling great today I feel marginally better. I think that I know in some corner of my brain that I just have to put one foot in front of the other until happier days return. It's a twisted system but I don't think all the supplements and food are the catalyst for feeling better, instead it's a chicken-and-egg blend of my mood getting a little better, so I take better care of myself, so my mood gets better, and I take even better care of myself... a snowball, ya know? I was rolling all right, but I'm back to putting flakes together one at a time.

OH. I found a forum online where moms gather for mental health support. I'm still getting to know the ropes, but I'm hopeful that it'll be a good community for me. As far as real life support, I'm still working on it. I'm pretty skeptical, but I keep trying. One "mommy walk" at a time...

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sickness

Still feeling sick, also feeling down. I'm frustrated with feeling so high maintenance and not feeling like my needs are being met. Had an appointment with my ND to check up on my thyroid and today I'm feeling overwhelmed and bad about myself. I feel bad about not eating well enough, about not taking enough supplements, about not exercising enough. Just bad. I've already spent the majority of my life so far feeling worthless and not good enough, is that going to be my story for the rest of my life?

I had the thought that I should find a new provider. Find someone who is realistic and positive, able to help me make good changes not just pile on should dos and skepticism. Part of me thinks that I should do this, and another part of me sighs and says "why bother?" I think I need to make changes, I just feel like I don't have the reserves to launch any new offenses. It's like my life is a war zone and I'm able to defend my little tiny reserve of sanity (with the occasional breech) but not able to make a push and take more ground...

In other news the hubbo and I made a wager. It's sick, but we make wagers and have bets regarding weird life things, like "if your dad says this during our visit then you when, if he doesn't then I win" or "I bet my mom will do this."

Well, this bet originated out of one of our conversations about my sister and I was imagining what it will be like visiting them once the baby arrives. The hubbo said something like, "what you wanna bet she'll have a c-section? I'm like 80% sure she will. I pretty much know it." The wager? Who gets to pick the design of an easy chair for the living room. We are a certain kind of twisted, aren't we?

Off to my 3rd cup of tea today... or is it the 4th? Whatever. Hot liquid is sooo necessary to me at the moment... Soothing hot liquid, you are my friend.


Thursday, July 9, 2015

No, No, NO

Scratchy throat, phlegm, aches, extra tiredness, and a bit of coughing today. Not what I need. SOOOO not what I need.

I'm spent. Just want to crawl in a hole and disappear until things get better, as if there is some magical way for things to be made better. Not good depending on magic. Not good.

I know my mood is bad and that I can't think straight, I can't see a way for things to get better and that it's crushing me. I know I'm not firing on all cylinders yet I can't whack my head with a wrench and get it working right again. Not sleeping sure ain't gonna help.

I feel like such an idiot. I have to tell myself it's my broken brain but I'm slipping into that zone where all the logic in the world won't make me feel like a worthwhile person.

These are the days I wish that I had a reboot button like a computer... I need to be restarted. Restarted and reprogrammed. Where the hell is Happy 2.0 where you need it? Shit, I'd settle for Okay 1.0...

I know there are people that have told me to contact them when I'm feeling down but I just can't bring myself to even text. I feel like such a charity case. No one wants to talk or hang out unless it's a dire situation. Am I that repugnant? I feel ashamed and awkward, embarrassed that I can't keep it together, and so tired of fighting my way through each day.

There doesn't seem to ever be any refuge from my own mind.

This whole week I haven't slept well and it looks like I'm in for another horrible night.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A ha! D'oh

I wrote that last entry and then wondered "Why am I feeling so low now? I thought I felt better this morning despite last night?" Then I remembered that I had come home from my walk and errands to find a FB of a friend with her friend doing a mommy meet up and I had hung out with them before but wasn't invited again. It hurt. I feel like I will never find friends.

So that sucks, but I am glad that I realized what was making me feel so bad. Now I don't have to be so afraid that the black dog is coming, I have a reason to be sad! Now the trick is processing and moving on :)

Hold It, Hold It

Last night was rough, not a total bottoming out but rough. 

The hubster and I are both overtired and starting to fray. Last night I became concerned with my postpartum recovery and I had a hard time expressing my feelings. He was having a hard time communicating with me about his needs or offering me support without me biting his head off. We ended up eating ice cream and sort of rebooting the evening.

I have started to wonder if everything is settling back into the right places (physically). I hate to use the word prolapse but I wonder if that might be apt. I've been having a unique discomfort the last several weeks and I don't think things feel quite right. It's not a constant issue, it seems to come and go, but I think I need to get it all checked out and the idea of just one more problemo feels overwhelming.

The hubster is keeping his cool about it all. He's not entirely sure what the situation is or what it feels like but he's very much "one thing at a time, things will sorted out eventually, little by little." I, on the other hand, overthink things. I start to think of the pelvic health issue but then begin to simultaneously think of all the things that are stressing me all at once and collapse under the weight. That said, I am gaining a little bit of traction and realizing that my mind is working against me and while I can't fully put on the breaks, I think just that bit of awareness is a good step.

So. I'm trying to hang tight, trying to remain steady and "hold it, hold it" until my mood rebounds. I don't want to buckle under the pressure, I just want to hold steady, not lose any ground, take some time and then get back to it when I feel better.

By "back to it" I mean getting better and getting back on top of things... Keeping the house clean and taking care of myself and Baby. It seems like so little and so much at once.

Baby steps. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Simple Things


Tired, well, actually more like exhausted and one good night's rest just wasn't enough to rejuvenate me. Anyway, despite my tiredness I have felt well this morning compared to the last few days. I was able to enjoy some simple things this morning and felt like this was worth acknowledging! It is remarkable how much pleasure can be gained from a simple cup of coffee and some potted flowers.

I quite enjoyed planting these flowers yesterday and while I never thought this day would come, I can honestly say that I would relish the opportunity to garden in my own yard some day. Growing up I hated yard work, I was afraid of bugs and didn't like getting dirty, but now there is something therapeutic and soothing to the work now, a connection to the Universe that nourishes my faith like only nature can.

Just a minor note regarding the flowers... I have wanted a coleus plant for years and I am especially enjoying having one. Same goes for the cockscomb. Can you tell I'm very tactile???

Also, my chintzy glowy LED ball ornament gives me joy :)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Why So Many Lies?

Feeling shitty today after therapy and dumping about my sister. We did manage to talk about some positive things and some improvements that I've made and can make but it wasn't a super satisfying session and coming home to a warm apartment, a bungled pizza pick up (I forgot the hubbo's soda), and a needy baby just ground me down...

So this afternoon I was marinating in negative feelings and felt myself starting to bemoan my situation, wondering "Why so many lies?" in my first family. It didn't take long for me to realize that it doesn't matter. It's a stupid question. Useless.

Sure, I could analyze everyone and everything and find the potential sources of whatever psychological issues my family may have but it doesn't get me anywhere. It may marginally improve my tolerance but the real issue is that I hurt. I hurt and I don't think I deserve to hurt and I don't want to hurt anymore.

My family can't provide the help or support or comfort that I need and I can't expect them to change any time soon... or ever. It's been over a quarter century, I think things are pretty set! But what I can do is manage my boundaries, create some distance, and take care of myself and the family I am starting with the hubster now.

For tonight I will try to bulk up the mental blockade against the stressors from my first family. I have a visual that usually helps quite a bit, I imagine blowing up a giant bubble around myself and then my room and then the entire condo and then the entire building, block, city etc. etc.

I need a safe zone and even if it's a lonely safe zone for the moment, I'd rather have an empty safe zone and be looking for good friends than just hanging out in a stressed, no holds barred, pressure cooker zone.

Baby steps.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Another Disappointment

Trying to plumb some negative feelings about my sister and her pregnancy.

Yesterday I was in a rush to get on the road with Baby after the family 4th of July BBQ and didn't hug her goodbye. My friend S (the mutual one I share with my mom) walked down the driveway and gave me a hug while my sister stood further up, not moving. I wasn't about to walk back up to her with my babe crying away so I just waved farewell.

Today I struggled with that and trying not to feel guilty for putting my needs first and leaving in such a fashion. I decided to text her some "nothing" about having a good trip back east and she dropped something about seeing our aunt (the smoker I used to be close with). She had gone to our aunt's house for a few hours, pizza and games.

I was a little shocked. I purposefully avoided that place while I was pregnant and since for the sake of my baby's health. She and my uncle smoke so much the house reeks and certainly doesn't feel healthy. My sister said that they went outside to smoke while she was there, rather "when I'm here," so she's been multiple times during her pregnancy it would seem.

It boggles my mind. I suppose I'm a bit paranoid about avoiding secondhand smoke, but during pregnancy and infancy shouldn't one be paranoid? My gut says she isn't being reasonable or relaxed about health risks during her pregnancy, my gut says she just don't care. I then wonder if she just doesn't care or if it hasn't occurred to her at all, and I'm not sure. I think my sister is smarter than that, but I have been proven wrong before...

Ugh. I need to work on some constructive ways to purge these negative feelings, maybe try another therapeutic letter, but I just don't have the time right now.

I will aim to purge this week...

Well Good on ya Hersheys

Looking at the back of a chocolate bar wrapper I saw a little badge design that said "Gluten Free" and underneath it in the design is "As Always."

Ive seen so many inherently gluten free items with "Gluten Free" badges it makes me sick. Water. Rice. Peanuts. Raisins. It's ridiculous.

I understand the marketing value of sticking those stupid labels on the packaging but the idiocy peeves me. At least the chocolate bar owned up to being gluten free as always and not implying a reformulation.

It's the little things that count, right?

PS if you couldnt guess the gluten free fab diet crazy irks me. If ya have celiacs for real I suppose it's all a boon but utterly annoying to have people adhering to a gluten free diet for made up health benefits when real sufferers go their entire lives battling such a disease....

It's still broiling. Makes me extra pissy I suppose.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Would it Matter?

Would it matter if my sister had a diagnosable mental illness? What if she did and had it diagnosed? Would it matter? Would it change my life at all? Would anything improve?

If she had a diagnosis would her behavior improve? Might she take better care of herself or communicate better? I'm not really convinced. Awareness does nothing without one taking responsibility.

Would it change the family dynamic? Not likely. I doubt she would be held accountable any more than she is now, having a diagnosis may just engender more coddling and tolerance, surely a scenario that would sting me more than the current one. I'd rather my condition be ignored than to have my sister flagrantly treated with kid gloves once diagnosed with a mental illness similar or identical to mine.

Would a diagnosis make us closer? No. Just look to exhibit A and my sister's "accidental" pregnancy. While under vastly different circumstances one might think that undertaking motherhood around the same time would make us closer, but I believe the opposite has occurred.... Who's to say what the future will bring but right now I see us separated like never before.

Would it matter to my life at all? Maybe I'm just stuck in pessimistic mode but the only things I can see are negative. Being called on more to play co-parent or Mrs. Fix-it, watching my family try to help her and being reminded of all the times I've been left to my own devices, or worst of all having the diagnosis be completely ignored, nothing changing, just another elephant added to the herd that occupies the dead air amid my family.

I know there is no answer I can truly reach with this hypothetical. Maybe the only thing remotely cloase to an answer is that it would matter to me. If my sister were diagnosed it would mean that I'm not crazy about something being not quite right. It would make me feel better about all the anguish I've experienced challenging the status quo of my first family and doubting my observations, my own authority.

I guess that's the only answer I'll ever need.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Need to Write More

At therapy Monday my therapist invited me to write more therapeutic letters regarding my family, specifically my sister. I admitted I was having some mean thoughts related to the name she has chosen for her baby. You don't really need to know the name, just the initials, since my beef is with the initials: BS. And with the middle initial? BMS.

So bullshit and bowel movements.

In my mind I kept referring to the baby as "Shitbaby," which is what I admitted in therapy and while not the only reason she suggested I write more angry letters, probably a big factor. No fetus needs to be called "Shitbaby."

I'm sure I feel some resentment toward the baby itself but I think most of my negative feelings are geared toward my sister for making such a poorly timed, poorly reasoned decision and for (in my mind) not taking it all very seriously. As someone who was very deliberate and concerned about her conception, pregnancy, birth, and parenthood I find it insulting and upsetting to have the kit-n-caboodle shoveled around so cavalierly.

Ugh. I guess it all isn't something that can be taken too seriously, can it? For me having children is something I've always wanted to experience but I was also concerned about my disease and having children, concerned about passing on mental illness or having my issues scar my child or hamper my ability to parent-it was all very serious to me. Yet I've heard that around 1/3 of pregnancies are unplanned in our country. 1/3! And we're supposed to be advanced in the art of contraception and sexual hipness. Pfft.

The hubbo says it burns us because we "followed all the rules and still get shafted, and she breaks all the rules and is gets star treatment and it's just a slap in the face." I think what he means is how we feel ignored and unsupported by my family while sister gets the FEMA response to her crisis-after-crisis lifestyle.

All of those negative feelings and then I also have a burden of guilt plaguing me. I feel guilted by my mother almost constantly and even feeling the blame shifted to me from my sister for our relationship not being what we would both like. Doesn't it take two to tango?

I'm guilt-sick. So sick of living a guilty life. I wish I could live guilt-free.

This came up in another way today when I was going through my card binder (I send handmade cards to family and friends for birthdays, anniversaries etc.) I was wrestling with whom to send cards to and whom to cut from my list. It's time consuming making the cards and buying envelopes and while stamps are cheap sending out 40 cards in addition to Christmas cards can affect the ole bottom line.... Anyways, it was a guilt fest. Feeling guilty for not sending cards to people even if they hardly acknowledge my existence or contact me throughout the year but feeling awkward in anticipation of not sending cards. It's like I can't win.

SIGH.

Today was pretty decent even though I'm feeling ucky. Having my first *official* period postpartum and it's kicking my butt. No spotting and "what was that?" anymore, it's a full blown uterine shed-fest. Add to that I've been sleeping poorly and not drinking enough water (damn this heat wave and it's little heat wave doggie too) and I've been dragging a bit.

Even with my ookiness I managed to get in a good walk today to Town Center and enjoyed some coffee and scone with a puzzle while Baby napped at the cafe. Tomorrow I meet up with some FB mommy groupers for another walk on the trail, we'll see how that goes...

Todays walk included some trail breastfeeding, almost forgot! That wasn't nearly as interesting as the subsequent 2-3 stops to get a burp outta Baby. Like fracking trying to get this kiddo to let out those burps!

My mood is all right but I'm feeling wary as the tiredness keeps piling up...