Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dream #3764 & Happy New Year

I am in labor again. It feels the same, but I am more self assured. The midwife silently attends me, the hubs waits patiently beside me; they both know that I know what I'm doing. The baby comes and I pull it into my lap and onto my chest, the midwife murmuring compliments as she inspects the wrinkled newborn and listens for the first cry. The cry is loud and startling, so much different than Baby Bananaface's had been

The placenta comes. I am cleaned up by the midwife and then I hand the baby to my husband and don a sleeveless sleep shirt with tiny buttons down the front. I head outside. I have no underwear or pad on and can feel the blood oozing from my gaping cervix, it would surely course down my leg in a few seconds time, but I walk on into the blazing sunshine.

I am in some arid place. The ground is dusty and the horizon orange canyons and shimmering cars driving a long haul to some place more welcoming. I walk toward a large bridge extended over a canyon. It is sun bleached blue with thousands of large bolts. A trickle of water is far below at the bottom of the canyon calling itself a river on some maps.

Just before the bridge leaves solid ground there is a parking lot with a viewpoint and various placards with local history for tourists. I come to a small railing dividing the parking lot from the main road and sit down, letting my legs hang down the short cinder block wall, leaning forward onto the lowest rung of the metal railing.

I am looking for my mother but cannot recognize her in the crowd of tourists. My gaze falls to the ankles of the throng of people and I see a blurry tattoo half covered by ankle socks and well worn slip on sneakers. She turns and comes to me with her arms crossed, her face blank.

"It's a girl." I say, my own face veiled, my eyes watching and waiting.

She turns away, back to the lookout and I sigh.

The midwife and my husband are walking out to me with the baby. They are chatting and smiling, joyful and proud.

I sit at the railing and feel the blood pooling within me. I want to weep but I sit and let the sun beat down on my back and arms, willing it to evaporate my tears from within.

---


That was my dream. I needed to type it out... get it out.

In other news, the hub's turns 30 at 12:01 AM and we ring in the New Year. Not sure if I'll be awake but he usually insists on some fanfare so I shall try :)

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year, a better year than last, health, joy, and friendship. Let's hope for a good one :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Quote and a First

"Ow! Shit balls, how'd that get on my tits?!"

Marinara.


Also first post from Blogger app! Woot!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas-Family-Woo-Not

Christmas. We survived. I'm exhausted and my head is still spinning over my mother, but we're alive and well enough.

My mother, you ask? Well after the gift exchange and unexpectedly seeing my sister we all knew that a family Christmas all of us together was out. I suppose my email upset my mom enough that she opted for no Christmas with us at all. I was pretty shocked that she didn't want to see her grandson unwrap some gifts... maybe in her mind it was "on Christmas itself or not at all." I don't know.

We've been told by my dad that she's in a state and if we "need anything, go through me" so there's a sort of no contact order in effect. It's quite shocking but at the same time not totally unexpected. When I violate family norms she usually locks herself away or becomes distant until a few days or weeks or months later she reappears as if nothing ever happened. It's sad and frustrating and confusing but I know enough now to know it's her problem, not mine.

So we didn't have Christmas with my family. Instead we stopped by a tennis tournament where my brother was playing on the way home from the hub's family and saw my dad and my brother and picked up our gifts. It was nice to see my brother and my dad and we had a good time. Sad to pick up gifts and see them splotched with rain and torn from being heaped into a trunk when they should've been plucked from under a sparkling Christmas tree... but hopefully this is just this year.

My family expresses love through physical things and food so opening the gifts and seeing such thoughtful things felt really good. I even cried a little.

That said I feel like it's not okay for me to be sick or displeased with the treatment I receive and the little girl inside me felt like my mom was choosing my aunt over me. I totally get that she's actually really truly dying right now and I only might die maybe but it's such a deep, sucking sad feeling of abandonment to not have the nurturing relationship I so need from my mom. Ugh. No. No more...

That's all about that for now. I don't want to get too emotional, I'm already exhausted.



Had therapy, it was good. Talked about keeping toxic people like my sister and my mom out of my life while I gain some strength and work on personal boundaries. Talked about how the holidays weren't a disaster and I didn't do all that bad (though she wishes I had just walked out of the gift exchange instead of be miserable around my sister) and I'm supposed to stop thinking and focusing on my family so much, if I can help it. Shifting focus to something more positive, or getting better.

Also asked me about a New Year's Resolution. I said "I want ME back." Tall order. Gotta figure out what that is exactly before I go after it....


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ding ding ding!

e guessed right on! My "What am I?" picture was chunks of cornbread fresh outta the oven having been toasted for stuffing. Gold sticker for you!

The hubs and I did a Cajun spiced turkey, succotash, cornbread dressing, greens, and exhaustion for dinner. I didn't have much of an appetite but enjoyed a taste of everything. I've been very tired all afternoon and cannot wait for sleep. Last night was horrible, tossing and turning for hours!

Anyways.

I'm feeling sad and lonesome, having difficulty keeping up with BB, and being impatient with the hubs. Oddly, the dog and I seem on good terms. It may not be the best of Christmases, but there are always off years. I hope everyone has a cheerier holiday than me if not an exceptionally fantastic one to boot :)

Sending gratitude and love into the blogoverse a little more than usual tonight, for Christmas, for you all.

Happy Holidays

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Friday? Wait... no Wednesday.

Feels like Friday. The hubs has been home the past two days and the holiday is coming up fast.

The hubbo is excited, getting in the spirit. I am... sad. I have no appetite, I am simply helping prepare for a Christmas Eve feast because that is the thing to do. I somewhat enjoy the holiday lights, but they make me blue, wishing for a cheerier holiday. I just can't be cheery and that's that; I have to settle for a sad, every-once-in-a-while smile type of uncheerful.

In other news, Sunday has continued to shakedown and fallout. My dad sent the hubs an email discussing how hard things are for my mom at the moment and assumptions were made and basically excusing all behavior and requesting accommodations. It was really invalidating. I feel like my family just doesn't care, they're just waiting for the "all clear" so everything can go back to normal.

I can't go back to normal. When/if I get through this I'll be something else entirely and I don't want the same ole relationship with my family to pursue.

Also related to Sunday, during the phone call and email with my dad my aunt Sally came up a bit. Apparently she's not well, medications making it difficult to walk, not going to last long. I know nothing concrete, just sad hearsay...

I haven't been close with my aunt for quite some time. I saw this eventuality coming many years back and when I realized she wasn't going to stop smoking I began distancing myself. The last time I saw her she couldn't help but complain about my mom and how they were estranged at the moment or distant, whatever, it was like nothing had changed and it made me sad. I expect nothing has changed. She hasn't called or texted or written me and I'm in such a state that I can't go out on salvation missions. It feels cold but true. I just can't give myself away when I've got barely enough to cling to.

What I did do was send flowers for Christmas/just because. I made sure the arrangement had carnations because they always make me think of her and the hubby was nice enough to buy them. They should be delivered tomorrow. Delivery on Christmas Eve! I was surprised. Anywho...

I'm confused. I'm sad. I spent a healthy chunk of yesterday in bed and wanted to again today but the hubs got me moving.

I know I won't get a better mood for Christmas, but a few good hours strung together would be great.

In all my Christmas grumpery I am thankful for this blogging community and support. Even when I don't have nice things to say I feel understood and accepted, thank you everyone for that. Thank you very much.

And with that, I will copycat The Happy Whisk and do a "What am I?" just for kicks ;) (I mean, I did think it was Friday after all)

Perhaps I should've zoomed closer?
The Whisk is the pro here, I admit this fully!

Monday, December 21, 2015

An Unusual Monday

Today was unusual for a variety of reasons but the main two involve an email and a phone call.

The email was one that I sent to my mother. Yes. Seriously. I spoke out. I'm still in a bit of shock over it. I was very emotional but tried to be inoffensive and just lay it out there, but I've been feeling ooky about expressing any feelings but the hubs says I didn't do anything wrong, it's just my family doesn't deal with feelings or conflict very well... well, just read and maybe you'll know what I mean:

Dear Mom.

I had already decided that I didn't want you to be a part of my color-coded support system anymore but Sunday clinched it. I feel like my mood or my needs are only important when it's convenient or easy for you, and that's not the type of support that I need. It's only further demoralizing and depressing. Whenever you gruffly inquire as to my color for the day, my mood dives, especially when I haven't heard from you in days besides. it isn't working for me and I won't go on acting like it is to try and spare your feelings.

As for Sunday, I told you that SISTER, her pregnancy, the baby have all become triggers, and we did not get a single heads up that she would be there after years of not, disparaging the event and skipping out we didn't expect her. It was very clear to me that my needs and health aren't important in our family, simply looking well enough and putting on a good show are paramount. That doesn't work for me. I need honesty, I need genuine emotion and caring, and I need more support than being blindsided by a huge trigger without any warning from my so-called support network. 

Hannah

NRN

(I figured email was the best way to avoid sending massive onslaughts of much maligned "Hannah texts")

My color-coded support system was an idea born of my hospital stay and so far has been a failure. I don't get the support I need from the people I selected and we're going to be transitioning to using hotlines as my primary resource for help since I can't communicate as needed with my support system. ANYWAYS. The email was intense but I reined myself in a lot.

The phone call was with my dad. I decided to call him and let him know that there was no way we could be there for Christmas but we hoped that we could come down once my sister and co. leave. Apparently Mom had forwarded him the email and so we talked about that too. He asked if it was okay to talk about some things and I said that I might cry but it was okay, and he said tears were good a sign he thought. 

It was a good talk and a bad talk and a long talk and sad talk and a happy talk. Every once in a long while my dad and I connect this way and I feel understood and seen and appreciated but it doesn't happen very often. This time I was sensitive to feeling a little.... well, ya know when someone sympathizes with you but then talks about how someone else has it harder and it invalidates you but you feel guilty so you're not sure if you're in the wrong or if the other person is just making you feel bad? There was a little bit of that. 

I totally understand I'm not the center of the world and that there are other things going on, but I expect to treated with decency. Dad mentioned how poorly my Aunt Sally is going and how it doesn't seem like it will be long and he mentioned how much my sister has wanted to talk with me... it's still too much. I can't give anything away when I'm barely rooted to this plane.

So. There is some of my day. Some of the emotions roiling around in me at the moment. It's messy and confusing but I feel a bit lighter and I don't think this is the last time I will stir up some shit at my family's expense.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Surprise! *barf*

Today was my family gift exchange. A gift exchange that my sister routinely avoids and disparages, pointing out that our extended family is not that close. Not news to anyone, but sometimes it's fun and the hubs and I have always gone. Not a second thought this year, simply a to-do to attend the exchange but guess who showed up for the first time in years? with her new baby and baby daddy? My sister.

The big stink (in my hubby's opinion) was getting no heads up from my mother who knows that my sister is a trigger for me. He's pissed. We're even less likely to visit my parents for Christmas (still can't decide on a firm no) now as being around my sister was unpleasant and upsetting for me. The shaking subsided pretty quickly but the knot in my gut persisted. I couldn't look at her or the baby, I just tried to focus on the exchange moving along and getting out of there.

I cried on the way home. Angry at myself for feeling that way and thinking it was stupid of me to have such a reaction, angry at my mother for not having my interests in mind even a little bit, and sad to think of disappointing my dad by not being home for Christmas.

All that said, I feel like I'm not totally bottoming out. Sad and disappointed, but hanging in there. I hope it stays that way. Not the best way to end the weekend though, especially with the psychiatrist already recommended having the baby in daycare Monday because of a change in my harmful thoughts a couple times. More mess to my life. Tomorrow could be rough, but we'll have to wait and see and be careful.

****

Okay, maybe it's just a delayed onset cuz I'm starting to feel angry and weepy and tense! Ergh....

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Yesterday

Yesterday Depression shouldered his way into our day and nearly ruined it. Well, he ruined the first half for sure as I ended up suicidal and in bed. That afternoon the hubs encouraged me into the shower and while I refused to eat, he made me eat and we went out to finish the Christmas shopping. We had had plans of going to see the new Star Wars but BB was too sick for daycare (in our opinion) and I was... incapable.

In the end it wasn't total loss. We ended the day on a much better note than we started. I think emailing my psychiatrist that morning set me into a slide. I had a couple incidents where I felt impulses to do harm to BB not just the thoughts and it really freaked me out. Feeling my lack of progress so keenly was quite upsetting.

Planning to get active today and get Fio out on a walk-we'll see how many bigger dogs he frightens this time! Also want to hit the Y before I make some peppermint bark and do some chores. I think every new mother should get a massive washer/dryer cuz keeping up with laundry now is an Olympic event.



Oh. Off risperidone and up on lamictal. Woo.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Just Keep Trudgin'

Today was rough. Last night was rough. BB is sick again and very needy. I drove around over two hours this morning because he was sleeping in the car seat (catching up on the sleeping he didn't do last night!).

My mood was anxious nervous about caring for BB for the day and then okay and then crappy. My mom texted me. Ugh. Ignoring that pile of crap and moving on.

Tonight is the last night I take risperidone. One pill down and out and I'm glad. Still have lots of pills I'm popping, but getting one outta there is nice.

Not really looking forward to Christmas as it has become a showdown in my mind, a clash of wills between me and my mom/sister. Me having a good time doing my own thing is an act of rebellion and that is such a challenge for me. Anti-anxiety meds may play a big role in getting me through those days!

Dont have a picture at the moment, but Fio got a new hairdo and he looks hilarious-his tail poof and fro and poofy ears are all shaved off and he looks like a chunky like pig-dog. His head is so tiny looking compared to his belly! Not having walks and hikes has really taken a toll on his weight, really hard to hide on his frame!

Ornaments season is coming to a close and I feel like I barely participated. Even the little that I did was taxing and wore me out. I feel a shell of my former self. I understand the resentment women feel toward their babies now, feeling robbed of a self let alone a body and freedom.

I am tired. To bed I go, well after drinking water, brushing my teeth, fiddling with something, and fretting about tomorrow-ya know, going to bed ;)


Monday, December 14, 2015

Weaning

I am sipping sage tea twice a day, skipping nursing sessions and swapping in bottles, sometimes using my pump and using bottles instead of boobs, learning how to cuddle and feed with a bottle; little by little making the shift to a nursing free existence.

It's sad. It's thrilling. It's confusing.

My heart aches as I think of my son never returning to my breast and alternately, I rejoice at the prospect of having my body back; no more engorgement, no more leaking, no more nursing, no quibbling over my bra or shirt choice in the morning.

It was a rough decision for me and it's still one that I have to recommit to every so often because I'm not sure if it is the right thing to do, only time will tell.

Nursing in the hospital,
just about to touch hands
and reconnect.

It feels like a relief so far, which is encouraging and the biggest part of why I decided weaning was the way to go: I needed relief. I have become so reduced by my illness that I don't feel as if I do much at all but nonetheless I am overwhelmed. Cutting out breastfeeding will hopefully help relieve some stress and pressure from my life, I think just making the decision to wean has done some of that.

Not every session, but lately quite frequently nursing has been very frustrating. I get angry and feel trapped, think about other things I could be doing or other, darker thoughts. Every so often it's the beautiful, wondrous, peaceful thing that it once was and that is what I grieve. But the prospect of releasing myself from the tortuous sessions and anxieties over supply and engorgement and growth spurts and biting, that feels like such a gift, a gift to give myself.... and hopefully if my health improves, then a gift in turn for my family.

He was so "little" here...

So much grieving in my life lately. Funny, grief seems like when they send you home with your baby. You can't believe there aren't instructions or a course to qualify as a parent or rules, it just is. That's grief. No rules, no directions, no qualifications, you just have to grapple with it. But boy, I want to learn more about this grief monster!

In other news, my period is on and I'm a raging sugerhund. Chocolate beware, I'm on yer trail. Oh, and cookies... lotso cookies.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Trying Something New

The holiday season always bring up religion and that's an odd thing my home because my husband is ex-Mormon, now "agnostic" and I am an atheist. It's taken us both a long time to get to where we are with our faiths (yes, I consider atheism a faith, maybe that's odd) and we still have many discussions about it pretty regularly.

Anyways. I don't like to talk about religion because I hate confrontation and I feel like being an atheist is something of a controversial thing. "America was founded as a religious country" and "under God" and "In God we trust" are just the tip of the iceberg. How many religious loonies have violently attacked so-called "abortion clinics?" How many so-called devout Muslims are reigning terror across the world? Things like that make me feel like a target. It's probably partly my anxiety but partly pragmatism from observing the religious atmosphere in my country and how aggressively atheists can be received.

The thing is, we don't need to find God. We found him, lifted up his skirts and felt around his beard, poked and prodded until we made the decision we could leave the idea of him behind, and so we did. 

So here are some of my beliefs; mostly because I like to check in with myself an evaluate this from time to time and also because I think it's healthy for me to exercise having some opinions instead of smiling and nodding my way through life, hiding large parts of who I am.

---
I view faith as a fluid thing. It matures and changes throughout a lifetime and that's natural. Altering views doesn't negate everything we believe or make us fools, it's just part of being human. Within every religion, individuals have individual faiths with idiosyncrasies and exceptions and additions and the same is true for those of us that dwell beside or outside religion.

So. My beliefs. This won't be utterly thorough I'm sure but I'll try to cover the big ones and if anyone has any good questions or ideas I can explore those as well.

Where do we come from? I believe that all the elements here on Earth that make up life came from ancient stars that went supernova, so in that way we're all stardust. We evolved into the forms we are today and that's wicked cool just like all the other amazing lifeforms inhabiting the planet with us. We aren't "special" or "chosen" we're just the best at this evolving game.

On a bigger scale, I don't know where the universe came from and I accept the fact that I probably won't learn that answer in my lifetime. I believe science is the only way we can ever know, though I'm not sure we ever will. I'm okay with that. The unknown is okay, after all, we've been dwelling with it for quite a while and it hasn't totally demolished us!

What happens when we die? This is another unknown that I've come to accept and be friendly with. As far as our "souls" or our "spark," I think that nothing comes from nothing so I imagine it may recycle somehow, but I also see it as a something like the light that turns on when the coffee pot is brewing. If it's alive and kicking, the light glows, if it's off, the light does not. The light theory just doesn't fill out the picture for me though, and part of me believes that souls are a unique composition we have yet to discover and that like our physical bodies they too will redistribute after we die. I don't think they would recycle as a whole, no reincarnation business, but something recycle-y.

I don't believe in heaven or hell or an afterlife. Once we're done, we're done; and I don't think that's a bad thing. One lifetime is enough. I look at other animals and the lives they live and think we got it pretty good. I wouldn't want to be a fruit fly and I wouldn't want to be a giant tortoise spending 100 years+ munching greens, just not my thing. We live on in memory and those we leave behind and that's a wonderful thing. Not every species has that.

What about rules to live by? As far as morals and guidance, there is a lot of value in traditional religions but a lot of harm as well. I think that most people may have certain instinctual values from the get-go but other cultural things come with time, some good, some bad, many from evolution itself. Right and wrong is relative, so I find any arguments about morals generally to be shaded or biased. I am guided by Darwinian theories for the most part and if it suits the survival of our species, that's about as right as you can get in my book. That's not always pretty, but seems the most truthful to me.

What about God or Gods? Oh, the big one, I don't believe in a god or gods. Kinda forgot about that one. We are here, we evolved, we just are for however long. I believe in coincidence and while I sometimes fall into old habits of luck and superstition, I try to avoid thinking that way and reading into things searching for too much symbolism. Symbolism is important to bring meaning and connection to life, but a little goes a long way.

I don't believe we have anything or anyone looking out for us or guiding things a certain way. That can be a scary idea but once again, getting friendly with the unknown is part of life for me. There may not be someone looking out for us "upstairs" but that also means there isn't anyone trying to rip our souls out and ruin our lives "downstairs" and I like that idea quite a lot! Bad things happen, good things happen, sometimes for a reason and sometimes not. That's life. It's rough and tough but that's life. Any armadillo smushed by a car on a hot Texan highway knows that.

How do you live without faith? I've written before about Faith vs. faith, and I think it's worth repeating: just because I'm not a religious person doesn't mean that I don't have faith and that I can't be spiritual. Too many people see atheists as amoral heathens and that is just not the case. Anyone who has been reading my blog for very long can probably tell I have lots of values and even spiritual moments in my life and even I have faith, and with faith comes hope. It's a human trait, a necessity as I see it. I don't know if there are universities studying this type of thing but I think they'd find that everyone around the world and maybe some higher level animals besides us show hope and utilize faith. Falling asleep and believing tomorrow will come takes faith. Everyone is faithful in my book, whether or not they acknowledge it.

What's your reason for living? I don't really see an endgame in life, it's really just living for the now, for our lifetime and for those we love and care for and to experience lovely things and work hard to thrive instead of simply survive. I live for my husband and my son, my blogging community gives meaning to my life as does yoga and nature. I believe I would buckle under the pressure of trying to live a certain way to obtain or earn a certain end result and while it's not part of my belief system I struggle with a sense of perfectionism, so living for "just because" actually helps calm me down and take the pressure off.


And yes, I use words like "amen" and "Jesus Christ!" but that's a cultural thing, not a religious thing I think.... I can't imagine not exclaiming "Good God!" when a tree falls down or "Jesus Christ!" when we lose traction in the snow or some bit of unsavory news is dropped in my ear, but these aren't pleas to a deity, they're just curses, dammit ;) and acknowledgment of something awing. I hope that makes sense...?


I think that's enough writing for now. I'm sure there are more questions and topics to be discussed, but what I've written has made me feel better and more connected with my faith again, and that was the main objective.

It's a scary thing for me to post this. I'm afraid of what people may think, but I trust my readers and this community and feel like it is a safe and accepting place for me to explore these thoughts-and hell, it's my blog! I can post what I want to!  :)

Friday, December 11, 2015

A video and a wellness update

This video brought me some joy today:



Those faces! They are like flying penguins or just more approachable than the pileated woodpeckers we have up here ;) Either way they make me a bit happy and that makes me grateful. I am also grateful for The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Their bird cams rock and I love their newsletter, it helps me get back in touch with positive things that I love even when I stray.


My mood lately... it's been up and down though by "up" I mean still sad but functional and feeling a bit optimistic or normal, not really up, up or feeling better. The down has been awful. It doesn't seem as bad as a few weeks ago when it was day after day of feeling horrible but the off and on is pretty bad too, I never know what to do and always feel off balance.

I've shaken some of the sadness and I seem to be avoiding the crying spells, so I'm not quite as down as I was before but I have been tired and drained and overwhelmed, especially by Baby Bananaface. That was a huge part of what made Thursday so bad, was all the hurtful thoughts I had toward him because I just wasn't fit to parent. At therapy, I parked his stroller and ignored him. The therapist had to soothe him or entertain him, I was just checked out. I ended up driving around a lot to keep him asleep later.

Sadness and frustration over my parents was another bad part of Thursday for me. They cancelled day-of to do Zoolights with us, and while we had a great time I felt rejection and disappointment wash over me later. A part of me feels like my mother is punishing me for the issues with my sister, it's all in my head but I have this imaginary motivation for her actions that is linked to me not going to visit my sister or me saying I might not go to Christmas etc. etc. My therapist gently reminded me that working on boundaries may mean staying away from family until those boundaries are better developed, and I think she's right on.

Good grief.... what would it feel like to feel unconditionally loved by my parents? understood and accepted? I may never know, and in the mean time I have to take care of myself and say "screw what they think!" and go after what makes me feel better. ***

Anyways, wellness. I'm not well. I'm above water level but I'm not thriving. Things need to change, they need to change so I don't end up back in the hospital or hurting my baby or hurting myself. I need regular, scheduled childcare to give me relief and I need time to work on myself and take care of myself. I need care right now, not to ignore my needs and try to soldier through-that's not working. I think I'm coming around to understanding that more now!




*** I feel like my parents would say that they love me unconditionally and accept me but I don't feel that, I feel judged and as if I have to earn my affection . I don't think the fault lies only in them or me, I think it's a messed up party of sadness but it is so frustrating feeling like we speak different languages...


Zoolights

I had never been to a Zoolights thing before and while the outing was stressful and started out pretty rocky, I ended up having a good time.

Rocky? Well when we showed up at the zoo expected to get in before sunset to see the animals, it turned out they were closed Tues/Wed during winter. I spiraled way down and while we walked in a park to kill some time I was trudging with my head down stuck in my misery. It didn't really lift until I saw the puffins and the rest of the excursion I was in a much better mood.



Ice skating puffins jolted me out of my bad mood 
Owl on cactus delighted me.



My favorite!

The purple tree was a highlight for me as was the aquarium although it was not quite as I remembered it (I thought it was bigger with better sharks) it was diverse and I enjoyed it. The hubs and I didn't bother jostling through the crowd of surly moms and Santa crazed tots to see the scuba diving Santa but we did spy on some sleeping penguins and kiss under some LED snowflakes in a secluded part of the darkened path. I think that sounds a bit more romantic than it was but it was still romantic.

So much so I raised my arms to it!

Polar bears in front of "Mt. Rainier" were adorable,
"A family of 3 like us" I said to the hubs.
The hubs being all masculine in front of the Rainier

Another highlight was seeing the towering camels that they had working the night shift giving camel rides. We thought about it but figured we couldn't ride a camel without BB! We did however utilize a photo booth for a souvenir family portrait that I friggin LOVE! We picked the "worst" of the three, the one we intentionally did goofy but I love how it turned out.

We also got to have it with the meerkats border which is significant for the hubs and me as on our first real date we went to the Oregon Zoo and did voice overs at the meerkats, and we saw them again in Calgary. Every time we see meerkats it's special and this time we got to see meerkats with baby (they had the enclosure open and lit!) and we got the photo border. Our first family meerkat encounter :)

BB also liked the aquarium but no surprise there! The cockroaches, meh. 

One of my favorite family portraits!

Little penguins under siege by a giant, red Pacific octopus
and a snapping crab (at least, that's how I saw it)
And a lovely beluga waving farewell  :)

video

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Thursday's Trauma Writing

I'm not feeling very well today. Lots of bad thoughts toward BB and dragging. Don't want to shower, don't want to leave the house, don't want to do ANYTHING!

I can't bring myself to start laundry or do dishes, but I think I can bring myself to plunk away at some writing prompts. I hope trying to occupy my mind will help with the depressed mood. Good thing it's Thursday!

This week's Thursday Trauma writing prompt words from Delores at Under the Porch Light:

tinsel, snowflakes, storefront, efficient, tinkling, spellbound

OR

velvet, parcels, rustic, whirling, savory, heated

OR

cast ironragingstockpileintensegingerbreadmaintain
---
Hannah carefully dried and oiled the cast iron pan before heaving it back into its designated cupboard below the drawer of measuring cups and baking tools. She fought back waves of shame as she smelled the lingering odor of three day old steak residue in the air. 

The steak had turned out well and she was proud of herself for going through the effort to make a decent dinner, but doing the dishes afterward had proved too much. So much had proved to be too much of late. A dirty cast iron pan sitting out for three days was nothing compared to the laundry pile that had been growing for nearly ten days. Thank goodness she stockpiled underwear.

Shaking her head and cursing the raging depression that had hijacked her life, Hannah turned to her next project and felt the tightness in her throat relax. She always enjoyed making gingerbread cookies; the rich color of the dough, the spicy scents, the physicality of rolling out and cutting out the cookies then carefully scraping the delightful shapes off the sticky counter. It was always a challenge to get the cookies to the baking sheet without warping the gingerbread men's limbs or ripping off a head entirely but the meditative quality of the work was soothing. 

Hannah found herself feeling misty as she unwrapped the softened butter and dropped it into her aluminum mixing bowl. So many things had lost their color lately, their joy; she hoped this would not prove lackluster as well. The depth of this depression was such that she couldn't fight back with her usual, practiced intensity. She hadn't been able to cut it off at the pass, prevent the slide all the way down as she had in previous episodes. It was demoralizing, embarrassing, and heartbreaking. 

She whipped butter and sugar together and reflected on the past few years. There were several months of healthy living strung together here and there, but so much of her past was speckled with depression it made her dread the future. Suddenly the depression clutched at the rational thought and wrenched into an aching prophecy. Tears sprung to her eyes and she clenched her fists, tensing against the miserable thoughts that scrambled to overtake her mind. Day in and day out she navigated these terrors, the ceaseless battle exhausting and demoralizing.

Clicking off the mixer she sunk to her heels and then slumped backward onto her butt, leaning over to rest her head on her knees as she sat in the middle of the kitchen and let the tears flow. The medication wasn't working, she was floundering and felt so weak and overwhelmed it seemed like she would never regain her equilibrium. Bitterly, Hannah thought of "all those normal people" maintaining "normal" lives and mentally kicked herself for being so broken.

The smell of butter and sugar wafted down to her and she scoffed. Normal wasn't anything but an illusion. Everyone had their struggles. She wasn't alone, she belonged more than any image of perfected domesticity or idealized beauty. This was a world of strife and grit, not the refined images the media clung to with such misguided desire.

Her tears subsided and the dark fog dissipated long enough for her get up and resume her baking project. How long she would have in the light, she didn't know, but at least this barrage was short lived.

And at least she had gingerbread cookies to bake.
---

Little more personal with this one, but it felt good to write it out a little bit. Still a bit... repressed but I got some feeling out. 

And oddly enough, it was on my schedule to make gingerbread cookie dough today! And sugar cookie for the hubs as we are doing a cookie exchange this weekend :) I hope it goes well. 

Pictures of our outing to the Zoolights thing tomorrow....

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I Was Brave and Vulnerable/Life Sucks

I was minimizing the other day and trying to tell myself that I was feeling better than I really am which is probably part of what motivated me to post this to Facebook:

For whatever reason, Christmas gets me thinking about what I'm grateful for more than Thanksgiving and, sadly, this year it has me thinking about what is weighing on my soul as well. 

It's not just the attacks on Planned Parenthood, plane crashes, terrorism, refugees, and climate change... it's more personal things; grief and illness that became far worse than expected and the challenges of new motherhood as well as the growing pains of late twenty-hood as well. 

I know this is supposed to be "the happiest season of all" but for those of you that aren't totally feeling that this year, I hear you. I see you. I acknowledge that this time of year can open our hearts to great joy but can also open our hearts to great grief and other intense, sad emotions. That's okay. 

Whether you are feeling lonely, angry, sad, grief or loss, frustrated, hopeless, depressed (yes, that's different than sad), suicidal or any other "bad" feelings, know that you are not alone-I am not alone, there are people all over the world that share our experience and validate our experiences even without ever meeting or knowing of us.

Enjoy the holidays as best you can and don't feel bad for feeling bad. If you can, try to jot down some things that you are grateful for, it can really help, and if that doesn't, jot down what's pissing you off-that can really help too!

Feel better soon, be kind to yourself, and know that someone is wishing the best for you right as you read these words.

---

I could've gone on and though it is a decent length I don't think it's terribly long. I'm not sure how it will be received and I don't care. I am proud of myself for being genuine and not sticking to the "happy things only, it's Facebook" unspoken rule.

In other news, it's been a hard day. Last night my sadness came back (I think I overworked myself with ornaments) and today I was not in the mood to be a mother at all. When Baby Bananaface woke mid-nap and I couldn't get him back down I started losing it. I left him crying in his crib for the longest I ever had and sat in the dining room sobbing and wanting to kill him.

I've grown resentful of him in a way, of motherhood. I enjoy breastfeeding less and less, think of all the things I'd rather be doing more and more. It makes me feel worse than I already do, and I don't need that at all. Books I want to read, organizing and cleaning around the house that I have wanted to accomplish, places I want to go-they all glare at me, grind and grate on me. 

Something has to change but I feel powerless to make that happen. I'm sad, I'm mad, and I'm sick of the battle... sick of pretending I'm okay enough to get by when I just want to quit and run away. 

Today is a bad day. Today-today is a bad day.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Wellness Update-Medications

I say my psychiatrist on Friday and, you guessed it, more medication changes! I'm weary but still a tad hopeful that things will be better with new meds, so here we go again.

There is a long term plan to get me to just Lamictal and Lexapro, and then maybe just Lamictal. To get there, I am currently tapering off Risperidone and will be off it around the 18th. At the same time I am tapering up on Lamictal; the lowest dose for two weeks and then double for two weeks and so on, I won't be up to the dose she's aiming for for at least 5 weeks I think she said. Sometime in there we're gonna be tapering off Lithium as well. It seems like I just don't tolerate it very well what with the blurred vision spells and cotton brain from time to time and the shakes, so I'll be glad to have all that go away. She thinks the Risperidone is causing my constipation issues so I'm hoping that goes away as well!

So, lots of changes. I hope that this drug does something for me. I'm generally not a "druggie" person and like to avoid medication when possible, so having some not work just makes me believe even less in the power of pharmaceuticals and want to stop experimenting altogether. I'm not sure what happily medicated looks or feels like, but these drugs have to work for somebody.... right?

In other news, I've been struggling with anxiety and been resisting taking Klonopin for it. I took one last night and this morning and it did seem to help, so I think I need to get over my anti-drug-ness and just medicate already. Saturday morning I was so nauseated from anxiety I thought I was gonna ralph! And we all know I've had enough of that...

On top of all these pills I've been trying to get back into my supplement regime as an effort to work on my self esteem and feel better about my health overall. I know not taking my vitamin D is a bad, bad thing for me! I don't need any more depressive factors in my life! It's difficult to keep up with the supplements, especially since I need to eat or I'll get sick from them and I don't like eating lately.

Well. There's a chunk of my life lately. The pilly, confusing, frustrating part.

OH! Bonus, my thyroid is back in check and we're just tweaking things, so that's a relief at least. Still have to do labs pretty frequently but I'll take a needle over crazy ass thyroid levels any day ;)

Sunday, December 6, 2015

PIctures from... lately ;)

I ran into The Pioneer Woman and recalled reading about her
on Linda's blog, so of course, I wanted a picture with me and BB!
Terrible picture quality, but it counts for something.
We never go to Walmart but I wanted Cocoa Puffs and 
it seemed like the place to go for cheap cereal!

The flowers I received from Hubbo after the disgusting
blowout that had me scrubbing poo outta the carpet.

For our date day Saturday we handed off BB to my folks for overnight
 baby sitting and hit the road, finally reached Leavenworth nearly 2 hours behind schedule
due to snow and horrible traffic. We were delighted by the LED lights
on the street lights. See the snow? Yeah. More than we expected!
Thankfully the hubbo knows how to drive in snow.

It was crazy crowded and icy but we snagged a couples selfie with the lights

I had my own beer for the first time in months (no ill effects and it was delicious)
and our dinner was scrumptious as expected. We didn't like the black forest cake
but overall another great experience at this restaurant.

Very thoroughly lit tree and some crowds, you can't see them here but
there were several Jesus freaks screaming at people and waving big signs
around. Made me feel sad and unsafe and a little angry. 

My "I SURVIVED" selfie in the car after the trek back
(we had to park quite a ways away). Little did I know the drive
home would also be an ordeal, but we made it, had some horrible
anxiety that day, but we made it. And we dated. Didn't feel like
old times, but we had a date day regardless!
Fakin' it til we make it, right?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thursday's Trauma Writing

Thursday's Trauma from Delores at Under the Porch Light. This week the prompts are delightfully seasonal! I decided to use all the words. Here are the three sets she offered up this week:
laden, spruce, antlers, moonlight, memories, cabin
OR
magic, method, sparkle, design, mittens, toboggan
OR
skates, lake, powder, frigid, tantalizing, emerald
---

Doug stared into the darkness; his body slack and melded with the bedclothes. It was Christmas Eve and he wasn't dreaming of Santa. He was dreaming of a long solid wood dining table laden with a feast for a dozen friends and family. A prickly spruce looming eight feet tall, the sparkle of real glass bulbs daintily hanging from the blue-green boughs, emerald, ruby, and diamond lights sparkling from within its needles. He was dreaming of glistening slopes and heavy wooden toboggans, of frozen ponds and lakes and well-worn skates with thrice replaced laces and creased leather.

"The ghosts of Christmas past," he thought and sighed. 

This Christmas, like so many of recent years, wasn't anything like those of his childhood. There was no snowshoeing to the cabin the weekend before Christmas and hunting for a tree. No gawking at the elk antlers hanging from the rafters and telling ghost stories. There was no family, no cheer, no magic. 

Doug blinked away tears and shushed his memories, turning his attention to cataloging his belongings as he always did before he went to bed and upon waking.

"Jacket, on. Mittens, pockets. Long sleeved sweatshirt, on. T-shirt, on. Jeans, on. Socks and shoes, on. Boxers, on and one in backpack. Backpack, underneath my knees. Dull razor, in backpack. Empty shampoo bottle, backpack. Nub of soap, backpack. Toothbrush, backpack." He kept reciting items in his mind until he reached the last, "Sleeping bag, under my head." 

Usually that was his body's cue to fall asleep but tonight it wouldn't happen. He tried to be grateful, employ gratitude as a salve for his anger and sadness, but the method didn't render it's usual solace. Just like Thanksgiving, he would likely lie awake tonight and tomorrow night with his thoughts. 

The shelter he was visiting would serve breakfast tomorrow and they hosted a special dinner Christmas night but he would spend the day on the frigid streets. In a way, it was nice that it was below freezing, the wispy powder was easier to deal with than rain, but he would have to keep moving to stay warm. He would have to make sure his wandering didn't take him too far away as it was first come, first served to get a bed.

Doug imagined the moonlight outside and felt a new pang of sadness in his heart. "I miss you" he thought to the moon, and felt fresh tears at the corners of his eyes as he realized outside had become home. It hadn't been by design, but he adjusted to his new life and become accustomed to his new reality. He was still angry and sad but he felt himself normalizing and that was a whole new grief.

The tantalizing image of a Christmas feast from his past sprang back to his mind and he blinked away tears. Maybe cataloging the feast would help him sleep, and so he did, "Roast ham with maple glaze, homemade yeast rolls with butter, green beans with bacon..."

Boy's best friend.... a box

Baby Bananaface got himself into his toy box today all on his own, and enjoyed it, yes he did!

He had just got his second foot in there...

Then he plunked down and started fishing toys out

and I got a BREAK! 

And yes, we do babyproof with boxes from Costco at the moment :) Now to see if he gets himself out!

In other news, therapy was good, blowout was terrible this morning-I'm talking the worst yet, shit on the carpet, all over, cue the tub, "Why me?!" nasty. Reminds me of Birdie's blowout tales! Except this one was brown-green. Ugh. Told the hubby I need flowers today.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Words for Wednesday/Un-Monday Missive #10

Words for Wednesday time again and this month the prompts are coming from River at Drifting Through Life.

Here are the words:

Extrapolate
Coconut
Spirited
Schism
Paltry
Motivation

And/or:

"He had blithely gone his own way, carelessly breaking my heart as he waved goodbye."


I have some homework from my therapist to write a letter to my sister explaining my experience, validating my feelings and so on, so I'm going to kill two birds with one stone and try to use these words in my therapeutic writing assignment. We shall see how that goes!

---

Dear Sister,

I have not yet decided if I will attend Christmas at our parents'. My trepidation does not originate in postpartum depression or an anxiety disorder (though that certainly can't help) my hesitation arises from the fact that you will be there. This might surprise you to hear, but things are not at all kosher between us. Everything is not fine. My motivation for avoiding the traditional family Christmas is simply to avoid seeing you and I will explain why.

Many moons ago, when I had just had my baby, I remember you and Mom agreeing to come up and visit and help me out with some light chores and by bringing food; regular postpartum support type of stuff. Instead, you showed up without food and with some stranger (your new boyfriend) and talked about yourselves for nearly an hour while my husband and I listened to our belly's growl in hunger. 

Then you took me in another room in a very dramatic fashion and told me that you were pregnant. Pregnant by the boy you were supposedly celibate with,"he sleeps on the floor," you said. As if you hadn't lied enough in our youth, you just had to keep going into young adulthood. Is there some world record you are after?
 
When we returned, Mom told me "now don't feel like we're here to steal your thunder" and I felt a lash on my  heart. That's exactly what you were doing and I was told not to complain about it.

When you all left, I sobbed. I sobbed for you, I sobbed for me, I sobbed for my son. It was mostly his thunder you stole. I never expected to have any. The paltry show of support I saw from you and Mom at that visit was about what I expected from my side of the family. Thank goodness my in-laws are more capable in that regard, but I digress. 

A schism on top of a schism formed that day and began expanding. We have never been close, though many times we have claimed to want otherwise, but I feel like this last betrayal has driven the wedge to its terminus. 

What betrayal? You just got pregnant? By accident, you say? Bullshit. This isn't the middle ages, you could've prevented a pregnancy had you wanted. I do not find it at all a coincidence that you conceived just as I delivered. You couldn't stand the thought of me or my child having a pedestal for even the smallest amount of time and you tricked that ignorant boy you call a partner into knocking you up to steal our moment, you couldn't be there for me, you had to make it about you.

That betrayal, that lack of love and caring and acceptance for me and mine, that is what I take personally and what has haunted me these past several months, why I don't wish to see you or my new nephew. 

It pains me to say these things. To see the sticky blackness of my anger come to life but there it is. I can't hide it anymore, I can't deny it, I am sick with anger at you and that is why I hesitate to partake in our family Christmas. 

I'm not interested in watching you cast motherhood into competition and I'm not interested in buying some cheap coconut scented bath products for you as if I wanted to gift you anything more than a glare. I'm not interested in seeing the culmination of years of poor sibling relations in the chubby cheeks of our two infants. I can only extrapolate more comparison, competition, deceit, and pain from you and my family doesn't need that.

Our sibling rivalry is more than spirited competition, it's downright dysfunction. You are obviously not able to accept this or I wouldn't be receiving overly familiar and glib texts from you. I don't want your texts and I don't want your supposed "sisterly" friendship or support. Cut the crap and leave me alone! We are not close and we probably won't ever be close. I'd rather accept that then continue this painful delusion.

Angrily,
Your Sister

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

We'll See

It's a "we'll see where this goes" type of day. A shitty start for sure but I'm not writing it off yet.

I had a difficult time waking up and then when I finally had I realized that lying in bed this morning I had thought BB was dead, and I sort of didn't care. I usually panic and think he's dead pretty often but this time a bigger part of me hoped it were so, just so I could be relieved from duty.

I told the hubs about this and also how I had wanted to hurt the baby (I brought him out to his dad when those thoughts happened) and we decided that BB was too sick to go to daycare for the day. I was crestfallen. The hubs asked if I wanted him to stay home in that way that means he wants to go to work and my mood plummeted deeper.

Long story short I told him "fuck off" at least half a dozen times and told him that if he gave me my tweezers back he could go to work. He didn't give me my tweezers back, but he gave me another pair of angled tweezers from his confiscated collection and my heart broke a little more again. He knows what I do with tweezers. He knew I was in a bad place. It was like he chose work over me. I understand he's gotta make a living but it was crushing.

I ended up scratching myself in a waffle pattern on my left forearm in front of him. He just watched and talked. Even afterward waffling about going to work or not. At that point I didn't care anymore. Fuck him. I started laundry and a dinner in the Crock-Pot, aiming for the day that I had planned out in my mind had I been childfree.

In the end, he ended up staying home. Citing a sinking feeling in his gut. I didn't care. I have mostly been ignoring him and the baby.

Fuck. My life's a mess.

In other news, I am now the proud owner of a little jug of stool softener tablets. When I opened the bottle I laughed and smiled. They are cute as far as pills go.



I figure you can make just about any pill two-colored like that but the fact that they did it for stool softeners just tickles me! Maybe there is something to it that I don't know, some insider story, but as is, they reminded me of candy canes (it being the season) and that cheered me.

Speaking of seasonal cheer, Baby Bananaface encountered his first Santa Sunday. It was hilarious! Our little attention hound turned chicken and it was precious.


So. I'm plugging along. Don't think my meds are worth shit, don't want to take them, will talk to my psych about it Friday.

Haven't been wearing my wedding ring for over a week (or my other regular ring). Part of it is the fact that they are loosey goosey, part of it is that my hands are horribly dried out and not having rings on makes lotioning up easier, and part of it is that I don't feel like they mean what they used to mean. It is troubling. This depression is some of the worst of my life.

Angry. Sad. Weary. I'm so mixed up in bad ways just giving up and doing whatever I damn well please is the only relief. As such, I'm gonna go sketch as I damn well please. Screw dwelling on this shit!

Bananaface out.