Friday, December 30, 2016

Reflection

I've been concentrating a lot on focusing my attention on the now and participating fully in the moment to help maintain my mood and well-being through the tumultuous holiday rush, but as New Year's nears I find myself looking back...

It's been quite a year. 2016 wasn't an easy one, that's for sure!

**I've plugged in some random photo highlights that may or may not correlate to my text, but I hope you enjoy them!


Thinking back to last January, I was in the hospital. According to my blog I went to my aunt's memorial, but I can't remember because of all the ECT treatments. For a good chunk of time I was doing so much ECT that I wasn't allowed to drive.


For a big part of the year I wasn't able to be alone with Baby Bananaface. It was too overwhelming or didn't feel safe.

For a while the hubster confiscated my tweezers because I was having a hard time controlling my urges to self harm.

In the spring I tried to kill myself.


Another chunk of my year was dedicated to TMS treatments multiple times a week. Throughout it all I've been on and off more drugs than I can name trying to find a mood stabilizer that'll work for me. To top it off I had those seizures and got diagnosed with a seizure disorder and got a prescription goin' for that...


There's been a lot between those headliners, including countless tears and hugs and kisses and fears shared between me and the hubster. Nights and days where I didn't feel safe. When I wasn't sure if I'd make it to the next day. When I didn't believe that I could ever find happiness or stability again.

Thankfully, things are changing. I have come far enough now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have hope again. I'm still working on the confidence part but my faith is certainly growing and despite the hiccups along the way I haven't given up.

So much has changed... I've come so far this year.

I'm driving again-even taking BB to and from daycare. I'm making meals and able to safely use my tweezers. I'm socializing and going to the gym nearly everyday. I'm even thinking about finding part-time work soon.


I've felt like a failure. I've felt broken. I've felt hopeless. More and more I'm feeling hopeful. I'm feeling strong. I'm feeling proud. I am surviving.

I'm glad to put this year behind me and I hope to have more positive memories to stir up this time next year :o)

Don't really remember doing resolutions much but I think I will be concentrating on keeping up with maintaining my health and moving forward.


I wish everyone a wonderful 2017 and thank you all for sharing 2016 with me.

Lastly, let's hear a big cheer for baby steps! Hoorah!


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Here are some pics from our Christmas morning. We are having a great holiday and really enjoyed hanging out with my family-now to journey across the state and have fun there!


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Feelin' the rush...

... the holiday rush!

It's been busy. While that means some extra stress it's also meant some extra fun :o)

My sister came up Monday and stayed the night. We had a great time. She's on winter break from teaching and one of her last New Year's resolutions to finish up was taking a boxing class (we decided kickboxing counts).

First, we went up to some outlets north of me. I found some new shirts and dresses and a pair of pants that actually fit me. It's nice to have some cozy, slimming clothing options instead of the increasingly baggy stuff that-don't get me wrong-I've loved wearing for however long but now just make me feel dumpy lookin'.

Hate droopy crotch pants *insert disapproving emoji here*

Apparently, I have lost 35 lbs since March. It's been a great side effect of the extra exercise but I haven't really been focusing on weight loss much. Maybe a little portion control and making healthier choices here and there, but my exercise routine is mostly focused on mental health with a dash of social time. Whatever my focus may be, I have needed to rearrange ye olde wardrobe a bit!

I do want to lose a bit more and tone up in places but it's a secondary goal to my overall wellness and mental health. No pressure. No timelines. Just doing what I can, cheering myself on as I go, and being proud of what I've achieved while adjusting to my new abilities and building confidence.

Anywho! My sister and I had fun at the kickboxing class Monday night and we even made cookies together later, watching "Bad Moms" while they cooled before glazing. It was great.

The next morning she came to my regular classes with me ( Zumba Strong and cycling) and afterward, while we were saying our goodbyes in the parking lot I broke from our hug, held her shoulders, looked her in the eyes and said, "I love you. I'm glad your my sister." It was a bit of a risk but I'm proud of myself for expressing my feelings instead of stuffing them down or bowing to my fears.


In other news, Baby Bananaface had to be picked up from daycare early yesterday. After a trip to urgent care we discovered he has an ear infection and bronchiolitis (really similar to bronchitis, as you might expect). He gets amoxicillin for 10 days and is home sick today. Luckily, I ain't afraid of no boogers! He's been in remarkably good spirits and we don't expect it to slow down or hamper his Christmas festivities at all.

In fact, last night he threw all the pillows and stuffies off the couch before rolling all over and squealing in joy. I just happened to pile them up at the end of the chaise where he then began leaping off the couch into the pile! It was very cute and a little scary, but I spotted him for his half a dozen leaps and he slept very well last night ;o)


Ornaments has concluded for the season, so that is helping me balance all the last minute holiday preparations better.  Still, haven't had much time to blog, to read blogs, or to comment! We leave tomorrow for our holiday ventures. For the first time in a long time I'm feeling more excitement than anxiety for the trip-and that's a very sweet thing :o)

I will try to mobile post sometime this weekend but if I'm not able to comment or read your posts, please know that I'm thinking of you all and wishing everyone a wonderful holiday!

Friday, December 16, 2016

"It's Official" & Some Baby Bananaface Pics

Whew. Had to stay up late and get up early so I was sleep deprived enough for my EEG test this morning and it's made things a bit more challenging today, that's for sure! Somehow I'm still awake and I wanted to blog since I'll be on the road and busy with a family gift exchange tomorrow...

Anywho. This morning I did the MRI and EEG before meeting with my neurologist. He reviewed the results and said that my MRI was normal-even saying that my hippocampi are in great shape considering my chronic mental health conditions. So that was good!

Unfortunately, my EEG was not so normal. He says it's official that I have a right temporal lobe originating seizure disorder (or something like that, my hearing isn't the best and it was a lot of words strung together!).

The good news is that it isn't anything super rare and it's usually easily controlled by meds and won't necessarily disrupt my life. The medication he prescribed happens to also function as a mood stabilizer (I tried it out earlier this year or last year, I can't remember-it didn't work then but my psychiatrist thinks we have a shot at it working better this time since I'm not in such a deep depressive hole) and we're sure hoping that it kills two birds with one stone!

So that's the news! It's a bit of shock but with everything I've been through lately it doesn't seem to rattle me as much as I thought it might... I guess being aware of how much danger I was in when my depression was much worse makes something like these seizures and a new disorder seem a little less threatening or scary?

In other, more jolly news, I've been listening to Baby Bananaface a little more intently lately and observing what words he seems to have. I'm happy to report instances of garbled "Thank you" and "Please," even "Love you!" He's pretty good at "Buh-bye" and "Momma," too. :o) He got a new haircut and looks so much older and listening to his "talking" is such a sweet thing... I so look forward to meeting the man he's gonna be and watching him grow up <3




Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Oops! Double Posted :o)

One via email and one via Blogger equals two posts! How it happened, I'm not quite sure. The first, from my email, disappeared into the abyss-I couldn't even find it in my drafts or sent folders-yet appeared hours later on the blog.

Whatever mysterious magic is at work, thanks for understanding and rolling with it :o)


Monday, December 12, 2016

I Been Busy!

Boy howdy. It's been a busy few days!

Saturday the hubby and I got an extended date day when my mom surprised us and said that she wasn't planning on staying for lunch, just grabbing Baby Bananaface and heading out (she was taking him for an overnight babysitting session so the hubs and I could go to a game group party). So the hubster and I took the opportunity to dine in the bar section and the hubs even had a fufu mojito!

That was just the beginning of our date day-some shopping, a murder mystery party, and a movie at the theater followed! The movie was a pretty big deal considering I hadn't been to the cinema in over 6 months for fear of triggering my anxiety or panic. I definitely experienced some stress but I was able to ride the waves, use my skills, and make it through the movie without succumbing to the anxiety or a panic attack-I'd even say that I had a good time ;o)



Sunday I juggled ornaments and the gym before my sister arrived with BB (worked out really well that we could drop him off halfway to my parents' Saturday and then my sister could bring him back to us on Sunday since she and I had plans). She and I proceeded to have a girls' night out with a trip to a local nursery/shop for their Christmas extravaganza (I enjoyed some free decaf and Christmas cookie treats).

We then proceeded to have a fun dinner out before nabbing some lattes on our way downtown to the theater where we got to see a live production of "The Little Mermaid!" We were both a little worried about how they would handle one of our favorite movies ever but the production was nicely executed and we weren't disappointed. We both got the crap scared outta us by some confetti cannons but it was fun overall!


I think my favorite part of the night was listening to music while we drove to Seattle and back; singing at the top of lungs together. My sister and I aren't always on the same wavelength and sometimes it feels like we don't know each other very well, but last night we had a great time together and I'm so grateful for the experience.



Today I had to just keep rollin' as I had two appointments downtown and still have one to go (thankfully not as far a drive but still outta my way). 

My endocrinology appointment went super fast as did my blood draw. Good news! If this thyroid level is good like my last test I can switch to following up with my primary care provider instead of seeing a specialist-and that means just driving or walking across the street instead of driving 45 minutes into downtown *woot*

My psychiatry appointment went well too. We talked about all the progress I've made and how I'm handling the challenges that remain and agreed that waiting and seeing how the Lamictal treats me this time is the best idea for now. I had tried the Lamictal months ago for purely mood stabilizing purposes but now I've been prescribed the drug for anti-seizure purposes. My psychiatrist thinks it might work better this time around as a mood stabilizer since my mood is much better now to start with than it was. As she put it, "you were in a hole, a BIG hole." I sure hope she's right and I can get a 2-for-1 with this med! 



Whew. So that's a bit of what's going on here. Trying not to think too far ahead but still working toward my goals, one step at a time :o)

Happy Monday! 

Date Day and Girls' Night Out

Saturday was a long day but a fun day. We dropped Baby Bananaface off with Grandma and then had a lunch out all to ourselves! A murder mystery party and a movie out made for quite a date day. It was also a big deal for me to go to the theater since I hadn't been out to a movie in over six months and I've been afraid of potential triggers BUT I handled the stresses without succumbing to anxiety or a panic attack!!!

Sunday was a long day but fun day too with gym, ornaments, and then an evening out with my sister. We went to a local store/nursery for their Christmas extravaganza and then out to dinner and then grabbed coffees for our drive downtown to the theater for a live production of "The Little Mermaid."

"The Little Mermaid" is a sentimental movie for us since we both grew up watching it A LOT and both really like it. When she found out it was playing she told me "I'm buying tickets, we're going, when are you free?" It's a little weird being treated by my little sister with a night out but I had a great time. 

I think my favorite part was singing at the top of our lungs together on the drive there and back :o) Not only was it wonderful to be able to relax and enjoy a good night out, it was especially nice to have fun and feel close with my sister. We don't always connect or chat much but last night felt easy and fun and I'm so grateful.



Today I had my endocrinology appointment and now I'm waiting for my psychiatry appointment. So far, it's good news-if my thyroid levels are good from today's lab work  I get to just check in with my primary care lady every 6 months or a year instead of having to drive downtown!

Not sure what my next appointment will bring but I think we are doing all right. I'm feeling pretty good and been coping pretty well lately despite the seizure hiccup. Don't know if we'll be trying a new mood stabilizer while I'm working up on the Lamictal but we'll see!

Happy Monday everyone :o)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Weekend Pics & Tuesday Wrap-up

Well, it looks like the hubster is gonna be riding the bus to work for a while!

We got my ole car towed back to the condo and when he checked it out this evening he discovered some horrible smelling, black transmission fluid (I had to ask, "So, it's not supposed to be like that?" and he said it was supposed to be pink or clear). From what I've heard so far it seems to be the end for my Mabel :o(

It was stressful today but I'm really proud of myself for coping and getting through as well as I did. I even reached out for help from a friend and managed to get in for some ornament work hours!

The whole breakdown was an adventure, but I made it through without any extra hiccups. I was experiencing problems right from the get-go on my morning trip to the gym. It was revving real high without speeding up or changing gear. Eventually I was barely able to make 25 mph and had just decided that I better pull off the road when the light changed and I had to stop. When it turned green I wasn't able to get going again at all. I was stranded in the right lane of traffic.

My first call was to the hubster but he didn't answer. My second call was to my mother and I got straight to the point, "Hey Mom, I'm broke down in the middle of the road and the car won't move, what do I do next?" She told me to try and get out of traffic if I could get somebody to help push me outta the road a bit and to call a tow company, so that's what I did! A nice guy in a white jeep stopped and pushed me off to the side a bit. Then the sheriff showed up and got me outta the road completely-a welcome bonus!

We'll see what happens with our transportation situation but for now it looks like we'll be a one-car family for a bit and have to navigate the busy holidays with a little more consideration. I really don't feel all that worried at the moment, a nice shift from my familiar anxiety issues. I feel pretty confident that we'll make things work and get through this-one day at a time.

AND

Here's some photos from our weekend excursion:

SO many people!

Pretty hotel across the street,
picture was taken in-transit so
it's a little wonky!

Another shot from the car,
some tree lights I appreciated.

My favorite part of the lighting ceremony,
Baby Bananaface sleeping away in his sling
through the lighting and cheers.


Another crowd shot and some of the lights-
mostly cellphone lights methinks!

Snow on our trip back over the pass.

It was a fun trip despite being a little exhausting. We enjoyed hanging out with my parents and sister and nephew-I'm even feeling a little excited for Christmas now! Nice to be looking forward to festivities instead of just feeling intimidated and wary :o)

Whaddya do?

Whaddya do when your car breaks down and you're standing out in freezing weather waiting for the tow truck? Ya blog of course! Haha :o)

Helpful sheriff pushed me to a parking lot and I won't be getting to my gym class but overall I think it's going all right. My first breakdown in traffic so kinda exciting!



Weekend went great though we are tired. I will post pics later but Christmas lights were definitely pretty.

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Quick Update

Saw the neurologist today. He was nice. Scheduled an EEG and MRI. Got a prescription for some anti-seizure meds which also happen to be mood stabilizers. I messaged with my psychiatrist and she said go right ahead. This particular script didn't work for me before but it's been so long, who knows, maybe it'll work better this time around?

Lots of feelings today. I kept at it and stuck to my schedule but it was definitely discouraging for me contemplating having a seizure disorder on top of the things I'm already juggling. The hubs is trying to look at the bright side and made sure to point out that dealing with seizures is better than dealing with suicidal depression. Poor guy. I can't imagine seeing him in a similar scenario, it'd be so distressing to me, but he keeps up the good fight no matter what comes up.

In other news, we're headed out on another weekend road trip. Hopefully I can relax and enjoy, that's certainly my aim.

Holiday cards are going out :o) I had fun with all the addressing and stuffing and sticking. Maybe I was a secretary in a previous life? ;o)


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Seriously.

Woke up a bit disoriented this morning. Didn't think much of it but then I noticed that my tongue was hurting. Tried to start my day and the hubster asked if I was okay and I said I didn't know, my tongue was hurting again like when I had the seizure. He said that was because I'd had another seizure last night.

Seriously.

I didn't believe him at first but then he pointed out the blood stains on my shirt and I reevaluated the pain from my tongue and shadowy memories and knew he wasn't making things up.

I'm doing all right. Tongue is still tender. I'm frustrated and it feels like whenever I feel I'm doing well or moving forward something seems to pop up and throw a wrench into things. Just seems like I can't get a break!

In related news, I managed to get a neurology appointment for later this week. Hoping they come up with some answers for me but I also wonder if it trigger subsequent appointments and tests and doo-dads. The hubbo said he can come with me and I'm really glad because I don't remember much about the actual seizures, just the painful fallout. We'll see what happens!


Off to do more ornaments this afternoon. It's been hectic what with Cyber Monday and all but I'm enjoying the flurry of activity and the challenge of the crazy specific or nearly impossible requests haha


Happy thoughts and well wishes to everyone :o) Thanks for stoppin' by!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving and the Weekend

This year, like years before, we traveled across the mountains to my in-laws for Thanksgiving. It felt a bit different this year since my memories of years previous are rather splotchy at the moment-almost felt like a new experience! Although I do remember the feelings of enjoyment and relaxation and safety that are so closely tied to my in-law's place, so while things felt new they also still felt familiar and comforting.

The food was great as usual and my mom-in-law made a chocolate pecan pie this year that may make it hard for me to go back to regular pecan pie! So dang scrumptious. Dark as sin, it was so chocolaty, but when ya warmed it up and ohhhh... so good. Ahem. *recomposes self* Pie swoon over. I think y'all get the picture!

Our travels went well. We avoided the major traffic and the pass was clear, didn't even hit all that much rain either. We got to hang out with one of the hubster's sisters too and it was nice to catch up a bit. They got a little feisty over politics and such but they kinda like to do that so it was nice to see the hubbo getting his debate fix.

We had to leave and head home earlier than we really wanted to but needed to make it back Friday night because Saturday I had work obligations and we also had an appointment with the shelter to take Fio in.

It was a pretty emotional afternoon, especially for the hubster. We really truly believe that he'll have a better life with a new family though. We just aren't able to be the pet parents we want to be. We were actually discussing how surprised we were that this didn't happen sooner what with all the crap we've been dealing with postpartum... but no more neglect and short stick, Fio will find a family to pamper him. *sigh* Definitely feel some shame but really think that it'll be best for everyone in the long run.

Work was busy and will continue to be extra busy with Cyber Monday coming up but I felt really good Saturday after having an especially efficient work day and working faster than I'd ever worked before. They don't call me "Super Hannah" for nothing! In addition to two "groups" of ornaments I also plowed through two mega orders.

One of the mega orders involved a crapton of names on a Christmas tree, the same ornament 12 times in a row. I don't usually get achy when I work, but that order had my hard hurting! Here's a pic:


The owner wasn't sure if she wanted it dotted or not but I hope they dot it. I think the dots make it look finished, not to mention I don't dot my 'i's when I write because I'm expecting them to dot it up for me! Here's an example of the finished ornament with the dots. I was surprised when I started working here that the writing and the dots were two endeavors but now it's just "normal."

Anyways. Time to get Baby Bananaface brekkie-I let him sleep in a bit this morning :o)

Hope everyone is having a good weekend, definitely a wet one up here in the PNW!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Quiz Time!

I was over at Joey's Pad and enjoyed reading her his quiz answers from a questionnaire she he picked up from another blogger over My Little Corner of the World and I thought I would partake myself! I decided to skip my second gym class and spend some quiet time at home with laundry and decaf, so a little quiz is a perfect accompaniment :o)


1 - Did you have an accident last year?  I think it was this year I nudged a cement pole in a drive-thru. That was lovely! I drive a big ole sedan and even though I do pretty well overall apparently I can still have my moments.
   
2 - Do you have any famous relatives? Not that I'm aware of.

3 - Did you ever have a kiss under the moonlight? Yes! My most memorable was the first kiss I shared with my husband in a rose garden on a park bench *happy sighs*

4 - Have you ever been jealous? Oh yeah. For many years I've been envious of my siblings' athletic talents. I wouldn't say I'm a total klutz but I'm more on that spectrum than athlete, that's for sure!

5 - How can you prove your love to someone? Don't know if there's one answer to this but I know one thing I do for my hubby is send him surprise letters, cards, and postcards or doodles in the mail to brighten his day and show him I love him. Picking up his dirty socks is a good way too...

Here's one of the surprise mailings
I have sent the hubbo, it is on the side
of our fridge now

6 - What are you thinking right now? "Ugh, my belly itches."

7 - Have you ever sacrificed something important to you for someone you love?  Hmm, I would think so but I can't think of any examples.  

8 - Can you live without internet? Probably but I'm pretty fond of it.

9 - Have you been so emotional that you can’t find words to explain how you feel? I can't think of such an instance, I'm usually pretty good at finding words to describe things!
  
10 - Did you ever badmouth someone? Yes. Although I will say that often when I complain or point out negatives about someone I will frequently follow up such statements with empathy or positive statements. I know that no one can be totally bad so it never sits well with me to badmouth without acknowledging some good or potential for misunderstanding etc.
  
11 - What do you prefer, jeans or skirt?  Jeans, but I do wear skirts pretty frequently and all year 'round!

12 - Do you have trust issues? I think I'm a pretty trusting person, to the point where I've gotten myself hurt quite a few times. I guess that's a trust issue!

13 - What's something that you made all on your own and are incredibly proud of? I have a few craft projects around the house that I am proud of-whenever I see them I feel good about myself :o)

I painted part of this before our wedding, then
during our wedding ceremony I painted the branches
and the hubbo painted the trunk. Now, every year
on our anniversary we use a leaf-shaped paper punch tool
to add a leaf to the tree and we added a leaf on
Baby Bananaface's birthday too :o)

Baby Bananaface's stocking. I also made ones
for the hubby and myself but they are in storage!
Guess this is also a "name reveal" photo for
those that don't know BB's true identity! ;o)

I painted letters and animals with BB's name
for his nursery and I especially like how this
little brown bat "L" turned out.

This painting of Mt. Rainier is especially
sentimental since the hubs and I shared a
special moment and kiss at this viewpoint.
It also reminds me of the paintings one of
my aunt's used to do.


14 - Who’s the person who first comes to your mind when someone mentions “love”? Easy! The hubster.
  
15 - Who was the last person you hugged?  BB or the hubbo.
  
16 - Do you believe in the phrase “If it’s meant to be, it will be”? Huh. Don't know. I tend to believe in coincidence but I also see the beauty and marvel at how our lives come together... I think I believe in blessings and good luck more than fate, if that makes sense.

17 - Do people praise you for your looks? I've been told I have a good smile and nice teeth, that I'm photogenic, and the hubby compliments me on various things-so yes!
   
18 - Do you believe in destiny? I'm having flashbacks to question #16! I don't think I do.

19 - Have you ever thought “I already found my soulmate”? Yep. Kinda confusing since I don't believe in destiny much... Ugh-brain overload!
  
20 - Do you like nicknames that are from your name? I named my blog "Hannah Bananaface," so I'd say yes! At this point, I'm over "Hannah Banana," but I'm still fond of "Hannah Bananaface."

21 - Could you ever be a vegan? Ugh, sounds like too much work! I could probably live without certain things but I don't think I'd ever want to be vegan. I like meat and dairy!

22 - Do you currently have bruises on your body? Don't think so but it's pretty common for me, so I wouldn't be surprised to find one!
  
23 - What should you be doing right now? Showering is on my immediate to-do list once I'm done with this.

24 - I read in a magazine that shoulder pads are coming back. Are you happy to hear this or do you not find them to be very attractive? No way, Jose. Not interested one bit!

25 - Did you ever feel like you’re not good enough? This is a chronic issue for me that I'm working hard to address. Nearly everyday I find myself thinking negative thoughts along the lines that I'm not good enough and try to combat them by replacing them with comforting or encouraging thoughts instead. It's a tough mental habit to break but I hope one day to feel accepting of myself and be able to appreciate all the good in me.


Whew. What a doozey! I can see why Joey did half in one post and saved the other half for another! Felicitations to those that read through it all and made it to the end!

Once again, Happy Thanksgiving to all :o)

Monday, November 21, 2016

Rollin' With It

This weekend was a bit different than anticipated due to unforeseen events, mainly, my husband's best friend's dad dying.


I remember the hubbo coming out of the bathroom Wednesday or Thursday with his phone in hand, a funny look on his face. I had been filling out and addressing his best friend's birthday card to be mailed that afternoon and requested that he sign it.

"You might need to make a different card," he said, looking down.

"What do you mean? What's going on?"

He shook his head and sighed. I began to feel concerned.

"What is going on? Please tell me what is going on." I tried to pry an explanation from him but he remained quiet. I took a stab in the dark, "Who died?"

Tears gathered in his eyes and he sucked in a fast, deep breath as sobs burbled forth. He managed to tell me it was his best friend's dad that had died as we came together in a hug. I felt him crying in my arms and between the shock of the news and empathy for him and his friend I felt a profound sense of gratitude that I could be there for him in this moment. There had been so many moments when I wouldn't have been able to offer comfort or support over the past year and change, but that afternoon I felt solidly grounded in my ability to be a partner and wife.

I think all that we've been through postpartum and the thought of our own parents dying made the news hit closer to home but things became even more emotional when we learned that his friend's dad had died by suicide. After being so close to that experience ourselves having a friend go through it... just wow. It's still amazing to me in a terribly sad way.

The hubbo wanted to attend the service, driving over 4 hours there and back in one day. At first I thought that we'd all be going but then we decided it would be a better idea for him to do the trek on his own and me and Baby Bananaface to hang at my parents'. Thankfully they were in town and able to accommodate our needs although they had a busy Saturday of their own. I was able to integrate into their schedule and they were able to give me the support that I needed while being in charge of BB "on my own" for the day.

It was a stressful, tiring weekend but there were perks along the way: being able to support the hubster, spending time with my family, having dinner out with just me and my siblings. The hubs and I were even able to get home early enough Sunday for me to hit up yoga class! A challenging but rewarding weekend. Here are some pics:






Today was pretty tiring too. I'm feeling that last minute rush before Thanksgiving and the backed up laundry from our impromptu weekend journey ain't helping the situation! Gym classes were good though and it didn't rain, which was a nice surprise perk.

My tired brain has lost track of where I was going with this, so I'll leave this post here and call it good.

If I don't post again before then, Happy Thanksgiving to all celebrating. We are headed over to my in-laws and very much looking forward to our holiday time. I hope everyone has a restful, fun, and delicious day!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Words for Wednesday on Thursday

This week's words come from this here blog and are quite a challenging group! I will do my best and we'll just have to see where this goes...

-starship
-unicorns
-dogs
-life
-coma
-stroke
-fiction
-award

You'd think I'd come off some starship from some faraway galaxy with no concept of humanity the way I gaped at those panties. Dangling them in front of my face and wondering who the first ones to wear underwear were all those years ago? How many different phases had undies gone through until they evolved into the varieties we see today? 

I shook my head and thought about all the times I had put on panties without giving them a second thought. I couldn't fathom how many little things there were like that I accepted day in and day out as just part of life. Today I just happened to come out of the shower then pause and wonder. The sense of curiosity felt familiar yet special; bringing back memories of learning something new in school and being fascinated. That just doesn't happen as frequently anymore.

I finished getting dressed and flicked my still dripping hair behind my ears. I was feeling lazy and didn't even brush it. My hair care plan for the day was to let it dry out while I brewed some coffee and proceeded to tackle my mission for that afternoon: sorting through the stash of baby stuff in the closet and finding things to give to my expecting friend.

Digging through the piles of baby clothes and burp clothes was less sentimental than I expected. Only a few of the items stirred memories, so much of those early months had been obscured by the ECT treatments. I wondered if other women that hadn't been through such a postpartum hell would've been feeling mushy and craving another baby as they sorted through such items? It wasn't puppy dogs, sparkles, and unicorns for me. The thought of another child is still terrifying. Maybe it won't always be, but for now, one is enough. 

I smiled and thought of how much my husband and I had appreciated inheriting these baby clothes from a family friend. The thought of being able to provide my friend with the same blessing brought up waves of joy. I happily sipped coffee between piles of clothes and contemplated how much had happened in all the months since our son had fit into them. 

So many of the memories were lost to me at the moment, but the thought occurred to me that I didn't really need to know. That was then and this was now. I was working on being the best mom I could be now, after the two hospitalizations, outpatient program, months of therapy, trying oodles of medications, side effects, doing months of ECT and weeks of TMS treatments. So much.  It all seems like an over dramatic book of fiction. But it happened. I made it through. We made it. We had made it to a place where I could be cheerfully packing up baby stuff to give away instead of spending my days isolated in bed, my husband wondering if I were safe.

I praised myself internally for all the progress I'd made, imagining a gold sticker in the shape of a medal. It's tough for me to feel good about myself but giving myself little mental awards seems to help. Day after day the little efforts at building confidence seem to build up, slowly but surely. It was tough to acknowledge all the challenges but helpful to acknowledge my strength and perseverance. 

I shrugged and noticed the worn woven bracelet at my wrist. I recalled the young woman that had given me the bracelet during my second hospitalization. I wondered how the conversation would go if someone asked me about that bracelet and I said, "Oh, I got it while I was in the hospital." 

It occured to me that it's not really that often that folks are hospitalized. Maybe it wasn't quite an event like a stroke or a coma, but my hospital stays were weeks long and a major stress on my husband and family. Appreciating the gravity of it all brings up little feelings of guilt and concern but also pride and gratitude. Confusing feelings but overall I'm left with positive vibes thinking of how far we've come.

From inpatient to sipping coffee and paying it forward. That's sure something to be grateful for.



Well, that's how part of my day went. I felt like revisiting some of the feelings and it was certainly a challenge working in the words. Hope it's readable even though I haven't edited it very much! I think many of you will understand what I'm talking about regardless :o)

Thanks for reading and encouraging me to write!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Ornaments & Random Facebook Quiz

Here's a picture of one of the ornaments I wrote:


The extra small stuff if challenging but one of my favorite aspects of the job! After I'm done putting the words on the next person adds dots. You can look at other ornaments at the website PersonalizedFree.com.

Here's a random quiz I did with the hubster for some giggles. He wasn't comfortable with me posting it on Facebook (like my friend that I got it from had) but he said I could post here. Guess he like y'all more than my Facebook friends ;o)

WITHOUT prompting, ask your significant other these questions and write EXACTLY what they say. The outcome can be hilarious!!!
•What is something I always say?
- *sigh* What's something you think that you always say? I don't know. My memory is bad the moment, okay?
•What makes me happy?
- Dad jokes and drawing.
•What makes me sad?
- *Depression.
•How tall am I?
- 5'7"
•What's my favorite thing to do?
- Uh, favorite thing to do... look at waterfalls.
•What do I do when you're not around?
- *chuckles* Listen to NPR.
•If I become famous, what will it be for?
- Writing.
•What makes you proud of me?
- Tenacity.
•What is my favorite food?
- Ooh... Indian.
•What is my favorite restaurant?
- Saffron.
•Where is my favorite place to visit?
- *beffuddled stare* Probably Bellingham?
•If I could go anywhere, where would it be?
- Iceland.
•How do I annoy you?
- You rub your feet in the bed.
•What is my favorite movie?
- "You've Got Mail"
•You get a phone call that I am in trouble, who am I with?
- Your mother.


Gonna work on "Words for Wednesday" tomorrow and hopefully have something to post then. Happy Hump Day everyone!

Monday, November 14, 2016

What to post, what to post?

I have been staying the course, plugging away day by day. I think I've been doing pretty well even though I've still had ye olde panic attacks and anxiety throughout, it's been a little less severe. Life has still been challenging but I'm proud of making some positive progress and also grateful for the bit of relief!

The shock of the election is starting to settle but it can still be quite emotional and I don't like seeing people so upset. I really hope things turn out better than expected and settle down as opposed to 4 years of emotional turmoil and stress but we shall see. Scrolling Biden/Obama memes certainly helped today, thank you friend!

In other news, the hubster's holiday gig was off and now seems to be back on (?) It's a bit confusing and all "wait and see" but I think tomorrow we're actually going to try out the extra shift and see how things work. I'm less intimidated by the change in routine than I am concerned about the hubbo's well being. He's been pretty crotchety lately and I've been worried about his mood. We did manage to get to a gym class together this weekend and I think that perked him up a little even if he was sore and dripping sweat!

I don't know. I'll just have to stay aware and try to support him as much as I can without beating myself up about my level of ability in that regard at the moment. I can't throw myself under the bus and end up relapsing and causing even more problems for us all. Sometimes it feels like I'm balancing on one leg while juggling as I try to push myself and build resilience but also maintain stability and wellness, but that's just where things are at the moment!

Been enjoying the holiday ornament work and even though the owner can be stressful I'm aware that she's a worrier and know that she can be triggering so I can usually skirt disaster and keep my mood stable even when she's stressin'. I really do enjoy the routine of working through the ornaments and the challenge of fitting the words into tiny spaces-so glad I happened to find this gig all those years ago!

So there's a little update :o) Gonna try and do "Words for Wednesday" this week too but we'll see what my brain churns out. Haven't been posting as much as I'd like to lately but I've been trying to keep up with reading and commenting. Doin' what I can and that's all right! *inner hugs*


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Astounded

Last night I was quite calm. I even reassured my husband, "don't worry, he'll never win." Then we found ourselves shocked and gaping at the streaming news from the computer. Watching the electoral votes tally shift, we shook our heads and clasped hands. The impossible was happening. It wasn't a joke, it wasn't temporary, it was really happening.

We couldn't muster the energy to stay up and watch the conclusion, so in the morning the hubby whipped his phone out in bed and checked the results. He had won. Really. This was happening. It wasn't that we were raving Hillary supporters, she didn't really float our boats either, but we were more anti-Trump than anything else. I had been truly convinced that he could never win and then he did. The hubby and I were baffled and astounded.

Even though the results were so shocking and I would've never picked Trump for president, I still hold out hope that things will turn out okay. I can't fathom the scale of disaster so many seem to anticipate, yet I couldn't fathom him winning the election and that happened, so who knows what's possible? All I know is right now I don't feel afraid. I feel concerned or skeptical but for the most part I have faith in our country and even hold out hope that Trump can prove people wrong and be the president we need.

Sheesh. It's still not really sunk in. It feels like I'm stuck in some over-dramatized reality show! But all I can do is wait and see what happens.

Condolences and congratulations as appropriate to all my fellow Americans. I know there are a lot of happy folks just as there are shell-shocked disbelievers. In fact, I think that there are very, very few that don't fall in one of those two categories!

Anyways. The election is over and for that I'm grateful. Now we just gotta see where things go...

Monday, November 7, 2016

Good Friggin' Grief!

So a couple of weeks ago we had a nighttime incident where I apparently wandered out of bed to the kitchen and proceeded to have either a severe panic attack or some sort of seizure. It didn't happen again and we kinda forgot about it-until last night.

Last night I had a more apparent seizure though I have no memory of this. I do have a tore up tongue that is pretty uncomfortable and bloodstains all over my PJ shirt. Luckily the hubster heard my weird noises and caught on to what was up and helped me through it and today we had an appointment with my psychiatrist and brought it up with her.

So, we're stopping the Saphris since a rare and severe side effect is apparently seizures and my doc is contacting some folks to find a neurologist for me to see and get checked out by.

At the appointment I think I said, "You've got to be kidding me?" a few times. I'm baffled and almost entertained in a way by having yet another detour on the path to medication stability when I've had such a rough road to begin with! Yet another medication that doesn't suit me? Seriously? Ugh!

So change is in the air yet again. What we will do, I have no clue but seeing a neurologist will be a new life experience.

For now I'm trying not to think about it all too much. There's not much I can do about it all right now and I sure as hell don't need more stress and worry in the meantime.

Also today, the hubster and I had a bit of date-day with a trip to a jeweler to get my wedding ring resized and then eating lunch out. We indulged and enjoyed and even though the news from the psychiatrist is a bit frustrating, overall it was a nice excursion.

I'll be trying to take things one a time and maintain the best mood I can while we figure out this newest twist-baby steps don't fail me now!



Oh! Here's a picture of my tongue owie, not the prettiest shot by any means but gives ya some idea of what I did to my tongue last night:


Unfortunately no cute date-day selfies or anything :o( I haven't been in a photo-oriented head space lately so not a lot of pics of late... Maybe soon I will start remembering to take photos again!


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Sign of the times

Times are a-changin'! Here's the story...

The hubby had some big news Thursday night; he had an interview the next morning for a holiday gig at UPS to be squeezed in in the wee hours of the morning before his "real job." If he got it, it would entail me taking care of Baby Bananaface in the mornings and getting him to daycare on my own (big change). More immediately, he needed me to take care of BB the next morning so he could get to the interview.

Instantly I felt the panic lurking in my system. I felt the fear boiling up like big storm clouds within me. I managed to keep a relative cool (no panic attacks or tears) and coped with the news even though part of me was running around like a chicken with her head cut off. I've had extremely limited solo parenting time lately and taking care of BB can be a highly stressful proposition for me.

Yesterday morning the hubs got up and went to his interview early in the morning and I managed to get me and BB to our respective places (daycare and gym) on time and in order. It was a big shift in routine for me and while part of me wasn't sure if I was up to it I think a larger part of me knows that I can handle more hands-on parenting now.

That said, the fear is still there. I worry about taking on too much and setting myself up for a big fall mood-wise. I even feel a little part of me resisting the call to action and increase in responsibilities. It's embarrassing to admit but part of me that wants to stay in the patient role and not bother working up to handling what I used to handle. That shameful, whiny part is one thing but a larger part of me wants to regain the ability I had, the more balanced partnership with my husband and confidence that comes from partaking in life with more vigor and commitment.

The fact that the hubby would even consider applying for a gig like this and think that I'm capable of taking care of BB in the mornings on my own is a huge sign of the changin' times and progress I've made. Even though I recognize this, it's difficult for me to believe in myself and have faith that I'm strong enough to manage. I'm still in a place where I feel on the edge of disaster, fragile, and unreliable. Even as I say that, I know that I've made progress and that I'm stronger and part of this transition back to wellness is waiting for my confidence to build up again. It just takes time.

So while I'm navigating that transition and juggling solo parenting in the mornings (he got the gig) I will have to commit myself even more to managing my fear and giving myself credit. It freaks me out a bit but I also feel like it's a major opportunity to prove myself, to step up and reach for what I value. I really do want to help support my family and my husband and engage more with BB again; I've just been out of practice for a long time and harboring a lot of fear about getting back up to speed.

The hubster knows I'm afraid and he knows it's a big change but he believes in me and is also very assertive about the fact that if things don't work out he can easily drop the extra job, no worries.

Other than worrying about myself I'm also worrying a lot about him. He's already running ragged and not taking very good care of himself with his current level of responsibilities. I don't want him to get sick or not being getting enough sleep or injure himself wrestling packages.

I know he wouldn't be doing this unless we really needed the help financially (I don't get the full picture there, he takes care of that business and we keep me in the dark for now-he says we're squeaking by and just need more breathing room) and I know that if he can't balance things he will pull the plug, so I'm trying to trust in his judgment and not fret too much about him.

He's a grown ass man that knows his own limits! But oh, how I love him and wish things were easier <3

SO there's the story. I think it's a good sign that I'm making progress and hopefully tackling the challenge will give me a boost in confidence. It looks like we might be in for some exhausting weeks this holiday season, but as the hubster says, "It's temporary!"

Ooh, reminds me that I need to work on registering for my winter quarter class-gotta order ye olde transcripts! Times are certainly a-changin' and while it's scary, I also feel a little pride that I'm stepping out and getting back into the fray. I might not be 100% but I'm doing a helluva lot better than I was just a few months ago.

Feel like my baby steps are changing into something bigger, but I'm not sure what to call them... well, whatever they are it's progress!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

November is Here

November is here and I'm adjusting to life without multiple TMS treatments down in Seattle each week. I've had my regular gym classes, which are good and I enjoy, but filling my afternoons is still a standing challenge. I've been able to cope relatively well but I think I appreciate a little more now how important it is for me to stay busy!

Speaking of staying occupied, I hope to be taking an online course or two through my local community college this winter quarter and, an important step on that path, I received my student ID number this week! Woo!

I am getting geared up for registration although I'm a little frustrated that class doesn't begin until January. I think I will have decent hours doing ornaments this month and partway through December but I am worried about staying busy... the empty time can be dangerous for me but I am working on my bad mental habits and I know that I will continue to improve as long as I keep trying.

Sheesh, if worrying were more enjoyable I could easily stay busy doing that! *pfft* *grumble* *wince*

In other news, I've been trying to participate in cooking meals more as well as help with Baby Bananaface more. The cooking can be frustrating because my memory is still rebounding from the ECT and sometimes I know that I've cooked a recipe a zillion times but I just can't remember quite how things go. Guess there's something to be said for experiencing something like new again, eh?

As for helping with BB, it's stressful but I've been pretty good about acknowledging and coping with the anxiety it brings up which helps calm me down so I can stick to the present moment and just do my best. There has been so much time when I've felt completely incapable of any parenting and been easily triggered by the stress of a small child that my anxiety can be far worse than the actual tasks at hand. Baby steps. I was able to go out and about with BB solo and give him a bath solo within the past week-big accomplishments!

This morning I hit the treadmill and did a cycle class and this afternoon I'm volunteering at the blood bank. There have been blue skies and sunshine and I am very much enjoying it. The grey was definitely start to get to me!

Anyways. That's some of what's up. I hope y'all are finishing out the week strong and that sunshine finds you too <3

Sunday, October 30, 2016

I Did Good And I'll Do Even Better

I'm trying to focus on the positive right now but fearful, tense feelings throughout my body and anxious thoughts flashing through my mind are making that a challenge. I know that I did a good job today but a large part of me still feels bad about feeling bad.

What did I do today? This morning I went to the gym with Baby Bananaface and gave the hubster some time home alone. Then this afternoon I helped the hubster with a paper he's working on for school. After BB didn't sleep too well for his nap I took him for a drive so he could nap some more and the hubster could get more time to work on his paper. I even went to Target with BB without the hubster-two solo childcare excursions in one day! This is big doin's for me. It's a show of progress. It's an accomplishment.

That said, I still feel down about myself. I feel bad that I am not even better. I feel bad that these things are still a challenge for me and that I had to navigate anxiety and near-panic attacks throughout. I wish that it were easier. I wish that I was even more help to the hubster. I feel like he's carrying the family all on his own too often and at the same time I don't feel quite up to being an equal partner again yet. It's so confusing and sad to have these conflicting emotions as well as the fear and anxiety.

I recognize that I've come a long way and even though it's difficult to recall exactly how things were I know that things have been far worse for me than they are now. I'm contributing a lot more to our family by managing the laundry and dishes and cooking some meals. I'm taking better care of myself and am able to cope through many of my symptoms without medication or emergency services. I've even managed to taper off of ECT and that's no small feat.

I've come a long way and I've done good. There's still progress to be made and I can do even better and that can come with time. Over and over I tell myself that I can do this and that I am strong and that it's okay to feel bad sometimes, that I'm good enough exactly how I am. I so want to believe this deep in my bones someday instead of the fragile, confusing feelings I experience reciting these words now. Time will tell.

As we prepare to embark on another new week I feel scared of what symptoms I will experience and I feel pressure to perform as someone that is "getting better" would. As much progress as I've made and even with my tiny nugget of pride I still feel fragile and fearful each day. Part of me hopes that this will change gradually over time and before I know it I will feel strong and confident instead but there is also the weary part of me that wants to cry and collapse and give up. So many feelings, so many directions.

I'm still confused. I'm still trying. I'm still giving myself a gold sticker for today even with my doubts and nasty feelings! Baby steps got me here and baby steps will take me even farther to where I want to be, I just have to keep working at it and keep going even when these fears shadow my path.

I hope everyone had a good weekend and made their own victories-big and small! Gold stickers all around, I say :o)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Don't Fear The Progress

I now have "Don't Fear The Reaper" stuck in my head. D'oh!

Anyways-the progress I'm referring to in the title is my TMS taper. Yesterday was my last appointment for an entire month (assuming things go well). I'm a little nervous about going without some sort of treatment (TMS or ECT) and having such an open schedule but I also recognize that I've made a lot of progress and that I'm probably stronger than I think. And even though I'm not doing TMS or ECT all the time anymore I'm still working with medications and DBT skills/therapy-so I'm not totally out in the cold by any means!

The taper from 5x/week to 3x/week to 2x/week to 1x/week went pretty well-better than I expected for sure. I definitely need to find things to pop into my schedule and keep myself busy but I have gym classes and I also know that I'll be signing up for an online course through the community college soon and I'm looking forward to that.

I'm nervous and a bit frightened but I can also see that I'm making progress and that taking yet another step in the right direction is a good thing. It's okay to be afraid sometimes and I'm still building up my confidence.

So that's the news. Still staying the course, still plugging along.

OH! I can't remember if I mentioned or not that I managed to bring up the issues I was having with my therapist and we were able to talk through some things. I now feel much more comfortable piping up about how I'm feeling and as of right now I think things are going to be all right. I still reserve the right to change therapists if I need to at some point in the future but as it is I think we were able to reach a better place. She was very helpful last week during our session when I was having a very down day and I was very grateful for that....

Anyways. I haven't been feeling 100% physically, little sore throat and coughing, so I'm going to brew some hot beverage and cuddle up for some TV time (another mini-challenge for myself trying to relax into watching some TV without my brain going haywire).

Happy Friday to everyone!


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Words for Wednesday

It's "Words for Wednesday" and I'm going to give another go :o) 

I got the prompts from Elephant's Child due to unfortunate circumstances as another blogger that was going to provide prompts had a stroke and can't participate. Please send healing thoughts to Jacqueline AKA The Cranky. Hopefully she will return some day.

I was able to use all but one of the prompt words in my writing this week. It's a personal, non-fiction blurb. I suppose a "musing" is a good way to put it? Not sure what to call it, but I wrote something and that's all that matters!


This week's prompts are:

noble
shine
expressive
charm
odd
biggest

And/or

passion
actuality
top
jar
elevator
angel

---
I ended up with a BA in English Literature after embracing the concept of living a life of passion. I was in college, working part-time at a bank, doing a lot of yoga, and my biggest problem was a sideways romance. With the help of armloads of self-help books and an overly optimistic therapist I found myself enveloped by a sense of faith in the world that may have been a little less than functional. 

In actuality, I wouldn't be a top-selling author by the time I was 25 and my life would include a helluva lot of stairs as opposed to a smooth elevator ride to health and happiness. I hope in time that distance will bring a charming perspective to these challenging times and I can look back at my life like a noble Johnny Cash classic instead of CNN coverage of a humanitarian disaster.

It's a bit odd being on the edge of in the thick of it. No longer a crisis but definitely not recovered. There are days when just making it through takes everything in me and then there are days when I feel my shine returning. Those days I can sense the hope and faith that used to carry me through my days before it was nearly battered to extinction by this postpartum depression.

I've been working at getting better for over a year. Like putting pennies in a jar, my baby steps seem to be adding up to something. People that haven't seen me for a while remark at how good I'm looking and I'm thinking ahead and making plans instead of barely being able to make it through each minute. The progress has been slow and hard to notice, like watching grass grow, yet I'm at a point now where I've clearly made some positive change.  

I've made positive change. It's a fact yet I struggle to believe this, embrace it, and lean on it. After so long going from one crisis to another I've arrived at a place where I can't trust the peace. It's no longer simply peace, it's the calm before a storm and I find myself paralyzed with the fear of my own mind. 

As demoralizing as this is, there is a small part of me that recognizes this as a trace of trauma, a temporary state of mind that I can overcome with more baby steps. When I can stay on top of the fear that perspective helps, when I can't I find myself floundering in that terrifying familiar darkness that has dominated so much of my past year.

While I'm still the creative, expressive wannabe-writer that I was years ago, I am more skeptical and less self-assured. Maybe that will change with time again as it has so far? Right now, instead of dreaming about book tours I dream of days where I feel at ease and am able to relax and enjoy my family. I dream of days where I can make it through without a panic attack or anxiety making me sick to my stomach. I dream of nights where I can cuddle with my husband without anxious thoughts hijacking my brain. 

It doesn't seem like much to ask for but at the same time seems like a lofty, magnificent goal. I know it's the negative, dysfunctional part of my brain when I wish for health and have visions of Indiana Jones snatching the golden idol and being chased by giant boulders enter my mind. My shaken confidence makes it seem that even when I think I'm home free I will be attacked somehow.  

But that is temporary. Like so many other awful symptoms that I've dealt with. I might not have the faith I did when I was younger, but I have enough to hold tight to my belief in baby steps!
---

As for a personal update, my Monday was pretty damn rough. The dark, suicidal thoughts were really sticky and things got pretty distressful rather quickly. Tuesday went a lot better for me although I felt some wobble and fears related to the day before that definitely raised my stress level. 

It's so disorienting having my life shift so abruptly and then feeling somewhat stable so soon afterward-I'm never quite sure how to relax and trust my mood because it's so unstable lately. Hopefully that changes and I get a more calm, stable status quo that I can trust. Baby steps.

Happy Wednesday to all, hope you are well :o)


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Anniversary / Here come the holidays!

The hubster and I celebrated 4 years of marriage this week. I managed to surprise him by hiding a small bouquet of flowers from him overnight (under the bathroom sink, clever, I know) and awaking early to set them out by his lappy with a card. He was quite surprised and pleased although a little chagrined that he didn't have my card ready for me to reciprocate at that moment. He made up for it quite handily with an amazing card and note as well as flowers.

For special plans we decided a family dinner out was the pace for this year and ended up going to a fancy-ish Chinese place at the mall. I'm blanking on the name but we definitely enjoyed ourselves and because it's a big chain they were totally down with having a toddler flinging low mein around and there were highchairs to spare!



Our anniversary brought up feelings, not just of love and gratitude but sadness and awe at what our last year has involved. It's been a tough haul. This time last year I was between hospitalizations and while I definitely don't feel 100% now I can say that I'm feeling a bit more functional than I did then.

It's hard to think of what we've been through. It brings up such intense feelings. Sadness. Guilt. Anger. I suppose a better way would be to think of it as all that we've overcome and how well we're doing compared to then and how much things can keep improving instead of dwelling on the negative, but that's just how I'm wired for now. I'm trying, it's just a hard mental habit to break!


Anyways.


Our anniversary is always at the beginning of the giant wave of holiday festiveness. While we're not Halloween people, it is the gateway of sorts to the holiday season and it marks the beginning of the "holiday season" when we see the candy and decorations at the local stores. We are definitely looking forward to Thanksgiving and the Christmas festivities even though we're not spooky types ;o)

Costco already has the coupons out for holiday cards and it got me thinking about how much I enjoy sending mail out even though we don't get much personal mail back (ads and coupons and stuff, yeah, personal letters or cards not so much).

If there is anyone out there in the blogosphere that also appreciates good ole snail mail and is interested in receiving one of our holiday cards please send me a message so I can add you to the mailing list! I hear from some of y'all more frequently than I do my own family so I wouldn't mind sending out some more cards if there are those who would appreciate it :o) If ya wanna just keep things on the blogging level I can appreciate that too, no worries.


As for the overall, we are plugging along. Dips and wavers and little victories included. I've been able to actually relax and watch some TV this week which may sound trivial but feels like a big accomplishment since I have such a difficult time relaxing and focusing lately-but I can do it!

Baby steps forward and baby steps back but baby steps adding up to onward and upward and that's what counts.


Happy weekends to all <3


Thursday, October 20, 2016

Write... Edit... Publish: October Challenge

I'm stepping out of my comfort zone a little and participating in a "Write... Edit... Publish" challenge this month!

The themes are "Constellations" and/or "Halloween." I'm not into the scary stuff or Halloween in general, but I was pretty quickly inspired by "Constellations" to write the following scene.

While it's fictional, I draw heavily from my personal life and as I'm still recovering and building up confidence I'm not quite up to intensive review just yet. Thoughts and comments are welcome, but please nothing severe or too intensive (enter anxiety disorder here).

I hope y'all enjoy :o)


-------------

The firewood snapped loudly and sent incandescent sparks toward the stars. A faint glow of solar powered light at the trench toilet near the entrance of the campground was the only other light and the bright glow of stars in the dark desert sky was a strange sight for the two campers from the city. Reclining on a ratty picnic blanket beside the fire, they snuggled close and took in the sky.


“Remember how afraid you were the last time we camped here?” Brad reflected, sighing with pleasure at the very obvious difference in his wife’s state of mind for this stay.


“You mean when I stayed up all night having to pee but being too afraid to sleep or leave the tent? Pretty different from lying here, relaxing under the stars with you!” Sarah responded with a touch of fire as old memories churned. “So different… I still have a hard time believing we’ve come that far.”


“It’s been a long way but you’re in a much better place now. I know, I can vouch for nearly every step of it!” He groaned in emphasis and wrapped his arm tighter around Sarah.


The past two years had been a lifestorm neither saw coming. Some of the best moments of their lives and definitely some of the worst. The birth of a son and then a suicide attempt surrounded by the confusion of recovery and treatments alongside milestones and growth spurts. The exhaustion of new parenthood couldn’t compare to the exhaustion of new parenthood combined with a horribly depressed new mother and overexerted husband scrambling to keep the family together. Who had known heaven and hell resided so close to one another?


It hadn’t quite been a desperate scramble the entire time, but for several months barely surviving had been a monumental task. Only recently life had become more pleasure than pain; more stable, balanced, and positive in a way that felt something like what the mythical ‘normal’ could be.


“It’s still hard sometimes to believe I’m okay. Sometimes I’m afraid the darkness will come back and that it’ll convince me life isn’t worth living again. Definitely less often than before, it used to be everyday, but now it’s only every once in a while I feel those doubts. Still scares me though.” Sarah edged closer to Brad and turned her newly teary face into his shoulder.


“It’s okay to be scared and that’s definitely something worth being afraid of.” Brad whispered the soothing words into her hair. “You’ve been through hell and I walked through some of it with you. I know how you feel being afraid of going through that again. Sometimes when you take longer than usual to text me back I start getting nervous that you’re not okay again!”


Sarah smiled at the confession as confused tears dribbled down her cheeks. She was so grateful to be lying here with her husband after so many months of fighting the depression and anxiety and finding her way back to life, but also so sad thinking of the hardship and terror they had endured together.


“It’s good to know that I’m not alone but it’s sad to hear that you feel those fears too. I wish we didn’t have any of this tainting our lives.” A smattering of guilt flushed her cheeks as she replied, but she caught the feeling as it sprouted and told herself that she had nothing to feel guilty for-it was a terrible disease that tore their lives apart, it wasn’t anything she had intentionally done.


“Life isn’t about fairness, it’s about perseverance.” Brad shrugged and without missing a beat, tuned into her grief, “I know you never would’ve wanted that for our family but it happened. We made it through and we can accept that and move on. That’s life and that’s okay. There’s lots of good parts that make up for it, right?’


“I don’t know how you always manage to maintain that ‘go get ‘em’ attitude. It’s like you’re a Willie Nelson song personified!” Sarah rolled over and up onto her elbow, leaning over Brad as he laid on the blanket, “But no matter how you manage, I love you and I’m glad I made it through too.”


She bent forward and they shared a tearstained kiss under the starry sky before Brad mumbled, “Ya know, some Willie Nelson sounds good about now.”


Sarah giggled and gave him an awkward sideways hug before they snuggled together again on the blanket and resumed their stargazing.


“I don’t know how I managed to find someone like you that would be able to go through all that with me and still be eager to see what’s next!” She shook her head, “You’re amazing, honey.”


“I guess you could say the stars aligned-”


“Stars aligned! That’s only for good, lucky things! We had a frickin’ tornado chasing us and tearing up our lives for two years!” Sarah cut him off, sitting up and staring down at him with blatant skepticism.


“Having the stars align isn’t always a wonderful thing, it can be bad too!” Brad argued. “In our case the stars aligned for a horrible postpartum reaction but they also aligned in ways to help us work it out: the great psychiatrist, the support from online friends, the therapy you got, and the great staff at the hospitals and treatment centers. It hasn’t all been pretty, but it’s all been pretty remarkable how we found the help you needed and you worked so hard to get through this. That’s what I mean by ‘the stars aligned.’”


“Hmm.” Sarah remained suspicious but an inkling of pride and a big dose of gratitude helped her accept his perspective. She kissed him again and said, “Well I’m glad they aligned in that way, but boy howdy, they better not align in that other way again!”


“If they do, we’ll know what to do.” Brad smiled and hugged her close.



WC: 991

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We're still pluggin' away at getting to that sense of 'normal' and 'okay.' Somehow writing this scene out helped me feed my sprouting hope. Maybe someday we will return to that campground and I will feel at ease instead of afraid? Huh, maybe I did deal with some "Halloween" theme after all talking about fears! Haha, not really "Halloween" in my book, just life!

The journey continues. :o)

Thanks for reading!