Oh, Hank Green. How this speaks to me. I start all sorts of projects, and frequently drop them in the middle because I’m not living up to my own impossible standard. Manuscripts, quilts, paintings, poems, afghans, blogs, furniture, murals, and samplers have all gotten bundled away never to been seen again because they weren’t good enough. I don’t want this project to fall down that rabbit hole, so I’m aiming for Mr. Green’s 80 percent.
I’m still looking for direction on this site. I want to offer stories of successes over a variety of mental and neurological health difficulties. I want to discuss advice I’ve been given over the years, about parenting and my health. I want to show windows into my life, when it is good and when it is bad. I want other parents with these troubles to find my site and see that they aren’t so alone. I want to reduce the cultural shame and isolation by standing up and saying “I have a mental disease AND I am a good parent. They are in no way exclusive.”
Isolation is a common symptom of mental health troubles, across the board. For me when my symptoms are rampant, I am loath to leave the house. I struggle to reply to text messages, let alone phone calls. I frequently reach out on the internet to find other people like me, but can’t engage even in internet conversations. Today, I’m on the other end. Today, I know that there are thousands of other families out there fighting to keep their heads above water with these kinds of illnesses. I know that my case is not particularly unique. And today I want to reach out to people so they can find their way back. You are not alone. WE are not alone. Comment below, even just a mood emoji. Reach out. There are people in this world who miss you since you have been gone. Don’t let your disease steal them away.
Today’s Mood: B
Depression makes you forget. Depression flattens the wonder of the world. We have lived here for scant months, and I have already gotten to resenting the imperfections of this place.
This time last year, we were renting month-to-month from a 94 year old. Seven years ago, I was convinced I would never be a mother. A dozen years back and I was in an abusive relationship unable to give myself permission to leave.
Today I’m married to my best friend, we have two amazing daughters, and we own our home. I’m still sick, the girls present unique challenges, and our home isn’t a Forever Home, but life is amazing. I never would have believed it not all that long ago.
(Graphic by MJ Kocovski)
At the dentist last week we got bad news. In response to this bad news, I did the entirely rational thing and burst into tears. I managed to contain it in the car in the parking lot, but it was still utterly embarrassing.
I was set off because both of my girls need fillings. Big Jujubee was supposed to be getting hers, but the laughing gas wasn’t enough to keep her calm. We had to schedule an appointment for oral sedation in the office. Little Rosebud’s cavities developed like lightening, and now she’ll need to be under full anesthesia for multiple crowns in April.
Rosebud found the helmet and the dress in the dentists waiting room, and it was focusing on sharing little baby cosplay with everyone on the internet that got me centered enough to move forward. I’m still having nightmares about the tooth troubles, but the kids are going to be ok. I keep reminding myself that we did our best with their teeth, and this happens sometimes.
OK! Personal spotlight on exactly what my deal is. My first diagnosis, and one that still sticks after all these years, is Major Depressive Disorder, or Major Depression. Is there a difference between this and just plain depression? It is a matter of degree, I think. For me it is the difference between a “blue funk,” and months or years of a flattened mood; the difference between a passing urges to self injure and constant, detailed planning with or without attempts; between a “one and done” treatment plan where a single layer of treatment clears thing up, and a multilayered delicate balance of lifestyle, meds, and talk therapies that attempt to give the largest possible window of relief.
Hell, that’s just my impression though. For me, ever since I was 16 I have been prone to deep black moods that have lasted months. Even years. I have attempted suicide and been a cutter because I just wanted the buzz of constant pain to stop. There is no explanation for the physical sensations except brain chemistry. I have anxiety attacks and social anxiety as part of my secondary symptom set.
I have been on one antidepressant or another on and off for 17 years. I managed to wean off for my pregnancies, but my hormones are their very own kind of special and impact my mood their own way. But more on that another day.
Today I am on a blend of two meds, a handful of tailored dietary supplements, I attend therapy every other week, and I am on a strict exercise plan of cardio or yoga 4-5 days a week. I’ll give you three guesses which one I struggle with most.
This is the aspect of my mental health that drags down my baseline mood. On it’s own it is crippling, and it is the first line on the my disability determination. My other jumble of intermittent and or cyclical disorders just pile on top of this to keep me from being traditionally productive and happy.
I find a way, though. We do, together. Tonight, with a sick kiddo (Isn’t there always one?) and Alex out until an hour after bedtime, I’m taking things slow. My 2 year old wanted to cuddle nearly all day, so very little got done, but it is such a pleasure to hold her. My big girl, 5, got far far too much TV, but also let her baby sister lay in the big girl bed for cuddle and is now blowing my mind by going to bed with no fight. Little things. Good things.
“It feels like everyone else is moving on with their lives while I am stuck here, in this hole that I can’t climb out of.”
I have an idea to flush out my content here with occasional fiction posts, sometimes serial in nature. Maybe as much as one per week. I write mostly historical dark-fantasy set in a variety of ages, from recent American history to P.I.E. pre-history. I’m also not a half bad poet, but for now I will save you all from that. *Winky face*
Today’s story was written using the following image as a prompt. For more of the images and ideas I use for prompts, follow my Pinterest boards.
Branagh fished off of the edge of the stones on the riverside, for all the world like just another old peasant man. His clothes were unbleached and undyed wool, linen, and leather in uneven shades of tan and brown. He collected his catch in a willow creel left floating in the water at his feet, though this morning had only given up one small trout. Enough to go on with. He judged it nearly time to get on with his day, judging by the warmth beginning to soak into his back from the strengthening morning sun. One more cast, and he would call off the fish hunt.
He was still winding his line hand over age-spotted-hand (and when had /that/ happened?) when the birds stopped calling. His normally pensive face creased with a frown as he continued his little chore. He had just hoisted the covered creel containing two (!) modest fish, when the cause of the feathered caution reached his ear; a bright jangling of harness brass and the wooden clop of hooves.
He was walking along the shaggy wild verge between the road and the river when the cause of the sound finally came into view on the road. Two large men on equally large horses trotted smartly, moving in the same direction he was. Miles deep into the woods, they were, though this narrow spur of road did represent a shortcut to the capital for those unafraid of sleeping rough. And of the uncanny. Branagh saw few passers by, and he suspected it wasn’t because his people had a distaste for fine woodland nights.
He strode on, ignoring the riders but for a backward glance until one called out to him, “Hoy, Fisher, is this the track to the mageholding and the turning to Eddenston?” They slowed, but didn’t stop, so he trudged on.
“Aye, Sir. Ye be headed the right way.”
They thanked him without ever turning to face him and urged their mounts back into a ground devouring trot. The clubbed tails bounced nearly in unison, mesmerizing Branagh until they disappeared around the bend in the road and the rustling verdant evidence of a rainy spring. He didn’t spare them another thought, for his path followed the brook, not the road.
They were the last thing on his mind when the closely wooded foot path again met the road, where it bent back to kiss the edge of the slow river. His decoction should be ready for attending after a night and half a day and he was visualizing the next steps when an unexpected equine grunt sounded from the river.
Standing knee deep, just at the place where the river widened into a pond, was a glimmering blue-black stallion. He was smaller in stature that the beasts from the road, but he seemed to glow with vigor. His eyes were bright and his mane and tail glistened like silk, elevating the stringy water weeds tangled there to the level of fine decorations. No lady’s mount, brushed and beribboned, ever looked finer.
Branagh just coughed, dashing his hand across his eyes like he’d been splashed. “Damn you, Highness, but I can see you without all the glamorie. Lay off me!”
The unnatural horse shook his mane, shedding water violently, and then was merely a handsome piece of flesh. He whickered and stepped forward until he could clamp teeth on Branagh’s sleeve. He tugged a staggering Branagh several steps further downstream, whickered, and tore off at a gallop, first parallel with the shore then veering away and plunging into the deep water. Being king kelpie of the herd who made their home in this part of the river, he was no worse at all running through water deeper than his head. He was on a direct path toward the holding house now, and it raised cold hackles on Branagh’s neck and led his mind back toward the strangers.
With feet racing his thoughts, he jogged roughly for the last quarter mile before. He could see his home. A stone dam held back the pond, and just below that was his little stone bridge and the mossy slates of his little tower. Pacing the width of the river was the figure of a man, and Branagh was sure he would find four horses waiting at the tower doors: his sturdy and too-clever pony; Highness, who was as territorial as any human king; and the mismatched brutes from the road, chestnut and buckskin and far more worrisome to the mageholding’s master than a herd of kelpies ever could be.
There is a scene in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun when Frances Mayes buys her house in Cortona. She is in the notary’s office, there are a few documents that have to be rubber-stamped, a sip of espresso, and that’s it. Francis asks, “Just like that?” and it’s met with
“It’s a house, not a Vespa. What are you going to do, steal it?”
We close on our home tomorrow. To. Morr. Ow. We have our walk through this afternoon. I’m beside myself. I want to move in. I want to spend an hour, quietly, without any extra-familial eyes on me, going slowly through the house introducing myself. I want to carry in a box and make a meal. I want to go buy paint and a new couch. I want to haul the old washer and dryer out and scrub the alcove floor. I want to huff and puff and sweat and curse and accomplish something. I want my children to have space to play where I’m not trying to work. And I want it NOW.
I’m so beyond overwrought. Good stress is still stress, my friends and therapist keep reminding me. I’m not sleeping much. I’m eating either far too much, or I’m nauseous and skipping meals. My heart is racing and up in my throat all the time. I’m weepy and it is all because of good stress.
Positive stresses cause lots of mental health symptom. Buying a home, having a baby or adopting, weddings, even planning parties and vacations cause people lots of the symptoms I’m having. It is disorienting for me because my more severe symptoms are triggered but have nothing to feed of off. I’m stressed, so my suicidal thoughts are popping up, but “Kill yourself because you are getting your dream,” just doesn’t have the internal consistency of “Kill yourself because you fought with your kids,” or any other negative stress.
Have you experienced anything like this? Are positive stresses harder to manage than negative ones, or do we just forget that the same skills we use to stay on the rails during crisis will do the same thing during the exceptionally hard-but-wonderful times. I’m going to go do my Square Breathing exercise to see if I can get productive before the walk through. Wish me luck.
Hi. I’m Bekkah and I’m here because I’m super depressed.
I’m not completely sure what I intend with this blog. I refuse to believe that I’m alone in being a parent with significant mental health issues, but it seems that when I look for other people like me I find lots of almosts and kindofs. I don’t intend for this to be a place that substitutes for health or therapeutic care, but instead I want to create a place where I can come share their everyday experience of being crazy and parenting crazy and maybe throw out some advice, share some good feelings, and make myself a little community.
This post is to see how WordPress works, honestly. I expect to do several low content post like this as I’m getting started.
Today, Alex is on edge from needing to have a conversation with a professor who decided to format her classroom participation credit in such a way that he could not ever succeed. She intends to enforce group seating and randomize those groups at every class session. This is in an upper division math class! I only have minor social anxiety, and that idea makes me want to self harm. Alex’s social anxiety is so much worse. He was near tears describing the situation. He contacted the Disability Services office for an accommodation letter, but has to deliver it himself.
Rosebud has a little fever, meaning that I’m missing my regular session of commiserating and checking in with my BFFs and Jujubee is missing her playdate. Too much screen time.
We are less than a week from closing on our new home! Around the house, we are trying to pack and purge and clean. That’s the plan, anyway.
Naturally, Juju Bee has come down with a cold and Rosebud is threatening to catch it, too. Juju has grasped her own desire to move for about 9 months and even ran a little store selling fairy garden decor to earn money “for a house with a yard.” Now that is becoming real, though, she’s scared. She’s never moved before.
Change is hard for little humans, especially spectrumy ones. So we pack slowly, and we talk about where her things will go. We have a property walk through next week and we’ll have her help us draw a floor plan.
Rosebud is be too little to even play at being rational. Her toys are only getting packed when she’s asleep or not home because she becomes a creature of sound and fury when she sees her things go into boxes.
Alex, of course, is still in classes Monday – Thursday. This is a critical semester because he can finally start taking his professional exams once he passes these. He’s compartmentalized pretty extensively, but it doesn’t change that he’s weirder than a glow-in-the-dark three headed salamander these days. He is doing an absolutely wonderful job of being supportive, and he’s keeping up on his school work, but the stress has brought back his migraines and upset his gut. Poor man.
Me? I’m blessedly in my pre-ovulatory phase, so my hormones are not contributing to the issues yet. I’m anxious, though. I want to be working on the house. The condo is growing less livable as it fills up with boxes and the clutter combined with the psychological pressure is pretty awful. My heart races and my hands shake and that’s before I’m carrying boxes or laundry through the hallways choked with packed storage tubs.
How am I coping? Well, I have made the poor choices to skip workouts twice and binge on Halloween candy. I’m not eating enough green or protein I’m making lists and schedules for when we can finally move toward the new place and sitting at the desk staring at stuff the kids keep dragging out. None of this is good.
Resolution? Once I get Rosebud down for a nap I will dose Juju with more elderberry syrup then wade into the morass of things to pack for at least one box.