Thursday, June 24, 2010

So Now I Have a "Prescription" to Run

I finally made it in to see my psychiatrist yesterday evening. No big surprise - I am having serious bouts of anxiety, as well as depression. We're not really using the postpartum label yet, because I dealt with both before getting pregnant, and it seems like it could just be one hell of a recurrence, coupled with baby and life-change stress.

We talked about meds, and I told him I really don't want to be on anything right now. Several of the ones he looked up were contraindicated for breastfeeding anyway, and I still worry about the "safe "ones because there are no real studies on how it will effect your kid's mental health later on (they know only "trace amounts" of some things come through the milk, but can't tell me if those are enough to make him more likely to have a mood disorder or need medication himself once he's older). He did try to tell me it'd be ok to stop breastfeeding now, and that most of the immune benefits were passed on by 3 months, but I told him I planned to continue until my son decided to wean. For now, we're holding off on meds, but he told me to call him if I have another really bad day or two, and he may call something in that I probably won't take anyway because I'll be too freaked out.

The  one thing he did tell me is that he wants me to be sure to exercise daily, especially while I'm off meds. He suggested walking, but I told him I found running more relaxing and it helps me deal with stress better. He said he's still emphasize walking but, if I was going to run anyway, to be careful not to push myself too hard or get too frustrated with setting/reaching goals right now (yes, this guy knows me). It is motivation to get my butt in gear, because I have been slacking off in the exercise department, because of the heat and the general lack of motivation and feeling like crap that goes along with the depression.  At least I feel a little better about asking the hubby to watch Robbie some now, so I can get a run in. I doubt it'll happen as much as it should, but I can tell him the doctor said to instead of trying to explain that I need to do it for me. It sucks that it takes invoking "medical authority" instead of just listening to what I say, but at least it may let me get out more.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - 3 Months

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Post-Partum Depression Is More than A Bad F**king Day

Apparently there's this big conversation going on in the blogosphere about postpartum depression. A couple bloggers have taken it upon themselves to tell everyone else what PPD is, how we must feel, and why we should just man up and forget about it. Oh, and we should not post about any bad days because we might offend some special snowflake who thinks all women experience motherhood as sunshine and roses by implying that her "bad days" may not be quite as bad as those times you're thankful you can't drag your ass out of bed because you're debating harming yourself or your child if you had the energy too.

Of course, that's the problem with the internet. Too many people think they're experts on things they know nothing about, and love to tell those who are experiencing or living something that they don't really know what they're going through. I really feel sorry for the mothers who may read some of this debate, decide they should just "man up and deal with it", and fail. There are times that mind over matter doesn't work too well, and when your mind is what's broken, it's pretty hard for it to fix itself. It'd be one thing it this was some little petty issue, but ignoring PPD or failing to fix it in your own can just make you feel even more inadequate and even further depressed, and could feed the voices that say the best way out is to remove yourself or the baby from the picture. It's just another thing to add to the list of failures and "not good enoughs" that constantly run through your head.

Oh, we also don't need people with no fracking clue telling us how we must feel, or what must be wrong with us. I don't know what particular blend of ignorance and asshatery it took to come up with the theory that we feel like this because we don't have a bond with our babies, but the opposite is true for many of us. There are a lot of moments I'm reminded how much I love my son, and how sweet & wonderful & perfect he is, and then I feel sorry because he has such a screw-up for a mother. We're not sitting around saying "OMG, I hate my baby,". Yes, many of us our honest about frustration and needing a break at times, but even the worst of the scary thought are often because we are so attached and love them so damn much. It's not "oh, life would be so convenient if I drowned my kid, shot myself in the head, or ran away from everything". It's more like "I'm a horrible mother, and he deserves so much better, so maybe I should find a way to stop it all before I totally screw him up" - not all that hard to imagine when you're feeling both incompetent as a parent and human being and totally batshit insane at the same time.

It's also a whole lot more than just frustration and being overwhelmed with parenthood; it's pretty much everything in  life. For me, it's being sad and crying over nothing, constantly being edgy and pissed off over nothing, and having very few emotions in between. It's also about staying up unable to sleep even when there's a chance to, then fighting to stay awake even though you're nodding in and out because it's the middle of the day, you're home alone with the baby, and you're scared to death something bad will happen to him if you go to sleep (but also scared you'll be the "something bad" if you don't get some rest). It's about feeling guilty about everything, and totally inept, crying so hard you get dizzy because you're stuck in the bathroom and he's crying and you can't get to him. It's going days without a shower because you can't leave him long enough to take one and you don't have the energy or motivation to once your husband gets home, or passing out during the day because you're not eating at all. Not being able to concentrate or hold a conversation. Having problems breastfeeding because your body is not making enough milk while stressed out, sleep deprived, and underfed, yet resisting going on medications because you don't want to taint the small amount of milk you are able to feed your baby.

It's also about the "rest" of your life. Losing your job because you can't concentrate and cry all day long worrying about your child being out of your sight. Killing your relationship with your husband because you have no sex drive, are emotional and irritable all the time, and you feel like it's pissing him off when you need a break and ask him to hold the baby for more than an hour, but you can't tell him why because he'd have you committed himself if he knew half the shit that was going through your head. And that's the worst part - you keep it to yourself. You don't tell people because you're afraid of what they'll think, afraid you'll end up in a mental hospital, afraid you'll lose your kids. You can't even talk about it with other moms, because you're all trying to wear the perfectly happy mommy face and you don't want to be the one to break the facade. Apparently, you have to even watch where you blog about it. And all this time, it just keeps getting worse, you keep trying to pull yourself together and get over it on your own, and you find yourself slipping further into the darkness and hope you're not dragging the rest of your family with you

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Hair

I'm trying to grow my hair out long. These are the longest & shortest cuts I have pics of from the past couple years, and the top middle is the length now. I'll be so glad once I pass the weird in between stage.

Ups & Downs, Mostly Down

My emotions and energy levels are still really up and down. I had a couple days last week where I felt OK, and a few that were really bad. There was one day where the baby was crying and for over an hour it was like I couldn't move; I was sitting there crying because I felt so bad about it, but I couldn't get up and move about 10 feet to tend to him. Yesterday was also rough, but not quite as bad. I was tempted to ask my husband to come home early but I didn't and he ended up working 3 hours overtime instead. I had one really good day where I got up, did some stuff around the house, and even got out and ran, then everything crashed again and I just can't get my energy back.

I did finally call and make an appointment with my psychiatrist, but he's on vacation so it won't be until next week. I'm just trying to make it through until then, but I don't really have a support network at all. Getting out of the house would help some, but it's hard to do with the baby, and I'm having lots of anxiety about driving, so a lot of days it's not even possible. I feel like I'm failing at everything right now, because I'm getting nothing done, and having so much trouble concentrating or even keeping the energy to stay awake all day, much less work or get anything done around here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Finding My Groove Again

I'm feeling much better today than I was last week, or even yesterday. It seems strange, because the only thing I've done different is to wake up early (and eat breakfast before noon, which may have helped, too). It's odd because I didn't get to bed until 2am, and woke up around 5 with the baby, but I decided to go ahead and get up once he fell asleep. If/when he takes an afternoon nap, I may lay down and snooze with him, but so far the early rising has helped me get a jump on things and seems to have helped my mood.

I'm up, dressed and showered, which is a rarity in itself anymore (I've been waiting until the evening when my husband got home on most days, and more than once either skipped it altogether or showered at bedtime). I almost stayed up all night again, but am kind of glad I made myself lay down around 2 when baby got settled, because I fell asleep pretty fast, and I've been needing some real rest. I just feel more hopeful today than I have in a long time, like maybe I can deal with things ("things" right now mostly being life in general).

I haven't seen my psychiatrist yet, but I will be seeing him next week. I would have done so this week, but I spent more than I planned at the grocery store, and won't have the money to cover my appointment until after Tuesday. That said, I know I need to go, but don't feel like it's as urgent now. If I can get decent rest and nutrition the rest of the week, I think it will help a lot with keeping me feeling better. I'm going to also try to get back on track with exercising and following my daily routines, because they both help a lot. I did a short run this morning, but didn't want to overdo it because I've been sore a lot lately. I may walk on the treadmill later too, because I have a book I want to read more of, and I can read and walk at the same time. I'm also going to hold off on going back to work until at least next week. I feel like I'm adding too much stress by pushing myself, and I need to get things under control here before I could work effectively. It'll also help to get back to a routine, because that will mean I can predict when Robbie will be more sleepy, hungry, etc and schedule my work day around that.

So far, I've swept the kitchen, done a quick clean in the bathrooms, washed pillows (linens are next), had breakfast & washed dishes, and ran. If I can keep up with this routine again, I'll feel better and not be as stressed about the house, and I can get back to decluttering and putting away some of the pre-pregnancy clothes I'd packed away. It should also help mentally, because one of the biggest problems is that I just get overwhelmed, even with everyday things, and having a daily plan and more order at home helps make everything more manageable. I feel like if I can get going with a routine again and stick to it for a while, then maybe I will be ready to go to work as well. Either way, it should just make life easier all around, and help me get back to enjoying it instead of just trudging through feeling like I'm 5 steps behind.

Wordle Wednesday

Wordle: MamaRants.com

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Blog Against Bullying

This post is part of the "Blog Against Bullying" Blog Party, hosted by A Yummy Mummy on a Pink Park Bench.

My son is still a baby, so I haven't had to deal with bullying in his life yet, although that is one of the things that makes me glad we're planning to homeschool, and really hesitant to even put him in daycare or enrichment type classes.  I know that sooner or later, he'll probably run into bullying or teasing, and that I won't be able to keep it from happening, and that bothers me already.

I have been bullied at a few different times in my life. It wasn't very surprising as a kid, because I was always "different", and that tends to draw that type of thing. In preschool and the first few years of school, I was taller than most of the other kids, and my family didn't have much money, so I didn't have the "right" clothes or other things to help me fit in. As I got older, the clothes and money were still an issues, and I sucked at sports but excelled in academics, so I had the "nerd" label to go along with it. By high school, I was still sort of an outsider, but was involved with the sort of subcultures and things that caused people to avoid me more than to tease or bully, and had a good group of friends, so it was easier to ignore the jerks.

The thing that really caught me off guard was running into the same type of behavior among adults. I thought most people grew out of teasing and bullying behaviors after high school, but apparently they don't, and adulthood just raises the stakes. The "adult" I ran into started out by using the internet, so I figured he was just a typical "troll" picking fights online, but it quickly escalated when he began posting my personal information and calling my home phone number, and eventually calling my employer and spreading rumors about me to try to make me lose my job. This started several years ago, and I have still been "cyberstalked" by this individual every time I post on certain forums. I do know his real name, employer, etc, but haven't played the same cards on him, because I just think that's wrong, and am afraid he would do even more to target me if he realized I know who he is. I'm sure there are some ways to handle things like this, but I ended up just avoiding places, both online and in real life (some of our friends overlap & we have been invited to the same parties and events at times), because I have enough going on in my own life and don't want to deal with the added drama.

I guess I'm lucky in some ways, because I have seen adult bullying in person, in many ways that are more direct and even worse. The top one of these is the workplace bully, because the person can sabotage or even destroy your career, and you cannot avoid them. Another problem is that many bullies are almost sociopathic, and are great at lying and turning things around, so the victim who complains is sometimes labeled as a troublemaker or bully themselves when they report the problems. The same goes for family bullies - some adults are still bullied by spouses, parents, siblings, in-laws, or even adult children, but are afraid to stand up to the bully because they are afraid of other family members taking sides or blaming them for creating problems, or because they have been socialized to believe that they don't have a right to take up for themselves when mistreatment comes from "family".

I don't really have the answers to bullying, whether it comes from children or adults, but I think one of the biggest helps will be teaching victims that they don't have to put up with it, and that they always have the right to take up for themselves and confront or distance themselves from any bully. Just as most parents would know better than to force a child to keep making playdates with a bully who is mistreating their child, adults need to stop forcing themselves and others to tolerate abusive behavior (which is what "bullying" is) in the name or workplace or family harmony. By allowing ourselves as adults to be pushed around and ridiculed, we are teaching our children to expect that same behavior, making them easy targets for bullying because they will not stand up for themselves. In the worse cases, it can destroy a person's self esteem, leading to either suicide or a person with such low self-esteem that they find themself drawn to further bullying in the shape of an abusive spouse or partner and/or a workplace where bullying, threats, and coercion are the norm.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Struggling

I haven't been posting much because I just can't seem to get my body and mind in gear lately. I'm thinking a lot of it may be depression related, but my psychiatrist appointment is another one of those things I keep putting off, forgetting, or thinking I won't both with because nothing matters or will change things (and while I know that's not really true, it's how I keep thinking about things, and making it so easy to procrastinate and go back to trying to sleep through life).

I could sleep all day if it wasn't for having to feed and change the baby, and I've spent a couple days pretty much just chilling in bed with him, only waking up enough to do that. which is not fair to him because he's not getting played with and talked to like he needs when I'm like that. I still haven't gone back to work yet, and part of me is scared to - I'm worried how people will react since I've been go so long and now I'll be working with baby in tow, but I'm also afraid I'm not together enough to do my job and I really don't want to screw up where someone's house is concerned. I haven't done much decluttering either, so there's still a lot of housework I should be doing, but I'm finding myself getting sidetracked or giving up because even the little steps are seeming like too much.  I've slacked off on running and exercising too, because I just feel drained and am waking up with sore muscles and joints even when I've done nothing. In other things, I am/was close to giving up on both my marriage and life in general. I've thought so many times about leaving my husband, and sometimes walking away and leaving the baby too, because I'm afraid of hurting or neglecting him. I'm not sure if this is PPD or regular depression coming back, or if there's even a difference between the two, but I know I need to get up before 4 or 5, make a phone call, and get my butt to the shrink's office.

I'm sort of in limbo because I'm not having actual suicidal thoughts (ie, wanting or planning to do it), but I have been thinking about it a lot lately. I've had a lot of that over the past several months, even before the baby was born, and one of the biggest things that's kept me from dwelling on it is knowing that he needs me around, and that if  I wasn't in the picture he'd be in daycare all day or left with people I don't really want raising him, because my husband has to work. It is also one of the reasons I've been so stubborn about breastfeeding - that's something else I have to stick around to provide for him. On the other hand, I am so afraid of hurting him or passing some of my mental issues on, and sometimes I think he'd be better off without me.


I tried to talk to my husband about things some last week, but he just doesn't get it. The first time, I was having a real bad time with depressive feelings and had two panic attacks that day, and was just not functioning very well. I had to drive the baby to a doctor's appointment and was crying most've the drive, because I was so freaked out by having to drive (I was in a very bad car wreck last year that required surgery, and in a minor one right before I had the baby). I was tense because of all that, and told him I was going to wait before I drove home because there was a thunderstorm and I needed to calm down instead of trying to drive through it. He gets mad when I don't explain everything, or go along with what he wants when he wants, so he asked me why I was being "such a bitch" the last few days. I told him it was because I kept thinking about either killing myself or leaving, and he asked me if I had made up my mind yet, so he knew which sort of lawyer to call. I was already crying and shaking, and it took me about an hour before I could calm down enough to drive.

We avoided eachother most of that evening, which was probably for the best, then my sister called and we spent the weekend with her, so we had to act like things were OK and didn't really talk about much then. We did finally talk a little about our relationship and all of the things that were going on, but we have a lot more work to do if things are going to work out (some of the "issues" go back years). He came up with the idea to try to spend at least 30 minutes a day talking to eachother, away from the TV, computer, etc, and I think that will help if we stick to it. Now I just have to work on the other things in life too - work, the house, and the baby, but I feel like if he'll be more supportive instead of dragging me down and making me feel bad that it'll help a lot with the depression and anxiety in general, because 2/3 of my "triggers" anymore are from things he says or does.

I know I'm probably in not the best relationship right now, but things are good most of the time, so I want to make it work. We love eachother, and he's good with the baby. He wouldn't hurt me intentionally, and I think he's just now realizing that he has, and at first it made him angry with me for reacting that way, but now he's seeing that it's not my fault that I get upset or feel put down or threatened by certain things. He never really learned what a loving or respectful relationship is (his father is an alcoholic, a womanizer and was verbally/emotionally and physically abusive to him and his mother both), and I have some issues from my own past, so we're trying to recognize and work through them so we can have a decent relationship, and so we don't repeat the same mistakes with our son.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Like Father, Like Son

Hey, at least somebody's getting some sleep around here...

Photobucket

National Running Day

Thanks to Tricia at Endurance Isn't Only Physical for pointing out that today, June 2nd, is National Running Day. To find out more, or to find an event in your area, you can check out the website at runningday.org

If you've never run before, here are some Beginner's Tips for non-runners from the runningday.org site:

It’s easy to get started running. Here are some simple guidelines everyone can follow to safely and pleasurably develop their ability to run.

 

Relax. Running is a natural act, like breathing or walking. Just about anyone can do it. It is, however, recommended that you consult a health professional before undertaking a serious training program. You may wish to start by walking first, and then gradually incorporating running into your training program.

Think positively. Don’t be discouraged. If you can get through the first several weeks of training, you will find that what seems like a big effort at the start will soon feel natural and easy to you. Within a few weeks, you will experience the pure joy of running down the street or along a park path.

Buy quality gear. The only equipment you will need is comfortable exercise clothes and good running shoes. Go to a running specialty store and get advice about the right shoes for you. You can get good running shoes for $80-120.

Train with a plan. Choose a running/walking course that is readily accessible to you. During your first two training weeks, try to run two or three times per week, on alternate days. When you feel ready, increase to four days a week, then five days. The idea is to build up gradually. Even top competitive runners take days off regularly to rest and avoid injury. Stretch your muscles on both your running and non-running days.

It’s okay to walk. Begin your first workouts with 15 minutes of alternating walking and jogging: Walk for five minutes, then run easily for two or three minutes; repeat. If you are comfortable jogging from the start, that’s fine, but do not run the entire time even if you think you can. Don’t worry about the distance you cover. On your third or fourth workout, try increasing your time to 20 minutes. After three or four more workouts, move to 25 minutes, then after another three or four workouts, try a 30-minute continuous run. Don’t force yourself to go farther or faster than what feels comfortable to you. The idea is to keep running regularly, and you’re more likely to do that if you’re enjoying yourself and looking forward to your next run.

Run at “conversation” pace. If you can’t chat with your running companions, you are going too fast. If you are running alone, try singing to yourself, out loud, to make sure your effort and breathing are under control. If you can’t sing, slow down.

If your schedule allows, include cross training. Biking, elliptical training, and lifting light weights can help strengthen non-running muscles and prevent injury. Swimming and deep water running can also be helpful in balancing your training and avoiding injuries.

Aim for a race. Pick an event that’s at least six weeks in the future. An ideal distance for your first race would be 5K (3.1 miles) or four miles. This is short enough so that you can truly be ready for your first effort, and long enough to give you the sense of accomplishment that will fuel your future running. Your goal should be to finish, enjoy the event, and look ahead. Start at the back of the pack, hold yourself back at the start, and run within your comfort range. If your time was slow, that’s good—now you have a base from which to improve.

For your next race, try a few short speed workouts. After a mile warm-up, run a series of faster intervals with jogging in between. A good “starter” workout is a sequence of about 400 meters at a quicker pace, followed by a slow 400-meter jog, repeated six times. This will loosen up your legs, lengthen your stride, and give you the confidence you will need to race.
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