Monday, May 28, 2012

I wish I could be more specific.

One of the things I don't typically talk about regarding my experience of depression is one of the scariest aspects of it. I have no trouble talking about the feelings of emptiness, apathy, irritation, exhaustion, sadness, and anhedonia (where I don't enjoy things I typically do--like spending time with friends and family).

The most nerve-wracking things I experience, though, is a sort of self-destructive tendency. I'm not typically a person who does any physical self-harm. My primary target is more mental and emotional--I'm after my self-worth. I'm after my life. I get these urges to do things that will certainly ruin me, my interests, and/or my relationships. This is the most difficult thing for me to deal with because not only am I during one of these spirals not interested in the things I am usually interested in, but there gets to be a point where I very strongly want to do or say something that will actively destroy the sanctity of it. My thinking gets pretty malicious in these circumstances, and it scares me. If I acted on these impulses, they really could have a serious and negative impact on my life. And sometimes instead of taking an action that will lead to disaster, I want to neglect to take an action, which again would lead to disaster. It's hard to give examples, because it's always something a little different. But mostly because the shame I feel for thinking the way I do during these phases is crippling.

It's one thing when I throw my typical smartass-ery and cynical thinking at things/people/situations I don't like or am irritated by. Usually I am able to balance that stuff out internally, by reminding myself to find the positives, and externally, by keeping my damn mouth shut. But during the depths of depression, it's a lot harder to find balance. The thing is, I still know that whatever it is I'm thinking about is wrong and dangerous and destructive to my health, my sanity, everything. It's just a lot harder for me to work the thoughts and feelings out of my system than it is on a typical non-spirally day, possibly taking weeks instead of a few seconds.

A grand total of ONE time I took this destructive tendency and talked through it with a close, nonjudgmental friend. She was totally supportive and understanding, and just having that outside perspective that wasn't experiencing the distorted thinking I was helped me tremendously. This is one of the primary reasons I think counseling could be very helpful for me. The majority of times I have had a typical, everyday problem, the anxiety over the problem disappeared and my idea of a solution appeared as soon as the issue was bounced off of someone else. The one time I shared with someone my thoughts/impulses while in a destructive-mode, it cleared itself up within a couple of days. All it ever takes is for someone from an outside perspective to see or hear what I'm heading towards, and it's over. It knocks it out of my system. It's like once I say it out loud I can hear how ridiculous or destructive the impulse is, and my head clears. Unfortunately, I don't typically feel safe talking about these things, because either I worry that they wouldn't seem like as big of a deal to whomever I'm talking it out with or that it would be viewed as devastating, catastrophic, and would ruin their opinion of me. There is no in-between. And I worry that I wouldn't be able to get across how much I fully understand how horrible and destructive this impulse could be. But with a neutral other party (such as a counselor), there is no feeling of judgment.

Gee, I wish this was an option for me at this point. Instead, I've been dealing with the emotional strain of being in the middle of one of these self-destructive phases by myself. Again. Luckily, I'm coming out the other side of it now. All it took was a little reminder of the person I actually am, versus the person depression makes me feel like I am.

Please look out for your friends and loved ones when they're on the verge of doing something stupid, or seem like they're out of sorts. Even if they don't tell you exactly what's going on, sometimes just that reminder that they're not acting like themselves at that moment could be exactly what they need to move out of it.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Today? A good day.

The past couple of days have been kind of hazy. After my post the other night I've been pretty drained. After I got off of work last night I went home and proceeded to be bored out of my mind and totally uninterested in watching TV, reading, blogging, internet site-hopping, cleaning--pretty much any of my normal activities. And yes, I am that boring. Work has been so-so the past couple of days, so there wasn't anything in particular occupying my mind, either. I went to bed early, even though I still wasn't able to get to sleep any earlier. (2-3 A.M. has been the earliest I can get to sleep for a while now, no matter what time I go to bed or how tired I am.) Today, though, I had a game plan. We recently opened a new bank account, so last week I switched my paycheck to direct deposit to the new account. Unfortunately, this meant that my check this week was coming in the mail. I was very much needing for it to arrive today, so I went to the post office (we don't have a mail box here--no mail carrier) under the assumption that it would be there.

And it was! A victory for the postal service, my employer (no angry phone calls), and my need to eat and pay bills. Also in the mail was my first letter from The Hubby. I was (and still am) so excited! I thought about just going back home at that point and ripping it open, but I knew that if I did that my butt wasn't leaving the house again. I desperately needed to deposit that check and go get a few groceries, so I just set it next to me and continued on my way. Every stop sign and stop light had me thinking about opening it, but still I resisted. For safety, y'all. I made it all the way to Walmart before I couldn't wait anymore. I opened it up right there in the parking lot, read it 3 times, carefully folded it up and put it in my purse (apparently I didn't want to be separated from this tiny point of contact), and got out of the car cheesing like a maniac, because all is well with The Hubby. I smiled all the way through the store. Luckily for those around me, it did soften into a smaller smile rather than the crazy grin it started off as, so I didn't get any more "looks." I just appeared a little more friendly than usual. They didn't have to know that the letter song from Blue's Clues was running through my head. (Also, if you happened to click that link, I hope that it gets stuck in your head for all of eternity, and that you were only *mildly* traumatized by the, um, altered ending.)

Just to top the day off, after shopping and picking up something to eat, something else made me smile as I was driving through town. I watched as a bird gracefully swooped over traffic, dropped down a couple feet, and shit on the windshield of the car in front of me. It was beautiful.

Today has been marvelous. Now I'm going to go take it down a few pegs by cleaning. Or pretending to, anyway.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I promise that not all future posts will not be pregnancy-related, or after baby is born all kid-related. This one in particular I'm not even sure what to classify as...

I've been blaming a lot of crap lately on being pregnant. I'm in my 13th week, and I guess fatigue is still typically a problem at this point. Quite a few things I've read say that my energy level should be picking back up soon, with the end of the first trimester. I guess technically week 14 is the start of the second trimester, and the "easiest," more fun part of pregnancy. That's what everything (and just about everyONE) says, anyway. I'm sure it will start getting better, but right now I'm miserable.

The reason I'm not sure how to classify this post is because I feel like I'm getting really bad. I feel myself spiraling down, and I'm not sure what's going on. I'm starting to worry about it. It started really hitting me this week: the insomnia, the constant need to sleep but never feeling rested when I do, the bizarre dreams, the irritability, the lack of interest in anything or anyone, wanting to quit everything. And let's face it, folks, I don't really do much right now anyway. My entire life is work, and trying to sleep. I have a few things I'm looking forward to *tremendously*, though. A trip with my friends is happening in a few weeks, within a week or two I'll get a letter from The Hubby (then I can start sending him the numerous letters I've already written...), soon I'll be finding out the sex of the baby, and then there's traveling to The Hubby's graduation and being able to spend a few days with him. But with each of these happiness-inducing events I seem to counter it with a negative, and that was an "indicator."

At some point I'll be quitting my job, which I'm very much looking forward to. The excitement I feel at that prospect is another one of my little "indicators." Mostly because the "excitement" is not necessarily sprouting from happiness at the idea of languishing towards the end of pregnancy and maybe being a stay-at-home mother but is instead the product of negativity--I'm wanting out of this job. It's not really a bad job, and theoretically with the job description change some of the pressure is supposed to be coming off of my shoulders. In theory, I should be enjoying my job more, because what it's becoming is more in line with what I like doing there... being out on the floor helping out, talking to people, solving problems. Instead, it seems nothing is making me happy right now. I'm not liking dealing with people at all right now, I'm not caring about their issues, I'm constantly irritated--bordering on outright angry.

I've been thinking it's just from the fatigue and job stress, and that maybe it's just a pregnancy thing, but I'm worried that the pregnancy thing (mainly the hormones) is evolving into a full-blown depression thing. Which I do NOT want or need right now. In fact, this was one of the things The Hubby mentioned being concerned about before he left. He specifically said he didn't want my job setting me off into one of my "spiral things." The fact that he used the same term I do (spiral) shows that he pays more attention than I think sometimes, and that he knows what my triggers can be. It made me love him even more. Especially since I know he was most concerned because he saw me heading toward it already, and knew he wouldn't be here when I hit the bottom.

Oh God, I think I've just hit the bottom. I'm crying as I type this.

I'm worried (obviously). I wanted more than anything for this pregnancy to be happy and healthy, not plagued by depression and stress. I don't even know what to do right now. I am absolutely falling apart, right at this moment, and feeling like unlike the past times I've hit the bottom there is nothing I can do to change things.  I can't quit my job, because I won't be able to pay bills. I can't wish this pregnancy a year into the future, and I think I wouldn't want to even if I could. I can't change the fact that so much of The Hubby's future in the military is a question mark at this point, until he gets through basic training and finds out what MOS he'll be going into. I can't change the fact that I feel so isolated right now, because I don't want to be a burden to any-damn-body. I can't change the fact that that issue right there has been one of the things that kept me battling depression on my own for so long. I have never wanted someone I cared about to look at me and my issues as "yet another thing" to worry about or take care off. (For some reason I picture an eyeroll accompanying that "yet another thing"... Wonder why?)

I think I'm going to go to bed, and try to keep reminding myself that depression lies. Because it does, even when it's whispering those vicious little barbs that sound so right, and it sounds so sad about it. Depression doesn't want your life to be worthless or helpless, it just is, and what a shame. But when you listen closely, you can hear that smug, condescending tone the demons of depression use, and you can slowly start to remember that those thoughts were wrong last time, and that you did in fact make it through and experience happiness again. You'll (...I'll) make it through this time, too. It just sucks for a little while.

Hm. I think I've figured out how to classify this post.

Friday, May 11, 2012

On pregnancy and the need to slap people.

Pregnancy has not been a walk in the park for me, but I'll live. Almost immediately after peeing on a stick and it saying "Come on, really? You're going to act like you don't already know?", the vomiting started. And continued constantly. I was so dehydrated from the constant throwing up and inability to eat anything that I had to sit in the waiting room at the health department for another half hour downing a bottle and a half of water before I was able to pee a tiny bit in a cup so they could confirm what I had known in the back of my head for a few weeks. Something just felt different. Even though many of the symptoms of MWW were present, they were a little off. Funny how most of the MWW symptoms are the same as pregnancy symptoms, eh? A little cramping, fatigue, sore boobs, skin issues, bloating... Only the main event of MWW never started.

I was super excited. Well, as excited as possible what with all the hurling going on. Whether I have anything in my stomach or not doesn't matter, because it seems I have a lifetime supply of stomach acid to throw up. (Pretty sure I'm going to end up with the heartburn symptoms later because of that.) Within a weekend I had lost about 4 lbs, and I have continued to lose weight since then. Absolutely nothing worked. I tried eating crackers, eating crackers before getting out of bed, eating this or that, avoiding this or that, getting out of bed slowly, acting casual while getting out of bed to see if I could trick my body into forgetting it's supposed to be throwing up, sleeping in every position to see if that would help, eating some peanut butter before bed so my stomach wouldn't be empty in the morning, etc. For every person that suggested I eat some saltines? Fuck you. You should be slapped. You don't even have to be pregnant to have heard that helpful little tidbit, you moron, you honestly think that wasn't the first goddamn thing I tried? And if it's been weeks of sickness, do you really think you're the first person to make that totally original suggestion? The ones smilingly saying "I don't know what to tell you, I had absolutely zero problems during pregnancy, my pregnancies were so easy and perfect and all rainbows and happiness that the sun practically shone out of my vagina," are also unhelpful and deserving of slaps to the face. "Well, bully for you, Bitch!", is all I want to say. But I digress.

All in all I have lost about 10-12 pounds, and have never looked forward to gaining weight so much in my life. That will mean that baby is growing healthy and that I'm able to eat again. I've only just gotten to where occasionally I can eat before I go to work. I'm not sick every day now, as of last week it was about half and half. And although I was totally miserable for the first few weeks, my apparently amazing willpower meant the only porcelain god I prayed to was the one in my own home. No getting sick at work (couldn't do it, because then everyone would know and I'm not really wanting to deal with that), no getting sick out in public, no getting sick when visiting the families, no having to pull over to the side of the road to grace the grass with my stomach acid. It wasn't until my second prenatal appointment, where we got to hear the heartbeat, that I threw up somewhere outside of my own home. I have been keeping a trashcan in my car for a while now, and it got put to good use that morning. And my car is my second home, so I'm going to say that doesn't count either.

Then there was the time I threw up in the trashcan in our kitchen, because The Hubby was in the bathroom. Unfortunately, the trashcan contained some used kitty litter from when he had cleaned out the litter box, as well as the empty, fume-y can of Scotch Guard since we had just gotten new living room furniture, and various other chemicals from the housework that had gone on the day before. All that was inhaled as I gasped for breath between heaves. Worst. Experience. Ever. My throat burned, I was shaky as hell, and I was terrified that I had seriously fucked up my chances of having a normal kid. Or remembering what a door is. The jury's still out on the whole "normal kid" thing, I guess. Although any child released from my womb is already at risk of being a bit odd, so we may never know.

Another infuriating symptom is that my skin exploded. (Figuratively. Sort of.) Acne like I have never known before has plagued me incessantly since this whole shebang kicked off. Granted, I've never had the best of skin, but I've never been this broke out all over before. It's awful, and I hate it.

Then there's the fatigue. This paired with the "morning" sickness means all I do is work, sleep, and vomit. I've been a night owl for a while, and the shift I work definitely doesn't help, but I can't imagine trying to work days right now and having to deal with the nausea and vomiting. I have always been someone who had to eat before going to work, and I haven't been able to for a few weeks now. I'm not even hungry then. I only take snack stuff to work, because the idea of an actual "lunch break" is a joke for me. By the time I get off work I'm starving, so I eat, but I'm exhausted, so then I sleep. The past couple of weeks, though, have been different. I'd been staying up later to spend time with The Hubby before he left. And now I'm staying up later after he's gone in order to take care of the things that he had been taking care of during the day while I was at work. Laundry, dishes, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc. All taking place after 9-ish PM now. Still, it's so hard for me to get up early, because that just means more vomiting and fatigue and longer awake-time without being able to eat.

I'm hoping that now I'm starting in the second trimester of all this fun-ness I'll be able to start experiencing less of these pesky symptoms. Really I just want to be able to eat regularly again, so the nurse won't say to me again at my next appointment "You've lost some weight again... Are you sure you don't want us to prescribe you anything so you stop getting sick?" The thing is, right around the time baby showed up in the picture I had just started to cut way back on my soda habit, and my job description changed so that I was thankfully able to be up on my feet a lot more at work rather than sitting in front of a computer screen. And we weren't buying as much junk food, because The Hubby was having to watch his weight and stay healthy too. That, paired with the nausea/vomiting and work schedule that restricted my ability to eat was going to lead to some weight loss. Although I have to admit 10 pounds in a couple of weeks is maybe a bit excessive.

I really want to make it through this without having to take any kind of medication (except the prenatal vitamins, of course). I hate taking medicine anyway, but I really feel like even though it sucks the nausea isn't bad enough or debilitating enough to warrant medication. If it was seriously interfering with work, maybe, but again, I have yet to actually throw up at work, and I don't think I'm going to. It seems to be on the down swing now, so hopefully it'll start to fade and I can start chowing down like a pregnant woman's meant to.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Big day.

Today was the day. I dropped The Hubby off with his recruiter, to be transported to a hotel so that tomorrow they can fly him to San Diego. Such a relatively short plane trip (compared to how long it would take to drive the distance...) takes him so far away from me, in so many ways. The next time I see him, he'll be a Marine. The next time he sees me, I'll look like I'm smuggling a bowling ball in my shirt, since I'll be over halfway through this pregnancy and all. Gotta make sure my hair looks DAMN good! Seriously though, I'm feeling so many different emotions right now. Naturally. Hormones aren't helping, and *gee golly bonkers* are they ever kicking in here lately!


The other day The Hubby was looking the title for his car, because he's hoping it can get sold while he's gone. The plan is to use the proceeds to go towards an engine for the car he wants to be his daily driver. It's his (current) dream car, and he's got it ready to go except for that pesky engine. So the title search began. We looked and looked and couldn't find it. I got frustrated, because *clearly* this was my fault. *I* must have misplaced it. It was the only explanation. Then I got more frustrated, having to abandon the search to puke my guts out for a minute. Ah, pregnancy. I come out of the bathroom, The Hubby has apparently abandoned the search and is watching TV. I plop down on the couch, promptly knocking the laptop off the arm of the couch and onto the floor. My reaction? Stare in shocked silence for a moment as Hubby gets up and picks the computer up off the floor (I'm too stunned to move), then I suddenly burst into tears. An explosion of tears. Hubby comforts me, and tries to figure out what's wrong (in my head: "What do you mean 'WHAT'S WRONG????'"). He tries to shush me, oh-so-helpfully begs me to calm down... I head towards the bathroom to wipe my face and blow my nose. He hugs me, and I say "I'm just horrible! The title is missing, *clearly* it's my fault [I may have been a bit sarcastic at that point, sue me.], and then I practically destroy our lap top!" Sobbing all the way through this pitiful rant. Finally, I get cleaned up, calm down, and sit back down with The Hubby. After a few minutes he turns to me and lovingly says "I found the car title." First I started crying again. Then I started laughing.

He smiles. "Do you think your moodiness hormones are finally kicking in? You just went from vomiting, to Hulk-smashing the laptop, to crying hysterically, then crying some more, and now you have the giggles. All in 10 minutes." I couldn't help it, I started laughing again.

He was totally right. It was ridiculous. We've still been joking about me being careful not to Hulk-smash anything... He's worried about the TV while he's gone. Just imagine. A cat vomits on the floor, I destroy all our electronics. I stub my toe, the trashcan goes through the kitchen window. I hate to say it's a distinct possibility, but there you go.

There was more I meant to share, but it'll have to wait for another post. Since my main distraction is on his way to boot camp, I'm sure I'll be posting more often. For now, though, I'm tired. Big day and all.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A heartbeat, a promise.

I have a secret to tell, and a promise to make. The secret's been needing to come out, but the inspiration for sharing it now came from (of course) one of Mama Kat's writing prompts. Writing for that prompt is a few weeks late, but I simply wasn't ready to share at that point.

You see, folks, The Hubby and I are going to have a baby, and I'm so happy it's ridiculous. We haven't told many people yet, because I wanted to give it as much time as I could stand. I always planned on waiting until that end-of-first-trimester mark, just in case, but in our special circumstances that milestone would fall way too close to The Hubby being gone away to boot camp. And maybe it's just me, but announcing a pregnancy after The Hubby is out of state seems like a recipe for disaster. However, announcing it before he leaves comes with its own set of risks as well... This is where the aforementioned "promise" comes in. Really, though, there are multiple promises about to be made (promises are easy to make at this stage, before fetus becomes screaming infant/screaming toddler/screaming child in public/screaming teenager). In any case, I compromised and have waited to inform the rest of the world until we heard a heartbeat. This morning, we heard a heartbeat...(!!!) So here come the promises.

To my unborn child,
I promise not to give birth to you in jail. Please let me explain: When informing someone of or confirming the pregnancy to someone, every time someone says "But isn't The Hubby leaving soon?" (Very soon, actually... he leaves this Sunday.) what I will want to say is "OH MY GOD, HE IS, ISN'T HE??? I HADN'T EVEN THOUGHT OF THAT AT ALL." What I will want to do is hit them, hard, for asking stupid questions. This could land me in jail, so I promise not to do that. This question has already happened once. I think what I will do in the future is give the short answer, "Yes", and let them keep talking and pushing long enough to realize what they are implying about my capabilities through their shock, sympathy, flabbergastery. (Shut up spell check, it should totally be a word.)

I promise to try to be patient with those people, and all the follow-up questions they will have relating to my (obvious) inability to handle my life and a pregnancy without The Hubby living in the same state. (The simple answer for you, Gentle Reader, is that I have absolutely no idea what to expect, Hubby-wise. The only thing I know at this point, with him going into boot camp under an open contract, is that he will go to boot camp, graduate the end of July--which is WAY before baby due-date--and have 10 days of leave before needing to return for combat training. How long his combat training is, and any information about his schooling/how long it takes/whether he'll be "home for baby birth"/where he'll be stationed/when I'll get to move with him depends on information we will not receive until the end of his boot camp, or possibly later than that. Obviously there are a lot of unanswered questions at this point. However, that is something that I have absolutely zero control over. I am choosing to focus on the things that I do have control over, because whether he's able to be present or not, I'm still going to have a baby. With his amazing decision to make this commitment to improving our lives, we both accepted that there would be things he would have to miss. If this is one of those things, so be it. If we didn't both feel I was able to put my big girl pants on and deal with life all by my poor little self, he wouldn't have enlisted. But I digress.)

Let's get back to the promises. I promise to love you unconditionally. I promise to do everything in my power to be a good parent. I can't promise to be a stay-at-home mom, or that I'll always be working outside of the home. I can't promise I'll never put you in day care, I can't promise you we won't have to move a lot when you have a Marine for a father, and I can't promise that we'll have an easy life. Lives don't generally come with an "easy" setting. I can promise that I will not lightly make decisions regarding things that will have an impact on your life. I promise to be as fair as possible, and to try to remember what it's like to be a kid, and a pre-teen, and a teenager, and to let you make your own mistakes. I promise to support your dreams and give you what you need, but I also promise to not be your gravy train if disability doesn't render you unable to support yourself. Otherwise, you're going to have to make your own way in the world. I promise to do everything in my power to guide you towards being a decent human being, but to also acknowledge that there's a point where you make and have to live with your own decisions, whether I like them or not.

I promise to show you the importance of and the possibility for healthy relationships. I promise to embarrass you with my love and affection towards your father, and to not put you in the middle of any of the little conflicts that all couples face. I promise that by hook or by crook The Hubby will change your diapers, will be a dad and not a disgruntled "babysitter", will not look at you as an irritant or a piece of furniture, and will love you as unconditionally as I do. If any of these conditions are not met, I will reinforce my promise to show you the importance of healthy relationships over dysfunctional or half-assed ones. (Please note I don't fear this will be an actual issue, I just know a married couple or two where the dumbass male could care less about their child and I hate him for it, and hate her for accepting his behavior.)    

I promise to treat you as a human being, and to not post on Facebook, Twitter, or this blog about things that I wouldn't want people to comment on if it was me I was talking about. For example, if you're a boy child, I will not share if you are or are not circumcised. I am not going to discuss my child's genitalia with anyone whom it does not concern. Also, I will most likely not be sharing baby names because, again, I don't feel like it necessarily needs to be a group discussion.

I promise to read to you. A lot. I promise that you will know about cars, because The Hubby wouldn't have it any other way. Boy or girl, you will be helping change oil, change tires, and whatever else. I wish I could promise that TV shows for babies and children will not be shown, but apparently babies love that shit. I can promise not to loudly blast death metal to drown out the sounds of the TV while you're watching such filth. I wish I could promise to never use "foul" language in your presence, but I don't make promises I can't keep.   
Remember the last part of that last sentence, Dear Fetus, the part about not making promises I can't keep. It's still early in this pregnancy, but I'm so excited!

To my readers, whether frequent or occasional, this right here is the reason I haven't been posting much recently. There is so much I've wanted to talk about, but a lot of it ties into this pregnancy. Now that the secret is out, much more detail and updating is to come post-wise. I hope you all enjoy this journey with me...