Embarking

Searching for Depression's Holy Grail. After seventeen years of therapy and medication, I'm done. Therapy was fine but after so long it becomes redundant. Medication, I've decided, is like putting on a band-aid when you look down and realize that your intestines are spilling out. Here are my experiences with meditation, mindfulness, yoga, 5-MTHF (a Folic Acid supplement) and other B vitamin supplements, and the basic re-training of my mind to beat depression. It's not always pretty but in the end, I am who I am .

Monday, April 7, 2014

Breathing

Not to worry, all. I am still alive, and doing better than I was when I wrote my previous post. I went back to the doctor and had a good sob. She prescribed 100 mg Sertraline for me a day, and explained that it was similar to Lexapro and would take care of the withdrawal that I was experiencing from that. It took less than a day for me to feel better. Not great, but fine.

I'm still struggling, but I'm getting it back. The kids are still who they are. My son is still impossible. But I've ordered the 5-MTHFR and he and I have both been taking it, and things are better. I'll keep track of that progress.

It's really not surprising that I stumbled & fell. What do I always lecture you guys on? Getting rest. Meditation. Avoid your triggers. Eat well. I had so much work to do, and such a crazy winter to spring that there's no way I could have kept any kind of balance with all I took on.

Plus, as my doctor said about my son, how can I expect to stay balanced when I'm living with a timebomb.

I can't tell you how grateful I am to all of you who left comments and suggestions on the last post. Beautiful, helpful, encouraging stuff. When I take my son for a psych evaluation I'm going to mention the ADD. His dad has it and I was always terrified (and in denial) that maybe my son does too. His teachers have always assured me that they didn't think that he was, but sometimes you have to be realistic and face facts.

I'm definitely facing those facts head on. And for now that means medication. It means find my son help. It means rest, relax, and let go of what I cannot control.

It's all good.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Depths

It should be no surprise to anyone, if they've been reading the blog, when I say that I have sunk so far into a depression that I am once again at a point where I can't get out of bed. I am nauseous at the thought of my children coming home. I've completely HAD it, and when I've HAD it, my rages come back. It's like all of the girls whining, my sons obnoxious defiance, all of their needs and "get me this get me that" and "I'm hungrys" and "I'm boreds" just start swirling in my head and make me dizzy. I feel like I am floundering in the middle of an ocean of work and motherhood and finances and responsibilities and I can't come up for air.

The medications are just not working. Again. Which is why I started this blog in the first place, right?

The mood stabilizers have just stabilized the highs to the point where I don't have them, and let's face it- the mania is the best part of bipolar. Who the hell wants the good parts taken away?

The antidepressants aren't really doing much either. When I talked it over with my doctor she switched my medications, and the new one (Wellbutrin-I said it was Zoloft in earlier posts but I was wrong) does nil. I mean, see where I am now? It's too much.

I dread-DREAD-seeing my son, so I stay in bed while my husband get the older kids ready for school and brings them in. It's not that I'm not awake- I'm hiding.

When he steps off the bus I cringe and I actually feel physically sick. I know at any moment he's going to say or do something that is such an asshole thing to do that I live in fear of it.

I have no patience for helping my daughter who has dyslexia. And then my husband comes home and (I feel) is accusatory about WHY she can't spell. WHY her letters are backwards and her letters inverted and WHY she doesn't read well. SHE HAS FUCKING DYSLEXIA ASSHOLE AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT I CAN BE DOING ABOUT THAT. What's more, I just don't want to anymore. I just don't care. I don't care if my asshole son fails fourth grade. I don't feel like I can help her with her problems. I am not dyslexic. I was the gifted kid- so much so that I thought my mom was an idiot (even when I was in first grade) so I never, ever asked her or anyone else for help with my homework. I never needed help with anything, so I can't stand having to help everyone else all of the damn time.

I want to run away and hide. Being by myself is probably where I should be anyway, so I don't emotionally damage them and anger myself. I should be in solitary confinement.

I already feel like I'm in the depths of Hell as it is.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Monies Owed

Have you ever felt like you finally were able to brush yourself off and push forward, embrace life and leave the problems of your past behind?

I did. For the last couple of months I did, anyway.

Then we got a letter from a Collection Agency for back taxes that my husband and his fucking idiot ex wife (who was in charge of PAYING the taxes while he cooked) owed from their restaurant that closed six years ago. Turns out he's liable since he was the "president" of the company. This isn't a huge surprise and it's not like he hid it from me, and in fact, we were trying to come up with the money to pay for a lawyer to negotiate something with the State (yet another reason for our move from expensive city to inexpensive country). We were about a month away from that until the State transferred the debt to said collection agency. Suddenly, we (well, he) owe $37,000 NOW and there's not a lot to do about it.

I'm dying to know where we're going to come up with that money.

So now, more than ever, I need to try to stay positive, focused, and for heaven's sake, stay on my medication. When all I really want to do is RUN AND HIDE (after having a good cry, of course).

Talk about fucking situational depression.

FUCK FUCK FUCK.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

And Here We Go Again...

Whelp, here it is...the depression is baaaacccckkkk. It's not really a surprise, considering the tremendous amount of work I've had and therefore stress I'm under, the problems I've been having with the kids, this extraordinarily difficult winter where my kids have had only two full weeks of school since they've returned from Winter Break, and the fact that I'm on mood stabilizers, which are supposed to help both sides- the mania AND the depression, but really only seems to have squelched the mania, which is the fun part and what I looked forward to every month (though it usually left me exhausted).

Well fuck that because I'm exhausted all of the time now anyway. There's too much to do, and I can't seem to force myself to stop. The only way I seem to be able to stop is by drinking wine or beer- and that's awful for me. Not to mention that when I'm on medication I tend to drink way more than when I'm not, so I feel crappy the next day. It's all a vicious cycle.

Having my husband home is helpful, but it's also not. I don't know if this is true or if it's all in my mind (or if it's the people pleaser perfectionist talking) but with him around I have this incredible need to "perform"- the way I "perform" for everyone in public- acting happy, chipper, competent, superwoman. When he was around not-so-much it was easyish to keep the facade up. But now it isn't and I feel like I'm just letting him down left and right:
                  the house isn't clean enough
                  the children are out of control
                  the two oldest aren't doing well in school (one is dyslexic, we found out, and the other is just unmotivated)
                  the laundry isn't done
                  we don't have enough sex
                  etc.

I can't keep this up. I am just so tired. And I'm trying so hard to balance our budget, to make sure everything is taken care of, to keep everyone under control. But I'm drowning and while he does help with cooking and the kids and cleaning etc I just feel like I'm still doing so much more, and that everything that goes wrong is my fault.

It also doesn't help that, as his third wife, I constantly wonder when he's going to get sick of me and find someone else. I still haven't recovered from my first marriage. I would never be able to recover from a second failed marriage.

And then there's the kids. Every day there is a giant blow-up with my 9 year old son. He and my husband fight constantly, he (my son) screams at me, my daughters are scared of him, and my husband keeps saying (seriously) that we need to send him to Military School. Just getting him to do his homework is FUCKING AGONY.

My oldest daughter is so lovely and witty (and everyone's favorite) and this magical elfin child but she is just SO OUT THERE. She's the one who is dyslexic. She was so eager to start reading, but then she found she couldn't so she just kind of gave up. She's frustrated. I'm frustrated. Her teachers have been wonderful but we have to work with her SO MUCH at home, and I just don't have time for it. And even if I do get to give her the time she needs, my other two are so demanding that I just want to give up. Also, she's such a space cadet that she often forgets what she's doing, she takes forever to eat a meal because she gets distracted, she often puts her clothes on wrong, and she's soooooo clumsy.

Luckily, #3 is fine, and frankly, smarter, easier going, and more helpful than the other two combined. But she won't sleep in her own damn bed at night and that's killing me too.

So I'm overwhelmed, exhausted, and so mad that the medication isn't working (isn't that why I started this blog in the first place?!) I'm seriously considering coming off of them but I'm afraid it'll send me down even more.

The kids are coming home soon. I just want to hide.

what am I to do?



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Let me hear you ROAAR...ssshhhh....

I read an article lately where Russell Brandt talks about being bipolar (in addition to being a sex addict, a drug addict, an alcoholic...etc.- I guess they're all rolled into one in a funny way). He says of his lows: (paraphrasing here)- "sure I have lows but I suppose that's a part of life, isn't it?"

True that, Mr. Brandt.

It seems we don't live in a society where low is acceptable, though. Which is funny, since all modern songs and pop culture is all about "being ourselves."- say what you want to say! be who you want to be! We want to hear you roaaar!

That is, as long as you don't roar too loudly or bring anyone else down. You must roar only in an ironically positive but rebellious way. Heaven forbid you be depressing about it.

What we've ended up with is a society of pill poppers. That's nothing new. We all know it. But it doesn't bode well for those of us who DON'T want to take pills. IS depression a disease that needs to be treated with medication or is it situational, in which case we need to work with it (and I know that's what we do with therapy but, as is the point of this blog, there are other ways too that are not often explored.) Therapists are always telling me that "it's okay. Depression is a disease and you can treat it with medication." Well, I don't WANT TO treat it with medication. I feel like I'm in Valley of the Dolls. But I'm not a celebrity. I'm a mom who needs to get along with her community and her family, therefore I need to be on meds.

Or do I?

Damned either way.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From the Tree

Well, Hello.

Long time, I know. What can I say? I've been on meds and while I am still myself I don't feel like myself.  And I don't feel like writing because I don't feel so much. It's not that I'm a robot, but I'm taking lexapro, zoloft, and a drug that is usually used for seizures but also works well for mood stabilization (for the bi-poles who are not too out of control). It's okay. But I feel like a traitor. My doctor is excellent. She is NOT a drug pusher at all but advocates holistic health. However, she also knows her shit, which is completely delightful to know. So, based on my request, she's prescribed things, MADE me come back for follow ups, and we've adjusted the meds. She's great. We both know this isn't forever.

So what's the problem??

Money problems are gone. We are finally on our feet. My husband is home-a lot- to help with the kids. I've even (gasp!) started having a civil relationship with my ex, which is a miracle. I might be "giving" too much, but at this point I just need to do what I can to help my son, and here is why:

I am 99% sure he is bipolar.

The doctors say that bipolar doesn't usually present itself until your late teens, but I wholly disagree. We've been watching him. We SEE the cycles. Sweet for a bit, horrible, terrible unmanageable for awhile.

At some times I am terrified of my son. What he could do to me. What he could do to our daughters.

He and my husband just bash heads all of the time, and it's so much worse now that my husband is around so much. Granted, "X," as I'll refer to my son and "Y," as I'll call my husband, have known each other even BEFORE X was born. And Y and I got together when X was one. Y has provided for him and has been his dad, presence wise, that long. But X still resents that Y is NOT his dad. And Y knows my ex- he knew him before he knew me- and he hates him to the core, for very good reasons. X exhibits a lot of his dads behaviors and mannerisms, and Y hates that.

So things have spun out of control. We are very involved parents. X has been in therapy since he was 4. When we moved here we found out that he was 3 reading levels behind in school. This is pretty rural NC but it kicks the MD schools butt for academics...and statistics tell us the ones in MD are among the best in the country! I smell fish.

But it's not just that. He's uncooperative. He absolutely freaks out if he doesn't get "his way." If we touch "his things" he freaks out. Sometimes nothing at all will set him off. It isn't any kind of autism, for sure. His teacher says he is very bright, but is (in essence) lazy. And we see that. Her saying that to us just confirmed our suspicions. He's like the girl with the curl "when she was good she was very good. when she was bad, she was horrid."

 Only, at age 10, he's only 20 lbs shy of me, and 6 inches (and I'm 5'8"). Sooner than later he's going to outsize us (my husband is not a big man) and these rages will only become more terrifying. My daughters are so used to cowering in the corner, and then later ask why X  is so mean.

I am afraid of my son. I resent him (because we have spent tens of thousands of dollars to get full custody of him because 1. he is JUST LIKE his dad and 2. his dad simply cannot provide for him). And yes, sometimes I wish he had never been born

That is an evil and horrid thing, but I tell it like it is on this blog.

We do so much for him. He has, within reason, the things he wants (though he does not have an xbox or whatnot, an iphone, and we restrict tv), he takes Tae Kwan Do twice a week, I'm coaching his soccer team (which he loves)...it's like, WHAT MORE??

I'm at my wits end.


I am taking antidepressants so I can deal, as calmly as possible, with my son. Because otherwise, I'd lose it.

So there it is.

I have been meditating on it and two things actually occurred to me today:

1. He has been OFF MTHFR since I have started my meds- as long as I stopped taking it (the cost of everything was just too much)- so I ordered another bottle for him today

2. He loves soccer so I told him he needs to get in shape, so I told him to go for a run. AND HE WAS ALL FOR IT! I told ALL of my kids about endorphins and how exercise will help you so much with controlling your anger and anxiety.

I'm doing what I can.

I'm just so very tired of this. I divorced his father because of this behavior, but I cannot divorce my son. Ah, life. You're so ironic.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Control Freak

In the past six months I have been watching myself very carefully: looking at my habits, thinking about what makes me feel good vs. what makes me tired or just feel bad about myself, watching my mood as I cycle from up to down to up again (and then down again). My husband and my therapist both suggest I journalize all of this: what I eat, how I feel, if I've done yoga & meditation or not, how I've slept- maybe not all of these all of the time but in general keeping track. For some reason I haven't gotten around to actually writing these things down-there's something about doing this that freaks me out-but I'm watching and I'm mentally taking note.

One thing that is very obvious that influences my anxiety and depression (and mood in general) is a perpetual feeling that I have that things are going to spin out of control. This makes sense, since this has happened in my life: police officers have come to my door and handed me child abuse charges out of the blue (completely unfounded, of course, but a tactical play on my ex husband's part to prevent us from moving), they've shown up accusing my husband of being a criminal (which he turned out to be), huge bills have shown up in the mail that I had to dispute over and over again...for a 7 year span of time it was just one thing after another of unexpected bad news-completely not my fault, but with people pointing fingers and threatening me nonetheless. This is very unsettling and I wonder if I will ever be able to live in true contentment without the niggling fear in the back of my mind that something will go wrong.

But I'm starting to do something about it: I'm taking control where I can.

Money, as I've mentioned before, is a giant trigger for me. We've struggled with money issues for a long time but with this move it looks like we might finally be able to get on our feet. And I'm actually budgeting. I used to do this a long time ago in my first marriage, but when we got divorced and everything just got shot to Hell, I stopped. But I'm being vigilant again. Not only am I budgeting, but I am setting goals for saving. One SUPER GENIUS thing I found for saving is this: every week you save...for all 52 weeks of the year you save that amount of money. So week one, you save $1, week 2-$2 and onward until week 52 you save $52. This will add up to almost $1300 saved in the year, which I can then use for Christmas and not have the added Holiday stress of paying for that on top of everything else!

I am also taking control of our grocery expenses, which can get SO out of control. For our family of 5 I could easily spend $400 a week on groceries if I'm not careful....but if I AM careful, I can cut that down to $200 week...by doing things like only eating meat 3 nights a week, taking advantage of all of our leftovers, making things from scratch (which, admittedly, can be a bear- it's not very convenient), and using coupons if I can (which I am not good at. At all.) And also by saying, "when we're out, we're out and you're going to have to wait until next week for me to get it." In my house, growing up, if we ran out of something we went and got more-so that's my mentality. The pantry was always full, and we had an extra fridge stocked with extra food. But we also had a ton of things that were expired or that nobody would dream of eating. I despise waste. There are some weeks where, come Sunday, the pantry is pretty much bare- but I've always been able to pull together a meal. Out of snacks? Nobody's complaining when I pop popcorn (we don't own a microwave so that bag of popcorn is cheap and pretty much always in the pantry). Saving that $800 a month is HUGE. It is hard and is taking time- and I have to do it tiny step by tiny step but at least I'm doing something, right?

This post has ended up being mostly about money but that's fair because that's a big thing for me. What I'm saying is that I am taking control where I can- and, along the save vein- cutting myself a break in areas I can't (I'll write about that). Taking control feels great. It's terrifying to face the reality of my budget (like looking at that empty pantry some days) but my family is still safe and happy and well fed. I need to just remind myself of this.