Not a great week…

Where to start on this week… It has not been great to say the least. Do you ever just feel like everything in your life is falling apart? If you’re not in a great mood yourself and don’t wish to be brought down, I encourage you not to read the rest of this post. I said way back what this blog was for, to get out my feelings and emotions. And that’s what I’m doing. If you think I’m too negative, well, you’re right, because this is my outlet for my negative feelings. I’d love support, but don’t need anyone to remind me of what I already know, that I’m really struggling with a lot right now.

I guess I can start with something a little positive. One of my calm places, where I tend to go when I feel stressed, is Barnes and Noble. If we had other book stores around here I’d go there, but this is pretty much the only one close. I’m not sure why I go, maybe the quiet atmosphere, wandering around with a coffee… I like reading, of falling into a good story, or learning something new, seeing a perspective different from my own. I’m actually quite sad that book stores don’t seem to be doing so well lately, I’d hate to think one of my favorite hangouts might no longer exist! Anyway, I found myself there Monday morning when I was particularly down, sad, distraught, you get the idea. I browsed the self-help section, I mean, seriously, all these books, isn’t there just one I can read and be fixed, feel happy, understand life and it’s struggles?? I came across “What I Know For Sure” by Oprah Winfrey. Now… I’m not a huge Oprah fan, I don’t really love or hate her. I don’t really even watch her talk show, but I have to assume she’s a smart lady who has been through a lot and learned some lessons over the years. I’m only on page 55, but so far I recommend. It’s an easy read, short, cute stories from her life. Nothing completely groundbreaking yet, but certainly a few tidbits I’ll try to remember when I’m feeling especially stressed, like how we should always dance, enjoy the little moments in life, persevere through our fear, etc.

This morning the MOMS Club I’m president of was supposed to hold their monthly, required, business meeting. Only me and one other board member (there are five of us on the board) RSVP to attend. So not even the entire board, much less not a single other member planned to come. So I cancelled it. But it will need to be rescheduled since it is required to hold our non-profit status and affiliation with MOMS Club International. I’m just so annoyed with the members, and the board. The board is supposed to support me, but even they are too lazy to come to the business meetings. I get they want the fun part, the playdates and such, but ugh. If we don’t also have the business side, which coordinates everything, then how can we have all the fun stuff?? If I just stop holding these meetings, the group will cease to exist. Is that what they want?? As if I don’t have enough in my life without feeling like I have to keep this moms club going. I don’t go to most of the playdates involving children. I usually stick to the moms stuff, like book club, moms night out, coffee talk, etc. I really like the moms I’ve met through the club, but most I’m close with are my age, but have children much older than mine, in school, and thus also have some free-time during the day.

So nothing on my calendar today except maybe dinner out with my MOPs ladies if Eric is home from work in time. I won’t know until the last-minute. I dropped the girls off at school and now I’m home, doing laundry. I’m not sure why I don’t like being home alone, or even home alone with the girls when Eric isn’t here. It’s like I don’t know how to spend the time, how to get through the hours. Or maybe I just feel too guilty relaxing… I know laundry is easy, and necessarily, but having that as my only task today feels quite depressing. I know I do much better, feel much happier I mean, when my calendar is more full, when I’m busy and feel like I’m contributing and accomplishing things. The weather was nasty again yesterday and so I picked up the girls early from school. And I was fearing that today would be nasty too and I’d be stuck at home all day with them. That shouldn’t feel like a bad thing, to be at home with your two and three-year old all day. But then why did it feel scary to me, lonely and depressing? Eric had to stay in Waterloo last night because of the weather, so maybe it was the idea of being with just the girls for days on end without help that felt so overwhelming. But still. How can I love them so much, but dislike being stuck at home with them? Does that say something about me as a mother?

Okay, moving on… I think I’ve been having panic attacks. If they are indeed panic attacks, they started this past weekend. Long story there that I’m not ready to go into. I guess to help explain though, I said and did some things that have broken trust between Eric and myself in our marriage. I feel awful, and am dedicated to making things better, to making him and I closer. For now though, I think the stress and anxiety, which I struggle with anyway, now feels heightened, and thus the panic attacks. The feelings I’m having include a racing heart, sweating, feeling in general like I’m burning up inside, sick to my stomach, sometimes my hands feel shaky… Once I was a bit light-headed and felt like I had to sit down. I’ll mention them to the doctor I see for depression, but my next check-up with her isn’t for almost a month yet. I’m hoping these don’t continue…

Eric and I have talked more and more about moving back to Cedar Falls, especially in light of this past weekends events. I know the distance, him commuting, essentially living between two households, has hurt our marriage and pulled Eric and I apart. Thankfully we are both commuted to making things better and stronger between us, but the how of that feels so enormous to me right now. Like how to even begin. I know sometimes it takes me a long time to make a decision, like moving back to Cedar Falls. It’s been on my mind for what feels like forever now. But now that I’m feeling like it’s the best choice for us, I want it now. I’m kind of like that with all my decisions. Once I make a choice, I want to work toward it, make it happen. It isn’t that easy though, our old house in Cedar Falls has renters and is currently for sale. We’d like to get that sold first. Then I assume we’d list our current home for sale. How long could all that take? And here I am feeling in limbo in the meantime. Moving again sounds so overwhelming to me, but with more bad weather coming and Eric being on-call and away again next week anyway, well, the feeling of wanting to be closer to him and together more is on my mind now more than ever. Looking back over the past several years, I haven’t felt at home. Not in Cedar Falls, and now not here. Could we move again, back to Cedar Falls, and finally make a house feel like a home? How? When? And what does moving the girls again do to them? Another new school? New friends, even though I know they are little and don’t remember much. But still. How do I not continue to feel like a visitor in my own house?

Again

I feel like I’m losing my mind.

Nadia woke around midnight. It’s now 1:45 and I’m still rocking her. I laid her down maybe 20 minutes ago and she screamed and woke Nora. Again, as she woke Nora at midnight as well.

As if this isn’t all frustrating enough since of course I’m alone here tonight… Kona started barking to go out at midnight when she heard Nadia crying. Worse, Kona continued to alternate between barking every 45 seconds and pacing outside Nadia’s bedroom door. Of course we have hardwood floors and of course Nadia could hear her claws on the floor, and of course Nadia wanted to look at Kona and not sleep.

I let Kona out, which then she refused to come in. Funny, I didn’t see anyone else out in their pjs dragging in their barking dog at this hour.

Maybe to someone else these repeated situations would be easier to handle. I’m not sure, I just know this level of anxiety is not healthy for me. But worse, I don’t know how to improve the situation. I keep wondering if moving here was a mistake. True, I wasn’t happy in Cedar Falls, for a variety of reasons, but parenting alone is sometimes more than I know how to handle. And worse, I don’t feel like many people understand how hard this is for me. Even those I’ve previously considered close friends have made comments lately how I just need to be happy and realize all the good in my life. Clearly they don’t understand what it’s like to struggle with anxiety and depression too, for that matter. It’s not that I don’t want to be happy…

Eric comes home today!

It’s been a long week with Eric away. I keep thinking I’ll get better at this parenting alone thing. Who knows. I did get a ton of laundry done yesterday, but of course there are more piles today. It’s like the most unforgiving task ever, the gift that keeps on giving, usually in the form of poop streaks compliments of Nora. I’m treating myself with a very pretty mocha at my favorite downtown cafe before I pick up groceries.

I’m working on MOMS Club stuff, like the agenda for our next business meeting, planning our next board meeting, and finding committee leaders for holiday gatherings. I like this part of my role as president, the managing, organizing, leading part. With almost 50 members though, it’s sometimes hard to keep track of everyone’s demands wishes.

A friend of mine is getting ready to have her fourth baby. And I seriously can’t imagine. I’m still finding two a challenge, ever single day! One minute I’m thinking, I have these two perfect little ladies who complete our family. And then the next I think of our tiny embryo… just waiting for its chance to grow. Can I handle three? What if it splits and we get twins, as this is more common with IVF transfers? I can’t handle four alone so much… I’d have to hire help at home, which would completely change our family dynamic. So the question, how does one know when they are finished having children? My case isn’t typical though. I probably shouldn’t carry our embryo, as we know my chances of carrying to term are extremely small. A gestational carrier is a completely different ballgame. One we can afford financially, but what about emotionally? I was just reading about how traumatic experiences change our brain structure, possible forever. This could explain my anxiety and heightened depression since birthing two preemies. Will I ever find calm again? (Am I getting too deep for a Friday?)

A mom friend posted on Facebook how the day her babies were born were the happiest of her life. That is a completely foreign idea to me. Those days, and the weeks that followed each of my girl’s births were not happy or special. They were sad and terrifying and stressful, full of tears and longing to hold my alien-like babies. I was sent away from Nora’s NICU suite on an almost daily basis so they could gather more spinal fluid to see if her meningitis was improving. I left the hospital every night to sleep, waking to pump every three hours. Hardly exciting, happy times. It’s still hard for me to see new moms with their babies… Is that why I want another? Another chance at all the things I feel I missed out on with Nora and Nadia? The baby shower pictures with the big belly, the kicks, the visitors in the hospital…

Or am I just dreaming any of this is possible?

Long Week

Eric left last Friday morning for what I expected to be ten days, his normal seven on-call, and then three more for a trip to Las Vegas with his brother. Over Easter. Three days cutting into his week off. Don’t even get me started.

I was beyond annoyed. But was also trying to be the supportive wife that knows he deserves a vacation, and time with his brother. Even though I never get a vacation without the kids… So yes, I bitched some when he booked the trip, but ultimately told him to go and have fun.

Tuesday he texted me that he cancelled his trip. His reason being that he knows its hard for me here alone so much with the girls. I’m relieved yes. But I do feel bad he cancelled on his brother. And I hope to God I don’t hear him moaning about how he cancelled his trip for me for the next month… (My husband isn’t the only one who does that, right???)

It’s Thursday night and thankfully I survived the week, but it wasn’t easy. And daycare is closed tomorrow for Easter, so it could be a long day until Eric gets home…

Three year-olds are little terrors sometimes. Those of you with children surely understand. And then throw on top of that a sick Nadia, and well, it makes for fun times. Daycare called me yesterday afternoon to tell me Nadia had a 103F fever. It was down this morning actually, but she was still very cranky all day, and up several times last night, more so than her usual one time. My fear is hand, foot, and mouth, as I saw a sign on the door when I picked her up that there had been exposure to her classroom. I’m really hoping that since her fever has been down for 12 hours now, and there were no signs of sores when I put her to bed, that she doesn’t actually have that… I’m praying anyway!

In the mist of parenting I did find some time to do a few things around the house that have been on my list way too long. I straightened Nora’s name above her window. Which surprisingly took a ton of time! I put up Nadia’s one-year picture over her bed, and purposely left a space for something else. What I’m not sure yet. I installed a motion light switch in our laundry room. Love it, I need these in more places! And put the curtain rod up in the master bedroom. The curtains still need to be shortened, but I’m leaving that for maybe next week. I’m quite proud of myself!


I also wanted to update on how I’ve been feeling on my new anti-depressant, Viibryd. I want to say I feel amazing, but I don’t. I have a strange list of side-effects…

  • I actually think I sleep better now than when I was on Zoloft, but only if I take Viibryd first thing in the morning. I always took my Zoloft at night, so I automatically took the new med at night. Well, it made me terribly restless, it was impossible to get to sleep for hours!
  • I wake up feeling… I’m not sure the right word, groggy maybe. I’m not sure if I’m just now actually sleeping and I’m not used to this waking up feeling… I’m not sure.
  • Um… the websites all say it does not cause weight gain. I gained ten pounds since going on it. I want to eat all the time. All the time. Like I actually feel hungry, like my hands get shaky like I need sugar. So weird.
  • I always feel…. not sure the word… energized maybe, but perhaps not in a good way. Like I can’t calm down, can’t just sit and rest. Like I have to be doing something all the time. Granted, I got a lot done this week! But not sure the feeling is normal.
  • As well as feeling energized, I would also say I feel far more anxious than I did on Zoloft. Every little thing seems to annoy me. Everything seems overwhelming, like the dog was digging and had mug everywhere, it felt like a huge pain in the butt to clean her up.

I have an appointment with the physician who prescribed me this medication on Monday. Two days ago I actually started cutting my pills in half.. partially to wean myself off if that is what he thinks is best, but also partially to see if a lower dose would make me feel better. Maybe the drug isn’t all wrong, maybe my dose is just too high. I’m curious to see my doctor’s recommendations on Monday.

Viibryd

I’ve kept no secret of my struggle with (postpartum) depression over the years. I’ve been on several different medications but most recently have been taking Zoloft, 50mg a day.

Several months ago my general practitioner in Cedar Falls suggested I increase my Zoloft dose to 100mg a day, as I’d still been feeling a bit down, very overwhelmed with caring for the girls so much alone, and possibly experiencing what I think is anxiety most days. I tried 100mg for several weeks but honestly felt much more anxious, so dropped back down to 50mg. A few weeks ago I decided maybe it was time I see a doctor who specializes in depression and anxiety medications, at least to re-evaluate what I’m taking.

Yesterday I met with a psychiatrist here in Cedar Rapids. He was very nice and very open to helping me find a medication that would make me feel happy and ‘normal’ instead of ‘coping with life’ as I had described to him my current state. I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy, but I certainly still deal with depression some days and more recently lots of anxiety. My doctor assured me there is something out there to make me feel a bit better.

I started taking Viibryd yesterday. I have to slowly lower my dose of Zoloft while slowly increasing my Viibryd dose to 20mg a day. And it could take a month to really notice any changes, but I’m excited. Honestly, a part of me still hates to rely on medication to feel okay, but another part of me really wants to feel happy and a bit calmer. I’ll keep you updated on how I feel, and if anyone else is on this medication and willing to share insight, I’d love to hear from you, my email is stefscrazylife@gmail.com. I’m told Viibryd doesn’t really have any side-effects… so here’s hoping its the miracle drug it’s made out to be!

Finally Friday?

Funny… years ago I looked forward to Fridays. Now, I’m not sure. Eric left this morning for his on-call week in Cedar Falls. He’ll be there his normal seven days, so until next Friday, but next weekend he’s traveling to Dallas for a board review course. Which means he won’t be home until the 29th. That feels like forever from now! The responsibility of single parenting until then feels heavy. As I was packing the girls into the van this morning for school I thought, why does life have to feel too hard or too easy? When I’m home alone with the girls, like this morning, Nadia was screaming since I wasn’t constantly holding her, and Nora was repeatedly using her new-found word, ‘no’ over and over as she ran naked from me, it felt too difficult. But now, the girls are at school and I have the next several hours free to clean and do laundry which feels too easy. Why can’t life have more happy-medium times? I’m not so into the extremes…

Earlier this morning I registered at a Catholic Church here in town, ya know, since we moved here and it feels like the thing to do. Should I be offended the girl asked if I wanted to speak with the priest regarding an annulment of my first marriage? Maybe I’ not cut out for the Catholic Church. Or maybe she was just being polite and offering help she thought I might want…

I haven’t mentioned my book club lately… I kind of dropped out, even though I created it. No longer living there was just making it too difficult. But, there is good news, the moms club here I joined has one! The bad news… The book they are reading for January is super depressing. We Are All Made of Stars tells the story of a hospice nurse who writes letters for her patients to their loved ones, to be posted after their death. Oh, and she has just as sad a story. I’m not saying it’s not a good book, just quite depressing.