Sunday, June 5, 2016

Don't ask, don't tell...

I got married 9 years ago.
I moved away from home immediately after getting married.
4 years later I moved even further away.

The first move was exciting.
I was young, in love, and ready to stand on my own two feet with my husband by my side.
I made friends easily. I worked full time. I enjoyed being in charge of my own life.
I participated in activities outside of work regularly.
It was fabulous.

I got fired. That royally sucked.
I felt isolated.
My husband's school became more and more questionable (ethics related - whole other story).
I started taking antidepressants.
I found work again, but money was tight.
We got pregnant.
I was excited!
Jay quit school early to pursue a career.
I had a baby.
I quit work to be a stay at home mommy.
We used WIC, paid heavily for COBRA medical insurance, and even had to ask for monetary help from the church.
All our savings disappeared.
It was uneasy.
I felt guilty.

Jay got a job.
We moved.
I panicked.
I tried to stay positive and get organized.
I found a doctor for my baby.

I broke down when asked how I was doing...
I worried those people.
I was encourage and ushered into asking for help from a medical source.
I was 100% honest in the heat of the moment.
I was institutionalized.
I felt supremely guilty.
I couldn't nurse my baby.
I couldn't see my baby.
I was terrified.
The doctor said I didn't need to be there.
I was allowed to leave.
I felt guilty for how much money I unintentionally cost us from all of that.
My parents loaned us money.
I felt helpless.
My church knew the basic circumstances.
I had earned a label.
I was immediately aware of the social stigma that accompanied that knowledge.

I got pregnant again.
I was hopeful.
We increased our habitat size.
We acquired a family vehicle.
I felt happy.

It was winter.
I had an emergency cesarian section.
I had another baby girl.
I was slightly disappointed, but calm.
My baby girl had breathing issues.
We took infant CPR.
I was terrified.
I had to take special care of this little baby.
I didn't sleep very much.
We stopped going to church.

We flew home for Christmas.
I felt out of place.
We didn't celebrate "at home."
I was yelled at for not being a better mother.
I felt disowned.

We flew back to Idaho.
My baby threw up blood.
I panicked.
More medical necessities for this tiny baby.
More money than anticipated.
I felt guilty again.

We got new neighbors.
I was asked if we were Mormon.
We started going to church again to support our neighbors going back to church.
I felt guilty for having been absent for so long.
I felt the need to be an advocate for my neighbor.
We got a new Bishop.
My neighbors received help.
I had a new friend.
I shared my dark sides with her.
I felt accepted by someone.
It was relieving.

Time marched on.
I helped coordinate my 10 year class reunion.
I felt inadequate because of the success many of them had achieved.
I got pregnant.
I was anxiously happy.

I miscarried.

I shared the news with those whom had known I was pregnant.
I closed off social media.
I couldn't be happy looking at other's happiness.
I felt so empty and hollow.
I sank into postpartum depression.
I didn't expect that.
I felt guilty.
I joined a group.
It somewhat helped.
But I felt guilty for morning my loss because of the circumstances that made it occur (whole other story).

I started to journal.

My neighbor moved away.
I got church callings.
I kept distracted.
I didn't allow myself to be captivated by what I lacked.
I changed antidepressants.
I found a preschool for my daughter.
I kept us busy all summer.
I started having panic attacks.

We were offered a spot in a different class at the preschool that met more often.
I accepted for Autumn's sake.
I realized the preschool wasn't what I needed/hoped it to be.
I decided to plow through it because of the tuition scholarship we received.
It created a lot of social anxiety and obligatory guilt for myself.
I felt I owed devotion.

Medication increased.
I started to feel like myself again.

I got hit by a bus.
Yes, you read that right.
I was OK.
We got a new car.

I got pregnant.
I was excited.
Christmas was happy. We shared the news.
I started to feel happy anxious anticipation.

Then I started to slide back into darkness.
Lonely, isolated, angry, inadequate darkness.
My medication was increased.
Spring arrived.

Bad news hit.
I felt jealous of the relief someone else achieved through suicide.
I was concerned at my emotion toward it.
I was not desiring self-harm, but I was jealous of their end to pain.
I felt irrational.
I wasn't trusting of this thought process.
My medication was increased again.

My grandpa got sick.
We went to see him.
I knew I had said my final goodbye as we drove away.
He passed.
I sang at his funeral.
I truly began to morn afterward. In private. As I always do.

I got very sick.
Nobody knows for certain the cause.
Mother's day was spent in bed.
I got prescribed medication.
My birthday arrived. I was still very sick.
I pushed through it.

I got dehydrated.
I fainted twice.
I was terrified.
Jay was anxious, which makes him angry.
I've been ordered to consume more water and rest more.
I'm doing my best to.

School ended.
I'm still sick.
I'm on more meds.
I'm hopeful it's on its way out, but not optimistic.

I feel depleted.
I'm angry a lot.
I don't enjoy very many things.

I'm afraid of being asked how I'm doing because it makes me cry and people close of when there's too much information given.
I'm afraid of not telling how I'm doing because I've seen that lead to worse outcomes.
I'm not doing well.
I want help.
But I can't give back right now.

I can't take on any emotional, physical, or psychological problems that aren't my own for fear I'd break.

I bottle my own demons when I feel like I can help someone else.
Those demons only grow in confinement.
Then they break out when nobody is around.
They know I don't want others to see them because they could create demons in others.
I bridle them in small amounts to allow my doctors to examine them and help me combat them bit by bit.
None of them are dead yet.
None are yet defeated.

It's difficult to know who can safely help.
It's scary to cross the "don't tell" line that is not always visible.
It's almost impossible to allow myself to be 100% vulnerable to someone else because of my history.

I've learned to not tell, to avoid being asked, and to hide the demons because that is what is most socially acceptable.

I'm imprisoned by society's unspoken rules about mental health.
I'm imprisoned by society's unspoken rule about airing your dirty laundry.
I'm imprisoned by how unsafe it can be to be 100% honest with everybody.
Culturally we're encouraged to not share any private information about ourselves because of the risk it involves. Risk to ourselves, and risk to others.
There are very few safe places to share anymore.

It's devastating.

How can you break the shell of "don't ask, don't tell"?

It would take the world changing. I don't believe it can be accomplished by one person alone.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The heavy burden

I'm willing to bet that most people find me to be an upbeat person.

I love my friends openly, even if/when I don't agree with their life choices.

I try to make others happy.

I do "random acts of kindness" like straightening the shopping cart corral in the parking lot, wiping down the public bathroom counters/pick up trash and dispose of it properly. I smile and wave at random strangers to get them to smile.

I try to put on a good face most of the time and try to leave behind any place better than I found it (boy scout mindset kind of).

Despite all of these things, I am a very unhappy person.

I'm very pessimistic, judgemental, bitter, and angry.

I often participate in my "random acts of kindness" because I think and feel that other people just don't care.

I get frustrated when I see shopping carts not properly corralled, thinking that whomever left it "there" doesn't give a crap about being nice to others or value the time/effort it takes for the store employee to wrangle it later.
I feel angry that the bathroom counter/floor are soaked/covered in random bits and pieces of paper towels/toilet paper. I commonly think and believe that people leave it this way because they feel it is below them to clean it up even if they caused a part of it. I commonly think that these person's respect and care of public facilities mirrors their respect and care for other people in the world.
I think and feel that everyone else passing the stranger by, and choosing to not notice them, even subconsciously, is a declaration of their love for their fellow man (or rather, their lack thereof).

I'm judgemental of my children for constant disobedience even though I've been taught that what they are doing is typical boundary pushing/normal behavior for children their age. I often feel that my children don't respect my rules/authority because it is not commonly taught/expected by others to do so. This angers me, and is a constant pulse of doubt about my worth/influence as a mother.

I commonly feel bitter when something I've told another person gets forgotten.
I've noticed over the years that I tell people less and less things. When I do speak up, I am typically very deliberate in what I say, and how I say it. When these things are not remembered/retained and I later mention it to continue the conversation, or accomplish something beyond the subject, I am disheartened. It makes me feel/believe that what I think/say/feel/do is of little to no value to the other person. It is a very isolating emotion. It often results in me never mentioning it again as it feels pointless to do so.

I feel discouraged when I see anything that I have done/cleaned/improved/worked on gets destroyed/soiled/disorganized/forgotten about. This happens even from my own doing: unfinished projects, laundry, accidentally broken items, etc.
When I perceive that I am the cause of my own discouragement it makes me doubt myself, and others, even more greatly. I feel in those moments that I believe, even more so, that progression is not likely/possible and that positive change in others is a pointless pursuit.

I have very little hope.

My counselor suggested that I make a "hope box" full of little pieces of paper with things written on them that I am looking forward to/hopeful about that have a realistic possibility of happening/can be influenced by me. Things that I can feel joyful about.
I was given that assignment over a month ago. I've only been able to come up with 3 things. Each has a possibility of being joyful. However, each comes with a realistic possibility of being stressful and unachievable.
Those possibilities terrify me.
It hasn't provided much hope.

Despite my inner thoughts and emotions, and the general tumult and anxiety they cause me, I put on a good face to most of the world.
I offer help to others. I counsel/talk to my friends as time allows me to (so long as my emotions aren't controlling my rationality or ability to be kind/uplifting toward them). I go to church. I cook. I clean. I hug my girls. I try to establish a normal/healthy pattern of living.

My compromised perspective is that I fail most of the time.

This is my heavy burden.

May 20, 2016

So I had a scary evening yesterday...
Jay, the girls, and I all went out to eat together. When I was almost done eating I got hit with a super strong contraction/lower abdominal cramping (felt like I needed to poop).

I excused myself from the table to go use the restroom, getting quite dizzy on my first 10 steps away from the table, but regaining full stamina almost immediately.

I went to the restroom and peed. I still felt the need to poop, but it didn't happen. I remember feeling sweaty all of a sudden and looked down at my insulin pump screen to see if my glucose was suddenly dropping.

I then had a short dream, and came to (after losing consciousness) with my head stuck in the corner of the bathroom walls, but still seated on the toilet.

I realized immediately that I had passed out. I was in a full body sweat at this point (no low blood sugar, by the way).

I re-gained my bearings, washed my hands, and went out of the bathroom (both Autumn and Tori were outside the door waiting to use it, in line behind another young girl).

I walked back to the table with both girls. Once I sat down I told Jay what had happened and that I needed him to take the girls to the restroom while I sat and regained my composure.

Almost instantly after he and the girls left from the table I got hit with another intense contraction and laid down on the bench to help reduce the pain.

The next think I knew/heard was my cute little Asian waitress saying "Are you OK? Are you OK?"

I responded, and slowly sat back up. I told her I had just passed out and that my husband/kids were in the bathroom, I was 28 weeks pregnant, and needed to go to the hospital.

She immediately alerted the staff, informed Jay, and had another gentleman employee (ironically named Charlie) assist her and Jay walk me out to the car.

I called emergency L&D on the way to the hospital to inform them we were coming, etc.

Once at the hospital I did not pass out again. They checked my cervix, did a swab for risk of pre-term labor, a CMP (complete metabolic panel), and urine analysis.

I also threw up there and had diarrhea.

My contractions were every 2-3 minutes upon arrival.

However, after a full bag of fluids, a Zofran (anti-nausea) bolus, and resting for a little over 3 hours the contractions almost completely stopped.

Charlie's heart rate/movement was/is normal. She wasn't stressing at all.

They released me at about 12:45am this morning.

I've been taking it very easy today, and drinking lots of water. But this virus I'm fighting, the GI (gastroenteritis) bug, and dehydration are probably the main cause of last night's scare.

I will not be doing the flea market garage sale tomorrow (Idaho's Largest Garage Sale) and will do my best to keep my activities to a bare minimum to allow myself the rest my body so desperately needs to heal.

I just figured I'd let you all know what's happening in my world... crazy scary stuff.