today, I painted my nails

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Today, I painted my nails.  They aren’t perfect but I keep looking at them and feeling happy.  I feel happy because I took a few minutes today to do something for myself.

The past few months have been heavily consumed with many things beyond my control.  My daughter has done amazing with her FPIES.  She has passed every single food we have tried– which is a tremendous blessing.  She can eat squash, zucchini, carrots, blueberries, pears, apples, and bananas!  When I think back to the night she went to the hospital with violent vomiting after eating oatmeal, my heart aches.  I feel such fear.  When she got the FPIES diagnosis I felt defeated.  I felt like the next few months would just be one anxiety attack after another.  Thankfully, my mind has calmed down and so has her stomach! haha.  She has done so well with her foods and I am so thankful.  This week we go to the hospital to trial a trigger food.  Chicken.  I pray that she passes this as it will be a big step for her!  She also gets her allergy testing and I hope that she has no traditional food allergies.  She is a healthy, strong, beautiful princess and I am full of hope.

As for my son– we are still dealing with… “is it autism? is it not? is it ADHD? is it something that will get better with time?” etc.  He was supposed to meet with a school psychologist this week to evaluate him further… but I’m not ready.  I will push it off for a month.  Sometimes we have to make selfish decisions.  Today, I painted my nails while my husband cleaned the kitchen.  Today, I decided to postpone my son’s evaluation for myself and for him.  I would like for him to get more familiar with his new school and teachers.  I would like to give him a chance in another environment.  His new school is full of supportive, loving, caring, kind teachers.  I want him to experience that support before potentially labeling him with autism.  And for me, I won’t have to deal with the possibility of my baby going to the hospital with a food allergy and my son being labeled with a developmental condition in the same week.  My mental health is fragile and though I am much better, stressful times are very triggering.  I need to be the best mom for my babies.

This week I’ve spent many hours crying.  I see my son riding his bike with such joy.  He screams randomly, “mommy!! I love you!” …I melt into a puddle of tears.  I’ll never tire of hearing such precious words.  I cry because he’s so wonderful and perfect.  I don’t want anything to be hard for him.  I want life to be perfect.  I want him to be care free and happy.  I cry because things may be harder for him and there is nothing I can do to “Fix” it.

This post is getting lengthy, but I just needed to get a little bit off my chest.  I could write for hours about my thoughts and feelings about both of my children… specifically with their health issues.  I am personally struggling with the possibility of my son having an autism diagnosis.  I don’t know if that makes me a bad person or not.  I’ve had crazy thoughts…selfish thoughts. I’m just trying to work through it all in my head.  My husband has been working nonstop and I haven’t been able to get to therapy so I’ve been trying to work it all out on my own.  It is hard.  Anyone else struggle with the possibility of an autism diagnosis?  How did you cope?  How did you get to a good place?

-c

 

The best, worst conversation

Well, its September.  So far, September hasn’t been so bad.  We’re 6 days into it and I’ve had one night away from the kids (which was good and sad.. lol.  I miss them so much when we’re apart.)  I’ve been somewhat stable mentally (just riding this high while I have it) and have had some good conversations.

Yesterday my husband told me that he has been largely effected by my mental illness over the past 6 months.  Of course I knew that it would get to him at times… how could it not?  However, I didn’t know that it was getting to him so badly.  He explained to me that he spends so much time trying to talk me down.  My mind goes from one crazy thought to another.  He told me he feels an immense amount of pressure having to be the only sane individual in the house.  He let it all out.  He told me everything.  He cried a little… I could feel every word.  They were laced with sadness, love and fear.  He didn’t want to tell me this because he didn’t want to add to the stress… but it just came out.

My initial reaction was to run.  I wanted to just drive… scream…punch a wall.  Anything to get my anger out.  I was upset with him for holding all of this in for months.  I was upset with him for not being stronger than I am ALL of the time… and I was just so sad that I couldn’t get my life together so he could have a better one.   These feelings lasted a few moments and then I felt better than I have in a little while.

That probably seems really weird.  It is.  For one, I felt happy that he took the time to tell me.  He risked my fragility to tell me that he was hurting and that it was in part because of me.  This told me that he trusts me… and he thinks I’m stronger than I think I am.  Or stronger than I think he thinks I am sometimes.  I felt like we were partners in this …I can tell him my fears and thoughts and he can tell me his.  He can tell me when he’s depressed.  There was something so wonderful about being completely open and honest with each other.  It actually lifted my mood.

In addition to this feeling… I also felt really relieved.  My husband is human, not a super hero.  Life can be too much for him too.  It validated some things for me.  The past year has been REALLY hard.  Calling 911 for both of your children in the past 3 months is REALLY stressful whether you have mental issues or not.  Seeing your son VERY ill for an extended period of time and then get a rare allergy syndrome diagnosis for your daughter is tough.  Postpartum anxiety/OCD and depression…are HARD.  Finances and schedules and work… are difficult.  These are not just things I torment myself over because I am “crazy.”  These are hard for everyone.

Finally, I felt a push.  I’d become lazy in my quest to get better.  I started to become fearful of my medications again.  I started to not trust my doctors… and thought I could make the best decisions for myself.  I was reminded in that 30 minute conversation that I am a long way from that place.  I need professionals to help me.  I need medication. I need therapy.  I need to find something that works… soon.  I can’t put these things off.  Too many people that I love are counting on me to get better.  I felt the sense of urgency that my husband felt in that moment and it has stayed with me.

Today has been a good day.  I can’t say that about a lot of days.  But today, my son was excited about school… my daughter let me get some work done.  My coffee was exceptional.  The sun was warm.  My kids laughed…a lot.  I painted with my son after dinner.  I took a long shower.  I listened to kid songs and sang them with my little ones.  I made a conscious effort to keep the peace.  It worked.

Thank God for the days that show you that your life can be better than the way you feel your life will ALWAYS be when you’re in your darkest times.  Thank God.

Collapse, relax, breathe

I’m exhausted.

Today I got to catch up with a good friend.  She had a baby in June and our kids were finally able to get together and have a playdate.  (As much playing as can happen with a 5 month old, 2 month old and 3 year old.)  As we spent time reflecting on the past couple of months we started to talk about Claire and her allergy syndrome.  I realized when talking to her that this whole thing is getting to me even more than  I thought.  –Which I thought was impossible really.

So what am I afraid of?  I think that is what I should get out.  Maye if I confess my fears I can become more at peace with them.  I don’t know.  I have to try.

I’m afraid of more hospital visits.  I’m afraid of a more severe reaction.  I’m afraid to introduce any new food.  I’m afraid of everything that goes along with this. I’m afraid of the unknown.

Presently I’m afraid of her brother smearing peanut button on her, or her getting her hands on bread crumbs… or her paci going in her mouth after her brother has put it in his and eaten something.  I’m afraid her bottle may touch something on the counter she shouldn’t have.  I’m afraid of EVERYTHING.  I struggle so much with OCD anyway, and now this diagnosis has kicked it into overdrive.  I don’t even know if these things are real threats or dangers… but I feel like my girl is so fragile.  I feel like being overprotective is the only way to cope.  I have no idea actually how to cope.  I don’t know if my fears are rational or irrational.  I never know where that line is.

I’ve been constantly dealing with these fears… these thoughts–all of it.  It feels so intense because its my baby.  She is everything.  The pressure is …so much.  I wish I could accurately express how this feels.

My therapist always asks me to identify my feelings physically.  I feel them in my chest and in my stomach.  It feels tight.  Really, really tight.  The more my mind races the tighter my teeth clench and the tighter my stomach feels.  Eventually, they collapse.  They relax.  Briefly.  Recently, every day has been this way.  I get to a point where I have to make my muscles relax… it feels like defeat.  Letting my guard down feels like failure.  Relaxation feels like laziness.  How do I continue this way?

A glass of wine, a puddle of tears

raindrops-in-puddle-1171471-1279x849.jpgTonight I sit and drink my nightly glass of wine.  An all too frequent habit that I probably shouldn’t be engaging in at all.  It hurts my stomach and I regret it the next day but for the few hours I feel the alcohol in my body.. I feel relaxed for the first time all day.  I feel “happy.”  I feel carefree …I can breathe.

Today was hard.  Another set of doctor’s appointments, but this time for my sweet Claire.  She was diagnosed with a rare food allergy syndrome and the swarm of emotions upon hearing the diagnosis was overwhelming.  I had tunnel vision… tunnel hearing (if that is a thing).  My body started to escape itself… I wanted it to not be real.  I wanted to hear that I was just being an obsessive mother who was overthinking things.  I tried so hard to listen to the doctor all while processing my feelings and obsessing over whether or not she could tell  I was a million miles away.

And there was Claire.  Rolling around on the bed in the doctor’s office, her chubby legs kicking back and forth.  Ripping up the paper on the bed… bringing her left toe to her mouth to nibble on it.  I smiled at her and made a clicking sound with my mouth.  She returned my smile and there was the warmth.  Then… the guilt.

On the ride home I was silent.  Processing every real or irrational thought/feeling.  I was thinking several thoughts at once.  I could feel the grief and fear in my chest and could trace it to my throat.  We got home and my girl smiled at me again and this time I returned her smile with tears.  I changed her diaper and began to sob.  The sobbing left me no room to breathe and soon my husband noticed and so did my 3 year old son.  I was falling apart.  The room began to spin and I sat down in a puddle of tears.  My husband was pleading with me to tell him what I was thinking …but I couldn’t.  How could I tell him this was my fault?

When anything goes wrong… I immediately blame myself.  I should have eaten better when I was pregnant.  I should have tried harder to breastfeed.  I did this to my little girl and it hurt more than I could tell him.  He says that my mind is leading me in the wrong direction.  He said that I made this up and there is no scientific evidence to prove that those things have any correlation with her food allergies.  I didn’t care.  If anything was wrong with her it had to be because I did something wrong, or I missed something… or I could have prevented it somehow.

Really, there was no one to blame for it so I did what I always do.  I beat myself up.  I was angry, upset, scared and had no one to blame… so I took it out on myself.  Only recently have I been able to forgive myself for giving up breastfeeding too early… and with this, all of those feelings of guilt came back.  Could I have prevented this for my child if I had been mentally well enough to continue breastfeeding?

I don’t know the answer.  I don’t know if it would have changed anything.  It probably wouldn’t have…but today, blaming myself was the easiest thing to do.  It was easier to lash out at myself and hate myself than to deal with anything else.  I wanted to hate myself more than I wanted to fear the future of introducing new foods, etc.  Hate is easier to experience than fear.  Anger is easier to identify with than grief.  So I jumped to those familiar feelings as a defense mechanism… to spare myself from feelings I couldn’t manage in the moment.

Tonight, I have this glass of wine.  My escape.  Another way of putting off feelings I don’t want to feel.  And tonight, in this moment, that’s going to have to be okay.