that one memory

Does anyone else have that one memory… that one moment that is the epitome of being “carefree?”   I have it.  When I’m stressed, scared, anxious, needing an escape… I go to it.  I long for it.  My mind flashes back to it without warning and without a second thought.

I’m 18.  My friend Rachel comes to pick me up in her burgundy car.  It is messy and smells like incense.  There are half empty water bottles, she has attempted to clean the windshield with vinegar and newspaper.   There are lighters, old papers, handmade sewn creations, etc.  She lights the incense and has a mixed CD playing.  Phish, String cheese incident,  Jimi Hendrix, etc.  We drive out of town with no destination.  The windows are down, the weather is perfect.  My hair is in my face and I don’t care.  Nothing really matters.  We smoke cigarettes and we just drive.  We are driving nowhere and that is okay.

This memory is vivid because it is one of the few times in my life that I’ve felt carefree.  I got lost in the music, the freedom of having no destination, the moment.  I was 18.  Life was very simple.

Sometimes, I long for simplicity in a very chaotic world.

avoiding the real world

another stupid love story

i was the ink in your pen

and you built me with every letter.

a single word and i could stand alone.

a sentence and i was complete.

but you added another, and another, and another

about someone i’d know all too well.

someone i’d spend night after night trying to forget.

why would you bind us line by line?

knowing that we’d never stay together in the end.

knowing that this poem would never satisfy you

or be a story anyone would want to read?

one single word and i could stand alone.

a sentence and i was complete.

a paragraph and i fell apart.

-a tale i never wanted to be a part of.

another stupid love story

that no one gives a damn about.

-especially me

your ill fated, heart broken, girl character

who would have been better off on her own.

 

I recently discovered poetry I wrote for a collection in college.  I think, at best, I was a mediocre poet lol.  I tried but could never really say exactly what I wanted to say.   It is so interesting to read these poems 10 years later.  My inspiration for this poem is now, my husband.  🙂  I guess it wasn’t a stupid love story after all haha.

I’m posting this because I’m avoiding real life.  Today was difficult. My son may have autism.  I can finally type it.  I have a million thoughts, a million feelings and I just stare at my screen and checkout.  I called my parents and I cried.  I thought about 5 hours ago and 5 years from now in a single thought.  I don’t really know what to feel or think.  I think I am going to postpone the thoughts for tonight and have a glass of woodbridge chardonnay.  (yes, I’m back on Chardonnay Charles- I’m sorry, it is just better- I don’t care if that makes me an old lady lol)

Maybe in the next few weeks I’ll have a real post about all this and stop avoiding it.  Maybe I won’t …and you’ll get to enjoy more 10 year old, mediocre poetry.  Until next time…

When it becomes too much

I’ve spent the past few blog posts talking specifically about how my OCD and anxiety intensified when I was pregnant.  Several years ago one of my psychiatrists determined that my mood issues were highly effected by hormones.  I believe they said I had an estrogen sensitivity.  Maybe this explains why I was more balanced when pregnant with Jack and more unstable when pregnant with Claire?  I don’t know if that is possible or if it has anything to do with it at all but …all I know is that emotionally, pregnancy number 2 was much harder.

I got pregnant with Claire a few months before Jack was to start his first year in preschool.  As I’ve mentioned before, it made it SO hard to take him to school each day and leave him.  The emotions were high, especially being so hormonal.  In a way I felt guilt.  I told myself that I was “shipping him off” while I stayed at home with the baby (obviously, as I was pregnant).  When I look back on my feelings at the time I know this sounds completely insane but I think that I started to feel a little guilt the minute the stick showed two lines.

I think that this is somewhat normal?  I know that all mothers feel a little guilt when realizing that their only child won’t be their only child anymore.  I think you feel emotion for your child and know it will be an adjustment.  I think that when you have anxiety that is intensifying by the day, you feel this so much more intensely and irrationally.

Several months into preschool Jack got hit with one illness after another.  It is truly unbelieveable.  He went from never getting sick to catching EVERY single illness anyone thought about getting.  He had an upper respiratory infection that made him cough to the point of throwing up.  He had a crazy throat infection that made his nodes swell, gave him a fever and just generally made me lethargic and not himself for days.  He then got a stomach virus, etc.  The list goes on.  With each illness he got, I lost myself a little more.  I wish I had a better way of writing this …or explaining this but I don’t know that I can in a way that will accurately convey the fear.  The paralyzing fear I felt with each new symptom.

When Jack got the stomach virus I witnessed him throw up for the first time.  I witnessed his fear.  He stood there.. pale, shaking, crying.  He didn’t know what was happening. I was 34 weeks pregnant and I didn’t know what to do.  I was torn between trying to protect the little one inside of me and the little one standing in front of me, so sick.  I had a panic attack.  I stood there, covered in his throw up and sat down on the edge of the shower.   I started shaking uncontrollably.  I started crying.   I couldn’t talk.  Thank God my husband was there to comfort our baby while I got myself together.  When he had the throat infection I stayed up all night several nights monitoring his temperature.  Recording his medications.  Inspecting him for new symptoms.  Each day I prayed that he got better but feeling let down when he wasn’t.  It was so hard to see him sick… and the hardest part was knowing it was my fault.  Or so I thought.

My anxiety decided to tell me that this all could have been prevented had I not been pregnant and distracted.  If I hadn’t made the selfish decision to have another baby…I could have made sure Jack avoided more germs.  I could have paid more attention.  I could have caught these illnesses earlier and prevented them.  I could have done something.  This was my fault.  This was my reality and this made me feel like a horrible, selfish mother.  I was scared.  I was depressed.  I felt like I had to make up for my mistakes.  My OCD went into overdrive.  I took his temperature a million times a day.  I felt his head.  I took him to the doctor a million times.  I felt his lymph nodes.  I looked at this throat.  I couldn’t stop.  I flashed back to my parents illness and the guilt intensified.  I was becoming my parents.  I was going to make my child fearful.  I was going to make him a checker.  I sobbed every night. The guilt was too much.

I look back to this period of several months when Jack was so sick and I feel like I was a shell of myself.  I feel like my emotions were so intense and out of control that they left me in a sense.  I felt like it was too much to deal with so I merely existed while they floated off somewhere to get away from everything.  I woke each day dreading each moment, fearing that it would be filled with something terrible.  I feared sleeping at night because I felt like I needed to monitor Jack, or myself and my pregnancy.  If I wasn’t ALWAYS on guard, everything would come crashing down.  I would lose everything that I loved.

Living your life on guard is not living at all.  It is existing.  It is running a race that you are never going to win..mainly because there is no finish line.  You must always be on guard.  Around this time, my third trimester of pregnancy, I accepted that this was my life.  I’d accepted this many times before.  I became numb because I had to.  Each day was about making it to the next while hoping I didn’t collapse in the process.  Each day was filled with terror and fear and checks and tears that I was doing my BEST to hide from my husband and my son.  I didn’t want to be this person.  I didn’t want to fall apart.  Inevitably, I would.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The need to be precise

At various points in my life my OCD has kicked in pretty intensely and then other times it gives me a bit of a vacation.  I never know when it will show or how it will show and like I said before, it creeps up on me without me realizing it at all sometimes.

When I was pregnant I tried to stay busy each day.  I got Jack off to school and I would come back and either work or try to prepare something for dinner.  When cooking I would use a spoon to stir the dish and then rest it on the counter.  I might chop vegetables after that or walk away for a second and then come back and need to stir it again.  I would stare at the spoon that I’d just put on the counter and even though I knew it was the same spoon, I told myself it wasn’t.  I told myself that maybe it was contaminated.  Maybe the counter had something gross on it.  Maybe my husband had used the spoon for something else and forgot to tell me.  Using the same spoon meant I might accidentally poison my entire family.  I threw it in the sink.

I got another spoon… and then another and another.  I got a cup from the cabinet and got some water and I took a few sips and then I’d put it down.  I would continue to stir, and chop and cook.  I would go to take another sip of water and there it was again.  That voice inside my head telling me that maybe that wasn’t my water cup.  I went to sip it, knowing I was being irrational but I thought…I’m carrying this baby I can’t take ANY chances.  I’d pour the cup out and get another.  The cycle continued throughout the entire preparation of this meal.

When it was all said and done I’d used almost every spoon in the silverware drawer.  I’d used several cups for one sip of water at a time.  I followed the recipe exactly and then I worried the meat had contaminated everything.  I would wash my hands a hundred times when preparing the meal and then clean the counters.  It still didn’t feel right.

After preparing this meal, a crock pot meal most likely (those are the easiest), I would go sit down.  I would try to begin working but I couldn’t stop thinking about the crock pot now.  Is it too close to the edge of the counter?  I better go check.  Is the plug working so I know that everything is actually cooking?  I better go check.  Is the crock pot touching anything that is plastic or flammable?  I better go check.

All my life had become was checking.  Checking this.  Checking that.   Constantly trying to make sure everything and everyone was okay.  I was exhausted.

This is a snippet of one day.  Approximately 30 minutes of a day that began at 7 and ended late into the night.  This snippet is my mind.  This is what I go through when trying to do a simple task.  THIS is my disease.  THIS is what I’m fighting to try to end. This cycle of crazy/grief/sadness/fear.

Some days I’m strong enough, other days… I’m still strong enough but it is much harder.  I can fight this and I am still fighting this.  I was trying my hardest to fight this then… but once the baby was born, I realized I could no longer fight this alone.

 

 

Parenting with anxiety

I tucked my 2.5 year old into bed last night, I softly sung the words of rock and bye baby to him while cuddled up to him so tight.  I rubbed his hair… I kissed his rosy cheeks.  After some pillow talk he fell asleep.  I held him closer.  I looked at him.  So innocent, so sweet.  Listening to him breathe in an out, I whispered into his ear… “I’m so sorry for being me.”

Earlier in the day he had jumped into the front seat of my car while I was trying to get him inside from preschool.  He was pretending to drive the car.  I was so stressed.  It was cold, I am so pregnant, I just wanted to get him inside so I could sit down.  I didn’t want to stand in the cold.  He laid on the horn.  I looked around to make sure no one was disturbed by this and I yelled at him.   “Mommy said no!” “Stop!”  I felt my anger building.  I threw down all of the stuff I had in my hands and I pulled him out of the car.  He threw a fit in the middle of the road.  I hated this moment.  I hated that he wouldn’t listen.  I hated that I couldn’t stand to be out there any longer and I hated mostly that I couldn’t “enjoy the moment.” A moment that he was enjoying so much.

Anxiety robs you of so many precious moments.

So what is there to be anxious about in this moment?  Well, its not necessarily one trigger in one moment… it is the anxiety that builds all day, every single day.  You grow tired.  You physically hurt.  You cry.  You obsess.  You struggle with simple decisions that others wouldn’t think twice about.  You wake up every morning wishing it were bed time.  You count the days until it is the weekend when you can have some help.   You cry because you hate feeling that way.  You feel guilt.  You have a wonderful husband, a beautiful child and one on the way.  You have a steady job, a home.  You live comfortably.  You are blessed.  You are ungrateful? That’s what you will tell yourself.  Reality? You are plagued by your own mind.

Anxiety robs you of peace of mind.

There is never a moment in one day that you feel at ease.  You will check everything 100 times.  You will look for potential dangers and you will fix them.  You will worry about 10 minutes from now and 10 hours from now and 10 years from now in 1 minute.  Your mind will race and you will be completely exhausted.  You are a problem solver in your mind.  If you don’t fix it all RIGHT now, it wont get done and something terrible will happen and it will be your fault.  When someone, anyone, breaks your train of thought… you will lash out at them.  Don’t they see how important it is that you figure EVERYTHING out RIGHT NOW?  Unfortunately it might be that sweet, innocent, rosy cheeked 2 year old asking for more milk, or trying to jump on you for attention.  You love him so much and you’re trying to solve any potential problem… for him.  All he wants is a glass of milk and a hug.

Why is this so hard?