Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy. Yes. Really.

Anyone who has read this blog before knows that I've been struggling with depression and anxiety for DECADES. I've been to countless head shrinkers. I've tried just about every medication in the book. I've had ridiculous amounts of therapy. And fairly recently, I tried working with an herbalist to see if I could find something... ANYTHING... to make me feel normal. But, that didn't work either. *insert four letter word of your choice HERE*

Truth be told, I'd pretty much given up. Over 20 years of trying to feel better will do that to a girl. There just comes a point when you have to accept that this is the way your life is going to be and learn to live with it.

Or do you?

I went to my family doctor a couple of months ago about my asthma and migraines. Both had been really bad all spring, and I needed to come up with some solutions.

The asthma was easy enough to take care of. A prescription for some Singulair. Done and done.

My migraines? Not so easy to figure out. They hit me hard once a month. When I explained this to my doctor, telling her that I was pretty certain that they were due to hormone issues, she wanted to dig deeper. She asked more about my mental health history. I told her everything. I explained that I thought I was not, in fact, depressed or had biopolar, but instead had PMDD... premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It's basically like PMS to the extreme. And holy shit... she agreed completely.

So, how to you treat PMDD? You take about a half dose of an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor). In this case, she gave me Celexa.

I tried it. The side effects were tough for me to take... even with just a half dose. Constant headaches, nausea, dizziness. YUCK. Put that in with some massive PMS/PMDD symtoms, and I was one miserable girl. Dammit, Janet.

But, I've taken these kinds of meds before, and I know that the side effects almost always go away eventually. Despite a completely terrible 2 weeks, I kept taking it. Something told me that I just needed to hang in there just a little bit longer. So, I did.

Fast forward two full months later. I feel better than I can ever remember. Yes. Really. I have good days and bad days, just like everyone else. I'm far from numb. But, I'm happy most of the time. My reactions to things are... dare I say... appropriate. Nothing seems like the end of the world anymore.

Even better: in the last month, I've had mild headaches here and there, but I haven't had any migraines. Yes. That's right. NO MIGRAINES.

Holy crap. I'm afraid I'm going to jinx myself, but is this what "normal" feels like? If so, SIGN ME UP.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An explanation

I've been so quiet lately. If you know me well, you know that is weird. I'm NEVER quiet. But, lately, I haven't felt like writing much. I've been feeling strangely quiet and private and guarded. But, I feel like I need to explain some things. Here we go.

Here's the deal with Macey. Back in May (or was it April?), when her bio dad and I decided that she could try living with him, we made a deal. My big stipulation to this living situation was that he moves out of his parent's home and live on his own by the end of the summer. Period. It was not negotiable.

Why is living with his parents a big deal? Well... I'm sorry to say that it's for a LOT of reasons. His dad is nuts. Like, untreated massive OCD nuts. He's also a recovered alcoholic and drug addict. His mom is not in good health. She had a brain tumor removed a year ago, and it's becoming clear that she's dying. Slowly, mind you... but she's dying. On top of all this, their famiy is dysfunctional in a way that makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I mean... almost all families are a little dysfunctional, right? But their brand of dysfunctional is pretty severe. It's not a dangerous situation, but it's not emotionally healthy to be there either. I'll just leave it at that.

Macey's bio dad has been living with his parents for the last 2+ years. He's been telling me that he can't wait to get out of there for ages. And since I know that he'd had time to save his money for deposits and such, I figured that he might actually DO IT. He might actually move out and start a life with Macey... and make her happy.

Thing is, it's been months, and Macey and bio dad are STILL living with his parents. About a week ago, I talked with bio dad about this, and we both agreed that maybe this "living in Illinois for a year" thing might not work out. I gave him another week and told him that we just need to focus on what's best for Macey... even if that means coming back to Kansas. He actually agreed with me.

It's still summer technically summer, so why is this such a big deal NOW? Well, school enrollment is in 2 weeks. I have to plan (and pay for it.) There are school supplies, moving her back home, and all the other stuff that goes along with a change of this sort. So, it's kinda now or never, ya know?

Well, I gave him the week that we agreed to. And then I called Sunday. He thought he *might* have a place lined up, and was trying to put off the decision even further. I had to put my foot down. No concrete plans? No place to live? No Macey. It's simple. This is the very last thing in the whole world that I want to have to do, but he HAS to be responsible. He can't put this off anymore. He agreed to this. Time is up.

And, of course, because I had to put my foot down, the conversation led to him telling me what a terrible parent I am. I'm a fat, stupid bitch. I'm controlling. He's convinced that he's paid more attention to Macey in the last 3 months than I have in her entire life. I don't deserve her. And best of all, I should just come get her so that he doesn't have to deal with the likes of ME anymore. *wiping away the tears* And the really bad part? Macey agrees with him,except for the coming to get her part. She refuses to come home no matter what their living situation is. She hates me. She won't even speak to me. At all.

Well, just hours after this gut wrenching conversation, he has a confirmed place to live, furniture to sit/sleep on, and every one of my demands met. They are moving in less than 2 weeks. One minute, he tells me to come get her, and then, it's all worked out and she's staying. Ugh. Really?

So, that leaves me in a place in which I have to figure out exactly what to do from here. I gave my word that I would let her live there as long as bio dad has his own place. And, at the 11th hour, he does. Do I go get her and MAKE her come home anyway? Just because he's a name calling jerk that insulted me in a way that no one deserves? Or do I let her stay there? I promised, after all. And then there is the fallout of my decision. Will Macey have the right not to speak to me if I haul her home? Will she just make everyone here in Kansas absolutely miserable if I go get her? It's a no-win situation for me, really.

The best compromise I could come up with is a contract of sorts. It's not a legal document, of course, but it puts in place some very concrete demands on her parenting and living situation. For instance, she has to maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average. (She's never had less than a 3.5, so this should be cake for her.) I must have a copy of her grade cards within a week of them being sent home. She must continue to live in a safe, clean, comfortable house and NOT with his parents. She must not be left alone on an everyday basis for more than 2 hours at a time (I don't have a problem with a latchkey situation, but refuse to let her spend the majority of her time at home completely alone.) That sort of thing. The rules are broken? I'm coming to get her no matter what day of the year it is. The expectations are clearly laid out and are not at all negotiable. Basically, if he screws up, I don't have to be the bad guy anymore. HE will be the bad guy. HE will be the one who broke the rules and it will be HIS fault. (I'm not delusional enough to think that Macey won't still blame me on some level. But, you can't have everything.)

So, there it is. It's hard. It sucks. And I'm sad. But, I'm powering through it. It's all I can do, really.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My life is a whole lotta awesome.

There are days, when I feel sorry for myself. I'm bummed because I don't have more money. Or I get stressed out because my "to do" list is too darn long. Or I'm frustrated because I feel taken for granted.

Thing is, my life is a whole lotta awesome when I really think about it.

Have I been hurt in the past? Hell yes.

Have I been stepped on and cast aside? Yep.

Have unfair things happened to me, changing the fabric of who I am forever? Absolutely.

But, am I still breathing? Moving? Living? YES.

Do I always find a way to have food and shelter? Warmth? Clean water? YES.

Even in the midst of hurt and pain and anger, have I been loved anyway? Has at least one person let me know that they care and are there for me, no matter what? YES.

I have been given so many gifts. I'm lucky enough to be smart and creative. I've been educated enough to love learning new things, and embrace the chance to think outside the box. Worlds have opened up for me because I've been taught to think critically and logically. I've been loved in spades, so I've never felt completely worthless (at least not for long.) I've been hugged when I've needed it. I've been supported when I just couldn't stand any longer. And my needs, at times, have been put first instead of dead last. I have so many tools... so many advantages to make my life awesome in a way that some people on this planet only dream of and may never realize.

No, my life is not perfect. Sometimes, someone leaves a ding in my car or steals my mail or hurts my feelings. But, overall, my life is a whole lotta awesome. And I am incredibly grateful for it.

This rose colored glasses moment is brought to you by the letters L, O, V and E.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Are you SURE?

Tonight, as Rhett and I were lying in bed, in that space between sleep and awake, we were contemplating my "problem".

It went a little something like this:

Rhett: "You know what your problem is?"

Me: "Do tell."

Rhett: "You're always trying to improve yourself. Like... all the time. You're always trying to be a little bit better than you were the day before. And I think it's driving you crazy. You just need to be yourself and be done with it."

Me: "Doesn't everyone try to improve themselves?"

Rhett: "Hell no."

Me: "Are you SURE?"

Rhett: "Absolutely."

Huh. I think he's got a point. Maybe just being who I am at exactly this moment wouldn't be such a bad thing. Maybe I'm already good enough. Maybe I don't need to learn (another) new hobby. Or figure out how to make the perfect from scratch vanilla cupcake. Or aspire to be an "after" from a very poignant episode of "What Not to Wear." Maybe I'm okay... messy closet, imperfect pedicure, tragically fitting capri pants and all.

Just the thought of that is very freeing.

Fly away impractical self-expectations! See ya. Wouldn't wanna be ya.