Sunday, May 31, 2009

cleaning out the anxiety

 Nothing (not even good drugs) helps cure anxiety like a clean house.  Sundays used to be our cleaning day before Izzy.  Once Izzy came, we only cleaned when we had to (ie: people were coming over).  It occurred to me that might be one of my many problems.  My space was a mess, therefore was a mess.  So today we washed cars, picked up the yard, washed tons of clothes and cleaned house.  And already my mind is feeling so much better...

In addition, I'd like to add one of my favorite things.  While working outside today I realized (yet again) how terrible the mosquitos are right now.  Swarms is probably a good description, even if it over-stretches the truth just a little.  They are so bad that no matter how much you cover yourself in Cancer-enriched Deet, they are going to find the one spot you missed and bite you all over there.  And when that happens (and it will), I have found the very best stuff to stop the itch and swelling.  Seriously, the very best.  And it's available for cheap at your nearest drugstore:

Saturday, May 30, 2009

again with the anxiety

I've been experiencing anxiety again these last few months.  Nothing so severe as when we were living in Baytown, but it's returned nonetheless.  I first noticed it after I had Izzy a couple of years ago.  But I was such a mess with postpartum, I couldn't tell up from down or black from white.  Eventually I stabilized, but a low level anxiety stayed with me.  Honestly, I noticed it more when I was high.  Sucks, seeing as how being high is supposed to relieve anxiety.  And for so long I really enjoyed getting high.  But eventually I got to the point where I couldn't even smoke without really freaking out.  So, I stopped smoking.

The anxiety abated, but again, only for a short while.  It came back full-force during a trip to East Texas.  Perhaps it was all the weird conversations.  Perhaps it was being away from Izzy. Perhaps it was the stone-cold silence upon going to bed.  Either way, it returned and has made itself a part of my regular routine.  So much so, I finally decided to seek medical help (that story to come).

Anxiety is defined as "a psychological and physiological state characterized by cognitive, somatic, emotional and behavioral components.  The components combine to create an unpleasant feeling that is typically associated with uneasiness, fear or worry."  And in my case, disturbing thoughts and images that get stuck in some crazy-ass loop and refuse to go away without some hardcore meditation and rhythmic breathing.  It always signals it's arrival by making me feel as if I'm going up on a fast elevator.  And then come the loops...

So I went to see a doctor.  I waited for an hour before being shown to my small room.  I waited for another hour before I started to experience said anxiety.  Small rooms for long periods of time can do that to an anxious person.  So the doc. finally comes in and I'm explaining my symptoms while giving a very detailed medical history (essential to her notebook computer she was constantly writing in).  I explain that I'm not a pill-popper.  I'm not a druggie.  I can deal with the anxiety, but it's just become so much work that I'd rather have a shortcut.  She suggests several alternative therapies (tapping on certain pressure points being one of them) as well as a 12-step program.  "Thanks," I say, "but I'm really short on time here.  I'm leaving town, will be in a high anxiety situation and really need some help.  I'll try all of that when I return" (knowing damn well that I won't be enrolling in any 12-step any time soon).  After refusing anti-depressants and turning down some "experimental medications", she finally gives me a prescription for Xanax.  Only 12 pills of the lowest dosage.  And a demand to return in 30 days.  Which of course, gave me anxiety.  (Only 12 pills?  Do I look like an addict?  What if it doesn't work?  What if it gets worse while I'm out of town?)  As Chris mentioned, I could have done it in less time and for far cheaper in certain areas of town.

I can imagine the pills will be gone by the end of my 2 week trip to Baytown.  A small apartment with 1 recovering mother, 1 passive-aggressive boyfriend, a small toddler, an outspoken aunt and 2 rambunctious kids is nothing if not anxiety soup.  Add to that a family reunion where I haven't seen anyone in 9 years.  Hello elevator ride.

In more encouraging news, I feel like I've finally sorted out what's causing the anxiety.  Like my last years in Baytown, I am somewhere I do not necessarily want to be.  I am handling situations I don't want to be handling.  I'm spending a lot of time committing myself to others.  My cup is running low, and has been for quite some time.  Starting in July, I'll be working to mend that.  But that is the surest relation to my anxiety now and my anxiety of 7 years ago.  And really, it makes perfect sense.  Our bodies have weird ways of managing stress and apparently mine is tired of managing it.  My mind is rebelling.  And it's time to put myself a priority.  Orrrr, I can push it until I finally get own intervention and 28 days of rehab (oh the joy!)  

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


I have recently started a bad habit of writing blogs and deleting them.  I'm not sure if I like my newly imposed self-censorship or not.  Perhaps it's a sign of all around self-censorship, for which I would be much grateful (as would many others, no doubt).  

Oh well.  As long as I'm on the right side, I guess it's worth it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

on Mother's Day

It is not at all unusual to hear me talking about how motherhood sucks.  I don't think it sucks for me any worse than any other mother, but motherhood hit me at a time when Mom's were constantly parading their happiness and perfect little kids about, and like most other choices I've made, I took the road less travelled (the one where Mom's were being honest about things like painful breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, a loss of identity, television addiction and Postpartum Depression).

But today, because I slept late, woke up to the smell of bacon and a beautiful daughter yelling "happy mother's day!", I'd like to write about the other sides of motherhood.  I must admit, I'm honestly at a loss for words when it comes to the joy.  Not because I don't experience it, but because I'm obviously more articulate with bitching than appreciation.  But I'm going to give it a go anyhow.

First, I need to take a second to thank God (and Chris' sperm) for giving me a girl.  I have no idea what I would have done with a boy.  The honor of raising a strong, thoughtful and responsible young woman is not at all lost on me.  I look forward to everything that has to offer (the joys AND the frustrations).  But for now, she's just our little Izzy.  Our little Izzy who loves ants and spiders and doodle bugs.  Who loves going bye-bye, eating M&M's for dinner (when Dad isn't around, of course) and having a grown man named Eric as a best friend.  Our Iz, who loves singing, dancing and playing with PuppetShow (her name for a Sonic the Hedgehog stuffed animal).  God graced me with the most beautiful, funny and feisty kid possible, because He obviously knew this motherhood thing was going to be tougher than I imagined.  

Motherhood is pure joy.  Don't get me wrong, it's also pure frustration, pure insanity and pure heartbreak.  But first and foremost, it's joy.  It's a joy that is not easily explained by a cynical amateur writer, because it is so overwhelming and heartfilling.

I used to laugh at my own Mom because she was a "crier".  Sad movies, news reports, articles of heartbreak would send my Mom down the river of tears.  I'd constantly tell her to "toughen up, that's the way the world is."  But since giving birth, I am now a "crier" as well.  Grey's Anatomy kills me every f'n week.  I recently realized why that is.  Motherhood opens you up.  It opens your heart in a way that is unexplainable to others.  You cannot be a good mother and keep your guard.  You have to feel.  You have to be empathetic and sympathetic.  It's essential to motherhood.  And it's hard to turn that off at the end of the day, so you end up crying at reports of other hurt children, dying parents, loves lost or whatever else Shonda Rhimes might throw at you for the week.  And while crying absolutely drives me nuts, I'm starting to accept that it's a side-effect of good mothering.  It represents an open heart.

I recently read an article on why mother's deserve a day.  And it's true, we deserve breakfast in bed, clean houses, cards and flowers.  But the truth is, if you are practicing conscious mothering, the payoff is there every single day.  The joy of watching your child see their first doodle bug, discover how "very, very pretty" night is, or feeling things in a way you've never felt them before.  Motherhood has the power to transform you into a better woman.  Stronger, smarter and more capable of love than anything else in this world.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

My ears are ringing.

Is it possible that I've run out of things to say?