Friday, September 10, 2010

Getting Behinder

A month since my last, sorry guys.

I did a lot in August, the last month before the kids went off to school. Funny how even when I plan my summer vacation for June, August always ends up being an incredibly busy month. Does anyone else find that? Part of it is the garden: harvesting, cooking, canning, freezing, etc. and part of it is that everyone I know seems to suddenly realize that summer is nearly over and they all decide to visit in August.

Ah well, enjoyed the visits, not quite keeping up with the gardening but with the help of my mother-in-law's extra freezer I have a ton of peaches frozen for canning later. I'm almost grateful for the lack of pears on the tree this year. Weird how that works, last year we were canning pears left and right...this year, we got three.

I finally sat down and wrote up a budget. Realizing the reason we got into so much financial trouble in the first place...we don't make enough money. My husband hasn't gotten a raise in over six years and with prices going up, his money is worth less than it was over six years ago. I am making about the same as I was making six years ago also, maybe a little less. So, I have no choice but to figure out how to make more money. Do I quit the two part time jobs I have right now and look for full time employment, or do I look for another part time job? I have a lead on another part time job that might do the trick, so hopefully something will come of it.

An article in the paper the other day said that money does buy happiness, at least until you reach about $75,000 a year. Yup, we're nowhere near that. I'd love to try that level and see if I'm happier, anyone want to help with that? Of course twenty years ago when my husband and I were newly weds I thought that the level we are at now would be just about right, but of course we didn't have kids then.

Writing up the budget was probably the best thing I did. Now I know how much I have and how much is going out between now and the next time we are paid. No more credit cards, we are cash only now. That is a bit scary, especially right now while we are trying to build up some savings against possible car repairs or other emergencies.

I've also signed up for a class on Novel Writing. I've had some ideas running around in my head and I've sporadically put some of it down on paper (actually on computer, but you know what I mean) but I've never done any more than that. I've never finished one of them nor have I even thought about what to do after it is finished. I decided that I'm giving myself until the new year to figure out if this is something I want to pursue or not. Thus...the class. This was a big jump for me because it is a night class, meaning I'm leaving my kids home alone at night until after 10 p.m. The kids are 16, 13, and 10, so they aren't babies and the night isn't a school night so they don't need me there to force them to turn off their electronics and go to sleep. But I still worried, especially about the ten year old as she is a worrier. She ended up being the one to say "Go for it, we'll be fine." Out of the mouths of babes.

Fall is in the air and I'm already feeling the difference. I'm still taking the higher dosage of Welbutrin (generic) and I plan on taking it all through winter. Keeping my fingers crossed that I will be able to avoid another deep depression like I suffered last winter. So now that I've caught you all up, hopefully I'll be better at keeping this blog up. After all, without regular posts how can I develop a following?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Abandoned or Abandoning?

I was thinking today while taking my shower (I always do my best thinking there) about my deepest depressions. Each time I felt alone and like I had no one to talk to. My first major depression was the year I had two miscarriages, my father was hospitalized and nearly died, my grandfather died and I was in a car accident with a drunk driver.

Any one of those things would cause stress, all of them taken together were too much, especially the miscarriages. My husband and I had been married six years and I'd put off having children until I finished my college degree. Once I was ready...I was READY. Then I had the miscarriages. My friends and family were all supportive but expected me to get over it quickly and move on. I didn't. As anyone who has experienced the miscarriage of a much wanted baby can tell you, you don't move on quickly. You need to grieve.

Grieve I did. I got depressed, really depressed. My parents worried that I was suicidal. My husband didn't understand the fuss. My friends wondered when I'd get over it. So I started to fake it. I pretended that everything was fine and tried to move on with my life. I didn't talk to anyone about my feelings because I didn't want to cause anyone any more worry.

The next depression wasn't quite as bad, but still effected me. I had finally had that first baby and I was so happy with him that I decided to have another. Once again...fertility problems. This one took two years before I was able to conceive my second child. Most people felt that I should be happy, after all I had one child, couldn't he be enough? I mostly faked it through this depression in part because I was parenting a toddler and couldn't stay in bed all day. Once again, I had no one to talk to. One of my friends was pregnant. Another was trying to conceive and having miscarriages. I was a lot of support for her, but she was in the "at least you have one child" camp. Once again I felt that I had no one to talk to.

The next depression hit after I had my third child (a surprise, no fertility problems there!) and I realized that my house was too tiny and my husband didn't care that we were stuck in a tiny house. Most of my friends and family were supportive, they all thought I was in a too tiny house too. I didn't really recognize this depression for what it was for a long time. Once I did I went to my GP and got my first prescription for antidepressants. Things improved, but once again I felt that I had no one to talk to. This was probably the first time I didn't talk to any friends deliberately. I wanted everyone to think that everything was perfect. I felt that I didn't really have any reason to complain. After all, I now had my three children, I was working at a part time job that I loved, and I had a roof over my head.

My most recent depression coincided with a major depression my best friend had. I didn't want to talk to her and bring her down farther. Once again I kept it to myself and didn't let anyone know how bad it had gotten. I mentioned it to one friend who is very holistic and didn't think I should go on medication again. Since that was the only real option available to me, I decided not to talk to her about it any more. Once again it seemed that all the people I'd normally talk to were unavailable to me.

So after remembering all of those I started to think about it. What came first, the chicken or the egg? Did I get depressed because my friends were busy and I had no one to talk to? Did my being depressed drive people away so I felt alone? Was I not telling people because it is so difficult to reach out and talk to people while I'm depressed?

Note: during all of these I didn't have therapy available because my insurances (I had different ones each time) either wouldn't cover therapy, or it was subject to a deductible - the lowest was $1,500 and was thus out of reach for me. Therapy might have helped me because then I would have had someone to talk to about everything and might not have felt so abandoned.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hormones and Depression

I had a mixed week this week. 'That time of the month' and I find myself sinking down again. Things always bug me more when my hormones are in an uproar. I had some more negative comments about my parenting and it is really starting to get to me. Especially from one friend who is having far more difficulties with her own children, I wonder how she has the gall to say things about MY parenting. My mother also has said some negative things. She used to always have positive things to say about my parenting. She was the one source I had for reassurance that I was doing a good I'm not getting that anywhere.

For the most part I'm doing better. Summer always finds me with more energy and a more positive outlook. I worry that I'm not doing a lot better right now because if I don't pull myself up more then this winter is going to be a hard one.

Friday, June 25, 2010


It might seem that I'm obsessed with my medication, as this is another post about it. It isn't an obsession, exactly, it is mainly fueled by frustration. When I was suffering from depression about ten years ago I was first prescribed Prozac. I quickly discovered that the side effects were more than I was willing to endure. My doctor switched me to Welbutrin and it worked really well for me. At the time my insurance covered name brand prescriptions with a $40 co-pay after I met the $150 deductible. Generics were cheaper. Fast forward a few years and to a different insurance plan.

I signed up for my current insurance about five years ago. At the time they covered mental health but they only covered generic prescriptions. I have a huge deductible for name brand medications, so I just don't take them. After a year on my new insurance they decided to drop the mental health coverage, including prescriptions. Since then I've been surviving by using SAM-e and willpower until this latest depression. I did a lot of research and couldn't find any prescription drug program that included the generic for Welbutrin, until Walgreens started theirs. At first I thought I was limited to the dosage listed on their plan, but recently I discovered that they'd cover higher dosages at a slightly higher cost. So I'm now taking four 75 mg tablets a day for $24.00 for a 90 day supply! This is wonderful! The price for the 300 mg extended release is over $100 so I'm getting quite a deal.

The irony here that I've experienced many times is that in order to get help for mental health issues you have to be mentally healthy enough to pursue all of your options. No one seems to get that when you are depressed just getting out of bed is a challenge, talking to anyone about your issues is a major challenge and trying to do anything out of the ordinary is an insurmountable challenge. All of those people who feel that their insurance is just fine and any government plan would be a burden should thank their lucky stars that they have good insurance or have never been sick.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

motherhood, friends and competition

I woke up angry this morning two hours before my alarm was due to go off. I knew it was going to be impossible to go back to sleep, but I wish I could get rid of the anger. I know why I'm angry it was what I was thinking about when I woke up. Right now my ten year old daughter is with family 600 miles away. The second night she took her cell phone into the bathroom at my brother's house and called me crying because she was homesick and missed me. I talked to her, reminding her how much she wanted to spend time with her cousins and eventually my sister-in-law heard her crying and comforted her too.

The part that bothered me was that when I mentioned this to my friend her response was "It'll be good for her. She'll be fine." That was all. It really bugged me because I was hoping for a bit more support than that. Even an "ow, that must've been hard" would have been enough. All I wanted was some commiseration, not a comment on my parenting. I'd dare any parent to listen to their ten year old child crying from homesickness on the phone and not hurt for them.

A bit of background on this is that this particular daughter of mine has always been a mama's girl. As a baby she didn't want anyone else to watch her unless she knew them really well. Sometimes even when she had cousins to play with she'd prefer to be near me. She was a clingy baby and I knew it, I had no idea what to do about it and honestly it didn't bother me too much. My younger brother was much the same as a child and he has grown up into a normal adult. So I wasn't really worried that my daughter would be clingy all her life.

Two friends of mine were always bothered by her clinging. They always made negative comments about it and made me feel like a bad parent because I didn't do something about it. Though I admit I have no idea what I should do about it. Today one of them has a 17 year old daughter who never wants to spend the night anywhere but at home, the other has a 9 year old son who wants to sleep in the same bed as his mom. Yet they both STILL make negative comments about my clingy daughter who is at this moment 600 miles away from home.

What is the reason behind the drive for friends to make negative comments about other people's children? I can understand that if I'd complained about how clingy my daughter is that I would be inviting advice. It didn't bother me though, it bothered my friends and they felt the need to make comments on it, and have been for nine years. They can't seem to see that even as my daughter has gradually grown more able to separate from me they both have children who are getting more clingy not less.

I made some comments online last night about this issue that seemed to annoy one of my friends and we're supposed to have lunch together today. I think that I need to have a conversation with her that I've avoided for too long. Maybe then I can sleep longer tomorrow and wake up in a better mood.

Monday, June 21, 2010


I was on vacation last week and I decided that I wanted to make sure that I enjoyed the week so I took the increased dosage of my anti-depressants even though that would mean that I wouldn't have enough of the medication to finish out the course. Today I called the Walgreen's prescription line to find out if I could actually get a prescription with three pills a day rather than just two and still get the discount. I can, it is $9.99 a month, rather than over $100.00, something that I can actually afford. So I have an appointment this week to speak to the dr. and ask for the higher prescription.

I'm so disappointed that the new healthcare legislation that Obama whimped out on will likely help me very little. After the kids are back in school this fall I'm going to make it my goal to find a job with health benefits.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

getting lower

When I'm healthy and call a friend who sounds distracted I think to myself that they must have something on TV that keeps catching their attention, or that they have something on their mind. When I'm depressed I think that they are trying to get me off of the phone because they don't want to waste their time talking to me.

When I'm healthy and someone cancels a date with me I believe the reason they give me and look forward to the time when we'll be able to get together in the future. When I'm depressed I'm sure they are lying to cover up the fact they don't really want to spend time with me.

When I'm healthy I can be happy for someone who is taking a vacation, buying a new car, getting a raise or promotion or achieves something that they have worked hard for. When I'm depressed all of those make me envious and miserable.

When I'm healthy I enjoy talking to my friends and loved ones. When I'm depressed I spend too much time analyzing those conversations to figure out what those people must really think of me.

I'm not sure if it is because of the rain but I'm getting lower lately. I keep going back to negative thoughts "no one likes me" and "I'm not worth anything." I keep thinking about everything that I've ever done wrong and anytime anyone has done anything that makes me think they don't like me. Often these times are when people are busy or distracted and usually I can remember that, but when I'm feeling down like this then those times seem personal.

I'm not sure why when I'm depressed that I'm so ready to believe that everyone hates me and no one wants me around. It is hard to feel like this and to make any effort to interact with anyone because I'm sure that by forcing them to call me I'm being a burden.

Next week I'm supposed to visit 'home' and I'm worrying that people resent having me around, don't really want to spend time with me, or simply will find a way to avoid me. I think I need to up my medications so I can get through this next week.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Is it just me?

I'm leaving soon to go 'home' and visit my family again. As usual I find myself dreading the leaving, but looking forward to seeing my loved ones. I hate leaving my comfortable bed and home. Oddly, after planning and looking forward to the trip, as it gets closer the more I look for a way out of it. This happens all the time as I think "maybe this isn't a good idea?" I'm not sure why.

I know part of it is the change in routine, the fatigue of the long drive, trying to fit everyone in and not leave anyone out. It is exhausting and it always seems that once I'm back I'll be squishing my busier workweek into a shorter period of time so I have no time to recover. All of that is a recipe for triggering some of my depressive symptoms.

Friday, June 4, 2010


When I first got my prescription for anti-depressants I tried taking just one a day. I didn't notice a huge change, a tiny change maybe. I then upped it to the doctor's prescription of two a day (which was really half what he wanted to prescribe, but all that the pharmacy prescription drug program would cover) and I felt a bit better...but not normal yet. I then figured out that I had enough pills to take three until it was time to refill the prescription and after that dosage kicked, it was night and day. I suddenly had enough energy to get up in the morning, take care of the house and my job, make dinner at night and not be exhausted. I remember scrubbing my stove and thinking "I wonder if this is how normal people feel?"

When I refilled my prescription I went back to the two a day level and I haven't felt quite the same. I'm researching my options to try to get enough without paying more than I can afford. I may even look into combining two prescriptions. Anything to feel normal. I feel like I'm cheating my kids by not being my best.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


My middle child is the most like me and often it is the things that I hate most about myself that I see in her. She has a keen sense of humor, is loyal to her friends, and very loving. She also has very mercurial mood swings. I've long noticed that she is not her best in the winter time, usually starting out the school year okay, then going downhill from there. She recovers some in the spring, but her grades can never recover from the steep downward slope in the winter. For many years I've said that she'd do fine in school if school went from March to November.

Just recently it occurred to me that since I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, maybe she does as well? Could an anti-depressant be all she needs to get through the winter with her schoolwork intact? I think it may be something to pursue. I hate the idea of making her take medication, especially medication that may effect her brain development in yet unknown ways. On the other hand I know that soon she'll be in high school where all of her decisions will effect the rest of her life. If she thinks of herself as a failure now, it may become a self fulfilling prophecy.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Never Forget

In March I went home to visit friends and family. While there I went out to lunch with a friend who had dealt with severe depression about eight or nine years ago. While talking I mentioned how I'd forgotten how bad it was when I suffered years ago and she responded "I'll never forget. I will make sure I never forget because I never want to be that bad again."

I'd forgotten. I'm not sure I know how to remember because the feelings are so hard to understand, let alone describe if you aren't in the middle of them yourself. What I do remember this time that I'd forgotten from before is that I didn't feel sad as the term depression might make you think; I felt nothing. I'd forgotten that...feeling nothing, feeling as though you'll never feel again. The fog, feeling as though you are moving through air that has texture, the weight of it. Every movement required so much energy, that was what I'd forgotten. Every thought required so much of me. Trying to come up with the energy to do something...anything was impossible some days.

I also forgot the fatigue. In my memory I simply wanted to sleep to avoid thinking. I'd forgotten that I stayed up until two, three, or four o'clock in the morning and slept until noon. I'd watch TV until just before the time for my husband to come home, rushing to get showered and dressed so he wouldn't know I'd done nothing all day. I thought that my days were just mixed up. I've read that depressive symptoms are at their worst first thing in the morning and get better as the day goes on. It was VERY difficult to make and keep appointments with doctors, or anyone.

This last depressive episode was different because I now have three kids to take care of. While there were a lot of things I could allow to fall by the wayside, I couldn't do that with the kids. Getting up in the early morning to get the kids off to school was hard, very hard. I knew that I had to do it, simply because otherwise I'd have legal problems. One visit from anyone involved in the law would have probably resulted in my children being taken away. If they saw the state my house was in during the worst of my depression I'm sure they would have said that their home wasn't safe. Plus it was easier to have them gone all day so I only had to deal with them for a few hours each day. After I'd get them off to school I'd frequently climb back into bed to sleep the morning away. I didn't remember how completely exhausted I was the first time. This time I have three kids, a job and volunteer work at the kids' school. I managed to do the minimum, though even my boss knew I was phoning it in at times.

It is so easy to forget how bad it can get. It is easy to think "I'm doing great, I don't need to keep taking my antidepressants." I can't let that happen again. I owe it to my children, my husband and myself to do everything in my power to keep the depression at bay. Part of the reason I write this blog is to make sure that I remember.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Do I attract depressed friends

My closest friend has had a horrible year, her husband left her, her older son is failing a good portion of his freshman year, her younger son was diagnosed as ADHD, she had to sell a house she loved to a completely unreasonable buyer and she was demoted at work. Not surprisingly she is depressed...clinically depressed, and suffering from anxiety. She feels like she is failing in every area of her life. When I was in the depths of my depression this winter I wondered if trying to help her was part of the reason I was getting so depressed. Is it contagious? Was it from all of the depressed talk that we were sharing? Or was it a horrible coincidence? I say horrible because I wasn't nearly as much help as I wish I was.

She isn't climbing out of her depression, in part because it seems as though she is still getting hit with new problems nearly every week. I've managed to climb most of the way out of my depression. Sometimes I find that I have less patience now to listen to her. Part of it is that I'm afraid to be pulled back down. Part of it is because nothing seems to be changing in her life. Part of it is that I have no idea how to help her or what advise to give her. I KNOW what it feels like to be so far down in the pit that you can't see daylight above you. I KNOW the helpless feeling you have when you are so depressed that you can't figure out how to do anything to improve your outlook. I also KNOW that you can't tell a person in that situation to simply "get over it." So I feel helpless. I do what I can, and I hope that it helps.

I also have to pull back sometimes and hope that someone else will step in and help her too. For myself and my own children I need to back off sometimes and allow myself some time to recharge and heal. I know that if I get worse and step into that pit that I won't be any help to her. But I can't help but feel that I'm a bad friend for doing that.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The sun is shining

There is sun outside! In the Pacific Northwest this is a news bulletin. I think the sun is helping me dig my way out of the pit. Of course the longer days and antidepressants help too. Over the last two weeks I've been up and down a lot. Some days are great, I get a lot accomplished and feel better because of that. Others...not so much. I can't get over the feeling that every time I get something done (I cleaned part of the garage! I did inventory for work! I did a load of laundry!) I want a pat on the back and an "atta girl!" Do we ever outgrow our need for someone's approval?

There are still down days. On Wednesday I was so tired that I was afraid I'd fall asleep while I was driving. I had several things to do that day and I couldn't nap, which was probably a good thing, but it was still hard to get through the day. I felt like I was back in the fog. I'm tired of this back and forth, of taking inventory each morning: how do I feel? Is this a good day or bad day? Will I be able to get everything done that I need to do?

On my best days I often wonder if that is how normal people feel most days. On those days I can wake up and get everything done I need to get done. I can work AND keep the house clean. I can do several loads of laundry, a load of dishes, sweep the floor AND cook dinner AFTER working all day. Don't most people manage to do all of that? Why can I only manage that on some days, and not enough to function well?

The sun is shining and I need to make sure I go out and enjoy it. I need all the sun I can get.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Feeling Better

It's been awhile since I've posted. I've been steadily feeling better and more energetic. I'm not sure what is at the root of my feeling stronger since I've made several changes. I decided to stop buying so much fast food and I've been making dinner more often, every day last week. I only had a frozen dinner last night and it was mainly because I was so tired. I might have been extra tired because I worked a longer day than usual, or it might have been caused by the lunch I had at McDonald's. Note to self, pack a lunch today.

I've been trying to get more exercise. I've also given up my facebook games. Those things were ruling my life! Not playing them is giving me a lot more time in my day. Last Saturday I had to do a crisis cleaning to make my house presentable for a friend who was stopping by. Afterwards I swore that not only was I not going to allow it to become such a mess again, I was going to keep improving it. I allowed it to become a pig sty when I was in the depths of my depression and like a feedback loop it made things worse.

Lastly I've been on my antidepressants for nearly four months now. It is possible that they have built up in my body enough to effect some real change. Whatever has caused this improvement I hope it lasts so I can finally get some control over my life.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Going Home

I just got back from spending a week visiting friends and family. My antidepressant seemed to be working and I thought that also going south were I'd be around more sun might also help. It was enjoyable to see everyone but also sad. Kids are growing up and everyone I left behind is moving on with their lives. While I enjoyed seeing everyone and they all made an effort to spend time with me I also felt like I was very dispensable. Life went on without me so easily.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Self Image

Sometimes a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. When I was in college my minor was psychology because I've always had an interest in the workings of the human mind. I still remember a tiny bit of information from one of my classes that haunts me every time I suffer a depressive episode. I learned that a depressed person has a more realistic idea of how their friends and family perceive them than a non-depressed person. Great. When I'm deep in one of my depressive episodes I feel that my friends and family don't really like me all that much. That they'd rather I'd disappear so they wouldn't have to deal with me. When I'm not depressed I think that they enjoy my company and find me funny and fun to be with. So I'm more realistic when I'm depressed? How depressing is that?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

accomplishments, sort of

I often find that I can do the first part of a project...but poop out before I do the rest. Right now I have a living room full of boxes that need to be labeled and taken to the garage. However, I don't think there is room in the garage so I'm procrastinating taking them out. I'm leaving next week to visit family and someone will be coming into my house to feed my cats. I need to finish cleaning or I'm gonna be pretty embarrassed. I'm already embarrassed because she saw the mess yesterday when I was showing her where everything was that she needed. This morning she called and offered to help me organize. Sigh

I wish that I wasn't so easily sidetracked, exhausted, overwhelmed, etc. and I could just buckle down and do the stuff that needs to be done.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Self Torture

I wonder if there is a mental illness that results in a person torturing herself by reading incredibly sad stories over and over again while tears are streaming down her face? 'Cuz this is me. I happened across a blog written by a woman whose toddler daughter passed away. Then from that blog I found other blogs written by women who have also lost their children or are in the process of loosing their children. Every single blog was heart wrenching. I couldn't read any of them without crying so hard that my eyes hurt. Why am I doing this? I know that horrible things happen, that children can die before their parents (Heaven knows I've worried about this for over 16 years) and that life can really suck. So why am I dwelling on this?

I have no idea unless it is easier to cry over someone else's pain than my own. Or maybe it is to prove to myself that I'm not as bad off as they are: my children and husband are alive and well. Maybe by reading these blogs I prove to myself that I still have feelings, that I'm not as numb as I'm afraid I am.

Another thing I've become aware of is increasing paraphasia -- substituting one word for another. I'll be telling someone that an item is near the oven, when I mean stove. I'll tell someone to meet me at Shopko when I mean WinCo. I've always had a problem mixing my children's names up (I think that is normal) but I'm mixing other people's names up. I'm even having difficulty remembering names at all. My best friend has a hairdresser I've been to a couple of times but I can never remember her name. I always have to call my friend first so I can call for an appointment.

I know forgetfulness is an issue in people with depression, I'm not sure about paraphasia, but I'm betting it is also. I've no idea what to do about it. Sometimes I think I have so many thoughts running around in my head that they are messing with my speech. I need to be able to quiet down the thoughts in my head so that I can talk.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Yesterday I had a meeting with my supervisor. She was going over my work and mentioned my procrastination and how she'd like me to finish up my week on Thursday rather than waiting until Friday. She mentioned my forgetfulness and I finally had to tell her about my depression, hoping she'd understand and not consider me a liability. She seemed really understanding, so I hope that was a triumph for me.

I slept a great deal on Monday and Tuesday. I'm trying not to go back to bed after I get the kids off to school, but sometimes I'm so tired. Yesterday I got on the treadmill instead of going to bed and it seemed to help. My treadmill is acting up so I'm worried about how long it'll hold out for me.

I've upped my antidepressant prescription to three pills. I counted the pills left until I can refill the prescription and I have enough to maintain the three pills until then. I must've forgotten a lot last month. Not good. I think I'm starting to notice a difference as I've been able to address more issues yesterday and today than I have for awhile.

Earlier this week I finally cleaned the kids' bathroom. What a sty it was. I'm trying to gradually address the messes in the house because I know that once it is clean enough to allow people to enter the house without being totally embarrassed that I'll feel better. I suspect that there is a lot of mold and it is either effecting my mood or my health, or both.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Music and Asperger's

My now 16 year old son has had little interest in music most of his life. A tragedy in our family as everyone else likes music. I don't know if it is normal for Asperger's kids to not have much interest in music or not, but it has seemed the only explanation in a family that loves music. My husband plays piano and guitar. I once played clarinet, piano and sang in the choir in High School. My middle daughter has hummed and sung since she was able to, often driving her older brother to distraction. My younger daughter also loves music.

The only music my son has ever seemed to have much interest in was music from his video games (he LOVES the theme from Luigi's Mansion) some movies(Shrek) and sometimes other songs he has grown used to after much repetition. When he learned to like the music of the Beatles it seemed like a triumph.

Yesterday I was playing "Coward" by Vic Chesnutt on my iPod in the car and I noticed that he had a strange look on his face. I asked him what was up and he said in a surprised voice "I like that song. It is good. It made pictures in my head, I could see a battlefield." He'd only heard the song twice so that was big for him!

He told me that for years he heard all the different parts of the music, the guitar and drums would be separate, the bass on its own, the singer yet another part.  It'd drive him nuts trying to put it all together in his head so he just didn't want to even try.  Gradually the music in video games got a little more complex and unconsciously he started putting the pieces together.  Listening to the Vic Chesnutt song and seeing the pictures in his head was like the final piece of the puzzle.

exercise part three

I only managed to use the treadmill once last week. Mostly because I worked long days on the kids' school days and didn't want to be too tired for work. Today I decided to get back on that horse again before I let it slide. I like to walk until the minute hand is on a number so when I started my goal was 12 minutes. I was also listening to my iPod, so when my time was up my song wasn't and I decided to keep going until the song was over and made it 15 minutes. I was hot, sweating and breathing hard when it was over but I feel good about it.

Yesterday I was helping my friend search her garage for boxes of stuff that she needed for her house. I grabbed one particularly heavy box and I was backing out of a tight spot and ended up tripping over her lawn mower and falling onto the concrete, landing mostly on my right elbow. So that is sore, as is my back and neck. Fun. No good deed goes unpunished.

My middle daughter was being particularly grumpy and difficult yesterday. She'd gone off with a friend on Saturday and had a great day of fun, but frequently she is very difficult the next day. We went out to dinner and she was staging a hunger strike. Not so bad by itself, but she was also being nasty and sarcastic. Finally I had it and scolded her "You got to go out yesterday and have fun with your friend, see a movie and her mom even bought you stuff. I didn't get that. Yesterday was all about you. Today can you at least not make me miserable?" She sat there quietly for awhile and then decided to eat, talk and be relatively pleasant. I wish she could be nice without always having to be brought to task.

My son made me laugh. He is the one with Asperger's and he is very very quiet at school. He has two friends, neither of who attend his school. For the most part he goes through his tiny high school with his hood up and (if not in class) his face buried in a book. He is nearly invisible at school and if he attended a large high school he would probably be invisible. We were joking about his invisibility when he said "I don't want to be invisible in college, I'll need to be noticed." I said "Well then you'll have to talk to people." He responded "Gosh darn it, there's always a catch." LOL!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What kind of mom am I?

One aspect of my depression is that I often spend way too much time dwelling on every mistake I've ever made. Well, probably not EVERY mistake, I'm sure I've forgotten a few. But as a mom of three kids I'm already doing a job where you worry daily if you are doing it right. I'm sure nearly every parent has wondered after yelling at their child for the one hundredth time if this is going to be what your child is talking about to his psychologist in twenty years.

My 16 year old son has Asperger's syndrome which is a form of high functioning autism. I frequently wonder if his difficult birth deprived him of oxygen at the wrong time. Maybe it was the chemicals that my body was releasing during my pregnancy which coincided with my first deep depression and was never treated. Maybe it was all those darn peanut butter cups that I craved during my pregnancy -- once the morning sickness was over.

My 12 year old daughter has no ambition at all. If she could be paid to watch TV that would be her goal. She is better at sneaking and hiding the things she knows she shouldn't do than both of her siblings combined. I often worry that my depression has caused me to be the worse kind of mother for her. I should be way more on top of things with her. I often know that she is probably doing something she shouldn't, but I'm too tired to deal with it. I let her get away with way too much because she is such a difficult child to parent.

My youngest is a very bright child but very easily distracted. She could be a far better student if I was better at making sure she did her homework and helped her be more organized. She is also very sensitive and easily hurt. Her sister torments her and while I try to protect when my energy allows, I could do so much more.

I allow my depression to take over so much that my house is a pit. I'm honestly embarrassed to have anyone over or to let my kids have anyone over. But it is easier to stay in bed than to deal with it. I'm not teaching my kids the skills they need to keep a house and I'm raising them to be resentful of cleaning. I never take them out on hikes or away from the house to appreciate nature. So nearly every hour they aren't in school they are living in this pit with me.

So what kind of mom am I? Am I failing at this most important task? As a mom with depression who is unable to get any treatment because my health insurance won't pay for it what responsibility to I have? I've heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child, but can't the parents get that support from the village? I need help dealing with my depression so that I can better parent my children. Should I have never had children? Unfortunately I was pregnant with my first child when I suffered my first bout with depression and I didn't have another bout until after I had all three children. I didn't know that I'd be dealing with this.

Monday, March 1, 2010

tired and sore

Sometimes I'm amazed at how easily I'm discouraged. I need to go to work today. I tried to print out the paperwork I need in order to do that work. My printer ran out of black ink. I can't print anything until I get more black ink. So what am I doing? Sitting and playing on the computer. Wasting even more time that could be used going and buying ink so I can finish work.

I helped my friend finish moving yesterday. I managed to wrench my shoulder and it is sore today. I still feel like I didn't do as much as I could have done, but at least I helped. I have a full week of work to do this week...which is only getting worse since I'm not doing it right now. I guess I'll get off of my rump and get moving.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Anger and More

Yesterday my daughter was due to wake up for a dance class. I got up, got dressed and went to wake her. Got my coffee started and went to wake her again. Poured my coffee and went to wake her again. Now my younger daughter is awake and she is refusing to go. I had a talk with her about promises (promising her friend she'd be there as well as the instructor) and how rude it was to make me get up and refuse to go. She was still determined not to go.

I was ANGRY. No fair that I had to get up and now she is going back to sleep while I can't fall asleep again. Believe me, I tried. I am still a bit angry with her even now.

Later in the day I had to take the kids in for all of us to get our eyes checked. It was pretty much the only thing I got done all day. I also had to take two of my kids to get new glasses. At first I looked at the glasses shop in the same building as my eye doctor and nearly died when I got the total for my son...over $700!! I decided I needed to get out of that store and go to another glasses store. There the glasses for both of my kids was just over my $200 reimbursable amount. Much better.

Today my husband is here. We are helping a friend move this weekend and I had a lot of frustration at his slowness. He was trying to fix my washing machine, which is admirable, but I'd promised my friend that we'd be at her house at 10. It was nearly 1 before we made it. I was embarrassed. I ended up doing most of the inspection that my husband was supposed to be doing. In a way I was doing the other stuff because I didn't have the energy to actually help her move stuff. I didn't want to get up early, I didn't want to help her move, I didn't want to do anything.

But I did get up and go help. Hopefully I'll have more energy tomorrow so I can be a better help.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

exercise part two

Yesterday's great start stumbled quickly. I ended up feeling tired and deciding to go back to sleep for awhile. BIG MISTAKE. That set the tone for the rest of the day. I did NOTHING at all. I was pretty mad at myself by the end of the day. I now know that after exercise I'd better not spend too much time on the computer because I'll fall down flat in no time at all. I have to work today, so I know I don't have time for a nap.

I did a few extra minutes on the treadmill today. No physical effects from yesterday's brief workout so that is good. I hope that this will become a habit rather quickly, though I do wonder what I'll do in the summer when the kids are sleeping in until the afternoon.

I spent some time yesterday looking at depression web sites. Some of them have message boards and I read some of the stuff on them. It helps some to know that I'm not alone, but seeing how bad some of them are, especially the kids, was really hard. I hate the cyclical aspect of depression. I'll have a good day and think "okay, it's over, now I can get on with my life." Then I'll have a day like yesterday. A lay in bed all day after two good days, kind of day. Then I start the negative self talk...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Today my kids had to start riding the school bus ten minutes earlier. I'd debated how I would handle that and finally decided that I wouldn't shower before getting them ready, Instead I'd dress in exercise clothes, get them off and then exercise before showering. I did that today. I set a goal of only five minutes on the treadmill because I knew I was out of shape. Boy was I ever! Those five minutes were hard. I'd thought I'd increase the time more quickly, but I think I'll be doing just those five minutes each day for the rest of the week. No wonder I'm so tired all the time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I'd started taking my antidepressants at half the dosage my doctor wanted me to take. Due to the fact that my insurance company won't cover anything having to do with mental health. I have been using Walgreen's prescription drug program, but they only give me half of the amount my doctor wants me to take. So, for about three weeks I took just one pill a day and didn't notice any difference. In fact I seemed to be sinking in deeper rather than getting any better.

About a week ago I decided that I'd had enough and I was going to take two pills and when the prescription runs out before I'm allowed to refill it...I'll figure something out then. Yesterday morning I woke up at 5 am and I immediately knew something was different. It was as if the fog was parting. I'm still very sleepy, but I'm not so foggy brained any more. Yesterday morning I tackled the four items I've had on a to do list since last week. I also found someone to start the process of cleaning up my yard (as long as the money holds out) and even started to clean the living room myself.

Today I had a meeting for work and I was alert for the entire two hours. I helped my friend pack up some boxes for her big move this weekend. Then my cough got a whole lot worse and I was exhausted. Even after that I managed to actually cook something for my children's dinner that involved ingredients and not just the instructions "turn oven to 450 degrees..."

Could there be a light house somewhere in this fog?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Yesterday I woke up at 11 but it took me until 12:30 to even get out of bed. Soooooo sleepy. Finally I got rolling and went to look at houses with a friend. First time I'd been out of the house in three days.

Today I woke up and felt a bit like the fog was parting. I'm still sleepy, but not emotionally tired, just physically tired. I think I'm going to try walking on the treadmill and see if that helps me wake up some more.

I'm hoping this small improvement is a sign that I'm on the way to normalcy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Better Days

Today I got more accomplished. I got up and showered, though not until 2 in the afternoon. I did some laundry and a bit of cleaning. Not enough to make the house presentable, but enough so that I can function a tiny bit better. I made pumpkin muffins. Sad thing is that I have an amazing recipe that a friend gave me, but it was too much effort so I made the muffins from a mix. It was okay, my kids were happy to have something. I even made spaghetti for dinner. Better than I did yesterday.

I've been fighting the devils of revisited history. My mind often goes back into my past and sometimes I get visits from the Ghost of Every Stupid Thing I've Ever Done. Other times it is the Ghost of Every Time I Was Ever Left Out. This ghost like to go back really far, frequently visiting high school. High School was nearly 30 years ago, it is time to be way over anything that happened in those days. For Heaven's sake, I have a son in High School! In part I blame Facebook for this Ghost because I'm finding so many people from High School and before.

I let my youngest daughter watch Netflix movies on my laptop for many hours so I was unable to waste as much time on it today. I'm not sure if that was part of the reason I got more done today or if it was simply because I was so tired of just sitting.

My best friend is selling her house and she had a packing party at her house today. I begged off, knowing that my energy wasn't up to the task. I felt guilty, and I hope she understood. Tomorrow I'm supposed to go with her to look at homes and I'm hoping I'll get up and moving early enough. I don't want to keep letting her down.

I'm doubling the prescription of antidepressants that my doctor gave to me. I'm hoping that I'll get better results in a week or so. Please Lord, I need to dig out of this pit because I can't keep living like this.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A nothing day

Today my middle daughter was the only one who had to go to school. I got up and threw some clothes on and got her off to school. Then I came back into the house, got back into my pajamas and went back to bed. I slept until noon.

I spent the rest of the day in bed, on the computer. Doing nothing. I didn't fix any meals for the kids. I managed to fold one load of laundry, but that was it. I can't believe I got nothing done today. I never even took a shower. My kids watched TV all day. I have the first two seasons of "Charmed" on DVD and my daughters wanted to watch it. I'd resisted letting them watch the show because there is way too much casual sex, skimpy clothes, loose morals, not to mention witchcraft. But today I was so tired and worn out that I was simply relieved that they were busy all day and left me alone. Way to go mom. I'm managing to hit new lows every day.

My son said "Well you are sick!" Which is in part true, I'm still coughing. But I'm not really sick. I'm depressed. How do you explain that to a teenager?

I hope that tomorrow I manage to do more. I had a dream that keeps haunting me. There was a rattlesnake in a lighting fixture over my bed. My mom shot it for me and it dropped onto my bed. I covered it with a sheet and decided to do something about it later. The entire day passed and I finally decided to dispose of the dead snake so I could go to bed. But it wasn't dead and it bit me. I knew that if I had dealt with it right away that it would have been too stunned to hurt me, but my own procrastination had caused me to leave it so that I was bitten and might be dying.

A powerful dream that doesn't need much work to interpret.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sickness,Depression, Fatigue or Laziness?

Today I got up at 6 am as usual to get the kids off to school. Afterward I spent several hours doing some computer stuff, part of it was for work, the rest wasted on FaceBook. By 10 am I was so sleepy I didn't think I would be safe to drive to work. Finally by 11 I succumbed and went to sleep, sleeping until 2 pm.

It is now 10:30, and I could easily fall back to sleep again right now. I'm not sure why I'm so tired all the time. Over a month ago I caught a virus that caused a slight fever, sore throat, stuffy nose, and cough. It is the cough that gets to me. Every winter when I get a cough and that darn thing sticks around forever. I've now been coughing for over six weeks. When I have a really bad coughing fit I'm exhausted, so is that why I'm so tired?

I also suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and living in the Northwest isn't the best environment for me. (I should've moved to Arizona.) This causes me to be depressed in the wintertime. I can also be depressed in the summer, it is just worse in the winter. Depression causes me to be tired all the time, to want to sleep all the time and to let my house become a disaster.

Also because of being sick and the cough and the depression I haven't been getting any exercise. This could be another reason for my fatigue. However, I find myself too tired to even think of getting some exercise.

What to do? I'm too tired to do anything but sleep, and all of this sleeping isn't helping. I know that if I actually got some stuff done, like cleaning the house and getting some exercise then I'd feel better, but it seems like a Herculean task.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

First Entry

So I join the blogosphere. Will anyone read this, will anyone care? Will I simply end up one of the millions of hopeless people who drone on and on, ignored by the masses? Who knows?

I write because I have to. Without the outlet of writing I think I would go insane. How could I function without the narration of my life? I filled out diaries as a child and teen. I even occasionally added to one or another during my adult life, but mainly found that tedious and difficult...mainly because diaries are easy to loose. I write to remember, to understand and to make my own mark on history.

I titled this Cries From the Pit because of my difficulties with depression. It is winter and I'm always worse in the winter. Usually about this time of the year I feel like I'm in a deep pit and still digging farther down. I saw the first blooms on my Forsythia today...there is hope that spring is in my future.

This year I sank to the lowest level in my depression in a very very long time. I have allowed my house to become a disaster. I hide in my room and tap away at my keyboard as if I don't have children or a husband. I barely manage to make meals and get the kids off to school or into bed at night. I've been sick for over a month...I'm not sure if the depression has made that worse or if the messy house has.

For the last week I've been so frustrated with the mess in my house. It is so completely out of control that I have no idea where to start. I've been following for years, and while I haven't managed to internalize much...I finally told myself today to go out and do 15 minutes of work. I did, and including filling the dishwasher, rebooting, folding and putting away a load of laundry I actually ended up doing 30 minutes. Not that you'd notice. But there was an improvement and I'm going to try to keep doing that each day. Who knows, maybe even twice a day.

I need a goal...something to motivate me...hmmmm...I'm going to California at the end of March and I need someone to come to my house to feed the cats so I'd better have most of the house presentable for this person to see! There, a goal.