Guess Who’s Back, Back Again?

Anxiety’s back, tell a friend
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back?
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back?
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back?
Guess who’s back?

Considering my last post, I couldn’t help but use some of the lyrics from Without Me. Plus, the boy rapped the whole thing in the car yesterday, so it has been in my head. Considering he can remember something like that he’s only heard a few times or the entire lines from a play (seriously, his and everyone else’s), yet forgets I asked him to brush his teeth five seconds later, I think I should start rapping my commands to him.

Brush your teeth, teeth right now.
Brush them good, brush them good,
Brush them good, brush them good,
Or you’re grounded, you’re grounded, yes you’re grounded.

It needs work.

I recently wrote a post mentioning my reduced anxiety, and I must not have knocked on wood as usual. Nah, really though, I think it’s more that I just suck at picking up on things. You’d think someone who has had bad anxiety since she was a little kid would be more aware, but I’m not great at being in tune with my body. For the record, it’s still true that my anxiety is reduced compared to years ago, but maybe not as much as I thought at the time. Once I zeroed in on the anxiety, I realized that this issue has been building up over the past few months.

I’ve been avoiding going out shopping as much as possible lately. I’ll order whatever I can from Amazon, which I’m sure my mail lady loves, and most of the rest of the stuff is ordered through the Walmart app. We have Grocery Pickup at our Walmart, so I can just pull up to the side of the building and someone brings my stuff out. I’ll shop at Target or Aldi when it’s not busy, since those places don’t bother me much early in the day, but I avoid everywhere else like the plague if I can help it. I’ve never cared for crowds (and shopping at Walmart is never fun), but it just leaves me more unsettled than normal lately.

On Sunday, we went to get lunch and then went by Target afterwards. By the time we were in the car heading home, I was so agitated that when I got home I took a Xanax just to calm down. I was agitated because of the noise in the restaurant, how crowded and noisy Target was, how noisy my damn car was. Thanks, children. I put in my earbuds when were were halfway home because I felt like I was going to snap. (I wasn’t driving.) And I have definitely been snapping more over the past few weeks.

Combine that with going out to a play on Friday night and not wanting to talk to anyone because I was struggling with hearing, more of the same on Saturday night, plus not wanting to touch publicly used things again. (Salt shakers and ketchup bottles and other items touched by the public are becoming my nemesis again.) My husband asked me on Sunday if my anxiety was getting bad again since he had noticed these things. And I realized — yes it is, in ways.

I think a lot of it’s due to my hearing. My cochlear implant hasn’t been as helpful as I had hoped it be. It started off working well, as in I progressed from hearing clicks and robot-y sounds to voices and real sounds quickly. And within a few months, I scored high on the tests the audiologist gave me. Progress halted, though, and my speech in noisy environments hasn’t seemed to improve at all. (Speech in one-on-one situations in quiet environments was great, though.) My directional hearing is awful, and when I’m out in public, if someone talks on that side, I don’t usually hear them unless they tap my shoulder to get my attention so I can turn and face them. I’ve becoming increasingly self-conscious about my hearing and add to that background noises being more overwhelming, it’s a mess. I don’t know if there’s a sensory component or if anxiety is just making that stuff more noticeable and worse as a result.

The hearing thing has me so worried about my future. What kind of job can I get in the real world where I can either control my environment or limit most conversations to one-on-one with little to no background noise and avoid phones? I can’t come up with many job prospects in my area outside of teaching. I can keep the classroom quiet as needed and move around to talk to the kids. But I really don’t want to go back to teaching. I also don’t want to take a year’s worth of college classes so I can get recertified. I may not have a choice if I can’t come up with something else, though. Freelance writing is great, but isn’t exactly a career. I know I shouldn’t worry too much about that right now since I have a few years before I’d go full-time anyway.

I have an appointment with my primary care doctor soon, so I’m going to ask her about taking propranolol again. I took it for social anxiety several years ago, and it helped somewhat. It’s meant to treat high blood pressure, but is also good for anxiety because it helps you stay calmer and keep from going into panic mode. If she won’t prescribe it, I’ll ask my psychiatrist when I go in January. Hopefully it won’t interact with anything I’m currently taking. I’m also going to schedule an appointment with my audiologist and see what adjustments she can make.

Boo anxiety, but at least I’m a) aware and b) have a plan. That’s much better than in the past when it was running the show 24/7 with no end in sight.

1825 Days

So, I recently got a notification from WordPress congratulating me on my fifth-year anniversary of creating my blog. Five years is a long damn time and is certainly longer than I imagined blogging when I first started. Granted, I took the better part of a year off from this blog (although I continued to blog on the other site, so there’s that), but I’m here now at least. I’m gonna do a tiny bit of reflecting on the last five years.

When I first started the blog, it was called “Blogging for Therapy.” I was dealing with severe depression and anxiety at the time, and I thought actual therapy was bullshit, so writing seemed like the perfect outlet.

And it did help somewhat. Being able to get my thoughts and feelings out (most of which were later deleted, because cringe) in what I considered a safe space was good for me. I know sometimes I got way too inside my head and rambled almost incoherently, but it was still better than sitting around keeping things bottled up. Writing out stuff like that can really help make certain situations become clearer. And maybe some shit isn’t as bad as it seems at first.

What helped even more than writing was the support I received from other bloggers who could relate. After I was encouraged to try therapy, I finally did, a year or so into my blog journey. I found an excellent therapist who was incredibly helpful, and my anxiety went from a 15 on a scale of 1 to 10 to a 4 on an average day. It’s so damn nice not to be constantly ready to go off the deep end. Sure, there’s always some anxiety there (and I imagine that’s due, in part, to my personality), but I know how to manage it now. And getting with a different psychiatrist and being diagnosed and medicated correctly helped a lot with the severe depression. Things aren’t perfect, of course, but manageable, which is everything. I only wish I had done this years ago instead of wasting Baby Girl’s infant/baby time trying to keep my shit together (and often failing).

And then there has been all of the blogging about the kids, which is what I post about more these days. The boy was 6 and the girl was a couple months old when I created this blog. And now, as most of y’all know, I now have a 6th grader and kindergartener. Time really does pass by far too quickly. It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I wrote about a little boy getting bit by an ant while disturbing an ant pile to try to find the queen ant and see her crown. It was obvious that BG was a force to be reckoned with when she was only a few months old, and that has certainly held true.

As for me, I was 30 and worried about getting old and leaving behind my youth (because apparently up through 29 = youth). Now I’m almost 36 and am not too concerned with being older. (Dying, on the other hand, is a different story. I creep out my husband when I get worried about that and ask him why he isn’t bothered about being halfway done with his life.) When I first started blogging, one of my hopes was to publish something one day. And I did — a few things, actually. The first thing I published was a story I wrote on this blog while hypomanic and being unable to sleep. Thanks, blog!

So, five years. Hundreds of days, hundreds of posts, thousands of comments. Happy blogiversary to me and thanks for following along. I get cake now, rightt?

Anxious Kid And Reflux

Baby Girl has been having some reflux issues for the past two or three weeks. She has thrown up during the night twice, she complains about feeling nauseous sometimes after eating or drinking, and she has dry heaved after some of her meals. I had scheduled an appointment with her pediatrician for next week, and the reflux stuff was in full swing on Wednesday. She woke up around midnight and threw up once, and we got her cleaned up and back to sleep in our bed quickly. She dry heaved a little after breakfast that morning, but nothing came out and she seemed fine otherwise, so I took her to school.

BG cried about going to school again, which is par for the course. It didn’t help matters at all when we got to the school and the principal wasn’t out there with his dog. (The dog cuddles make her perk up a lot and then she goes into the building without issue.) She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw the dog was missing and nearly had a meltdown. We sat on a bench outside for a while until she calmed down enough to go to class.

The school nurse called around 11:30 saying that BG was throwing up. The nurse said that BG told her she had thrown up that morning, “yet you brought her to school anyway.” I told her that I’d come get her, but tried to explain about her reflux issues, which she wasn’t having. I understand how frustrating it has to be when parents knowingly bring their kids to school sick and get everyone else sick, but that wasn’t the case. I should’ve messaged her teacher about it, though, so that’s on me.

When I got to the school, the nurse brought out BG. She said that BG told her teacher she felt nauseous, so her teacher sent her down. The nurse said that BG threw up twice, but nothing came out. That’s not throwing up and lines up with what I said about reflux, but okay. The nurse said BG didn’t have a fever and that another kid had a virus and was throwing up. I asked if that child had a fever.

“I wouldn’t know. Her parents didn’t bring her to school since she was sick.”

Argh. I again tried explaining about reflux, since those are the symptoms she had before, and that I wouldn’t have brought her to school if I thought she had something viral, but I could tell she thought it was bullshit. I guess I’m now that mom.

As soon as we walked out of the school, BG perked up and asked if I’d take her to Zaxby’s for lunch and get a grilled cheese. Hmm…surely my child wasn’t playing up feeling bad to get out of school, right? I got her a sandwich, but she just picked at it, so probably not. After we got home, I rescheduled the appointment with her pediatrician for the following day. On the off chance she did have something viral on top of the reflux, I wasn’t going take her to school anyway. She did more of the retching with nothing coming out. She took a nap and ate a decent supper, but woke up during the night after legit throwing up again.

When Baby Girl woke up yesterday, she asked if she had to go to school again. “I hate school! I don’t wanna go ever again!” (For the record, she has no specific complaints about school and seems to like her teacher a lot.) I told her she was getting the day off and that we were going to see her doctor, which made her happy. “Yay! I haven’t seen my doctor in a long, long time. I can’t wait!” (She saw her doctor in July for a well check-up, so it hasn’t been that long lol.) She didn’t eat much breakfast again and did a little more dry heaving.

We didn’t have to wait long to see the pediatrician. She chatted with BG for a bit and asked about school. We went over her symptoms, and the doctor said it sounded like reflux to her, too. She said she wants BG to go on a bland diet for a couple of weeks (no problem there, lol) and wants her to take a daily acid reflux pill and Tums or Rolaids as needed. I asked how to get her to take the acid reflux pill, as getting the child to take medicine has been the most challenging part of parenting her. She suggested opening up the capsule and mixing in the contents with a bite of yogurt. I’ve tried mixing medicine with food before and it didn’t work, but hadn’t tried yogurt.

The doctor told us she thought anxiety about school was contributing to BG’s reflux kicking up. Poor kiddo. She said if BG wasn’t significantly improved in a couple of weeks, that she wanted her to have an endoscopy to make sure there wasn’t anything else going on. I told the doctor about the interaction with the school nurse and asked what to do about that, since BG couldn’t very well come home every time she felt nauseous or dry heaved. They get 10 sick days, and she’s going to use five of those for her tonsillectomy next month. The doctor wrote a note to give to the school explaining that BG’s nausea and any throwing up were due to reflux and not anything contagious. She also put her line for the nurse to call if she needed a further explanation about BG’s condition. I’ve talked to BG’s teacher since, and we’re on the same page. I really hate that I didn’t contact her about it sooner and am not sure why I didn’t think of it.

I didn’t send in BG today because she slept awful last night. Her dad let her take a nap in the evening while I was out, and y’all know how that goes. She woke up at midnight and didn’t go asleep again. There was no way she would’ve made it through the day. I tried the yogurt trick this morning and it worked — my daughter actually took medicine without a battle! Huuuuge parenting win. The bigliest. BG seems to feel much better this afternoon. With the long weekend coming up, hopefully a few more doses of that medicine and not letting her eat a few things that could’ve been worsening the reflux will have her back to normal.

I hope BG’s school anxiety will get better soon. Her doctor recommended a book about kids with anxiety, so I’m going to read that and see if I can find something that’ll help with her. I’m going to bring it up to her occupational therapist, who has been working with her on coping skills for different situations. We also have an appointment with a play therapist next month, so if she’s not doing better by then, maybe that therapist will be able to help. Fingers and all the things crossed.

The Boy Is Back

Little Man has not had the best summer. He has often been moody and defiant. He hasn’t wanted to read or do any of the summer school work I’ve prepared for him (the last part is understandable, though). And he regularly antagonizes his sister, which leads to the screaming and name calling. I chalked a lot of it up to puberty coming on.

Since school is starting up in a week, I decided to put him back on his ADHD meds. (We don’t typically have him take them on weekends or school breaks.) Plus I made him start going to bed earlier, so he can get back on a sleep schedule that will be appropriate for when school starts.

And now my angel boy has been back for the past two days. He has been ridiculously sweet, hasn’t had an attitude about doing his chores — he even asked what he could do to help — and he finished a Harry Potter book and started another, without being asked to read. Plus he is making LEGO creations like crazy and isn’t asking to watch TV or play video games all the time.

Praise the lord.

It’s interesting. I know his ADHD meds help with focus (although he was always a big reader in the past, meds or no meds), but I never noticed not taking them affecting his mood/behavior in the past, but that is the only big change, so it has to be it. (He isn’t sleeping any longer than normal, so it’s not going to bed earlier I wouldn’t think.)

I am so grateful. Now, I know for a fact that he’s definitely in the throes of puberty (which I found out for a fact earlier this week in a way that has scarred LM and I both), so I know those mood flair ups will still happen at times. But seeing such a turnaround in his attitude and his love for reading coming back makes me so damn happy. There won’t be anymore skipping ADHD meds during weekends or breaks now.

In other news, BG had her kindergarten readiness assessment earlier this week. Her teacher said she is definitely ready for 5K and was impressed with her reading and other stuff. While she did well on that, BG said she isn’t ready, though, and wants to go back to preschool.

I think school anxiety is contributing to her meltdowns. She doesn’t want to be away from me, she doesn’t want to give up Pizza Hut Wednesdays (probably obvious, but our routine was Pizza Hut on Wednesday), plus she’s worried about making friends. BG said she doesn’t think people will like her because she’s different. And then she said if anyone asks her to be her friend, that she’ll say no because she doesn’t want to make new friends.

Plus her teacher doesn’t have superhero stuff and has “that yucky Barbie doll and princess crap.”

I think she’ll feel differently after she goes for a couple of weeks. She has her share of challenges ahead of her, but she’ll like getting back into a more scheduled day. I think she’ll also enjoy some of the enrichment classes she’ll take, like a STEAM-based class. Fingers crossed.