One Week Until College Football!

Football season is just around the corner. One week from today, I will be watching the South Carolina Gamecocks play the North Carolina Tarheels on TV. Probably not on my own TV, since we cut the cable back in December, but on someone’s TV for sure! Or maybe I’ll talk Sam into buying tickets, since the game is in Charlotte.

This is the first time in two years that I have been excited about football. My husband and I used to live and breathe football season. All major Gamecocks athletics, really. We’d buy season tickets for football and go down hours before the games to hang out all day and tailgate (and drink). Sometimes we’d tailgate with friends, sometimes it’d be just the two of us, sometimes we took Little Man with us. We always had a great time.* The intensity of the gameday atmosphere, how electric it was, was so amazing.

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(The first picture is the last game we went to; second picture shows LM waving his Cocky Cloth; last picture shows my brother at our tailgate…we parked somewhere different and were promised “plenty of tailgate space.” Hmm.)

And then I started taking meds for depression and completely lost interest. I went from being a rabid fan with season tickets and my own USC website to telling my husband that I didn’t really care anymore and wouldn’t be going, so he dropped the tickets. I don’t think I watched one game from start to finish over the past couple of years.

So long Zoloft and Wellbutrin (as of early April, I believe) and now that I realized this morning that September 3 is just a week away, I am pumped up. I couldn’t telling you much about who’s starting, unlike a few years ago, but I’m still excited! It’s amazing the changes I’ve seen over the past few months as far as what I’m interested in/passionate about goes now that I’m done with those particular two meds.

Check out a video of USC’s entrance below. It’s the most exciting college football entrance I’ve seen, and I’ve seen quite a few. Skip to the 1:20 mark, and you’ll hear the crowd doing the very loud “Gamecocks” cheer, followed by the theme music to 2001: Space Odyssey being played. Then comes the smoke and players running out of the tunnel. Exciting stuff, if you’re into college football!

Are you a rabid fan of any sports team?

*Except for that one time this bitch that was pouring drinks put a shit ton of whiskey in my hubby’s drink so her husband wouldn’t have too much, causing my hubby to get sick all over everything, and we never made it to the stadium. I was pissed.

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An Open Letter To Anxiety

Dear Anxiety,

You’re a bastard.

I’ve repeatedly tried breaking up with you, but being the son of a bitch you are, you just keep hanging around.

It’s bad enough when you show up during social situations or other times during my waking hours (like where the kids are concerned), but now you’re coming around a lot at night again?

You suck.

For a while, we had a bit of an understanding about you staying away after my head hit the pillows. The Zoloft and the sleep pills were pretty effective at keeping you away or otherwise occupied more often than not.

But then they went away.

I’ll give you credit–you tried staying away for a little while. But then you slowly edged your way back into my nightlife. You showed up in my dreams again, whereas the (sometimes little) sleep I did get was mostly dreamless. I liked that. I’m not a fan of dreams that take me back to places I’ve pushed away to the back of my mind. I don’t like the other dreams that have a number of horrible things happening to me or my loved ones that make me wake up feeling terrified, either.

I could deal with that, since (baby stuff aside), I was doing better sleeping overall. If that was the only place you showed up at night, then I was willing to let that slide.

But that wasn’t enough for you.

Then you decided that you really missed the good old days where you had me awake for hours after I laid down. Am I really that good company? I have a decent enough sense of humor, but considering that I prefer keeping to myself to the point that my husband thinks I have a future as a recluse, I wouldn’t think so.

Whatever it is, you really like being around me now after I lay down. Even though I clutch a pillow over my head to block out all noise and light, something I’ve done since I was a little kid, you still have me hearing little noises that make me automatically think someone is either in the house or is breaking in and that we’re all about to die. Of course when I remove the pillow and look around, I find nothing. I even discover that the pillow was blocking my hubby’s snoring and the loud air conditioner, things I didn’t hear, even though I heard the other slight noise.

Another trick you seem fond of is manipulating the light. When I remove the pillow to look around sometimes, it seems like shadows change slightly, which obviously means someone is in the house and is ready to hurt us. But, of course, that hasn’t been the case so far.

I’m kinda getting sick of your company. If I’m going to stay awake for three or four hours after I lay down, I’d rather be doing something useful or fun, like reading. Mostly, I’d rather get a good night’s sleep so the next day isn’t off for me, so I can be the mom and wife I need to be. But you’re a greedy little bastard, aren’t you? I (unwillingly) gave you an inch, and you took a mile.

It’s time to break up again, and this time for good. I’d love it if you would not only take a hike at nighttime, but if you’d leave all other areas of my life as well. You see, I know these little fears you plant in my mind don’t make sense, that certain fears happening aren’t probable, even. Since being fairly smart is one thing I’ve always taken pride in, you being around and making me think things that aren’t remotely logical absolutely eats at me. If you can’t leave on your own, then I’m gonna let the psychiatrist know that you’re up to your antics again when I see her in a couple of months.

And it’s not you, it’s me. I’m just not the kind of person who responds well to things like you.

E

Slipping And A-Sliding

After about a solid month of being in either a fantastic mood or really good mood, things are finally feeling familiar again.

And by familiar, I mean shitty.

I’ve shied away from blogging as much as I usually do (which means maybe I’m posting a normal amount) because trying to force the happy face online and in person is a bit much, but fuck it.

I wonder how much the fear of one’s mood crashing in the back of one’s mind could contribute to a mood slippage. Or make it happen sooner, anyway. Hmm.

“Things haven’t been right with you all week,” Sam told me on Saturday night after I snapped at him over something trivial, as I had been doing the past couple of days.

Well, no, they haven’t, as my lovely mood chart confirmed. Over the past week things have been nosediving. I guess I should be happy that I had a nice little run–and I am–but it’s also frustrating to know how good I could feel versus how I actually feel.

I hate that, though–the snapping at people. It’s one thing to be in my own personal sorta hell because of my moods, but taking it out on others? Not good. And even when I do refrain from being snappy or grouchy, I wonder if they sense how much I’m seething underneath, how much darkness is there.

I know this will pass eventually and then I’ll be back at…something. I’m not quite sure what normal is for me yet. But for now I’m trying not to let those thoughts consume me again, push those feelings away as much as I can. According to the shrink, this shouldn’t be as rough as in the past or last as long, so here’s hoping she’s right.

On a somewhat related note, the new mood chart app I switched over to several weeks ago, called T2 Mood Tracker, has yielded interesting info. You can track several moods or even input your own stuff. I did this to track hypomania (along with depression and anxiety), since the mood tracker I was using only let you say things were good or bad. Not enough information.

Anyway, this tracker shows that my anxiety and depression symptoms are almost always inline with each other. When the anxiety is low, the depression symptoms are low. When the anxiety is high, the depression symptoms are also high. What does this mean to me? I dunno just yet, but thought it was interesting.

Putting The Baby Days Behind Us

I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry.

That has become my mantra for when I go through the various baby items Baby Girl no longer uses.

There’s the tummy time mat, the play mat, the bouncer seat, the swing, the bumbo seat. Admittedly, she probably didn’t use any of these items more than a handful of times because unlike Little Man, she preferred to be held constantly (and we were happy to oblige), but still.

Getting rid of these items is another sign–like BG moving in 12M size clothes a few weeks ago–that the baby days are numbered.

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I have a hard time dealing with watching the kids grow up. I’m know I’m not the only parent who struggles with this, of course, but it hits awfully hard at times. When Baby Girl cut her first tooth, my husband was thrilled, but all I could think was “I may never have another toothless baby again.” It’s almost like a part of me is grieving for the baby, the toddler, the kindergartner, etc. that will never be again.

And now it looks as though the likelihood that I’ll never have another toothless baby is about to move to 100 percent (well, 99.999 percent), as my husband visited a urologist to discuss getting a vasectomy last week.

I knew this was coming. My husband wasn’t convinced that he wanted a second child until after he saw a positive pregnancy test. And he was so sure that he didn’t want a third kid that he volunteered me to have a tubal during the c-section.

“Why push our luck?” my husband asked when discussing a third kid before his visit to the urologist. “We’ve lost two already and you had two very stressful pregnancies, especially the last one. Do you really want to go through that again?”

I’m pretty sure that I’m happy with the current size of our little family. I was even more sure of that during the pregnancy scare we had last month when I screwed up my birth control pills, the incident that prompted my husband to schedule an appointment with a urologist. How in the hell will I handle three kids when I feel like I suck at handling two?! I thought during the scare.

There’s also the issue of the meds I currently take–one is category C and one is category D for pregnancy. I’m not willing to put a baby at risk, so obviously I wouldn’t take the meds if I were to become pregnant (and quitting the meds is not something I want to do either). My husband says that even thinking about going off the meds when things are improving isn’t an option, so the matter is settled in his mind.

Despite all that, I’m not 100 percent sure like my husband is. I don’t feel like my body is done. I’m not sure that I’m ready to say at 31 that I will never carry another child. Never feel the little flutters from the baby’s first movements again, never feel those jabs to my rib cage, never feel those somersaults. Maybe a woman, a mom never feels like she is done in that regard.

I’m pretty sure that even if I had five more babies, I’d still feel the same, though. So even though emotionally I may not be ready to say “we’re done,” I know it’s the most logical thing. I told my husband to go ahead and schedule the appointment.

Trying to accept that we’re done building our family hurts. A lot. But falling into that trap of longing for being pregnant, newborn days, the baby days, etc. and ultimately getting depressed by it all (as I have before and will again if I’m not careful) just cheats me out of enjoying my kids in the present, so I have to try to force myself not to get lost in that type of thinking. Easier said that done, but try I will.

Tabula Rasa, Medication-Style

One of my negative qualities: I’m too damn indecisive. The exception to this rule: making potentially bad decisions.

Something I’ve been back and forth over the past few months is my medication. When my Wellbutrin-Zoloft combo wasn’t working out, I wondered whether I should just stop them both to see what would happen. Sure, it was possible that they had merely stopped working, but then again, it was also possible that I didn’t need them anymore and that taking them was making things worse.

I didn’t quit them, though, and waited until I saw my doctor before making any decisions.

As anyone who has been reading this blog for at least a month knows, I then switched over to Effexor. This one had a few perks, but ultimately didn’t work out, and seemed to make certain problems even worse.

Again, the thought of just quitting the meds was in the back of my mind. But I waited, since I wasn’t sure how long it would take for any negative side effects to go away.

After the doctor told me that being on the medicine for a month shouldn’t leave me feeling more depressed and having suicidal thoughts and whatnot, I then decided to get a referral to the psychiatrist (which I’m waiting to hear from) and to play it by ear with my meds for the time being.

My options: take a whole 100 mg tablet of non-extended release Effexor once per day, twice per day, or split the tablet and take one once per day or twice per day. Plus Klonopin twice per day, to decrease my anxiety and perhaps help the Ambien regain its effectiveness. And if that doesn’t work, switch back to Wellbutrin and Zoloft while I wait.

That’s rather tricky territory, honestly. I’ve tried a few different combinations over the past week, such as [An Effexor in the AM, a Klonopin around 12AM, and the Ambien at 2AM…trying to make sure I’m good for Baby Girl’s nightly feeding]; [a half tablet of Effexor in the AM, a half tablet in the PM, then the same deal with Klonopin and Ambien]; [nothing in the morning, Effexor tablet in the evening along with a Klonopin, and then another Klonopin at midnight and the Ambien at 2AM]; and finally, [Effexor in the morning, and then another Effexor, Klonopin, and Ambien all at the same time at 2AM].

None of those combos seems to be effective, and quite frankly, I’m pretty fucking tired of playing whatever-the-hell game this would be compared to with the pills. Can you tell that I’m slightly regretting the decision to turn down the psych referral a month ago?

With that said, this week wasn’t so great as far as my mood went at times (surprise, surprise), which is really just downplaying things a bit, since I intentionally burned my arm on the oven rack yesterday, finally giving in to that particular impulsion, to see if it would make me feel better. Well, how about that, a bit of honesty and putting things bluntly.

I could just make the switch back over the Wellbutrin and Zoloft for the time being, but seeing how that lost its effectiveness, it seems to be a bit of a waste.

So, in true Anxious Mom decision-making fashion, I’ve decided not to take any medications today. I’m going cold turkey on all of it over the weekend, which is good timing since my husband will be available to watch after the kids and I can just hole myself up in my room if needed, suck it up, and see what’s what on Monday and go from there.

If I can stick it out, then when I do see the psychiatrist, he’ll be able to start with a blank slate, medication wise. And while I wait on that, I can also get an idea of whether or not the meds were making things worse, if I don’t wimp out.

Yeah, I know it’s not the best thing, but what the hell else should I do when nothing else seems to be working?

My husband knows what’s up, BTW. I tried to convince him to take the kids to the beach for the weekend, that way if I go in Hulk mode, they don’t have to be around it, but he didn’t think that was a good idea. I’ll give that one another go in the morning.