Darth Vader’s Lullabye

Last week was brutal sleep-wise. Thanks to a certain toddler that resides in the Anxious home, I don’t think I fell asleep before 4AM any night last week.

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The poor girl is cutting two molars right now, which has made her crankier than normal and has definitely affected her sleep. And when her sleep is affected, Mama’s sleep is affected more so than it usually is. I spent many nights rocking her throughout the night, as my arms are about the only place she’ll sleep much when she’s either sick or teething.

Do not tell me to “Cherish these days now, because one day…”

To hell with that.

There’s a lot I will miss. I will definitely miss rocking Baby Girl, who has needed someone to rock her to sleep since she’s been born, but I don’t think I’ll miss rocking her at 3:00 in the morning for the third night in a row, nor will I miss not going to bed until 6:40AM. I’d probably say that I’ll miss being spit up on or plain old vomited on before I say I miss that.

(Who the hell am I kidding, I’ll probably miss it all.)

It doesn’t help that she’s so funny when I’m rocking her. She’ll pretend to snore (I took a video of her pretend snoring yesterday, see below), shush me, stick her hands out of the blanket bag thing she sleeps in to go “Shhhhh, we sweeping!” And, of course, she’s the only one making any noise.

On the last rough night, my phone died, so it was up to my singing abilities to help ease her off into dreamland. I’m not a singer. In fact, I’m so not a singer that I was given a pity spot in our middle school chorus. No solo though, they didn’t pity me quite that badly. Pretty sure this is the reaction I would have gotten as I cycled through every song that I know at least 50 percent of the words to, which is not that many.

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Towards the end, I started singing Darth Vader’s “Imperial March,” as much as one can sing that song anyway. It sounds pretty interesting if you put a lullabye spin on “Bum-bu-bu-bu-bu-bu-bu-bu-buhhh.”

Based on the last two nights — which she slept, and I actually slept for 8 hours, and it was amazing — it would appear that the hard part of her molars coming through is over. *Fingers crossed* Now if we could just get the child to, ya know, eat regular food like meat and vegetables, not punch her brother in the face, and transition from the last bottle (I swear, if anyone says she’s too old, we’re gonna have a come to Jesus meeting) and move away towards some of the rocking and get into a toddler bed. That’s my summer plans.

Speaking of summer plans, what are yours?

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What’s Wrong With You?

I made it back to the pharmacy last night to pick up my prescriptions and had the kids in tow. Sam was feeling sick and threw up (even though he made a rather suspicious recovery when I brought the tacos in), so I took the kids to pick up drugs and supper, since my stove hates me.

“Mommy, why are we picking up medicine for you? Is something wrong? I thought Daddy was the sick one,” Little Man asked.

I had just pulled up next to the window to get my meds, but quickly told him that I was fine.

After giving the pharmacy tech my name, she said she had three prescriptions for me and asked if that was right.

“Yep,” I answered, since I was picking up the Prazosin, the increased Lamictal, and Ambien.

“Holy crap!” Little Man shouted out. “That’s a lot of medicine! What’s wrong with you?”

I ignored him and handed over my ID and debit card.

“Mom,” LM said sharply after I was given my medicine and pulled away from the window, “is there something you aren’t telling me? There’s something bad wrong with you, isn’t there? We’re always getting medicine for you.”

I sighed. It’s hard to know what to say exactly. I’m not telling him the diagnoses, of course, but figuring out what’s age appropriate that also won’t lead to ten million questions that further put me on the spot is easier said than done.

“I’m fine. People just need medicine sometimes,” I told him.

“Well, what’s yours for?” he asked. “You don’t look sick.”

“Not all illnesses are obvious,” I answered. “You don’t have to be sick in the way you’re thinking–fever, throwing up, sore throat–to need medicine. You know how you have trouble at night [with wetting the bed] and how your doctor said there’s a medicine that could help with that–it’s like that.”

“Then what’s wrong with you that I can’t see?”

“Different things.”

“Tell me one.”

I was quiet for a moment, thinking of what to say.

“Come on, I’ve told you my secrets that I wouldn’t tell anyone else. You won’t tell me at least one thing?” he prodded.

“Well. You know how I have a hard time with sleep and how I get moody sometimes?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he answered.

“Two of the medicines are to help with sleep and one is to help with my mood.” Okay, that wasn’t such a difficult explanation after all.

“Well, that’s good,” LM said. “I hope they help.”

“Me, too.”

At least I wasn’t picking up birth control. 😉

Medication Changes

After putting off my appointment to see the shrink last month, I had to go in today. I had a few things to talk about–anxiety and the nightmares. I also wanted to talk about my mood swings and see about lessening depression symptoms.

I had everything written down on a note on my iPhone, that way I wouldn’t blank on what I needed to discuss as I usually do.

Despite the preparedness, things didn’t get off to the best start though. Almost as soon as I pulled up into the parking lot, I realized I had forgotten to put my hearing aids in after my shower.

Fuck, fuck, fuck. 

Cue an anxiety attack. (Good thing I got there early.) It really shouldn’t be that big of a deal, since the shrink knows I have difficult hearing and helped out by sitting beside of me when my battery died before, but it was in that moment. I considered canceling it at the last minute and coming back another day, but didn’t since the office is an hour from my house and juggling things to make sure Sam can watch Baby Girl for these appointments isn’t always easy.

After getting myself somewhat calmed down, I went in and signed in, but still felt very off. When the shrink came out to call me back and we sat down, she made a few comments that I couldn’t hear, so I let her know what was up. She moved to sit on the couch beside of me and commented that it didn’t look like I was having a good day.

“No. Like I said, I forgot my hearing aids, which has made me feel extremely anxious.” Plus some other stuff was going on this morning and my mood was shit, but it was mostly the anxiety.

She asked how my family was then got down to business. “How’s the depression?”

I showed her my mood chart so I could point out the depression free couple of weeks I had, then showed her how the depression is still higher than I’d like. (Well, I would like it not to be present at all, but I’m pretty sure that’s not happening.) It’s improved compared to six months ago, but still present a lot of the time and can make things pretty fucking tough.

“Damn, your anxiety is all over the place, too. Not a lot of hypomanic days,” she commented, looking over the three months worth of mood logs.

“No. There are days where my mood is all over the place–up and down, normal and down, lots of shifts within the same day sometimes, but that isn’t really represented on the chart, since I can only do one log for each thing.”

“Let’s see what we can do about that. How would you feel about increasing your Lamictal a little? Not a lot, but just enough to see if it helps with depression and the mood swings. If it doesn’t we can try a higher dose or something different.”

I told her that was fine. I’m a little wary of Lamictal, between reading about others’ reactions to it and knowing how my memory is getting spottier by the day (side effect), but she didn’t want to increase it by a lot, either, so I’m willing to try.

I then told her about the nightmares, which she thinks is probably due to things getting stirred up in therapy. She asked if I’d be comfortable trying a new pill at night called Prazosin. It’s an alpha-blocker that, in addition to treating high blood pressure, it also helps with anxiety and nightmares related to PTSD. So I’ll start that tonight, if I’m able to get back to the pharmacy before it closes.

I have to go back in a month to see how things are going with the increased Lamictal and the Prazosin. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that this helps cross things off my mental health Santa list.

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

How to Avoid Sleep

Most of these tactics are only effective if you’re a baby (or toddler). If you do some of these when you’re older, then you might find yourself in more than a swaddle wrap.

1. Lick any and everything. That’s what clothes are there for, right? And when it weirds out mom or dad, bonus! But at least this has daddy making sure he puts a sure on before rocking you.

2. Talk and laugh. You know that you’re precious. More importantly, you know that we think you’re precious. So anything remotely cute elicits a smile, even if we try to hide it because we know that you’ll take it as your cue to double up the cuteness and not go to sleep.

3. Spit. This one is a new part of the routine. Little Man did a lot of things to avoid sleep, but he didn’t freaking spit on us. Spitting comes in two forms: spitting as one who dips would and spewing, preferably with a mouthful of milk. You find it hilarious. We did, too, at first.

4. Thrust about angrily. This happens when you’re finally beginning to realize that you aren’t getting out of this. So you glare at whoever happens to be rocking you and start trying to break free of your swaddle wrap.

5. Yell. This could happen during the thrusting or by itself. The cute babbling turns into what sounds like be cursed out by a baby. It’s kind of frightening.

6. Scream bloody murder. This is your last course of action–high pitch wailing. I’m surprised you haven’t caused our eardrums to burst yet. This one makes mom and dad really want to drink–preferably while rocking you, but we haven’t. Yet.

What this boils down to is a battle of the wills. This afternoon, my will was stronger.

(If I ever have another baby, I’ll NEVER ask the doctor if she’s sleeping too much or tell anyone what a great sleeper she is, ever. Don’t do it, parents-to-be. Just don’t.)