Thursday, October 8, 2015

Day 8

My daughter loves to dance.  Like LOVES to dance.  All the time.  With or without music.  She's a dancing fool.  She's dancing around the living room right now to the sound of passing cars and crickets.  She's adjusting to the move fairly well, I think.  With the singular exception of sleeping.

Part of it isn't her fault.  We bought a crib for Matthew three years ago, and in our move from Massachusetts somehow all the hardware mysteriously walked away.  And in the time since we disassembled the thing, the manufacturer went out of business.  I have tried in vain to cobble together hardware to put it back together, but it's becoming clear that it is an impossible task.  

We bought a second crib a while ago, but it's at my mom's house.  We have a nanny that we love in Conway, and the commute to the hospital is better from there than it is from where we moved.  It was going to be a big enough adjustment moving, I didn't want to take her away from one more source of stability.

So the point of all that is to say that we don't have a bed for Laney at the new place.  So she's been sleeping in with us.  Except that she doesn't really sleep well with us.  She wakes up constantly and wants to cuddle or play or poke me in the eye or kick me in the spine or all the other fun things toddlers want to do to make their parents miserable in the middle of the night.

I don't really have anything to talk about this evening.  So I'll babble about cribs for a while.  And dancing.  She really does love dancing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Day 1

It was brought to my attention that my last post could be interpreted in a way that seems to belittle people dealing with addiction.  That was absolutely not my intention.  I've never dealt with an addiction, so I'm not an expert on the subject.  I was not trying to imply that sobriety is an easy road, because I know it's not.  I've seen the affects of addiction, and I know how horrible it is.

I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with some analogy to explain the way I see it, but everything just sounds hollow and stupid.  So I'll just say that I'm sorry if I upset or offended anyone with that particular comparison.

Of course, all of this could be a massive overreaction on my part.  I mean, yes, several people did mention something about it to me, but when I'm having down days I feel like everything I do is hopelessly wrong and horrible, and that I'm a horrible person for doing/thinking/saying/feeling it.

Today was a bad day overall, and I'm not entirely sure why.  It's not like anything specifically set me off.  Maybe it was because Bug kept me up half the night.  God knows I can't function on subpar levels of sleep.  Whoever invented night terrors can go play in traffic.  It's horrible.  What in the world could make my poor 18-month-old scream and thrash around in terror like that?

I did work on completing a project today.  It's a dress for my daughter.  I still need to attach the straps, but for that I need to measure them on her.  And trying to get a toddler to stand still for measuring is about as easy as giving a jellyfish a manicure.  So we'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

She's taking on something, alright.

Someone I care a lot about recently made the decision to go into rehab.  And when he told me about it, for a split second I was jealous.  Jealous.  Wow.  What?

I was jealous because he has a defined problem - an addiction.  It has a name, and it has a general path to recovery.  It's not an easy path by any means, but it's a path.  A way out.

I have struggled with depression since I was a teenager.  It was in my blood - my grandmother (whom I adored) was severely bipolar, and two of her sisters had to do ECT (for the uninitiated, that's electroconvulsive therapy).  I'm sure there are other people in my family that have struggled, but my parents are notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to anything personal.  These are the people who failed to tell my brother that my dad was in the ICU following an operation (which they also didn't tell him about) and who didn't tell my sister about the death of our great-grandmother for two months because they didn't want it to upset her.  Which is fine except that 1) my sister was in college at the time and 2) my sister didn't particularly care for our great-grandmother.  Not to the extent that she would have celebrated the woman's exit from the world, but she certainly wouldn't have been driven to distraction by her grief.  This is the woman who, during her final visit with us, was so senile that the only one of us she remembered was my brother, and that was only because went with my dad to pick her up and drive her back to Arkansas from West Virginia.  She thought my sister was my brother's girlfriend and she thought I was the maid.  It was a fun visit.

My depression is one of the reasons that I go months without posting anything.  Little things, things that shouldn't even matter, pile up on top of me until I feel paralyzed.  I remember when I was in college, I would spend hours watching movies in my dorm room, because I literally was too bogged down with what I should be doing.  If I was studying, I felt like I should be practicing my clarinet (I was a music major).  If I was practicing, I felt like I should be working out.  If I was working out, I felt like I should be cleaning my room.  If I was cleaning my room, I felt like I should be at work.  If I was at work, I felt like I should be studying.  And so on and so on, until the guilt spiral pulled me under and I just sat in my room, doing nothing. Staring mindlessly at the television, not even really aware of what I was watching, just needing something to drown out the voices screaming in my head that I was a failure, that I was letting everyone down, that I wasn't good enough or smart enough or whatever enough to deserve to be happy.

The worse part about depression is that there isn't a clear path out.  Not even a general guideline.  There's no demon rum or demon drug - it's just your own broken brain.  And the cure can be worse than the disease in terms of side effects and long-term exposure and all that jazz.  It's an invisible enemy who already knows your playbook.

I guess that's part of the reason I was envious of my friend in rehab.  Being in rehab is a socially acceptable thing.  You can tell people you went to rehab, and they are generally sympathetic.  And if you bow out of a cocktail party because you're a recovering alcoholic or decline pain medication at the dentist because of a pill problem, it's totally understandable.  But if you bow out of the party because you hate everything and everyone on that particular evening, or if you decline the meds because you're afraid that in a weak moment you'll down the entire bottle, people look at you like you're crazy.  And God forbid you ever seek any kind of inpatient treatment.  People find out you've spent time in a psychiatric facility and they lock their doors and stop giving you knives at cookouts.

I've been profoundly unhappy lately, and I'm trying to get to the bottom of it.  I want to make some changes in my life, and I know how hard it's going to be.  I've always worked better with a solid goal in mind, so my psychiatrist suggested I set some goals for myself.  Which brings me to the reason for this post.  I want to document my progress (or lack thereof).  I want to have some kind of record of the successes and failures, because as with anything, if you identify the source of the problem you can fix it.  Maybe I have triggers in my life that I don't even realize.  Maybe this will help me find them.

I like symmetry in my life, so I've settled on six.  Six goals in six weeks.  Not necessarily one per week.  Some will take more effort than others.

The six goals that I have chosen are:
1.  Finish five previously-started craft projects.  I have dozens of half-finished projects scattered around the house.  I need to pick five - any five - and finish them completely.
2.  Kick my sugar addiction.
3.  Invest in myself.  This one's a little more complicated to explain, but I'll post more later on it.
4.  Post in this blog at least three days a week.  I know I won't post every day.  Especially on days when I work.  I'm so exhausted by the time I get home that I barely have time to kiss the baby before I fall asleep.  But three days is totally doable.
5.  Meet five new people.  I'm one of those incredibly awkward extroverted introverts.  I'm totally cool with being the center of attention for five minutes, but I'll need three days alone with my kid and my thoughts to recover.  I'm also painfully awkward in social situations.  But I need to step outside my comfort zone.
6.  Learn a new skill.  Take a class in something.  Preferably something that involves physical activity.

So yeah, some of those are going to be easier than others.  The sugar one is going to be a killer.  But I'm determined to make it work.  We'll see how it goes.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Best laid plans

I had this great idea that for Lent I would try blogging every day.  To give myself an outlet, I guess.  Problem is that since I started working nights, my schedule is so messed up that I can't even remember which days are which.

I started working at a hospital since my last blog post.  And I had a baby girl.  Which is one of the reasons I haven't had three spare seconds to write anything of substance.  I don't know how all those Mommy bloggers do it.  I guess they write while their kiddos are napping?  But when Bug is napping, I'm usually holding her.  Or I'm napping, too.  And both of those things are more important to me than eking out time to write my particular blend of stuff and nonsense.

I've been thinking a lot about names recently.  Probably because we are rapidly approaching the second and first anniversaries of my having to bestow names upon tiny humans.  It's an incredible responsibility, and if anything, in my life I've proven time and time again that I'm not so good at being responsible.  Case in point:

This is a thing that I own.  That I paid money for.  It is a fried chicken.  Get it?  Yeah.  What responsible adult would buy something like this?  Me, that's who.

I did, however, take the naming of my children seriously.  We went back and forth for months about what our first baby's name would be.  We picked out two contenders, and decided that we'd wait until he was born to pick the right one.  But once he was born and we held him, I knew that his name was Matthew.  Matthew means 'gift from God,' and just because we didn't get to keep him doesn't mean he was any less of a gift.  The Other Half picked his middle name - Charles.  The Charles River runs through Boston, and OH wanted a name that reflected where Matthew lived.  I suppose if I ever get to the point where I can scatter his ashes, it would be fitting to do it at the river.  The Charles is a very short river, but has been pivotal in making Boston what it is today.  So, putting it all together, our Matthew Charles was a gift from God who, although he had only a brief time with us, left a permanent impression in our hearts.

I always knew that I would name my first daughter Elaine, after my grandmother.  After all, she was the woman who graced me with my love of fantastic footwear.  When it came to picking a name to go with it, OH suggested Elizabeth, which means 'the promise of God.'  Elaine means 'light.'

In the babyloss community, a rainbow baby is one born after the loss of a child.  It refers to the notion that while nothing can undo the damage left by such a loss, something beautiful can come afterward.  In the Bible, the rainbow is a symbol of God's promise to mankind never to flood the Earth again.  So putting all that together, our Elizabeth Elaine is our promise of God in light - our rainbow.

My name means 'emerald isle,' or Ireland.  But it occurs to me that the 'isle' part applies more to me than I ever realized.  I am an island - a lone mass of land in the sea.  I'm terrible at making friends - I can't count how many groups I've tried to fit in to or people I've tried to befriend.  I'm awkward and dramatic and too smart for my own good.  I was bad at it before Matthew died, and I'm worse at it now.  I don't shy away from talking about my son, and it makes some people profoundly uncomfortable.  And because of that, I am very, very lonely.

I'm not really sure where I was going with all this.  It's just one of the things I think about.