Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Edge

It got hairy there for a while, guys. And not in a Pierce Brosnan kind of way.

In a holy crap what is going on in my brain and why am I thinking like a crazy person and crying all the time kind of way. The best way I can think to explain it is that I fell into The Nothing, pushed by hormone imbalances and depression and things I've refused to deal with for a long, long time.

I'm approximately a thousand percent better than I was a few weeks ago, but there's wreckage to sort through. I kind of feel like I went through a mental hurricane and now all that's left are foundations and junk and trash and random cats. I'm bedraggled. Broken. Waterlogged and confused and not sure how to proceed.

But I am alive. So there's that. And that is BIG. Bigger than the fact that there are random cats all over my brain.

I'll talk about it some day. Probably. Maybe. I'm not really sure what to say. I need to reflect and let it simmer and make deductions and whatnot. I think maybe writing about PPD was a trigger, so I may put that on hold for a bit. Or I may not. I don't know. I'm just kind of going with the flow at the moment. Breathing. Feeling. Smiling. Realizing just how cool this life thing is again.

One thing I do need to say is "thank you". I know with absolute certainty that without my amazing family and friends, I wouldn't be here making Pierce Brosnan chest hair references. They kept me anchored in the midst of the storm.

So thank you.

Thank you for pulling me back from the edge.

Thank you for not flinching even a little in the face of my dark twistiness.

Thank you for the jokes and the kind words and the prayers and the hugs and the smiles and the love.

Thank you for the kicks in the pants.

Thank you for helping me find my spark again.

I love you all so very, very much.
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Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Five Stages of Writing, Animated

I've been writing about PPD and it's really hard. Reallllly hard. I'm pretty sure I'm correctly conveying about one percent of what I am trying to say and the rest is lost in a muddle of weird references and improper grammatical structure.

So today I say, "SCREW YOU, WORDS." Gifs are where it's at. Also, #irony. Love me some irony.

This is how I feel as I slog through the writing process:

PREWRITING:
 photo urg_zpsd153680b.gif
That face you make when all the thoughts fly out of your head at once.

DRAFTING:
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LEAP OF FAITH!
(I'm sure the bunny is fine, you guys.)

REVISING:
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No, seriously, who wrote this?

EDITING:
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This is when discouragement and self-loathing kick in.

PUBLISHING:
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What did I just do? *sobs*


Source for all gifs except the bunny one, which came from here
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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Call The Midwife (a very bad name) {PPD Part 5}

Earlier posts in this series:


Aannnd onward!

***

I tried to cancel the postpartum check-up. I really, really, really, REALLY didn't want to go.

“I'm, like, totally fine,” I told the receptionist over the phone. "Just the usual adjustment period, you know *crazy laugh*."

"Sorry," the receptionist replied. "You're going to have to come in."

<click, click, click went a keyboard>

"The schedule is pretty tight. Would you mind seeing one of our other midwives this time?"

"Uhhh. Okay." G chose this particular moment to imitate a baby pterodactyl trapped in quicksand, so I hastily confirmed the particulars and hung up.

It will be good, I thought. I can BS the whole thing and she'll think I'm fine. Because I AM fine, dammit! *crazy laugh* We probably won't even make it to the office, anyway ...

A crippling phobia of driving was only one of the things that had bloomed in the void of nothing. If it wasn't a car crash, it would be a terrible disease. If it wasn't that, I would accidentally break her neck. Or drop her. Or she would suffocate. Or something else.

My brain had become inhabited by a doomsday prophet.

Appointment day came. The trip to the doctor was horrible. Every five minutes, I pictured some variation of a fiery car crash. Gracelyn apparently picked up on these vibes and screamed so much we had to stop halfway through the 45-minute drive.

I didn't realize the exit was for the Colorado Division of Wildlife office until it was too late. I don't know if you've ever been to one of those in October, but it's not a very good place to breastfeed. I didn't care. I tried that. And then bouncing. And then singing. And then bouncing and singing. And then marching around the car. Two hunters comparing the tongues (really) of their respective kills looked at me like I had completely lost my mind. I didn't care. I took off the baby's clothes and checked her for injuries. I prodded her tummy. I stuffed her pacifier in her mouth. I pedaled her little legs in hopes of squeezing out gas. Nothing worked. After 20 minutes, I gave up and strapped her back into the torture device/car seat. I turned the radio all the way up and death-gripped the steering wheel for the rest of the drive. 

 photo tumblr_lrq2chlfuV1qgd30s_zps8a744621.gifBy the time I made it to the office, my nerves were shot. Gracelyn fell asleep as we pulled into the parking lot. I burst into tears. After a 15-minute pep talk, I dried my face, put on some garish lipstick to distract from the general horrendous-ness of the eye makeup situation, and started to hiccup.

Between the Fireball Fuschia and the random hicc-ing, I was quite sure I would be able to get in and out undetected. 

Besides, I was fine. Totally fine. I couldn't attach to my infant, but that wasn't unheard of. I was terrified of everything, but that was just a side effect of parenting.

Fine, you guys! Fine!

The receptionist was nice. She handed me the usual stack of paperwork and pointed to an empty seat in the waiting room. It was all very bland ... until I got to the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. I read the first question and gasped. Shit. Then the second, and then the third … I was totally failing this test. The waterworks started again. I filled it out as quickly as I could, answering not with honesty, but not with baldfaced lies, either.

By the time they put me in an exam room, I had managed to tamp down the blubbering. The midwife came in. I hiccupped. I remember thinking she was dressed like a witch. Orange shirt, purple skirt, and green scarf. I may or may not have imagined black and white striped tights and ruby slippers.

#subconsciousforeshadowingforthewin
She took one look at my tear-streaked face (and horrid choice of lipstick color), pursed her own shiny red lips, and flipped straight to the dratted scale. After perusing it for a moment, she set the chart down and looked at me.

*hiccup*

“So, tell me a little bit about yourself since we've never met,” she said, a bit tersely.

I explained this was baby number two, that we had just moved from another town that summer, that my husband was working at the hot springs and a few other trivialities.

“Mmmhmm. And how old is your other child?”

“Almost 17 months.” I winced and waited for the inevitable tirade.

Nothing. The silence was worse than the cascade of OMGs this admission usually elicited. As it dragged on, I began to fidget. I felt more tears leak their way out of my eyes and down the bridge of my nose, gathering on my chin before making their final descent to the linoleum floor.

The midwife sighed heavily, then handed me a box of tissues.

“Would you say the new baby is difficult?”

YES!

“Not really. I mean, she cries a lot." *hiccup*

The midwife took off her reading glasses.

“Here's the thing,” she said, polishing the rather witchy glasses on the even witchier scarf. “You're very, very young. You're overwhelmed. You're obviously stressed. You've stretched yourself over the limit.”

No shit, lady. Please, tell me something I haven't been telling myself for the past year.

“You need to stop having children.”

I agreed wholeheartedly with her, but what was I supposed to do now? Send the second one back?

“ … what do I do now?"

Silence.

Drip, drip, dripdripdripdripdrip. The puddle on the floor edged outward like a hungry amoeba.

“You have two children. That's plenty. Make sure you have people who can help you."

*hiccup*

“Do you have any questions?”

What do I do? What's wrong with me? Why are you dressed like a witch?

“No.”

“Okay. "I sincerely hope I don't see you in this office again. You'll regret it.”

Exit witch.

Exit last vestige of hope.

*hiccup*
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