Be at Peace

I'm sitting here talking with my dad on the deck, and we're having a very nice time. We're relaxing, and that's what I was hoping to do this first weekend after my first week as a patient as Priaire, I'm very tired, but that is normal in people with depression. We are having friends visit for a barbecue, and I'm very excited to see them. I may have to go to bed early, but right now, I feel okay to do that. Tomorrow we are going to the lake, and that is my most favorite, peaceful place on earth. Peace to all.

Prairie

It's time for me to lay it on the line. As anyone who reads my blog knows, I have been struggling with severe anxiety and depression. I've been fighting and fighting, and I was only feeling worse. On Monday morning, I literally fell apart, completely and totally. I couldn't even get dressed. So, with Criag and Maggie behind me, I checked into Prairie St. John's. After some very honest evaluations with therapists, counselors, nurses and my psychiatrist, I am now what the call a partial hospitilization patient. I have found the relief I need and after the first three days, and wish I could stay there forever. They are teaching me so much, and I am learning a ton about humanity. The group I am in has about 9 others just like me, who suffer from this mental illness (I learned that depression is a mental illness, much to my surprise). I had many stereotypes about the people who sought help at Prairie, and I was, once again, way off. I was very ashamed to admit that I needed help, but I'm starting to realize that this is the best thing that I could have done for myself and my family. It is a wonderful feeling to realize that I am being proactive and that I won't feel like this forever. I have a lot of work to do, and it will be hard work, but I'm looking forward to healing and recovery. I did not grieve properly when Mom died, and it has finally caught up with me. Anyway, I have a whole team to help me through this, and I am so glad that Maggie and Craig pushed me to enter the progam (I'm pretty sure they would have forced me if I had not gone willingly). I have so much support on the home front, and that in itself is amazing. This will be a slow process, I'm told 3-6 weeks, but it isn't meant to be a quick fix. And I'm happy about that. I need to take the time to learn and process, and each day is emotionally exhausting, but at the same time comforting. I haven't even had an anxiety attack since Monday, though it's still very hard to function on a regular basis. Each small task is a huge accomplishment, and I'm proud of each and every one. So there it is. This is where I'm at, and I'm learning to be proud of myself for asking for help when I need it, instead of being ashamed.

Money, Schmoney

When Murray was born, I absolutely dreaded going back to work. This feeling started while I was pregnant, and intensified three-fold the very first time I held him. But, I love my job, so I compromised. My boss agreed to let me to come back to work part-time so that I could be at home with Murray more often. We found a fabulous daycare center with a part-time rate, and it's worked out beautifully. I love our lazy mornings and quiet afternoons together. Yesterday, the center newsletter stated that they would no longer have a part time rate for infants (pre-school and up only) and that the full time rate was increasing. I understand that daycare rates need to increase from time to time, especially if we want our center to maintain their reputation for excellency. However, now we're going to pay eighty bucks more a month for Murray to only be there 25-28 hours a week! That's quite the increase. By the time I pay for gas to get to work, I may as well stay home, what with my pittance of a paycheck. I'll get over it, I suppose, I'm just more upset that they took away our part time rate. I would even have paid more if they had kept it, but I don't have a say, so I'll suck it up and write the check.

Craig has state softball tournaments this weekend, so Maggie and I and our friend Michelle are off to the lake for "girls" weekend (except for Murray). It's the last weekend before school starts for Mags, so we thought it would be a great way to send her back. Should be a fun weekend.

Good luck to Dave's Southside Tap! I hope you come home with no injuries and a big trophy!

The Big D

I used to think that people who suffered from anxiety attacks were full of hooey. I'm ashamed to admit that I was way off the mark. Totally, completely, wrong. They are not made up, they are very real, and they are very scary. I can be happily going about my day, no particular stress, or "weird" feeling, and BAM! Out of nowhere, I suddenly feel as though my world is crashing down around me. My limbs go tingly and numb, I'm dizzy, my heart is pounding as though it will pop out of my chest, I'm fighting to breathe, and sick to my stomach. I feel like I am going to keel over any second (this is not an exaggeration). Sometimes, it lasts for hours, sometimes, minutes. When they do subside, I'm always left feeling tired and weak, which, when I think about it, is no wonder. My body is fight or flight mode, and of course I would feel pooped after.

Now, you ask, why would I share such personal information? I was thinking about that, and seriously considering never, ever discussing any of this. For some reason, it's very difficult to admit that I am having a tough time, and it shouldn't be. Maybe it's because I don't want anyone to think I've gone a bit crazy, or I'm simply feeling sorry for myself. Or maybe it's because so often people keep these things to themselves, and here I am, writing about it for anyone to read. It would be easy to hide out until I get through this phase of life, but I don't want to do that. As a trusted and wise friend recently told me, at the end of the day, it's me, not anyone else, that I have to report to. So, I chose to write about my experiences with anxiety and the big "D" because I think that maybe by being honest and open about what I am feeling, someone else won't be so afraid. Because this is scary. It's terrifying (not to mention very frustrating) to feel this way, and if I could only understand it, maybe it wouldn't frighten me so. The unknown is always the worst - sometimes I think it's easier to know what's going to happen, even if you aren't going to like the outcome. At least then you can prepare yourself.

Anyway, there it is. This is what I'm dealing with. I don't want sympathy or pity, I just think it's important to talk about this issue. There are so many good things in my life, I don't understand why I can't get myself out of this slump. I am constantly fighting it, trying so hard to not feel like this. And I will keep fighting. I won't let the evil big "D" win.

Murray has been having fresh nectarines for breakfast this week, and he gobbles them up like they're candy. Here is a funny clip of him shoveling them in this morning:

video
He's a great mood booster. How can you not feel a bit of happiness when you see this face? What a great reminder that life must go on.

An Apple A Day

Murray had his nine month check up this morning, and he is a very healthy boy. No shots, either, not again until 12 months. This is a relief, because he's usually miserable for a day or two after the shots, so we got a reprieve this time. At nine months though, we feel it's probably time to start weaning him from the pacifier, and we forgot to ask for suggestions. I'll have to google it.

That's all for now. All is quiet on the home front. I hope to have a quiet, peaceful evening at home.

Dazed and Confused

Well, the hard part is done. On Saturday, we drove to Grafton and packed up mom's house. The movers will make the trip on Thursday and bring all of her things to Moorhead. It's a relief, I suppose, but it's also so sad. I'm glad that we waited this long to tackle the task, because I think if we had done it any earlier, it would have been that much more emotional. I didn't expect to laugh as much as we did that day, but I swear, she was with us. Her home was always so organized and uncluttered, but we kept finding odd items stashed away. For instance, she had enough envelopes to send one letter to each troop overseas, and enough candles to light St. Mary's Cathedral. There was an abundance of cords; phone cords, cable cords, computer cords, all wrapped up neatly, but seriously, what the heck do you need that many spare cords for? And blowdryers and curling irons. Lots of those too. Anyway, it went far better than expected, and I'm glad that we were able to do it together. I did find out that Maggie and I are complete oppostites when it comes to packing. Maggie's idea of packing was to clean out a drawer or closet by dumping everything in one box. That meant winter hats were mixed in with a cordless drill and a variety of other miscellaneous items. I kept running around behind her unpacking her boxes and repacking them. It was actually pretty funny - I hope I didn't offend anyone with my bossiness. I'll call it a coping mechanism.

Yesterday we had a lazy, lazy day at home. It was nice. The house is a bit of a disaster right now, but for once, I don't mind. I'm not letting it get to me (I mean it). There are more important things in life, and I'm not going to let it stress me out. I don't know if this is due to the place I'm in right now, of if I'm honestly just starting to get my priorites straight. Time will tell, I guess, and until then, I'll keep on keeping on.

Drawing A Blank

I need some time to ponder a bit more before I can form words from my thoughts, so until then:


HAPPY NINE MONTH BIRTHDAY, MURRAY! WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH!

Off Come the Rose Colored Glasses

I have been unable to write lately. Every time I sit down to post, I end up staring blankly at the screen, fingers poised over the keys, ready to type something, anything. At first I thought it was a simple case of writer's block, because it's extremely rare that I don't have something to yap about. This morning I realized that I'm stuck because I'm dealing with some tough stuff right now, and I needed some time to come to terms with what's happening.

My appointment with the cardiologist went well, but it certainly wasn't what we expected. Dr. Otero believes that the high, tachy heart rates are caused by stress and anxiety, not an arrhythmia, which was the affliction in 2006. I realize that this is good news, but it was a huge blow to me and my perception of how things are. Ever since my mom was diagnosed with cancer last July, I have held it together, been strong, kept going, one foot in front of the other, determined not to let myself fall apart. You know, the "pillar of strength" type. Yes, there have been some bad days, but bad days are healthy once in a while. For the most part, I thought that I was handling things in a way that would have made mom proud. We were raised to be strong women, of the "pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on" variety. No feeling sorry for yourself! Now, I just feel weak, and humiliated, and let down. I SHOULD be able to handle this, I WANT to handle this, and I still don't want to fall apart, but apparently that is what is happening when I have these so-called "attacks". I am beginning to grasp that this has been a slow decline, one I didn't realize was happening. It began in my heart, and has steadily moved right down to my toes. I used to be a morning person, and lately it's hard to drag myself out of bed. I used to care about how I was dressed and how my hair looked, now, I have to force myself to get in the shower in the morning (don't worry, I do shower at least once a day). My whole body hurts most days, which can be chalked up to the evil D-word I'm not ready to say (or type). I'm just so tired. I want to surround myself in the cozy blanket of family until this passes, but I can't just lie down and let it take over. I will keep fighting, and fighting and fighting, and I will be okay. I have to get the following off my chest:
The number one thing never to say to a person who is grieving:
1. "I know how you feel, I felt like that when so and so insert illness/death here "
NO, you DON'T know how I feel. It's different for everyone, and comparing your situation to mine only makes me feel worse. I'm sure you did feel similar feelings, and I'm sure that your situation is/was just as tragic, but right now, I need be selfish and feel what I need to feel, and sometimes, that is indescribable. It's not that I don't care, really, if you know me, you know that I DO care, probably too much sometimes. I just need to deal with me first.

This whole post probably sounds incredibly selfish and self-pitying. That may be true. It may not. Right now, I just don't know. I do know that I don't want to feel this way (who does), and that I'm trying to fix it. It's time to take off the rose colored glasses and realize that maybe, just maybe, I don't have to be strong all the time. Maybe it's okay to be sad right now. The question is, how do you do that?

A Runcible Spoon

Murray and I have several poems that we recite (well, I recite them, he listens) together most evenings before bed, right after we read books. The following are links to two of my favorites for anyone who's interested. Sometimes, when I'm reciting them to Murray, I can hear my mom's voice reciting them to me. I hope you get as much comfort and enjoyment from them as we do.

The Owl and The Pussycat - Edward Lear 1871
http://www.nonsenselit.org/Lear/ns/pussy.html
Winkin' Blinkin' and Nod - I can't for the life of me find anything out about the author - I have to keep researching:
http://myhomeoflove.tripod.com/nurseryrhymes/winkinblinkinnod.html

The inspiration for this post comes from a word I googled today. For a very long time, I have wondered what a runcible spoon is. There is a line in The Owl and the Pussycat as follows: "they dined on mince and slices of quince, which they ate with a runcible spoon. . ." Now I know. If you read the poem and wonder yourself, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runcible_spoon

We're Number 2!

I don't know if I've ever been so happy for a Monday. The weekend was crazy. Craig worked until 10pm on Friday night, and Murray was still sick. Very cranky, wouldn't sleep, all around miserable. He cried so hard for about 3 hours that we finally took him in to the ER. After waiting for 2.5 hours, we gave up and took him home without seeing a doctor. He fell asleep in the car, thankfully, but that wasn't until 3am. We all woke up three hours later, packed up and headed to DL, as Craig's first game was at 9am. He dropped me off at the lake, where I tearfully handed over an exhausted baby to my grandma, and took a deep sigh of relief. I have a whole new respect for single parents. It was so comforting to have her take care of the both of us. It certainly wasn't Craig's fault that he was unable to help (he did as much as he could when he wasn't working), but dealing with a sick baby on your own really takes a toll after several days. Murray and I stayed at the lake on Saturday while Craig played in the tournament, and we really had a nice day. The weather was beautiful, so after a long nap for both of us, we spent the rest of the afternoon on the beach. Craig and I went to a team gathering on another lake for a couple of hours in the evening, while Murray stayed with Grandpa and Grandma. Bedtime arrived pretty early on Saturday night - blissfully.

Since the team won all three games on Saturday, the first game on Sunday started around 10. My thought was that Murray and I would watch the first game, and then head back to the lake until the tournament was over. I should have been thinking ahead, but (and this isn't mean) they usually don't advance as far as they did. I was a bit surprised (proud, too) when they kept winning. In past years, we usually don't even get a game on Sunday. It was so much fun to watch them play and win that I just couldn't leave (I know, I sound like a fair-weather fan). After six consecutive games without a break, they ended up taking second place. We qualifed for the state tournament in Hastings, MN, so it's pretty exciting, especially considering our past record. :)

We finally got home around 7, literally dropped our bags on the floor, put Murray to bed, fed the animals, and crashed ourselves. The good news is, Murray seems to be back to himself and this week looks to be a quiet one. I hope.

It's Going to Be a LONG Weekend

Well, so much for a quiet weekend at the lake. Poor Murray has Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease, Craig is still at work and will probably be there most of the weekend. At this point, it sounds like he may still be able to play in the tournament tomorrow, but will have to come straight home and go back to work. Both of my boys are miserable, and all I can do is give some extra TLC and lots of support on the home front.

**Addendum to this post: If you need to get a hold of Craig i.e. questions about softball, please call me (218-329-2268) instead of him. I will have frequent updates. Thanks.

T.G.I.F.

I'm not sure why, but this has been a very long week. I am relieved that it's Friday, and despite the crummy weather, I'm looking forward to one more August lake weekend. The rest of the month will be busy with a wedding and trips north to clean out our mom's house, so we won't be able to be at the lake again until September. Craig and I are both exhausted, and Murray in not helping the matter. We've been battling extreme crankiness since Wednesday, and this morning, I discovered why he's been so grumpy. It occurred to me to look in his mouth and down his throat to see if anything was abnormal (thanks for the tip Chelle). Sure enough, there is a large, white lump on his tongue. I'd be very upset too. The pediatrician just said to give him Tylenol and watch it. Hopefully, it's a canker sore that will clear up soon.

Craig has been working like a mad man all week - long, crazy hours, no lunch breaks, etc. He needs to relax and do nothing for a day. No rest for the weary though, it's district softball tournaments all weekend. At least he will be doing something he enjoys.

My girlfriend Michelle, Maggie and I had a wonderful time last night on the deck, solving problems and discussing how we're going to take on the world. I'm always refreshed after these sessions - so comforting to know that you aren't alone.

I'm off to take out the garbage. On Friday's, I am the maid in the office, and I better get to it. Housekeeping calls.

Muskrat Love

Yesterday afternoon, Craig received a call from our good friend who's husband is out of town. There were critters "the size of a cat" in her window wells and she wanted our ideas on how to get them out. She called animal control, but was told that they wouldn't help because the creatures weren't hurting anything, so we went over to help. There were 3 medium size animals in her window wells. After assessing the situation, and laughing hysterically at Craig (he came out of the garage brandishing a tennis racket and a fishing net) we were able to scoop them out with the assistance of the fishing net and flag pole (not the tennis racket). We let them go in the field adjacent their property. One of them was injured, which made me very sad. I was afraid that I hurt the poor thing when I pushed him into the net with the pole, but Craig figures that the injury most likely happened in the fall. Either way, I felt so bad for the poor little thing. They were scared little creatures (though not very attractive) and this one couldn't run to safety. Anyway, we couldn't quite figure out what they were, so we googled muskrats and river rats to compare pictures. I also emailed a friend of mine who is a biologist, and he said that they are most likely muskrats (SF was right).

I have been having the strangest dreams recently. I've always been a dreamer, and usually remember them, but lately they have been more intense, and very, very strange (much worse than usual). It finally occurred to me that it's probably the medication I'm on to control my heart rate that is causing these sudden "doo de doo de" dreams. Sometimes, though, they are fun dreams that make me laugh or feel very happy. Last night I dreamt that Murray was crawling and we were all laughing and cheering him on. These are the dreams that I enjoy. The others, well, they are sad, and leave me feeling empty. The sad dreams are so real that it's almost impossible to go back to sleep at night.

Today I called in a tracing from my heart monitor and was told that my heart rate was 140 bpm. The nurse who took my call was concerned, and I laughed and said that 140 bpm is rather slow for me, so I wasn't concerned. When I have major episodes, the rate is usually around 200 bpm, so this was minor. Anyway, I'm looking forward to my appointment today. The medication has really made a difference, so maybe he'll just decide I can be on meds and not have surgery again.

I've been feeling unorganized again. I am very behind on paperwork. I've been carrying it all around in a paper grocery bag with one handle, thinking I'll get to it. I have a closet full of more appropriate bags and/or folders that I could use, but for some reason, I just haven't made the switch. I'm sure I look ridiculous. My goal is to get to it finally, this afternoon, but I've been saying that for well over a week. In addition to paperwork, both cars are disaster areas. Craig is always shaking his head at me, because I'm very particular about the cleanliness of the house, but the cars are usually pig pens (which drives him crazy). Even if I clean them out once a week, it only takes a day or two for me to mess them up again.

Okay enough procrastinating. I'm off to tackle some of that paperwork. Oh shoot, scratch that. I left my paper bag in the car. :)

MEAN Momma

It is 7:53pm. Murray is in his crib crying his head off and I'm sitting here listening, tears rolling down my face. I won't go in there until it's been five minutes. I want to more than anything, which is why I'm blogging (need to keep busy). He has been crying for exactly 3 minutes. When I put him down, he was fine, but Craig went in to fix his blanket and all hell broke loose (Craig just left for softball). Murray sees his daddy and the world pretty much stops turning. I did pick him up and cuddle him for a couple of minutes and calmed him down after Craig left, but then I put him back in his crib to sleep, once he had settled. Most nights we don't have trouble anymore, but this is a tough one. He's over tired from his cold, and he should already be sleeping. I feel like the absolute meanest mother in the entire world. It has now been five, and just like I thought, he's not crying anymore. We may have made it. The problem is, now I want to go in there, say how very sorry I am for being a very mean mommy, and hold him all night long, but that would confuse and upset the poor baby even more. I stuck to my guns, but this was a hard one. Who knew five minutes could feel like a lifetime?

Random Thoughts

Note: This is an edited version of today's post.
The days since my last post have been hectic, to say the least. Our anniversary was wonderful . It was so much fun to be together, to celebrate our love and reflect on the last four years. That's all I will say - it was just such a special evening.

I wouldn't however, recommend eating at Up The Creek. Our steaks were very good, but the place was just like any other Timberlodge, Applebee's, Red Lobster, etc. - i.e. boring. Same old, same old. The atmosphere was blah - we just didn't feel like it was a "special" place. Maybe a good spot for a gathering, but not an anniversary. We probably could have gone to McDonald's though, and I would have been happy. It was just great to be out together.

Murray spiked a temp of 103 on Saturday evening, so Craig and I took turns on the night watch. He still wasn't himself on Sunday, and his right eye was swollen and red, so I took him to the walk in clinic. Thankfully, it's not pink eye, but the doctor thinks it's periorbital cellulitis. Not a good diagnosis, and can be dangerous if left untreated, so hopefully the anitbiotics will take care of it. Nothing like a good dose of fear to get our adrenaline pumping.

This was the first weekend pretty much all summer that we have stayed put at home, and it was nice. We sat on the deck, putzed around the house, ran some errands, and just relaxed (and tended to our sick little one, of course). I don't want to rush summer by any means (it is my favorite season after all), but there is something peaceful about quiet fall weekends at home. Brisk, sunny days, snuggling under the covers, bright, crunchy leaves, something yummy stewing in the crockpot - it's all so magical. Sometimes I feel like all we do is pack and unpack in the summer to hurry up to relax. So, when summer sadly winds down, I find comfort in a beautiful Minnesota autumn.

We accepted an offer on our mom's house last week. We close August 29th. This means that we'll be wrapping up the final details of her estate very soon. I can't bear to think about the house not being ours anymore, but there isn't any reason to hang on to it. We'll always have our memories, I guess, but it just feels so final - I can't really describe it right now. I have been avoiding thinking about this all weekend. I probably need to face it head on, but I just can't yet. I need to work through this in my head first, you know, the business aspect first, and then I will let my heart in. Right now, it just hurts too much. I'm not ready to give in. . .