Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Did you ever wonder why my name is Depressionista?

Sometimes a fog just drops over me, and tonight is one of those times. It's like I've been hit in the head by a brick of depression. It just hits, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it. It's times like this when I realize that no matter what medication I'm on and no matter what's happening in my life, I will always struggle with depression.

Nobody tells you at the beginning that it's going to be a chronic disease--probably because it would be too damn depressing. And maybe for some people it is self-limiting and goes away and never comes back. But for the rest of us, I guess it would be nice if, right at the beginning, your therapist or psychiatrist or whoever could let you know that it's possible that you may have to "manage" this disease for the rest of your life. I don't know. That would probably be too much to handle for someone deep in the throws of this illness. It just seems like it's taken me a long time to figure it out. And now that I have, yes, it's depressing.

One of the hardest parts of depression is that you cannot trust your own thoughts. At it's worst depression convinces you that the world would be a better place without you, and that's why it's deadly. In milder depression moments perhaps you just feel that if you could change just that "one thing" in your life that was fucking it all up, everything would be better. Lots of times, especially when you've dealt with it for awhile, you feel that you are to blame for the feelings you have. Something is WRONG with you because you just can't be happy! Why can't you just fix it already???

Which then leads you try to figure out the root cause for your pain. Rationally, you know that your illness could be the result of a "chemical imbalance"--the most palatable answer because there's very little you can do about it, or do to cause it--but that's not always the case. It could be the result of genetics or the way you were raised or whatever horrible life tragedies you have endured. It could be the bad marriage you're in or hormone changes or having a baby or losing a baby or not being able to conceive a baby. Usually, I just conclude that I'm generally damaged somehow, by whatever mix of the above or bad luck or some ancient curse.

There was nothing overt to bring on this feeling tonight. I'm not PMSing, Bubba's not sick, J. is driving me crazy but that's pretty standard, I got to see my niece and my sister and brother-in-law for dinner, although Bubba threw a fit all the way through (also pretty standard). I knew I was teetering on the brink of the abyss and I told J., impatiently and curtly yes, but clearly, that I was depressed for no real reason and feeling grumpy and irritable. A little bit later, I came in to do a load of laundry and found the carnage of J.'s feeble attempts at the chore--clothes in various states of clean, dirty, wet or dry. I had no idea how to even rectify it enough to start somewhere. I came back upstairs and told J. that he needed to sort things out so I could start--then suggested that we both go down and do it together. On the way down I said, off-handedly, "Doesn't life just suck?" as a general comment on the responsibilities of adulthood. He got angry with me and when I pressed him for a reason, he said, "I'm just sick of that attitude, I guess." This, from the man who spent half an hour at 11:30 p.m. last night telling me about how underappreciated he was at work, how he really needed to find a new job, how he felt he was underpaid and he works harder than anyone there, etc., while I sympathetically cooed, coddled and ego-stroked.

I know I've probably written this here before--but I just find the crushing sameness of my life very hard to handle. I know what I'll doing at just about any moment of any given day, with a little bit of variation on the weekends. I will wake up at about 6 or 6:30. Get Bubba what he needs so he'll be quiet for awhile. Make myself a cup of coffee and have a cigarette on my porch. Come back in and start cleaning up the kitchen, doing dishes, feeding the cat, getting Bubba's breakfast ready. J. sometimes shares in these chores or keeps Bubba happy. At about 7:30 I take a shower. J. and Bubba leave for school/work at 7:45. I catch the bus at 8 or 8:30. Get to work. Work at boring job. Leave work at 5. Catch bus home. Immediately and slavishly attend to Bubba's needs, which usually includes making a dinner while he cries. Feed Bubba. Play with Bubba. Watch SpongeBob with Bubba. THEN start the bedtime routine with Bubba. Get Bubba down to sleep. Go have a smoke and wait for Bubba to cry. Go comfort Bubba when he cries, then smoke some more, maybe eat something myself, sit on the couch while J. plays video games. Try to initiate conversation or act interested in work stories or complex oral recreations of whatever book he's reading or how great his new video game is. (Why is it that he can somehow manage to pay attention to current events, read book after book, and spend countless hours playing PlayStation, when I feel I never have time for a damn thing?) Give up when conversation dies and go call Tingle, LilCherie, sometimes my sister or my mom. Come in, watch a little TV, go to bed or fall asleep on the couch. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat...

LilCherie and I are going to visit Tingle a week from tomorrow. It is most obviously and definitely something I really, really need. I am, in fact, desperate to leave my life behind for a few days. But I know it won't really change things. I know I'll come back to this sameness and after the first day home it will be like I never left.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Honestly sir, it's only a few ounces of formula...I wasn't intending to sell it...

When I was pregnant with my second child — Bubba, our only living child — I worried from the point of conception onward. Hell, I worried BEFORE the point of conception, about whether I'd make a follicle large enough to be fertilized, whether J.'s sample would be good enough, whether the timing would be right.

I spent 34 weeks just waiting for the point in time when it would be safe for Bubba to leave my body. It wasn't safe in there, I surmised. At six weeks, I'd had a big bleed and major cramps that convinced me I was miscarrying. At 11 weeks, there was a concern about low amniotic fluid, and we wouldn't know for sure if our baby had kidneys until the 20 week ultrasound.My cervix could give out at any moment, as we'd experienced with Hope, so every day I had with Bubba safely in my uterus felt like borrowed time. At 30 weeks, it started to go, and I had steroid shots to try to get his lungs developed as much as possible. At 31 weeks I was put on modified bedrest, at 32 weeks put on full bedrest, at 33 weeks admitted to the hospital for full bedrest at 8 cm. dilated. At 34.5 weeks the inevitable finally happened.

When I started having contractions the week he was born, the nurses, as a matter of course, started talking about starting up the "terb" -- terbutaline, a tocolytic drug to stop contractions. I'd had some terb a few times already, and it always quieted things down without much in the way of side effects for me. But at 34.5 weeks, I said no. I also said no to bedpans and, when the nurses were gone, I would get up and walk around my room a few times, or even sneak out to get a soda from the snack station on the floor. Countless times the nurses gave me the speech: "Every day inside you is better for the baby." But I never felt that way. I knew he needed to be in there for a reasonable length of time, but at 34.5 weeks, I felt it would be safer for him to be on the outside, where umblical cords couldn't wrap around his neck, where his heart couldn't just stop beating without someone knowing about it, where he couldn't suffer birth trauma or detached placenta or any of the mysterious and fatal complications of coming into this world. I had zero faith in my body.

When he was finally out -- at a healthy 7 lbs. 12 oz. -- and off the oxygen within 24 hours, I relaxed briefly in the knowledge that at least I had finished this part successfully. At least I had managed to carry our baby long enough for him to make it in this world.

Like most other women today, I started off with grand illusions of how life would be with my long-wanted, finally-here little baby. Breastfeeding was important to me. I never got to go to any of the classes because I was on bedrest during the time we'd signed up for them, but I figured the hospital's lactaction consultants could help me out and I'd done my reading. I figured that it had been done for how many thousands of years--it couldn't be that hard, right?

Well, all my breastfeeding expectations pretty much went out the window within the first 24 hours. Bubba needed oxygen to live, so he didn't get to "crawl" up to my breast and start happily nursing within minutes of birth. The nurses gave him a pacifier before I got down to see him the next morning, and instead of being pissed I was just happy to see that he was sucking it, because sometimes premature babies don't really have the sucking reflex down yet. I tried nursing for the first time about 24 hours after he was born. His method was suck, suck, sleep. And I mean sleep. He had jaundice, so he was tired. No amount of cold washcloths on his head, baby sit-ups, foot-tickling, nipple-forcing or jostling could bring him out of it.
After the lactation consultants had run out of ideas, they got me nipple shields, which seemed promising at first but alas were not enough. Bubba was just too damn tired and lazy to do it, and you know what? So was I.

The scene at home was this. Bubba wakes up screaming, hungry. I try to breastfeed. He resists, shaking his head from side to side. Squirt milk onto lip as enticement. Bubba latches on to the very end of my nipple--not nearly enough to do the job. Detaches and cries. Finally, with much forceful nipple-pinching and shoving on my part, manage to get the gargantuan thing into Bubba's mouth. Suck, suck, sleep. Or, suck, suck, detach, scream. Get out Lanolin and stick nipple shields on and try it again. Same story as above. Try this for 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Warm up bottle of pumped breastmilk. Feed Bubba. Pump breasts for another 1/2 hour. Maybe an hour off, and then....start all over again.

After about 3 weeks of this, I gave up on trying to get him to suckle. I decided I would just pump and give him that in a bottle. Bubba loved his bottle. He sucked it right down without issue. Every now and then I'd try to stick him back on the boob, only to meet with severe protest. During the day, when I was home alone with Bubba, I'd have to somehow figure out how to pump for half an hour several times a day, being unable to pick him up if he cried or change his diaper unless I stopped the pumping session and tried to resume later, knowing that this was not good for my milk supply. I clearly remember trying to hold both boob cones over my breasts with one hand while holding a crying Bubba on my lap with the other...and I think I was crying as well.

I really did mourn my inability to feed my son. I remembered when I first got the news that I would lose Hope and the ob/gyn was explaining to me what would happen afterwards. My tears finally made their way through my shock as she told me my milk would still come in, even though there would be no baby to drink it. When that did indeed happen, it was possibly the most difficult part of the whole experience -- having milk but no baby. Now, with Bubba, I had a baby but he wouldn't do it, and this was probably my only chance. Yes, I did feel like a failure. So many other women seemed to have enough tenacity or patience or whatever it took to make it through the adjustment phase and go on to nurse their kids until kindergarten.

When Bubba was six weeks old, and my postpartum depression was in full swing, I had started becoming lazy about my pumping sessions. I started stretching out the night sessions to two a night, then one a night, then just doing it before I went to bed and when I got up. Needless to say, my supply went down. I panicked a little for a few days and pumped with renewed vigor, but still Bubba started getting more and more formula, and he didn't seem to notice the difference. My conviction was waning.

Then I got sick. Just a bad cold, but it made me feel like crap. I was also still bleeding from childbirth; still lactating, however feebly; still pumping half-heartedly; getting up at night with Bubba (although J. did A LOT of that); staying home all day with the baby and not realizing just how bad my postpartum depression was, figuring I was just a freak for not being able to TAKE IT when Bubba would cry for hours at a time from gas or hunger or general dissatisfaction. I was, in a word, a mess. One night I stumbled out to the living room in my sour-milk-smelling shirt that I'd had on for two days, tissues in hand to mop up the snot that was streaming out of my nose, a feverish sweat on my brow, and just stood there looking at that goddamned pump. I could not do it. I could not hook myself up to the milking machine one more time.

Of course, I did, a few times over the next week when I would get engorged. But that really was the end. Bubba would be a formula baby. I had only lasted six weeks.

But I guess I can feel shitty about it forever. Check out this article in the New York Times. Looks like Bubba will likely suffer from any number of ailments, from lower IQ (funny how they don't mention how much lower, huh?) to diabetes to asthma. Shit, I might as well have just fed him "New Shitty Mom Formula from Enfamil, Now With Traces of Cyanide and Mercury!"

I know there are women out there who absolutely cannot nurse. They've had mastectomies, maybe, or they really don't make enough milk. Or, heaven forbid, they've adopted a child. I guess all parents who create their families through adoption get to feel crappy too? Then there are those of us out there who could have done it, if only we'd been selfless, heroic, tenacious, and GOOD enough to do it. I fall into that category.

I am so sick of feeling bad about this, but I know I will. Forever. I mean, it doesn't keep me up at night, but when I come across an article like that, I get defensive, I get angry, and I get guilty. And I wonder why I hear so many articles trumpeting the benefits of breastfeeding and so few--hardly any, in fact--about other factors that affect a child's IQ and health, such as having their fathers involved in their lives, or having quality, affordable daycare.

Look, we all know at this point that "breast is best." It's been shoved down our throats as much as the babies'. If the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is so set on making sure that all babies are breastfed,to the point where it compares formula feeding to falling off a bucking bronco in a bar while 9 months pregnant, then it had better start putting forth some options for the milk machines--oh, I mean mothers--who need help. I'd start by sending out a nurse for a home visit, maybe. Or how about lactation consultants who actually have something worthwhile to suggest? How about decent PAID maternity leaves so women wouldn't have to worry about that part of the equation while try to exclusively feed their children, or even subsidized daycare near every workplace so it would be logistically possible to do it after a mother returns to work. Just as likely to happen is this idea: maybe the government could set up a wet-nurse program, or even employ a legion of super-producer lactating moms whose milk could be sold in the grocery store alongside the formula. Or better yet, why not have the government just pull formula off the shelves? That would force the issue, wouldn't it?

Then, once they've guilted/forced every mother into nursing her child, the U.S. government can start figuring out how to make sure each nursing mother is eating a healthy diet, not smoking, and not taking any sort of prescription or illicit drugs that might harm her baby. Or making sure that mothers of babies with wheat or dairy allergies aren't sneaking in a pancake or a scoop of ice cream now and then.

Yep, I'm bitter. I'm sick of living in a country where the government feels it is accceptable to use guilt and shame to coerce women into a desired behavior. Women are more than vessels and feeding machines for babies. But in the long run, when it comes down to it, that's pretty much how our government looks at us. I wonder how much of our guilt complexes can be traced back to the paternalism and judgment rained down on us from our government. Ever notice men don't feel this way? Think about it--have you ever seen a public service announcement showing little orphaned children whose fathers died because they didn't check their nuts for cancer? Or children failing at school because their fathers didn't have a clue what was going on in their kids' classrooms? Or a PSA about how children whose fathers didn't support their mothers are however many percents more likely to fail in life?

That's my rant for today.

Friday, June 09, 2006


In honor of the anniversary of our daughter's birth and death, I'm posting a poem I wrote five days after losing her.

June 14, 2003

It’s the dead of night
Or the hour before dawn.
Five days ago I woke up about now,
About to find out you were leaving us.
I think I knew right away
But I didn’t give up hope till later—
Giving up hope was hard, but not as hard as giving up you.
My arms have never felt so cold,
Aching for you.
My eyes burn from the tears that don’t stop coming.
But my breasts are warm.
Still prepared to feed you,
My broken, faulty body is in fact the last to give up.
I don’t mind being awake right now, although
I’ve never felt so tired—
Be cause this is our time together.
In another world, on another day,
A day that should have been,
I’d be nursing you now.
Exhausted, my sleepy eyes would
Drink you in as you drank me in.
Together we would sit through the night,
Fulfilling our need for each other until we both would sleep again,
Happy and full.
Instead I have to close my eyes to see you,
And open my heart through this pain to feel
The love you’ve brought me.
I promise you that I will see your beautiful gifts to me
Even if it hurts to look for them.
Instead of me nurturing you to help you grow,
You will and are nurturing me,
Feeding my heart with a love I never knew,
And never will forget.
And I will grow, not stunt under this,
And that will be my gift to you.
You’ll never know what you’ve given to me in your short little life,
But my hope is that someday,
Another little life will live on,
And that life will be all the richer for what you’ve shown me.

Love you Hope.

The Week: A Summary

•Bubba comes down with 103 degree temperature.


•Mama stays home with Bubba because he's sick.
•Bubba goes to otolaryngologist for six-month ear tube check-up. No infections, but one tube's fallen out--we'll wait and see what happens with that. BUT, he does have tonsillitis. Amoxicillin ordered and administered.
•Bubba cranky. Mama stressed.
•Tornado sirens blare and storm blows through. Nothing too major at our house, thankfully, since it barely raised my head from the 20 minute nap I got to take.
•Daddy comes home. Mama lays down.
•Mama wakes up to: "Depressionista! I need your help! Bubba hit his head!"
•Bubba wailing, blood running down his face. Stumbled and fell on his way to bed, hitting his head on the corner of a wall. One-inch gash on forehead.
•Two hours in emergency room with overtired, hurting, cranky toddler and guilty husband.
•While waiting for Bubba's sedative to kick in, Mama runs out to parking lot to have quick smoke and call Nana to see if she can watch Bubba next day. On way back in, steps in 3x3" patch of moisture from steam cleaner and goes down, all 240 pounds, on one knee. Nurses rush over, embarrassingly.
•Sedative doesn't work on Bubba. Must be wrapped in sheet and held down for his six stitches.
•10:45 p.m.: Bubba finally asleep--for awhile.
•11 p.m.: Mama gets her period.

•Thankfully, nothing but the usual grind.

•Close friend calls with shocking and disturbing family news. Don't feel comfortable saying more, but...my poor friend!

•The anniversary of my daughter's birth and death three years ago.

Oh you crappy week, I curse you! Be gone with you now!

Here's to a better weekend for everyone!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

My life in a blog post

I saw this over on Daily Kvetch and decided to do it here too. It's fun...and, depending on how the last 20 years have gone for you, can be a bit depressing. Don't say I didn't warn you!

20 years ago I....
•Was beginning a summer that I remember as the summer my sister and I became friends rather than just siblings. She was just starting her job as an elementary teacher so we’d spend many days decorating her bulletin boards, and she had a horse, Chico, that she taught me how to saddle, ride, and take care of. We would both hop up on Chico and go riding through the farm fields. She also taught me how to drive stick shift that summer—in her brand-new car. I love her!
•Was just coming out of the Duran Duran phase and was deeply in love with Matthew Broderick after numerous viewings of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
•My favorite songs were “Take Me Home” by Phil Collins, “Cruel Summer” by Bananarama, and “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood.
•Was obsessing regularly with LilCherie about starting high school (our high school started at 10th grade) the next fall. LilCherie and I spent our time coercing a grown-up to take us to the movie theater, talking on the phone, and staying overnight at each other’s houses.
•Had my first dance with a boy, a skinny blonde geeky-looking guy, at the 4-H Fair.

10 years ago I….

•Was working at a small daily newspaper in Iowa and had a boss with terrible halitosis who sexually harassed all of his female employees. Later that year I moved back to work at a small—and I mean 1500 people small—weekly newspaper in Iowa that I had worked for before. Hated every minute of it, but I made a huge salary jump — from $15,000 to $19,000 a year! (Before taxes!!!!!)
•Had been married to J. for almost 3 years and had been with him for 9.
•I’ve blocked everything else from that time out, sorry!

5 years ago I….
•Was working at my current job, as an editor for a midwestern university.
•Was settling in to our first house, where we still live today.
•Had been trying to get pregnant for about two years.
•Was getting ready to have the first of four surgeries for a horrible, freaky abscess “down there.”
•Was helping J. tie up the loose ends on his parents’ estate (they both died during the same week in April 2000).
•Was alternately jealous and joyous about LilCherie’s pregnancy.

3 years ago I…
•Had my first artificial insemination.
•Got pregnant for the first time.
•Three years ago today, I was 21 weeks pregnant with our daughter and was looking forward to our ultrasound on June 9.
•Lost our daughter on June 9 due to an incompetent cervix.
•Met, but hadn’t yet talked to, my friend, ItchyTingle, on an Internet support group website.
•Saw a shamanistic healer.

One year ago I…
•Was busy taking care of our nine-month-old son.
•Was still in the midst of post-partum depression.
•Was planning our next trip to visit my friend Tingle.
•Was starting marriage counseling.
•Got my nose pierced.

So far this year I…
•Have seen our son take his first steps and start really communicating with words.
•Have started to enjoy being a mother (sometimes!)
•Am planning a Girl’s Weekend with LilCherie and Tingle for the end of this month.
•Have watched my oldest niece graduate from high school.
•Quit marriage counseling, considered divorce numerous times, reconciled numerous times, and am talking with J. about marriage counseling again.

Yesterday I…
•Went to work.
•Came home and had pizza with J., Bubba and my parents, who were out to watch Bubba after his recent accident (see next entry for that story).
•Watched Bubba make new faces that Nana taught him, including “angry” and “scared.” Got it on video too!
•Watched SpongeBob Squarepants (like every day!)
•Talked on the phone with LilCherie, Tingle and my sister.
•Worked on laundry.
•Watched part of a weird old movie from the 50s or 60s that was on a local channel about a woman who was only a head—somehow her body had been destroyed but her doctor/lover was keeping her head alive while he scouted out, lured and drugged a woman to use for her body. It was creepy, cheesy and weird, but I fell asleep before the end of it.

Today I….
•Gave Bubba a bath.
•Folded a load of laundry.
•Came to work.
•Had lunch at a really cool old saloon in the country with a coworker/friend of mine.
•Came back to work.
•Am blogging instead of working.
•Will visit LilCherie after work.

Tomorrow I will…

•See above—minus the fun stuff like the LilCherie part and the lunch at the cool old saloon part.
•Honor the memory of my daughter on the third anniversary of her birth and death.
•Write a letter to her in her “birthday” journal.
•Light her candle on our bookcase.
•Hug and kiss my son a little bit more than usual.

In the next year I will….
•Do what I have to and hopefully some of what I want to.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Don't be offended, but whether or not you will like this entry is in the Fourth Tier

So during the relatively calm periods of my life, such as right now — when nobody's sick, my marriage doesn't look to be in imminent danger of collapse and all the appliances are in working order — I usually take the opportunity to move down to my Second-, Third- or maybe even Fourth-Tier worries. Does anyone else do this? The following list is not all-inclusive, by any means, but will give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

First-Tier Worries (Things I Worry About Nearly Every Day)
-If someone is currently sick, that they will get worse, requiring hospitalization and resulting in disability or death.
-That my marriage will collapse/is collapsing.
-That Bubba isn't developing normally in some area (language is the big one right now).
-That Bubba's daycare isn't good enough OR, conversely, as is the case lately, is great but they're switching ownership and we don't like the new owner and what should we do?
-That Bubba's malleable brain is being scarred by watching hour upon hour of Spongebob Squarepants.
-What if Bubba is malnourished because I haven't seen him eat a vegetable in about three months?
-What if Bubba turns out to be a total brat because I don't know how to discipline him properly?
-That my slowly (or not so slowly) climbing debt-level will result in financial devastation and ruin for myself and family.
-That I'm always tired/depressed/have a headache/have diarrhea/what's wrong with me????

Second-Tier Worries (Things I Worry About Often)

-That I or someone I love might have a life-threatening disease or condition.
-That I'm not doing more "educational" stuff with Bubba.
-That I may go crazy if I have to work at this job much longer.
-That I may go crazy if I have to keep doing the same old crap every day forever.
-That I may just go crazy.

Third-Tier Worries (Stuff That I Don't Always Have the Time to Think About But It's There If I Need It)

-My parents are getting older, and thus, closer to death and I don't want to deal with that.
-That I'm not being a good enough friend/daughter/mother/wife/sister/employee.
-That we really need new siding and windows but will never be able to afford it.
-What if Bubba turns out to be a juvenile delinquent, serial killer, or Republican?
-That Bubba will someday be abducted, hurt or molested and I won't be able to help him.
-That Bubba will be fucked up for life because I feed him from plastic containers/don't buy organic groceries/let him eat processed food/didn't breastfeed longer than six weeks/don't put sunscreen on him every single day/don't read to him enough/passed on my depression and anxiety genes thus dooming him to a life with first-, second-, third- and fourth-tier worries.

Fourth-Tier Worries (Don't Really Have the Time, But When It's Brought To My Attention I Worry About It For A Bit)

-Bird flu, other pandemics and my family's state of unpreparedness
-George W. Bush, corrupt politics and the fucked-up state of the world
-Venomous spiders infesting our home

I've always been a worrier and I know it's part of my genetic profile because my mom and sister are exactly the same. One of the unfortunate pieces of fallout from losing our daughter was that I learned couldn't ever let my guard down, because the day after I did with that pregnancy, it was over. Now, I just can't let things go because I feel a responsibility to do everything I can to prevent the bad thing from happening, if for no other reason than to assuage the guilt I might feel later.

So, today I'm hovering between First Tier (thinking about how much of a rut I'm in and how much I'm sick of my life) and Second Tier (hating my job, etc.), with just a dash of Fourth-Tier (the venomous spiders, believe it or not).

I realize, as I get this all down on blog, how incredibly narcissistic this all is. Look how wrapped up I am in my own pathetic, boring and inconsequential life! There are people dying in Iraq, people starving, people getting raped and murdered and tortured, people losing their lives, homes and everything else in natural disasters, and I'm here whining, "I hate my cushy desk job where I get to write on my blog all day if I want to! Waaaah!"

But you know what? It really does kinda suck. My life isn't that terrible but dammit, thinking about how terrible other peoples' lives are just doesn't make it any better.

This is a little disjointed, sorry. It's 4:41 p.m., I just interviewed someone about the uses of nuclear magnetic resonance imaging to identify and understand cell structure, I'm tired, I have a headache, I had diarrhea earlier, and I'm not looking forward to going home to the nightly routine that is always the same and always full of drudgery, crying (either Bubba or me, usually) and fatigue. What's wrong with me??????? (see First Tier).

So there. How's that for your feel-good post of the day???