Thursday, January 31, 2008

A big long nasty stinky dump about my husband

My husband isn't a terrible person. He has some really good traits--a great, dark sense of humor; a real ability to connect with people, albeit on a shallow/surface level; a sense of loyalty to his job (which isn't so great when they treat him like shit, which they usually do, but still, the trait itself is admirable). He used to be pretty carefree and easygoing when he was younger.

I start my post with that because pretty much the rest of it is going to be a confession of all the things I think and share with my closest friends but don't really admit to anyone otherwise, and I think these things are part of the reason why our marriage is so....broken and cold.

I have lost respect for him.

The word that comes to mind, as cruel as it is, is "loser."

There were hints very early on. He didn't make great grades in high school, and just barely missed being accepted to the state university, so he went to community college for two years, got his A.A. degree, and transferred to the university where I was. There, he basically flunked out of school because his parents were stressing him out all the time by not coming through with the financial support they had promised and, well, because he skipped classes and if the class wasn't interesting he just didn't study.

As I prepared to graduate from college, we were in my dorm room discussing what we were going to do afterward. I suggested we move in together. He was agreeable to that. Then I said, "Well, we could just get married," and he said, "Okay." "Really?" I asked. "Sure," he answered. That was my "proposal."

He bought me a $300 one-fifth carat solitaire diamond ring. He saved his wages from his job at the dorm's foodservice for weeks to buy it. At the time I thought it was so romantic and sweet. Now it just seems kind of pathetic.

We spent the first year of our marriage dirt poor, getting help from my parents to pay the rent and buy groceries. He worked at Hardees, I worked at Jack's Discount Store, unable to figure out just what I was going to do with the English/journalism degree I had since I had recently discovered that I hated newspaper work. After a year of poverty, I got my ass in gear, bit the bullet and got a job at a small-town newspaper. The salary was a pittance, but so was the cost of living, so we made it okay. He got a job at the lumberyard, and later at another Hardees, in management this time. We moved around several times due to my "career," and he always followed me in good spirits, working wherever he could find a job: a fireplace factory, a window factory, a discount store warehouse, a music store. Finally, after I got a good job in a town we loved, we decided we were "settling down." I saw an ad for a bank teller; he applied and got the job, and worked his way up a few notches to the position he's in now. He still gets paid about $13,000 less per year than I do, and I don't make all that much.

He works his ass off for this place because he always thinks it's going to pay off in some big promotion. It never does, and yet he works late several times a week, signs up for bank-sponsored charity events on his time off, works on the afternoon that he's supposed to have off every week, goes in on his Saturdays off to "back up the tapes," whatever that means. He does all this extra stuff for this place even though on his salary, he can't afford to pay his share of the bills. And then he complains to me that I get more time to myself than he does. Yeah, because I don't WORK FOR FREE for five to 10 hours a week.

So....he basically gives me whatever he feels like when he gets paid, which lately is enough to pay the house payment and that's it. That means that I have to spend my entire check on bills, groceries, the car payment, etc. If he was paying his 43.5 percent of the bills (we figured it out when I got my own account), I should have an extra $600 a month for myself. As it is now, I am charging groceries at the end of the month because I'm short. And none of the "extra" bills--like doctor, dentist, etc.--are getting paid at all. I bought every single Christmas present for my entire family, our son, his nephew by his sister who I've been estranged from since his parents died, and the one we buy in remembrance of Hope every year (he didn't even go with me to do that--Tingle did, which was nice but still). We'd agreed that his present would be a used electric guitar he wanted, so I let him spend $150 on that instead of giving it to me for bills, and then I felt like he should have something to open on Christmas, so I got him some books on learning to play guitar, a trivia book, and an iTunes gift card. I didn't even get a token Christmas present, which still burns me. And he has picked up the guitar exactly twice.

This week, I asked if he could pick up a prescription for me, since there was an actual blizzard warning in effect and it was zero degrees out and I had Bubba by myself since I had taken him to the doctor for a cough so I didn't really want to drag him out into the storm again. J. hemmed and hawed and asked me how much it was going to cost. I didn't know if it would be a $10 or $25 copay. "Is that an issue for you?" I asked. "Well, yeah," he says. Fine. I dragged Bubba out to get it.

(This part is embarrassing because it shows you how much I've been smoking lately, my blog says, OH WELL.) The next day he asks if he can bum some smokes from me because he "doesn't have time" to get a pack before work. "Fine, just buy me a pack after work to replace it," I say. He says he will but he doesn't, so the next morning I ask him to do it on the way to work. He does. The following day I tell him I'm going to the gas station to buy some more and he says, "I wouldn't be against it if you bought me a pack too." I did it, but it just infuriated me. I pay for fucking EVERYTHING, and I'm sick of it. I came home and went to bed at 6 p.m. because I was so fucking depressed about it all.

J. and I have been together for 21 years now, married for 14. I have a long list of resentments that play over and over in my head, things he's said or done that are just too hurtful to forget.

The time he said he was "afraid of catching something" by having sex with me when I was dealing with the vulva stuff. Like I would ever have sex with him if things were not okay down there...and like I didn't already feel like a disgusting freak for having an abscess on my fucking vulva. Gee, thanks for the confidence boost there, J.! Frankly, I think that was an excuse anyway because his mouth hasn't gone lower than my bellybutton since before we were married.

The time we went to do karaoke with our friends Tingle and her husband, and, as usual, we were going through a hard time, and I got up on the stage and sang the Eagles' "Best of My Love" to him and he never looked up from his videogame.

The time after we had Bubba and I was going through horrible postpartum depression and he said "After the way you grieved for Hope, I thought you would be a better mother than this."

The time last year when I was wearing a new sundress, all white and frilly and showing a little skin, and I was feeling a little sexy and pretty, and he asked me if I was going to "change into something a little more appropriate" before we went out to eat.

The time he really pressured me to go to a "Family Fun Day" bank function a month after losing Hope. I practically begged not to go because I knew it would be excruciating. He got mad at me so I went, and saw about 8 million pregnant women milling about amongst the other 8 million happy families with small children, and ended up sobbing outside of a football stadium for 15 minutes before he came looking for me and took me home.

The time last fall when I wrote and sent him a love letter and he just never got around to reading it, and even said that he didn't consider it a gift because "it wasn't like it was wrapped up with a bow on it or anything."

And then there are all the disappointments. All the things he'll say he'll do but doesn't.

My 71-year-old father on a ladder, cleaning out our gutters, because J. never did it, or mowing our lawn because J. didn't do it, or taking back our recycling because J. didn't do it.

Christmas three years ago (I think, can't quite remember which year) when he presented me with a small, nicely-wrapped package "from Bubba" for Christmas...which turned out to be a box of drugstore chocolates that he had obviously bought that morning when nothing else was open. Or how about my Mother's Day gift, that infamous air popper? One more about gifts (and really, I'm not a materialistic person at all, people who know me in real life will attest to that). J. always bemoaned my small diamond even though I was always gracious about it and never even had an issue with it. "Just buy me something good for our 10th anniversary," I told him. This was during our 5th or 6th year of marriage. I said, half-joking, half-serious, "I'm telling you now, I want something good for our 10th anniversary, so start saving or putting something on layaway." We ended up spending our 10th anniversary in the hospital after having Bubba....and no anniversary gift (or even some "thanks for pushing my son out of your vagina" flowers) materialized. Ever.

All the times he's picked me up late from work, often when I'm waiting with Bubba, so I have to kill 30, 45 minutes in an empty building with an impatient toddler.

All the times he's fallen asleep in the emergency room when I was shaking with fear about whatever it was that I was in there for.

How he refuses to keep the car, which basically only he uses, in any kind of order, so that means that when I do have it, I have to lift my 37-pound son over a huge pile of crap in order to get him into his carseat in the middle of the backseat. I can really barely do it, but Bubba can't walk over the foot-deep pile of crap on the floor, so I have to. Oh, and he rarely fills it up with gas either--another thing I not only have to pay for, but have to do during -5 degree weather.

I came home tonight and made dinner for Bubba while J. fiddled with the VCR trying to get it functional to tape "Lost." (We've only had the VCR --which I bought him when the old one died--for about three months now, but he never got around to figuring out how to use it until roughly 45 minutes before the show). Then I gave Bubba a bath, and then I put Bubba to sleep--twice, because the first time, he was just about there when J. popped his head in the door to tell me he was taking my niece home, waking him up completely so I had to start all over again. Um, hello, ever hear of WRITING A NOTE? Jesus. So later on, after Bubba was in bed, I came out into the living room and just sat there with my cup of coffee. No TV on, no book, nothing. Just sat there in silence. J. came in from having a smoke and sat down and started reading his book. Never said one thing to me, even though I've told him so many times lately that it bothers me that we never have time to talk and that I have a lot of mental shit going on that I want to talk about but there isn't ever time. After half an hour I asked if he was ignoring me on purpose. "I just figured you were grumpy so I was giving you some space," he said. Another short silence before I just said, "I'm miserable." "Why?" he asked. And the thought of trying to even explain it to him for the millionth time overwhelmed me. "I just am," I said. And then J. went downstairs to wash his work clothes for tomorrow, and that was the end of the discussion.

My therapist would probably advise me at this point to write another post, listing all of J.'s good qualities, all the ways he hasn't disappointed me. Fuck it. He's always been better at disappointing me than loving me. I suspect J. is only putting off the inevitable divorce because he feels he can't afford it on his own (in fact, when we last discussed divorce, he said "I don't think either one of us can afford to live by ourselves." Well, newsflash, I can make it work and if I can't, I have a family who will help. He doesn't.)

All I've ever wanted is love. I never knew it would be so fucking hard to have it.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Still crazy after all these years

Like many people, when I think of therapy, I generally think of dredging up the old shit that's dragging me down, exploring it, airing it out, coming to peace with it, and then moving on to the next piece of shit. My therapist, however, believes that it is better to just dump the old shit without giving it any more energy. Just jettison it, wipe the slate clean, and move forward. My therapist counsels from a Sufi perspective. Generally, I like this and it speaks to me more than any other therapy model has--but this idea of just getting rid of the shit without digging into it is hard for me to figure out.

I have a natural urge to really get in there, but only when the time is right. Which is why I've been putting off delving into some of the more traumatic stuff in my life--because I never feel like the time is right. On one hand, I think maybe my therapist is right--what will reliving it do? On the other hand, I feel like until it is dealt with in some way, it just sits inside of me, stewing around, and bubbling up in other ways that seem totally unrelated but aren't, and the only way to rid myself of it is to get it out there.

My emotional memory is caught in limbo. I am afraid of going back into the darkness, but I can't seem to find the light either. There's some kind of comfort in the idea of telling other people your story. Maybe I long for the sympathy; I have been known to enjoy my share of that. I think what bothers me the most about my hidden pain is that it is hidden. It bothers me, somehow, that people can't look at me and know what I have been through. I mean Hope, of course, but also the depression, the vulva issues, the other surgeries, the way it's scarred me inside, the way it's affected everything. I don't especially want special treatment--I just want people to know, for some reason. Maybe it's because I feel like so many health care professionals denied my pain, both physical and emotional, at different points in my medical past. Maybe it's because of society's emphasis on "getting over it" and "moving on," or even society's preoccupation with "being happy" (and the associated pressure that goes along with that). Maybe I resent the fact that people think I'm "fine" now, or count me among the "normal" people, when inside I still identify myself as someone who is broken in many ways.

The next logical thought is the old, "Maybe I enjoy being a victim." But I don't think that's a fair statement (feel free to weigh in here). I think maybe I just want recognition or acknowledgment (in what way, I don't know) for what I've gone through, and that doesn't come very often in this world, and especially not years after the fact.

It's odd because after Hope died, I tried so hard to just fit in with the world around me even though I felt so alien...and now, sometimes, I wish there was some kind of special mark that just arises on your cheek or something after you've been through the loss of a child. Like a medal of honor, of survival. A lot of us would have that mark, and that in itself would be comforting in a way. Terribly sad, yes, but comforting. To know that we are not so unusual.

Maybe that's what my problem is--that I still feel like a freak after five years, and I'm sick of the shame of it, the way I always have to think about it when someone asks how many kids I have, the way my heart beats a little bit faster whenever I know I am going to mention her name and the way my stomach drops in self-disappointment when I decide not to, the way I use her memory to punish people who seem to have forgotten. I shame myself by going around and around with her memory, telling myself that tomorrow will be the day when I really try to start talking to Bubba about his sister but knowing that I won't because it's just too hard to explain and then realizing that he is growing up not having a clue about her.

My god, it will five years this June since I lost my daughter. Five years. Having her and losing her was the defining moment of my life, even more so than having my son. I don't know what that means about me, or whether it's good or bad, but it just is.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Attention Pioneer Girl!!!

I saw your note over on LilCherie's blog...don't know when you left it, but it gave me the idea to leave a note for you here. I'm kind of afraid to call you because I don't want to cause any more problems. So call me, text me, email me, and let me know how you are doing! I'm thinking of you.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Vulvar Underground

Okay, I've teased you long enough, and the payoff probably isn't going to be so great. But I have a few things to say about vulvas, so here goes.

If you are a devoted reader of my blog, you may remember this post, where I posted my sorry list of ailments over the years, most of them down under. Other than the loss of my daughter, by far the worst, most psychologically damaging health issue I've had is the "periclitoral abscess." Yep, an abscess right next to my clitoris. This ailment, which arose for no apparent reason, introduced me to the mysterious world of the vulva, a world with all sorts of different parts, all with their own Latin names. I could (and maybe will, for therapeutic purposes) write entire posts about the multiple traumas that went along with the abscess, many at the hands of medical "professionals." But the purpose of this post is different, and that is, to talk about the general shame involved in vulvar disorders and, indeed, in just saying the word "vulva."

For years, I had to see a doctor regularly for this issue, which wasn't so bad because he was actually a vulvo-vaginal specialist, and he was in his 60s, so one knew that he was pretty unflappable, so to speak. He also had fingers like tree trunks, but that's beside the point. During this time I would also have to go see general practitioners for the regular stuff, and was battling infertility so I was also seeing a rotating crop of four REs. Since I was either on medication or having surgery or both for the vulvar abscess, I would have to tell them about it, and the word "vulva" seemed to stick in my throat every time (that sounds kinda dirty, doesn't it?) Moreover, it also seemed to kind of embarrass even the regular doctors. Is it just me, or do people have trouble with the word "vulva"?

During the worst of it, I was googling for whatever information I could find on this, partly for knowledge and partly because I just wanted to know that I wasn't the only freak out there who was dealing with this. I didn't find much about women with my particular issue, but I did end up reading several sites that dealt with women's personal experiences with vulvar cancer. One night, as I was reading about the shame so many other women had about this particular kind of cancer, I just became incredibly angry that we feel so embarrassed and alone whenever anything is wrong with this part of our bodies. I am angry that just saying the word "vulva" makes most women giggle with embarrassment or look completely mortified. I'm angry that this part of our body is not given the respect it deserves.

There are, in fact, women who don't even really know what the vulva is. To be clear, it is the mons pubis (the soft, cushiony part where your pubic hair starts), the labia majora (outer lips), labia minora (inner lips), the clitoris, and the opening to the vagina. Here's a good link with a diagram and also instructions on how to do a self-exam for cancer.

It irritates me to no end when I hear people refer to this part of the body as "the vagina." The vagina is completely separate and different from the vulva, but I think people are just more comfortable saying the word "vagina." The vulva is not the vagina's ugly stepsister--it is a world unto its own! It's not right to reduce our sex organs to the just the part that gives men the most pleasure. Especially when the organ that generally gives us the most pleasure doesn't even have a uniform pronunciation.

It seems that for some reason, referring to the vulva is difficult for women (and men). When it comes to sex, that can cause all kinds of problems, from simple miscommunication to anorgasmia. When it comes to health, it can mean that women may not pay much attention to what's going on "down there" and/or postpone seeing a doctor if there is something wrong. And that can kill you!

Fifty years ago, breasts were treated in much the same way. It took some brave women like Betty Ford to "come out" about breast cancer and some purposeful advocacy to get to the point where breast cancer can be discussed openly (here's a good link on the history of breast cancer advocacy). Now, as we know, it's kind of America's sweetheart of cancer awareness (which involves a whole other set of complicated issues). I wish the same thing would happen for the poor old neglected vulva. Can you imagine a "Vulvar Cancer Awareness Month," complete with it's own little ribbon (what color? Red?) Or a famous woman coming out and saying "I have vulvar cancer, and I had my clitoris and labia removed to save my life?"Or seeing special reports on the six o'clock news featuring a little graphic of a woman feeling up her vulva for lumps (her hand strategically placed over her clitoris, of course)?

And let's not even get started on research efforts that might find other ways to cure vulvar cancer, treatments that could eliminate the horrific "standard of care" which is usually hacking off the clitoris, labia, and everything else in the area (although unfortunately, this is still the primary treatment for many cancers, including breast). I know that breast cancer is many times more common than vulvar cancer, but I still wish that women didn't feel ashamed of either one. I imagine that some men (by that I mean the ones who think about stuff other than Guitar Hero and sports and all the stupid shit men usually spend their time thinking about) feel similarly about the testicular cancer/penile cancer double standard...but I have to pick my battles and since I don't have testicles or a penis, the vulva issue takes top billing for me.

So that's how I feel about vulvas. I've never really known what to do with these thoughts, so writing this post felt really great. I know I'm not the person to take up the mantle of vulvar cancer rights, but in my own small ways I try to enlighten at least a few people here and there by sharing my story when it seems appropriate, by trying not to feel or seem embarrassed by saying the word or relating my medical history, and now, by writing this for you all. I'd love to hear what you have to say about it!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Happy Birthday LilCherie!

Hey! It's your birthday! In approximately 2 hours and 7 minutes (can't tell I'm counting the minutes, huh?) I will be heading out to come to your birthday bash. I cannot wait!!!

So, you're 37 now, which means I have only six more months of being younger than you :-) Wow. 37! Remember when we were just 17 and thought we were so grown up? We were 17 TWENTY YEARS AGO!!!! I remember it like it was yesterday. So glad you're not still with Brent :-)

Hope you have a great birthday and a great 37th year. Thanks for sharing it all with me!

Friday, January 18, 2008

"You happy now Mommy?"

Disclaimer: This is a long post bitching about being a mother. Which makes me feel guilty because I wanted him so bad and I'm a deadbabymama and had infertility and all that stuff. And guilty that some of the people reading this have suffered infertility and losses, some recent. So if you don't want to read the bitching, please, don't feel obligated. I understand.

Do ever get to work and think OH MY GOD because the last two hours you spent at home seemed like more work than the next 8 to 9 you are going to spend at work and then you know that the four hours after that will be more work than the two you just did?

Last night I came home and crashed at 6:30 p.m. The next time I awoke was at 3 a.m. when Bubba was having a hysterical meltdown because he wanted Daddy to sleep with him. Once again, we are trying to get Bubba to sleep in bed, by himself. J. actually started crying last night because it hurt him so much to say no. Eventually Bubba settled in on the floor in the hallway, and apparently later moved to the couch. Is this acceptable? I'm not sure where I should stand on that one so input is welcome!

This morning I woke up and took the morning shift because I knew J. had been up most of the night on the computer/dealing with Bubba. So from 6:30 to 8:15 a.m., I threw some clothes in the dryer, folded the laundry that J. has been working on all week but apparently just couldn't take it that extra mile and bring it upstairs while watching Bubba while he played with his Thomas toys in the basement.

Then I took a shower, got myself ready, dug through the clean laundry that was hidden in J.'s room to find Bubba's fresh jammies--one of only two pairs that really fit him--because today is jammie day at school. (Yesterday was blue day; we narrowly missed disaster because J. forgot and was about to dress him in a khaki theme before I figured it out. Next week I have to bring an orange-colored food to daycare for the coup de grĂ¢ce of their colors week.) Then I fixed Bubba breakfast, put away the clothes I folded, fixed Bubba more breakfast because he was still hungry, and cleaned up the kitchen. Then lotioned and dressed Bubba, had the "we HAVE to go to school today, Bubba," argument while J. was getting ready, found him some Monster snacks for the car because apparently two waffles and three glasses of juice wasn't enough for him, got all suited up for the Arctic cold, and got in the car, where Bubba spent the next 20 minutes alternately arguing with us ("No it's NOT wintertime! No the sun ISN'T shining!") or telling us in detail the parts he really likes on Lilo & Stitch.

I'm sure this post is really boring, but I just had to get it out because my kid is driving me crazy. I think that's why I've been sleeping so much this week--I just can't take it! Yesterday I tried taking half an anxiety pill about half an hour before going home. I figured half a pill might keep me calm but conscious enough to function. I guess not.

Lately I just dread going home. Wednesday night (remember Wednesday? The day I posted about what a good mood I was in?) we got home and J. had to work late so it was Bubba and me. Because Bubba holds his poop in and it's a problem even with the Miralax he's on, I've been trying to get a habit going where every night, a few minutes after supper, he sits on the potty and just tries. Wednesday night he threw a huge, hysterical, kicking, screaming fit because he didn't want to do it. After I got him calmed down and on the pot (he didn't go), then he had another huge, hysterical, kicking, screaming fit because he didn't want to take a bath. Then he didn't want to get out of the tub. Then he fucked around while I was trying to get him in his jammies. Every fucking thing is a struggle. At that point I got the closest I've been to slapping him in a long time. I was kind of proud of myself because I didn't. Which is kind of pathetic. (One of the few things I can pride myself on in my parenthood "journey" is that I've never hit him.) He realized I was at the snapping point and started listening a little bit more, and then asks, "You happy Mommy?" I just could not bring myself to "get over it." I told him no, I wasn't happy. A few minutes later he says, "I'm listening now, you happy Mommy?" I barked back, "No! I'm still not happy!" Oh is he going to need therapy.

I feel like every time I start enjoying him, he enters a new phase that is totally and completely infuriating. I feel like I keep going back to that postpartum time when I couldn't stand being a mother. Then I wonder if I really did have postpartum depression or if it was just that I'm really not cut out for this parenthood thing. Then I feel really guilty because I finally got my living, healthy kid and this is how I feel.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Welcome to my hypomanic phase!

Well, wasn't that nice of me? To dump a load of shit into the internet and then just disappear?

Why is pain so damn motivating?

Bunghole: No pinworms. THANK THE FUCKING GODS. Just an itchy butt. Who knew it could be that simple?
Sinuses: No infection. Just "dry crusting" requiring more rinses and Vaseline. I'll take it.
Root canal: Part I completed, no big deal and tooth actually feels better than it did before.
Depression: Relief. Finally. I got my period yesterday and, like every month for the last year or so, I noticed a real lifting of the cloud a couple of days before that happened. Also, I'm finally up to my full dosage on Effexor, so maybe it's kicking in. I'm in a GOOD MOOD today. It's a miracle!
Marriage: Once again happily ensconced in the "let's work on making it better" phase. Three days and counting. I'm enjoying it while it lasts and doing my best to keep it going.

Things I need to do:
•Figure out if the days in which I hate my marriage/my job/my life/want to kill myself coincide pretty much exactly with my post-ovulation phase. Wouldn't it be a pisser to find out that I got divorced/quit my job/killed myself just because my PMS was out of control?

•Talk to psychiatrist about whether or not there's a limit on how many different kinds of depression and mood disorders I may be diagnosed with. Right now I'm confident about depression, trichotillomania, fairly confident about PMDD, and wondering about bipolar II.

•Write some fun posts about things like vulva awareness, weird crap LilCherie and I talk about at Girls' Night, guilty pleasures like (and the TMZ tv show that comes on at like 1:30 a.m.), maybe even ramp up Sex and the Silos again.

•Change my voicemail greeting on my cellphone. I like to do something unexpected and funny. Suggestions are welcome!

•Check into endometrial ablation. My GOD, the shit that's been coming out of my body for the last two days is simply disgusting. This morning after changing my tampon (the one I have to wear overnight for christ's sake so that I don't leak through the OVERNIGHT PAD) the bathroom looked like a scene from Carrie. Jesus. I mean, this morning I had to cover the obvious bloodstains with my hands while having my three-year-old fetch more toilet paper from the hall closet and while my husband fetched new underwear from the bedroom. Keeping my bodily fluids under control really shouldn't be a family project. Ya know what I'm sayin'?

Peace out, homies.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Sore throats and itchy bungholes

I woke up today with a one-sided sore throat with white all over it and a sore ear on the same side. Mustered up the energy to go to the doctor; not strep, possibly virus, possibly draining sinuses (fucking sinuses!) She also checked my lungs which are still fucked up from whatever respiratory ailment I was fighting off before Christmas, so it's back on the inhaler for another MONTH, and back to the sinus rinses until I see my oto later this month.

The doc talked with me about possibly going to the University of We Know We Killed Your Kid But You Still Owe Us Money to have some sophisticated blood tests done for rare immune deficiencies because she is stumped by why I a) catch so many viruses, illnesses, etc., b) end up with so many secondary infections and c) have such a hard time getting over them even with treatment. (The obvious reason would be diabetes but I've been checked multiple times and don't have it...yet.) I'm considering it because I figure that just running some blood tests, especially since we're not investigating something that's immediately life-threatening, is possibly within the UofWKWKYKBYSTOUM's realm of competency. In the wake of my sore throat/sore ear/debilitating depression, I rescheduled my root canal, which was supposed to be this afternoon, to next week.


In more health-related news, we are going to call Bubba's doctor today to find out what to do about his itchy bunghole. Dr. Google suggests pinworms, which gross me out so completely that the thought of "waiting and seeing" for the weekend makes me want to puke. I've had a longstanding phobia about any kind of parasitic bugs like lice and pinworms and the like, and thank Allah I have never had any of those...but I imagine that dealing with them will be just one more of the joys of motherhood that are to come my way. It isn't even the social stigma attached to these things, because I realize it's just a contagious bug like a virus or a bacterium--it's more the thought of a living, visible insect feeding off of our flesh...and the word "infestation" that goes along with it....eww, chills, yuck, eek! Thankfully, J. is handling this chore given my general malaise and depression. To give credit where it's due, I have to say J. has been very good the last couple of days, other than the housekeeping disaster yesterday morning. He came and gave me the car for my doctor's appointment then ran me back home so that I wouldn't have to deal with picking Bubba up from daycare, and is being pretty sympathetic during the 10 minutes or so every day that we have to talk to one another.

Finally, on the depression front--can't really tell what's depression and what's just general illness today. I feel like it may be lifting a little bit because I found myself interested in a couple of different things today: I was pleased that Obama won the democratic caucus here in Iowa even without J. and me; and I was intrigued by the latest Britney Spears spectacle. I can't help it, I feel sorry for her.

I'm also feeling a little more in the mood to write, which is nice. So, I will attempt to do the Mayfly meme that Melissa tagged me for. The goal is to sum up your year 2007 in 24 words to see what was constant, what really mattered, what the big stuff was. So here's my attempt:

Confusion. Considered divorce, still married; realized age three is better and worse than two; felt trapped, Girls' Nights (and my girls) kept me sane.

I think I'm supposed to tag someone else now, so how about Complicated Mama--don't know if she ever even comes here but I recently discovered her and I LOVE her writing; Nicole, who is a devoted commenter here and I really appreciate it; and Yodasmistress, who just visited here for the first time and whose blog I am interested in delving into more.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Still here.

Thanks everyone for your comments on my last two posts. I really appreciate the support and the encouragement.

So I went to the psych yesterday (since we are a one-car family, I had to wait for J. to come pick me up. He was late!! Can you believe it? My appointment was at 11:45 and he got to our house at 11:43. That was helpful. If I would have been in a better mood, I would have laughed at the fact that all the way to the psych office, the song on the radio was "Love Isn't Always On Time.")
Anyway, she upped my dosage of Effexor. I'm not really sure this is going to be effective; the way she explained it is that at the dosage I was at (150 mg) it acts as a pure serotonin booster but at the higher dosage (225 mg) the norepinephrine part of it kicks in so it's almost like adding an additional medication. We'll see.

I also talked to her about the possibility of me having bipolar II, which I discovered recently in my obsessive googling. It's characterized by periods of deep depression alternating with periods of being in a really good mood but not quite mania, as well as the problem of antidepressants "pooping out" after a few months. I would put a link here but my computer has been infected, I think, with some kind of virus that hijacks my google searches so until I get that fixed googling is a pain in the ass. Anyway, it's a milder version of bipolar, and one of the big parts of it is that antidepressants don't really work for it--you have to use mood stabilizers instead. My doctor doesn't think I have that, but I'm not so sure. I didn't think I have the periods of really good mood, or hypomania, but when I talked to Tingle she thought I did. Anyway, my doctor said if we can't get things under control with the antidepressants then she can try adding in a mood stabilizer drug and see if it helps.

I didn't specifically talk to her about going to the hospital because I figured that she would be able to discern from my depressive symptoms whether or not I should go. I was completely honest with her. I was a little surprised, really, that my symptoms warranted nothing more than a few sample packs of Effexor and a "come back in two weeks." I mean, what warrants hospitalization? I told her how I was so depressed it was hard to move; that I was fantasizing about shooting myself in the basement (in the little-used bathroom down there, because I wondered how many days it would take J. to find me there); how I usually dismiss the suicide thought because of Bubba but that yesterday and the day before I was actually trying to talk myself into it by telling myself things like Bubba would be better off without having a psycho mother, etc. I admit I was a little disappointed that she didn't recommend the hospital. Is that sick? I guess I wanted some kind of break, to get out of this environment that seems to smother me, and to have my depression validated by something as serious as hospitalization so that my work wouldn't think I was just a fucking slacker.

So after my appointment yesterday I came home and went to bed. Sometime during the evening J. put Bubba in bed with me, thusly ensuring that I would be up every two hours or so every time Bubba cried, had a nightmare, needed to go potty or needed cream on his butt because he's had some itching issues from a large poop a few days ago. Meanwhile J. sat in the living room and played on the computer.

This morning I woke up when Bubba did, at 7 or so, and came out into a complete disaster of a house. Candy wrappers, movies all over the place, Bubba's toys strewn all over, dirty clothes on the floor, dirty dishes all over the kitchen. It really pissed me off that J. couldn't take 15 minutes to at least straighten things up a little bit. Sometimes I am amazed at what an asshole he is. Then I think I'm being a jerk because I should at least be grateful that he takes care of Bubba when I'm incapacitated for whatever reason. Then I think, well, Bubba's his kid too, and I manage to take care of him AND clean up the house, so why can't he?

So to update you on the sex issue, I woke J. up on Tuesday night and made him read my letter, which outlined in humiliating detail exactly what I was hoping for on Monday and why he hurt my feelings, etc. His response was that he was sorry, he "just wasn't on the same wavelength" as I was. That he just didn't "pick up on the vibe." When I said that maybe the bigger question is why he didn't think of it himself, he responded that our last six months or so of pretty much avoiding each other was still affecting his behavior. I told him I was dealing with the same stuff but still was managing to overcome it to try to make our relationship better. I can't really remember the last time he initiated sex. He said he's afraid of rejection. Ain't that a kick in the pants? Jesus.

So I'm home again today, but feeling a little bit better after my sleep marathon. I am hoping to go into work again tomorrow. I still feel tired, so I'll probably sleep some more. Tonight are the caucuses in Iowa and I really wanted to go and caucus for Barack, but I'm not sure I'm up for it. We'll see how it goes. I feel an obligation because even after this depression lifts, I'll still be living in this country, and I really want to have some influence on who will be running it.

Thanks again everyone for reading and commenting.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Has anyone ever gone to the hospital for depression? Updated

I'm thinking about doing this today but I'm scared.

I called my psychiatrist and I'm meeting with her in an hour and a half and I'll discuss this with her then. Thanks to those who commented so quickly, it helped me make the call.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Fucking 2008

My parents took Bubba for New Year's Eve so we could party with LilCherie and her hubby. We were to go pick him today at 6 p.m. and have dinner at parents'. We spent the night at LilCherie's and then had a whole day to spend as adults.

The day dawned bright and cold, finding me and in a pretty good mood with the thought of maybe, possibly having sex with my husband, since we could go home to an empty house and do it up, if we so chose. After a many-months-long dry spell because we couldn't stand each other, we finally did it a week and a half ago -- the culmination of us actually getting along for a few weeks.

I blatantly hinted to J. my plans for the day shortly after he woke up. He then spent the next hour and a half playing videogames in LilCherie's basement with her husband and son, even after I called down nicely to "remind" him that we needed to get going if we were to have any time to ourselves today.

I let it slide, and we got back to our house around 1:30. I took a shower, put on a little makeup, put in the diaphragm. So far, so good. Went into the bedroom with some old notes J. had written me in high school. They were sweet and loving and funny. I laughed out loud, calling out to J. (who was in the living room playing his trivia game on the computer) many times about how great they were and how he should come read some.

Now tell me this, friends--to me, it seems pretty obvious that no kid+fresh shower+earlier hints+wife calling out to you from the bedroom=sex. Is it just me, or is that pretty clear?

J. never came to the bedroom. He continued to play his trivia game. I packed up the notes, went out and had a smoke, came in barely holding back the tears then retreated to the bedroom. THIS is when J. chooses to get off his ass and come find me--when I am so humiliated and depressed that he is the last person I want to talk to. I try to pass it off with the "I'm just tired," excuse but it is unconvincing so I admitted I was depressed and told him I just wanted to be alone. He leaves me alone. I sob in bed for awhile. Come out to get a drink and take some leftover painkillers. I ask if J. can go get Bubba by himself so that I can be alone to spiral down into suicidal depression. He agrees. Painkillers cause coma and I fall asleep for three hours.

I wake up, write J. a long letter that he doesn't know about yet because there hasn't been a moment without Bubba around since he got back. Eat something. Start feeling a little calmer. J. and Bubba come home, Bubba's wired. J. lets me know that my parents seemed disappointed that I hadn't come for supper/the Bubba pick-up. I call my parents to apologize for my absence and to explain that it wasn't them, it was me and my depression, etc.

My dad decides to ignore the fact that I was calling to fucking apologize and tells me that I "owed" them at least a phone call to let them know I wasn't coming. He gives me a good old-fashioned guilt trip: about Mom slaving away in the kitchen all day, about how J. and I never seem to get any better and that it's causing HIM problems because he's so worried about us, about how unfair it is that he and Mom and everybody else has to deal with my emotional problems.

I pretty much went off on him. Told him I have an illness and yep, they have to fucking deal with it or not be around me because I have a fucking illness and it's not like I choose to be this way. That I'm not that shitty of a daughter. That reaming me out about not calling to tell them I wasn't going to be there is not "being supportive." That I can't solve my parent's marital problems and he can't solve mine and that's just the way it is. That the reason I couldn't "just make a phone call" in the midst of my emotional and psychological pain is that I was too busy fantasizing about going into our basement bathroom and putting a bullet in my head before I conked out in a drugged stupor from medication to try to calm myself down. When he started ragging on me about something else I said, "I learned from the best!" and hung up on him.

Then I cried, went to the store to get my son some popsicles and ice cream because he was incessantly asking for them, watched half of Shrek 3 while intermittently and surreptitiously wiping tears away from my face. The evening winds down and the bedtime battle with Bubba is beginning. "I wanna sleep in your bed," he whines, over and over again. What does my husband say?

"No, Bubba, you're going to go into your bedroom and Mommy's going to read you a story and then she'll lay with you until you fall asleep." Fuck me. The fucking LAST THING I CAN HANDLE IS FIGHTING WITH MY KID ABOUT GOING TO SLEEP, JESUS CHRIST, I'M TRYING TO FIGURE OUT IF I SHOULD GO TO THE GODDAMN ER AND GET ADMITTED TO A PSYCH WARD AND YOU WANT ME TO FUCKING PUT THE KID TO GODDAMN BED???? I tell him I can't handle it tonight. He sighs and trudges into the bedroom to do it. It seems I've failed once again.

I suck.