Tag Archives: mental illness

Memories Captured, Thanks Technology!

After my fifth (or was it seventh?) phone crashed in 2 years, I convinced my husband that it’s time I upgrade.  Like that, I had a high-tech smart phone with all the cool things it offered: apps for everything – maps, Facebook, Blogger, e-mail – and a camera.  A nice camera.  Better than my point and shoot camera, in fact.

So, after a long hiatus from picture taking, I started capturing little memories.  Andrew’s grumpy faces, Emily’s mischievous doings, Emily and Andrew playing and laughing together and Ben sitting with his kids.  With Picasa and Instagram suddenly available from my phone, I’ve taken more photos in a few months than I have in the last year and I’ve enjoyed taking these pictures.

With my weird personality quirks, it’s simple things – like a smartphone – that enable me to engage with my kids and actively capture our moments together. It’s what helps keep me alive and going, especially as I balance school and family and pregnancy (yes, an entity all its own).

While my privileged state is clearly shown through this post, I don’t care.  I am glad for technology and extremely grateful for my smartphone.

{Five for Five Day Three: Pictures. Join in!}

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Filed under My Kids

How Not to Survive (Under)Graduate School

I am three weeks into my program and wondering, what the hell was I thinking?  To make it easier for me and my fellow (under)graduate students, I’ve composed a list of 10 ways to ensure one doesn’t survive school.

1. Have kids.  Lots of ’em. And, if possible, make sure you’re pregnant WITH kids.

2. Start out poor.  Extra stress from financial burdens is extremely important to (non)success.

3. Stay home full-time with your kids, finding baby-sitters *only* when you have class.  This way you and your children will experience (under)graduate school together!

4. Move FAR away from family.  When you need help with little things, like an emergency baby-sitter, you will learn patience by taking your kids with you to appointments and classes!

5. Include your partner/spouse in the school/life/mother/spouse balance by sending them away for a few weeks.  You’ll never appreciate them more than when they are gone and return.

6. Ensure that you live on the third floor of an apartment complex without a washer and dryer.  This will make you appreciate your ancestors as you lug your kids (who refuse to walk), the laundry, the laundry supplies, and your pregnant body up and down the stairs to the laundromat.

7. Live in a *small* apartment.  Nothing like enclosed spaces to improve familial relationships!

8. If you have a mental illness, don’t take your medicine – for physical or whatever reasons – to improve your chances at (non)success.

9. Ensure that your toddler and preschooler are sufficiently independent and busy enough to cause all types of chaos while you attempt to work on a paper.

10. Don’t sleep.  Blame it on pregnancy-induced insomnia, anxiety-induced insomnia, or just insomnia in general.  That way, by the end of the week, you are hysterical with overwhelming stress and exhaustion.  A perfect recipe for (non)success.

If you can, try to combine one or more of these and I promise you the (under)graduate experience of your life!

 

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Filed under Graduate School

2011: The Year of Positive Change

While two miscarriages in a year might indicate suckiness, I publicly declare 2011 a success.

In 2010, the year of despair, I decided to make 2011 the best year of my life.

It began with medication, making my anxiety and depression manageable.  Shortly after, I saw motherhood through a different lens which allowed me to enjoy parenting and really connect with my kids.

I suffered through my third miscarriage in May, two weeks before we moved across the country.  While it was hard, emotionally and physically, I finally reflected on my religion that had promised me a healthy pregnancy, twice, which ultimately resulted in miscarriages.  Since I was often wallowing in guilt–especially as a woman and mother–and confused by all the doctrinal inconsistencies, I decided to seek the truth, whatever the outcome. My conclusions were vastly different from what I had been taught I would find, so I finally said good-bye to Mormonism.

Leaving religion helped me find my voice.  I evaluated my current goals against my dreams for the future and decided that my husband and I were equally intelligent and capable of caring for our family.  We moved to the Midwest, Ben started medical school, and I became the breadwinner.  We learned how a partnership really works.

In November, I had another miscarriage.  Three weeks later, I found myself pregnant again.  I discovered a new perspective with this pregnancy and left my worries about miscarriage behind.

At the viability ultrasound, we saw the developing embryo and a beating heart.

All these events culminated in a successful year and I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings.

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Filed under Holidays

Be Careful How You Judge

When I used to read of other women’s desires to return to work–even though they loved their children–I would shake my head knowingly:  They just don’t understand motherhood.

Even though I would wake up, terrified, knowing I would be home with my kids, I told myself to remain faithful and eventually things would get better.  I mean, I was doing what was right for my kids and fulfilling the role I agreed to take on when I became pregnant–that of being a stay-at-home mom.

Gradually, I saw my life swinging out of control.  No amount of happy pills can make someone enjoy something that is chinking away at their sanity.

So when I saw our money dwindling away, and realized that I would need to find a job ASAP, I jumped at the chance.

I don’t have a job, yet, but will be interviewing in the next few weeks.  Anxiety is creeping in as I realize this is really happening.  But, for once, it isn’t negative anxiety, it is eager anticipation as I think about leaving the house and everything that entails: no more cleaning up after messes all day long; no longer will I hide behind the gate in the kitchen, trying to seek some moment of peace; and I will finally have company–besides my own thoughts–for at least 7 hours of the day.

Here’s the clincher: I feel horribly guilty for my excitement. I thought, for sure, I would be a stay-at-home mom and I would love it.  I guess I did not foresee that my husband would be in medical school, I would have two very active toddlers at once, and that I would be solo parenting for 16 + hours a day.

And yet I find myself wondering, am I giving up too soon?  Will I regret this decision?

I do have one necessity: survival (if I don’t get a job we will be in a dire situation soon); however, it is more than that.  My emotions are crumbling.  I can feel myself sinking into a place that will soon leave me alone, angry, and unapproachable.

Coming from my very judgmental past (personal experience only), I find myself rolling my eyes at the excuses I give for embarking on this new adventure.  Excuses that I once flippantly ignored or arrogantly berated–in my head–when I heard them from other women and chalked up to their obvious weakness.

But now I understand where they are coming from and I will soon be joining the ranks of working moms.  Guess what? I’ve never felt surer of a decision in my life.

Yet my past is coming back to haunt me.  Excited though I am, the guilt for wanting to leave my children at a daycare or babysitter’s house, is slightly overwhelming.  I worry over being condemned and/or looked down upon by friends and relatives.  I am also worried that my kids will resent me. And, to top it off, I feel that I am giving up on a dream I had for so long, which makes me feel like a huge loser and clearly incapable of setting any type of goals.

Clearly I am conflicted and it is painful.  Even though I am much more assertive now than I once was, and I will not be backing down from my decision, I am still worried about what other’s will think of me and wondering if I am a failure after all.  However, I will continue forward, even if it means angst for a little while, because I know I will be better off–mentally–when I get a job.

For you working moms out there, my kids will be fine, right? Did you experience the same angst? And how do I go about finding daycare? 

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Filed under Feminism

Closing Shop and Other Housekeeping Items

After I went public with my disaffection/break/discontent (whatever you want to call it) from the Mormon church–the church of my upbringing–I have had conflicting feelings.  On the one hand, I want to talk about my experiences because it shaped me as a child and continues shaping me as I grow older.  (My entire mindset is Mormon–I see things from a Mormon worldview; I view religion-related things from a Mormon perspective; and many of my friends are/were Mormon.)  On the other hand, I do not want to isolate those who continue to believe in the tenets of Mormonism and, in my mind, religion in all its forms.  It isn’t that I am trying to convince people to join me in my agnosticism/atheism, it’s that I am working through my past beliefs in order to integrate them into the person I am now and the person I am becoming.

I don’t feel I am being anti-Mormon, but understand the Mormon mindset which makes certain topics uncomfortable.   But, to be frank, it isn’t just Mormonism that I have issues with.  It is God, Jesus Christ, the scriptures, and the history of all Judeo-Christian religions.  I am open to exploring different religions and am also open to opinions that are different from my own. Heck, if you have an experience that is or was similar to mine, and you stayed faithful to whatever religion you currently are, tell me about it!

However, you are formally warned that I will be sharing my religious experiences and why I feel the way I do now.  It will be thoughtful and may also be hard to read.  So if you are uncomfortable with that and wish to say something that is not conducive to respectful conversation, do so at your own risk.  That is to say, I will not respond to hurtful comments.  In fact, I will delete your words forever.  At the same time, I have a forgiving heart.  Just be respectful to me and my views (and, by all means, disagree with me!) and I will be respectful to you.

All this is a lengthy explanation for my new Facebook rules.  I will be trimming down my current friends to those who are close friends and/or relatives.  I will not be talking about my religious angst, my political opinions, or anything that might be controversial on that account.  Instead, I have opened a new account that is dedicated to all the above plus a few other things that I will discuss a little later in this post.  You are welcome to friend me.  I am not picky and will accept everyone, who is not crazy and/or a friend whore, who asks.  I might seek you out because I am interested in what you have to say.  Again, you can find that new account here.   If you are not into that sort of thing, you are also welcome to “like” my blog.  It won’t be nearly as fun as my new account, but will apprise you of new blog posts.

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My second piece of business is more momma-related.  Y’all know that I struggle with intense mental illness, right?  (If you don’t, where have you been?) (Kidding.)  As I am figuring out how to handle it (yes, my medication does not make it all better, I must do other things to keep me level), I realize that most of my current stress comes from being a mom.  To two toddlers.  To help me see the bright side of some crazy days, I will be posting quotes and/or experiences from the day to my new Facebook account‘s wall.  So if you are annoyed by that kind of thing, be warned.  It is something I realize helps me see things in a less hazy way.  I love my kids.  Oh I love them.  But mental illness often clouds my perspective and I need a metaphorical Windex-like product to wipe my windows clean.  And this is the idea that came to me.  So I’m going to try it.

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Numero three.  I am revamping my weekly supporting parents write-up.  Look for more details soon.

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And finally, I am taking a short break to recuperate and tackle this enormous to-do list I have.  I will most likely continue reading your blogs but need some time to gather my own thoughts before returning to writing. This whole exploration of my new feminist/religious/philosophical self is exhausting.  Literally, I pass out every day quickly because my mind is teeming with information, comments, ideas, etc.  Also, my to-do list is full of things with actual deadlines.  Deadlines that are coming up real fast.  Yikes.  So I must dedicate more time to completing these tasks (which include some exciting new adventures, I’ll keep you posted) before the end of the month.  I will continue with the Supporting Parents posts because I really do believe in my original idea and because it helps me look over my parenting with an objective magnifying glass.

If you are still reading this long post, kudos to you.

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Filed under Random Thoughts