The Waiting Room Rumination

I rounded the parking lot for the second time in a row. I didn’t mind the long walk to the back of the hospital where the ER entrance was located but I knew my husband R wouldn’t let me get the car for him after he was released. He would insist on walking to the car. 

We are currently in hour 4 of waiting to be seen. I repeat, we are currently in hour 4.

R has experienced a lot of trauma from the accident as well as all of the surgeries proceeding so when he started to experience pain that didn’t go away this morning, he was mildly concerned. 

I went to work that afternoon and was waiting for the girls to get out of band when he texted me:

I am going to the ER after I pick up the boy.

I called him and immediately we had the conversation that is constantly on loop:

  • Maybe I should go to the ER.
  • No, I don’t need to go.
  • If I go, you don’t need to come. I can drive myself.
  • Wait, the pain is the same.
  • Maybe I’ll just wait until tomorrow. 

So fast forward lots of phone calls to friends and my mom to cover kid duty including errands, dinner, and bedtime.

We are still here.

  
I must be getting better at this. As soon as R checked himself in, I made a beeline for the Starbucks in the hospital. In an effort to save money and calories, I have avoided going out for coffee in a couple of weeks. Tonight, I savored every drop of my soy tuxedo. 

An hour later, R said he was hungry. I knew my mission: To find the Mexican restaurant we visited last time before they closed and before it got too dark for me to be out all alone.

Turned out, he didn’t want to eat yet. I mean, really, no one wants to eat in an ER! 

So here we are. His burrito patiently awaits his return in the car. My nachos, however, are long gone. 

And finally, after four long hours, R’s name has been called. I made the mistake of asking if I should go with him.

Of course, I should!

But he scurried off before I could realize my mistake.

Don’t worry. I’ll make my way back there. After all, I’m really good at this.

The Moment of Pride Theory

  

I went to see my doctor today. Since going off my pills in the fall, I had gained thirty pounds and my blood pressure had gone up twenty points in the past year. 

“Why did you go off your pills?” he asked. 

I told him that I didn’t know and that I felt like I had to be off of them. I wanted to see a therapist to help me figure out if I  needed to go back on my pills. 

I guess I knew in my heart is probably need to be on them of the rest of my life but I thought I would have a sense of pride when I stopped taking them, knowing I didn’t need them anymore.

I didn’t. 

There was no shining moment of pride. Only months of despair since I’ve taken my last half dose. Months that were thrown down a deep dark well. 

All I knew is that I wanted to be alone all the time, even contemplated a separation from my husband. It was like my head was the Pixar movie, Inside Out, only…

Only Joy was dead. Anger ruled. Disgust and Sadness sometimes came to play but Anger didn’t like that. It was just easier to let Anger run the show.

But now here I am in the doctor’s office, feeling only Sadness. 

Last year when I saw him he said that sometimes people need help with chemical balances in their head like someone who needed to wear glasses. That person with less-than-perfect vision couldn’t just decide one day they weren’t going to wear their glasses. 

This year he gave the same analogy and I told him that the analogy made sense to me last year.

“Then why did you stop?”

I didn’t know. I think I felt like I wasn’t a regular person if I was taking them, less-than-perfect only I do wear glasses. You can talk about depression and anxiety on the Internet and in theory but I can’t talk to anyone about this in person. No one gets it. Sometimes I feel like I have to prove that yes, my depression is very real but why should I? Hence, my need for a referral to see a therapist. 

My doctor gave me a list of resources and told me not to fret. Outsiders might scoff at his last bit of advice but those in my shoes understand.

We understand too well. Overthinking our way into and through every situation. The sooner I accept this, the sooner maybe my mind will be at peace. 

The Happy Pill Hypothesis

The past couple of months have been pretty difficult for reasons I don’t quite understand. 

  

Wait. That was a lie.

I have, without the consent of my GP, gone off my antidepressants gradually and am now off them completely. I have been off and on meds to keep depression and anxiety at bay since baby #1 was born.

Baby #1 just turned fourteen years old.

Two months ago I was unhappy and couldn’t even verbalize this emptiness to myself, let alone my spouse. Nothing filled this void. Not food, not shopping, not talking about it, not sleeping.

Nothing.

I thought there was something wrong with me. 

But how could there be?

  

My husband was finally living at home. He retired from the Navy two years ago and has gone back to school to study art. My family was happy and healthy. I had a great job. My health was fine.

Or rather, my physical health was fine. My mental health is still sorting itself out.

I finally made the connection of this new and serious bout of depression when I realized that I hadn’t taken my meds in over a month. The slow taper off of them was deliberate with the understanding that I could go back on them if I wanted to. It was no one’s business whether or not I was on them. Fuck them, right? 

I’ve tried talking to others including family members about depression but I’ve given up. Sometimes they look at me as if I’ve announced I was a serial killer or a failed science experiment. Others have bombarded me with questions and comments and I feel like I have to defend why I feel the way I do, why I am the way I am. It’s frustrating and exhausting.

  

This post, like my mind, is all over the place but really, it’s a peek into my head. Do you know the feeling when you’re having a very important conversation with an equally important person and you can’t think of the right word to say? And not just any word, the exact word that is somewhere in your brain and the word that was probably invented for that moment… Only you forgot the word.

That’s been me. That’s in my head.

All day, every day. 

I even dread going to bed knowing that Mr. Sandman will skip over me as he has been for weeks. I wake up a couple of times a night and feel such a huge panic that I can’t or won’t be able to fall back asleep. Or if I eventually do fall asleep, I don’t get the amount or the quality of sleep I enjoyed when I took my happy pills. It too is frustrating and exhausting. 

But I’ve gotten really good at pretending. Hell, I should go back and get my doctorate in giving the impression that I’m alright. Maybe I can earn continuing education units while I’m at it. 

  

I’ve had dark moments that I don’t care to go into right now. Perhaps when these moments occur with less frequency I’ll shed some light but for now, it’s time to try to get some sleep. 

  

Happy New Year! 

Hope you had a wonderful holiday season! We have been fortunate to spend time with family and friends, near and far. 

Right before Christmas, we drove to Los Angeles for a much-needed vacation to the happiest place on earth… Disneyland! Because of the new movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there was so much excitement in the air. I tried to cosplay as a StormTrooper but was quickly shot down by security, no pun intended. Evidently their rules had changed in the last 48 hours to a ban on cosplay for adults. 

   
 
I was able to quickly get these pics before I got kicked out! No, I didn’t get kicked out though I wonder if the kids will say to each other, decades later, “Remember the time we went to Disneyland and Mom almost got removed from the park?” 

Noticeably absent from the pics is my husband R, partly to save money but mostly because he just can’t handle the crowds anymore. He expressed his dismay and believes that he is getting worse but really… Everyone hates crowds! Even I have to take a break from it all and return to our hotel room to take a breather. My happiness and adrenaline level probably outweigh my disdain for crowds. Maybe one day he’ll join us but it’s not something I push or make a big deal over.

While I love seeing my family on Christmas, I hate traveling so we opted to stay home. We went to church on Christmas Eve so I could assist with the CFF classes when they performed during mass. 

  
At the Grand Californian Resort in Anaheim, CA

The spirit of giving is very much alive in our home. L, at only 8 years old, gave all of us handmade Christmas cards. A, who’s 10, used her own money to buy all of us chocolate bars even though they still had plenty left over from Halloween. She even bought cat toys for our old tabby and a chew toy for our dogs to share. And while the boy didn’t give us anything to open, his kind manner sets the tone for his younger sisters. For that we are grateful. 

Our New Year’s celebrations have always been low key as we’ve found the older we get, the less alcohol we consume. We actually stayed up until midnight with family and friends, a first for the two younger kids.  

   
On Monday the girls go back to school. They’ve been off since Thanksgiving break so I can imagine how difficult it will be to wake up… Even more so for R and I though! We’re going to have to be more awake than them to wake them up!

The boy and I go back on Tuesday. I’ll make sure I have my coffee machine ready then.

In the meantime, happy new year from all of us, wherever you may be. Here’s to a prosperous and blessed 2016!

   
    
 

The Fall Finale

 
Fall is not over yet and it sure took it’s time getting to Northern California. We were in downtown Sacramento this morning for the UC Davis Children’s Hospital MaraFun Run in conjunction with the California International Marathon.   
  
I feel like the leaves should have changed colours back in October, right before Halloween and just in time for my birthday. Luckily there are other ways to celebrate fall.

  
Right before lunch this week, the girls noticed leaves falling from trees. We spent the next few minutes trying to catch them as they fell. Girls: 0. Mommy: 1.

The Exrunner Problem

A year ago I ran the MaraFun Run with my kids, both biological and students from my previous school. It was not the full CIM (California International Marathon) but the last couple of miles for kids and families to finish with the actual marathon runners who started 26.2 miles ago. 

We had a great time and even though I am not working at that particular school, I was fortunate enough to join them again. 

We did run into a snafu. We kinda showed up too early. Like a DAY early…

But no worries. I never let a photo opportunity go to waste!

   
    
 

#

Now a day later and we are on the right track.

   

 

The Cosplay Annihilation

So this happened the day after Halloween…

  
My husband asked me what it was for. I’m gonna cosplay as a Storm Trooper next time we go to Disneyland. It’s gonna be so fetch!

Even our chiweenie is not safe from dressing up.

  
The kids have quite an imagination when it comes to dressing up though the Dorothy costume came from me, not the toddler.

  
Speaking of which, the toddler-now-eight left me a full sized Twix and a note saying I should share it with Daddy. Uh… No? 

I would share my coffee if he asked. Good thing he doesn’t drink it!