mental health

Now Shhhh

“Now shhhhhhhh,” she says, “you’ve said it all once and now you’re repeating yourself. It’s time to listen to someone with some age on her bones.”

I tried to stop the pointless murmuring coming from my lips and tune into her voice. The phone was slippery against my wet cheek and I pushed it closer to block out the sound of my brain.

“Now, you listen to me. Life is hard. It’s hard for everyone and if it wasn’t this it would be something else. The trick is to be thankful for your own set of troubles because believe you me, you don’t want someone else’. Yes, you’ve got it hard and I know it. Your mother knows it. And I get so mad when I think of all the things we need answers for that we don’t have here on this earth.”

“But, Gramma, how come you can call me on the phone? You aren’t alive.” I held my breath and waited for her answer.

“Don’t worry about that. The important thing is that you can hear me. So, listen up. Now, I know God has a plan and He loves you very much. You are a strong and beautiful person and a treasure to me, Grandpa, your parents, your family – even those that have gone on before.”

“But, Gramma, I don’t believe in all that church stuff. I don’t believe there is some plan. I have no idea what happens when we die but I don’t think it’s that churchy stuff.”

“You can go on thinking whatever you want. And I’ll keep telling you what the truth is. Now, here’s what you’re going to do. You’re going to look in the mirror and tell yourself that your Grandma loves you more than you’ll ever know. Next you’ll tell yourself that your Grandma knows you can do whatever it is you have to do. And that you’re strong. And special. I know! You don’t believe it about yourself but you DO believe that your Grandma does. So, you just keep repeating that. Your Grandma knows and she loves you. And I can’t touch you right now but you better believe that if I could I’d be squeezing the stuffing out of you. And that will have to do.”

And then I woke up.

Vibrations

My leg is touching the door and I can feel the vibrations of the music through my knee cap. I’m not thinking. I’m just feeling the bass line and mouthing the words. My mouth opens and closes with the words but no sound comes out. I don’t think I know this song. If I was the passenger in the car to the left, I would think I was singing. But if I was the passenger in the car to the left, I wouldn’t be me. I would be him. I think about this for awhile, forgetting to mouth along to the song, my jaw slightly slack.

What if I was him? That guy to the left? I wouldn’t be me. Or I would be both. I would have his feelings. Or they would be the same as the ones I have now, just his. Or they would be different. And I would look over and see me and wonder about the lady driving in the big black van and hope she had at least one other person in the car to make that beast worth while. And I would know that she wasn’t really singing because I didn’t really sing, either. Orange would be slightly different, but how, I couldn’t say. I would like the air slightly warmer in the cab of the car while driving, but my wife would want it cooler and I’d wear gloves to keep my hands warm, even in the summer. I’d hate the birds that shit on the car under the palm tree. I’d love orange suckers and I’d do ceramics on the weekend as a hobby to calm my nerves. Or are they my nerves. Or mine. I don’t know.

My shoe is near the speaker and I can feel the vibrations of the music climbing up my leg. I turn the bass up and look up to notice the sign that says the name of street I know, but isn’t on my route home. I’m confused for a moment and then I realize I passed my exit about twenty minutes back.

I wonder where I’m going.

I’m driving as if I don’t care that I’m not headed in the right direction. I just passed an exit where I could have turned around. And another one. And another. I’m not changing lanes to get to the right. I’m just going forward at a steady 73 miles per hour. Maybe I don’t care. But I don’t know where I’m going.

I’m out of water. My mouth is dry. I have a headache. I get off the freeway and get back on, heading west.

My hands are on the steering wheel and the vibrations are coursing through my fingers and into my wrists. The music is too loud and I turn it down. Then off. The car on my right is driving right in my blind spot. When I speed up, he speeds up. When I slow down, He slows down. I punch the gas and hit over 80, moving away from the irritation. The road is bumpy on this stretch and the van bobs up and down violently for a few seconds. The Santa Annas are blowing hard against the windshield and I can hear the whistle it makes as it leaks through the seams around the doors. It’s high pitched and screaming. All it would take is my not handling the wind very well. Just a tiny mistake going around the right bend of the hills. The tire would hit a pothole and explode. The van would flip over and over, jumping over the guardrail and into the middle of oncoming traffic. I could even take off my seat belt first. I look at myself in the rear view mirror. And then I look away. My foot comes off the gas pedal a little and I slow down to 68 and hit cruise control.

The wind whistling through the doors grows deeper and less insistent. It sounds more like a hum and less like a shriek. I take a few slow breaths and turn the music back on, but softly. I click forward through the songs until I find something mellow.

I’m close to home now. And I think I’m glad. The thoughts and feelings I’ve been avoiding come rushing at me. I’m a horrible person. I’m so unworthy of love. The world would be a better place without me. My kids deserve a better mom. Joe would have a better life without me. I imagine saying that out loud to Joe and I can hear his voice in my head. I would say, ‘I’m too broken. It’s never going to get better. How many times can I say I’m sorry before I get on your nerves? Once a day? Twice? I should just leave.’ and he would say, ‘Only say sorry if you commit a sin of commission or omission against me. You haven’t. You don’t need to be sorry. Your existence is not a sin. I love you. I hope you don’t leave. I want to spend the rest of my life with you.’ And then I’m crying but I don’t know if it’s happening now or yesterday when he said it for real.

The car is stopped and parked in front of the house. I’m home. Home. The thrumming I feel isn’t music. It’s my thoughts and I’m trying to get them under control before I walk in the house. I’m numbing out my mind, creating a buffer around my body and settling in the center where it’s calm and one tiny bit of what I hope is reality comforts me as I gather my things and head up the walkway.

Your existence is not a sin. I love you.

RealMental.org

I’ve made some changes at RealMental.org that I’m quite pleased with. The community continues to grow and get stronger. The things that people share are so helpful to others. I get emails reflecting their appreciation all the time. I’m so proud to be a part of it.

Jess and I started it almost 2 years ago, and while I can’t speak for her, I know that for me it’s always felt like a safe place where I can work out mental issues. Everything is moderated, so there is no anxiety that some troll is going to get on and trash the place.

We have a few new forms to make submitting easier. The Your Story page is where you can submit your story or blog entry. I try to get them out within a few days of receiving them. It can be done totally anonymous or include a link to your blog or website.

As our community grows, it’s nice to know who is in that community, hence the Who You Are page. When you submit your profile (also anonymous or with a link) and share where you’re at at the moment, it really strikes a chord with others. I try to get those up as soon as I receive them.

There is also a short form on the main page right sidebar where you can quickly submit a link to a story or a photo that you think would be great to include on RM. We love all the submission! Keep ’em coming!

The changes on RealMental are mostly due to a wonderful session by Sarah Dopp I went to at WoolfCamp the other weekend at Grace‘s home. I met some wonderful people and came away with new ideas on how to make things better. In the session, Sarah talked about Genderfork and what she’s done to increase the community. I knew I wanted to make some changes to RM, I just wasn’t sure what to do. Thanks for sharing all that great info, Sarah. It gave us a great start.

If you have time, check it out and submit your own stuff.
xo

Back To Myself

Originally posted at RealMental.org.

When I was integrated in 2002, I knew it would be for forever. I’d worked so hard and sacrificed so much to get there, in that office, with the right doctor, to be integrated. There was just no way that I’d ever be split again. I knew it with every fiber of my being. And I was so grateful, thankful. Felt so blessed.

And then I felt SO STRONG. Holy shit, I was a newly ‘whole’ person with super powers. I could do anything and I did do anything it took to create a life worth living. Always working towards the goal of living so close to my kids that they could live with me half of the time. That goal was everything to me.

Through a comedy of errors, there were a few really bad weeks a couple of years ago that almost put me back in the mental hospital under surveillance. The disappointment of my kids not wanting to live with me was the worst pain I’d ever been in and I didn’t want to live. But, I didn’t have to go in hospital and I got on some heavy medication instead because I could feel my mind beginning some separation and it scared the shit out of me. I was so scared I barely could speak it out loud because what did that mean? That my mind was splitting? How could that happen? I was integrated and always would be. Right? Right??

The Invega put me in a mental coma. I couldn’t feel or emote. I certainly wasn’t splitting any further but I wasn’t doing much of anything else, either, which was just what the psychiatrist was hoping for. I was stable. And I couldn’t wait to get off Invega because I had lost my self. The bad and the good and the scary and the great. I had an echo in my skull.

I was scared to get off but I thought about it almost every moment I was awake. With every appointment to the doc, I took a little speech I had prepared to say to her – to allow me to prove to her that I didn’t need it anymore, even if it came with the consequence of the mind splitting being there forever. I had to have myself back.

In December 2007, I went to see friends and while we were driving down the snowy road, popping into thrift stores, I said it out loud to her that Claire was back and maybe she had never left and I didn’t realize it, but I had been lonely for her. And she just said, ‘Ok. Is that ok?’ And I told her I didn’t know for sure, but I thought so. And then we talked about her daughter and my kids and wondered when the snow would end and I felt relieved that I had said it to someone and nothing bad had happened.

In May of last year, I told my doc that I was going to try and get pregnant, so I could no longer take an anti-psychotic drug. She was VERY skeptical, but I persevered and with shaking hands and legs, I walked out of her office with so much relief I could barely make it to the car before weeping. And I slowly found myself again over the next few months after the jaw clenching stopped. I had bad days and some good days but I was always hopeful because I was having days and feelings and I could laugh again and my kids recognized me.

The huge emotions of the past year were slowly being processed. And with every therapy session, I almost talked about how my mind had not just split a little, but actually, Claire was there with every bit of her self as ever. But, I didn’t. I didn’t say the words because I was still scared about what that might mean. If Claire and I were so close together in my mind that we shared all moments with each other and all feelings, desires with each other, there was really nothing to disclose, right? I told myself that a lot. And I thought about what my kids would feel like if they knew. Would they pull even farther away from me? If I spoke the words out loud, would it make it a truth that could never be undone? And that would mean I failed. Because if I wasn’t ‘well’ and ‘integrated,’ then everything I went through and everything I put my kids through was for nothing.

I told my husband. And he asked if there was anything he could do to help my apparent sadness over the truth of it. And I told him no, but thanks for being so loving, kind and understanding. And I assured him that nothing would change between us because having Claire being her self with me didn’t change anything between he and I. Or us and him. And I believed it.

I started looking online and in books to find out if what was going on in my mind was something that had happened to any other integrated person. And I found out, yes. It did happen. And maybe more often than people knew. I felt a little angry that no one had told me. Or if they did, I hadn’t listened. So I was mad at myself. Because now it felt like such a failure when maybe it could have felt like just something that happens sometimes when an integrated dissociative goes through something stressful. But I still didn’t want anyone to know. And I felt like a fake.

For a year, every day, Claire and I would do everything together. And I did nothing and said nothing to anyone else that would alert them to that fact that I had become a We again. Suddenly, I needed a teddy bear. My old teddy bear. Molly. I needed Molly. And I searched through boxes in the garage that had been taped shut for years. I felt silly, searching for a teddy bear. I found Molly in a chest and put her under my pillow so no one would see. But, Joe saw. His eyebrows went up when Molly made her way to my chest before I went to sleep and I saw him wondering what it meant. I lied and said I was using a teddy bear to support my bad arm during the night. My arm did need support, so it was only kind of a lie, right? Partly true? I couldn’t go to sleep if Molly wasn’t tucked in my arms but I didn’t want to think very hard about why I needed her there. So, I didn’t. But in that space between being awake and being asleep, I saw a four year old girl who tucked Molly in her arm, put her thumb in her mouth and curled up for sleep.

We moved. Again. For the second time in a year. And I relied heavily on Claire to help us get boxes packed and things organized. It was too overwhelming to think about for me. So, Claire did it. Things went fine. And I didn’t think very hard about why I was allowing myself to fall back a little bit and why she moved forward a little bit and what that might mean. I just survived the way that my brain knew how to do.

We had Thanksgiving and Christmas and I didn’t write about anything on my blog because I didn’t know what to say. I felt guilty. Claire would do many things instead of me and I worried about what that might mean but I didn’t want to think very hard about it and every time I went to see my psychiatrist, I would lie and tell her that my mind was fit as a fiddle, there was no splitting going on and everything was great. She believed that having more than one personality was the end of the world for me and I disagreed and I just didn’t want to talk about it with her. She would try and make me get back on the Invega and I didn’t want to be a zombie again. And I didn’t mind Claire being around and she liked being back around. So.

In January, Tara started on Showtime, and I felt like a fake because I was split but everyone thought I was still a mono-mind and I felt so guilty. I thought about talking about it on my blog. Telling people the truth. But, I realized that almost everyone in my life now has either met me when I was first integrated and only knows me that way, or depends on my ‘wellness’ and integration to keep their relationship with me safe, namely, my kids and family. And I didn’t know what to do so I did nothing. And I realized that my mantra of always being honest with myself and others, no matter the cost, was a sad, old, worn out lie that I didn’t deserve to say anymore, in my head or to anyone else.

And every episode I watched of Tara reminded me that I was a liar. I loved the show. I loved watching Toni Collette. I was so proud to be a part of it. And then I would remember that I was a liar and a fake and I would go to sleep, knowing that I didn’t deserve anyone’s praise for anything. I stopped answering emails from people congratulating me or asking me for help. I didn’t know what to say anymore. And I’m sorry if you are one of the people I ignored.

A friend of a friend wanted to fly in and interview me for her dissertation. She wanted to talk about how trauma that causes dissociation might be similar to near death experiences. I was nervous. I wasn’t sure what to say or how to talk about it. And my mind just wouldn’t work. I couldn’t follow her questions. They were all about how and where Claire came from the first time when I was four and how Claire felt about spirituality and about her role as the connection to the Universe and all things good. I fumbled for the answers. I could hear Claire telling me what to say, but it didn’t make sense. I asked everyone to repeat what they had said and I tried to get a handle on the conversation because I really wanted to help this friend of a friend. And then suddenly it was just like old times. I felt myself moving back, back and the audio going softer. My eyes got a little fuzzy and I thought, yes. I remember this. This is how things used to be and I guess this is how they are going to be again. And I heard Claire talking with such emotion and inflection and she sounded so smart and she knew all the answers to the questions. Things I didn’t know how to explain and things I didn’t even know in the first place, even though we had been integrated for six years. I felt her voice in our throat and felt how much fun she was having being out after so long. Our arms felt like hers. Our legs felt like hers. And we adjusted a little and our body went into a sitting position that was more Claire and less Leah.

The interview was a great success. She was very pleased to have been able to talk to Claire and Claire was very pleased to have been able to talk to her. A few hours later, the friend and her friend left and we were left in the house with ourselves. I asked Claire if she wanted to stay out and she said, yes, if you don’t mind. And I guessed I didn’t. Devon walked into the kitchen and Claire was happy to see him with our eyes, being in front. And Devon knew, immediately, that it was Claire and not Leah in the kitchen. His eyes went a little sharp and he took in a breath a little too quick. And he simply asked, ‘Is there any problem between you and my mom?’ And Claire told him no, there wasn’t. Everything was cool and if he wanted her to go and have Leah come back out front, she would switch right away. But, she hoped he would say no, it was fine. Which he did say. And Leah wondered if it was because he was really alright with it or he could see in our eyes that Claire was hoping he’d say so.

Joe came home a few hours later. He came in, said hello and swept in for his kiss. And he felt like something was just not right. He thought our voice sounded weird and he looked uncomfortable. So, Claire told him it was her. And assured him that she loved him, too, just as much as me, and, trying to make sure he really got the message, she asked him if he wanted to go to the bedroom with her. Leah was fine with that, because intellectually, she knew that it was all her, Claire was her. But Joe was hesitant and said to us that maybe it would be better if he just got to know Claire a little more before jumping in the sack with her. And that was fine. But Claire and Leah both felt bad for Joe because he looked so uncomfortable, so Claire went back and Leah came forward.

My eyes got clearer. The noise in my ears got sharper. And my hands felt like mine and I touched Joe’s face and told him I loved him. He said he loved me, too, but man, that was a little weird. And I felt guilty. But Claire didn’t. And for the first time since she had been back, we had a different feeling at the same time.

I find myself telling you this long tale and wonder why I’m doing it. It’s going to make things complicated. Claire and I have continued to share space and time. We sometimes have different thoughts and different feelings than each other. But we make an effort to always do the thing that is for the greater good. I think she’s here to stay. Maybe I’m glad she is. I can no longer deny what I am. I’m tired of feeling guilty and like a fake. I know some people will not be able to accept this. I worry about my relationships with my kids, if things will change. I worry that my ability to help support our family will get harder because less people will believe I am stable enough to do good work. I worry that people who have been my friend will pull away because it’s too weird. I worry that my family will look at me as a failure.

But more than all those things I’m worried about, the need to get right with myself has become overwhelming. I want to be able to say that I face the truth no matter how hard and have it be true again. I want to say that I’m honest clear down to my inner core. That honesty with myself and others is still as important to me as it used to be. I want to tell people that having a split mind is by no means the worst thing in the world and it feels natural to me. I want to say that nothing has changed, except everything has changed, but I’m still the same person. We are the same person. Maybe things have gone back to normal. That I’m flawed but authentic.

In any case, welcome back Claire. And hello little girl who needs Molly. I’ll keep her on the bed for you for as long as you want.

It's Not Always About You (Me)

Dear Me,

I know you’ve spent many years perfecting your sick and crazy-making thinking patterns. I know you come by it honestly and that it’s hard for you to stop and think things through sometimes. I get it.

But, maybe now is a good time to talk about some things currently happening that you might be fooled into thinking are about you. For example –

1. When your husband comes home, tired and a little cranky, it is because he had a really long day at work and then a two hour commute in traffic. It’s not because you didn’t fold his Tshirts the ‘right’ way or do the dishes by five or because you look ugly. It’s not about you.

2. When you run out of milk over night and there is none for cereal in the morning, it’s because PEOPLE DRINK IT and then it goes away. See how that works? It’s not because you are a terrible wife/mother. Also? Other people are perfectly able to purchase milk and bring it home. You are not the only one that has, you know, arms and legs.

3. When you hear that friends in another state got together and you weren’t invited, it’s probably because you don’t live on the east coast in the same city as them. It’s not because you suck and they hate you and think you’re ugly and stupid. Seriously. It’s not about you. Feel free to make your own friend get-togethers where you live. (I did! Yay for me!)

4. When someone you are very close to, that you love immensely, that you would die for, tells you something about a horrifying experience that happened a few years ago, they are upset because of what happened to them. They are not mad at you. They are not telling you it is your fault. They aren’t even asking you to fix it. Seriously, can you think of anything more self-centered than taking someone’s hellish situation and making it all about you? No, you can’t. So, sit there and listen and empathize and bear witness to the horror and love them as much as you can. Don’t turn it on yourself make it an excuse to self-medicate or self-harm. Be smart and strong. It’s not about you.

5. When the weather turns ugly and it rains and stays cloudy for days, it is not because the entire universe is conspiring to keep you down. It’s because that is WHAT WEATHER DOES sometimes. So, throw on a sweater and your comfy slippers with a good cup of coffee and try to enjoy a little snuggle time.

I hope this has been helpful and that you keep it close by in case you need an easy reference sheet for upcoming situations. I have faith in you. I believe you can do it.

Lots of love,
Me

PS. You aren’t ugly and stupid. Next time we’ll discuss how negative thinking can influence your day.

Biding Time

~start here~

My alarm goes off and the first thing I think is, aaaaaaaah crap, I have to do this again? This getting up thing? Gaaaaaaah.

I review the reasons my life is so hard including gems like having to use an automatic dishwasher to clean my dishes. Ugh. And having so many clothes, they barely fit in the closet. Boo hoo. And who could forget having to shower in hot water in an inside bathroom? Using pear scented body soap and 9$ a bottle shampoo? Woe is me.

I make the coffee, sit down to check email and Facebook and Flickr and Twitter and express a desire to own cowboy boots. Cute, supple ones. And maybe red.

Finally (sigh) I begin to work and try and make sense of the notes I scribbled sometime between 2:15 and 3:45 am early this morning for the screenplay I’m working on. Wearing my slipper socks (I wish I owned these in a size 10) on my pedicure-neglected feet propped up on the ottoman which is covered with the red and black Navajo designed wall carpet that hung on my dad’s office wall for over 20 years, that I now own because I out-whined a sibling a few years ago, I note the heat turning on and pull my sweater a little closer to my neck.

Staring at the screen, I begin to review the first world problems that I’ve almost allowed to ruin my morning while Iceland is completely falling apart and people are scared, angry and rioting in the streets. And insane government officials try to lie and corrupt. And helpless animals are paying for the very definition of people with too much time on their hands.

And then I remember I live in the USA where we just elected Obama and I feel like I’ve actually received too many presents at Christmas and it’s almost garish and greedy.

I sip my coffee and begin to type.

~fin~

(In case you wanted to check out my pores and sunspots and the luggage under my eyes, I’ve provided this photo:)

leah_jan_09

Sunday Sunday SUNDAY

This Sunday night is the premiere of The United States of Tara on Showtime. At 10pm, I will be surrounded by family and friends and watch as a series on television tries to bring awareness to the illness I’ve struggled with since the age of four. Writing that makes me want to jump up and scream in excitement and call everyone I know and cry in relief and crawl into the fetal position from anxiety and suck my thumb all at the same time.

Along with the voices of support, I’ve had emails and a few comments from people in the DID community that are angry at the writers of the series and angry and disappointed in me for being a part of it. To them, I say this:

I hear you. I really, really hear you. You would like it if the show was easier to watch and didn’t highlight the hyper-sexual teen alter or the cruelty of the male alter. You would like it better if they showed more about where Tara comes from and why she is the way she is. Me, too.

Stay tuned. Watch a few more episodes and see how the character of Tara is handled and how she evolves. There is both humor and drama, as it should be. My life has had its ups and downs and whether I like it or not, I had alters that were very sexual and took advantage of any man they could. I see in Tara’s kids some of the same things my kids had to deal with. I had a Molly-Homemaker alter and I now cringe at the thought of how hard she tried to make everything perfect and I feel sad that she was perpetually disappointed at the impossibility of perfection. And my husband at the time had to try and guess how to deal with me when I switched. I’m betting you have some of the same alter-types I did. And that the character Tara does. And yes, it’s hard to watch, being a person with DID. But for me, that’s because it’s accurate, not wrong. You call it sensationalized and maybe you are right. I don’t agree with you but I think that is a matter of personal opinion.

But what I love about the series is that it’s TALKING about mental illness and DID. It’s making people ask questions and have conversations and maybe, just maybe, creating an environment where people with DID aren’t thought of as freaks. Where they aren’t told to keep it all a secret and perpetuate the cycle of hiding and secrecy and lies. And that is what I’m excited to be a part of – moving forward. Removing the stigma attached to mental illness, or at least lessening the hold a bit. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told by someone I barely know and even people close to me to never talk about having a mental illness because it will hurt my chances at (fill in the blank). Just for telling people what I am. Just for owning what I am and how my brain works. The message is – if people really know you, they won’t think you are acceptable or good enough. They will think you are evil or weird and turn away from you. And that feels bad whether you are mentally ill, the ‘wrong’ color or sexual orientation or ethnic background or too fat or too small. No one should be discriminated against for being themselves.

I don’t feel the series is doing a disservice to DID or mental illness. I’m so THANKFUL that Steven Spielberg wanted to do a series about a woman with DID and I’m so THANKFUL that Diablo Cody read my book and asked me to be a part of it. And even though the character isn’t based on me, I identify with every personality that Tara has. In the same way I had to learn and accept that I was all the personalities that I was and own them and bring them together. And understand that everything I had ever done and everything that had ever happened had happened to ME. All of it.

So maybe you don’t identify with some of her personalities or the extent they are portrayed but that doesn’t mean someone else won’t. Let’s leave the door open for everyone with DID or any dissociative disorder to feel like they are being represented in some way. This is the maiden voyage. It’s just the beginning. If everything isn’t perfect, let’s not get too hasty and throw the whole thing out. Let’s wait a while and see the evolution. This is the first time this subject matter has been tackled on television. Let’s support their efforts and hope there is more to come.

For me, it’s a dream come true.

______________

If you are looking for my book, you can find it here.

Bruxism

Getting off Invega has been mostly fine. No brain charges like with Effexor. No crying spells. No hallucinating. So for that I’m grateful.

Instead I’ve got bruxism. I’m not grinding my teeth but I am clenching my jaw almost constantly. I have a continued jaw/neck/head ache. I actively try and relax my jaw muscles which takes a lot of thought and concentration. I’m still sleeping fine but waking up with a very sore jaw.

According to some sources, it can take as long to work through buxism as you took the drug. And sometimes it doesn’t go away. Some people get the condition when they start taking the anti-psychotic, which i did not.

At one point in my life I was a meth head and while high, you clench your jaw a lot. This reminds me of that feeling. Aaaaaaand I don’t like it.

Bullets

~Gainful Employment

Every day I scour the ads looking for work. It’s my job to find a job, if you will. There aren’t many writing/project management openings in my area and it’s getting frustrating. I’m trying diligently not to let it get to my self-esteem, but there is nothing like spending hours saying, ‘Nope. Not me.’ to get your confidence lagging a bit. My ideal job would be something on a flexible schedule but at the moment I’m looking at every type of job there is from part-time to contract. I just want to be able to go to work every day and feel like I’m in the right spot doing the right thing. Where is that job?

~On The Kid Front

I’m worried about Devon. He’s probably being completely age appropriate and doing/being just what he should but I’m really worried about him for reasons that I can’t go into here and sorry to be so cryptic but it’s his story and not mine to tell so I have to keep it vague. Suffice it to say that I spend quite a bit of time worrying about him and hoping he’s making smart decisions while knowing that he’s not. But like I said – maybe it’s all age appropriate At his age I was having my second child so my life was quite a bit different than his is.

Alex seems to be in a good place at the moment. She’s confident and self-assured and getting her shit together. She’s beautiful as ever and sometimes I watch her face and think how incredible it is that she’s my daughter. She’s working on her resume for a class and she actually has quite a bit for a 17 year old to put on there. I enjoy spending time with her and am repeatedly amazed that I continue to be asked to go and do things with her. I’m very lucky.

Tyler is changing. His body is responding differently to food and exercise than he’s used to. It’s interesting to watch him have to pay attention to things he is used to ignoring. He’s still playing basketball in a travel league but really he’s just biding his time until football starts again. That is where his heart is. Ty is a thoughtful young man when no one is looking. When you ARE looking, he’s full of bravado and teasing. He still gives me hugs and for that I’m ever grateful.

Tony is perfectly 13 going on 14. His hair is long and covers most of his face. He peers out from tiny holes in the curls through his glasses and you have to look pretty hard to see him. He’s bordering on Emo status and his clothes style has changed. He’s finally found a style that he likes and it’s fun to see him care about his appearance. He’s got a group of friends he hangs out with and I like seeing him happy. Happy being Emo.

~The House

Besides the flooring in our new place, which is pretty terrible and cheap, I love our new home. The size is nice. The vibe is good. There are roses of every color in the front and a small backyard with lots of green. I love the deep kitchen sink that even the large pans can fit in. It’s always hard to fit your stuff into a new configuration and this time is no different. We still have boxes in some rooms and don’t know where to put the family games and the important papers but we’re getting there. Every day it feels better and better.

~Joe

Joe has been sick and miserable for days now. He’s coughing and snotty and feverish. It’s hard watching the people you love being ill and feeling helpless to do anything for them. We had one moment of short tempers flaring because it’s hard to not run into that when you aren’t feeling your best. In that moment it was interesting to see how far our communication has come from a few years ago. We mostly circumvented any lasting issues and got back on track in a fairly short amount of time. Good for us.

~Me

I’m getting off the Invega and Trazadone and staying on the Wellbutrin and Prozac. Coming off Invega has not been as bad as some others like Effexor. My mind is a little funky but I don’t get the major electrical charges running through it. Just a dull headache from time to time. I’m happy to be on less medication but not sad to be on what I’m staying on anymore. Every morning when I take my pills I think about how my day is going to be so much more productive and well-balanced because of them and it helps alleviate any qualms I have. The truth is that I’m so thankful to have a way to balance out my brain chemicals. Time spent wishing I didn’t have to take meds is time wasted.

Since my thyroid has been regulated I’ve been able to lose weight at a snail’s pace. Which is better than not at all but just barely. Each hard won pound off is cause for celebration. Historically I’ve loved the treadmill but this go around I’ve found the recumbent bike to be more my thing. I’m not as tired as I have been and I must admit that ever since I started taking the name brand Synthroid instead of the generic version I’ve seen an improvement. I still get erratic heart racing but it’s not as scary as it once was.

~Misc

I keep waiting for someone from Tara to call and need me. I hope it happens sooner rather than later. I can’t wait to be a part of it.

I haven’t been taking many photos and I miss it.

I can’t decide if I want to hang pictures in this house or if I like the blank wall space.

The bird doesn’t get out to fly in this house like he did in the old house. We need curtains to cover up the sliding glass doors so he won’t try to fly through and smack into them.