July 25, 2010

I thought I was becoming a mother again.

I didn't say anything to anyone. Not even to my husband. I just noted that my cycle was late. I wasn't sure how late at first: a week? Two weeks? I just knew it was off. Way off.

I retreated back into that quiet space inside of me where I used to go when William was still in the womb, where I contemplated the unfolding complexities of my life and emotions, and just waited. And listened.

I secretly purchased a pregnancy test and waited to use it until first thing the next morning. I sneaked out of the bedroom and into the spare bathroom while my husband showered for work, too anxious to wait for him to leave. My stomach knotted as I read the directions. I don't know if I'm ready.

I take the test and wait for the results. One blue line. Not pregnant. My cycle began the same day.

I expected to feel relieved, and in a way, I do. William requires so much from me right now that another pregnancy would put me in a stressful position. But I'm also sad. For a moment I expected to feel life springing up in me again, the little kicks and nudges, and the excitement and anticipation of preparing to greet a new little person--full of smiles and wonder. All those emotions rushed through me as I tore the wrapping off the pregnancy test, and then drained out of me as I read the results. Not pregnant.

When did life get so complicated? And why do I feel betrayed?

Why I'm Angry

July 20, 2010

I've done much soul-searching to try to get at the root of my anger. For the past few months, I haven't really understood my anger. Sure, I could recall instances in my life that have made me angry, but I'd eventually conclude that I was over the hurt and had forgiven all parties involved.

But now I'm not so sure. I mean, in 99% of those instances, I feel like I have forgiven all to the best of my ability. But the anger is still there, ready to spring up without a moment's notice. And today, I'm going to be brutally honest and tell you, dear readers, why I'm angry.

I'm angry because for nearly 20 years, I've felt forced to live in silence about a wrong I suffered during my childhood. I'm angry at my parents who have basically pretended, in the years since I've told them, that said wrong did not occur and have discouraged me from talking about it. I'm angry that they did not offer to take me to counseling, even though they knew I was hurting. I'm especially angry at my mother, who once implied that the wrong was not what I had said it was.

I'm angry that I've had to bear the weight of this wrong almost entirely on my own. I'm angry that there has been, up to this point, no safe forum for me to discuss this wrong, even in counseling. I'm angry at the law that says certain wrongs discussed with a counselor have to be reported to the authorities. I don't want to report anything; I just want to deal with my issues! I'm angry that no one seems to understand that.

I'm angry at the nasty, manipulative bastard who turned my best friend in high school against me to the point that she hasn't spoken to me in years. I'm angry that I never stood up to him and allowed him to treat me and my other friends like crap on his shoe. Just thinking about this guy makes me want to put my fist through a wall. A concrete wall.

I'm angry because I feel like I'm the only person in the world making an effort to heal, change, and forgive. I'm angry that I feel obligated to change while others remain the same sticks-in-the-mud they've always been. I'm angry at the times I should have stood up for myself and didn't.

I'm angry because I have to raise a child in a world that's full of evil, injustice, lies, ignorance, and violence. I'm angry at all the selfish pricks who take advantage of the innocent every day.

I'm angry because I don't feel I have a right to be angry. After all, others live in situations far worse than mine.

I'm angry because I don't have the kind of control over life that I want to have. I just want to wake up one day and be the right person, full of grace and serenity, but that doesn't happen most of the time. Sometimes I roll out of bed just to realize that I'm back to square one. That makes me angry, too.

I'm angry that I'm 27 and still dealing with some of these issues. I'm afraid I'll still be dealing with them when I'm 37. Fear angers me, and I'm afraid I'll always be angry. I pray to God that won't be the case.

Thanks for reading.


July 19, 2010

So it's been a solid seven months since I stopped taking Prozac, and I don't really miss it. Sure, it was nice having even moods, but I felt a little too a Stepford wife or something. What I hated most about the medicine was that it affected my desire for intimacy--as in, made it non-existent. And since sex, in my mind, is one of life's purest joys, I knew my days on the meds were numbered from the beginning.

Joys are necessary for sanity.

But I've wondered a few times since giving up the meds if I should ask a doctor about resuming them, or maybe trying some different ones. I don't think my depression is constant, but when it hits, it can be severe. I'm not lying in bed all day or crying uncontrollably, but I either feel spaced out and unmotivated OR angry and unstable. The angry/unstable episodes are the worst. That's when I think about hurting myself. I'll also catch myself clenching my teeth at minor frustrations both real and imagined. And I want to throw things.

The scary part is, I can still function through all of that. The chaos in my head just plays in the background while I cook, play with my son, and carry on civilized conversations with my husband. My husband can usually tell I'm frustrated, but I don't think he knows how bad it gets sometimes.

So I don't know what to do. To be honest, I don't know how to begin to classify my depression. As I said, I think I tend to function pretty well most of the time, even during a depressive episode. But that's exactly what scares me. It scares me that I can be so calm and gracious on the surface, but feel so disturbed underneath it all. My fear is that someday I'll fail to keep it under control, my anger will burst through the floodgates, and I'll just snap.

The "blah" episodes have me worried, too, in that they can last a while and I accomplish very little. I have no idea how productive I could be if I didn't have these times when I seem to almost totally blank out. During one of these episodes, I can barely carry on a conversation. I'm easily distracted, and concentrating for any length of time is nearly impossible. I forget words and the names of things. I fear tasks that require real effort (i.e., anything above housework), so I procrastinate. Badly. And once I'm in the rut, getting out is hard. I have to make a real, determined effort to become productive again on a level I find acceptable.

However, I don't just want to go back on meds. I believe if I could just understand what goes on in my head sometimes--and why--and how these episodes start, then I could be a little more proactive in dealing with them. The best I do now is to stay active and motivated as much as possible, and try not to dwell on negative thoughts when they start running through my brain.

Finding Faith

July 8, 2010

As you know, I'm currently out of town to visit family. I just finished seeing immediate family in Tennessee, and now I'm visiting my husband's extended family in Colorado. It's been a nice trip despite William having a meltdown on our last flight. The poor little guy had had too much excitement.

One nice thing I've been able to do on my trip is attend church. Going to church may not seem like a big deal, but for the past three years I've been trying to figure out just where I stand when it comes to my religious beliefs. I grew up being lectured in the 12-step program of Christianity: read Bible every day, pray every day, memorize scripture, go to church every Sunday, speak in tongues, witness to everyone, etc., etc. And I soon discovered that I couldn't follow all the steps at the same time all the time. It just wasn't me. So I kept messing up. And following the program didn't always ensure that one grew in moral character. Some of the prickliest people I have met are ones that wear the facade best (although, some of the best people I have met do, too).

And then, nearly all at once, the proverbial rug got snatched from beneath me. Between the time my father-in-law became disabled and passed away, the pastor my home church had loved and supported for eight years betrayed the church and left us devastated. I was so crushed, I didn't think I would ever recover. At the same time, my husband began to question the existence of God. Never in a million years did I think such a thing would happen. I approached the marriage altar thinking I was marrying a solid Christian man, the kind I had dreamed about all my life. Needless to say, I suddenly felt betrayed by life itself.

So, for the past three years, I've been sitting around and thinking, "Where does this leave me?" In some ways, I think I'm still trying to answer that question. On the one hand, I still believe in God--still love Him. On the other hand, I refuse to toss all logic and the essence of my personality to the wind just to live up to some man-made Christian ideal. I suppose all this self-searching is an attempt to find some solid middle ground where I can be confident in what I believe and how I live. I'm close, but not there yet.

I was surprised, because when I walked into my home church two Sundays ago, I didn't expect to feel anything. Yet I felt myself being drawn to the front for prayer at the end of the service. As I stood praying with the new pastor, I saw a vision of myself as the biblical "Woman at the Well" with Jesus holding a pitcher of water to my lips, saying, "Drink, daughter, for you are thirsty."