Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I don't know why, but Halloween always makes me want to read poetry. I blame (well, really, thank wholeheartedly) my elementary school teachers. They were always sneaking poems into things. So here's short on to inspire your own weekend hauntings:

Theme in Yellow
by Carl Sandburg

I spot the hills
With yellow balls in autumn.
I light the prairie cornfields
Orange and tawny gold clusters
And I am called pumpkins.
On the last of October
When dusk is fallen
Children join hands
And circle round me
Singing ghost songs
And love to the harvest moon;
I am a jack-o'-lantern
With terrible teeth
And the children know
I am fooling.

Halloween also makes me think of cheesy jokes, so I'm of course including one here :)

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pregnancy and Depression--how it's going thus far

I am now eleven and half weeks pregnant. I saw my OB on Monday and she got some good shots of a squiggling, half-alien, half-frog (but soon to be human!) creature--complete with beating heart. Never has any whooshing been so calming to my mind.

Mostly I've been trying to not think about this pregnancy so far. I mean, my family has already outgrown our little 1400 square foot home so we've been caught up in the busy-ness of putting our house on the market and my husband has been crazy-busy at work and we had a family sealing to go to last weekend and, well, I've pretty much been thinking about everything but the blessing/complication that is currently inhabiting my womb.

Of course just because I wasn't thinking about it doesn't mean I wasn't worrying. Every night as I go to sleep I chant "Grow little baby. Grow little baby. Grow little baby." And in every personal prayer I can't help but add, "Lord, if it's thy will, please help the tummy baby not to die!" I know it sounds little nutty, but worrying is what I do.

So, the appointment went well and I'm almost out of the first trimester danger zone and I'm starting to think about this pregnancy as a person. I can see the light at the end of the nausea and fatigue tunnel. I've never been visibly pregnant during the winter so I get do some (frugal) shopping. I'm starting to get excited. This is starting to be fun.

Especially when I remember that this is most likely my last. Barring any divine intervention I don't plan on treading the path of pregnancy again. It's too hard on my chemistry. And therefore my family. And therefore me.

So far the chemistry is doing okay. It was a little wobbly the first couple weeks off the meds, but I think it's mostly settled. My ups and downs are more intense, though. My temper seems to flare up more often. I screamed at the kids at bedtime. I cussed out my husband. I had to pray for the patience to make it through Church. Whenever my kids do something cute or someone does something nice for me I cry. I tear up at cheesy television voice-overs and commercials. I decided--unilaterally--the put our house up for sale and my husband got on board, but I was just overcome (consumed?) with the urge to find a better home for our family. It wasn't a bad urge, but it was an awfully powerful one.

I'm trying to stick with the supplement regimen that my psychiatrist and OB agreed to. I did a bunch of internet research and then called them both to get their okay on it. It was a lot of work and it made me wonder what most depressed chicks do. Knowing how bad it can be, having some pretty solid, scary memories of my own personal insanity, I was pretty motivated to figure something out. And I was lucky that I'm good with the internet and have a pretty good network of other depressed folks to hit up for advice. And that I live in an area where supplements are part of everyday life for most people; the people at Vitamin Cottage were full of info that correct and germane(!).

Here's what I'm supposed to take:

*AM: 1 prenatal vitamin (I've got the kind where you take 3 a day) which includes inositol. My OB had never heard of it but psych had; both agreed it was safe to take during pregnancy because it is a naturally occurring substance and (I think) similar to B vitamins so it's water soluble and you can't overdose on it. 1 fish oil For info on fish oil and mood disorders read this article at Webmd and this one at from the Mayo Clinic. 1 vitamin B. For info on vitamin B and mood disorders here's another article from the Mayo Clinic or try this one from the Linus Pauling Institute, you'll have to scroll down a ways to read about depression.

*NOON: 1 prenatal (inositol included) and 1 vitamin B.

*PM: 1 prenatal (inositol included), 1 vitamin B, and another fish oil. I'm thinking of switching out this second fish oil for a flaxseed one. Fish oil is an anticoagulant and so is potentially dangerous to the fetus when taken in large doses--which it usually is when being used for depression. I'm wondering if using flax oil instead would be better. . .

I asked both my docs about vitamin D and they both said that was an unsafe supplement to take during pregnancy. For info on vitamin D and depression read here. Actually the whole article, which is about nutrition and depression, is really excellent so here's a link back to the beginning!

It adds up to a lot of pills each day. I feel like I'm always popping something--especially when you add the probiotic yogurt smoothly I drink to ease the morning sickness. (Probiotics are also supposed to be good for your mood disorder. Seriously. Read this. It's only an abstract, but it's got some good info. It's also supposed to help my unborn baby avoid eczema--which is a total bonus given the saga we've gone through with J and his eczema. According to the internet probiotics are the source of all good things. I admit that all that enthusiasm makes me a little suspicious, but I like yogurt so I'm going with it. Anyway, back to the point here . . .) All those pills are a much bigger hassle than my one Cymbalta and my one mulitvitamin and if I get busy I do forget to take them. They were also very expensive. All the supplements added up to more than twice the cost of my monthly Cymbalta prescription. Now, that's mostly because my insurance covers most of the cost (lucky me!) after we meet our deductible--which we usually do in January when I fill my first month's worth of SNRI. Some of the supplements came in big bottles so they should last longer than a month, but still, it adds up. However, I do feel better when I take them so in my mind it's worth it. Because I'm getting a baby out of this.

So it's all worth it--mood disorder and all--it's worth it.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Mirthful Monday: Antidepressants are no laughing matter?

Since I'm now antidepressant free (it's been three and a half weeks since my last pill and I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that) I thought I'd look up some good antidepressant jokes for you. Turns out there aren't any. Apparently most people who take them don't like to joke about it. Weird!

So, in what may be a truly misguided effort, I'm going to attempt to modify one very unfunny joke in order to make it funny.

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

Norma Lee.

Norma Lee who?

I really don't know.

It's still not funny, is it?

Well, at least I found a funny pic:

For one woman's take on why you just can't laugh at antidepressants click here.

OR, if you need something truly funny to perk up your Monday, there's always Charlie Bit My Finger (Little kids with British accents! That's ALWAYS funny!) or David After the Dentist (Nothing like a kid on happy gas and Novocaine!). Those are always good for a laugh :)

Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-changes! It's time to Mom Up

So. . . I'm pregnant.

I've been meaning to tell you for awhile, but I keep freaking out. I guess the miscarriage in June made me a little superstitious. I had just told a few friends and then--whammo--spotting, bleeding, sadness, etc. So every time I went to write this post I got nervous and decided to just wait. I told a few people because they asked me point blank or because I felt like I had to explain some bizarre behavior (like suddenly deciding to put my house on the market or getting too woozy and needing to hang out for an hour instead of just picking up my kid from the play date and leaving), but mostly I've just been obsessing about it when I'm on the phone with my sister. And when I can get my husband to sit still and let me whine about my morning sickness.

I'm only 9 weeks along. (Read: My chance for a miscarriage is still around 40%!) I haven't seen my doctor yet. (Read: have not actually confirmed existence of baby. Could be a blighted ovum. Or a chemical pregnancy. Or an, ahem, hysterical pregnancy--isn't that right up my alley!) I'm sick and tired. (Read: those are good signs that this is a viable pregnancy, but they don't really induce me to blog.)

I'm owning up to it now since I hear I was outted at a ward party and because well, this random telling-people-sometimes-thing isn't working for me anymore. This pregnancy has raised a lot of issues for me and I find myself wanting to blog about it but being too afraid of what that would mean. So it's time I man up, or mom up, as the case may be.

I've met with my psychiatrist and per my pregnancy plan, it was time to wean off my medicine. Since I was on the smallest dose available that meant stop taking it. As near as I can tell I haven't suffered any real physical symptoms. Everyone on the internet who takes Cymbalta and then quits complains of "brain zaps." Haven't had any of those. My sweatiness has actually decreased since I quit the medicine and I appreciate that.

As for mood symptoms, well, the jury is still out. Don't get me wrong. I've been moody. Actually, MOODY is probably more appropriate, but there's no real way of knowing if it's the pregnancy or the lack of SNRI or the horrible weather we've been having or what. I feel like my intrusive thoughts are back. . . and that's been a little bothersome. They're mostly pretty quiet, though. Surprising but quiet. Prayer--and music, any music with words--has been helping a lot with those. I've been having trouble sleeping, too. Falling asleep is the hardest thing. My brain just goes nuts when I lay down, spinning out all sorts of disaster scenarios. But I'm working on a mantra to calm it down. I'm kind of scared for what the next eight-ish months hold. Perinatal (and postpartum) depression really is a crapshoot. A lot of the time it feels like there's now way to win. Not taking my medicine is supposedly better for the tummy baby, but not if I'm crazy. But if I'm not really crazy, then being on the medicine is a pretty big gamble.

I've been taking my prenatals and some supplemental fish oil and vitamin B because those two have helped a lot of other depressed people going off their meds. But the vitamin B turns my urine electric lemon yellow (you wanted to know that, right?) and since it's water soluble the recommended dose for depressed people is really high--which doesn't seem safe since there's a bun in the oven. The fish oil is fine going down, but every now and again it gives me fish burps, which don't help with the nausea. And the recommended dose for depressed folk is again very high--which is absolutely NOT SAFE when pregnant because of fish oil's anticoagulant properties. I need to talk with my OB about it, but I don't see her until the end of the month.

So basically I'm a slightly fatter, very moody version of myself who is going sometimes-crazy trying to get her house ready to sell--while mentally crossing my fingers for good luck this time around. I hate being on the wrong end of statistics!

Anyway, I hope you all are in just as exciting places in your lives :) Let's make a deal: I'll keep my fingers crossed for you and you keep my fingers crossed for me and then we can all relax. . . After all, it's time to mom up and do this.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mirthful Monday: Inspirational Translations

I thought I'd better put up a Mirthful Monday after last Friday's depressing (can't say I didn't warn you!) short story. So here's some inspirational translations to get your week started off right.

For those of you who need to be reminded to take risks:

For those of you who need to be reminded to dream big:

And for those of you who need to be reminded to be courteous:

Happy Monday!

Friday, October 2, 2009

I've always wanted to be a multi-drafter

but most of my writing is done single-drafter style. Mult-drafters seem to have more fun. So I'm taking LDSP up on her Friday Writing Prompt. Hold on to your keyboards folks. This could be really bad.

(Dear LDSP, I'm know I'm supposed to start my piece with "In this one you are" but that is such a weird starting line for me. I'm taking this in my own direction. . .)

Every time she saw the picture on his dresser, Stacey got angry. Her jaw clenched, her shoulders tightened, and she had to remind herself to breathe. She knew it was irrational but seeing that perky, smiling woman staring at her--with one arm around John--she just got angry.

She tried logic. "John, it's such an old picture! After all these years of marriage, can't you just put it away?"

She even tried being honest with him. "Honey, I know it means a lot to you, but for me. . .well, I just . . . I'm just tired of looking at it. It's like she's mocking me."

Most recently she took the picture and hid it, thinking he might not notice. It took John less than five minutes to find it and restore it to its place of honor on his dresser.

This morning she took the picture into the bathroom and held it next to her face in the mirror. She couldn't believe how different the two reflections were. The woman in the picture was so young--no bags under her eyes or on her hips--there was even a little childish roundness to her face. Her smile held hints of laughter and her eyes seemed to meet the future without flinching. Stacey suspected it was lighting of the shot, but the woman in the picture was practically shining. Shining hair, shining teeth, glowing skin.

Stacey's own face was exhausted. Not only were there bags under eyes and on her hips (she silently thanked her five children for that), but her hair was short and her teeth were more mother-of-pearl than shining white. There was no way she could measure up to the woman in the picture. Stacey had done too much and worked too hard. Too many sleepless nights. Too many loads of dishes. Too many children suckled. Too many arguments with John.

In the picture, John was basking in that woman's radiance and whenever Stacey saw him look at the picture part of that radiance seemed to fill him again. She couldn't remember the last time he'd looked at her that way. For all of that, she couldn't remember the last time he'd actually looked at her. Stacey wasn't angry; she was jealous.

But no matter how many times she tried explaining it to John he just didn't seem to understand. Whatever she said his answer was always the same:

"How can you jealous of yourself? That's the woman I married. That's the woman I love. And I plan to look at her as much as I want."

It broke Stacey's heart, though, having to compete with herself that way. She knew she wasn't that woman. She knew John was living in the past. She knew she had changed. She just didn't know if John could love those changes.