Whirlwind

Things haven’t been easy lately. It’s honestly been a roller coaster for the last week. I don’t really know where to begin, but I’ve got to start somewhere…

Well there really is no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it. I’m pregnant… And I hid/concealed it from my parents for a long time – almost the entire pregnancy. They found out last week. Everything since then has pretty much been a whirlwind of phone calls, appointments, adoption meetings, etc.

Yes, I just said adoption meetings. I am not going to keep the baby. Neither the people in my house nor the father of the baby are in a position to care for it. By making the adoption plan that I am, I’m giving the child a better first chance at life. There’s a lot involved with making the adoption plan, but I’ve got people helping me and with them behind me it’s not as daunting. The whole situation is scary, but I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t be scared in the situation that I am.

On Monday I had an OB appt, but not a whole lot really happened there because of how far along I am. I heard baby’s heartbeat, they took some blood for tests, I got the name of an adoption agency, they scheduled a sonogram the following morning for me, and I made another appt for the end of the week. After I got home from the OB appt, I got in touch with the adoption agency. I was put in contact with the pregnancy counselor for the office nearest to me, and scheduled a meeting for the next day.

Tuesday I had the sonogram in the morning, and the adoption meeting in the afternoon.
At the sonogram I found out I’m having a little girl, and she’s doing just fine. I’m 39 weeks (due on Monday of next week), but everything they were measuring said that I’m 37 weeks. When the doctor came in to talk to me he said that it’s not uncommon for them to read plus or minus a couple weeks when a woman is this far along, so I’m not worried.

The adoption meeting is actually what had me more nervous than the sonogram. I don’t know why because that was the easier of the two. The pregnancy counselor was so sweet. There were a lot of forms to sign, but she explained them individually before I signed them. She went over a huge portion of the adoption process – there’s still some stuff I don’t understand, but I can have her clarify when I see her on Friday again. There was a huge social/medical history form that I had to bring home and fill out, as well as a hospital plan. I’m also in the process of looking at couple/family profiles to see who I want to adopt the baby. There’s gonna be some legal paperwork afterwards that I’ll have to sign – both the baby’s dad and I will have to surrender our rights as parents so that she can be adopted.

Friday I started thinking about packing a hospital bag since she’s due Monday. There’s no a guarantee that she’ll be born then, but that’s when I officially hit 40 weeks. The basics are:

  • pajamas
  • brush/toothbrush
  • slippers/peds
  • toiletries
  • coming home clothes/shoes
  • book or kindle (probably both since my kindle’s so small)
  • maybe a stuffed animal or pillow
  • and of course all the paperwork (that I haven’t gotten yet)

There’s really not much that I’ll be taking with me, because hopefully I won’t be there very long. Anything that I would’ve done from my laptop, I can do on my phone – note to self: don’t forget a phone charger – so that’s gonna get left at home.

It’s now Sunday and I still haven’t packed that hospital bag. But the goal by the end of today is to have it done, so I’ll be figuring that stuff out soon enough. This is gonna be a long week waiting for her to arrive. I don’t have anything to do this week except another ob/gyn appointment on Thursday afternoon.

In talking to the father of the baby, everything is stressful right now. We both just kind of want this whole ordeal to be over, but all I can really do is hurry up and wait. We know that she’s going to a better home than we could provide for her right now, and that’s absolutely what we want. But we just don’t know when the healing process is gonna be able to start, and that’s the absolute hardest part for us right now.

Things got a little (to say the least) crazy last night, so packing my bag got put on hold. However it did get done today. All that I have to grab when the time comes is my phone charger, my stuffed animal, and my book/kindle. So that’s gonna be really easy cause I know where everything is. I’ve got my phone on the charger right now so it’ll be good to go when time comes – it’s currently at 65% and climbing.

I felt my stomach get kinda tight about 40 minutes ago, but I haven’t felt anything since. I’m paying attention so I know what’s going on though. And also keeping an eye on her movement in case it slows down too much and something’s wrong. I mean, I’ve noticed that she’s not moving around quite as much lately because space is limited but she’s still been moving enough that I’m not worried. Hopefully something won’t go wrong now that I’ve started to pay closer attention to my belly since I felt that tightening..

But I suppose the adventure has begun now since today is her due date…

Emotional Downward Spiral

The last few days I haven’t really been feeling like myself. I’ve been kinda distant from those close to me. I haven’t really wanted to be around people – save for a select few. I haven’t wanted to do much of anything. I don’t know that I’d say I’m slipping into depression, but my mood has definitely taken a fall. I try not to let it show too much, but that’s not always an easy thing to do.

When my emotions drain me, honestly, all I want to do is be alone and sleep. But I can’t do that. There are things that have to be done and conversations that need to be had and a life that I need to live. The amount of energy that requires doesn’t seem like it would be much. And for someone not suffering from depression, it wouldn’t be. However, on the other end of the spectrum are those of us with depression, and it takes a whole lot more energy for us to do daily tasks. Sometimes we can’t even muster up the energy for the simplest daily tasks like getting out of bed.
That’s kind of what today feels like for me.

I know I’m gonna have to get up and function around the house soon, but then I’m probably gonna collapse somewhere with my book because I just can’t do it anymore.

These last few days while my brother’s still in school are the slow end of my alone time. I won’t be able to stay in my room till late morning. I won’t be able to do stuff spontaneously during the day if a friend is around and I have the energy. I won’t be able to have my own schedule during the day, I’ll have to hold one for him that changes on the hour. It’s not gonna be an easy summer for me, or for him, but that’s the way it has to be.

Backing away from the topic of my brother and the quickly-approaching summer days. I had other intentions for this post. But now I seem to have lost them, so I suppose I’ll come back to this later and continue when I’ve put my train of thought back on the tracks it was derailed from.

Later…

I can’t focus on anything productive because that would require exerting energy. Energy that I don’t really have. I mean, I’m aware of things that need to get done, but I just don’t feel like doing them. And there’s no way to escape doing things because then it’s just something else for my dad to use against me.

He’s never dealt with a mental illness himself, so he doesn’t understand what it’s like. He would see it as an excuse for me being lazy.

Later, yet again…

I have trouble opening up to people when it comes to my emotions, and it’s got to do with the stigma and the judgement that often comes with admitting that you have a mental illness, even if that peraon is in no position to judge you. There are people in my life who I can talk to about it, but I don’t as often as I probably should cause I feel like it’s not their place to help me because they didn’t sign up for this.

There’s only one person who will let me just go on and on, basically rambling, when things are bugging me. They’re the only person I feel comfortable letting all that stuff spill out in front of. They don’t judge me, ever, and they’ll do whatever they can to make the situation better. Even if that just means holding me and telling me it’s gonna be ok.

And I’m so thankful for them. They mean so much to me, and I really hope they know that.

Something else to be said…

Trying to get help for myself is pretty much impossible because of finances and fear of my dad’s judgement for it. Even therapy is a struggle because my dad doesn’t really think there’s anything to be gotten out of it, he thinks it’s a joke. But if he thinks that, then why does he have my brother seeing a therapist? I’ll never have an understanding of why my dad does/says what he does.

There’s a difference between what I would be taking medication for, and what my brother takes medication for. You can tell when my brother hasn’t taken his meds because the symptoms that they’re treating are physically apparent. Well, not really physically apparent, but it’s obvious in his behavior.

But if I took meds, he would probably expect to see a change immediately like you can with my brother’s meds, even though that’s not how it works with those kinds of medications. They take time to be in your system enough that you can tell if they’re working. And even then, you may have to find another medication because the one you’re currently taking gives you headaches that won’t go away or makes you feel like you’re detached from everything.

In my opinion, therapists are an even more difficult part of treatment to deal with. You have to find one you feel comfortable with. Sometimes you won’t know if you’re comfortable with that therapist until you’ve had two or three appointments with them. And opening up to them is never easy. You’re always afraid that they’re going to judge you for what you say even though you know that it’s their job not to do that. It still freaks you out.

Honest words…

I don’t know that I really want to take medications again. I don’t know that I want to see a therapist again. I thought I was doing pretty ok on my own. No one who knew I stopped taking meds and seeing a therapist ever said anything to me about it.

But looking back at what I’ve been dealing with, and thinking about where I am and where I want to go in life, maybe that’s what I need to do.

I really just don’t want to deal with all the same issues that I did before.

  • The side effects from the medications.
  • The daily remembering to take my medications.
  • The constant appointments to see if things are getting better or not.
  • The having to be so open/honest/raw with someone I don’t know.
  • The therapy appointments where I have to uncomfortably sit and talk to, essentially, some stranger about how I’m feeling and listen to them give me advice on what I should be doing to change things.

All of that, honestly, just seems overwhelming and scary and not really something I want to jump back into. But I know that if I want to move on from the depression and anxiety, I need help. And not just the help I can get from friends to talk to and lean on. I’m gonna need actual medical help. I know it seems crazy for someone to say that they don’t really want the medical help, even though it’s available for them. It would be like someone with a heart disease saying that they would rather deal with everything on their own and refuse to take the medication that would make their life easier, and probably safer too.

The more I logically think about it, the more I realize that the help wouldn’t be a bad thing. It’s just something I’m not used to because I haven’t been taking medication or seeing a therapist for more than a year now. But going back to it would take some adjusting to again, just like anything new, or something you haven’t done in a long time.

are you an EXTROVERT or an INTROVERT?

Extroverts “tend to be gregarious, assertive, and interested in seeking out external stimulus. Introverts, in contrast, tend to be introspective, quiet, and less sociable. They are not necessarily loners but they tend to have fewer numbers of friends. Introversion does not describe social discomfort, but rather social preference; an introvert may not be shy but may merely prefer social activities.”

Another way to ask it: do you regain your energy by being with people or by spending time by yourself Do you think extroverts or introverts have it easier? What do you think the world would be like if everyone was an extrovert? What if everyone was an introvert? Which do you prefer in your friends? Which are better leaders? Which are better writers? Which are better neighbors? Which are better teachers? Does introversion and extroversion matter? How much?

Generally I’m ready for more activity after I’ve spent some time by myself. But I can also be the same after spending time with people. I’m somewhere in between an extrovert and an introvert.

I don’t know that one has it easier than the other because they both have their advantages and disadvantages.

If everyone was an extrovert, the world would be a very busy place. Everyone would always want to spend time with other people. Places would be open 24/7 because there would always be people out and about.

On the other hand, if everyone was an introvert, the world would be a much quieter place. People would spend time with each other, but then go home for time alone before being around people again.

I think it’s nice to have a mix of extroverts and introverts as friends.

Either can be a good leader. Conferring with other people, or taking time alone to think before making a decision.

Honestly I think introverts are better writers. They’re more content to sit and watch people, making observations. And having things to write about is something some people (myself included) struggle with.

I think either one could make a good neighbor or teacher. There are no strict guidelines for who your neighbors should be, and every teacher is different. So there’s no right or wrong answer here.

I’m sure to some people, extroversion and introversion do matter a lot. But to me, it’s not really a big deal. I have friends who are both, and I love them all for who each are. There are times I want to be around people with energy, and times I want to be alone – or “alone” with a couple quiet friends – and being able to do that is great.

Talking Almost Always Leads to Thinking

I talked to a friend last night, and he got me thinking about a few things.

No, I don’t see a therapist anymore. There were financial issues on my part, and I couldn’t exactly ask my parents to pay for it – my dad doesn’t see a point in it. He doesn’t think it helps anything. Although, going back to see someone would probably be a good idea, along with possibly giving medication another try. The only thing is, I don’t want to go back and see the same woman that I saw before. While I’m not saying that she isn’t good at what she does, not by any means, I just don’t think that she was really the right person for me to talk to. And that’s probably something I really should’ve thought about back then.

My issue with medications is that it’s basically a huge process of trial and error. Try one medication for depression, maybe mixed with another for anxiety, for a month or more to see if it works for you. If it doesn’t, you switch to another medication and repeat. I just don’t like that idea; I guess there’s something about there being no “right way” to treat it that bothers me. Everyone has to find the right medicinal “cocktail” for them.

medication-cocktail

But with the possible situation that I’m in, meaning if I’m selected to participate, I would be going back to those things. I would be seeing a therapist and taking medication(s) again. But this time it would be paid for by someone other than me or my family. Maybe that would be something that kept me going on that road to figuring out what truly does make a difference and work for me. I don’t know that for a fact though.

I gave up on therapy and meds before due to an inability to afford them, and fear of my dad finding out about everything and potentially using it against me. But I also don’t think I was all that invested in really trying to get better at that point. I had gotten the diagnoses and was still kind of trying to adjust to the fact that I’m now going to deal with mental health issues for the rest of my life. Looking back, it seems like I was just going through the motions that I thought I was supposed to because that’s what everyone else does when they’re in the same situation I am.

You’re probably wondering why my dad would use it against me.
Well, he doesn’t understand what mental illness is like because he’s never experienced it himself. It’s not really something that you can accurately explain and have the other person understand if they’ve never been in a similar position. I wasn’t ready to deal with his reaction so I never really told him. He knew I was taking medication for something, but I never told him what it was for and he never bothered to ask.

My friend also asked me if I remember the last time I was depressed or dealing with anxiety, or had a panic attack. I don’t. And I guess, in a way, that’s a good thing. But I kind of felt bad for not really having an answer for them.

                             anxiety-cycle                        panic-attack1

The last thing he asked me was if I was slipping back to how I was before or if I’ve kind of leveled out, in regards to my depression. It took some thinking for me to be able to answer. I know what my depression looks like now, so it’s easier for me to see what’s happening and try to do something about it. But I do still have times where I slip back and things are like they used to be – I pull away from people, isolate myself, sleep whenever I feel like it. But those times aren’t as dominant as they used to be before.

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Stigma Fighters

stigma fighters

For Sarah Fader, eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health is really important. It’s important to those who are suffering from a mental illness, and to people who love someone suffering from a mental illness. And just like Sarah, I want to see the stigma broken and gone forever.

For me being a Stigma Fighter, means being open and honest about my depression and other mental illnesses when I’m having a conversation with a friend or writing on my blog. Whether there’s fear that I’m showing or not. Because talking about that is something that is never going to be easy to do not matter how many times I do it.

I could have very easily chosen not to send my story about dealing with depression and anxiety (as well as bipolar II and mild panic) to Sarah, but I wanted to. I thought that sharing my story and letting people know that they’re not alone was an important thing to do.

Mental health isn’t something that most people are willing to talk about openly,  even with people that they trust for fear of the stigma stat surrounds it and not knowing how the other person will react.

It’s absolutely not an easy thing to talk about, but with a safe place like Sarah’s Stigma Fighters series on her blog, you can openly share your story or you can do it anonymously if you choose.

One more thing before I let you go off to read all those wonderfully, brave peoples’ stories:
Please donate to help Stigma Fighters become a non-profit!

Let’s eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health by talking about it!