Beached Whale

I’m just stuck, energetically, physically, mentally.  I think it’s pregnancy, but I’m not totally sure.  There have been so many changes in the last six months that could be attributable to this logjam.  However, I have experienced major changes before and not felt so inept and unable.  It’s weird having been a person with a quick mind and quick body turning into someone who has difficulty thinking of words and can’t just leap out of bed or a chair.  I feel like a beached whale, stuck here on shore, lying in the salt surf, seeing what was all around me, yet unable to do anything about it.

We recently took a trip back to Portland. While there, we ran around hither and thither, visiting and seeing family and friends.  In the past such a visit would have been delightful to me.  If there had been a free moment, I would have wanted to fill it.  This time, I was exhausted a third of the way into the trip.  A couple of times I just ran into a physical wall in the middle of the day.  I had to say Enough is enough! and go lie on the bed and take a nap.  Pregnancy was definitely the culprit there.

The first trimester of this pregnancy was a nightmare.  I suffered severe perinatal depression without knowing such a thing existed.  My boyfriend thought I was an alien, and wasn’t very supportive as a result.  I still looked like my normal self, but I was not the same person.  I overreacted to the smallest things.  I would sob and sob and sob for hours.  My brain completely fogged up.  I finally realized I was experiencing something physical, so I decided to do some research.  In the process I found Brooke Sheilds’s book on her experience with postpartum depression and discovered that a pregnant woman or one who has just given birth who has gone through an enormous amount of stress prior to the pregnancy is much more likely to suffer from depression.  Considering the level of stress in the years leading up to being pregnant, coupled with the stress of moving across the country, moving in with my new boyfriend, getting pregnant, moving away from Milla for the first time ever in her life, and I was a perfect candidate for peri or post natal depression.

Based on this information, I did further research and discovered that the leading expert on peri and post natal depression was based in New York, not far from where we live.  Her name is Dr. Margaret Spinelli.  She was conducting a study to determine whether counseling a pregnant woman to improve her interpersonal relationships would improve her depression and reduce the likelihood of it occurring after pregnancy.  I had a consultation with Dr. Spinelli and she admitted me into the study.  Since going, my moods have improved dramatically.  It also seemed to help just to know that I wasn’t actually going nuts but suffering from a physical response to being pregnant under stress, and to understand that the troubles in my relationship were making things worse.

I’m still waiting for my boyfriend to understand that my emotional reactions to most things are normal for a pregnant woman, and especially a woman with perinatal depression, but I feel better understanding that how I feel comes from a diagnosable source, one that will go away when my hormones settle down, and if they don’t, there is medication available to assist me.  Considering the level of improvement I’ve experienced without drugs, I am genuinely hoping to avoid that route completely.  I also make sure to keep my sugar intake to a minimum and exercise, because I definitely feel worse when I eat sugar or don’t exercise.

Even without perinatal depression, the physical demands of pregnancy aren’t much fun.  I did not like being pregnant with Milla.  This pregnancy is no exception.  When I was pregnant with Milla I would hear about women who said they never felt better that when they were pregnant.  My response to that was they must have felt pretty crappy the rest of their life!  I like having a clear brain.  I like having a lithe body.  I can’t wait to have the little baby out here so I can get off this beach and back into the ocean.

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All the Wittle Animals and Adam

My friend wrote this.  I thought it was such a funny story, I had to post it.

Once upon a time, God got an itch to create himself some little planet.  Yeah.  And on the planet he put all the wittle animals, some shrubbery, and Adam.  Oh, and then he turned on the light.  And then he rested.  Yeah.  And Adam was lonely so he ripped out a rib and created a woman.  Yeah.  And then God made sure that Adam and Eve were stupid and wouldn’t question anything.  Yeah.  So then, there was a snake, a talking snake, that persuaded Eve to eat an apple.  Yeah.  And then, well, then everything went to hell (woman’s fault, you know).  And then, God wrote the bible and told everyone that this was the Bible and that it was the word of God and that you had to obey it all.  Yeah, even the parts where you stone your own children to death if they profess non belief.  — CW, 2008

My choosing to publish this story represents a perfect microcosm of a little problem I have been dealing with lately.  As cliche’ as it sounds, on some level my blog is my own personal therapy session.  I come here and spout and think and muse and make shit up no one cares about.  Part of the deal for me is that I have to be brutally honest.  But also, no censoring.  And lately, I have wanted to censor.  I have been worrying way too much about who might read this and their reaction.  As a result, I have not been the happiest little camper lately.  Part of it, I’m sure, is that I’ve not been sleeping well.  Not sleeping makes me turn into a rather cranky little monster, if you know what I mean.  Lack of sleep will do that to a person.

But another part of my angst has been wanting to write stuff and then not doing it because of my perceived expectation of a reaction or concern over what others will think of me.  I even went so far as to delete the post I wrote on toxic work places because I was worried someone at the old workplace would read it.  I also worried about what I wrote yesterday about wanting a boyfriend, all concerned the man I’m going on a date with might read it, realize I’m bananas, and run screaming for the hills.  I worried a parent in Milla’s class might discover what a foul-mouthed hooligan I can be.  Then there were a few days where all I wanted to write was a bunch of negativity because I was mired in a sleep-deprived, hormonally-induced, mini depressional psychosis and I didn’t want people to think I’m that much of a mental health disaster.  For over a week now I have not written much at all because of concern over someone reading what I had to say.

Then last night I was reading and taking a nice bath to relax before bed in the hope I would fall asleep when I realized what I have been doing.  I realized I was censoring myself and I had to ask, what in the world is going on here?  I am not writing for the audience, I am writing for me, regardless how stupid, opinionated, depressed, or ridiculous I may be.  I want to have an audience, that’s why I put it out there.  But I can’t write with the audience in mind.  So I had this little epiphany and resolved to go back to being my usual blabber-mouthed, opinionated, cussing sometimes self, regardless if I was having a good day and regardless what anyone else might think or say.

Then this morning I received the story my friend wrote and wanted to post it because I think it is hilarious.  I cut and pasted it and put it into my wordpress window, then when it came time to tag it and categorize it, I started to worry about offending someone or the neo-nazi religious types that might read it and send me hate mail and I got a little flutter and almost didn’t put anything in the tags and only a couple of categories to ensure no one would read it.  Then the lightbulb went on and I realized I was doing it again, censoring, worrying about the reaction, and I knew then that I had to post it and add all the tags and categories I would have if I knew no one was reading it.  I had to put it out there, regardless of the reaction.  Because ironically enough, I honestly don’t care whether someone likes it or not.   I’m just too tired right now to deal with the possible reaction.  And that is the crux of it, I suppose.  I have been feeling so lousy from lack of sleep that I do not have my usual strength and resolve to put up with someone else not liking what I have to say.  I’ve regressed back to the person in my teens and early twenties who had zero confidence in her writing or her self.  I suppose it is normal to make these regressions when I’m overly tired, but it doesn’t mean I have to stay there.

So I’ve put on the story and I put back the toxic workplace post and I’m leaving the relationship post and if there is anyone reading it who doesn’t like it, well, I guess that’s too bad.  Go read something else.  I’m not trying to change your mind.  I’m not trying to make other people hate my ex boss.  I’m not trying to troll the blogs hoping some Prince Charming will read my relationship posts and come sweep me off my feet.  I’m writing because I have to and it keeps me sane.  It is part of my spirituality.  I know that’s a useless psychobabble reason, but it’s true, and that’s all there is to it.

I Know What I Need to Do

I don’t know much, but I know I cannot live here much longer.  I have to go somewhere where it is sunny more than it is in this place.  The summers are beautiful, but they are too short-lived.  It rained most of August this year.  And the other ten months…ouch.  The grey and the mold depresses and dampens me.  I turn into another person.  I need the sun.  I need to see light.  I have rarely needed air conditioning.  I have been my best on the hottest days.  Everyone else is complaining and I’m soaking it up.  I get cold in the air-conditioned buildings and go sit in my car with the windows up on those hottest days, warming my bones, heating up my core.

The sun is out today and it is telling me something.  It is saying get out of that cold and damp.  Come be with me somewhere warm most of the time.

I can write anywhere.  I can’t survive here.  I have little doubt that if I do not leave this place I will die sooner rather than later.  I may have a physcial body moving around, but it will be spiritless.