So. Week 2.
We are all surviving. We managed to cobble together a pretty good discharge plan with aftercare instructions that lay out exactly what needs to be done on what day and where. Family meals are officially a thing now. We eat together at the table every night around 6:30, taking turns with choosing recipes and cooking. Today I dumped a bunch of purple potatoes and carrots and a hunk of beef in the Crockpot and set it to cook on Low for the next 8 hours. Dinner: check. SO MUCH EASIER than trying to put together a meal for an hour while I have screaming children running around my feet.
I am having a bit of an issue with disassociating.
This is probably a brand new topic for this blog. It is one of my lovely mental health quirks that causes me to feel like my actual soul is COMPLETELY DETACHED FROM MY BODY. I do not know how to explain this. My husband has (SUPER helpfully, btw) told me that I sound "nuts" when I try to put it into words. It's such a bizarre feeling that is difficult to discuss with someone who does not understand. It is almost like I am piloting a spaceship, however, that spaceship is my own body. My soul is watching everything going on from some little bubble way off yonder while my body does this weird zombie-like thing where it just responds to my commands as I give them. Zombie Beth shuffles around, picking up piles of dirty laundry and depositing them in the basement. Bubble Beth trails behind and watches from afar. Zombie Beth eats a snack, Bubble Beth watches the dogs fighting over a bone in the corner. Literally NOTHING IS CONNECTED CORRECTLY IN MY BRAIN RIGHT NOW!!!
I need a good electrician for my brain - anyone have any suggestions? Yelp maybe? Google it?
The moral of the story is, today we ate pot roast that I managed to not only make myself by turning the pot on and dumping it all in precisely 8 hours before dinner time, but we also ate it around a table together while we told jokes and teased each other so basically we are morphing into a real-live grown-up family!
I am off to enjoy my 15 minutes of alone time before the timer goes off on my phone, announcing the beginning of "marriage time." Because we actually have to schedule it.
Love you all.
Hope you are treating yourselves well!!
I had to go away again.
After much thought and ping-ponging back and forth, I decided to enter residential treatment for my eating disorder for the second time in my life. Some of you are well aware that I was in treatment for a total of 2 months just over 3 years ago, and I really wanted it to be a one-and-done deal.
It was not.
I had been noticing and up-tick in my ED behaviors over the past year. At first, they were subtle. A change in my "rules" about when or when not to eat, what I can or cannot eat, what is a proper meal and what is excessive. The ones that I was supposed to be trying to follow diligently had kind of fallen off the wayside. I was a loose cannon, and a majorly unstable one at that.
My depression hit rock bottom. I literally felt like I had fallen down a very, very deep well and just SMASHED face first into the concrete floor. Everything was bad, nothing was good, I couldn't calm my brain or my body and every cell of my body was screaming at me to DO SOMETHING.
So, I did.
I literally sent out one very rushed "Hail Mary" message to my old Case Manager at CEDC in Cambridge, MA, where I had last been for residential treatment. It basically told her that I was so far gone that I could barely function, and that I had no idea what to do to get back on the recovery route.
She immediately turned me over to her boss for an intake, and a week later I was back in that same old group room, attending those familiar coping skills groups! I'm not going to lie....I initially felt pretty ashamed that I was back there. I had PROMISED myself that my previous residential experience had been a ONE-AND-DONE and I was NEVER going to let myself get to that point where I needed it again.
... I did.
I started from square one and retraced my steps. Luckily, I had a firm grasp on the tools I had picked up from my last stay, so I hit the ground running. My anti-depressants were bumped WAY up, so I was able to start climbing out of the hole I was stuck in. I was put on a meal plan with set breakfast/snack/lunch/snack/dinner/snack schedules and rules. I started to learn how to eat "normally" again. Or at least, in some sort of "socially acceptable" way. I kept my nose to the grindstone, leaned on a really fabulous bunch of ladies for support, and powered through in just 5 weeks this time as opposed to the 8 weeks it took me the first time to get back home.
As a mom, I felt guilt about being away from my kids. As a wife, I felt guilt about not being home to help my husband bear his heavy load. As a person with an ED who had previously had a decent grip on recovery (or so I thought??), I felt guilt about dropping down to that level of care again.
Then I allowed myself to stop feeling guilty and just do what I needed to do. I challenged the hell out of myself on a daily basis. I ignored the screams of rage coming from the ED part of my brain, and I tried to focus on what my treatment team was telling me was healthy and appropriate. I know you will be SHOCKED to hear that those two voices clashed over literally everything having to do with putting a bite of food into my mouth.
Eventually, ED got quieter.
Now I can begin the next step of my journey - taking everything that I learned with me and bringing it to my family at home.
Wish me luck.
Definitely going to need it.
Scratching and scrambling and trying desperately to get a good grip and pull myself out of this dark and lonely place, but can't find seem to gain any ground.
I am....not great. I have been "not great" for a few months now. Every day seems to be a struggle to get through. Every morning I have to force myself to sit up and climb out of bed. Getting off the couch is as daunting as going for a 10 mile run. I spend literally every single ounce of energy I manage to dredge up on our three kids. They are all at completely different stages in their lives, and they all have significant demands that must be met all day, every day. I feel like I disappear a little more each day. I'm becoming transparent. I'm not even a real person anymore - I am merely here to ensure these three children grow to be happy, healthy, strong human beings. I cook, and there's always someone who is unhappy with the food and mealtime turns into a battle we've fought so many times before. I clean, and then someone walks into the room and dumps their bag or shoes or toys all over the floor so that it looks like a frat house the morning after a party. I ask for 5 minutes of alone time, and I get 30 seconds before the kids are fighting with each other and one of them is screaming while the other one is crying. I try to read a book, but my brain isn't able to focus enough to absorb any of the words. I try to watch TV, but I zone out and end up having to rewind multiple times just to keep up with the plot line. I think of a million crafting projects I want to do, but just can't muster the strength needed to get all of the supplies together. I keep opening apps on my phone only to forget why I wanted to use them in the first place. I think of posts I want to write all day long, but never seem to find a minute to type them up. I think about making a list of all of the things I want to write about so that I can look back on it later for inspiration, but taking a second to jot things down seems like an insurmountable task.
This is depression.
I just CAN'T. I can't think, I can't do, I can't feel.
No, I don't want to talk about it. Yes, my therapist is aware of all of the issues going on. No, my antidepressants don't seem to be working even though we have me on the maximum dosage. No, I don't need any suggestions as to how I can feel better.
I know that I should take some time to myself and get out of the house without any kids. I can never seem to find a good time to do it, and if I ever get any time without children I usually opt to take a nap because getting dressed and driving somewhere seems like a monumental task.
I know that I need to get better with my eating and stop the ED behaviors that have come back so viciously over this past winter. Please stop suggesting I eat snacks every few hours throughout the day. Please stop telling me that I need to get it together because the kids need me. Please stop telling me that I already went to treatment and now is not a good time for me to be sick. Please stop saying that "there is always something going on" with me.
I cannot "try harder" to feel better. It doesn't work like that. Not even close. Don't you think I would be doing that if I could?? Who on earth would choose to feel like this? Like a zombie. I'm just shuffling around trying to come off as put together and strong and fine. I'm not a very good actor, but I try anyway.
Being home with the kids all the time is harder than I ever thought it would be. I definitely knew it would be hard. It is just way more difficult than it looks when you are watching someone else do it. Sometimes it feels like there are 100 hours in a day. I often have 2 kids screaming at the same time, and have to figure out how to monitor the 3 year-old in his timeout while he is melting down but at the same time not be in the room because his shrieks are scaring his baby sister. I literally can't hear anything over the insane amount of noise.
I know this won't last forever.
I understand how life works. I am good at reminding myself that the bad times always come to an end eventually. This will stop. I will feel better. I will make it through.
For now, I am just tired.
Please be kind to strangers. You have no idea what kind of struggles they may be facing.
Hang in there.
So, my understanding of what it sometimes means to be a full-time mom has changed drastically over the past few months...
I had my first child when I was 21 years old, and at 33 now I really thought I was kind of a seasoned pro at this whole "parenting" thing. I've spent countless days following someone else's routine, countless nights rocking babies in an attempt to get them to sleep, countless hours worrying about how I'm messing each one of them up with whatever decision I am making at the time.
3 kids. 12 years. Nothing should surprise me at this point, right?
JesusMaryandJoseph was I ever wrong. These past 2 months have been the most TRYING, EXHAUSTING, UNRELENTING, DEPLETING, ISOLATING, ULCER-CAUSING times I have ever found myself tripping and stumbling through.
Kids are guaranteed to cause their parents stress - that's definitely a given. Literally EVERYONE knows this before they procreate. Everyone. But, what happens when the amount of stress is actually too much for a them to handle?? And I'm not talking about normal teenager hormones and toddler tantrums and baby colic. I'm referring to the EXTRA stuff. The things that you never factored in when you decided that you could handle not just ONE offspring, but THREE.
Now, I am definitely not going to go into detail about any trials and tribulations my blessed cherubs may or may not be dealing with as I firmly believe it is not fair for me to make a decision to share their private lives with the entire world without their informed consent. I'm just going to throw my personal struggle out there in hopes that it can act as a life ring for another drowning soul.
I snapped yesterday. SNAPPED. Like, trying to text my husband using the voice command button instead of typing with my fingers because I was in a rush and multitasking, and the only things my phone could pick up correctly were the numerous swears that were showing up in every single sentence. Other than that, it looked like I was using some sort of translation app that in no way, shape or form is getting the message across the way you want it to. Except the crazy angry part. That part was definitely clear.
**Also, WHY DOES MY PHONE BLEEP THE SWEARS?? It is not cool when I am losing my mind that my phone chooses this time to send "f*******" instead of the actual word that I am screaming at it. It kind of takes away some of the venom in my voice.
So, yeah. I was shrieking into my phone in an effort to get my husband to understand exactly how DONE I was. I was on the verge of tears. (I never cry.) The anxiety felt like a ball of fire right in the center of my chest. I couldn't breathe. I wanted to just TAKE A DAY OFF AND BREATHE, DAMNIT!! ...But I couldn't. My kid needed something from me at that point that could only come from ME. So, yeah. Melting down wasn't a choice because no matter how little I had left to give (see: 0) because I am a mom and that means that I literally cannot have a day off ever from that job until the end of time.
Yes, the kids' needs are constantly changing. Right now I have a pre-teen, a toddler, and an infant. FUN TIMES, GUYS!! It is enough to drive any parent insane. I can see why people (therapists) are always pushing parents to get together in the form of "play groups" (gatherings with wine) to offer each other support. Of course, how in the world do you have time to go to a "play group" (day drinking party) when you don't even have enough time to take a 5 minute shower in the morning??
Literally every single one of my "social" activities lately has been having a 2 minute conversation with the checkout people at the grocery store and Goodwill. I'm not joking. I speak with those people more often than I can find time to text my own sisters. Thank god for them - if I didn't have those 2 minutes, the only times I would open my mouth would be to continuously answer "yes" or "no" questions for my toddler and to yell at my pre-teen to pick up *insert item of clothing here* from *insert any random room in house here* every 5 minutes. The closest thing I have to a real conversation when I am with my kids is me, passive-aggressively speaking in baby talk to my infant about how her older siblings are making me nuts. (She just smiles at me when I do this, so I don't really think she gets what I'm saying...)
My brain has been demolished this year. I can barely form a coherent sentence because there is such a backlog of "things to remember" and "to-do" lists piled up in my head. I hear some of the things that come out of my mouth and mentally shake my head because I sound like an idiot. I've tried to take more time to think thoughts through before I translate them into words to be shared, but then I just look like it takes me a long time to sound like an idiot. I can't win.
My husband has been my saving grace. The poor guy wants to help out so bad. He literally asks me to tell him what to do to help me AND I. CAN'T. EVEN.
After I had finished doing what only *I* could do for one of the children, I went home and basically fell apart at my husband's feet. He swooped in and offered to give me a few blessed hours off from being Mom. I wasn't even "on-call Mom". I was "stretched beyond capacity, numb to the world, I'm taking a 3 hour nap with the sound machine on full-blast next to my head so that I cannot hear anything you people are saying" Mom.
I have never slept so hard.
I woke up and was able to rescue my husband from the toddler who is going through the stage where he has turned whining into an art form and manages to find a reason to do it in response to any and everything that is said to him.
And the beat goes on, da da dum da dum dum......
Hang in there, moms and dads. I know the demands will keep up until the last day of your life, but at least we're all in this together #amIright??
Sending so much love (and sanity),
Chaos is about to reign.
Calm down - this is not a political post. (I have yet to be able to put my thoughts on this election into coherent words and am instead just finding solace in all of the #Jobama memes that have been going around. I'm really going to miss those guys...)
No, I am referring to the fact that we are about to go from 2 children to 3 very shortly. VERY shortly. Less than a month away. This is terrifying to me. I am pretty sure my husband is still in denial about all of this because he is a lot calmer than I am and THAT IS NOT THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS IN OUR HOME!!
It just hit me a few days ago.
I have also been in denial. My stomach has been growing larger and larger, but there is still that moment where I still wonder why I am having so much trouble standing up from the couch. (I have to do the whole roly-poly bug thing a few times in order to launch myself up from a sitting position.) I have painted the nursery and emptied it of everything that did not have to do with a newborn. I have slowwwwwwly been accumulating baby things that we will definitely need within the first few weeks of her birth.
Gahhhhhh I just remembered we need tiny socks. SOCKS!!!!! Her feet are going to get frostbite and fall off WHATKINDOFPARENTSAREWETOFORGETSOCKS?!?!!?!?!?!
I was sitting in said nursery the other day, folding all of the tiny little outfits that look like they were made for dolls and it hit me.
THERE IS GOING TO BE A BABY IN THIS ROOM VERY SOON.
So, panic ensued. We have this whole parents-of-two-kids thing down to a science these days. We are so familiar with the routine and who gets assigned which gross jobs that my husband and I could go without speaking to each other for days and nothing would be thrown off track.
Come to think of it, sometimes we do forget to speak, unless it is in the voices we are using to convey what we think is running through his little mind at that very moment.
I am exhausted already. With the preteen and the toddler who is going through a very rebellious phase, I am sure we are stretched as far as we can go sanity-wise.
WHY DID WE THINK THIS 3RD CHILD WAS A GOOD IDEA!?!!
In my defense, I blame my husband. (This is only because he tells everyone he blames me.)
I know that we will adapt, and I know that a year down the road it will be as though she has always been there and we won't be able to imagine life without her. I'm just worried about that first month. Or two, or three. The great unknown where we could be dealing with anything from weird reflux issues or colic or her being a total nightowl who refuses to so much as blink after the sun goes down.
Terrified, people. I am terrified.
I am still doing the stay at home mom thing and dealing with the neuropathy in my feet. So, YAY! Figuring out this new schedule will very much be lying on my shoulders. My lovely husband gets to flee the house for hours and hours at a time and speak to other ADULTS and DO THINGS and get a LUNCH BREAK!
(I know you work very hard when you are not at home, dear. I'm just very jealous of those small perks you get...)
So, here we are. Add to all of that the apprehension of the post-baby body and how my ED is going to deal with it. It's sucked enough being pregnant and having the compulsions to use behaviors, but at least I've had another child being affected by all of my choices. This body will be mine and mine alone again in less than a month. .....yay??.....
I'm sure it will all settle down very soon.
Fingers crossed for no colic, reflux, or insomniac tendencies!
Stay well. Hang in there. I know it's been a rough week all around. Everything will right itself soon enough.
I'm about to write about a taboo topic.
Eating disorders and pregnancy.
A lot of people seem to think that if you suffer from an eating disorder it magically fades into the background when you get pregnant. Maybe that's true for some people?? If it is, I wish I were that lucky.
It doesn't disappear. It does, in fact, get louder.
I'm not saying that I am over here using behaviors. What I am saying is that the fight has been constant and exhausting since I found out about this new baby. There are so many (SO MANY!!) misconceptions about eating disorders. The majority of the population who do not battle with one can't even begin to understand what it is like.
Let me enlighten you.
When I found out I was pregnant, I was shocked. Not too far behind that followed elation. Of COURSE I want to be a mom to 3 kids! I love being a mom. I love the snuggles and the hugs and the good days and the bad. I love the constant challenges and the insane problem solving that comes with trying to help to shape what starts as a tiny blob on a screen into a happy, functional adult.
I LOVE IT.
What I DON'T love is the barrage of disordered thoughts that come along with pregnancy symptoms. Hormones go crazy, hunger increases (as does nausea for those of us lucky bastards who suffer from "morning" (aka ALL DAY LONG) sickness.) and clothing sizes go up. None of these things are avoidable. All of these can trigger ED thoughts.
So now you have all of these things making you feel mentally and physically worn out. Add to that the shame of having ED urges in the first place.
What kind of sicko would still feel temptation from their ED when they are supposed to be growing another human being in their belly??
The disorder doesn't just go away. What actually happens is the level of guilt increases exponentially. More triggers, more urges, more of all of the negative aspects of the ED continue to attack.
So, it's extremely tiring. And depressing.
I wish I could just enjoy being pregnant without having to worry about the monster that attacks my brain and seems hell-bent on grinding my soul to dust.
I'm not going to let it win.
So I keep fighting. I keep screaming back at the voice in my head trying to get me to do awful, disgraceful things.
The urges may still be there, but that doesn't mean I have to follow through on them.
Go away, you fool. You're not welcome here.
I'll never give up.
Mother and wife by day, psych RN by night. So many different ways to view life. I try to take everything in and be very slow to judge.