OCD Isn’t Cute, Dammit!!

Hey hey!  It’s been about a week since I wrote last, sorry for the lapse!  I have a little list I’ve been compiling with ideas of topics to write about, things that are deeply personal to me or that I’m passionate about, you know.  Well, I’m surprised I forgot to write about this sooner because it’s such a big part of me – mood disorders!

When I was younger (high school age) I battled depression for a few years and that settled down to a pretty steady anxiety.  I posted before that I’m an introvert and that’s very much the case, but aside from loving my personal home-time I have such anxiety about being around people.  That intensified so much when I became a mom plus added in a nice amount of OCD.  Which, let me tell you, is NOT cute.  Just because you like your DVDs alphabetized doesn’t make you OCD, it makes you meticulous.  My OCD was (and sometimes still is) debilitating.  I couldn’t leave my home for fear that something awful was going to happen.

Let me start at the top.  I never really planned on being a mom so when it happened I was shocked to say the least.  Around 25ish weeks pregnant I had a routine appointment and I opened up about my fears.  I expressed to the healthcare(less) provider I was seeing that I had some anxiety about birth, what happened before, during, and after labor, all of that.  Her response?  “You know, so many women can’t even get pregnant so you should really just suck it up and consider yourself lucky.”  That was that.  I didn’t share my concerns with anybody because she made me feel so small and guilty about my fears that I felt like scum.

I had a frustrating pregnancy because of the medical staff I encountered, not because of the physical nature of being pregnant.  The staff was awful and at one point towards the end (I’m going to get personal here) there was a nurse who gave me an internal check to see how dilated I was and she didn’t take her rings off.  When I commented how badly it was hurting she told me, “Deal with it, honey, labor hurts worse.”  I’m convinced that because of what I said to her I was transferred to an entirely different hospital (this was all in military hospitals).  At 37 weeks I was sent to a hospital that was about 90 minutes from my home but they decided to induce me (at 39 weeks) because they were convinced I had gestational diabetes (I didn’t, I’m just fat).  So there I was on a Sunday morning in early January, being induced.  Labor lasted 27 hours and our daughter was born early Monday afternoon after an emergency c-section.

She was, and still is, perfect.  I remember the staff trying to explain to me what was happening on that floor and how things worked, but as soon as my daughter was wheeled into the room I stopped listening; it was really the first time I had seen her since she came out of me.  I never really felt true love until I saw her – this little being that I created.  She grew inside of me.  It’s so bizarre to think about and I look at her now and I am still amazed at all of it.  My husband and I had planned for me to go back to work, even if it was just part-time, but we couldn’t find any childcare in the area that was reasonably priced and I started having these really weird thoughts and episodes.

One night we were laying in bed and I was still awake because I was terrified that if my daughter stopped breathing I wouldn’t know and then I wouldn’t be able to save her.  I heard my neighbors next door arguing and I sat awake in fear thinking that people were in our apartment to kidnap her.  The amount of sleep I survived on is amazing to me.  Then when we’d get ready to go do things during the day I was scared to even go down the stairs because I was scared I’d drop her or I’d fall or the stairs would collapse and we’d both plummet to the concrete below and she wouldn’t survive.  How would I explain that to anybody?  When we finally did make it out of our protected bubble I was certain that there were kidnappers and deadly diseases lurking everywhere.  If anybody wanted to look at my daughter (which, honestly, was a lot of people because she’s gorgeous) I was certain that they were secretly trying to take her and I’d never see her again.  At home, I was scared to shower or go to the bathroom because what if she fell out of whatever she was in or something fell on top her – literally every terrifying scenario raced through my head and no matter what I just couldn’t control these thoughts (which I later found out to be called Intrusive Thoughts).

So I took to Google, of course.

I don’t know how it is in civilian hospitals because I’ve only ever labored in a military one, but the postpartum screening sucks terribly.  Before being discharged and again at my six-week follow-up I was asked:
1. Do you feel like killing yourself?
2. Do you feel like harming your child?

The answer to both of those questions was no, a BIG FAT NO.  However, I felt like I couldn’t protect us enough from the impending death and harm that skulked around every corner.  Everything I found mentioned postpartum depression (PPD) but I didn’t have those symptoms.  I was getting desperate and I felt like I was going crazy.

Then I found it.

The website that opened with the hallelujah choir and a massive sigh of relief.  I found an article called, “The Symptoms of Postpartum Depression & Anxiety (in Plain Mama English).”  I know it sounds corny but this is the truth.  I sat on the floor between my couch and my coffee table with my two-month-old daughter asleep on the couch behind me and I cried.  I cried so hard.  That website, Postpartum Progress, and its author, Katherine Stone, saved me on that March morning.

I wasn’t alone.  And if you’re reading this feeling the same way I did, I want you to know that you aren’t alone either.

There are others out there feeling the same way that I was.  Katherine Stone writes, “Postpartum depression and anxiety are not “one-size-fits-all” illnesses.  Your experience may be focused on just a few of the symptoms and you may not have others at all.”  This is so important because I knew something was wrong, but I was trying to lump it in with PPD because that’s what everybody’s heard of; I had never heard of PPA or PPOCD so my thoughts terrified me.  I found an article from Psychology Today that helps to encapsulate why I was so scared to open up: article

Now, two years later, I can say that I know how to manage things much better.  I try to talk openly about what I experienced because I think it could be life-saving, at the very least sanity-saving!  Many of my friends have become moms since then and, no matter how weird they think I am, I try to talk to them about it because it’s so important to know that you aren’t alone in this.  I felt crazy.  I felt like my husband would leave me.  When I opened up to my mom finally her first reaction was, “So..what?  Should we take you away and lock you in a straight jacket?” and that was exactly my fear!!  I was petrified that I’d be taken away and never allowed to see my amazing daughter again.

I don’t want any mother to feel that way.  Ever.

So this was really long and if you made it to the bottom then you’re awesome.  If you know a new mom, and even a mom who’s been a mom for a while, share this with her.  Let it get out there.  Let them know that perinatal mood disorders are far more common than we realize.

Thanks for reading.

Happy trails ❤

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Daddy Issues

My dad has always been a drinker for as long as I can remember.  It wasn’t until the past few years, though, that I realized exactly how much.  He and my mom were never married and she left him in the early 90s – shortly after my brother was born.  She met M, my stepdad, they dated for a while, moved in together, and then he proposed.  She didn’t tell me about it, though, I found out because I saw a new ring on her finger and, as a curious 6 year old, I asked about it.  Anyway, I always thought my dad was cool because he let me do anything.  He let me play with tools, drive his truck, drive the lawn mower, play football in the house, etc.  As I got older, though, he kept up with that and would provide cigarettes and alcohol to my 14 year-old-self.

I remember my mom’s lawyer pulling up to the house one day before we moved in with M.  I remember her asking me if I wanted my mom’s last name or my dad’s last name (when I was born I had my mom’s because he refused to accept that I, a girl, was his but when my brother came he insisted his name be passed down and my mom said only if I could have his last name, too.  So that decision fell into the hands of a child); I chose his last name because I’d be living with my mom so, in my adolescent eyes, it was only fair.  Aside from the simplicity of the spelling, I wish I never made that choice.

My mom was granted sole custody and we were supposed to be able to see him every other weekend, plus he was to pay $50/month for two kids in New York state.  I think he stopped paying child support when I was around ten or so, and he saw us so infrequently that when my brother was six (the age I was when they split up) he asked our father during a rare visit, “So…you’re my real dad, huh?”  To this day my father wonders why there’s a nearly nonexistent relationship with his son.

There were so many times that I’d pack my bags for the weekend and I’d sit on the front stop with my duffel and my black teddy bear (a gift I got from my father for my fourth Christmas…the only gift he’s ever given me) and I’d wait.  And wait.  And wait.  My mom would bring me my lunch on the cold stone steps and tell me that maybe he got stuck in traffic, maybe he had to work, she’d suggest I go play with friends and she’d call me as soon as he got there.

He never came and she never talked bad about him.  I’ll respect my mother forever because of that.  She let me, and my brother, form our own opinions about the man who fathered us.

I was 18 when I graduated high school and I was proud of myself, I wanted my family there.  I invited my dad, too, even though he lived about an hour from the venue.  He promised he’d be there.  He wasn’t.  So I was angry with him, as to be expected, and I distanced myself from him.  The distance could only last so long, though, because a month later I was set to travel to Costa Rica with my paternal grandparents and him (they wanted to celebrate their 50th anniversary and paid for their children and their families to visit a fun country).  The trip itself was beautiful, the country, food, culture, wildlife, everything was exceptional and I will forever be grateful to my grandparents for providing me with such a memorable experience, but my father ruined a lot of it for me.

We flew out of the Boston and had to drive from our home in Western NY to the Massachusetts coast to get to my grandparents.  My father, never without a drink, decided to leave on our eight hour journey in the late evening to drive throughout the night, so we could arrive at breakfast to spend extra time together before the trip.  His car broke down before we even got out of the state and the tow truck brought us to the nearest hotel.  That hotel, however, wouldn’t let us stay there because my father had no money and I was under 21.  Since good ol’ dad was clearly intoxicated the night clerk even locked us out!  My father passed out on the bench outside, leaving me and my 12 year-old brother to sit on the gravel, alone, in the middle of the night.

Not a lot of people believed me when I told them about it but I recently found this photo in my Costa Rica photo album – my father passed out on a bench in front of that hotel.

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His parents were certain I lied to them about this incident so they told me never to bring it up again.  In Costa Rica my father would down bottles each day of vodka, charge drinks to the room I happened to be staying in so that I’d be blamed for the upcharges to the rooms that my grandfather was paying for, then on the flight back he punched me in the side of the head because I told him I wouldn’t smuggle a bottle of vodka from the duty-free shop in my dress.  He then told my grandparents that I was, indeed, trying to bring home liquor and that he was trying to prevent me from it.

They believed him.

So years went by and we’d talk on the obligatory holidays, we’d never see each other.  I was finally starting to see my father for the man he was – a stupid, rude, careless drunk.

In 2009 a very close friend of mine lost his father to brain cancer.   On his deathbed he told me that he wanted me to rekindle a relationship with my father, so after his funeral I did that…I called my father for the first time in almost five years.  Guess what happened?  He told me he, too, had cancer.

So, because I felt like I owed it to my friend’s father, I stood by my dad’s side through his whole ordeal.  His alcoholism hindered much of his recovery and he spent two months in a medically induced coma.  By the time he left the hospital he was, for the first time in my life, 100% sober.

That lasted until he got home.

That was six years ago and he’s recently done another two months in the hospital that sobered him up again.  He was supposed to go to a rehabilitation center upon discharge but the occupational therapy team deemed he was competent enough to go home.  Keep in mind, he had pumped them full of lies and was sober while they were observing him so of course things seemed okay.  I warned them that if they discharged him to his apartment that he’d be drunk again before nightfall.  They did it anyway and guess what?  He’s back to drinking.

His recent adventure is that he was given a DWI.  FINALLY!!!!  He’s orchestrated this lie that is so detailed that I’m actually amazed by it myself.  I hope that his lawyer, the prosecuting lawyer, and the judge all look into said story because he deserves this charge.  He deserves to lose his license.  I’m honestly surprised he is still alive.

I realize this is way longer than any of my other posts thus far, but it’s something that’s been plaguing me for years.  Nobody really talks to me about it except my uncle (who I’ve recently formed a relationship with since my father’s most recent hospital visit and he’s really cool, I’m so glad to have him be a part of my life) and he feels awful for me which isn’t what I want.  It’s nice, though, to have somebody else who sees my dad the same way I do.

I think that having an alcoholic father helped me become who I am.  I battled my own demons and addictions, but at this point in my life I know who I am and who I don’t want to be.  He is a huge reason for my choice in abstaining from alcohol.  I don’t ever want to look like him and I don’t want my daughter to see me that way.  I hate that she’s going to know her grandfather in that way.

I think that’s a good amount of reality for now.  I’ll be back, though 🙂

Happy trails ❤

Skin Tag….You’re It!!

I’m not sure if it’s common to write as often as I am, especially since this is my second post just today, but it’s my blog so I suppose I can do what I want.  Plus, if things are funny or interesting you’re bound to come back and read more, right?

Well here’s a funny thing that my daughter does.  I have this little pink skin tag that’s been on my chest for as long as I can remember.  It’s over near my left arm below my pit but before my boob – kind of where the point of a bra sits.  Well, C is so mesmerized by it!  When she’s flustered or upset she searches for it and will just flick it around, when she’s tired she’ll pull my shirt away from that spot and lay on it lol.  The other day I was watching my friend’s daughter (who just shy of one) and man was C jealous that baby M was near my skin tag lol.  I had to switch arms so that C could access my tag and baby M wasn’t near it 😛

I have another small skin tag on the back of my neck and she has no interest in that.  However, as I’m typing this I remember one that my biological father has on his back; his skin tag is about the same size, shape, color…it’s just smack dab in the middle of his back on his spine.  I remember being younger and flicking it around when he was shirtless (and if you met my father you’d know that was quite often…I should write about him…man that’d be cathartic!).  I always looked at it as something that made my dad HIM.  I wonder if that’s how C looks at me and my little skin tag.

Honestly, growing up, it always made me self-conscious because I didn’t want people thinking I had a third nipple (like Chandler and his nubbin…anybody?  Friends? haha) but now that I am a mom, this little quirk really drives home that my daughter loves all of me, even the little things I think are flaws.

Awww the warm fuzzies 🙂

Anywho…enjoy your nights!

Happy Trails 😉

Trapped in a Car

Hey all. So I’m trapped in the car right now because C and R fell asleep after playgroup and it’s pouring outside! So while they nap I am hanging out in the driver’s seat eating my McDonald’s french fries while  they’re still hot!  Talk about awesome.

I was going to stop at Starbucks on my way to playgroup (hear me out) because Dunkin has just been letting me down lately with messing up my coffee order. However, I got there and there were 14 cars in line.

14!!!!!  With two antsy toddlers in the car that’s not about to happen.

No.

Ahhh C is awake. I’m free!

27 minutes later – I’m inside, the kids are eating lunch, so I thought I’d add more 🙂 

Okay whew!  That was a tumultuous 27 minutes.  Have you ever had a still-tired, really hungry two-year-old around you?  Whoa baby.  It’s like a zombie that cries.

Anyway, I took a personality test today (here: http://www.spring.org.uk/test/one-minute-personality-test-introvert-extrovert) and it was really accurate!  I know I’m an introvert, there’s no hiding that, but I get really sick of hearing people tell me that I’m just shy, or I’m weird, or I need to come out of my shell, or I need a drink to lighten the mood (I don’t drink).  They all bug me to no end and really just lead me to start disliking a person because of it.  But here are my results:

Results
High introvert

You are more introverted than at least 70% of people — even more than that if you scored lower than a 12.

Your exact score is shown at the bottom of the page. It’s a number out of 40.
The average score is 20 and most people (40%) score around this number.
That makes them ‘ambiverts’, which means they swing both ways.
You, on the other hand, are an out-and-out introvert.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have a few louder moments, just that your tendency is strongly towards introversion.

What is an introvert?

Being highly introverted means you’re more likely than most others to be reflective and reserved.
You probably prefer a relatively low degree of external stimulation.
You are generally at home with your own thoughts.
Likely, you have a few close friends but parties, business meetings and large social gatherings are where you generally feel least comfortable.
Others may mistake your introversion for shyness — introverts may be shy, but many do not fear social encounters, they just get less out of them than more extroverted people.
Typically enjoyable activities for introverts include reading, writing, hiking, fishing and using computers.
Studies have suggested introverts tend to wear less decorative clothing, listen to less upbeat music and discourage interactions with others more regularly.
Being introverted has been linked to higher intelligence and less delinquent behaviour.

Extroversion/Introversion

7 out of 40
Extroversion and introversion run along a continuum like all personality traits.
That means it’s possible to be a little introverted/extroverted or a lot, or in the middle.
The closer your score is to 40, the more extroverted you are.
The closer your score is to 0, the more introverted you are.
The average score is 20 and most people (40%) score around this number.
While I know this is just an internet quiz (written by Dr. Jeremy Dean) it’s still interesting to read, hopefully doubters of my introversion will find it just as interesting 😛
I think I’ll keep it at this for now.  As I’m typing I’m coming up with ideas for more posts (literally just stopped typing to write down ideas) so hopefully I’ve piqued your interest and you come back for more 😉
Happy trails!

Aaaaand ACTION!

Hey y’all!  I have finally decided, after 16 months of pondering, to start a blog.  You may be wondering what the heck the name is about and, well, let me tell you a little about me so you can understand.

I’m a very type-A person, OCD, anxiety, the whole shebang.  I thrive on lists.  Lists for everything!  Well then I became a mom.  If you can figure out how to get a toddler to work off the same list I’m using I’d really love to know.  On top of that I do in-home childcare so then I have extra kids to work off my list…you get the idea.

Lists don’t work so often anymore.

That said, at the end of the day, my sentences don’t often make sense, I am yearning for human interaction (which I may count this blog as my interaction..it works, right?), and I have glue and glitter in places that it shouldn’t be.

Alas, yogacups and coffeepants is born.  In case you need me to explain a little further, it’s a cliche that all SAHMs live in yoga pants and, well, I fit that stereotype lol.  I’m often seen with a coffee, but don’t mistake me for one of those moms who carries a Starbucks cup around..no no..not that swanky.  I often settle for my home-brewed cup in my Mr. Coffee 12-cup coffee maker.  We have a great relationship.

So I should warn any of you readers, I am sarcastic and have a dry sense of humor, I have a stir-the-pot mentality, and I love to question people and have nice, hearty discussions.  I felt like a blog would be a good thing for me because I’ve always been a writer, I miss writing so much that I think about it, dream about, and lately I’ve had some instances that almost seemed like signs that I needed to start.  So here I am.  I may write about some boring things to others, but interesting to me.  I’ve been thinking about doing some poetry reviews (because I love poetry), I may post funny memes, frustrations from my day, anything that comes to mind.  Keep in mind, I’m opinionated (what mom isn’t), so I’m sorry if you don’t agree with me but that’s okay..we can still talk about it!

I’m also aware that my style of writing is not an editor’s dream, and I’m okay with that.  This blog is written as if I’m speaking it out loud.

Soooo now that I got a nice little intro out, my daughter is snuggling up to me and I think I’m going to take advantage of this.

Happy trails!