Monday, August 31, 2009

My Relationship with Anti-Depressants

As I mentioned earlier, I began taking Paxil at the tender young age of 20 years old. I quickly realized that I had to take it everyday or the side effects were terrible. This was before I knew of the power of Google (it was 2001, after all) and I had NO IDEA what I was getting into when I hopped aboard the Paxil train. Had I known then what I know now, I might not have taken the drugs so willingly. MIGHT NOT. Let me emphasize the MIGHT. I was pretty miserable at that point and was looking for relief in whatever form I could get.

One time in my senior year of college, I ran out of money and needed to get my prescription filled. I simply couldn't afford it and since I had wanted to get off of Paxil for a few months, I thought, "why not try now?" I decided to just not worry about refilling the prescription and move on.

HA. HA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

About a week later, my roommate found me curled into the fetal position on the floor of my bedroom moaning and FREAKING THE CRAP OUT. Because OH MY GOD I WAS DYING. You see, Paxil is addictive. VERY addictive. And if I had read the information from the drug packet and/or googled it, I would have known that you absolutely, 100%, no way in hell, can come off of Paxil like that. It is one of the most horrible, terrible, no good, very bad feelings in the ENTIRE WORLD. There are these brain shock things that happen. They are incredibly difficult to describe, but if you've ever had them, then you know what I'm talking about. It's like there are little electric shocks shooting off in your brain all the time. And any time you move your head or eyes, these disturbing shock waves shoot through your head. Not to mention the dizziness and general sense of lightheadedness. I could barely function. My roommate took pity on me and bought me my prescription. I made a mental note to never ever run out of my drugs again.

I stayed on Paxil throughout the rest of college and for another 2-3 years. After I graduated college, I entered a very tumultuous time in my life and I made a ton of poor decisions in regards to relationships and jobs. It was...not fun. I won't go into detail here, but trust me when I tell you that I was am an idiot. At some point, I felt as though I was no longer receiving the benefits of Paxil. I was depressed again and nothing seemed to lift my spirits. I talked to my new doctor about it and he told me that sometimes SSRI's stop working. So he prescribed me a new drug, Celexa. I was very, very nervous about getting off of Paxil because I remembered the nightmare from my senior year of college. He told me to slowly taper my dosage off of Paxil and then begin the Celexa. And the transition went surprisingly well. The brain shocks weren't too bad and I was able to function and go to work. I stayed on Celexa for the next few years, during which time I met Alex, got married, and WOOPS, got pregnant. And there, things go a little wonky.

I know that the subject of anti-depressants is a very controversial one, so I wanted to explain my story. I am, obviously, a fan. I think they work very well because they worked very well for me. Being on Paxil and later, Celexa made me feel normal. They made me feel good. They made me feel NOT DEPRESSED. And that is, obviously, very important to me. (As well as, you know, the drug's job since it's called an anti-depressant.) There were times where I wished I didn't have to take a pill everyday, yes. There were times when I wondered if I was really me if I needed a little pill to maintain my 'normal.' I always kept the idea of getting off them in the back of my mind. I thought it'd be so great not to have a take a pill everyday and NOT spend the money on medication. I got that opportunity in July of last year when I found out I was pregnant.

Spoiler Alert! It didn't go well.

ETA: I just had to go back and edit this post because I wrote I got pregnant in June, when it was actually July. I had Alex read this and he missed that as well. Parenting. It makes you stupid.

ALSO, in the editing process, I deleted a very important sentence. Anti-depressants are not for everyone. I know this. We are all very different...unique and special snowflakes, you know? So they might suck for some people and offer no relief. And some people just flat out, DO NOT WANT to be on them. And I think that's awesome. I totally respect people's decisions in regards to their medication decisions. I don't want anyone to think I'm pushing anti-depressants on them. I'm just telling y'all what worked for me. KTHXBYE.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Seven Quick Takes - 8/28/09

1. Did you know that if you get married and need to get a new passport with your new name, that you have to completely re-apply for a brand new one? I went to the post office yesterday all proud of myself because I had researched online and brought all the information and forms necessary to get my passport changed. And low and behold, I was wrong, wrong, wrong. GAH! Apparently you can only get your name changed if you got your passport AND got married within the last year. And well, no. Not me. I got my passport back in early 00's, yo. But they were nice enough to go ahead and take my picture, so that was one less thing I had to do this morning. Yep, I had to GO BACK this morning. I guess this post office does a lot of passport applications, because I had to make an appointment with them to fill out the paperwork and get it all mailed. So my sleepy baby and I were at the post office bright and early this morning to get everything taken care of so Momma can go cruising.

2. As you can tell from the last post, we introduced rice cereal to our little college student baby this week. And as you can tell, he liked it. Quite a bit. I was expecting nothing but hate and confusion and I'm not sure why. I guess because most babies hate rice cereal? But he is not like most babies. He is my son. He is Alex's son. We love to eat. Why would he be any different? It was a pretty big success, even though I totally made too much and watered the cereal down way too much. In other news, he is also rolling onto his tummy and pushing his butt up in the air and moving forward. Which....what the junk, little dude? STOP GROWING UP.

3. I bought real pants today. Oh yes, it is true. They have a button AND a zipper. They are ALSO only a size bigger than I was wearing before I got pregnant. Which isn't too bad, right? However, they are, shall we say, TIGHT? Definitely not an ideal fit, but I practically jumped for joy when I realized that THEY FIT, OMG. That high was quickly dampened by the fussy baby in the changing room with me, but WHATEVER THE JEANS FIT. They were also on sale. (Thanks Old Navy!)

4. I have been working on a post about anti-depressants and was searching in my archives for a post I distinctly remember writing years and years ago. I couldn't find the post, but I read a few other gems from back in the day. And I think I need to purge the archives posthaste. They are EMBARRASSING. EMBARRASSING.

5. I finally, FINALLY got a library card today. (We were...very busy today.) I checked out seven books and a DVD for Jack. Nothing for me. YET. I already put in a request for Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and a few baby sign language DVD's. But I'm pretty pumped about signing Jack up for story time and introducing him to the joys of the library. I loved, loved, loved going when I was a kid, so I hope he grows up to love it too. And it only took me seven years to live here to get a library card. Such a good English grad!

6. Speaking of graduating (See what I did there? With the transitioning?), I got my diploma for my Master's degree yesterday. So I am OFFICIALLY a graduate of Graduate School. It's a very nice feeling to have that diploma in my hot little hands.

7. So, seek and find games. They are also known as Hidden Object games. Basically, what you do is find stuff in overly crowded pictures. There are these scenes that are littered with all sorts of random crap. And you have to find 10 or so specific objects in the picture. It's kind of like trying to find something in the office in our house. You can do a timed version or the "relaxed" version where you can take your sweet time looking for the objects. I realize this sounds very, very boring and stupid. But, y'all, they are FUN. So imagine my joy when I downloaded THREE MORE today. That is hours and hours and hours of my life ready to be wasted on this here laptop. AWESOME.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Flying High

So I am back home. I'm sorry for not posting for so long, but I did not have much access to the internet. And by that I mean I had NO internet access for several days. And believe it or not, I did not cease to exist. Amazing!

I had a lovely visit with my parents and grandmother. Nothing very exciting and I'm hesitant to blog about my family since they don't read this here weblog. So that kind of leaves me with...not much to talk about. Which is cute, I know. I disappear for a several days and come back with, "I have nothing to say!" Oh internet, you're so understanding.

What I CAN talk about is the flying. THE FLYING. OH MY GOSH, THE FLYING. I was a giant ball of stress on BOTH flights. However, since I am typing this on the ground and in the safety of my own home, you can see that I survived. Here are the high and low lights.

- The airline let Alex and my mom go to the gates to help me with the baby. Which was AWESOME. It made the hassle of security SO MUCH EASIER. It was practically a breeze. Well, as much as a breeze as airport security can be.

- I decided to not even bring a stroller. And I checked the car seat at check in. I used our baby carrier and just strapped the little guy to me to get around. He seemed to like it and he looked adorable the whole time. Bonus!

- Taking off and landing didn't seem to bother Jack AT ALL. I was very, very concerned that he was going to cry/scream/FREAK OUT when his ears popped. But he either did not care or was so distracted by eating that it didn't matter. The little dude loves to eat. LOVES TO EAT. So was it the love of food? Or just the sucking on the bottle? I don't know! And I don't care!

- I was seated by incredibly nice people on both flights. On the way there, I sat by this really nice guy who was on his way home from summer school. While we talked, I realized that I was, like, 10 years older than him. TEN YEARS OLDER. THAN A COLLEGE STUDENT. GAH!

- On the way back, the flight attendant asked me if I wanted to switch to an empty row of seats. It was AWESOME.

- Right after we took off yesterday to come home, I was talking to another passenger about Jack when I felt him pooping. I should point out that I felt him pooping IN HIS DIAPER. Like, I knew he was either passing gas or pooping and I tried not let it show while I finished our conversation. And then I looked down. And there was poop. Poop on his foot. And on his leg. And on my jeans. And on his shorts. And on his onesie. And on my shirt.

- I'm really glad I wasn't sitting by anyone.

- He did not cry AT ALL on the way there. He is a super baby, y'all. But uh, not so much on the way back. He was...unhappy. Quite a bit. I distracted him for most of it. And he fell asleep for a while. But I was VERY VERY glad when we landed.

- Overall, it went REALLY well. But...I may never do that again. Just sayin'.

ETA: Sorry the blog is ugly, y'all. Alex is gonna fix. ASAP. Right, Alex? RIGHT???

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Evidence I Am The Most Boring Human On The Face Of This Planet

- I went to two (2) grocery stores to look for Blue Bell Banana Pudding ice cream.

- I am obsessed with Seek and Find games. OBSESSED, Y'ALL. They are SO FUN. Except that the only other people I know who play them are my mom and my aunt. Who are both lovely and sweet women, yes, but also grandmothers.

- I had a Lemon Berry Slush from Sonic. It was the highlight of my day. Well, maybe a tie with the banana pudding ice cream.

- I am sucker for corn and tomatoes. Creamed corn and cut up tomatoes. Very simple. Very delicious. Am going to eat my weight of it before I go home. (For the record, I weigh A LOT.)

- I really like the NCIS program. That Mark Harmon is handsome!

- I was ready to go to bed at 8 pm.

- I could only come up with six bullets, three of which were about food. This is like the perfect "How Not To Blog" post. All I need is an apology about a lame post and this bad boy would be PERFECT.

P.S. I really AM sorry about this crappy post!

P.P.S. I just spent an inordinate amount of time trying to make this post have bullet points. But for some reason, HTML and my layout DO NOT GET ALONG. At least when it comes to bullet points. Also, did you know that there is a COMPOSE tab when you write posts in Blogger!? HOLY COW. I have been writing my posts in the "Edit HTML" box for ALL ETERNITY. My eyes, they have been opened.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

In Which I Blather About My Tonsils

INTERNET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Holy cow, I HAVE MISSED YOU SO MUCH, INTERNET. I didn't realize how we really are like BFF. LIKE REALLY. And going almost two entire days without you is simply TOO MUCH TO ASK.

Where have I been? Well, I've been a little sick. I woke up Sunday morning with a sore throat. I summarily blew it off, but it kept getting worse throughout the day. That afternoon, after a GLORIOUS 3 hour nap (Hooray for super excited grandparents who LOVE! TO! BABYSIT!), I thought, "Self, why don't you check out your throat? See what the deal is." So I checked out my throat. And lo, it was BAD.

My tonsils were...not normal. Really, really not normal. Like, I'm kind of grossed out by you, not normal. There appeared to be many, many White Spots of Discontent all over my tonsils. So I did what any sane person would do and I called out to my mother to look at my gross tonsils. Because that is what mothers do. They look at gross things and tell you it's going to be okay. She took one look at them and immediately proclaimed, YOU HAVE TO GO TO THE DOCTOR. (My mom ALSO talks in ALL CAPS. It's genetic!)

So through some wrangling of insurances and the kindness of my old primary care physician, I got a doctor's appointment for Monday. I didn't get to meet with my old doctor, but with a new doctor to the practice. He was incredibly kind and concerned and professional. And then he looked at my tonsils.

"WOW...that's....impressive. I've never seen that much white stuff on tonsils before!"

Internet, I SHOCKED THE DOCTOR with my tonsils. AWESOME. I really wish I could take a picture of them for you because they are that impressive. However, that is 1) impossible and 2) very, very gross. So below is an artist's rendering of my tonsils. I have included a textbook perfect example of normal looking tonsils so you can compare them.




As you can see, the White Spots of Discontent have taken over my tonsils in the "BAD Tonsils" picture. And that really is how they look. The spots actually got together and formed a Circle of Discontent on my right tonsil. Which, THANKS GUYS.

So I'm on some antibiotics (that I had to pay FULL PRICE for because I am an IDIOT and forgot my prescription insurance card at home) and drinking a lot of fluids and being kept away from the internet. That last one isn't helping my throat, but did I mention that I missed y'all? BECAUSE I MISSED Y'ALL. I'm already feeling better and am anxious to have my normal, beautiful tonsils back.

The End.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Whew!

We survived the flight.

I'm exhausted.

I miss my husband.

Good night.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Seven Quick Takes – 8/14/09

1. So I should be packing right now. Instead I’m writing a post. Same difference. After all, this post WILL DEFINITELY help me get to my plane prepared, right? I’m actually ahead of schedule right now, because there are actual items of clothing IN THE SUITCASE. This is HUGE because I normally wait until 2 hours before I leave to pack. I am not even kidding. I am the worst packing procrastinator EVER. I just hate gathering everything. Hate it, hate it, hate it. If I could just sit and everything I need would just magically appear before me, I wouldn’t mind packing. In other news, I am very, very lazy.

2. Emily wrote a post about breastfeeding over at iVillage this week. (Warning! The accompanying picture to the article is kinda NSFW. Not sure why they had to show that, because WE KNOW what breastfeeding is, guys.) It was well written and I really loved it because I could relate to a lot of what she was saying. And then, THEN, people started commenting. And y’all, if you want to see my head explode, then just watch me read comments from people saying that you should not have children if you aren’t committed to breastfeeding 100%, even if it makes you more miserable than you’ve ever known. The comments made me want to punch people in the face. GAH! GAH! I absolutely DO NOT understand why people think it’s okay to be so harsh and judgmental over how you feed your child. YOUR CHILD NOT THEIRS.

3. Big Brother! Big Brother! Did y’all watch? Because Jeff straight up used the Coup d’├ętat power, yo! We missed the first half of the episode, so when I came in Jesse and Natalie were on the block and I was practically yelling at Alex, “He used it! He used it,” despite the fact that he was carrying our sleeping child. But I am so pumped that Jesse is gone. SO. PUMPED.

4. Would you like to see a video of my child laughing? Of course you would!

Laughing with Daddy from Cora on Vimeo.


5. Wouldn’t it be nice if Starbucks or McDonald’s or Caribou delivered coffee to your house? That would be AWESOME. Because I’d really like some iced coffee right now, but I don’t want to leave the house. And really, there are lots of days like this, where I’d like to just run out and grab some coffee, but that means I’d have to put make up on. And a bra. (I don’t mean that.) (Yes I do.) (About the bra, I mean. That has got to be one of the most awesome things about staying at home with Jack. SORRY MALE READERS.) So if they could just bring the coffee to me, that’d be great. Of course, I’d probably still feel the need to put make up on to meet the delivery man.

6. Earlier, when I said that there were clothes in my suitcase? They’re not folded or anything. It’s just a big pile of clothes. Both mine and Jack’s. With some burp cloths and towels thrown in for good measure. Just thought I should clarify that it’s not like the suitcase resembles anything that could go on a plane right this second. Maybe the people who deliver my coffee could also iron and fold my clothes for me? Now THAT would be worth the money.

7. Jack has started this annoying new habit of only napping for 30-40 minutes at a time. It really sucks because he is CLEARLY still tired. Sometimes I can rock him and he'll go back down, but other times, he is just UP. And then he can barely stay awake two hours before he goes back down. (We do a hybrid baby-led schedule. I put him down for a nap two hours after he wakes up, unless he is super tired and cranky, in which case I will put him down immediately. I have found this works best for us. It leads to a happier baby and a happier mommy.) It's just no fun. I tried to get him to go back to sleep for 30 minutes yesterday before just giving up. He was simply having NONE of it. But then he was EXHAUSTED later in the evening. I don't really think there's anything I can DO to fix it, but man, it's just a bummer.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Celebration

I had a great birthday yesterday. Alex got up with Jack and dressed him in my favorite shirt. Here he is posing with my gift.

It's a Zip Around Wallet in Pink Cupcake. I actually wanted this wallet in about five other colors, but apparently those are all very popular because Alex could not find any of them. He picked this pattern out himself and he did a great job.

Instead of a birthday cake, I had a giant brownie with delicious cream cheese frosting. I will not tell you how much of this brownie I have already eaten BY MYSELF.


My parents also sent me flowers!

So the florist delivered them while we were out to lunch. And instead of leaving them at the house or taking them back to the florist, the delivery guy left them with our neighbors two houses down. Our neighbors that I do not know. When we got home, I walked down to the house looking forward to a lovely awkward conversation and they were not home. I didn't get them until much later that night. Silly florist.

It was a nice, low key day and a great way to celebrate the first day of the end of my 20's. Y'all, I can't believe I'm already 29. I just don't feel like I'm in my late 20's, like AT ALL. It really blows my mind to think that I'll be embarking on my third decade of life in 364 days. In many ways, I still feel like a child. And most days, I feel like an awkward teenager. Like I'm playing at being an adult. And yet here I am, a wife and mother and 29. It's not how I imagined it and would not have been what I planned. But you know, I'm okay with it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Year 29

Today is my birthday! There's still a good hour and a half left to celebrate, so I will leave you with an excellent picture circa 1994. I was actually still 13 when this photo was taken. It is really blurry and for that I apologize but we weren't even freshman in high school yet. And this was BEFORE digital cameras. So it's not a surprise it did not come out as planned. But! It's still good times and worth a laugh.

BEHOLD:


Less depressing blog content to come tomorrow. I promise!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Depression. It Sucks. Part 1

Sometime during my junior year in college, I began to fall apart. I am not sure when exactly the depression started. But it had certainly taken its hold on me by the time Christmas break ended. I distinctly remember not wanting to go back to school. And this, my friends, was a big deal. I loved school. LOVED IT. I totally made fun of the goofy rules and traditions at Ouachita, but I adored that school and my friends. So it was A Very Big Deal that I did not want to go back. I secretly thought about dropping out, but the super student within me did not let that happen.

I went back to OBU with a heavy heart and little motivation. I had 15 hours that semester, including a tough religion class with one of my least favorite professors. He liked to call on people and ask them difficult questions and then laugh at them when they said the wrong thing. Not my idea of a good time. I was always really anxious whenever I entered that classroom. In addition to this, he also had a really strict attendance policy.

One weekend early in the semester, I drove to a nearby town to see my parents who were visiting some friends. My mom knew something was wrong and I cried on her for a while. I tried to explain to her how empty I felt. I think my words probably failed me and I don’t exactly remember how I described my feelings. I just remember that she cried with me. (Have I mentioned I have a great mom?) Saturday night, I got sick and it was worse Sunday morning. I wound up having to stay the night and came back to school Monday afternoon.

And guess what class I had on Monday morning? Yep, the tough religion class. I had missed one. I am not sure what the consequences were for missing one class, but I remember being very, very, VERY stressed out about it. I even spoke with the professor about it. To his credit, he was a nice guy, but stood firm on his rule. (Whatever it was, I really have no idea.)

I continued sinking deeper and deeper into despair. I dropped that religion class because I couldn’t handle the stress of attending or the consequence of missing that one class. I continued going to my other classes because of my previously mentioned compulsion to excel in school, but I barely made it through the classes. My mind wandered. I avoided people. I began thinking dark thoughts about death and suicide. It seemed as though I was being enveloped by a cloud of darkness. I know that sounds terribly dramatic, but it’s the only way to describe it. My thoughts and feelings were getting darker and more desolate each passing day. One Sunday after church, I reached a new low. I drove out to Lake DeGray thinking that I should drown myself and be done with it. What was the point? There was no reason for me to live anymore. I might as well stop breathing.

Fortunately, I am TERRIFIED of water and couldn’t bring myself to do it. The fear of drowning outweighed my desires to die and I eventually went back to campus. But that moment changed me. I had spent hours sitting in a parked car by a lake thinking about dying. About actually jumping in and sinking. Just letting go of this life. I knew I was racing towards very dangerous territory and I did not know how to stop. Perhaps the most disconcerting part is that I did not WANT to stop. I figured I might as well keep going down this path because my life was useless. (I am also pretty sure this was Super Bowl Sunday. I remember missing the Super Bowl party and avoiding my boyfriend at the time because I was at a loss as to how to explain myself or my situation. I was also convinced that my life was worthless so why would anybody care? I now face Super Bowl Sunday with a deep sense of dread and fear EVERY YEAR.)

Again, let me emphasize that I had GREAT friends. GREAT FRIENDS. It was not like I was surrounded by negative, unsupportive people. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. I was in a positive nurturing environment. But I was not letting anybody in at this point. Nobody knew. Nobody. And I was going to keep it that way. I don’t know if it was because I was embarrassed or ashamed or what. But there was no way I was going to tell anybody what I was thinking about or going through. I knew what I was feeling felt wrong and that scared me. Depression is such an odd experience to describe. Because objectively, nothing had changed. On the outside, everything seemed to be going great. I even started wearing make up that semester in order to overcompensate for my lost feelings. I looked better than ever on the outside, but was worse than ever on the inside.

One day, I realized I had spent the entire day thinking of ways to kill myself. I began wishing that I would have the guts to end it all. I was ready for it to be over. I often envisioned myself out in the middle of a body of water with nothing and no one around me. I was drowning in my own life. I wrote a strange, terrible poem where I described myself as being suffocated by a wet blanket. (Yeah, I have no idea.) I just remember that as I sat at my desk in the math department on that fateful day, it suddenly hit me that I was going to DIE if I didn’t do something. If I truly believed there was nothing left to live for, then I was going to stop living. And just as I had always envisioned myself in the water with nothing around me, I could now see a little light. It was a very small, very teeny tiny light. But it was almost as if I could hear a small voice telling me that there was hope. That things would get better. That I should go on.

So! I figured I should probably talk to somebody about all of this. I was pretty sure the only way I was going to make it to that little light in the lake of my despair was to get help swimming towards it. I made an appointment with the counselor on campus who was immediately concerned when I told her my situation. She gave me a diagnostic test confirming what we both already knew: I was experiencing depression. She suggested I inform my parents and visit my physician. She felt as though I could benefit from medication. I knew very little about anti-depressants at that time, but she encouraged me to talk to my doctor more and make an informed decision about whether or not I should take them.

I fearfully called my parents to tell them that I was pretty sure I was mega depressed. My mom scheduled an appointment with my doctor and I drove home that next weekend. He prescribed me Paxil with little question. He was very concerned that I was going to hurt myself and made me promise multiple times that I would find someone to talk to if I began to think about hurting myself in any way. My mom got my prescription filled and I began taking my first anti-depressants at the ripe old age of 20.

I made true on that promise to talk to someone and continued seeing the counselor on campus. It was my first time in therapy. I don’t remember her name or much about her other than she was really nice and had blonde hair. It’s funny how little you can remember about people who made such a big impact on your life. She was very helpful and we worked on different issues that were contributing to my depression. Between my sessions with her and the Paxil, I made it through that difficult time.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A Brief History of My Neuroticism and/or Quirks

Let's talk, shall we? Here's some background that I feel as though will help you (and me) better understand my experiences over the past year.

When I was a kid, I would get down on my self for things that weren't really a big deal. Mostly my grades. I quickly figured out that I excelled in school and sought out affirmation and approval from my teachers and parents through good grades. As a result, I put needless, endless amounts of pressure on myself throughout my school career. Because who was I if I didn't make good grades? I was no one! I wasn't pretty or popular or athletic or edgy. I was a big ol' nerd and that was my Thing. Live up to my own ideal or die.

I remember being unable to sleep one night because I thought I was going to get a “B” in a class. That’s right. A “B.” Not a “D” or an “F.” A “B.” And I was pretty young at this point. Probably in the 5th or 6th grade. After tossing and turning for what felt like hours, I got up and wrote a big, long note for my mom to find in the morning. The missive was about a friend who had gotten a “B” on a test and not that many “A’s” on her homework, and she was wondering if she could still get an “A” average the class? I was so sly. It’s a wonder my mom ever saw through such a complicated ruse. My mom, being the loving and kind woman that she is, assured me over and over and over again that “B DID NOT EQUAL BAD.” I disagreed. Wholeheartedly. (I wound up getting the “A” in that class, by the way. Anything less was unthinkable.)

I feel as though it’s important to note that I held no one else to these ridiculous standards. My friends could get whatever grades they wanted. I didn’t care. Good for them! I envied them and their ability to let stuff go and just live their lives so carefree. Meanwhile I was doing math in my head over what kind of grades I needed to get and hording poetry about death and wearing black. Like that Edgar Allen Poe guy. He was so dark. He knew how life sucked. He understood. (Insert eyeroll here.)

My freshman year of high school, I struggled in Geometry. I had to work very, very hard to squeak a “B” average in the class. I went to tutoring during lunch and was constantly asking my teacher and friends for help. I just wasn’t getting the subject matter and I was distraught. And I do mean DISTRAUGHT. One morning, the stress and guilt took over me and I completely and totally lost it on the way to school. My mom was still driving me to school at the time and she did her best to comfort the blubbering, red faced mess in the passenger seat. I became so hysterical by the time we reached school that she drove through the circular driveway in front of the school and went home. And people, my mom NEVER LET ME MISS SCHOOL. EVER. She always made me go even when I felt really sick. You know what I’m talking about? One of those mean “throw up or go to school” moms. So for her to think that I was too upset to go to class means that I was TOO UPSET TO GO TO CLASS.

Social situations were not much better. I was a wreck before we went to church EVERY SINGLE TIME. And we went to church A LOT. Every Wddnesday night. Twice on Sundays. I went on countless youth group activities and trips. And I thought I was going to throw up each and every time I entered the church doors. Social anxiety, much? Basically, I was scared of people. Like, SCARED of them. I'm not sure what I thought they were going to do to me. These were, after all, NICE people. No one in the youth group was ever mean to me or bullied me. And yet, I was terrified of half of the group. Things got better as I got older, but I could never shake that anxiety. Even as a senior in high school, the time when I was supposed to be at ease and happy to be the oldest, I was still so nervous before any type of social activity. And don't even get me STARTED on the stresses of where to sit in church after youth choir. Talk about a social nightmare.

By the time I entered my senior year of high school, I felt stuck in my role as the quiet, shy, smart girl. I was determined to go far, far away from these people and start over. There are a few other reasons I wanted to head out, but the main reason was to discover myself. Even I knew I was stifling myself in my hometown. And it was time to move on and conquer my social and academic fears on my own.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Seven Quick Takes - 8/7/09

1. I love driving by myself. But put me in a car with another person and I am a nervous wreck. One time I drove a guy who worked as a driving instructor and it was like I had never driven before. I may or may not have almost run off of the road. And cut someone off. And run a red light. It was bad. But when I’m alone? I’m golden. This used to be one of my great stress relievers back in the day. I’d hop in the old Sentra (oh how I miss your ugly ’94 awesomeness!) and crank up some music and just drive. It was wondrous. Glorious. Tremendous. And any other “ous” adjective that you can think of. I’d often sing a lot of Dixie Chicks and Fiona Apple at the top of my lungs while driving on some back country roads. It really helped me clear my mind and just enjoy some good, solid Cora time.

2. In honor of this love, I took out our new car for a little spin Monday night. Jack was down for the night and Alex was all, “Go! Enjoy yourself!” I didn’t really want to go very far, but I wanted an Icee. (It’s an addiction. A real, sad addiction.) I thought I was really smart because I went in the store with just the sleek Honda key and a single dollar bill in my hand. And I splurged with 32 ounces of Coke and Cherry goodness mixed together. I waltzed on over to the cash register to pay feeling all hip and cool and independent again. (Because the GAS STATION is where I go to feel “hip” and “cool” and “independent.”) And the guy rang up my Icee and it was…$1.17? What? Huh? Aren’t they, like, 85 cents? Nope. Turns out that promotion is over. And you know, I had nothing with me but a Honda key and a dollar bill. I dug in my pockets for change even though I KNEW I only had a HONDA KEY AND A DOLLAR BILL. So I was all, uh, let me run out to my car for some change. And the incredibly kind woman behind me stopped me. “How much do you need?” And she gave me a quarter to pay for my Icee. She refused the change and told me to put it in the bucket for donations to the children’s hospital. So thank you nice lady at the gas station on a Monday night with the super cute Vera Bradley wallet!

3. I drove home from the Icee debacle feeling pretty stupid. I called Alex to tell him the story, but he didn’t answer. So I decided just to enjoy the drive home. Relax. Whatever. The lady gave me the quarter. I’d do the same for someone else! No big deal! People can’t afford stuff at stores all the time! As I was about to turn onto our street, I noticed it seemed a little…dark outside? Shouldn’t there be more light? Oh wait, did I just drive to the store AND BACK without my lights on!? NO LIGHTS? AT ALL? And no one noticed! Nobody did the friendly light blink thing. I had no idea AT ALL. The inside lights in our car light up all the time, so it creates the illusion of lights being on. But they are NOT ON. I was pretty thrilled to get out of that car unscathed from my idiocy.

4. And when I got home? I realized I had 30 bucks in my back pocket.

5. I’ve wanted to get Jack an exersaucer for at least a month now. Every time we went anywhere that sold anything remotely related to exersaucers or jumperoos, I HAD to look at them. I knew they recommended them for four months and older, so I kept myself from buying anything. UNTIL NOW. We went to Target last night with gift cards in hand and I was SO EXCITED to buy a freaking exersaucer. I’ll let Alex tell the whole story, but we eventually decided on this hideous creation.


Yes, it is U-G-L-Y. SUPER UGLY. But if you had seen the joy on that child’s face the second we put him in it in the store…well, you would have bought him the ugliest, gaudiest toy in the world too.

6. Part of staying at home with a small kid is that you never have any idea what day it is. EVER. I thought it was Wednesday all day yesterday. I finally figured it out when Alex came home from work. I was all, “Wait a minute! It’s Thursday!” And he was all, “Yes? Duh?” And really, it’s like this every day. I’m always asking what day it is and always surprised by the answer. The same is true with dates. In fact, I originally titled this post with the date of “6/7/09.” Yes, that’s right. I briefly thought it was June. So my birthday is next week, right? And every morning this week, I have logged onto Facebook and noticed some notifications and thought, “Oh? Is today my birthday?” EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And every single day, Facebook has told me that, no, today is not your birthday, MORON. I can’t even grasp the idea of when my OWN BIRTHDAY is happening, people.

7. I bought new work out shoes! I am really excited to start using them. Especially since I haven't worked out in almost a month. I'm not sure how that happened. One minute we went to Louisiana and the next it's August. So who knows! I'm sure my trainer is going to be THRILLED with me. THRILLED.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Where I'm Going

As you may or may not have noticed, I didn't post last night. Sorry about that. Alex came home from work and the three of us hung out on our bed talking and laughing and just generally being a cutesy little family. Alex left to put Jack to bed and I curled up under the covers. And I woke up 4? 5? hours later. Something like that. It was a long time. Apparently, I was tired.

About that last post. I do hope I didn't come across as whiny or needy. After I saw those two very kind comments, I realized I might have come off as "No one cares about me! Boo hoo!" And I didn't mean that at all. And I certainly didn't mean to act like I doubt my internet friends' love for me. So I apologize for that. I know that lots of people care for me and I am extremely grateful for your care and concern.

At any rate, I have been thinking that I'd like to talk more about this past year and the roller coaster that it has been. In order to do that, I feel like I need to reveal some History of Cora as well. My plan of action is to post the story in bits and pieces. In other words, if something funny or cute happens during the day, I can post about that. I won't feel the need to only talk, talk, talk about depression and anxiety issues only. For example, tomorrow is Friday, so I'm planning on doing my 7 Quick Takes for tomorrow. (I've already thought of 4 or 5 already!) But I'd like to share my story and therefore it'll come out as a series. (And hopefully there will be a point in the end.)

I haven't written all of it yet, but it's been taking shape in my head for a while now. I suppose this all came about because I feel as though the unexamined life is a waste. I have simply felt a deep and strong conviction to look at where I have come from and learn from those experiences. I hope you’ll join me on that journey.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Thinking

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about what I want to post on this here blog and what direction I'd like to go in. I've been tossing around the idea of sharing some personal things. Which is slightly terrifying because it's going to be on the internet. You know? Like where people are mean. And anybody can read it. But at the same time, I can't escape this feeling that I need to share with the world my story. [Edited to add: Would you look at the construction of that last sentence? My god. My English degree weeps in shame.] And I feel like I should just jump in and do it. It's a little drumbeat that goes on and on in my head every day, "Just share, Cora! Share!"

I know this seems weird and enigmatic and frankly, kind of dumb. The 14.83 of you who come to this site probably do not care that much and now I'm building it up to be something that it's not.

This makes no sense. Where am I going with this? How am I going to end this post? What am I trying to say???

Uhhhhh.....

Quick! Look at the cute baby!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Four Months

Somebody at the Sand Palace turned four months old today!


I know! I am just as surprised as you are, son!

We went to the pediatrician today for the four month check up and torture session. Jack weighs 15 pounds even and is 26 inches long. He has grown three inches in the past two months. I knew he was looking kind of tall lately, but I didn't realize HOW TALL. So it turns out it wasn't my imagination that his legs were hanging off of the swing more. Or that the car seat seemed a little...short. Oddly enough, he did not gain as much weight as I expected. At his two month check up, he was in the 90th percentile in weight and 50th in length. He's decided to switch it up a bit to start his fourth month of life and be in the 50th percentile in weight and 90th in length. Way to keep us on our toes!


As I mentioned before, Jack learned how to roll over this past month. I finally caught it on camera...sort of. Behold:














Genius child!

This past month has been an eye opener for both Jack and me. He has not only started noticing the world around him, but has realized he can interact with said world. He reaches for things now. Before, he would sit in my lap and let me eat. Now, he wants to reach out for whatever is going into my mouth. Cookie, banana, whatever. He would like some too, please. (Mostly cookies go in my mouth, so that's probably what he thinks everyone eats all the time. Which would be nice except my chin called and wants to know why there are two of them now.) He's noticed Parsnip and has fallen madly and deeply in love with her. He watches her intently and reaches out for her constantly. We're working on having a "gentle" touch when we "pet" the puppy. The other day, the dogs were playing and Jack let out a deep belly laugh. A laugh that sounded just like a little boy's laugh. Not a baby's laugh. He's growing up right before my eyes.


As for me, well, this month has marked a turning point in my life too. I feel as though I am a mom. FINALLY. Yes, it took me over two months to adjust to this new role. The difficulty of finishing school and overcoming my medical problems from labor and delivery were almost too much to handle. The first two months of Jack's life feel like a strange, horrible nightmare. A nightmare that happened to someone else. Alex and I have talked about this extensively and last night he remarked that it is like "we're different people now. But in a good way." And I couldn't agree more. While Jack might have fallen madly and deeply in love with Parsnip this month, I have spent my time falling madly and deeply in love with him. This sweet, precious boy has completely turned my life upside down. And I know mommy bloggers throw the terms "sweet" and "precious" around A LOT. A whole lot. So much so that I kind of loathe to even use the words. But I just cannot think of better words to describe my son. He really is precious. There is nothing more important to me. I value him more than anyone else in the world. (Well, he AND Alex are equally precious. Just sayin'! Love you honey!) And he really is so sweet. He loves to lay on the bed and smile and "talk" to me while he grabs my hands. And seriously, my heart melts EVERY SINGLE TIME he does this.


(See smiling and hand grabbing on full display in picture above.)

So yes, this past month, everything has changed. Both of our eyes have been opened. It's like we both woke up from a coma. And I can't believe I get to kiss these chubby little cheeks every single day.



I've realized that Jack and I are going to learn about life together. We're getting to know each other and exploring the world as a mother and son duo. I plan to teach him as much as I can, but you know what? He can teach me too.

And I can't wait to see what we discover next. Even if it just the tastiness of his fingers.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Questions Answered

So I'm a tool and didn't check my Advice Blog list on my Google Reader this weekend.

Guess what? Amalah answered my question in the Advice Smackdown! Y'all! Amy read an e-mail from me and then ANSWERED MY QUESTIONS. I feel so special. :)

In case you don't feel so inclined to click on the link, I e-mailed asking for advice on flying with Jack later this month. Her advice was, as per usual, excellent and I got tons of great tips in the 39 (!!!) comments. I already feel less stressed! So go read it!