Thursday, September 20, 2012

18 Months

I can hardly believe how fast the time has gone!  Wasn't I JUST peeing on Mama every time she tried to change my diaper?  Or learning to drag myself across the floor to get to something?

It's been a big month for me!  I started walking all on my own!  (Mama says it's about bloody time!)  I liked holding Mama's hand to walk for ages, but then Mama got sick and was away for a while and I had to give in and do it myself.

While she was gone I also started signing please - no one but Mama understood my signals, so I had to figure out a way to tell Daddy, Nana, and Grandpa what I wanted.  My new way to do that is to use the "more sign" with my right hand and use it to point at what I want and say "see?".  All.  Day.  Long.  And oh, boy do I like to come up with imaginative ways to say "no!"  I also started signing "all done" for meals, but sometimes, just for kicks, I throw my uneaten food on the floor.  Haha on them!

Mama and Daddy don't like it much, but when I don't get what I want I scream and cry and roll around on the floor.  It's gotta work one of these times, right?

They call me Destructo Boy.  I don't really understand why.  Isn't it normal to dump all toy buckets, legos, kitchen implements, etc onto the floor and move them around the house?  It's funny as heck when Mama can't find a measuring cup.  Teehee.

Mama calls me Dennis The Menace. I have no fear. I have a big scrape on my arm, scratches on my face and head...nothing stops me. Mama is convinced there will be an emergency room trip any day now.

Speaking of doctors...Daddy was finally able to get me in for my 15 month appointment - 2 months late.  The nurse gave me some shots (yuck!) and told Daddy I weigh 30lbs and am 32" tall.  That's half as tall as Mama is!  I am such a BIG BOY!!\

Speaking of Mama, she shaved her head!  What is up with that?  Now I have longer hair than she does!

Below you'll see some of what I've been up to this month!

That's me and CJ destroying Mama's living room.

We finger painted for the first time!  Okay, I spread paint all over myself
and then Mama threw me in the pool.

We went to a park for the first time since I learned to
walk!  It was awesome!!!!

See?  That's my new friend Triceratops.

And then I climbed.  Holy moly, a wheel that I can spin to my heart's content!
Mama tried to leave, said bye bye and everything.  I waved bye and blew her
kisses.  I know where my loyalties lie.
Sorry this photo is so dark, but it was dark when Mama
took it.  Because I'm so cool that I wear my sunglasses
at night.  And drool milk.

Told you she shaved her head.  Crazy lady.

She never learns.  DO NOT LET ME FEED MYSELF

For that matter, don't let me out of the bathroom after
bath time without a diaper on.  Because good luck getting me
to hold still once you let me go.  HAHAHAHAHA.

So here I am, 18 months old.  A year and a half.  Mama can't quite believe it either.

Monday, September 17, 2012


For the last week I have been deeply immersed in a depression.  With a few manic episodes, but mostly, depression.  And angry.  I have been angry.  

There have been several pregnancy announcements - I've now been lapped twice by some friends.  Twice.  Even hearing the news from my IF sisters has brought out the ugly green dragon.  It seems as though the forces, my inner demons, are stacked against us.

We haven't paid embryo storage for the year.  Even if we had, we sure as hell don't have another $6k for an FET.  Who knows when we will.  I am now 35...AMA is for sure creeping up on me.  Adding to my already high chances for a high risk pregnancy.  

Drugs.  We would have to guinea pig me again so that I can be on medications safe for baby.  IF we get so lucky to get that far. 

Hey, you know what would help?  Employment.  A place of our own.  

So what about Foster ?  We still don't have our own place - we can't even apply without that.  And though I can't find the information, a former friend looked into it and with regard to mental illness, one must be med free for x number of years, no hospitilaztions.  Ummmm.  Really?  

Are our family building days done?  Can I handle another child with how cuckoo I am?  And if that is the case, how can I find peace with that?  Does that come with a decision, a decision to donate the embies, to focus on everything else?  

I am so ANGRY about it all.  The anger of IF has raged it's head again, along with the anger regarding my mental health.  

It often feels as though there is a scream in my throat, blocking out all the rest of the thoughts I want to try to get out.  And this doesn't even cover the rest of my fucked up little life.

And I don't want to hear, "At least you got to have P."  No shit, sherlock.  I adore that goofball toddler.  There is no other feeling in the world that can come close to the love of my child.  But I feel incomplete.  We feel incomplete.  Lost, incomplete, floundering, angry.  

I just want to scream.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Off The Wagon

Last night I reached my limit again.  Last straw.  2 pregnancy announcements in 2 days.  It sent me over the edge in a week that has me realizing we really, truly may never have the opportunity to try for a sibling for P. Not just because of our financial situation, but because of this fucking mental illness.

I'm screwed.  We're screwed.  Because I am broken.

I cried for an hour on the bathroom floor, cut my arm pretty badly, and took way too much medication.  I had made it just over 3 weeks.  And just completely lost it.  And then I shaved my head.  So, I am bald.

My mother is pissed that J has stayed here a couple days. "We are not a halfway house."  They don't realize he has places to go but needed time away.  So now I have to kick him out.

All I want is to crawl in bed and stay there.

On top of it, I have to fight the fucking insurance company for one of my medications.

Yesterday was not such a good day.  And I definitely feel like shit today in the aftermath.  Maybe I'm not okay to be out in the general public.  Maybe I should just go back to Horsham.  But then I'm giving up.  I can't give up.  Hubby needs me.  P needs me.

I have just shut down.  I'm in that place where the pain is so great that it's hard to remember that there are reasons for me to be alive and happy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Shades of Grey

I will be removing the ability to have anonymous comments left.  It feels to me that if I put my life out there for everyone to see and you have something to say about it, you can have the ovaries to leave your name.  I don't hold back.  And perhaps you haven't read past posts.  Perhaps you are commenting on just ONE post in my life.  This comment was left on my last post:
Perhaps if you focused on your husband and beautiful baby your life would be simpler. If nothing else your child deserves this and ad his mother you owe it to him. Just my opinion not that you ask for it.
I'm not sure why I feel the need to respond to it except that it made me incredibly angry.  It felt like it came from a position of NOT knowing the history, the past, WHO I AM.

My "lifestyle", polyamory, does not affect my son.  He loves the other people in my life.  He is being raised by a village.  And when my husband was out of state, they were indispensible to me. The treatement I am going through, my time in the hospital, being a guinea pig for all these fucking medicines, fighting with welfare, medicaid - ALL OF IT is so that I CAN be the mom my son deserves.

I am focused on nothing but my family.  My family definition just happens to be different than others.  Denying a large part of who I am to focus only on Hubby and P would be anything but simple.  It would drive me over the edge.

When I OD'd, I didn't take pills that would kill me.  I took pills that would let me escape the thoughts in my head telling me that my son, my husband are better off without me.  And it was a cry for help.  And I got it.  I had already been doing some treatment, but obviously IT WASN'T WORKING. The thought of my son growing up either without me or with a mother who is severely unstable is what drives me.  That can't be.  I'm so grateful that he is too young to really notice the mood swings.  He notices my absences, my distancing myself sometimes, but these are times he won't remember.  Thank Gaia for that!

Everything I do now is to fight for my family, fight for ME because if I can't function, I'm no good to them.  It's not selfish, it's self care.  Is it better for me to stay home glued to the couch crying all day and not interacting with my very active son or better that I'm doing things that help stabilize me so I CAN play with him, show him how the world works, let him explore and discover and be a happy child?  I'm going with the latter option.

All I want is to feel healthy for my family, to no longer be a burden, to help our family continue to grow.  And everything I do is geared toward that even if it doesn't seem like it.

So step into my shoes.  Fuck that, step into my HEAD, and then write what you wrote again.  Nothing is black and white.  There are many shades of grey.

Monday, September 10, 2012


Some of my posts this past week have triggered interesting responses.

One of them was about what Hubby thinks of me writing about the other lovers in my life.  Well, he doesn't read my blog.  He isn't stupid. I'm sure he knows when I'm seeing someone, but as long as I am a happy camper, so is he.  He has specifically said he doesn't want me to change.

I'm not going to lie.  Sometimes I wish I wasn't me.  That I didn't fall for people.  That I didn't draw people in.  That I could love just one person.  That I could believe that there is someone out there who could be that ONE PERSON.  It seems to be possible.  For a lot of people.  Why not for me?

The other thing that came up was, and this was a bit shocking, several comments that what I've written about Horsham, my breakdown, my time inside, my battle with this illness, could become a book.  That I could write a book.  Little ol' me.

That threw me for a loop.  I write it out so that perhaps someone benefits from my experience.  So that I can get it out.  So that I am open and honest about my life.  So that it's out of my head.

Like Anna Nalick writes:
      "If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me, Threatening the life it belongs to"

So that's what I do.  I write it out.  But a book?  I just don't know.  I don't know if I can put the effort in.  I don't know if it would really help anyone or just be drivel.

 It takes a lot to believe that I could really do something as amazing as a book.  Have I got something like that inside me?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Father Time

Just because it feels like time stands still inside, the fact is that the world outside our safe haven continues on.  And the stressors that affect you have not gone anywhere.

The biggest realization of life moving forward was seeing the changes brought about in my son by my NOT being there.  For weeks he had been walking, but only holding my hand.  Let go and down he went.  He just wouldn't do it, much like he wouldn't sign for me.

The first full day Hubby was home P started walking on his own, and all of a sudden would sign "please", "more", "all done".  It nearly killed me.  Why for someone else and not for me?  What did that mean for me?  What did it mean regarding my mothering skills.  I wasn't there.  It hurt.  So badly.

And going home?  I felt so stable before I left Horsham that I was shocked at the fight I had in front of me.  Nothing had been resolved, and that stress was still there.  I wasn't prepared for how hard I would have to fight.

Every time I cook, I am faced with a drawer full of knives.  My niece's birthday party was chock full of beer.  My bottles of meds taunt me.  Just because I was doing better, I was NOT better.  Not remotely.  The fight I have ahead of me is daunting.

Group therapy 3x/week.  One-on-one therapy once a week.  Clothes that need to be washed.  Diapers that need to be washed.  The list goes on.  Back home it's no longer just about me.

Hubby is dealing with some of the difficult things, financial stuff.  He is religiously doing the dishes (I wish I could convey what a miracle this is!).

I speak with T nearly every day.  She gets it. I speak with J 2 or 3 times a day based on the phone times in Horsham.  I can't wait for him to get out.  These people, I need them.  More than I did on the inside.  I mentioned it before.  Who else will understand as much as the people you went through hell with?

As much as I hated the restrictions of Horsham...I miss it.  It is safety.  24/7 support.  Out goes on without consideration for my illness.  Time didn't stand still out here.  And things did not miraculously get better.  Mary Poppins didn't come and snap her fingers and make it all better.

I still have to fight, fight harder than I ever have before.  But I know that.  And that's a good step.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Exotic Neurotic Hotel, Part 4

Monday when Dr. Du came back I said, "Listen, buddy.  This shit isn't working.  What're we going to do about it?"  Okay, maybe I didn't say it like that.  I did let him know how up and down I had been all weekend, to check the note on the charts.  At that point we did the last medication increase he would do while I was there.

That's also the day that my bitching and moaning about no physical activities got heard and the techs put on a walking exercise tape.  The guys were NOT impressed, but certainly enjoyed us bouncing around. Only V and I made it to the end; the others were self-conscious.  But OMG did I feel amazing after we were finished.  And my night was so much better.

The next day they put on a Hip Hop tape, kicked the guys out back to throw the football and basketball around, and we ladies got down.  I was the only one who made it to the end.  Holy shit was I hurting.  But again, wow!  Did I feel good or what!  It was a definite turn around.  Did the walking tape Wednesday, too.  This is when I decided that exercise would be a part of my discharge plan.

One of those days P was able to come visit worth it.  Many of the other patients would come out and watch him through the window.  He brought such a light to the unit.

Those last couple of days also saw me becoming the "mama" of the group.  I was always checking on others, advocating for them.  Making sure they had basic things they needed.  T left one of those days and she was sorely missed.  But I was beginning to feel like ME.  I was sleeping.  I remember thinking on Wednesday, "I feel like ME."  At least I thought I did.  Let's be honest - I no longer am sure who me is.  But I didn't feel manic.

I had found I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz on the tv on demand video station, and it became our theme song.  There were some we played regularly, plus some that Peggy our group therapist had given us.  We had now basically acquired a Psych Ward soundtrack.  And it became so important to many of us.  It's a thin line, she warned us.  Music can be healing or toxic.  Music was something we were holding onto during our free time.  It lifted all our spirits.  It felt so good.  We had found a way to take control of some of our healing, our therapy.  It was awesome.

J and I still spent all of our spare time together, carefully.  I watched people come and go while I was in there.  J even more so.  I'm not gonna lie - it felt like "what am I doing wrong that these other people are already gone and I'm still here?"  But I could FEEL the improvement.  Maybe I was still there because of my ability to help others settle in.

Whatever it was, I was still there.  I got the word that Thursday was go day.  Wednesday night I stayed up as long as I could all fucked up on my medication to see J as long as I could.  Much of my anxiety returned Thursday morning.  Inside, the routine was predictable mostly, real life was somewhere else...but now I was about to head back to the house, the real life that landed me in there in the first place.  It was a Klonopin kind of day.  It was a day of goodbyes.  A day of sadness.  Yes, sadness at leaving the Psych Ward.

I know, that sounds crazy (ha!) but the stability was so important.  The outside world is the scary place once you've settled in there.  But the time for hugs (allowed because I was no longer a patient) and walking out that door holding my toddler's hand came.

And that's when the real battle began.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Exotic Neurotic Hotel, Part 3

Time seems to stand still in Hotel California (you can check in anytime you want but you can never leave!).  The days drag, even when we have group.  We count down time by smoke breaks.  And then there is the weekend.  Nothing to do.  Nothing.  Saturday I arranged for Hubby to bring us a movie and a box of popcorn.

No one really watched.

But J and I sat together and watched and talked a lot.  He and I had grown quite close by this time.  And...he admitted having feelings for me.  And it was mutual.  Who falls for someone in the psych ward????  Turns out it is fairly common.

Think about it - who else can really understand what you are going through except someone in the same position.

Psych ward romances...sneaking a held hand, and back scratch, a hand on a knee.  We were careless - we suck at being surreptitious.  But we speak every day still.  We formed a bond, just like I did with T, that will never be lost.  We all went through something together that our spouses, boyfriends, what have you will never be able to totally understand.

More than anything while I was there I wanted to be held.  Nope, can't do it.  The physical craving was so palpable that it took everything in my power to not curl up into J's arms and say "fuck them" for the 20 seconds it would take for staff to catch us.  I even managed to sneak into his room for a kiss.  The bummer was that it was so fast and so daring and scary that I don't think either of us enjoyed it.

Having your medications overhauled is NO JOKE.  I spent the weekend on a roller coaster of epic proportions.  Around the same time a patient was brought in who had obviously suffered some incredible trauma as she would just break out into screams, crying, "NO, NO, STOP!!!"  And just plain screaming.  Blood curdling screaming.  It set me off soooo badly.  It was a bad night on the ward.  K (young woman who always seems like she's tripping and talks like she has Tourettes) was on a rampage.  The new woman was having panic attack after panic attack, and we had a wrap up that left me a mess.  Curled up in a ball, damn near screaming.  One of my friends, well, 2 of them, wrapped themselves around me and held me so tightly.  To make me feel safe.

It took everything in my power to not just SCREAM.  I remember asking for J.  We aren't supposed to touch, but in this case it was overlooked because it was helping.  They even overlooked J holding my hands (even after we had been reprimanded for "touching") and the nurse finally gave me my Seroquel and a Klonopin.  Once calmed down they took me back to the community room, and I lay down with my head on J's lap (again, overlooked) and fell asleep.  I was so dopey when it was time to go to bed that they had to have 2 people support me to get to bed.

J had become my rock.  We had admitted that there were strong feelings developing.  But we were careless.  And we were reprimanded, his room moved.  But still, we couldn't keep from sitting by each other, talking.  He got me through so many moments I thought I would lose it.

We realized that I "sundown" - evenings are really rough.  J spoke to the staff after my breakdown and made sure to put a note on my chart about the crazy mood swings of the weekend.  The weekend psychiatrist would only note what you told him, but not make changes.  Dr. Du was not pleased that the weekend doc didn't up my meds to help.

The all over the place feelings of the weekend were so scary.  I hated it.  It took everything I had, my friends had to keep me from completely losing it.  I am so thankful to have been in hospital during the time my meds were rearranged.  Being home would have been a TERRIBLE idea.

Weekends are also boredom central in there.  Maybe one group a day.  As always, counting the minutes to smoke breaks for our 10 minutes of freedom outside in the sun, in our cage.  Nowhere to walk.  We did get some extra time outside while they transferred the new woman to an acute unit because she had us all on edge.  We were so thankful.  The whole time I was there the worst weather we had was a light sprinkle.  So being outside was great.

Sometimes I would lie down on the patio and just watch the clouds.  We had to go outside to attend meals at the Manor House, so I would take my shoes off and walk through the grass up the hill rather than use the stairs.  On the way back I would lie face down in the grass, breathe it in.  Who cares if they looked at me funny.  It helps me.  So I did it.  Any chance I got.  You do what you need to do to help you through your time in there, and then when you have to face real life again.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Exotic Neurotic Hotel, Part 2

My 2nd full day on the G-Unit (aka General Adult Unit [GAU]) was when the fun with drugs began.  My Psychiatrist Dr. Du (love the name!) took one look at my medication list and was quite surprised.  He did a full analysis, questions and all.  It wasn't until I was discharged that I found out his full diagnosis: Panic Disorder with  and Bipolar Mixed Episodes.

And then the fun with meds came.  Here's what I was on when I was admitted:

  • Risperdal .5mg
  • Lamictal 100 mg
  • Zoloft 200 mg
  • Klonopin .5mg prn 2x/day
Bye-bye Risperdal and Lamictal.  Poof.  He wanted to do away with the Zoloft, but I told him it was also being used off-label to control my migraines, so he agreed to keep that one.  Klonopin same.

New meds:
  • Neurontin 100mg 2x/day
  • Seroquel 100mg at bedtime
It was a big change and it made me worse.  Which I basically expected but it was TERRIBLE.  Hubby came that night, and told me that my step-dad had made a comment that he didn't think I should be alone with P when I got out and that "someone" might call CPS because of what I did.  I had a complete meltdown.  Crying uncontrollably, curled up in a ball, gasping for air, nearly screaming.  The nurse gave me my happy drug, and I eventually calmed down, but I was so goddamn ANGRY.  

I don't think I can even explain the level of anger.  How DARE he?  Even now I am simply flabbergasted.  I can barely look at him. But visiting hours ended.  And that's where that group of wonderful people on the G-Unit come in.  I couldn't have made it through the night.  Every night we had Wrap Up where we tell them how we are doing in terms of self harm, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, homicidal get the idea.  My numbers were quite high, and I was crying.  My favorite tech, Herbie, told me I could bow out, but everyone on the ward had seen me lose it, so I spilled my guts.  I think that's when the corner turned for me.  When I decided I had to fight for me, for my family.  

I was still panicking at night according to new roomie, so we upped the meds again.  That night, Friday, is when I was able to see P for about 20 minutes.  What a godsend.  It was so hard to walk away from him when he reached for me when it was time for them to leave.  That's when I started calling and singing him lullabies at night before bed.  

I was fighting for us so hard.  But the meds weren't working.  Not yet.  And we were heading into the weekend with no regular doctor meetings...

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Exotic Neurotic Hotel, Part 1

* I cannot claim credit for the amusing friend J came up with it one day when we were sitting around talking*

I journaled the whole time I was "inside" but I am having a seriously difficult time sharing my experiences there. Pulling straight from the journal would be so chaotic.  My thoughts were racing, still are at most times.  I just remember thinking, as I was dropped off and the hours passed as I was processed admitted, "How did I get here?"  There was one girl in the waiting area who was so talkative and cheerful I had to leave the room and pace the hallways.  She ended up on my unit.  Happiest depressed person I have ever met.  Oy.

The rest of us just sat there in the freezing air conditioning, this blank look on our faces.  For most of us, it was as though we just couldn't fathom how we had landed ourselves in that place on a Tuesday night in late August.  I had my arms wrapped around me tight, battling tears.

I was finally taken to my unit after intake interviews galore, my personals (what little I had with me) being searched, and a couple hours of annoyance and fear.  And what do they put you through when you get to the unit?  A "body map".  Nice way of saying a strip search without the cavity search.  They mark on a diagram all your scars, tats, piercings.  Whilst you stand there in nothing but your chonies.  Welcome to the unit.

I had nothing but my wallet and the clothes on my back that were at this point 2 days old.  It was smoke break shortly after I arrived, but I had none, so one of the techs put a plea out on my behalf, and that's how I met J.  He became my first lifeline, and continued to be one.  We were glued at the hip.  We talk 2-3 times a day, still.  My roomie was leaving the next day and was super sweet, showing me the ropes, making sure I was okay.  It was loud, it was scary, and I had no idea how things worked.  For all I know they told me rules and such, but if they did none of it stuck.

I cried and whimpered and panicked my way through my first night in that place.  Day 2 wasn't much better.  They gave me my usual meds - at 9 am.  I usually take them at night for a reason.  I ended up sleeping much of the day.  J was still giving me smokes, and Hubby was on his way back from Ohio.  He managed to drop off some clothes (no sweaters :-() that night, along with smokes, so I finally felt better not bumming from J.  But Wednesday is a blur.

Meals for those still on precautions (the suicidal folk) are served on the unit.  Getting to go up to the Manor House for meals is a mini-graduation, and it took until the end of my 3rd day.  My meds got completely changed and my mood swings were wild.  I felt so out of control.  But J, T, and R were there every step of the way. They had all been there before.  There is something wonderful about being surrounded by a group of people who all speak your language.  Much like the IF community, we have our own terms, most of which wouldn't be understood outside the psych ward or medical community.

I was lucky.  Hubby came to see me every day, and with the help of the social worker we got permission for P to come see me a couple times.

We took meds on command, ate on command, spoke on the phone only at specific times, attended group on command.  I felt a little Shawshenk.  I couldn't seem to pee the first couple days unless I pretended someone had told me to do it.  For 10 days I peed with either a door open or simply a curtain for a door.

I don't even know how many doctors, nurses, social workers I had to tell "No it WASN'T a suicide attempt."  I felt like saying, listen, I'm a smart cookie.  If I had really been trying I would have taken a lot more than benadryl.  Having said that, however, I really did like my Psychiatrist.  And groups. Many were music related.  Or sort of ice breaker related, but with heavier questions.

The annoyances: can't touch anyone, one smoke at smoke break only (so easy to get around), no going in one another's god I swear I felt like a child.  But the routine?  We counted on it.  And when things ran late, boy did we get pissed.  It was the one thing we could count on to get us through our days.

I picked up a coffee addiction there.  They only gave us decaf and let me tell you, decaf lipton tea just wasn't doing it for me, so I actually taught myself to drink coffee.  And I am HOOKED.  It's like I can't stop.  It's part of this process for me.

As the days went by I gradually stabilized and I knew my time was ending.  Which it did.  What I didn't count on was how difficult it would be to maintain that stability once home, despite having a plan and everything, but that's a post for another day.

I wish I could better portray what it felt like in there.  I'm trying.  There are more posts to come.  Thanks for listening if you made it this far.