Friday, October 22, 2010

Crying. All the Time.

For those of you who receive the blog only via e-mail, there are several YouTube videos embedded in this post.  To see them just click on the title and it will take you to the blog and you can click and play.

Among the many really fun things going on at the Cooper Clubhouse, I have decided to take a break from my antidepressants.  I've been on them (this time) since October 2008 when the chronic pain I was in over my malformed and malfunctioning foot led to chronic despair and then a semi-permanent residence on the couch. I saw a doctor, I started taking anti-depressants, felt much better and eventually left the couch.

I'm a little worried about going off of them but I am trying to manage my mental health in other ways (exercise and abstinence from alcohol and some sort of positive self-talk) (I KNOW!  Who am I and what have I done with Barb?) because when I'm ON medication?

I.

Can't.

Write.

At least I couldn't while on Cymbalta, which was the drug I was taking.  In my entire life, this has never really happened to me before --along with death and taxes, the other certainty of the world is that I am always, can always and always will be WRITING.  And boom, it was gone--the habit, the talent, the sheer need to get thoughts on paper.

It was the strangest thing. It was like having Pregnancy Brain all the time.  My husband says it's like I was in a fog -- I had NO proper nouns for things. Actually, I had no appropriate words for anything.  I once told our yowling kitty, with outrage in every fiber of my being, to "HUT UP!" (Which, you know, was about the funniest thing my kids had ever heard. It's what we say now.)

So, almost seven weeks ago, I cut back to a half dosage (which was interesting-- in a "woowhee, so THAT'S the edge of sanity" kind of way.) (Part of the withdrawal from medications that mess with your serotonin levels is this phenomena called "brain zaps."  I cannot recommend them.) (I can't help it, I have to post this YouTube digression because I keep thinking about the zaps. (Plus, who else can use a YouTube video in a digression? ONLY I CAN, because only *I* have that kind of power. )

Then, almost three weeks ago, I stopped the medication altogether.  I've been monitoring things very closely because I want to avoid another depressive cycle at all costs, but honestly?  I'm really doing okay!  I'm pretty cheerful and although there has been just an ungodly amount of stress in my life right now (house sale, Jane switching schools and turning ten-years-old, financial duress, Ana (12.6) losing her mind periodically as she morphs into a hormonally-poisoned teenager), I am handling it fairly well.  Life unfiltered --it's not as bad as I remembered.

Except for the crying.

Y'all, you know what happens when you go off of antidepressants?  You find yourself crying a LOT.

I think I've talked before about being an easy crier before (in the tips portion of that column) but this was freaking ridiculous. I would be just going along and suddenly, I'd have tears in my eyes over things like:
  • the news
  • something one of the kids said
  • a spontaneous hug
  • a DISNEY COMMERCIAL depicting a happy family being surprised by tickets to Disney World (And people, I have BEEN to Disney World.  I should have been crying for the poor deceased bank account of said family.  But no, there I was: the sappiest of the sappy criers. I mean those commercials are MEANT to grossly manipulate our feelings and I know that.  Knowing didn't help.)
  • an episode of Income Property on HGTV  (Because that need for property income is...just...so...damn...sad.)
If I had been sobbing and unable to get out of bed, I would have worried.  But I was/am really just happily marching along, only with tears lurking just below the surface. Happy tears, sad tears, laughing tears, empathetic tears...just coming out, all the time, like I broke the seal or something. Maybe it's just hard to get used to having unfiltered emotions again, as unruly as they are.  I'm leveling out now, thank goodness.

The best part is that I am also writing again, in my head, which is where it always starts for me, so I'm happy, happy, happy.

In fact, I'm so happy I could CRY.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Of Tara and Socky Goodness

Okay, I know I owe y'all about a hundred blog posts and I've been writing and writing (mostly in my head but it counts.  No, it does.) (Hush.) but I can't seem to get anything that makes me happy and meets my desire to be deep and meaningful after a year of... navel gazing.  (And not the kind that Sue does, which is DANG entertaining.  Mine is more like reading a dissertation on Lint.)

Anyway, I've decided to jump in right where I am. Today.  Saturday, October 16th with a beautiful soft fire warming my living room, a blustery fall nightfall outside and a completed sock just off the needles.
(Click to embiggen the socky goodness.)
This sock is for a friend of mine named Tara.  Well, no, that's a lie.  This is a sock for ME but it's the Test Sock for my friend Tara because we mostly wear the same size.  On Monday, it will be winging its way to Ohio for my friend to try on.

Tara gets Barb Socks because she's recently discovered the joys of FULF-dom.  Hers was sort of a Purple-Heart-worthy injury because she injured herself while saving her cat from a dog. 

Wait, wait, let's listen to her tell it:

"9 long weeks ago, my boyfriend and his dog came to visit. My new little kitty flipped out and somehow launched herself to the top of an 8 ft (at least) curtain rod. I stepped up on a chair to get her, and when I stepped off the chair, with 20 claws embedded in my torso and several doses of Benadryl in my system combating an allergic reaction to 50+ mosquito bites, I misjudged the location of my foot in relation to the floor and rolled it.  [...] It's going to be a long process from here still BUT I am no longer on crutches, and I am wearing shoes and I am encouraged that at some point in the near future I will have minimal pain. Right? Right!"

People, THIS is the sheer brilliant lunacy that unites most of the people in my life. I feel the need to recognize it by giving her a handmade foot hug. (Plus, I'm trying to make a sock-knitter out of her because I am sneaky like that.) 

Tara, wear this sock (but don't get too attached--it has some issues. I did something funky to the toe decreases but couldn't ever really figure out what it was, and I am not sure if I dropped a stitch and then did something weird to pick it back up.  Something is weird about the cuff.  Also? I had to make it out of two color lots of the same color (Claudia hand-painted yarn, Caribbean Blue flavor) which are VASTLY different.  No, really, look at how different the toe is from the cuff:

)  (Yes, I used a photo in a parenthetical digression.  Just proving that I still have my God-given digression talent.) and think about how it fits:  Should it be longer in the foot but more snug?  Should the heel be slightly smaller or larger? How do you feel about the pattern down the foot? (My daughters HATE that.  I have to eliminate all pattern  once we get to the foot on their socks.) Toe too sharp?  Could be rounder?  What? Wear it inside a shoe for a little bit--now that you're back into shoes.  How does it feel?

Does the sheer softness of the yarn make you want to take it off, put it on the other foot and share the love?  THAT'S the kind of reaction I'm looking for.  If it DOESN'T, then maybe we need to look at alpaca yarn or something even softer...

This is your one-and-only shot to get Barb Socks specifically made for you. (I mean, I may again knit you some socks (although most repeat victims awardees are related to me by blood or marriage) but this will probably be the last time I send you a Test Sock and make you go through a fitting.) Since I can't be there to try a sock on you, you're going to have to be my eyes.  (And just be glad I didn't make you contort yourself to take pictures of your feet, the way I did poor Ei and Tiffany.  I'm refining my process, see?  I'm ever evolving.  At least, I THINK this is evolution...)

Good to be back.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Moving Forward

I allowed myself to get really, really mad at myself.

I know what you're going to say and yes, I was THAT mad.  I thought I might never speak to myself again.

See, here's the thing about the past two years: I messed up.  I messed up badly. I got lulled into thinking my daughter Jane (almost 10) was being, you know, TAUGHT things in school.  She brought home perfect report cards.  We met with her teachers and they extolled her academic virtues. So, you know, I got all involved with myself and my pain management and I took my eye off of the ball.  (Okay, when I start making sports analogies, you KNOW I'm upset.)  She's a reader.  She's a writer. She's got lots of energy --I thought it was all good.

I kind of missed the fact that she wasn't actually learning anything, especially math-wise.

Until now, anyway.  Because, in a response to a bad school situation, we have moved Jane into an academically advanced private school. The transition is going to be tough because she's going to be a bit behind.  I have faith in her ability to catch up, but it's going to be hard.

And actually, maybe we're ALL making some strides forward.  I mean, I got really mad at myself but instead of wallowing in it and having such wallowing lead to a whole downward spiral where I beat myself up over everything from current shortcomings to things I did wrong in the second grade --I simply got mad, decided that it was unproductive to focus on what happened in the past, got over it, and developed some strategies for moving forward.  Our house right now?  ALL ABOUT THE MATH, BABY.

And this?  This is the first day of school in the Do-Over year.