Stress: Diet, Daughter, and Me

I’ve been on this Low Carb High Fat diet for a week now, and I was wrong about it being hard due to the fact that I am, or was, addicted to sugar. I have been functioning fine without it. My mood hasn’t even been affected by it. In fact, I don’t feel hungry hardly at all. I’m really quite surprised. My husband is doing it with me so that helps out a lot. I’ve already lost 4-5 pounds which is mostly water weight but still fun to see.

Anxiety is high today, coming off a busy weekend of sports tournaments and chores and a video project yesterday and all day today. I seem to be stressed or full of tension every Monday from the weekend. Sucks. 

Daughter’s fair, but too busy helping out with boys vball after school while doing her own. Wears her down, but she enjoys it. I’m trying to help her find balance. She is resistant to my suggestions. No big surprise there.  

I’ve decided to not coddle her as much, and instead treat her more like a teenager without a fragile mental illness. I think I’ve been too afraid to set as many boundaries as I’ve wanted to for fear of stressing her out too much. But, it seems like when I do, it always goes better than I anticipated. 

I’m tired and I can’t turn my brain down. Thoughts are swirling like a tornado. I will try some guided meditation and hopefully fall asleep for a nap.

She Did Better Today

Because we compromised. She took a psuedo anti-anxiety pill (an antihistamine prescribed for her anxiety) which enabled her to sit with our company most of the morning. Then I allowed her to go out with friends for a few hours.

I also caught myself babying her like I normally do when she is anxious or depressed, and the last time she had a depressive episode she told us she hated it. She said it made her not want to tell us what is going on because then we treat her different and she can’t stand it. 

Thank God I realized it because I don’t think she was going to say anything to me. She was just getting more and more agitated and I couldn’t understand why until I remembered. 

I said, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. I’m treating you like baby. I forgot. I’ll stop.”

I saw instant relief come across her face. I’ll have to tell her to just say something to me next time. Those motherly, nurturing instincts are hard to fight. They just kick in automatically before I realize what I am doing. (Sigh).  

I think a lot of it has to do with my tone of voice.  I’ll talk to her like she’s fragile and has special privileges. I think it makes her feel uncomfortable because she has low self esteem and probably thinks she doesn’t deserve it.

Or maybe she doesn’t like it because she is strong willed and doesn’t like to feel weak, and me talking sickeningly gentle to her makes her feel that way. 

Or maybe she just wants to be treated the same so as to continue to feel as normal as possible when her mental health is anything but.

I know one thing and that is it is counterproductive for me to sit here and assume possible motives for why she doesn’t want me to treat her different when she’s depressed or anxious, so I guess I’ll stop trying to figure it out.

Anyway, she did say at one point that she doesn’t like it because it makes her feel like a baby. I suppose that reason makes sense enough.

Yet, all I want to do is give her a big ol’ hug, tear up and say, “But you are my baby!”

Daughter Depression 

It keeps getting worse. It’s getting to the point like it was last year where the irritability and agitation are so bad that we are starting to fight because she is being disrespectful and rude.

I understand it is her depression talking, but she still needs to be held accountable for her actions. She can’t treat us all like shit in the meantime.

I’m constantly being pulled in two directions of compassion and frustration. Leniency and discipline. Anger and empathy. It is all driving me insane. My anxiety is through the roof.  My instincts are non-existent. I don’t know what to do, how to respond, or deal with this half of the time.

I’m scared of how bad it may get. I always have the fear of her hurting herself. I am in anguish watching her suffer and not being able to make her feel better.

It is going on 3 weeks now and this past week has gotten worse. We see the doctor soon. At least she still wants to socialize with friends. I think that is a good sign. 

One Less Thing

I had a great report from the kidney doctor yesterday.  My creatinine went from 1.42 to 1.19; my GFR went from 41 to 56, which bumped me up from stage 3 to stage 2. He said the kidney disease was NOT progressive, and as long as I stay away from Alleve, Ibuprofen, and contrast dyes no further damage should occur outside of the normal aging process, because I have no active risk factors. 

I am estactic. Beyond relieved. One less thing to worry about and deal with. Now, just back to my normal crap with the mental illnesses and migraines. 

The migraines, ugh! , have increased this month, I guess due to the decreased propranolol. I am still having dizzy spells even though my blood pressure went up ten points since being on the lower dose of 80mg. BP was 110/80 yesterday instead of 100/70.

I drank a Mountain Dew with my Imitrex this week and had minimal side effects from the medicine. It was incredible!  I’m hoping it wasn’t a fluke.  I know caffeine helps because I’ve tried coffee before, but this was amazing. 

My daughter is struggling again. Anger, irritability, decreased motivation, not wanting to go to school. She refuses to use the light box even though I think it helped before. She thinks it is stupid and doesn’t do anything. She’s being a closed-minded teenager.

I think if we can just get through the rest of the cold, dreary winter days she will be better. In the meantime, it may be rough around here.

She sees the new psychiatrist in a few weeks, who we just told this month that she was doing so well. How quickly things can change!  She’s been acting like this for going on 2 weeks now, so I don’t think it’s like a PMS thing or anything.

I was thinking about how my anxiety has been better lately. I think. I mean I worry about stuff and I have panic attacks here and there, but I don’t feel like I am suffering all of the time because of it.

Everytime I start to get anxious it is usually about our busy schedule and how many things I have to do outside of the house in the week ahead. When that happens, I try to put it out of my mind and just think about today only.  This helps a lot. 

It helps to write all of this out, too. I’m just in a really good place because of my doctor’s visit yesterday. Hoping it lasts. 

Accomplishments When You Have Mental Illness

I went into major self pity mode last night; feeling like I haven’t accomplished anything worthwhile in the last decade, since it’s been close to that long since I worked outside the home due to my disabilities of mental illness and migraine.

Now I just found out I have stage 3 chronic renal disease. I thought being sick meant I haven’t contributed anything.

Then I realized I’ve done some pretty fantastic stuff in that time. I have half and more than half way raised two beautiful children. I am a good mom to them. I really am.

I am proud of the choices I have made in my life to be healthier and happier for me and for them, even though at the time they weren’t really choices, but rock bottoms with no way out but up.

I could choose on any day to go back to those destructive ways, but I don’t. That says something, but nothing that I could explain to say, an old highschool friend who I haven’t seen in ten years, who may ask me what I’ve been up to all this time. 

I couldn’t tell her about all that I’ve been through and accomplished in real life to stay sober or to stay alive; all the mood swings managed, the medication changes dealt with, the physical pain endured, the panic attacks suffered through, the doctors appointments attended, and the therapy sessions completed.

And then there is all the mental health articles and stories on mental illness I have penned under psuedonyms over the years; the hundreds of poems or the chapbooks I’ve authored, again under a psuedonym; the volunteer work I’ve done online to help those in need, hidden behind a screen name to protect my anonymity from prying eyes, and the people I have helped in real life whose anonymity I have to maintain because it is one of the main principles of the program.  No, I couldn’t tell her all of these things. 

I would have to respond with something like, “Oh, not much.  Just staying home with the kids,” which doesn’t sound like much, but it is. It is a lot…with so much more. 

Seasonal Depression is Back

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I walked into my daughter’s bedroom last night to ask her a question.  The lights were off and I found her wrapped cocoon-like in a thick blanket, head covered except for her face, lying on her side in the fetal position.  “Are you ok?” I asked.  “I’m fine,” she answered.  Yeah, right! I thought.

Long story, short, I came to find out that she’s been having suicidal thoughts for about a week now.  Her depression is back.  😦  Things in her life are going well, not like last year at this time when she lost all of her friends and she was at her old high school, which caused her extreme amounts of anxiety.  Right now, she has great friends and teachers, and she is in a wonderful school environment.  She said everything is good in all those areas.

It is the weather.  I know it is.  It just turned cold here about a week or two ago.  The days are dreary and sometimes rainy.  There is always a chill in the air, if not downright freezing.  I’ve been feeling it bring down my mood, too, as I wrote yesterday.  Even my husband said it is negatively affecting his mood.

She doesn’t have a plan, so I don’t think she is in immediate danger.  The thing that sucks is that we are in between psychiatrists right now, and aren’t set to see the new one until January.  I am going to call today to see if we can get in sooner than that.

In the meantime, I got out my light box for her to use.  I used it for a few years when my depression got really bad, but I haven’t needed it in quite a while, thankfully.  I am hoping it helps her get by until we see the new doctor; that it keeps her symptoms from getting worse, or even better, that it makes her depression go away.

Us adults know how hard it is to deal with these mental illness symptoms.  I can’t imagine how horrible it is for a 15-year-old to manage them.  Please pray for her if you are so inclined.

Also, I am wondering how many people out there deal with seasonal depression like we do and how you cope with it?

 

 

Motherhood, Mental Illness and Codependency

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My teenage daughter is on medication and is in counseling for depression and anxiety.  She has been through a lot in the past year.  I’ve written about some of it here, here, and here.

Because of her mental illness and her overall highly sensitive and strong-willed nature, we (my husband and I) tend to have a hard time saying no to her.  We, of course, do not have a problem disciplining her when necessary, but she is a bit spoiled when it comes to materialistic things, and she is rarely kept from doing activities she wants to do even when it involves us driving her all over the place.  We will say no if it is excessive or too far or too late, however.

I have noticed that we do have an easier time saying no to her younger sibling with these things.  I don’t know if it is because we think she is less fragile or not as apt to become as agitated when refused.  I would give it about a twenty-five to seventy-five percent split between the two, respectively.

Overall, saying no to my daughter with the mental illnesses hasn’t been a problem for me until this past week.  I am starting to slide down into a bit of a depression.  As a result, I am having a hard time keeping up with her and her sister’s requests – things like going to the store for a school supply, Halloween costume shopping, stopping for lunch, attending sporting events, and the latest one, which really irritated me because she hounded me about it for two days, uploading some pictures for her from my camera to her email.

I just didn’t feel up to doing it because I like to edit them first and that takes time.  She said I didn’t have to edit them, but the perfectionist in me couldn’t bring myself to send them without editing them because I knew she’d be posting them on the internet.  Wow!  I really have some work to do on letting things go, my ego, and not worrying about what other people think, don’t I?

On the upside, I am learning to edit pretty well at top speed, which will help me if I ever become a professional photographer, which is my fantasy goal.  I think my migraines and mental illness will keep me from that goal for a long time.  Maybe someday it will happen long after the kids are out of the house.

But I digress…

Codependency has been described as “a pattern of behavior in which you find yourself dependent on approval from someone else for your self-worth and identity.”  I am afraid I do this with my role as a mom.  Since not being able to work outside the home anymore because of my mental illnesses, I have convinced myself that my purpose or “job” is to be mom, but in all reality if I was still working outside the home, I would still have to be mom too.

I know I definitely don’t feel like just Jessica.  I feel like “mom” or “wife” but not “me.”  The me I was before I go married was not one I liked.  I was very self-destructive and immoral.  The me I was before that me was the childhood me.  The me in recovery, the healthiest me, the me now, didn’t begin until I was well into motherhood.

How do I find out who the me is underneath the weight of this motherhood identity?  I need the answer to this question.  I think it may hold the key to much joy.