Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Last week I spent quite a bit of time complaining. I was feeling overwhelmed and frustrated; so I complained, and vented, and complained some more. Then I got a reality check and a whole new perspective.
Sunday was my 32nd birthday, as well as Mother's Day and I couldn't have been happier with how I spent it. Sunday was also the day I found out someone I know and admire was losing her child.
She was due to give birth in 8 weeks. One day, she heard his heartbeat and the next day he was gone. I can't even begin to imagine what that would be like, even with my own experience. At least I got to hold Avery, hear her cry, listen to her breathe, feel her warm body against mine. My friend did not get the same experience I did. She didn't get to hear her son cry, didn't get to see him look at her, didn't get to feed him. I got time to prepare for the worst, she did not.
There are far too many people in this world who know the pain of losing a child. Far too many mother's who will always have the ache of missing their baby. And for those who are lucky enough to never go through that, it's hard for them to know what to say or do to offer comfort.
I read this message (aimed towards my friend) today and it was so spot-on perfect that I have to share:
"Sometimes the next minute seems unbearable, but you'll get through it.
And I don't say that lightly, I was 100% sure I was gonna die when my daughter died. I didn't think anyone could survive that kinda pain and suffering and yearning. And I was as surprised every time I woke up in the morning.
But I did survive. And so will you.
And it will be different with the years. It won't be easier or better in any way, but it will be different. You will learn to live *with* it.
And there will be lighter and happier days again, even though it doesn't seem possible right now."
Those words... they are the perfect description of what I felt and feel today. Those words...written by a woman who knows the loss of a child, and a woman who is on the brink of losing her husband as well. She has been through more pain and suffering than anyone else I know. And yet here she is, offering up some advice and comfort to someone else. When she has her own sadness and loss to deal with.
I may have been a complaining fool last week. But this week? This week I am so grateful for all the good in my life. My kids are happy and healthy, the man I love is happy and healthy, I have a job, a home, a car. No one in my family is dying from a terminal illness. No one in my family is grieving today. I. AM. SO. LUCKY.
Sending lots of love to Baby Oliver...
Thursday, May 9, 2013
For those of you who aren't aware, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This may be why I've seen so many posts lately on depression and anxiety. And I know that I won't be able to put into words as eloquently as others have, but I'm going to try to describe my experience with my mental health struggles.
I can remember the first time I started having bouts of severe anxiety. I was a 23 year old stay-at-home mom of 3. Yes... 3! My youngest was just a couple months shy of turning 1 and my then husband and I were in the midst of uprooting our children and moving away from the town we'd met, married, and lived for many years. I started feeling so overwhelmed. I not only had 3 children to tend to but I had to worry about selling (or finding a renter for) our current home, finalizing the sale on our new home, figuring out how we were going to move all of our possessions, wondering if this risk my husband was taking with his career would pay off, and doing all of this without completely having a nervous breakdown.
I went to my primary care physician and described to him how I was feeling. He prescribed me Effexor. After about a month I didn't feel like it was helping, so he upped my dosage. We finally got moved and settled and then my depression and anxiety kicked into high gear. My husband was traveling 3 out of every 4 weeks building his business and I was at home, 24 hours a day, with 3 kids under the age of 6. I had no break, no job I could escape to, no family to help me out. I felt like I was drowning. More than once, Brad would call home to check in and I'd answer the phone hysterically crying. I remember telling him at one point that I couldn't do it anymore, that I was afraid I was going to harm someone. And I wasn't sure if that 'someone' meant me, one of the kids, or someone else. That was when I decided to get off of the medication.
I'm not proud of this, but I just stopped taking it. Cold turkey. I didn't take the advice of my doctor and wean myself off. Nope, I just stopped. I'm still not sure how I made it through that month without killing myself. Seriously...killing myself. But once the side effects and withdrawals were gone, I was better. I was back to handling the pressure and dealing with things. I was good.
I didn't struggle again until early 2009. That year was one of the hardest, longest years of my life. And I went through a divorce just 2 years prior. 2009 was that bad.
In January, I was dating someone that I thought I'd be with forever. I was hopelessly in love and the happiest I'd ever been. Then in an instant, we weren't together anymore and my whole world crashed down around me. There were days I struggled to make it through a work day. Days were even the thought of cooking a meal was too much to wrap my brain around. At one point, my ex husband came to pick up the kids and I answered the door with tears streaming down my face. His initial thought was that something was wrong with one of the kids. When I told him the real reason for my distraught state he just said to me, "Dala... I've never, ever seen you this way. And I've known you for over 10 years. You need to talk to someone."
I didn't talk to anyone. Instead I went on a self-destructive rampage. I spent way too much time drinking, a lot of times alone. And the second another man showed an interest in me, I latched on. I thought that since I couldn't be with the only man I wanted I'd go ahead and settle for someone who at least had an interest in me, even if he constantly found something wrong with me. And that decision was the worst decision of my entire life. We all know what happened when I married THAT guy, don't we?
I spent 2009, 2010, and half of 2011 dealing with unmedicated depression and anxiety. I refer to those as the "lost years" because I really wasn't ME during that entire period. I was in an abusive marriage that I wasn't strong enough to get out of, and I lost my precious daughter. Those two things alone were so heavy.
One night in May of 2011 (after I finally got rid of that soul sucking asshole), my mom called to check in on me. Again, I was on the verge of having a mental breakdown. She convinced me to go see my doctor. I was prescribed Effexor again and this time, it really did help me. For so long it felt like I was just walking in a fog and then suddenly, the fog was lifted. Everything just felt so. much. better. And then the side effects came... So we switched to Wellbutrin. Much, much better.
After about 8 months I weaned myself off of Wellbutrin. And I felt really good for a while. But then my anxiety sort of took over everything. I wasn't depressed anymore, but fuck if I didn't worry about every tiny thing that may or may not ever happen.
As I've chronicled here, I got myself into therapy. I can finally say (after a very long time) that I don't feel so miserable anymore. Yes, I still have moments where it creeps in. But that's the thing, they're not days anymore. Just moments. And I've learned how to control those parasitic thoughts from completely taking over. I'm not on any medications either, which really makes me proud. I know there are some people who need medication for depression/anxiety (members of my family included), and please, never be ashamed of that. Whatever it takes to keep you healthy and happy...do it. I'm just so glad to feel a little more myself these days.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
My youngest daughter is probably the most random person I know. For example, she can just out of the blue say "Remember when..." and talk about a memory she has from years ago. The same thing happened last night.
We were on our way home from her softball game (which they won 12-11 in overtime, thank you very much), when she brought up how she used to have difficulty saying certain letters. "R" and "L" sounds would become "W" sounds and (my favorite) "K" and "C" sounds would become "T" sounds. Gracie had three years of speech therapy to correct this, but oh my god, the cuteness that came from just her talking was too much to bear.
This exact conversation happened on the way to school when she was in 1st grade:
Grace: Momma! Momma! I just saw two titties!!
Me: What?? You saw what??
Grace: Two titties! They were soooo tute!
Me: .............. Ohhhhh... TWO KITTIES!
Grace: Yes, Momma! Two titties!
Me: Where they big or were they little?
Grace: They were wittle! Two wittle titties.
Me: What color were they?
Grace: They were white.
Me: So you just saw two little white kitties?
Grace: Yes, momma. Two wittle white titties. I told you!
Joey: Mom, I know what you're doing. That's gross!
There's always one to ruin it for me.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Well, in typical Dala fashion I worried way too much about this weekend. I had an amazing time and didn't want it to end.
Coty and I left work early on Friday to make the 3+ hour drive to Hot Springs, AR. We got to stay in a gorgeous (and very, very large) lake home with amazing views of Lake Hamilton. On Saturday, we woke up and as I was coming downstairs about 3 people yelled (at the same time) "It's Dolla, Dolla Bill!" Apparently they'd all come up with this nickname for me after Coty and I went to bed. It was awesome!
We all ate breakfast then we went to see The Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn. The weather couldn't have been more perfect and the entire day was so great. We were all so tired from the long day, so we ordered pizza and everyone (about 15 people) came back to the lake house to just hang out. Sunday we got up early, had breakfast with the crew and headed back home.
This picture makes me so happy. It's by far my favorite picture of us, ever. He makes me happier than I can even describe. He's healed my heart completely and has broken down every single brick in my many walls. He has got to be one of the most understanding and accepting people I've ever met. And he makes me laugh ALL. THE. TIME. I can't believe how lucky I am to have him, I couldn't have dreamt up a better man. He believes in me and supports me at every turn.
I took the plunge this morning and applied to college (eeeekkk!!). I will be a first time student, starting from square one, but I think Coty is more excited about it than I am! We had a lot of time to talk on our trip this weekend and it was him who sort of nudged me to just go for it (even though he doesn't know it). He's already given me such great advice --since he knows about everything there is to know about the entire college process-- and has said he'll be there to help me every step of the way.
If this is all a dream, well... I hope I never, ever wake up.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Today holds a great amount of significance for me. For a few reasons....
One year ago today, I walked out of the Benton County Courthouse a 'single' woman. I was FINALLY (officially) no longer tied to Max. I can't even begin to describe the relief I felt when that was all over.
2011 was probably the longest year of my life.
January: I lost Avery and had to bury her.
February: Still living with an abuser and had to return to work at a place I loathed being.
March: Same as February.
April: (right around the 10th) I finally got the nerve to kick Max out of my house and take back control of my life.
May-August: One of the most trying summers of my life. Just trying to find my way back to 'normal'. I also was finally able to land a job I was excited about.
September-December: My depression really kicked into high gear. With a lot of help from my family, friends, and medication I was able to stay afloat.
So, here I sit two years later. I'm still not the person I was before I met Max, but I'm closer than I've ever been. I still have nightmares about him. I still catch myself scanning people's faces in public to see if he's there. Luckily, I haven't laid eyes on him since the day he moved out. And I don't know what my reaction will be when (and if) I do see him again.
All I know now, is I'm so happy to finally feel like I'm headed in the right direction.
Today is also my mom's birthday. She and I have had our share of ups and downs, but she's been my rock. I really don't think I could have survived half of the shit I've been through had she not been there for me.
My mom is no where near perfect. And growing up, she wasn't your typical 'mom'. But she's mine. And she's my best friend. I can tell her anything, and know that I won't be judged. She knows how I think and feel, mostly because her and I are wired exactly the same.
She's been through more trials than anyone I've ever met. So my wish for her today, is that she has the best fucking birthday she's ever had. She totally deserves it. I love you, Mom!
I tend to over think every. little. thing. I read into shit that I either have no business reading into or that is nothing. My over thinking is one source of my anxiety, I know this. But I just can't stop.
I also know that my over thinking has to do with insecurity. Not necessarily in my appearance, but with "am I good enough?". I sort of feel like a broken record on here with my constant talk of my past and what I've been through. But my past makes me who I am. It's molded my mind into thinking certain things. I can't help it. If I could change some shit, well... I would.
I'm going to the horse races this weekend with Coty and some of his friends. Out of the four other people we're going with, I've met one. And guys, I'm nervous! I wonder if they'll like me, if they'll like me for him. His friends are a HUGE part of his life; they are his family. And their opinion means a lot. Also, this is the first time he and I will be going on an out-of-town trip.
So, here I am over thinking every detail of this trip.
What should I wear?
I need to try to limit my alcohol.
But I don't want to be a stick-in-the-mud.
What if my allergies kick my ass? (I'm allergic to horses. And I'm going to the horse races. Way to think this through, right?)
What if I have to sit inside and everyone else wants to sit outside?
What if I sound like a complete moron?
What if I do drink too much and talk non-stop?
What if they think I'm annoying?
What if they think I'm a snob because I don't talk enough?
What if they all hate me and convince Coty to break up with me? (I know this won't happen, but see where my mind goes?)
My therapist told me that I tend to take something this big: [ ] and make it THIS big:
And she's right. I do that with at least one thing, at least once a day. I know I'm over thinking this whole thing. I've already met several of his friends and they are all so sweet and nice, so there's no reason to think the rest of them won't be the same way.
Logically, I know this will be a fun weekend where I'll get to meet some cool people and eat some amazing food. Logically, I know this weekend will probably turn out great and no one will think anything bad of me. But unfortunately, my logical side isn't in control 95% of the time.
Now, on the positive side, I have noticed over the past couple of weeks that when my mind starts to spiral I've been able to reign it in (not every time, but more often than not). So hopefully, this improvement will continue on.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Because I'm in a good mood and feeling all warm and lovey, I'll regale you all with the story of how I met GFLW. But because I don't want to type out 'GFLW' over and over I'll call him by his real name, Coty (pronounced like Cody, but much cooler spelling) on the blog.
(For those of you who aren't in on this inside joke, GFLW has two meanings... Guy From Last Week and Ginger From Last Week. This came about when giving an update about our first date to some online friends of mine. 'So, about the guy from last week'...which quickly became interchangeable with ginger from last week because he's a ginger, obvs.)
Back in October my friend, Doug was coming into town for the weekend. I hadn't seen Doug in over a year so I was excited to get to hang out with him again. He'd told me that he'd invited some other friends to come out too so I invited one of my girlfriends, Robin to even things out.
Robin and I met up with Doug at a piano bar but it was so early in the night we decided to go to another rooftop bar. Apparently all of Doug's friends flaked out on coming out, except for one. Coty. Coty met us at the rooftop bar, and I gotta be honest, I didn't really pay him much attention. He was nice and really funny, but it wasn't some whole dramatic 'oh my god I must have him' moment.
After a few drinks we all went to another bar where Robin's boyfriend met up with us. It's after this where my memory gets really hazy (that's what a lot of Ciroc vodka will do to a girl). My next memory is of Coty kissing me. According to him, I made the comment 'I have a thing for gingers' and that's all it took. He made his move. Now I don't remember a whole lot from that but I did learn this past weekend that another one of Coty's friends showed up and saw this whole thing play out. He's helped the two of us kind of piece together what happened. The last memory I have of him that night was Doug and I walking up the street to a sandwich shop and me turning around to see Coty standing on the corner.
The next day I had a foggy memory of this kiss. I looked Coty up on Facebook and sent him this message: 'Um, weird question... did we make out a little last night?' After 5 minutes and no response I have this text exchange with Doug:
Doug-Coty's going to text you.
Doug-I don't know! He just asked if he could have your number, so I gave it to him.
Then this with Coty:
Coty-I figured this would be easier than Facebook. But to answer your question, yes we did make out.
Me-That's what I thought...
Coty-I'd like to do it again sometime! haha
Me-I'll tell you what... you can take me out on a real date next weekend. Then we discuss making out again.
He says I played that all perfectly. At the time though, I was just trying to be a sarcastic bitch. I really had no desire to get into a relationship. I was sick of the 'game'. But, I figured what the hell? One date won't hurt.
And here we are almost 6 months later... It wasn't love at first sight, but it's certainly been a slow burn into a raging fire. I can't talk about him enough. I can't say enough good things about him and how he makes me feel. I could fill up pages and pages of this blog with how amazing he is. But for now, I'll keep that to myself.
And one more... :-P