Well, goodness. Didn’t mean to drop off the face of the earth, leaving everyone to wonder if the anti-depressants had failed and I’d been hauled off to the nearest mental health facility. Because I know that’s what y’all were thinking, every last one of you. Don’t lie.
Anyway, I figured I owed a good, long update on the state of things in Maryworld (Location: inside my own head. Population: One.) I’m warning you, this sucker is long. LOOOOOOONG. Have I mentioned it’s long? You actually may want to wait for the audio book version to come out so you can listen to it in the car during your commute.
Consider yourselves warned. Click below to read the Jolly Green Update.
Yesterday was the end of my first full week on anti-depressants so I thought I’d log all the things I’ve noticed. The first one is one that I’m REALLY excited about!
Sense of humor: I didn’t realize how much I’d lost my sense of humor. I would still watch my favorite comedy shows and chuckle, but, looking back, it was almost a forced, humorless laugh, if that makes any sense. More like I was laughing because I knew I was supposed to. I was also taking things WAY too seriously. The way Robert and I and the way my mom and I deal with things is by making jokes. It’s always been that way — till I started having problems the past couple years. Normally if Robert and I were worried about something we’d talk about it and end the discussion making really inappropriate jokes about it and all was well. Lately though I’d got to the point where my reaction was along the lines of, “It’s NOT FUNNY! THIS IS THE END OF THE UNIVERSE!!!” In the past couple days I’ve realized I’m getting back to where I used to be. I was just typing a thread on some message boards today about how we are finding it difficult to find someone who will sell us a car and I added a line about pulling two grand out of my ass and started cracking up. THAT is the old Mary! And when I’m watching something funny on t.v. the laughs are real and I’m actually enjoying laughing. Thinking back, my laughing had become limited to mostly cynical, sarcastic, and perhaps slightly bitter laughs. I think even when I was posting stuff on here that people thought was funny it tended to be super-sarcastic — which I am, that’s my sense of humor — but it was almost bordering on angry and bitter. Now I feel like throwing my head back and laughing for five minutes. I have always loved to laugh and take real joy in it and I’d lost that for a while.
Patience/Anger Management: Oh yeah, tons more patience with the kids. That is not to say I don’t care when they do something they aren’t supposed to do. The medication doesn’t make you a zombie, after all. I still feel plenty. It’s just that, instead of snapping at them or yelling, I am a lot more likely to control the tone and volume of my voice. When Madalyn is being completely ridiculous and over-the-top about something, I am able to smile and after she leaves the room rather than get pissed and be in a bad mood for hours. I’m not perfect, though, by any means. I have still had a few times over the past week where I’ve blown my top. It’s just the explosion is a lot milder than it used to be. Plus I’ve only been on a week and I know it’s a gradual process and will continue to improve. I have more patience with the big guy, too. If he leaves a dish in the living room, it does still annoy me but I am able to simply say, “Please don’t leave that stuff around” instead of (mentally) going apesh*t and seething about it for the rest of the night.
The Kids: I am actually enjoying being around my kids!! You don’t understand; I haven’t had that for quite some time. I have always made time to do things with them but for a long time it’s felt forced, like I’d really rather be doing something else (I don’t know if they knew that was why but I know they realized I was grumpy all the time). And it struck me that I wasn’t really having conversations with Madalyn. She’d ask me a couple questions and I’d get annoyed and shoot her down. Last week we were in the car for about 30 minutes and she and I actually had a real conversation the entire time! I didn’t get irritated at her questions and I was enjoying telling her about different things. I’m looking at the kids and smiling and being excited about doing things with them rather than looking at them and wondering what they are going to do to bother me next.
Stress: I feel soooo much less stressed. I feel like, for the past two years, my face has been permanently frowny and tight. As weird as this sounds, my face feels relaxed now. I tend to carry tension in my shoulders and for all this time my shoulders have been rock-hard when you feel the muscles. But I just reached up and poked them and they feel kind of squishy now. Squishy shoulders! I mean, what more can you ask for? Before the medication I felt like I was constantly wound up to the point of being about to snap. Now I feel calm. We even had a stressful thing come up on Thursday and I’m doing okay. It does still make my tummy do a nervous flip when I think about it but that’s it. I’m able to separate my thoughts and not agonize over it. Before it just would’ve made me completely unbearable to be around. I just feel like I’m taking things in stride a lot better and not blowing things so wildly out of proportion.
Joy: I feel like everything I’ve been doing for the past couple years has been completely joyless. Even the days I thought I was in a “good mood” — looking back I was still grumpy and unhappy for a lot of the day, whether people could tell or not. Now I feel like I’m honestly taking joy in things — my kids, like I mentioned, but other things, too. My upcoming trip — I am beside myself with happiness about it. Even just things like being here at the message boards where I’m a staff member. I never cut down on my amount of time there so maybe nobody noticed but I did. I felt cynical and antagonistic reading posts and even when I went on thread-starting sprees and such there was no joy in it. I just did it because that was my normal routine. It was like that with lots of things. I was doing my usual things but they just weren’t fun for me.
Reactions: I started feeling better the first day but R. didn’t really notice. However, the second day, we spent basically the entire day together and, at the end of it, he said he did see the difference and that I was starting to be like the old me again. I don’t know if the kids have noticed a difference. I hope so. I know I’ve been laughing and joking with Madalyn a lot more than usual. Plus I am just not hollering at them as much as I used to. They may not be able to put their fingers on it but I hope that, deep down inside, they feel the change. I am interested to see what everyone in California thinks.
Wow, looking back on all this is really mindblowing. This has happened to me before with depression. You don’t realize how bad it got until you get out of it and look back from a normal perspective. I didn’t remember what it was like to just feel normal. I thought what I was feeling WAS normal for me and that meant I was a bitch and a bad mother. I’m so glad for that moment of clarity I had when I realized I needed to get medication. Somebody was really looking out for me.
All I’ve said this whole week is I just want to feel NORMAL again. I didn’t, and still don’t, expect the meds to solve all my problems or make my life good. I just wanted to feel like a decent human being again. If I can get that I can deal with all this other stuff. And it looks like that is what is happening! I am SO excited, about this and life in general! Life is looking GREAT to me now which is another thing that’s been missing for a long time.
So, there you have it. Way too long, as usual. I just wanted to get it all down so I can refer back to it. (Hee, I just almost wrote “reefer” instead of “refer.” Dude, I’m on drugs, but not THOSE kind. ) Anyway, my dose doubles today (they are easing me onto it) so I hope that means things will continue to improve — or at least stay the same. I am very happy with how I feel right now.