Tag Archives: mental

The Struggle of Medicating and Mothering

Let me please start by admitting that as my daughter grows, I grow.

After all, I am learning how to navigate delicate situations that will shape this human being for years to come. In the process I am learning how to be patient, be kind and to be as empathetic as humanely possible.

And I need help, everyday, to accomplish this to the best of my ability.

The struggle of taking prescription medication and accepting that this will be my life, forever, has been a hard pill to swallow. (pun intended!)

I think this feeling is due to my experiences growing up. I would bet that a large population of thirty-somethings and on can remember their parents or grandparents heavily medicated with prescription medication, and perhaps it was mixed with booze at times.

I remember my mother having a plethora of pills. Pills for every occasion, and she had no problem sharing them with me in later years. An over-medicated parent is not a parent, and so I can see the struggle with making the decision to go that route. I can empathize with the desire to keep your household medication free.

But after years of being in denial, the best thing I ever did for myself and my family was to get on medication. I take JUST ENOUGH of a dose that allows me to control my emotions and stay motivated to keep moving forward. I truly believe that spiraling out of control on a consistent basis is counter productive to your desire to live on your own, free of medication. In my own experience, my relationships are better, my day-to-day life is better and my motivation to go after my goals in heightened. And lets be honest, most people, myself included, end up self-medicating.

I think another reason that people tend to avoid treatment is that they sort of view mental illness as a ‘cross they bear’ and something they ‘live with’. For example, I never linked my chest pains or over active sweating and constant queasiness to anxiety. I thought it was just me, just something I had to deal with. The whole time I was just experiencing symptoms of anxiety disorder. Perhaps lack of education leads us to ignore it because it is an illness we can’t see on the outside; other than physiological symptoms you experience (i.e. sweating).

In reality, mental illness is not much different that the illnesses you can see, meaning it needs to be treated. Your brain simply does not perform the way a healthy brain does. Boom, there you go. If you can’t treat narcolepsy or schizophrenia with will power, why would you think you can treat anxiety and depression the same way?

“Hey, wake the fuck up and pull yourself together Carol…” or “you do not see or hear things that are not there, stop fucking around and get back to work Carol so we can make happy hour.” – side note: I am obsessed with the name Carol from that tennis scene in Bridesmaides.  “Get it together, Carol!”

Of course, prescription medication is the just one of the treatments I have in my arsenal. You need to exercise regularly and release those endorphins naturally. Get some vitamin D daily, breathe fresh air. Meditate. Find a hobby that makes your heart sing. And pet your cat (whichever one you want).

One of the ways my daughter is keeping me on my toes and keeping my mind always focused on the big picture is how she mimics my every move. In the morning, I take my prescriptions when I pour my coffee and she sees me do this every day. Well, this past month she has demanded that she take her ‘medicine’ too.

My heart crushes every time, because it brings me right back to my child hood and how I can still remember my mom and her pills. I cried about this my husband and to my girlfriends. I struggle with wanting her to see me work hard to manage my mental health yet I want to preserve that innocence of childhood. However, at the end of the day, she needs a mother who can keep it together and a mom she can count on.

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So for now, I will alter my routine and save that conversation for when she is developmentally ready. With how fast she is growing, that will probably be next week. Sigh.

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That time I took a 3 hour nap…

Yesterday, Thursday, was the day I set aside every week to post something new. AND I was a productive lady this week and started early, on Tuesday. But then I took a nap, a glorious three-hour siesta with my main girl.

Which got me thinking a little deeper about naps and why I find them so important. Even when I don’t get to take one regularly, my body eventually gives up the fight and falls into a day-sleep. A day-sleep is how I describe a three-hour nap; too short to be called ‘going to bed’ but too long to be categorized as a nap.

To set the scene, this week I was recovering from last Saturday when I didn’t have to work because it was so dead and when we went to dinner. I got sick, because that is what happens to people who do not normally leave their habitat. They get sick. I thought the two cocktails I decided to try and drink did it at first. Then I realized the problem was actually something I ate. I don’t want to go into detail as to what I consumed and what exactly took place because my intestines are still pissed at me. But anyway, back on track… I was trying to rehydrate my body and realized that when I finally stopped to take breath it had been like 6 hours since I had pee’d last and wtf is that about?

Why am I letting myself get too busy to drink water and to use the freakin’ bathroom? I can’t really blame my child; she is 2 and pretty much is cool as long as she is invited. Can’t blame my husband because, well, I am 33 years of age. It is not really his job to make sure I drink water and pee regularly. At least not yet.

So this weekly post is inspired by that experience. We simply cannot give the best of ourselves if we are not taking care of the vessel we were given. After all, we nag our offspring to hydrate and to pee when they have to. Why does this simple example of taking care of ourselves escape us once we reproduce? Well, I have a theory, but I will share my theory at the end of this post.

I know women who will argue until the death of them they that don’t need to do things like manicures or massages or take a bath. They don’t need to work-out, watch a movie alone or get really stoned, watch Dateline and Snapchat. They say stuff like “I just don’t have time for that”, or “must be nice that you get to do those things.”

I realized this week that I was running on fumes, both figuratively and literally. I was dehydrated, crampy, grumpy, tired and still putting myself on the back burner. It happens to the best of us. And it will continue to surface it other areas in your life when your load gets to full and you have nothing left to pull from. You get short with people, you get lazy, you get preoccupied with things that do not matter to you, you fall behind in life… So for the love of your friends and family, take a nap, take a bath, get a hobby or eat a damn Snickers bar sitting in your closet wearing your favorite heels.

My theory as to women fall short in the self-care category is because we have brainwashed over time to feel some kind of way about doing stuff for ourselves. Some kind of way meaning selfish, shameful, embarrassed or just plain nonchalant. To have hobbies other than gardening, sewing shit or working out to keep our bodies acceptable for society to look at were looked at as risky behavior. I mean seriously, through-out history our place has been in areas of domestication. Until recently, and I don’t mean like 2015 recently either. Open a book sometime, check out what people with vaginas have been up to.

It’s ok to be happy throwing down a delicious meal in the kitchen and also being totally interested in going shooting at the range. It is also ok to fall asleep for 3 hours and miss a self-imposed deadline. I am sure I have my critics out there who think maybe I am little self indulgent. And you know what, I am.

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