Aug 31, 2009


I received an e-mail this morning informing me that my story from Six Sentences was nominated!

If you liked my story, you can go here and vote for me (yes, this is a gratuitous request for votes).

Thanks in advance :-)

Aug 27, 2009

The duck that saved my life

Griffin graduated to the "big boy" car seat. This just means that he's old enough and big enough to ride facing forward. We got him a new seat just before his birthday and started using it a couple of weeks ago.

I love it because I don't have to lug that heavy seat (with a heavy baby in it) in and out of the car everywhere I go. Now I just get to lug the heavy baby with me. Griffin loves facing forward, and who could blame him? I mean, for the past 12 months the only thing he could really see when facing the other way was a grey headrest. Not very exciting.

Just as much as I'm thrilled to not have to carry that carseat around, I miss it because if Griffin fell asleep, we could just carry him into the house like that without a problem. Now, we have to wake him up and try to get him to fall back asleep in his crib. And you know what they say about the best laid plans...

The problem with this seat is that as much as Griffin loves facing forward, he hates getting into the seat. First thing in the morning isn't too bad - he's still tired and excited to be getting outside. It's the afternoon that's a killer. He's over tired and kind of cranky. He might be hungry and probably just really wants to play or walk. But then there I am, trying to stuff into that car seat for his own safety and all. How horrible of me. The kid can throw a total meltdown - to the point that he will somehow manage to escape from the arm straps and end up standing up in the carseat and facing the headrest. Maybe he really did like that view.

It was causing me a lot of stress. He did it every day when I picked him up from day care. Our provider had to get him in the seat  because he would fight it so bad for me. He did it in the parking lot at Target, our local grocery store, and his doctor's office. Screaming. Crying. Straightening his legs. The works. I would stand there and sweat and swear just trying to get him in the car. Think of a swear word and I said it.

Then I had an idea...

As we walked to the car one morning, I handed Griffin his Baby Einstein musical duck and his face lit up. I grabbed him, got him in the seat, and secured the seatbelt, all while he pushed the buttons and listened to the music. Success! And it has worked ever since. I told Patrick today that I don't care if I have to do this every day until he outgrows this seat because a) it works and b) I'm not sweating my ass off in my day care provider's driveway and various parking lots trying to get him in the carseat all while strangers think I'm abusing my son.

So thank you Baby Einstein duck. I love you {and I don't care how annoying and repetitive your songs can be, I would gladly have your music haunt my dreams just so Griffin keeps getting into his carseat without any problems}.

BE Duck

Aug 25, 2009

Six sentences

I found this incredibly unique web site that challenges writers to tell a story in six sentences. I've heard of flash fiction, but would this be considered micro-flash fiction?

On a whim, I decided to enter my six sentences. After hitting the "enter" button, I wondered what the hell I'd been thinking as I read through some of the most amazing stories. Aarghhh!!! I wanted to take it back. I wanted a do-over. But the very next day I received an e-mail from the editor informing me that my story was accepted!

So, here's my story...

Please do me a favor. Take time and read through some of the other stories. There are some amazing writers on this site. Quite honestly, I kind of feel like an imposter.

Aug 20, 2009

Something new

Yes, I'm trying a new look for my blog. I can't stand flip-flopping, but I wasn't thrilled with the last layout. I'm going to try this one out for a while and see how I like it. It just might change again...

Aug 19, 2009

Lost and found

Why does the title of this post sound eerily familiar to me? Did I just use it? At this point, I don't care. I like it and it fits with what I have to say.

It has been two weeks since I saw the doctor and I've got another week to go. Somehow, I've managed to make it. I don't know how because there were days (and nights) when the sadness and anxiety seemed unbearable. It's not so much the anxiety as it is the anticipation of the anxiety {and anyone who has ever experienced this knows exactly what I'm talking about}. I could be sitting at work, having lunch with my coworkers and then all of a sudden, a wave of dread washes over me: I'm not better. This hasn't been some awful nightmare. I still have to face it every day.

I have these moments when things seem normal {whatever that means}. I cook dinner. I flip through a magazine. Sometimes I even sneak in a laugh. But it always hits me. The dread. It's like some invisible person pokes me in the arm just to remind me of how awful I feel.

I like getting lost in those little moments - those small breaks from the sadness. I want more of them because I'm tired, so tired, of dragging myself around. I'm tired of faking smiles at work and with family. I'm tired of pretending. I'm just tired.

I'm very impatient this time around. I want to feel better and I want to feel better NOW. I know there's work to do and it's not something I can rush, but it's really difficult when I wake up each morning and dread going to work to have to deal with things that don't seem very important. And it's difficult to come home exhausted and have to take care of my family when all I want to do is crawl into bed.

One more week.

Aug 15, 2009

My backup husband

I had a dream last night that I was dating my backup husband. He called me from his tour in Europe to tell me he missed me and would be home in a couple of weeks. This was much better than the past few weeks when I battled insomnia...

{William Elliott Whitmore - aka "The Backup"}


Aug 12, 2009

And miles to go before I sleep...

Patrick is out of town tonight, so I'm home alone with Griffin and this is causing me a huge amount of anxiety. I'm scared he's going to wake up in the middle of the night and I'm not going to be able to take care of him. Or worse, that I'm not going to want to. It's those thoughts that drive me deeper and deeper into a depression. What kind of mother thinks those things?

I'm trying to do anything to keep my mind occupied. TV. The Internet. Writing. I just don't know if I'll be able to go to sleep tonight. I've been suffering from such horrible insomnia lately - waking in the middle of the night and then the anxiety keeps me up. Sometimes I only get 4 hours of sleep a night.

All I do at night is stare at the baby monitor. It's an awful feeling.

We'll see how long I make it tonight.

Griffin times three

Birthday 001

Griffin had his 12-month check-up today, which really was his 12 and 1/2 month check-up, but whatever, it's only two weeks, right?

Each visit we like to take bets on how much he weighs because he's, like, really heavy when you pick him up. I don't know. Maybe the kid likes to throw dead weight, but he's heavy. Besides, people are constantly telling me how big he is {once at Walgreens, a woman called him "thick" and "juicy" - maybe she was just hungry}. Anyway, we take bets. Patrick usually guesses too high and I'm usually closer, but still a bit high. I guessed 22 lbs 8 oz and was off by a whole pound! He's only 21 lbs 8 oz. But...he's 30 and 1/4 inches long. A long, tall, Iowan.

So he has officially tripled his birth weight (give or take a few ounces) and he grew over 9 inches in one year. I swear we haven't given him any steroids, but now that I think about it, he was wearing a Red Sox jersey the other day. Hmm.

Aug 8, 2009

She's a little runaway

I'm in Chicago right now. It was a really tough decision, but I had to leave. No, I didn't leave my family for good, but I had to leave for my own sanity. For my own good. For my mental health. Things came to a head last night/this morning and after a long talk (and some choice words), Patrick and I decided (OK, so I made him decide for me) that I needed to visit my parents for the weekend.

I was torn. The pros are that I get a break from the routine, the rut of my everyday life. Maybe I can return to my family tomorrow with fresh eyes and a fresh outlook. I hope to return with a new appreciation for all of them because they truly are the center of my world. The cons are that I feel such a sense of guilt for bailing on them. I feel as though I have let them down, especially my baby-doll Griffin. I have this obsessive thought that he will be scarred from this experience. That somehow, at the age of 25 he will end up in therapy because "that one time my mom took off to Chi-town for the weekend because she didn't want to be around me."

On the upside, I think Patrick might finally be beginning to understand the depths of my depression. He has never experienced it himself (thankfully), so I know it is difficult for him to comprehend how it feels. Explaining it isn't easy. This morning, I held Griffin while I tried washing bottles and sobbed. I didn't know what to do.  I couldn't make a decision. I was paralyzed. Everything was going on around me as usual, but I was paralyzed. It is a horrible feeling.

The funny thing is that even though I'm at my parents' house, and I don't have to worry about waking up in the middle of the night watching the baby monitor and listening for Griffin, I'm still as anxious as ever. What's that all about? I thought I'd be feeling great. I don't get it.

I just hope that these 24 hours really give me a break. A much-needed time to breathe and regroup.

Only time will tell.

Aug 6, 2009

Day one

I wasn't sure if I should title this post Day One of Square One. The whole point is that I'm starting over. I actually felt a bit of relief yesterday morning when I left the psychologist's office - partly because I finally was able to talk to someone (a professional) about things, but also because I felt like I was on the right path. Moving forward. Getting better.

That only lasted for a little while before the doom and gloom came over me again. The dread. The fear. The anxiety. The I-can't-keep-doing-this. As I stood in the doctor's office making my next appointment, I couldn't help but feel defeated. Am I seriously here again? When am I going to be done with this stuff? When am I going to conquer it all? It's so disappointing, which only fuels the depression.

I have these brief moments when I feel motivated and I think I can handle things. I like those moments. They actually make me smile. The only problem is that they're so short-lived. Maybe 30 seconds if I'm lucky. Then it's right back to the dread.

I'm my own worst enemy in this battle. I'm very aware of that. The rational versus the irrational parts of me. Right now the irrational is winning. The I'm-never-going-to-get-better part of my brain is a lot louder.

I want to go back to yesterday morning when I felt good about everything. How do I get that feeling back?

Aug 4, 2009

Some days...

Some days, like today, I think Griffin deserves better than what I am giving him. He deserves more. More love. More attention. More affection. More cuddles. More walks outside. He doesn't deserve my moping and pacing and crying.

Some days the thought of taking care of him is exhausting simply because the thought of taking care of myself is exhausting. Some days I just want Patrick to do everything - feed him, change him, give him a bath. And he will do it, but it can't go on like this forever. And then Griffin will look up at me with that sweet face of his - the one that doesn't know the meaning of depression or anxiety - and he'll smile and reach his arms up for me to hold him. So I do. And for a split second, all is right in the world. But then it's gone. That wave of darkness washes over me again and I hand him off to Patrick. What am I doing to him?

This morning when I dropped Griffin off at day care, I kissed his head and whispered in his ear, "Mama's gonna' get better, OK?" I know he doesn't understand me, but I just had to say it.

He deserves a good life filled with fun and laughter and experiences. I can't take that away from him, but I can't give him those things when I feel this way.

So I have to get better. I just have to.

Aug 1, 2009


At the age of 14 I sunk into a deep, deep depression. So deep that I could not see a way out. So deep that while I never contemplated suicide, I kept it in my back pocket as a last resort. So deep that I spent two full months in a psychiatric unit of a hospital because there was no other option.

In the 22 years since then, I have battled the occasional emotional ups-and-downs, the funks, and I've even had to go back on anti-depressants a couple of times, but nothing even close to what I experienced back then. The last bout was back in 2001. I went to see a psychologist and ended up on Paxil. They both helped tremendously and for the first time in my life I felt like I'd conquered the depression and anxiety.

Until last week.

It's back. I thought it was a funk. It's not. I know the difference. With a funk, I can see the end of it - I know it's temporary. I can feel it. This feels so different. I'm starting to pull away from everyone and everything.

I don't want to go on and on about it because I know what I need to do. I already made an appointment. I hope to avoid medication this time mainly because I think I might have to stop taking my Topamax. Too many meds messing up my brain.

I hate this. I hate this more than anything else in my life. I hate it more than migraines. I can feel myself slipping and sinking each day. Each minute. It hurts. I looked at Griffin this evening and I told him how sorry I was. I was sorry for passing on my fucked up genes to him (god how I hope he never has to know what depression feels like). I was sorry that I wasn't doing all the things I should be doing with him (guilt, guilt, guilt). If I don't get better for myself, I need to get better for him.

So, there you have it. A deep, dark secret and a big confession all on a late Saturday night. What more could you ask for?