Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On being a mother and other things

My mom and I ca. 1985

I'm intrigued about whether my mom shaped me to be a successful, forgiving individual and whether I became more depressed, resentful, and bitter after I stopped having constant contact with her.
See, I was always with her when I was a little girl, she protected me, and nurtured me and only as an adult have I come to understand how much hurt and chaos and pain she had in her life with my father, but as far as I'm concerned, even as I grew up and became a young adult I was always her child and she has never ever abandoned me.
She says I talked at about 9 months, I can believe that; she has always told me so many stories of when I was a baby or a toddler, of things I can't remember and they are so sweet. I can hear myself talk to my baby daughter like my mom probably talked to me. But I'm probably not as good as my mom was, and this saddens me.  I am afraid that although I've developed a strong bond with my baby daughter, it is probably tainted (I was reading Attachment and Adult Relationships: How the Attachment Bond Shapes Adult Relationships) because I've been depressed, impatient, tired, frustrated, and honestly quite resentful and bitter because of our old house and monetary problems.
I don't think my mom suffered from depression until I was maybe a little older, and if she has had bouts with it, they have totally been circumstantial and temporay. My mom is an optimist, a joy to all her friends and her grandchildren have enjoyed her (until they turn into teenagers and forget about her) because she is so loving and funny to them.
I miss her so much. She's in central Mexico, about 1200 miles away or two flights away, or a three day drive away. And one of the hardest things for me about now raising little P is not having my mom close by, so they can enjoy each other and I can cherish my mom's company.
Last year she came to be with me a few weeks before my baby was born and stayed a few months after and I can't remember having such an amazing time with her before then. We would go for walks every evening with my huge belly and slow pace and she would help me in the vegetable garden, then after baby was born we would take her with us for our walks when she wasn't napping, but every time I strolled along with my mom, I swear I almost peed my pants  because she would tell me the funniest things. This summer I have had some really hard days, I stopped taking the zoloft in late May, after I found out we're expecting our second child. But even while I was taking the medication, when I take baby in her stroller on "grandma's walking route" a bittersweet stream of feelings overcomes my heart and I wish she were there with me.

I just wish I will be as good a mom as she is, she does have some flaws, can be dictatorial and critical and is probably a bit helicopterish, at least she was, when I was growing up, but I guess I didn't turn to be a criminal or a worse off woman because of her. My father's alcoholism and emotional abuse has probably more to do with my ailments, but that's for another post. My mom tried to shelter me, but as we all know the codependent spouse can only shelter so much. Her path has been so interesting, I could talk for hours about her life, because she talked for hours about it with me. It would annoy the crap out of me at the time, but I know better now.

I see my husband and I know his parents were so different than mine, his birth order is different than mine, his sociocultural environment when growing up way different than mine, and you can see he's a very resiliant individual but I'm afraid that the cornerstone of his insecurities, emotional disconnect, feeling stuffing, and inability to pursue real success and make of himself someone greater than he ever imagined lies on the attachment, or lack of, with his mother.
All he has ever achieved he has achieved on his own, without anyone on his cheering squad, only after he's done something has he recieved some congratulatory comment, if any.  (I'm by no means saying his parents are bad people, just saying the ambition and willingness to help their children believe the sky's the limit wasn't present when my husband was a young man). This takes a toll on our marriage and our financial situation.
I was raised (by an enthusiastic mom) to go and get, to never feel ashamed of being smart (go figure!), to go to the beat of my own drum, and if someone had a problem with it, to know someone had my back. I'm becoming a worm, digging deeper in the dirt to not even suggest that I can conquer the world, that we can bring more money home if he chooses to be the stay at home parent or redirect his goals and take a more realistic approach to the fact that his speech may be the reason as to why he can't and probably will not advance in the financial field, that we could be so much better off if we both had the guts to "go and get", to "stand up and do" and stop resting in our laurels and pretend that where we're at is good enough, when it isn't.
I started off in this relationship being very dominant, wrong approach of course, because, this far into it, it was easier to join him than to change him, our finances are a mess and our lifestyle, plain mediocre; and this, of course makes the depression worse when it lurks around the corner. Then I have no validity in his eyes, "because I'm ill". It's a vicious cycle. Then I want to go to my mom and hide in her arms...or at least go for a walk with her on a summer evening...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

To have major depressive disorder is not the same as "feeling blue"...

Originally a Note from my FB profile...will translate on later time, since this is a really good letter to my acquaintances about what living with depression has been for me, especially this week.

Tener depresion aguda no es "andar en la depre"...
...No se quita solo "siendo positivo" aunque eso ciertamente ayuda.Tener depresion aguda tampoco quiere decir que uno deja de tener fe en Dios y en su misericordia, ni que "que pecado tan grande debo haber cometido que mira que me ha mandado Dios", no quiere decir que uno nunca jamas se rie o es capaz de sonreir, o de sentir amor por sus hijos.  Tal como una persona que no sufre de depresion aguda cronica no se esta riendo todo el santo dia, o se enoja o se pone triste, lo que pasa cuando la depresion es cronica es que la sensacion de estancamiento perdura y es mas dificl hacer tareas que los otros no consideran debilitantes.
Cuando uno tiene depresion cronica, la fatiga viene de tratar de vivir "con mas ganas" la vida, nuestro cuerpo no cuenta con los quimicos necesarios como la dopamina y la serotnina (tal como  un diabetico con un desequilibrio de insulina) que ayudan a lidiar con las cosas mas sencillas; y, derrumbando cualquier idea que los demas puedan tener de que los deprimidos solo somos flojos, es lo contrario: uno debe esforzarse el doble -si se tiene la nocion de lo que le pasa, como en mi caso, despues de 7 anios en tratamiento psiquiatrico, tres hospitalizaciones y 17 anios de terapia psicologica, actividad fisica, cambios en la dieta para aumentar niveles de serotonina, tecnicas de relajacion y visualizacion- para tratar de pasar el dia y funcionar en el empleo, en la casa y tratar de dar entusiasmo a los hijos, en otras palabras, uno gasta mucha energia tratando de efectivamente no dejar que la depresion reine. Es injusto que los demas nos "den aliento" dando a entender que no le echamos suficientes ganas a la vida, queridos mios: no tienen idea de cuantas mas ganas uno debe echarle de amancer a anocher, dia tras dia.
Uno tiene dias mejores que otros. Ayer fue un dia muy cansado, donde mi animo solo respondia llorando y la fatiga viene al tratar de evitar ese animo, y no dejar que mi nenita vea a su mami asi de malita. Y es que, cuando uno toma medicamento, los niveles de los quimicos en el cerebro medio se nivelan y le ayudan a uno a poder dar mas batalla. Yo tengo tres semanas de no tomar mi medicamento, por razones medicas y muy importantes para mi esposo y yo, de modo que soy completamente responsable de ser consciente de mis estados de animo y parte de esto es ser honesta y poder comunicar cuando tengo dias pesados, esto efectivamente ayuda al enfermo.
Es dificil explicar la depresion como enfermedad real, sobre todo cuando uno vive en dualidad cultural y de perspectiva. A mi esposo se lo tuvo que apenas explicar mejor el psiquiatra hace algunos meses, y aun cuando a mis padres les trate de explicar como actua esta enfermedad, bueno, uno fue victima de ella y la otra aun creo que no le queda claro que sucede en mi vida con este padecimiento. Tengo entendido que es un hecho que muchos miembros de mi familia materna y paterna padecen de algun grado de trastorno de estado de animo, pero a menos que tengan mas contacto con la perspectiva americana, los demas se "diagnostican" o tachan unos a otros de locos enfermos!
Y es que, cuando uno ha vivido con depresion la mayor parte de su vida en Mexico aun no hay un entendimiento de lo que sucede en el cerebro y en la vida de la persona. Y no digo que en USA sea distinto, pero ultimadamente aqui es donde finalmente le dieron al clavo y desde hace 7 anios estoy tratando de aceptar mi condicion y de aprender a vivir con este padecimiento. En Mexico simplemente todo mundo me criticaba o decia que "era sangrona o muy voluble". de ahi el iniciar terapia, "para dejar de ser grosera con los demas"...
En fin, lo que quiero dejar claro es que esto no es cuestion de opinion, es una situacion real y latente en la vida del enfermo, como el cancer o la diabetes, aun no se encuentra una cura pero se puede lograr "pausar los sintomas" con varias alternativas, y aun asi todos los que a diario luchamos con enfermedades de la mente vivimos con la esperanza de que se lograra encontrar una cura.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Welcome to Hades

When the temperature is anywhere above 74F, it is very hot for me, the current temperature reads 98.6F with a feeling of 99.4F, I don't know but this seems to be the high temp for the day. This makes it so hard for me to go outside since I get dizzy, light headed and very lethargic. Needless to say, I dislike summer a bit more than I dislike winter, even if it is 6 months long and temperatures are subzero...In winter at least I cover up and go inside, plus I'm always hot anyway, in summer if I go out I get heat exhaustion and like I said, feel so lethargic, but since I stay inside I freeze with the AC on and it's so annoying! Ugh. Add to the mix that I've stopped drinking coffee and cut way down on soda pop. (Recently, I seem to want only ice water, decaf tea lattes, and lemonade.) Also, the resident Psych got me off the medication for the depression and anxiety a couple weeks ago. So I'm basically a very cranky, dizzy, anxious mix of hormones, boy do I feel for my husband. He will definitely earn sainthood before he even dies :-)

So, I believe that because I don't take the medication any more, I have these really weird lucid dreams, and when I take naps I suddenly awake with my heart racing and I'm shaking. Deep inside I hope that I someday don't need to take any medication for depression, but I know that after baby was born it only took three months for the mood to go really down and the post partum to increase the "regular" depression when the resident Psych put me back on the meds. I am praying so very much that this time some miracle will come our way and post partum won't come along to screw things up.

We took a quick trip last week. We went to the Zoo. It was fun, but I was so tired and hot and sticky, and it wasn't even as hot as it is today!  Our little daughter is still is too little to notice most animals especially those who are napping, but she still enjoyed the fish, birds and any other big animal which moved significantly for her to notice.

It was a nice time and because I was on vacation, I ate anything and everything I got my hands on, my husband was a bit impressed, but I was hungry! I am trying not to eat all the time, but being so anxious all the time sure isn't fun...