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A Good Month

By all measures, this has been a good (great) month for me.  Anne and Phil were here for two weeks, which was awesome.  My lia sophia business has been doing really well–I’ve doubled the amount of money I’d hoped to make every month so far.  My web writing has been incredibly busy–I’ve done a huge partner project with Associated Content that has kept me quite busy and well paid.  In addition, I released my baby cardigan pattern, which has already sold 11 copies since its release on Sunday afternoon!

Of course, those of you who suffer from mental illness know about “by all measures” and “the shoulds”.  This should have been an awesome month–look at all the great things that have happened.  I should be feeling happy–I’m pregnant, our financial outlook is good, and we’re home.  I should, I should, I should…

Instead, I’ve been on a bit of a downward spiral, my first since the initial crash of coming off of my medication when I found out I was pregnant and handling Marcus’ seven weeks overseas.  It hasn’t been a crash, per se.  Rather, I’m just having ups and downs, highs and lows.  But unlike the highs and lows most people have, my highs aren’t high anymore, they’re average.

Instead of happy with all the great things going on, I find myself overwhelmed with it all–with the business of life.  Easily frustrated.  Short-fused.  Moody.

In short, how I feel when I’m depressed and not on my medication.

To combat this, I continue to try to stay busy, but to find a better balance.  I cannot, in fact, do it all.  I have to remember that when the days are rainy and cold (like they’ve been lately) I need to turn on all the lights and stay active.   I need to lean on Marcus and ask him for help when I need it.

I need to remember (don’t laugh) that I’m pregnant and my pregnant hormones usually start to go a bit crazy at this point, anyway.

It *has* been a good month…I just wish I could feel it.  Maybe just acknowledging it and realizing it will help.

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Four in the Morning

Those of you who suffer from depression and anxiety know how it can be the tiniest thing that gets to you.  For me, it’s happened quite a bit in the past week, and always over something small.

I have a new business venture, which I adore, but there are parts to it that I am just learning.  And as such, I’ve made mistakes.  And I hate that.  I hate failing and doing things wrong.  I hate not knowing the answers to things.  I hate feeling overwhelmed by such seemingly small details.

I know there’s a learning curve.  But I hate the learning curve.

It makes me frustrated about things that would normally not frustrate me–it brings out the worst in me when I have this small thing provoking all this anxiety in me behind the scenes.

And then it gets worse because I realize that if I had been perfect…had done it right the first time…none of this would have happened.

It doesn’t make it any better to realize that there’s a solution to everything and that these small business-related issues are not earth-shattering.

In fact, it makes it worse.  When I realize that, I get more upset with myself for not being able to handle such small things.

It’s four in the morning.  I can’t sleep for all the things running around in my head…and none of them can be handled at four in the morning anyway.

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And now for something completely different…

I’m trying this new domestic goddess thing.

OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration.

What I mean is, I’m trying to keep up a little better with the house and the girls.  I’m not saying my house is always spotless, and I’m not saying we are cutting out television completely (heaven forbid!), but I’m trying to be a bit better about staying active and involved with the girls and keeping the house together at the same time.

I have the feeling it has something to do with the move home, with the energy from the second trimester of pregnancy, and the fact that my hormones don’t seem as out of whack as normal.  In fact, for someone who suffers from severe depression, I’ve been feeling pretty alright lately.  I might as well take advantage of it, right?

At any rate, a friend in England bakes with her girls on Fridays before dad gets home from work.  They make cookies, brownies, or something fun to celebrate the weekend.

Why the heck not, right?

So, the girls and I decided to try it out on Friday.  They loved it!

Well, they loved part of it.

August2009 089

In keeping with this whole domestic goddess thing, it was one less bowl for me to clean.

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Pregnancy Tips, Tricks & FAQ

In my writing at Associated Content, I’ve really strived to show what I know.  In an effort to share that knowledge in one comprehensive place, I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts compiling various articles that all fall under one category.  The idea is to create a one stop shop for my readers to look for content on a particular subject.  While I’m not an expert on everything, I do try to share not only my experiences, but research as it applies to my work.

As a mother of two with #3 on the way, I’d like to think that I know a little bit about pregnancy.  Therefore, it seemed only fitting to center this first blog post about pregnancy–tips, tricks, and FAQ.  If there are pieces here that you find extremely helpful, have questions about, or would like to see expanded upon, I’d love to hear from you!

Trying to Conceive

Three Misconceptions about Charting Your Temperature to Achieve Pregnancy

Trying to Conceive?  What You Should Know About Your Diet, Exercise, and Weight

Pregnancy Symptoms

Symptoms of Pregnancy:  Understand Early Signs and Conditions of Being Pregnant

First Week Pregnancy Symptoms:  From Spotting to Cramping

Mental Health & Pregnancy

Perinatal Mental Health:  Helping Women Cope with Pregnancy and Baby’s Arrival

How to Recognize and Deal with Antepartum Depression

Safe Anti-Anxiety Treatments for Pregnant Women

Will I Have Postpartum Depression?

Safety & Comfort during Pregnancy

Making Your Office Comfortable During Pregnancy

Is Acupuncture Safe During Pregnancy?

Curb Unhealthy Weight Gain During Pregnancy

Tips for Dealing with Pregnancy Insomnia

Are Chiropractors Safe During Pregnancy?

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Hum-drum…

Well, Marcus is back at work for his first full week this week, and that means we’re  slowly getting back into routines here at home.  Of course, they’re new routines, but they’re routine, nonetheless.  There are two more weeks until the girls start school, so that still leaves the three of us with some lazy summer days to fill up with friends, family, and activities.

With routine brings my old insecurities, and I worry about my depression rearing its ugly head.  But I know that one of the best things I can always do for myself is to keep busy.  This illness can be a vicious cycle, and the less I do, the less I want to do.  So we’ve a full schedule over the next few weeks.

In addition to the things the girls and I have to keep our days busy, I’m keeping my “free” time pretty booked up, too.  I’ve started selling lia sophia jewelry, which I am really excited about.  Not only does it bring in a great part-time income, but I can work when I want and sell a product that I really love.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Then, when I can, I also fit in my writing.  I’m still in waiting mode on my second query, which quoted 4-6 weeks wait time for a response.  After that, I have a lead with an Catholic editor who may be able to offer some help, so I’ll turn to her next.

In addition, my web writing business has been booming lately, with pieces for Associated Content and plenty of their partner websites, too.  The money I bring in monthly from them, plus the money I have started to bring in from lia sophia, should be enough to send the girls to nursery every month and give a chunk to secondary loan we have out.

I do feel good, knowing that I am contributing to my family both monetarily and in my care of the girls and the house…which surprisingly, is fairly clean at the moment!

So, though we’re getting into our routine, I suppose you could hardly call our busy days “hum-drum”…

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Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Better known as the details.  I’m watching the details pile up right now as we get ready for my sister’s wedding on Saturday.  She and her fiance (and my mother) seem to be handling the small stuff quite well, and I’m impressed by how cool, calm, and collected they appear (especially for a family that has issues with stress and anxiety).

There’s a plethora of small stuff going on for us right now, too.  Some is related to our move, some to the girls, some to my knitting :) and some just to the ups and downs of life.

I’m trying to take it all in stride, though that isn’t always my strong suit.  As a result of failed attempts, I snapped at my sister on Friday, and on Saturday night I had a mini-breakdown while I was getting the girls to bed.  I know it has to do with a change in my medication, as well as all the regular life stresses that are going on right now.  Marcus is, as always, incredibly supportive and helpful, and that’s why I know I’ll manage to pull it all back in and get back on top of life soon enough.

As for the details (which I know many of you nosies are curious about), here’s the abbreviated version:

1.  Samantha has strep throat, in the midst of wedding planning.  We also have no doctor yet in Annapolis.  She is, thankfully, on the mend now.

2.  I’m working on Kiki’s garter for the wedding.  Please don’t ask me why I have left this until the last minute when they’ve been engaged since February 2008.  However, I am making real progress now, and am about 1/2 way done.

3.  We’ve been digging the Washington Capitals and their games, managing to hit a few at the Verizon Center courtesy of my dad and his company’s suite.  It’s involved a bit of juggling with the girls, and we have not managed to attend as a group yet (meaning me, Marcus, Kiki, and Andrew).  I’m hoping for a long series again, so we can have another go at it.

4.  We whisked Kiki off to Atlantic City for her Bachelorette Party last weekend.  There were a few kinks (when aren’t there a few kinks when 9 girls are involved), but for the most part, the weekend was a huge success.

5.  I’m a little bit homesick for England–our routine, our schedule, and our friends.  I was especially bummed to read yesterday on Twitter that Anne and Sue were sitting in Anne’s garden drinking wine, something that could (should) easily be my routine on a sunny Saturday afternoon…sigh.  But I know that they are still there, that we are still friends, and that my life here will fall into it’s own groove soon enough.

6.  I’m really excited because I heard back from a magazine that I queried an article idea to in early April, and they are actually interested and like the idea of a whole regular column.  I spent yesterday finding decent writing samples to share with them, and I’m incredibly nervous.  My first, non-web based freelance writing.  Woo-hoo!

So, if anything, I suppose we should toast to the small stuff, right?

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Labeled

I have spent the past few days a bit mopey, even with the arrival of some of my closest college friends for a visit.  It has to do with labeling.

As a teacher and someone interested in psychology, I find labeling to be one of the most fascinating parts of society.  I recently spent time with a friend discussing a diagnosis doctors placed on her son–she found the diagnosis (not a surprise) both freeing, and frightening.  I could see why.  I remember sitting on the other side of student studies and seeing parents experience the same thing.

The same has been true of me.  Though there was a time I shied away from the label “depression,” I’ve come to almost embrace the label, no longer ashamed.  My depression is a part of who I am, though, of course, I wish it wasn’t there.  But I’m not ashamed that I suffer from depression–I do everything in my power to treat my illness and work to overcome it.

On Friday I met with a counselor for a session, to discuss life, at the insistence of my husband.  Those of you who suffer from depression may know that sometimes your loved ones can see changes in you before you are able to recognize them in yourself.  Marcus is always on top of me, and he urged me to call my counselor.

While I was there, we discussed the possibility that I may have been misdiagnosed with major depression, and we began to explore another label that might suit me more adequately.  It was one that had crossed my path before, but that I was quick to dismiss.  There are some parts of this new diagnosis that would fit me well, with others still a bit off.  But in many ways, the new label would suit me better than my current diagnosis.

It isn’t anything official, just something we’re discussing and that she thinks I may want to assess with a clinician once I return to the states next month.

But it’s amazing how thoughtful this new diagnosis has made me.  I’ve spent the past few days examining things that have happened in my life, and seeing how they fit.  It’s made me see myself, simultaneously, both more clearly and in more of a haze.

Will this new psychological label change me?  What does it alter?  If Marcus and I are thinking about more children, would this new diagnosis and potential treatment options halt that?  What does it mean for the girls?  The divorce rates are higher for this mental illness…does that mean Marcus and I could end up divorced?

I have found myself in a whirlwind this weekend…questioning everything.

I know that no label can change me.  And I haven’t even been officially diagnosed yet.  But still…it’s amazing the power of labels.