1

Depressed? Nah.

I’ve had some questions about how I’ve been feeling since Jessica arrived, and I thought it warranted a blog post.  The long story short is that I’ve suffered from bouts of major depression and anxiety since I was in high school, was diagnosed in college, and had a major episode during our stint overseas.  However, when we moved home from England last April and I found out I was pregnant, I quit my medication cold turkey (which, for the record, I don’t recommend…ever).

So here we are now, almost a year later.

I won’t lie and say it was always pretty.  Once I made it through the withdrawal, I suffered from a condition known as “first trimester.”  It wasn’t pretty.  But I don’t know if it was uglier for me than it was for any other women with two active children and a husband still overseas for seven more weeks.

Then, I suffered from a terrible bout of “it’s getting dark earlier.”  It did have me craving a Celexa, but I survived thanks to my fabulous husband and family.

Towards the end of my pregnancy I ran into “the end of pregnancy blues” that are often accompanied by a lack of sleep and severe exhaustion because you’re the size of a house.  But I actually think I managed to handle them pretty well.

Of course, after Jessica was born I was visited by “the baby blues.”  Been there, done that, wrote the book.

So that brings us to where we are today.  And I won’t lie and say that being a mother to three children (five and under) is easy.  There are days I starting counting down to bedtime (usually on my fingers, because my kids have sucked all the intelligence right out of me) shortly after we get up in the morning.  But overall, I’m feeling pretty good about life.

I’m loving every second of Jessica, and I know that’s helping.  The thought that she *might* be our last (my husband is feeling pretty “done” after three girls…I’m not convinced) gives me plenty of cause to cherish every second.  And I’m not sure if it’s because this is my third and Marcus and I have this parenting thing down, or if it’s because Jessica is such a good baby…but I feel pretty on top of things.

For the first time in a long time (ever?) I feel like I’ve got things under control.  I’m a good mom.  Not perfect, but good.  Some days I’m great.

So depressed?   Nah.

It hibernates.  Will it rear its ugly head again?  Perhaps.  Probably.  Maybe. One day.

And I’ll be ready.

4

The Sun in Shining

My low is starting to fade, and the sun is shining both inside and outside of our house a bit more.  Maybe I’ll blame pregnancy hormones, and try to remain positive.  If I worry about the downs, it will only make them worse.

And while the sun is shining, there’s been knitting.  Oh boy, has there been knitting.  Not so much cleaning (hah!) but knitting.  In fact, I’ve completed 16 projects for the October Malabrigo Junkies Stockpile.  I’ll almost be glad for Sunday to roll around, because I’ve felt compelled to keep working on one skein projects!  Entrechat has hit the back burner, and instead, I’ve knitted up these (and this is just a sampling)…

Whew!  Then, when the stockpile is over I’ve promised myself to work on Dad’s Christmas vest (you know…from last Christmas), my Brilliance Pullover (hibernating since the move) and to finish the Entrechat shrug test knit.

At least I haven’t lost the will to knit!

12

And Baby Makes Five…

…and apparently steals your blogging mojo.

Yep, you got it right–I’m pregnant with #3.

To clarify, I am pregnant with #3, living in America while my husband is still taking care of our house and lives in England, watching the girls, living with my mom, and trying to write in my free time.

Whew. Now I know where the rest of May went.

In anticipation of all the pregnancy questions that may be ruminating around in your head, here are some preemptive FAQs:

When are you due?
Baby #3 should arrive in early January. My due date is January 6th. But of course, we know all about those pesky due dates.

So wait, how far along does that make you?
I’m 9 weeks and 2 days pregnant.

Umm…aren’t their rules about telling people before the end of your first trimester?
There are. They were made up by women having their first baby, who don’t look pregnant until well into their second trimester. I am, however, having my third baby. That means I pretty much started to look pregnant the minute I conceived.

In addition, I’m pretty open about my life, and if something ever happened to my pregnancy, I’m sure I’d be writing about it anyway.

Are you hoping for a boy this time?
Who answers “yes” to this question? You set yourself up for nothing but potential disappointment and who wants to be disappointed with ANY healthy child?

On one hand, of course we’d love to see what our son would look like and what it would be like to have a boy. On the other hand, we’ve got this girl thing covered, and that’s pretty cool, too.

Are you going to find out what you are having?
Yes.

There are so few real surprises in life…why ruin the surprise of your child’s gender?
Seriously? Whether you find out and cry and hug your spouse in the ultrasound room, or find out in the delivery room, is it any less of a surprise? This argument always cracks me up. I like knowing, planning, and preparing. It’s part of the fun for me, my husband, and our family!

So, expect a few baby knits, baby woes, and baby joys in Kelly’s world from now on! It hasn’t been the easiest start to a pregnancy–I haven’t felt too badly, but it is hard being without my husband for these early weeks. Luckily, I’ve had help from family, which has made it much more manageable.

For those that are curious, I’ve also stopped taking my antidepressants. This was my choice, and didn’t come on the heels of any reading or doctor’s recommendation. In fact, I always said I’d never stop even if I did get pregnant again. However, when the “pregnant” flashed on my digital pregnancy test, I stopped my 40 mg of citalopram cold turkey (which I do NOT recommend). I’m not opposed to starting them again if I can’t go any longer, and I’m in open conversation with my midwife about my depression. But for now, though I am still suffering some, I am managing it well. Again, family support has been a huge help here.

I promise, pictures, knitting, life back in America, and the like will all follow in the not-so-distant future…I’ve missed blogging, and you! Give a shout-out in the comments section if you are here!

3

Breathe in, Breathe Out

Every once in awhile I find myself incredibly anxious. It’s a part of who I am, and I work on ways to handle the anxiety and still make it through the day.

A major part of that is understanding what is making me anxious.

Today I am anxious because the movers are finally coming to put the roll-top desk together at the new house. I’m anxious because I’ll have to be there (without Marcus) with the girls while I wait for them, and I’m not sure what time they’ll arrive.

I’m anxious because Courtney is going to watch the girls so I can get a much needed break. I’m anxious because I hope Erica is good. And then I am anxious because I’m going to the new knitting group I have been attending, where I don’t really feel that I belong yet. And I’m working on a sock design that one of the members is attempting for me, and she’s going to knit it and hate it or think it’s terrible and then won’t want to be friends with me anymore.

And then tomorrow a girl from high school and her two kids are coming over. There is absolutely nothing to be anxious about…nothing. But I am, nonetheless.

I’m anxious about how I’ve been with the girls lately. Samantha is really testing the boundaries, and Erica is as strong-willed as ever. They are requiring constant attention, and we’re working on their behavior, which is draining.

I know…these sound like little things-irrational things. But that’s part of what it is to suffer from depression and anxiety. I cannot stop thinking about these little things. They make new worried, upset, and make the entire day a chore for me, where I want to go to bed and wake up tomorrow, where it’s gone.

The worst part is that my anxiety right now isn’t this out of control anxiety, but instead, it’s this calm anxiety, if that makes sense. My heart is racing, but I don’t have any emotion about it.

It doesn’t make sense…I know. But I feel a little better for having blurted it all out.

5

Obsessed or Accountable: Deep Thoughts about my Weight Loss

For someone like me, who suffers from depression and anxiety, a lot of lines in life become blurred. It’s all too easy for something that I enjoy or something that I am working at to become an obsession, instead of just something that I am doing.

It’s happened with knitting in the past, and I’ve had to work hard to find a balance. It just recently happened with the Twilight books–and I ignored everything and everyone else until these were completed (but I hear I’m not the only one who feels this way).

I’ve also found that it’s happening with my weight loss. It started as a necessary measure because my clothes and rings weren’t fitting anymore. I also wanted to be at my best for my sister’s wedding in May, because those pictures will be around forever.

But I see so clearly what happened. There is so much going on right now–travel, plans to move home, anxiety about leaving friends…and there is so much going on that I can’t control. So what was something that I was holding myself accountable for by posting and weighing in quickly became something that I was obsessed with.

I was weighing myself daily–not eating if I felt that I’d eaten too much the day before, feeling guilt and shame if I overate. And I wasn’t seeing myself clearly anymore.

So, I have to decide how to find a balance. How do I get to my goal weight without making it an obsession? How do I learn to accept myself as I am, regardless of the number on the scale?

I thought about it while I went for a run this morning.

At least that’s something.

But I may cut back on my weight loss updates here. Instead of weekly, I think I’ll move to bi-weekly, and have Marcus hide the scale in the meantime.

After all, they are just numbers.

8

My Rings Don’t Fit…and other, equally depressing, realizations.

I’m not entirely sure what’s come over me. I imagine it’s the same sort of thing that strikes most people on January 1, when they realize that it’s a new year and time to get it together.  Well, it’s dawned early at my house.

My wedding rings don’t fit.  I’ve known this for a few months now, though I’ve tried to ignore it.  They’ve been sitting in my jewelery box, taunting me.  I can get them on.  But the engagement ring is so tight that I can’t stand the feeling of it around my finger.

My jeans don’t fit either.  And I don’t mean that little problem where they’re too tight after washing and stretch out some on day two.  I’ve held out hope as far as day four on a few pairs, and the fact remains.  They don’t fit.

I’m eating crap.  It’s true.  Today I ate (seriously) a brownie and two slices of leftover pizza for breakfast, a sandwich and a brownie for lunch, white rice sprinkled with Parmesan  cheese and the skin off of a chicken thigh (totally not kidding here) for dinner, and a Lean Pocket for dessert.  Of course, we all have days like these.  But lately, most of my days are like this.

I’ve entered a vicious cycle with food.  I’ll be sitting here thinking to myself that I hate my weight, how my clothes fit, and that I feel fat.  And do you know what I do?  I go get a brownie because, after all, I’m already fat and it will at least make me feel better.

I definitely have an unhealthy relationship with food.

Add in the fact that I’ve gotten lazy, and blamed my depression.  When I started taking antidepressants in November 2007, I had been running and was in the best shape of my life.  But I was too sick to take care of myself, and stopped running.  But then, my medicine made me lose weight…and so when I stopped running and started taking antidepressants, I was suddenly the skinniest I’ve ever been.

I knew that it was unhealthy.  That’s not the way to lose weight.  And I knew that the weight would come back on when my body adjusted to the medication.

I was right.

But I hate how I look now. My clothes don’t fit.  I eat crap and then feel worse about myself.  I’ve got Kiki’s wedding coming up and I don’t think I’ll fit into the dress I ordered.

I should say that I am not, under any circumstances, saying that I am really and truly fat.  I realize that I am much skinnier than some people, and that they’ll read this and be insulted by it.  After all, if I’m saying that I feel fat, I must be saying that you are fat, too, right?  But I’m not.  Not at all.  I’m just saying that I am not happy with my body right now, and a lot of it has to do with my weight.

I know my own feelings about my body and my weight need adjustment.  That’s part of the problem.

But I also know that my relationship with food and fitness needs to get back on track, too.

So tonight I went for a run.  It wasn’t much, but it was a start.  Maybe this will be the beginning of something…

Only time will tell.

3

The Cat’s Out of the Bag

Though I’ve mentioned briefly that I suffer from depression and anxiety, I’ve written past posts with the intention of glossing over this part of my life.  I’m not embarrassed, because I realize that real, true depression and anxiety are chemical imbalances.  Still, they have a stigma with them, and since I know many of my friends and family read my blog, I hesitated to come right and and reveal this part of me openly, honestly, and in writing.

However, last week I received some calls for content on Associated Content that related to psychological disorders, and I realized that maybe the time had finally come to be admit the truth to the masses.  I am depressed.

After a long struggle filled with counseling and reading, I did decide to treat my problem with medication.  I’m not ashamed, because I know that I am really and truly sick.  I did everything that is suggested in order to treat depression without medication–counseling, exercise, keeping motivated and out of the house every day, doing things I enjoy like writing, reading and knitting, eating right, and the rest of the list.  But I wasn’t any better.  For me, medication was the right choice.  I can’t explain to you what it was like for me when I was at my lowest…mostly because I don’t want to relive that pain…ever.

Of course, I still pursue other avenues to treat my depression, including acupuncture and herbal supplements.  But for now, I have accepted that depression and anxiety are an illness like diabetes, and that it’s alright to treat them as such.

At any rate, the pieces have published at Associated Content now, one about communicating with a doctor about psychological medications, and one about evaluating the effectiveness of a psychological drug.

And really, I feel a weight off of my shoulders, sharing this part of my life with you.

3

Crazy Women

I must admit, when I hear women talk about how they never leave their children, I snicker a little bit.  Not because I am judging them, but because I can’t understand it.  I love my girls very much, but feel strongly that I am a better wife, mother, and person when I get a break from them on a regular basis.

As a result, shortly after we moved to England Samantha started going to nursery 2 mornings a week for 4 hours each.  It gave me the chance to spend quality time with Erica, and it gave Samantha a chance to interact with other children without my interference.  I thought it was a good choice for everyone.

Though she did struggle with it at first, it eventually worked out well, and she transitioned to 3 sessions a week, 3 hours a day.  Again, I got time with Erica, Sam and I got a break from one another, and everyone was happy.

Then, when I was suffering from pretty severe depression and anxiety in the fall, the counselor recommended that Erica go with Samantha to nursery a few days a week, to give me a real, honest to goodness break from the girls.  She thought it might be good for me, might be good for Marcus (who felt overwhelmed by me needing to pawn the kids off on him the moment he walked into the door), and might be good for the girls.

She was right.  That break from the girls gave me some me time, helped me get my house back in a bit of order, and made me enjoy the time I had with the girls even more.  It was only 2 1/2 hours three times a week, but it was perfect.

And now, today, I take a new step.  The girls will stick to their 2 1/2 hour sessions on Mondays and Fridays, but on Wednesdays they are going to be at school all day, from 9-3.  I decided to do it for a variety of reasons, including the ones I’ve mentioned above. But also, so I can focus more on my writing.

I’ve had numerous friends say, “What are you going to do with yourself? You’ll have a spotless house!  You’ll be bored.  It will go to fast!”  The list went on and on.

I laughed…”It will be heaven,” I said.  After all, I’m not one of these women that can’t be separated from her kids.  In fact, when we lived in America, we were constantly out and about, the girls with friends and family.

But here I am, 35 minutes past drop off time, and I’m looking around, listening to the quiet, and wondering what I’m going to do with myself all day.

Now who’s the crazy woman?