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So I Went a Little Crazy…

25 Feb

There’s that part in my tagline that says “real” a few times. So here it is. I went a little crazy. It’s true. And I’m going to share my story because my friend Erica over at Polka Dot Hippo shared her story and if she hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have realized something was really wrong. I’m so grateful for her openness.

So it started probably about a year ago. Slowly. I was irritable. With everyone and everything. I would get frustrated more easily than I’d ever remembered. It happened around the same time every month…period time. So I chalked it up to PMS. But every month it got worse. I started to become angry. Really angry over things that would normally roll of my back. At first I didn’t realize it was me. I just thought everyone else was a really, giant asshole that week.

About 6 months ago I realized that something was wrong with me…but I didn’t know what. There’s a history of mental illness in my family so I kind of started freaking out. I kept worrying what if something really is wrong with me? And then lo and behold, my friend Erica posted this blog post: How Do I Regain Control? And I felt like, “Wow…someone else feels this way!” But the tricky part with that is then I believed all was fine…I wasn’t crazy or anything because someone else was feeling the same way. That whole safety in numbers thing. But then a short while later, Erica posted this: Mother’s Little Helper. And it made me stop in my tracks. It was an “aha” moment for me.

Here is the short description: Premenstrual dysphoric disorder or PMDD is a condition associated with severe emotional and physical problems that are linked closed to the menstrual cycle. PMDD is not just a new name for PMS. It is, however, considered to be  a very severe form of PMS that affects about 5% of women. Both PMDD and PMS share symptoms in common that include depression, anxiety, tension, irritability and moodiness. What sets PMDD apart is its severity. Women with PMDD find that it has a very disruptive effect on their lives.

I went home that night and talked to Mike about her blogs posts and asked him to be really honest about me and how I’ve been acting lately. And he was awesome. He really was. He said that I was definitely flying into rages over things that I normally wouldn’t care about. He said my temper seemed to flare up and I’d become angrier than he could understand. I just felt out of control and angry and I wanted to know if he saw it too. And he did.

You want to know what it did to me…this PMDD thing? Mike and I rarely fight and when we do it’s pretty mellow. I bitch, he stares at me, we talk it out and usually within an hour all is great. We aren’t screamers. We don’t get physical. We don’t threaten divorce. We have been together for almost 10 years and the last few fights we had before I changed birth control pills, I took our wedding pictures off the walls, I told him I wanted a divorce and when he grabbed me to try to calm me down (because I was out of control angry) I kicked him. That’s a sad thing for me to admit. I love him more than anyone else in this world, so to realize that I had zero control over my behavior and hurt him in the process was really hard. It was time to talk to my doctor.

I made an early morning appointment and was terrified. It was a weird thing to see an OBGYN for. I met the doctor and she asked me why I was there and I told her. I told her that I felt that the week before my period the behavior and mood swings did not fall in the realm of normalcy. I told her I felt great most of the month except that one week when I was so angry and full of rage. She started talking about options and she was wonderful. She recommended switching my birth control pill to Beyaz, which contains a hormone that treats PMDD. I didn’t think this was going to work quick enough. I started crying. I was literally desperate. Desperate to stop being so angry…desperate to feel normal again…desperate to stop hurting my husband.  And I told her, “I can’t wait much longer to feel okay again. I just can’t. I need to be okay.” And honestly I was probably looking for something other than a birth control pill, but I am so grateful she persuaded me to try the switch first. She told me that I would see results in the first month and if I didn’t that I could call her and she would bring me in right away and put me on a different prescription.

That was exactly a month ago. I cannot even begin to explain the difference in my mood…not just around my period, but the entire month. My threshold for tolerance is higher. I’m not frustrated and when I am I don’t become filled with rage. I feel like me again. Mike said he noticed a difference within the first two weeks. That I was just happier overall. That I was affectionate and had a lot more patience than I’ve had recently. And I am so grateful for people like Erica, who share their stories. People who let me know that I’m not alone. Because everything I was going through, I hid…even from my best girlfriends. I think it’s normal to be afraid of being judged or labeled as crazy but we don’t grow if we stay where we are because we’re afraid. So there you have it. I went a little crazy.

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I Love the Nordstrom Return Policy

1 Sep

Do you want to know a secret? It’s a secret I was afraid to tell for a really long time. You can’t judge me because it’s real and I’m pretty sure most people don’t say this but there’s been two births in my life recently. Combine that with a video I saw today about mom’s who wrote messages about what they wish they knew before they had kids. It got me thinking about Ava being born and that whole experience.

Here’s my secret: The first few days after I had Ava, I wished there was a return counter. A Nordstrom’s return counter because they let you return anything, even if you didn’t buy it there. True story.

All these women told me, “Oh…it was love at first sight.” And if you look at pictures right after I gave birth, it was. Oh yes…it was the honeymoon stage that lasted all of but like 24 hours or something. I wanted to be in love with her but I wasn’t. She invaded my life, interrupted my sleep and was so damn needy. She nearly chewed my nipples off, screamed for hours on end and, at first, was zero return on my investment. I thought, “Oh my dear God, what have I done? I was so happy and now I’ve messed it all up.” And don’t mistake what I’m saying…I loved her from the beginning. I stayed up and begged Mike to let me hire someone to come make sure she breathed all night. And by begged I mean cried and pleaded and tried to make a case. I was so scared she was going to stop breathing. So I know I loved her. But that “I’m so glad you’re here and I’m so in love with you” feeling, that didn’t come right away.

I cried and cried and cried some more. I cried because I couldn’t stop crying. I cried because what kind of person who wanted a baby her whole life could have one and then think, “Wow, this is too hard and I might not want to do this?” I mean really, so much guilt came with that. I remember my best friend telling me later that she thought I was a little crazy during that time. And then she had a child and I got that phone call, “Can you please come over?” And she said, “How come nobody tells you about this part? How come everyone pretends like it’s so awesome and wonderful and that they are so in love?” And I said, “Because nobody wants to admit it kind of sucks at first.”

So I wish women were a little more honest because it would have been so nice to have known that I wasn’t the first person to feel that way. That I wasn’t a shit mom. That it would pass the minute she smiled at me. That it would melt away a little more the first time she giggled. That the pride I would have the first time she crawled, walked and talked would let me know I was in love with her…a little more each day. Until the love that I had was incomparable to anything I had felt in life. That the happiest moments would come singing “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah” with her in kitchen while making dinner.

Tonight we sang it while making tacos and no matter how many times I tried to teach her that the song goes, “My oh my what a wonderful day” she kept singing, “My oh my what a beautiful day.” And then I stopped correcting her because it is a beautiful day.

I’ve Lost It…Officially

17 Aug

I think I’ve officially lost my mind. Do you want to know what happens when I spend eight hours driving to Sonoma, four hours drinking wine, wake up the next morning at 4:30 am and watch a friend cross the Vineman finish line? I sign up for a half-marathon and a triathlon a week apart. For real.

I think I was feeling a bit inspired when I hit the “Sign up here” button. Because the problem is that it’s August 17th and I was supposed to start training two weeks ago but I decided to buy a house too. So yeah…there’s that whole moving thing getting in the way of my plan to conquer, well, everything. And then there’s that 9 mile run in there the morning after my friend Katy’s wedding. Yeah…that’s gonna happen for sure. As a matter of fact, if you’re in Michigan on September 11th and see me running just slap me because nobody should run 9 miles after attending a friend’s wedding. Running that day would mean I failed as a wedding guest.

Donating Dreams…Kinda

23 Jul

In preparation for the impending move, I’ve decided it’s best to get a head start on cleaning out my closet. The top shelf of my closet is reserved for all the jeans that no longer fit but that I hope and dream will fit again. They are my pre-baby jeans. If you know me well, you know I’m a jean whore. I have close to 50 pairs of jeans in my closet. I love jeans like a fat kid loves cake. So last weekend I donated my hopes and dreams to Goodwill. I pulled all of them down, folded them up and gave up. Almost.

Before I got pregnant with Ava I was 125 lbs. Six months after I had her I was 128 lbs. Three pounds is not alot of weight by any means, but my body changed. My hips changed and as much as I didn’t want to admit it, I finally have. No matter how skinny I get, my hips (that I love) will never be as narrow as they once were. These hips have birthed a child and there is no getting around that. And I’m okay. I really am. My body did an amazing thing and my hips serve as my reminder of that.

Remember that “almost” up there in that first paragraph? Well, there are one pair of jeans I couldn’t part with. They are my first pair of designer jeans. The first, but not last, time I was silly enough to drop $200 on a pair of jeans. I loved those jeans. I wore them every damn weekend for five years! The jeans have been on dates with Mike. They have been to San Francisco, Austin, Houston, San Diego, Vegas, Florida, Mexico and places in between. They have been wine tasting with friends. I have karaoke’d in them. There’s even a picture of me doing cartwheels in those jeans…really…cartwheels. I wore the jeans when Mike proposed and again at our engagement party.

After I had Ava I hung the jeans on the bedroom door to keep myself motivated to fit back into them. Thee jeans made my ass look fabulous. So no, I will not part with them. We have been through too much together for someone else to wear them…for someone else to take my memories with them. So even though I know I will never button them again, they will always stay with me. I simply can’t part with them.