Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Something is wrong

I'm not certain where this story begins, it could be weeks, months or possibly more. I was diagnosed with depression 12 years ago, and have gone through many low periods where my energy felt depleted, and my light dim. The past couple of years the low periods have come more frequently and never really go away completely. The clouds may part, but just enough for me to come up for air. One weekend, probably 3 to 4 months ago, my first noticeable symptom of what I have called "something is wrong" showed up. It was the weekend, I slept in that morning, had my coffee, and decided that the first wake up didn't stick so I laid back down and promptly fell asleep. When I woke up, I did not feel rested, I just felt more fatigued so I decided that a shower might do the trick, because it always does the trick. I stood in the shower and let the water run over my body and waited for the weight to be lifted. As I washed my hair my heart began to race, my legs were suddenly weak, as if I was a toddler just learning to stand on my own and the shaking, oh the shaking. I trembled uncontrollably. I was out of breath. This scared me. Why couldn't I catch my breath? I turned off the shower and knew I had to get to my bed, I had to lay down. Was I having a heart attack? I had no idea. Stepping out of the shower took so much energy, that I didn't even take the moment to dry myself off, I stumbled to my bed, naked and wet and collapsed. I laid there frightened for a while, what if I'm dying, no one is home, am I going to die? Moments later I was asleep. Over the next few months went by and I continued to have bouts of exhaustion that I attributed to depression trying to take over. I went to the dr. and he promptly increased my dose of Sertraline from 50mg to 100mg. I began to feel a little better and assured myself that I was on the mend and my 100mg was doing the trick. Mark and I were in counseling. Everything was going to be ok. I would go to work in the morning full of energy, sometimes in excess, I would float through the day, full of energy, work a 10 hour day with a smile on my face only to come home and face what I can only describe as exhaustion. Why can I power through my day without a hint of lethargy, yet the moment I walk I the door to my home, I have nothing, absolutely nothing left? My job can be quite stressful, maybe this is how I cope with stress, I come home where I know I won't get fired and just collapse. Talking is even to much sometimes. I just need to power through dinner and then I can get my reward. BED. SLEEP. As time went by, this bouts of exhaustion could no longer be held off until I arrived at home. I began having difficulty staying focussed on tasks that I normally had no trouble getting through. Things I was actually very good at enjoyed doing at work became extremely difficult to get through. I started to notice that when I held a paper in my hand at work, the paper would shake. There was a tremor inside me that became more and more bothersome. Eventually, I would feel it on the inside even if I couldn't see it on the outside and it almost never went away. I remember being at work one morning and feeling as though I were having an out of body experience. The shaking was unbearable, the light seemed unusually bright and my vision became tunnel like. I felt like I needed to eat something immediately or I would pass out. I managed to find a few dollars in my wallet after clumsily emptying my purse out. People were talking to me, but I was not able to communicate back effectively. Words were difficult to find. I got my crackers from the vending machine and promptly devoured them. I remember telling coworker that had come to my office to ask a question to come back a little later, that I was having difficulty thinking. The crackers didn't work, I went to the vending machine again and sucked down a nutty bar. The fog lifted somewhat, but the rest of the day was a blur. The following week my CSR who runs the front desk, went on medical leave after neck surgery. The next five weeks was the most stressful time I think I have ever had at a job. For five weeks I was tasked with not only my 10-11 hour work day, but her customer facing 9-10 hour day as well. The help that I received was laughable. My symptoms got worse. My heart rate was over 100bpm in my sleep. My legs were growing weaker and weaker. Going down the front step at home was a challenge. I was emotional, tired, hungry and shaky. And the scariest of all was that I was loosing weight. About 1/2 lb per DAY. This is not normal, not at all. My already suffering marriage only began to get worse. Now my husband was checking out. I needed to figure out what was wrong with me. My CSR was back and now I had time to find out why was I so weak, tired, depressed and shaky? I finally called my GP to schedule an appointment. I told the nurse my symptoms and she got me in the same day. When I finally saw the doctor, I told him my symptoms and let him know that I wanted blood work done. He said it looked like anxiety and doubled my dose of antidepressant from 100 mg to 200 mg and reluctantly ordered blood work. I researched anxiety and yes, it fit most of my symptoms, but I couldn't accept that anxiety could make you feel this way 100% of the time. Why would I have anxiety in my sleep, and every minute of every day. I didn't feel anxious about anything but WHY this was happening to me. He sent me for blood work. Four days later and I had not heard back from my dr. and was getting very anxious to find out what was wrong with so I called the office and told the nurse that it had been four days. She said that was a bit long, but for me to just wait one more day and if they didn't call by the next afternoon to call back. She didn't even get my name. The next day while away from my desk at work I received a voicemail. Anxious to hear from my dr. I sat down at my desk to listen. "This Mary from Austin Endocrinology and Diabetes, we received your referral from your dr. and would like to schedule an appointment." My heart began to race even moreso than normal, I went on to have what I can only describe as a panic attack. Why are they calling me? What is endocrinology? Do I have diabetes? WHY HAS MY DR. NOT CALLED ME?? I called my doctors office and asked to speak with a nurse. She was not at all empathetic to my situation and told me that my results are on an online portal called MY CHART. Everyone uses it, it makes it easier for the doctors to share information with you. That's great, but WHY HAVE I NEVER HEARD OF THIS! Why didn't my doctor tell me this. Why didn't the nurse that I spoke with yesterday mention this. She was not concerned and I could tell she was irritated at me for being upset. She then told me in what took about 10 seconds that my TSH was very high and my liver count was as well. What is TSH? It has to do with your thyroid. You are producing too much thyroid and the liver test probably is related to your thyroid as well. As pissed off as I was, I was relieved. I wasn't CRAZY, I wasn't suffering from anxiety alone, something was CAUSING THIS, and that must mean there is a solution! I might be able to feel better again. And this is where my real journey began. The thyroid gland sits at the base of the throat where the neck meets the collarbone. It produces hormones called thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH) that affect every cell in the human body. But you can’t see the thyroid. And thyroid disorder symptoms can masquerade as everyday turbulent emotions (at best) or mental illnesses like depression (at worst). It’s the sort of problem you don’t know you have until you’ve lost something, like all your energy or your mind.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Days of New

I've started a new job. This is my first time to work full time in about 9 years. I am LO-VING my new job. I don't mourn my loss of being home with the kids as I anticipated that I would. From the moment I got the call for the interview I was ready. There's something about being home with children that can take care of themselves (for the most part) that makes you feel a bit stagnant. It was wearing on me. That, and the one income. Thank you Mark for stepping in and saying "It's time". He had no idea how "time" it was.

I'm enjoying this next phase of our lives. Tired? Extremely. I will adjust. (won't I?) I enjoy waking up knowing I have a purpose...a place where I would be greatly missed if I overslept.

A buddy of Mark's came to poker last week and asked me "arent' you a little overqualified for this job?" Yeah, maybe so, but I LIKE it. I like staying busy, having multiple tasks to tend to throughtout the day and people that expect me to do certain key tasks each day. I LIKE it. So yes, I'm over-qualified to be an office manager, but I can see myself waking up and doing this job for years. Crazy, I know. I am challenged. I'm not doing what I've done for the past 14 years, but I'm ok with that. I drive 13 minutes to work each day, make a decent paycheck and I'm off by 4 to be home with the kids. I'm good. All is good.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sorting some things out

I have written several Blog posts over the past year, but decided not to post them. So much in our lives has changed and I am confused and torn on the subject of my blog. I need to decide what this blog is to me. Is this a place where I tell all, or is this a place I tell the mostly pretty? I know that the only people who really read this are close to me, but there's still that fear of sharing too much. I typically blog to share emotion on some level or another, but this past year has been filled with emotion that relates to a subject that I'm not sure it is wise to share about. If my words only affected me, I could handle it, but when it's a third party who has no choice in the matter, I have to think twice. The need to share is overwhelming and I'm not sure why. It may be that it's just the way I process things best...through written word. Maybe this is my happy place and my extremely personal posts should be typed but not posted.

Really, I just sat down and started typing, hoping the thoughts would flow and help me find a solution. I think I've found it. Sharing the nitty gritty would be self serving (for the most part), My desire to write hasn't gone away, in fact, it's only grown stronger over this past year. I want to write and share and not worry about it. So maybe that's just what I need to do.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blog? What Blog? Ohhh this one

Really? October 15th? The last time I blogged was October 15th? So yeah, I'm feeling a little guilty. Guilty that all of these precious memories are passing by and someday they will be all but a piece of sand. A memory forgotten. Guilty that I have family that I KNOW would like to have more of a glimpse in to our lives than a silly one liner Facebook status update. So I'm here. I've been here along, really, I have. I blog in my head regularly, but this time it's real, I'm taking the initiative to just DO IT! So much is going on in our lives, so many wonderful things and I long to recount them all. Here is my attempt.

Volleyball, Baseball, Dogs, Pudge, jobs, job possibilities, photography, friends, high school, teenage stress, working from home, not working from home, excercise, home improvement, visiting family....and the list goes on. This is what happens when you fail to document your many precious days and all that your decisions entail.

So today. All I can do is start with the now. But before the now, I have to mention Alex's last baseball game. He hit two home runs on Thursday and coach gave him the game ball, which is a huge deal in an 8 year olds world. HUGE. Unfortunately, I wasn't there to see it. I was home getting our house in order for Andy's family to come stay. And that's ok, it happens.

Yesterday we got home from the big kahuna of volleyball tournaments. The last tournament of the season for Ashley. This is the tournament that we've been getting ready for since December. We (Ashley, Alex and I) left town Friday morning for Dallas. Both kiddos missed school with the excuse that we finally had the opportunity to visit David, Cara and Cousin Keller for the first time in WAY TO LONG. It was a very long exciting, exhausting weekend. A tournament that we will never forget. Over three days, Ashley's team played a total of 27 games. Far more than our entire club volleyball season games combined. It was incredible. The Dallas Convention Center was amazing. I have never seen so many volleyball courts in one place in all of my life. There were around 100 courts all on one floor of the convention center. It's hard to even imagine.
It was a rough first 2 days. We lost several games, won a several games, but could never really get ahead. By Sunday, we had no high hopes...until coach informed the girls that even though we'd lost several games, our combined winnings had us sitting pretty. The first match on Sunday would either send us to the semifinals, or send us home. That's all the girls needed to hear. They kicked it in to over drive and proceeded to knock the tiny shorts off of that team, AND the next team. Which put us in the Championship game. Here we were after feeling so defeated the past 2 days, despite our hard work, and we find out we're in THE championship game. We were all in shock, really. They kept up their high energy game won the first game (best 2 out of 3). The next game was almost identical to the first, we were neck and neck, point for point the entire game, but the other team ended up pulling it off and winning. We were down to the third and final game. Winner takes all. It was a repeat of games one and two. We were rarely ever more than a point or two away from the other team. When we switched sides we were down by three. Unlike most times when they were behind, they pulled together and found the energy to kick some serious bootay and in the end they did it. They played like animals! It was the best game I've ever seen them play. They won first place and there wasn't a dry eye on our side of the court. It was amazing. I took over 300 pictures this weekend and at some point I'll find the energy to actually edit and post them. I'm still trying to recover from such a full weekend. And that's me...the one who was on the side lines. I can't even imagine what Ashley feels like. 27 games! REALLY! Youth is amazing, it really is.

So there you have it, my first update since October. I have so much more to say, but I will have to save it all for another post. Life is good. These are the days to hold on to.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

2nd Grade

Up until this year, Alex has breezed his way through school. His teachers have adored him, he's excelled way beyond his grade level and was placed in GT in Kindergarten. Now, here we are in second grade, which happens to be the first year that report card grades are numbers as opposed to letters and we are struggling. He's certainly not struggling to learn the second grade material, he's struggling with the most BASIC tasks. His handwriting is atrocious. He naturally rushes through the classwork because it is simple which in turn makes his handwriting even worse than ordinary. He is bringing home class work with failing grades regularly. He rushes through the most SIMPLE assignments and ends up getting half the questions wrong because of it, either that or he completely skips questions, or entire pages...during class. Something I have no control over. Up until this year his teachers have been so accepting of handwriting weakness, even told me how in the big picture it's not that important, but it is. He's missing questions because his "a"'s look like "u"'s, and his "g"'s look like "Y"'s. Silly stuff that I know is important, but really?? Important enough for my son to fail? I'm so upset. I don't know what to do other than keep these failing papers and make him redo them on the weekends...which we WILL be doing this weekend. So far second grade has not been about learning academics, it's been 100% about learning to conform. I know he needs to learn this. It just makes me so sad to see him struggle with work that he was able to do in KINDERGARTEN, meanwhile, he's spending so much time on these BASIC tasks that it really feels like he's missing out on learning new things...learning about the things that he sooo desperately wants to learn about. I feel like he's a sponge that's drying up while dotting his i's, and perfecting his handwriting. I know his interest in learning is going to slowly diminish, it's only natural. I want to pull him out of class and feed that thirst, but I can't

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 6 - 9 The Love Dare

Not a lot of juice in these last few days, at least no real juice to write about. Mark and I are really noticing that we do most of the love dare challenges on a daily basis without even thinking about it. We've reflected on how far we've come in our marriage and how fortunate we are to have one another. I'm looking forward to the weekend when we can focus a little more time on the challenge...this first week of school has me WORE OUT. Here were the challenges for the past few days:

Day 6 - Love is not irritable
Choose today to react to tough circumstances in your marriage in loving ways instead of with irritation. Begin by making a list below of areas where you need to add margin to your schedule. Then list any wrong motivations that you need to release from your life

Day 7 -Love Believes the Best
For today’s dare, get two sheets of paper. On the first one, spend a few minutes writing out positive things about your spouse. Then do the same with negative things on the second sheet. Place both sheets in a secret place for another day. There is a different purpose and plan for each. At some point during the remainder of the day, pick a positive attribute from the first list and thank your spouse for having this characteristic.

Day 8 -Love is not jealous
Determine to become your spouse’s biggest fan and to reject any thoughts of jealousy. To help you set your heart on your spouse and focus on their achievements, take yesterday’s list of negative attributes and discreetly burn it. Then share with your spouse how glad you are about a success he or she recently enjoyed.

Day 9 - Love makes good impressions
Think of a specific way you’d like to greet your spouse today. Do it with a smile and with enthusiasm. Then determine to change your greeting to reflect your love for them.

Moving on to Day 10, I'm fairly certain I will have a decent post for this day!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Day 5 - The Love Dare

Love is not rude.

Day 5
Ask your spouse to tell you three things that cause him or her to be uncomfortable or irritated with you. You must do so without attacking them or justifying your behavior. This is from their perspective only.

Ick. I was NOT looking forward to this one. The kids on the other hand, LOVED the thought of picking each other apart. I had to have a conversation with them about the purpose of this challenge, because on the surface, it really just appeared to be another way to start an argument. I *think* they got it. Their lists were fairly predictable, although Ashley did get a little carried away and came up with 5 instead of 3...and then tacked the paper to his wall. Lovely. Today I'm going to ask her for a redo, and for her not be so harsh in her choice of words.

Mark and I didn't get around to this challenge until late last night, and ended up staying up past midnight discussing. Last night I realized that I had built this challenge up so much in my mind that I was actually dreading having to bring it up. I guess my fears were that I was going to learn something about myself that would be hard to hear, and more specifically, hard to change. I was also not looking forward to the possibility of hurting Mark's feelings. I now realize that my fears were much larger than they needed to be. We had an extremely productive conversation, and learned a little bit about each other. Really, our issues with each other are so, so tiny when weighed with what we love about each other. And with every item on each of our lists, we discovered that in order to have what we have in our life together, these things are necessary on at least some level. They could certainly improve, but they are there only as a result of the efforts we make for our family. Behind each irritant is a good intention, and that leaves me feeling oh so thankful.

Meatless Take 2

Back on the wagon it seems. Last night Mark made a yummy dinner, grilled chicken, sausage and some fixins. Ash ate Mac and cheese, corn and crescent roll...all on a yellow plate. Can you say STARCH. Looks like we're going to have to do some better meal planning with a vegetarian in the house.