Thursday, March 28, 2013

It goes by so fast...

One of my favorite blog writers just wrote this about people telling her to enjoy every moment with her small children. 
Go on, look, I'll wait.

And I wrote a huge response to put in her comments, and then thought, "Geez!  I shouldn't put a whole blog post into a comment!"
So I'll write it here, and if she is the only one who reads it, so be it.

I've had lots of women (generally elderly, or at least my mother's age)  tell me that I should, "Enjoy it [early childhood].  It goes by so fast!"  And, my other favorite, "Someday you will miss all the noise in your house."

It DOES go by so fast.  Thank heavens!!  Whenever you have a kid under the age of five it's IMPOSSIBLE to enjoy every moment.  Many times when my kids were running amok somewhere they shouldn't be I got that well-meaning statement.  Well, it was either well-meaning, or said by someone who was in the middle stages of dementia that only noticed the one child I had calm in the cart by means of the 5th lollipop that outing. 

Now that my youngest is 3 1/2 I have often wondered, "Did I enjoy it enough?  Was I gypped due to my depression?  Did I miss all the wonderful things that babies bring?   Should I bring one more human into the world so I can have one more chance?"

Aaaaaaaaand the resounding answer is "NO".  And the last thing any new human needs is to be dragged into the mess I've created here.

I didn't miss anything.  I was there.  There were beautiful moments, but there was a lot of screaming.  And poop.  And not enough sleep.  And vomit.  And days stuck at home with sick kids (still happens) when I wanted to be somewhere, ANYWHERE else.  And did I mention the lack of sleep?!?

So, enjoy the moments that are good.  Look for them.  They're the shiny pennies in the bag of tarnished coins.  It does get better.  The training pays off, and little by little they become more civilized human beings.  (i.e. can use the potty instead of the floor).  But don't beat yourself up when you find yourself hating the day (not the kids - but I have found it IS possible to love someone fiercely and not like them at all at the same time).

It's still hard sometimes, but not as constantly.  And I'm sure, someday, when all the noise is gone from my home I will sometimes miss it.  And then I will invite small children to visit.  And they will be noisy.  And then, I'm sure, after a few hours, I will be extremely grateful I can send them back home to their parents.

Enjoy what you can, and to the next well wisher tell them they are welcome to come home with you to jog their memory about how much "fun" tiny screaming, pooping children can be.

Monday, March 18, 2013

ADHD parenting

Raising kids is hard.  Raising parents is worse.  My poor kids have a mom who has ADHD.  What does that mean?

Well, first of all it means that routines don't really exist.  You've heard the saying that if you do something for 3 weeks it becomes a habit, right?
Not for me.  I've heard that from a lot of other people who have ADHD.  We can easily do something for 3 weeks, or even 3 months, and still quit doing it at the drop of a hat.  It takes great concerted effort for us to add something - especially if it is something we don't like.  Most of my habits that Ive been able to keep have to be piggybacked on some biological need (eat, sleep, play video games). 
Kids need routines.  I don't do that well.

Kids need order.  Have you seen hoarders?  Me too.  I like it 'cause it makes me feel better.  I can still see all most some of my floor.  But there is clutter everywhere.  And there is a lot of stuff on the floors.  It's not neat, it's not pretty, and ALL the toys are in one big box (sometimes).  A lot of the stuff around the house are duplicates because we failed to find the original in time.

Kids need food.  Yeah, before you freak out, I still feed them.  But it's not the June Cleaver meals, it's whatever I can whip up in 5 minutes.  Seriously, anything longer requires planning, and I forget to do that until my tummy grumbles - or my kids do.  So we eat a lot of cereal and sandwiches.  Good thing we like both.

Kids need patience.  So do I.  Unfortunately they seem to have used up all of mine.

There are lots of other things I do wrong, but here are some things that my ADHD help me do well.

My constantly flitting attention (when I'm not hyperfocusing) helps me track them.  They're quite shiny.  And sticky.  And covered in.. What the??? Get out of there!!

I'm quite flexible.  That's easy when you can't remember what plans you had in the first place.   Ice cream with the kids is more important that some stupid city council meeting about a proposed highway going through your house.  Right?  Right?!?

I can find things.  I'm good at that because I always lose things, so I've had LOTS of practice finding everything.  And my kids have learned this invaluable skill, because I have painstakingly instilled it in them by losing my keys, purse, mind, shoes, (not necessarily in that order, or individually) and then recruiting the children in locating these things.  I suspect the children may have occasionally relocated the items in question, but I know myself better than to assume that the children are the primary culprits.

I provide wonderful humor for my children.  "Silly Mama!  You put the keys in the fridge.  AGAIN!"

Most of all, I love my children.   I tell them so often (usually accompanied by an apology for my latest gaff), and I can do it with a straight face!  I always mean it, even (or especially) when I can't feel it.  Love is a verb, and I do try hard to show it.

I guess most moms mess up occasionally.  I just feel like one constant failure.  But, if I'm a failure, I'm a loving, funny one at least.  :D

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Depression IS real, and seeking medication is not a sign of weakness.

I've been reading some, well, depressing articles about depression.  This one, at actually managed to make me angry.  What made me more angry were some of the comments in related facebook posts that got me to the article.

First, I think a definition is in order.  Most people think of depression as being perpetually sad.  And it is.  But, if it lasts too long (more than 2 weeks), or is especially bad (as in, you can't function normally) it is classified as clinical depression.  For the sake of brevity, in the rest of this blog post I will refer to clinical depression simply as depression.

The thing that made me angry, specifically, about the article was the comments of people who had obviously not experienced true clinical depression.  It wasn't so much their judgmental comments that people should just "snap out of it", "try harder", or not use medications because "they are just a crutch", it was their dismissal of the notion that clinical depression wasn't real.  "Just be happy" doesn't work for someone who is clinically depressed.  "Try harder" is insulting to someone who is trying as hard as they can just to even approximate normality.  Try harder?  Oh yes, because if I will it, I can just think my way past depression. 

Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain.  Diabetes is a chemical imblance caused by the pancreas.  Would you tell a diabetic to just "try harder"?  No?  Same thing. 

Can some people just snap out of depression?  I bet there are some.  Just like there are a fortunate few who, with a little change of diet, and losing some weight, can "cure" themselves of diabetes.  I say "cure" because it seems to me that those people would forever be teetering near the edge.  Gain some weight, go off the good diet, and you're right back where you started.  Possibly worse than before.

There are lots of things you can do to help move out of regular depression.  Exercise.  Eat right.  Change your situation (or avoid change, if that is the problem).  Make sure you are taking time for yourself.  Meditate.  Help other people.  Get a hobby you love.  Spend time with people you love.  See a psychologist, or counselor.  Play.  Get some sunshine. 

And when these are not enough, go see a doctor (in my case a psychiatrist), and determine whether you need medication.  Then, if you two determine you do, give the medication time.  Most of them take weeks, if not months, to kick in all the way.  And you may not get the right one at first.  It took me a year, and five different medications to find the right one for me.  Believe me, it was a very hard year.  Some of the side effects were excruciating, and that was the reason for dropping some particular medications. 

And just when I had been stable for a while, my life would change, and I would be catapulted back into depression.  Hormones were a big factor in this.  Pregnant?  Happy!  (but physically miserable).  Had a baby?  Depressed.  Weaned the baby?  Depressed. 

And then, after being stable on my medication for a couple of years, because I'm bipolar I flipped up, and became manic.  And, because I was on a medication meant to stave off depression (SSRI), I flipped WAY up.  I was "higher" than I'd ever been, and it was scary. 

So, yes, taking medicine can be scary.  But if you need it, not taking it can be much worse.  And some people won't understand, and they'll judge you for it.  I wonder if they would also judge a cancer patient for doing chemotherapy going bald.  It's possible they would  Here's the thing: they are NOT you, and they are NOT your doctor... so their opinion doesn't really matter.  You need to worry about you, and do what you and your doctor determine is best for you.  And I know it can hurt to be judged.  My own family tried to second-guess my doctor's diagnosis for me.  I didn't talk to them for a couple of months.  I wanted support, not nay-saying.  And it was because I was diagnosed with a mental disorder.  If I had been diagnosed with cancer my family might have questioned what kind of treatment is best, but they wouldn't have (without any kind of medical degree I might add) dismissed the diagnosis itself.

So, if you are stuck in that awful black pit that is depression, get the help you need.  And, if you are so far in you can't see out, get someone to help pull you to the doctor.  It won't make you high (wrong class of drugs for that), nor will it make you better at everything.  It will make it easier to live a NORMAL life.  You may still have bad days.  I do.  You may still find life overwhelming at times.  I do that too.  But you will probably find a lot more joy, and lot less deep sadness and overarching rage.  Yeah, few people talk about the rage with clinical depression, but it's there too.

Be brave, and get better.  I believe in you!