Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Finding the right groove

It seems in my life that when I'm out of my groove, my family is well entrenched in theirs.  When I finally start making the trek back into my groove, they all fall out.

Ordinarily, I would say that is screaming to me that I'm the one who is out of step, and that maybe things in my family as I "wish" them to be, are not "meant" to be.  Futile or not, I'm not willing to give up on things just yet.  But there are days, moments, weeks, when it certainly does cross my mind.

My husband and I are the big missteps here.  My daughter and I can get into a groove quite easily.  My husband and I not so much.  I think both of us really want that, but since we've had a child, and I expect more ownership and adult like responsibility from my husband, we haven't been walking the same path gracefully.  And the word "gracefully" is key here.  We are still moving in the same direction, but it's very much like lurching or hurling ourselves in the general vicinity of where we envision being.  And unfortunately I suspect this is fairly normal.

I don't understand why this is, or how to fix it.  I just know I'm exhausted at the end of every day, and that means that I must be doing something wrong.  I told my husband yesterday, who seems to be bearing the burden of our lurching on the deeper recesses of his mind lately, that all I'm looking for is balance.  And by that I mean, I'm working damn hard to give my family a damn good life.  My intention is to start loving it and enjoying it as much as I'm working for it.

I think at the root of our problem is that we have different definitions of work and fun.

He can't seem to reconnect with me unless we're alone and on holiday.  Daily chores which weigh heavy on me because of their sheer quantity and repetitiveness, are heavy for him in the smallest measure.  While I see that many hands make light work and fun together sooner, he sees that he could be having fun on his own now, and doing work later (which of course rarely comes).

I don't know how to change this.  And I'm not sure I'm willing to expend the effort anymore.  In the last week or two that I've been actively writing in this extremely public journal, I've been able to let go of so much of the angst I've been carrying with me.  I'm still beat up and tired.  I can barely keep my eyes open on a good day.  But I'm managing to do something fun every single day, and I've got absolutely no more energy to waste on trying to fix something on my own.  There are three spokes in this wheel, and until we're all touching an axle and rubber at the same time, we'll never roll smoothly in any direction.  And with only two hands and two feet, I can only manage to keep myself and my child in that wheel.  Right or wrong, while my inclination is to try and save my husband here, I think this time he has to be on his own.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Monday Morning Funny

Discovered this morning.  Tickled my funny bone, and since laughter is the best medicine...here you go my friends!

Friday, July 27, 2012


The complexity facing an obese person is precisely how "in the way and unavoidable" your size makes you, yet how invisible you appear to be to the world around you.

There was a time when I would look at someone obese and I could see the pain in their eyes, the sorrow in their hearts, and I would say to the person with me "If I ever end up like that, please shoot me".

Today I find that I am one very happy lady that no one in my circle actually carries a gun, AND, luckier still that they love me enough not to do that to me.  You see, I did become "that person".  And it honestly happened while I was trying to very hard not to let it happen.  I can't remember the last time I wasn't on some sort of diet.  Even when I was pregnant and gained 90 lbs, I was on some kind of diet...I just fell off the wagon a lot for several very solid reasons.

So the time has come that I've registered in Ontario for the bariatric surgery program.  I know what hospital I'll be going to.  My referrals were sent in last month.  I called to confirm that they had my referral in hand, because well, it's been 6 weeks now and I've seen nothing.  I was told that the wait time just to get in for an orientation session with like 24 other people, will take 11 months.  This is a crying shame.  No one chooses this option lightly in my mind.  This is a last resort, and the healthcare system can't keep up with the demand well enough to make this happen any faster than 1 to 2 years?  What it tells me is that even though medical health professionals will speak to it's health benefits, here we are again, still struggling with treating this like it's a health issue.

We hear all the time about how obesity contributes to arm's length lists of health issues, but when it comes to reversing that root cause, we treat it like it's a cosmetic option.  Not like it's contributing to quality and availability of life.  I will wait patiently, because the private option is ridiculously expensive.  If I had $16K disposable cash on hand, or if I could get over the fact that a life saving surgery shouldn't have to be paid in installments or on a monthly plan, I might jump at the chance to do it privately.

My obesity in large part contributes to my mental health or lack thereof.  The amount of estrogen the fat in my body takes away from the organs that need it alters my body chemistry enough to mimic all of the symptoms of menopause.  My obesity also restricts me from being able to teach my child how to jump, from sitting in concert venue seats, airplane seats, and while I'm still active and keeping up with my life, I can tell very dramatically how things have changed for me.  I have chronic back pain, and joint issues that will only continue to get worse if I don't start losing the weight soon.

And I've been on a diet and trying the best I possibly can the whole time.  Nobody chooses this, any more than they choose to be the person who suffers with cancer or depression, or anxiety.  And knowing this, and seeing how the world at large ignores your needs, is substantially harder to deal with than any thin person would be capable of enduring.  And the most staggering thing I observe, is how the world isn't keeping up with the vast majority of people who buy and use it's products and services.

So all this had gotten me to brainstorming.  Apparently I need a new project - brainstorming will inevitably be my own demise.   Stay tuned for more while I get these ideas baked.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Random Thoughts

So, it's been a bit insane (no pun intended) in my neck of the woods lately.
I'm pretty sure the phrase "nothing can prepare you for children" isn't an unfamiliar phrase to anyone.

I'll be very clear, I was as mentally prepared for motherhood as anyone could imagine being.  I'm level headed, I don't generally freak out when my child bumps her head or scratches her knee.  I anticipated post partum depression, and I knew how to take care of her when she arrived (for the most part).  I wasn't scared to breast feed, bottle feed, or deal with poopy bums and other unsavoury things.  I was even prepared to get puked on a lot.  But she has terrified me to my very core without even trying, and has sent me on the longest treks of head hanging guilty feelings, and seemingly endless tears, several times.

And what this means is having a child, no matter how "stable" you are, can and will shake the very foundation of that mental stability to it's core.  Maintaining your own mental health is never more important than when another little living soul is dependent on you for every breath they take.  My toddler got sick this weekend.  This isn't very surprising.  Since she started in a preschool daycare setting in March, and we've been sick just about every other week in this house since then.  Not foregoing the fact that she's been sick enough to be hospitalized for the last two August long weekends of her short life already.  I figure we're gearing up for a doozy in two weeks.  Now, when a child is sick with even the faintest sniffle or sneeze, the world comes screeching to a halt, at least for mommy's.  With one arm holding a toddler, juice cup, bunny and snot rag, and doing all your other life/house sustaining things with your free hand, life becomes nothing short of chaos, and confusion.  Add more sleep deprivation to an already disrupted sleep cycle, and an inability to keep up with those key responsibilities that keep your family on an even keel, and you have a real recipe for disaster.

Oh, and the more this goes on, the more worn down you become, the more likely you are to get sick with whatever they have, and the more likely you are to get depressed and anxious because you feel like it will. never. get. better.  Couldn't possibly, because it's like you've jumped on a germy hamster wheel of misfortune.  And let me tell you something, if Lady Fortune is fickle, the Madame Misfortune is pretty fucking evil.

All this got me to thinking though, about the statistics and information we hear about who is affected by mental health.  Anyone who lives with a mental illness will tell you that it's not surprising that everyone in the world is affected by issues related to mental health in some way.  But moreover, I've been told by a health care professional who cared for people mental health disorders like depression and anxiety (the ones I suffer with), that these types of patients are generally intelligent, over achievers who are extremely critical of their own perceived failures.

SO, give over to any over achieving mom, and I'm going to tell you that the stats for people affected by depression are probably exponentially higher for working moms over stay at home moms, and are probably greater still for working mom's whose children are not with another member of the family for their day to day care.  And that got me wondering if this was in any way related to the pressures of corporate America, and moreover that so many women are now also the breadwinners in their families.  While the article's main subjects demonstrate a gender role reversal of the marital partners, I would speculate based on my own experience that this is by in large a rarity.  In my own case, I'm still the primary care giver and the fact that I'm the breadwinner is as much the reason for flexibility in my day to day schedule, as it is for the added pressure and responsibility I feel day in and day out.  The more balls you are juggling in the air, the more responsibility you have, the greater the opportunity is that something will fail, break or just plain not be good enough by our own over achieving standards.  And then you feel all those trigger feelings.  Just as it is with any diet, if you don't leave yourself enough time to nurture your emotions and your mind, and find your zen as they say, how can you possibly expect to stay healthy?

So, I have to say, that all the employee assistance programs in the world  (like this oneare only going to be so helpful.  We need equality of pay, equal opportunities for everyone regardless or race, gender, age, or physical challenge, and that goes for the home and child rearing responsibilities as well as the for workplace.  Perhaps patience is the key.  It's taken a long time for women to achieve this level of equality.  I guess I can hope that by the time my daughter is dealing with all these adult life things, that her spouse is the kind who will contribute equally, both to the household income and the family care.

With all that said, it's also true when they say:

"it's worth it a million times over.  And I'd do it again without even blinking an eyelash."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Changing my strategy

So as I've started to reinvent myself and as I'm learning more about who I am and what I love and what things make me happy, I decided to make a bucket list.  

I wrote this down back in October/November, and have been steadily working at knocking things off it one at a time.  I'm not doing too terribly bad at scratching things off either.  And what's better still is that it's really giving me a way of focusing on the good stuff, and doing the kinds of things that keep the monsters of anxiety and depression at bay, in a really healthy way.

See what I mean.  I had jotted down that I wanted to write a book...Well, I had written a book, it just hasn't been picked up by a publisher or an agent and I'm ok with that.  One day I may update the list to add an item - get the damn thing published, but until then, I have written one, I've self published it, and I even sold a few copies of Life Size Bride.

I've been paid to write since I made the list.  Again, it wasn't much, but being able to scratch it off the list, validated the work that I had done, and reinforced my success.  What a huge thing that has been for keeping the demons in check.

I managed to take my family on a road trip where we got to experience a few of our diners, drive ins and dives and Man v. Food favourites, AND we were able to discover a few hotspots on our own!  Talk about fun.  The hubby and I even took a cooking class where I got to cook along side a chef, AND we had a professional chef come and teach us a lesson in our own home - he cooked for us, and we had a very cool and romantic dinner for two in our own kitchen!  

So I'm going to tell you that this has been a really big aid in my coping strategy the last year.  I said in a post a couple days ago that work stinks still, and it will continue to stink for a good long while.  I'm not doing what feeds my soul, but it pays my bills, and that means I have to make peace with it somehow.  Turning business trips into opportunities to scratch something off my bucket list is a fantastic way to start.  The more fun I have and the more opportunities I have to fill the needs here, the more likely I am to be able to maintain a sense of perspective, a sense of calm, and the better able I am to prove the negative thoughts are way wrong.

  • Show Maggie Aurora Borealis
  • Take Mike to Asia
  • Take Mike to the Rocky Mountains
  • Write a book
  • Be paid to write
  • Have another baby
  • Retire early
  • Own a cottage
  • Weekend in Paris
  • Vacation in Italy
  • Vacation in London, Eng.
  • Travel all over Europe
  • Weekend in New York City
  • Eat at the Russian Tea Room
  • Shop at FAO Schwartz
  • Shop in Greenwich village
  • Learn to cook like a chef
  • Visit a town called Rebecca
  • Diners, Drive Ins and Dives Road Trip
  • Host a fabulous cocktail and dinner party catered by professional chefs and wait staff
  • Custom build my own house
  • Decorate a professional looking tiered cake
  • Got to the ballet or the opera
  • Watch Maggie graduate university
  • Give Maggie away with her dad at her wedding
  • Watch my first grandchild be born

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Not alone

Funny how the universe lines up.  A friend shared this link on Facebook.  Her first few statements couldn't have been truer for me if I had said them myself.

Jodi Sonoda

What happened?

Where'd I go?

Well, I got pregnant, had a baby, and then got way too busy to talk to people about how much depression hurts and how I got over it...well, and after you go through post partum depression, you really hit a whole new level of low you could never imagine.

So November 4th, 2009 was the day that changed my life forever.  It was the day I found out I was pregnant and finally understood why I had felt so ill I wanted to crawl into bed and never leave.  Fast forward through a whole 9 months of agony mixed with elation to June 10, 2010, when my most perfect and beautiful baby girl was born.  Onto the fall in 2010 when I finally gave up trying to deal with post partum depression on my own and got meds again.  Thank goodness for Wellbutrin, that's all I have to say.  And now it's 2 years later, and I find I'm fighting it again (get this, once you get depressed it never really leaves you - it just goes dormant for a while).   The crisis du jour is that I'm getting even older, even fatter, and now am facing the fact that I will not have another baby, and I still can't stand the work I'm doing day in and day out, but I'm stuck like chuck!

Can't quit my job we need the money.   Can't find another job that pays me the kind of money I make now with the same kinds of benefits.  Can't find the time to even consider going back to school to try and learn something new.  And even if I did, I'd be screwed because I couldn't afford to start back at the bottom of the food chain.  SO - this next challenge is to figure out how to maintain the status quo, and most importantly figure out how the hell to enjoy it while I'm stuck here.  OH, and so that means I think that I'll be spending a bit more time writing, dreaming up new schemes and telling you all about them.

Step one is waiting for bariatric surgery.  Great that OHIP now covers this stuff, and I'm forever grateful to live in a place where that the option.  BUT, did you know that just to get your orientation session it's an 11 month wait?  There are only 5 hospitals in Ontario that offer this under OHIP.   The price tag on doing it privately is ~$16K though.  I guess I'm waiting.

It's got the creative juices flowing though.  I hope you'll stick with me on my ride here.  Hoping to be able to document my journey and share with you how it transforms my mental health, and my physical ability to keep up with my ever growing child.

I've missed you all.  And I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to come home!