Depression, Single Mama

Surviving the Crisis

When my life came crashing down last summer, I went into my now very familiar Crisis Mode. I was in shock. I was in incredible pain and absolute disbelief. I wasn’t sure what to do with myself or how to get through the day. It occured to me later to write down the things that helped, so that maybe I could share it and help someone else.

This is a picture from right in the middle of that time. It’s raw. It’s difficult for me to look at. I still feel that pain, and I can recognize the heart break and disbelief in my eyes.

I want to be clear, when I talk about the things that got me through this crisis, I’m not talking about the things that “fixed” anything. I’m talking about the little things that kept me afloat when all I wanted to do was drown. I’m still working on getting out of the water.

Mindless Distraction. I needed something to take me out of the moment, especially when I found everything to be really overwhelming. Fluffy silly beach reads, funny shows that I could pick up and drop in a second, youtube makeup tutorials, and one that truly got my head out of the moment, a ridiculous bubble popping phone game app. Bubble Witch 3 was my personal favourite. Requires enough focus to get your mind off of the badness, while being simple and silly enough not to require too much attention or effort. Get it here for Android and here for Apple.

Support System. This is the time to shine that bat signal, call in your girls, your family, whoever you can trust and be honest with. You need to tell someone what’s going on and don’t sugar coat it. You need someone who can check in on you, get you out into the world again, or bring you food when you just want to cry. I also found it to be very empowering to join Single Mom and divorced parents groups on facebook so that I could hear from people who knew what I was going through.

Motivation and Understanding. I found it incredibly helpful to read up on the process, to see related quotations and to listen to podcasts related to what I was going through. I saved a ton of motivational quotations on pinterest (My boards can be found here , here and here). I also completely fell in love with Alone: A Love Story, a CBC podcast. Retweet, share to your stories, post lyrics. Whatever you need to do to feel understood and heard.

Music Soothes the Soul, music has always been a major factor in every single one of my life events, good and bad. This was no different. I found that some days I wanted to sob uncontrollably to the soundtrack of my heartbreak. Other days, I wanted Lizzo to build me back up. Sometimes, I needed hard rock to work through my anger. I got myself a spotify account and made playlists for my needs. I have a Ouch Feels playlist, an Empower playlist, a playlist of soothing faves, an Angsty playlist when I want to scream EFF YOU JERK. It truly helps. I will say that sometimes you need to avoid certain songs to feel ok, and that fine. I still can’t listen to any of “Our Songs”.

It’s Ok to be A Cliche. There are so many cliches about getting through the crisis of a breakup. I lived so many of them. Some of them helped, some of them didn’t, but I found comfort in trying. I got a piercing, I dyed my hair, I got a tattoo, I gained weight and then loss some and then stopped caring, I dated, I had casual fun, I drank, I ate, I did what I wanted, when I wanted. I needed to take some time to spoil myself, to take care of myself and to be reckless for a bit. So long as you have good people around you to keep you from going too far, and you don’t hurt anyone or yourself, have fun. On the other side of the coin, it’s ok to cry, to spend time alone, to be angry, to be sad, to let things go a bit. Just remember that you have a life to live, and as tempting as it is to get lost in the fun or the sad, it will do more harm than good. Moderation, my friends. Moderation.

Alright friends, that’s it for now. I have a kid to play with and some lunch to make. I hope this post helps someone get through the initial crisis so that you can start working towards healing. I have more to add, but perhaps I’ll save that for next time.

Daily Life, Depression, family

Neglect

I’m so sorry, friends. I keep meaning to come back and write, share a review, anything, but the words just don’t come. At least they haven’t until now.

Things have been hard lately, folks. My depression is rearing it’s ugly head and is back in full force. At the moment, it’s not the heartbreaking constant sadness. Instead it’s the exhaustion, full body aches and pain, the lack of motivation to do anything at all and a total lack of fucks. For a bit there, I struggled to find the energy to dress myself, to shower and to brush my teeth.

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Part of it is the weather, and how difficult the holidays are when you have lost people. On top of that, there is our financial struggles and the stress of not being able to afford the holidays. I can’t really get into much more right now, but there are other things that have been hard for me and weighing on me.

Yesterday it occurred to me that I’ve been neglecting so much in my life. Yes, there are some crappy things going on, crappy things that have happened, but if I let myself fail and fall, what will they show my children? What will be left to care for them? So, I’m taking steps to get back on track. I’m walking as much as I can, at least 2km a day. I work out a couple days a week at home. I am trying to get back into bullet journalling and spending more quality time with my family. I’m making lists and getting back into work. It’s hard, but just like with my walks, the most important thing is to keep putting one foot in front of the other. To just keep going.

 

Daily Life, Depression, family

Autumn Life Update

It’s been a long time now since I’ve written a personal post. 2016 has been kicking our asses. Between that and having two crazy kids, I don’t have much time to give sitting down and writing about real life stuff, if that makes any sense. I’m actually fighting a nasty cold at the moment, which means that I have a bit of time to sit and just write.

Mason is 9 months old, almost 10 months. Liam has started school. How is this possible? Where has time gone? It’s been a pretty good transition, thankfully. Liam loves school and it’s been giving me a bit of a breather during an otherwise stressful time.

We have a lot of personal financial and family stuff going on that I don’t feel comfortable sharing here, but it’s been playing one hell of a toll on my anxiety and depression. Thankfully, my husband’s work has a great EAP program and I’ve been able to get some help. On top of that, I’ve started keeping a bullet journal. It has been amazing at keeping me calm, organized and a place to share what’s going on in my head in a pretty and creative way.bulletjournal

Bullet Journaling is kind of a checklist mixed with a day planner, mixed with a journal. It can be as simple or as involved as you want. It’s very very easy to personalize.

Beyond bullet journaling, I’ve continued to play with and test makeup and other products. I’m toying with the idea of making a youtube channel to compliment this blog, but I’m nervous about the amount of work it would take. I’ve started job hunting again, ideally looking for something either from home or close to home so that we can save on daycare costs by me being with Mason during the day.

So, I know this isn’t a really great update, but I wanted to let you guys know that I’m alive and ok, but not great. We are working on things to improve our situation, but nothing is coming very easily. Happy Fall everyone xo

Baby, Babywearing, Daily Life, Depression, family

Mason – 6 Months Old

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Half a year. Half a year since this little beastie joined our family and completed it. How is that possible? How has it already been so long? I’m sorry I haven’t really been doing these posts the last few months. Honestly, I’ve been struggling. Post Partum Anxiety has been kicking my butt, and was recently joined by Depression. Meds are being changed up and I’m looking into therapy, but it’s been a challenge. On top of that, there’s been a fair amount of drama and difficulties to deal with in the mean time. All that aside, we’re doing ok. I have great plans of doing some more reviews for you soon, and have even been thinking about starting to do some youtube videos!

Now, on to Mason.

Month 3: In his third Month, Mason met his fellow December baby friend, Phillip. One of my best friends, Crystal, has us over all the time and her sister is in my online December mom group. Our boys got to hang out. What else? Well, we tried Mason in the Jumperoo and he hated it. He also started popping his seat in the ring sling, which frustrated me to no end. He started to roll on to his side from his back. Mason also had his first Easter.

Month 4: Interacting with the world a lot more, loving toys, his playmat is his favourite thing. Holds his head up and tries to roll on to his belly. Begins teething haphazard, but hates teething toys. Tried the jolly jumper but doesn’t really get it. Totally in love with his brother, who turned 4 this month.

Month 5: plays peekaboo, starts giving aggressive kisses (grabs my face with his nails and open mouth kisses me). Chews on everything. Says mama when upset, and parrots “Hiiiiiiiiiiiii”, said Dada once. Rolled back to front and tries to crawl. Very frustrated he can’t move on his own. Takes a step or two if held up. Digging the circle of neglect and the jolly jumper now. We celebrated Mothers Day and went to the Agricultural Museum. Tried some fruit and veggies right before the 6 month mark. Had a very busy Victoria Day weekend with family and friends.

Where we are now:

  • Diaper Size: Pampers Size 4, cloth diapers in size 2
  • Clothing Size:Depending on the brand, between 6-12months.
  • Favourite Clothes: The cold weather had me loving one piece outfits for him. Now that things are heating up, I am LOVING cute shorts, rompers and onesies.
  • Nicknames: Mace and Macey, bubba, small fry, turd
  • Loves: Rolling, yelling, banging, splashing, chewing, bouncing, standing, his family, water, his bunny.
  • Hates: His carseat and the car, medicine, disposable diapers, getting dressed.
  • Updates: Still teething, no teeth yet. No soothers and no bottles yet. Sigh. Loves to mimic sounds he hears. We swear he can say mama, Dada and Hi. Doesn’t like the outdoors, but is getting better. Lots of wake ups at night again. He’s still in bed with me, which makes the lack of sleep survivable. Still gets worn daily. Loves to stand up (with support)

Baby, Daily Life, Depression, family

Dark Days of Spring

It’s very odd to have depression some days. Yesterday, I broke down in tears to my husband “I feel like I don’t exist, or that I’m fading away. I’m invisible”. In that moment, I was desperate for people to see me, really see me. This morning, I woke up and the last thing I wanted was to be around anyone. I didn’t want to leave the house.

Spring is usually when most people start coming out of their winter blahs. For me, I struggle with loving the season while simultaneously hating how it reminds me of my mother’s death and Liam’s traumatic birth. Add to that that we have been having an incredibly difficult time the last few months…well…I’m not coping. Our financial situation is pretty dire, and I’m not using that word lightly. We are doing what we can to get by, but I feel a huge amount of responsibility for our situation as I am the one currently on maternity leave. On top of that, my husband’s health hasn’t been great and we have no answers. For people who have been surrounded by illness and death, we are both very anxious about this. There is just so much going on, all at once. The kids can feel it and see it, and are acting out accordingly.

I am pushing myself through it. One step at a time, day by day. I am barely able to adult, but I am doing the best I can to pay the bills, make meals and make sure the kids are dressed and don’t stink too badly. We have also added a new member of our little clan. Pat’s dear friend, A, has moved in with us for a while while she deals with some of her own difficult times. So, I’m sorry for being so quiet here and on social media lately. I just don’t know what to say or what to share at the moment.

I’ve been losing myself in beauty videos on youtube. Let me know if you want me to share any links, faves or any of my own stuff. I don’t think I can do videos at the moment with everything that we have going on, but I can certainly try to post more. It’s just tough with a velcro baby and velcro preschooler, on top of an ill husband. Mason’s 4 Month post is coming up in the next couple of days, and I also have plans to post about the Eco Chic Movement baby line soon, so stay tuned.

Thanks for understanding, y’all. I really appreciate you being there through the fun and the hard times.

Baby, Daily Life, Depression, family, Health, Pregnancy

Introducing Mason (His birth story)

You may have noticed the silence around here and the new face on my instagram. It’s true! We welcomed Baby M earthside on November 29th at around 5pm. I got my VBAC! So, allow me to share our birth story and introduce Mason.mason

In my 37th week, I noticed that I had started to lose my mucus plug. I knew this was a sign that my body was prepping for labour. Saturday the 28th, we had done some grocery shopping and I felt some wetness. Had I peed myself?! Embarrassing! That night, same thing happened again when I turned in my sleep, followed by some cramping and back pain. Ugh, unpleasant.

On Sunday the 29th, I woke up and felt kind of off. An hour or so later, I noticed I had bloody show and knew it was going to be baby time sooner rather than later. I casually startedtiming the contractions.  I told Pat and updated my friend Claire (our Doula). I had also noticed that I had what felt like menstrual cramps, which was nothing like what my contractions felt like last time with Liam. Eventually, Claire had me time them more carefully, just to see and we noticed that they were rhythmic. Huh. I still wasn’t convinced it was labour but when they got more steady and frequent, Claire told me she was coming over to check things out.

I made sure our bags were ready to go, and got in contact with my friends who had offered to watch Liam. I let Pat know things were picking up and started verbally prepping Liam for his first night away.

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In labour, on the exercise ball

The contractions were more intense, but nothing more than uncomfortable. I found relief in swaying on my exercise ball and doing figure 8s. When Claire arrived, we talked a bit and Pat got me some food from Timmy’s. Eventually, talking through contractions took more work. It was then that Pat and Claire suggested we go to the hospital, but I still didn’t think it was time. I was convinced the contractions were still 5 minutes plus apart, when they were actually closer to 3.5. I wanted Liam to have his nap, as it was noon. It wasn’t until I went to the bathroom and had three contractions one after the other that I agreed to go.

We dropped Liam off at Jenn’s, and my heart broke. I already missed my little guy. We made our way to the Civic Hospital and met up with Claire there.

We made our way to the 4th floor, Labour and Delivery, where they took my history and checked me. I was 5cm. They admitted me and showed us to our room. There we met our great nurse, Phyllis, and I started labouring in earnest. I walked, swayed, leaned, cried and felt myself becoming overwhelmed by the rapid increase of the pain and frequency of the contractions. Eventually, I had had enough and requested an epidural. I was so afraid of letting everyone down, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. They checked me, and I was at 8cm. Having contractions while having to stay perfectly still was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Unfortunately, the Epi didn’t take fully. It merely dulled the pain a bit.

I was on the bed, feeling like I might need to push. I felt the sudden gush of my water breaking. It was full of meconium. They then needed to attach monitors to his head because his heart rate was decelerating and the monitors on my stomach weren’t working eith how low he was. Moments later, I could no longer control the urge to push. Within 15 minutes, Mason was born. Pat cut the cord and the OB showed me my placenta (soooo cool!). I felt so much better than after my c-section. I had a 2nd degree tear and some stitches, and felt like a champ. Mason ended up having some issues, however.

As I waited to deliver my placenta, the medical team was trying to get Mason to be more responsive. He eventually was, but his breathing still wasn’t great and his chest was puffed out. They left him with me for an hour to nurse before deciding to send him to the NICU with Pat. There, they did a chest x-ray and blood work. He had no meconium in his lungs and no air leaks. After keeping an eye on him for about 12 hrs, they brought him back to me. The next evening, we were sent home with a clean bill of health.m2

The After:

A couple days later, at our first post partum check up, our family dr confirmed our suspicions that M had jaundice. She sent us to get bloodwork done and that evening, we got a phone call to get to the children’s hospital ASAP. His bloodwork was very concerning. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of a really difficult time for us. We were admitted after they ran a bunch of tests and we ended up staying at CHEO for 5 days. They were concerned he had a blood infection due to a mistake on a blood test, or an antibody issue due to the blood bank mixing up our file with someone else. In the end, he just had jaundice and needed a lot of phototherapy.

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Our stay was hard for me. Post partum hormones, and recovery in a hospital room for someone who is prone to anxiety and depression …it was not ideal. We were in a dorm style room with two other babies from out of town, which meant that there was a lot of noise, lots of crying and just one nurse to care for them. I was very stressed and unfortunately, my post partum anxiety got pretty bad. I wasn’t allowed to hold him much, with the exception of nursing. I basically had to sit and watch him on that light table. Thankfully, my family dr and my loved ones were on it. I had visitors daily and my meds were upped. Eventually, we developed a routine where I went home to be with Liam for a couple hours, which helped.

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Liam really struggled with all of this. When Mason was born, he was worried he wasn’t ever coming home from my friend Jenn’s place. When we were admitted to CHEO, he was heartbroken and really had a hard time with me being gone. We are dealing now with the fallout and his big feelings, but we’re all doing much better. Mason is growing and doing better every day. My anxiety is manageable and we are finally getting into the swing of things.  Every day is a challenge, but we are loved and supported, so we will be ok.

Daily Life, Depression, Health

Fuck April

If you are a long time reader, you know that this is not my favourite month. If not, you may be confused. Why hate April? April is a time of flowers and the sun warming us up again! It’s so pretty and awesome! Well, not for this babe.

Consider this a warning that I may be bummed or absent this month. Why?  Well, 5 years ago, our place was pretty much ready to be sold and we were in the midst of moving in with my mother. I was her fulltime caregiver and was moving in to help her through her final months. I was set to move on April 1st, but circumstances resulted in some reno delays, so we rescheduled for April 10th. That first week of April, I was in and out of the house pretty much daily. I was bringing boxes, finishing up our room and getting feedback from Mom on what we needed to do to finish up my change to becoming her full time care (I would be the one taking care of finances, bills, getting her to appointments, getting results, etc…as her health declined).

Easter weekend arrived and the family descended upon the house. Mom wasn’t feeling great, so everyone cooked for her (in all of the years of family dinners, she never gave up cooking the main course. Never. This should have been a sign). I remember thinking she looked so small and tired. She basically hung out on the couch the entire visit. On April 7th or 8th, after a being away for a day, but in constant contact by phone, I arrived to find her best friends at the house. I was dropping off some more boxes and on my way to buy some more with a friend who had a pickup. Her best friends informed me she had declined (and was hiding it from me, because it was Mom. Ugh). I had no idea that this would be her last day at home. That she would pass away the next day. I had no idea that my Dad’s kids, people I considered siblings, would completely lose their minds and turn on me. That it would take 2 years for us to complete the estate and that I would end up with a diagnosis of PTSD, severe anxiety and depression.

That same time, 2 years later, when everything wrapped up with the estate, I had my beautiful baby boy. As my labour began, I had no idea that I would struggle through 32 hours of labour, that I would end up getting an emergency c-section, my kid in the NICU, a week long hospital stay, terrible recovery, a relapse of PTSD and severe PPA and PPD.

Here I am, 3 years since then, 5 years since my mother died, that I am going through a difficult time again. I don’t want to get into it. I’m not ready to. I have been missing my parents so terribly, hell, I miss my family. These horrible times have shaped me. I have been forged through flame. I forgive myself for my failings during my mother’s illness and the mess of the estate. I am finally ok with my birth story and that I couldn’t be more in love with my stunningly amazing baby boy (who is a freaking preschooler now). I have incredible people in my life who support and love me. Because of these hardships, I am ok, despite things being tough.

So, fuck April. I am so much stronger than you give me credit for.