›Nightmares

I am still wide awake from the steroids, and when I lay down to sleep, I often have horrible images of my baby with his skin all burned and eyes all black. I open my eyes as fast as I can and stare at the wall afraid to blink. I assume I am having these “nightmares” because of the Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, and I am afraid it will happen to my son. I hope it all goes away when I stop taking the prednisone. Otherwise, I don’t know if I will ever sleep well again because, as long as I am awake and keep myself busy, I am fine.

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›Sleepless Night

I can’t sleep. I have been on steroids for 2 weeks to treat Stevens-Johnson Syndrome that I got from taking Bactrim, and it has left me wired all day and night. Instead of sleeping, I just look at pictures of my baby and smile. He is so amazing. He has such a good heart. I know that may sound silly since he is just 3 months old, but his eyes and sweet smile tell me what a great person he is. I hope I don’t mess him up.

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›Postpartum or Sleep Deprivation

After a month of waking up every 3 hours and then feeding Enzo for 40 minutes, I was beginning to feel pretty down. I have suffered from depression before and was worried about getting Postpartum Depression. I have spent a lot of time reading about the Baby Blues and what I might experience after giving birth. Most women start feeling bad after 3-5 days. That is why I found it strange that for the first 2 weeks I was in a great mood and felt fine on just 3 hours of sleep.

But something changed, I stopped breast feeding because it was only making my baby frustrated, and I started to work a little bit. I thought I was doing great until I got angry one night because I had to wash the bottles. It takes maybe 15 minutes to do this, but I did not want to do anything. I still loved Enzo and wanted him to eat, but I did not want to feed him. I realized this might become a problem.

The first thing I did was tell my husband how I was feeling. He really wanted me to see the doctor, but I wanted to do some research first. About 80% of all women experience Baby Blues, and I did not want to be put on medicine if I would naturally get better. Most websites said the Blues last for a couple of weeks and are normally gone by a month. Well, I did not start having problems until it was a month.

So, I wanted a few more days while I got Scott to help with more of the feedings. A couple of days past and I was getting more sleep, but now I felt guilty for making Scott do so much. This is when I decided to call my doctor. As soon as I called my OB and said “possible depression”, they squeezed me in the same day.

When I was talking to my doc, she made it clear that what I was experiencing was very common, but since it was 5 weeks postpartum, I might consider taking some medication to help. Knowing how bad depression can be if it gets out of hand, I began to discuss my options. Due to my previous experiences, I am extremely nervous about anti-depressants. We talked about all the old, trusted kinds and the new ones and what I might experience. We decided on Effexor is the fastest acting and acts on serotonin and norepinephrine making it an interesting choice since most just affect serotonin. I left the office with a months supply and a script and an appointment again in 2 weeks.

Because I want to give my baby the best I have to offer, I took the first pill on the way home. My doctor had warned about possible upset stomach, but I was not concerned. Then, I got home and started to feel the Effexor. Quickly, I realized this was not like anything I have had before. I could barely think and my stomach was a mess. I jumped on line and started doing some research.

While many things on the web can be exaggerated or one-side, I was shocked to read some of the results of Effexor. Wikipedia had info about the make-up of Effexor containing amphetamines and MDMA (Ecstasy). Due to the short half-life, Effexor works fast, but this results in bad withdrawal and problems if you skip just one dose. Although many people were helped by Effexor, I found myself scared of the side effects and how it would effect my family. After just one pill, I decided to give myself 2 more weeks to adjust to my new life and see if my symptoms might improve.

It has been about a week since then, and my baby is sleeping much longer during the night. I only have to get up once. Also, I am trying to take the pressure off myself by enjoying my husband’s help and appreciating how great of a father he is. Amazingly, I want to feed my baby again. I am gladly washing bottles, and I have even cleaned the house (well, at least a little bit). I am still aware that postpartum depression could still be a possibility, but I think the true culprit is sleep deprivation mixed with taking on too much. I was running around showing houses (I am a Realtor) and shopping with in a few weeks of delivery.

Since I have improved, I don’t think I will take any medications, but I do plan on taking steps to improve my state of mind. A healthy lifestyle of exercise and mediation might be all I need to keep myself sane and allow me to be the best mom possible. I know I will make mistakes, but I must feel like I am trying my best.

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›Brain Cells Return

After 29 hours of contractions every 2 minutes, Enzo Austin Johnson arrived on Novermber 13, 2007 weighing 7 lbs. 8 oz. and 20.5 inches. Even though my doctor said it was a difficult labor, the mind’s amazing ability to forget left me with images and facts of the day but erased any negative feelings or thoughts about the day. I can remember saying (well, screaming) “I can’t do this!”, but I don’t know why I was saying it.
Right before I started to push, I began to get a fever. This fever along with strong pain meds left me blacking out after I delivered. Although I had no idea what was really going on, I had a feeling inside telling me everything was going to be ok. It was a strange peacefulness where I trusted my husband and the doctors to take care of me and my baby. I bet this feeling would have been even stronger during a natural birth with no drugs, but I am glad I had my epidural even though it started to shift leaving me numb on only one side.

I really did not like being pregnant. During pregnancy, the uterus steals all the blood from your brain to take care of your baby. This left me feeling like another person. I hated talking on the phone because I often forgot what I was trying to say. At least in person, people saw I was pregnant and could understand why I sounded like an idiot. My normal mind is fast thinking, but during my pregnancy, it slowed down drastically. This did allow me to sit and not think or worry about anything, and for the first time in my life, I had moments where I had no thoughts at all. I would just be staring into space not hearing, seeing, or perceiving anything. Although this was at times relaxing, I often just felt stupid.

Pregnancy took away, not only my mind, but my independence. I had to rely on others, and I am not good at asking for help or excepting it. That is why I was so afraid of giving birth. I would experiencing something totally new that I could not even try to understand. What I found, though, was giving up total control of my mind and body allowed me to enjoy my feelings and the joys of giving birth. It seemed like time slowed down, my concerns disappeared, and I could put all my focus on my new baby and what he needs.

After the delivery, I slept for maybe 3 hours before I felt like I had the world to take on. I wanted to see my baby and get to know him. I needed to learn how to fulfill his needs and make his life amazing. The blood finally returned to my brain, and I discovered the purpose for my over-thinking analyzing mind.

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›Pregnancy Rage

Over the past months, I have experienced an all new type of anger. I like to call it pregnancy rage. I am 7 months pregnant with my first child and have noticed a ton of changes. Most of these changes are physical. I have the worst acid reflux ever, and I actually pee every hour. Although these symptoms are annoying, pregnancy rage is scary for me and my husband.

Normally, I am a very silly and happy person, and if I do get angry, my normal response is to run away and cry. But, thanks to fluctuating pregnancy hormones, I have had a few angry out bursts like I have never experienced. I read about Jenny McCarthy’s experience with these episodes in her book Belly Laughs. It is funny to read about but not experience. Although there is a trigger to this rage, I know while I am upset the level of my anger is far greater than it should be. To know what you are doing is “crazy� and not being able to control your emotions can be frightening. Like last night, I kept tripping on the power cord to my husband’s computer. Instead of moving it out of the way, I yelled at the cord. Yes, it is frustrating to trip repeatedly, but it is no reason to yell.

Besides rage, I have had a few days of crying for no reason or times when everything makes me laugh. Luckily, I have not experienced too many of these mood swings during my pregnancy. I know many women have them bad, and I feel very sorry for them and their husbands.

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›Killing Happiness

Have you ever been in a good mood and someone found that annoying? I know that I have been in a bad mood and found happy people really annoying before, but today, I think I was on the other side of that. I was seeing the humor and irony of life and enjoying being totally silly. I know jokes are often only funny to the person that makes them, and some how my joy and happiness did not spread today.

I thought it was a great and beautiful day, but come to find out, I was the only one that felt that way. So, instead of just getting to enjoy life, I was pulled down by insults and cruel opinions. I was like a little kid enjoying a day in the sun who was beat by her father and made to stay inside.

I am sorry to anyone in my life that might have had a happy day ruined by me when I was in a bad mood. I have been that cruel person before, but I don’t think I was aware at that time the pain it causes. I feel I have lost the day. A day I thought was a blessing but ended up being one of the saddest days of my life. Someone I thought loved me just wants to kill my happiness.

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›Happy, happy, joy, joy…

It has been a while since my last post. After much thought, I dropped out of school and quit teaching. I am free!

As my 31st birthday approached, my life and what I wanted out of it became a big focus. Do I want to drive to work everyday with dread and come home thinking about all the sadness I see? When I start counseling, was I really going to enjoy all the depressive babble? Do I want my life and thoughts to revolve around sadness or happiness?

Of course, I decided being happy was most important to me and my family. I have seen and experienced enough horrible sh!! in my 30 years of life. It is time for me to focus on the positive things life has to offer. Family, friends, and most importantly, laughter.

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›Still Lost

The day I wrote “Lost”, I went to my final class of pre-practicum and spent over an hour being questioned about my skills and abilities by the head of the department. Finally, he said I had the skills to move on to practicum, but this did not make me happy. I went home angry and frustrated.

When I got home, I started to talk to my husband. The TV was never turned on, and he just sat there and listened. The time pasted quickly and with the passing of time, my feelings began to pour out in tears and words. What had been passing thoughts came out in full complete sentences clearly illustrating to my husband every bit of stress I had been experiencing.

It has been a little over a week since then, and I am still mulling through my mind trying to find my way out. Can someone show me the door?

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›The Dallas Snowman

Have you ever seen a snowman in Dallas? Even though I have lived here my entire life, rarely has there even been enough snow to build a snowman. Just a few weeks ago, a “winter blast” blew in causing dreams of canceled school and 1″-2″ of snow. I stayed up all night in hopes of seeing my school’s name scroll across the bottom of the TV screen, but it never did.

The temperature dropped just as predicted, and the sleet and snow were soon to come. I went off to work with hopes of school closing early so I could be home to play in the snow. Although snow is rare in Dallas, the forecast clearly indicated a winter storm warning which was sure to bring us snow. As I sat in my chair watching the 3 kids who made it to school, I began to remember the few times I had been able to create a snowman before.

With winter nights typically in the 40′s, the ground in Dallas retains too much heat for snow to accumulate. This is what makes the allusive Dallas snowman so special. Snow does not last long in this city, but when the timing is right, the ground just might be cold enough to give the children of Dallas the chance to build a snowman.

Now, the first thing to do when snow actually sticks is to try and find any type of winter attire…waterproof gloves, a thick coat, boats, and scarf. I alway felt lucky to find a pair of yarn mittens and a couple of layers of clothes to put under a wind breaker. Even though I would quickly be wet, I rushed outside to begin the process.

The first part of the snowman is formed by the snow on the ground. This consists of snow, sleet, sticks, dirt, grass, and leaves. Kneeling on the ground and shoveling the snow with your arms into one large mound is the most effective method of creating the bottom layer. Rolling a large ball of snow, like in the movies, is never possible since the sparse layer of snow is already melting. Use as much of this snow that you can find.

The rest of the snow comes from cars and trucks. This is your cleanest snow. To find the most snow, look for vehicles in the shade. At this point, you must make an important decision….1 large ball forming a upper body/head combo or 2 small balls. Either way your snowman will not be taller than 4 feet. This part of the process might require the use of neighboring cars. Without several cars topped with a health amount of snow, the snowman will not exist.

Once the body and head are created, it is time to embellish your snowman. Grab a few sticks out from the bottom layer and jab them in the sides for arms. While gathering the snow, it most likely melted and refroze as ice making decorating difficult. Buttons will not stick to the ice for eyes and good luck finding coal! A carrot for a nose might be possible if you can dig a hole deep enough for it to stay.

After finishing off your snowman with items such as a plastic bag scarf, it is time to grab the camera. This is a special moment that may never happen again, but hurry back with the camera because the sun is out, and the skies are clear. Soon your snowman will puddle and disappear.

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›Lost

Every once in a while I go through a phase where I take a good hard look at my life and what I have accomplished. I have done and seen so many things, but is where I am headed that place I want to be?

My husband is great. We are so much alike, yet just different enough to make it interesting. He supports me and my crazy ideas, making me feel like I can accomplish anything. I did not have this for a really long time. His support is making me see myself as I want to be, and now what I once thought I wanted, I am starting to doubt.

I always wanted to act. I loved to draw and sing. I found so much joy and excitement in performing. But did you know that you can be “too smart� for that kind of stuff? My parents told me this over and over. They thought money would make me happy, and I could not count on acting as a source of income.

On top of the brainwashing by my parents, I am an introvert. For years I worked in sales. I made crazy money, and I am really good at it. That money was great for about a day. Then, I was pushed to work harder and make more money. I thought people cared about me, but they really cared about the money I was making them. I did enjoy taking with my customers and helping them. I just did not like walking into an unfamiliar office and trying find a way to get to the president. Even worse is calling people.

I was supposed to go to a certain number of businesses a day, but I never went to that many. My amazing skill was to drive around town until I had calmed my anxiety. I would get out of my car just to walk around inside the building. Then, I would see one and go in. If I made it to the decision maker, I would just talk and talk until I made the sale.

What a rush!

Because I hate feeling like I messed up, I always felt like I should be making more calls or working harder even though I was the top sales person. As an introvert, I don’t think I was meant to approach strangers. As the stress and anxiety of my jobs got to me, I would get another one and move on.

Sometimes, I think I am just lazy even though my sales record and successes would show otherwise. I worked and paid my way through my undergrad. I took classes to get my real estate license which required me to take the stupid exam twice! I never fail anything…I was really pissed. And now, I teach TAKS Math in a very difficult school and am working on my masters.

What is lazy about all of that? Me. For someone else, these might be great accomplishments, but I don’t feel like anything I have done has pushed my mind or even required much of it. To not be bored with my work, I want a job full of problem solving, creating, analyzing, and good hours.

Will counseling fulfill my needs, or will I get bored with it too? I don’t think the path I am going down leads me to a solution. I already am bored with so many aspects of my soon to be new career. I need to make a change now before I get in too deep.

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