I’m sitting here trying to figure out where I went wrong. A month ago I started this great new diet. The food was good, it helped me feel better, and I lost almost 20 pounds in three weeks. Three weeks ago I started writing on my novel and I was tearing it up in the best way. I wrote almost seven thousand words in four days. I made it through Halloween with all the candy and BamBam disappearing in the dark street for a few minutes. We found him and everything was fine. I was fine.
Then the boys got sick. And I stopped writing. And I faltered on the diet. And I forgot to take my anti-depressant for three days (not consecutive, but still). And I had a fight with a close friend on Facebook that it turns out she didn’t even know we were having. And I had a nervous breakdown in front of our ABA program manager. And I smell like cigarettes, but I don’t even smoke and that’s making me crazy. And if I have to have another fucking conversation about a zoo my head is going to explode. And I keep allowing myself to become hypoglycemic and shaky. And I don’t want to write anything, anything at all. And I don’t want to read anything, either, which is what made me realize how depressed I really am.
A woman I know had surgery to remove a brain tumor on Tuesday. She’s been such a trooper and I’m amazed. She has such a great attitude and I’m falling apart. I’m falling apart and I have nothing real to complain about.
I have a wonderful, supportive husband. Our boys are both doing really well in school and in therapy. I now have time to myself without requiring a babysitter or even my husband to watch the kids. I have fabulous and supportive friends both in person and online.
Yet I’m depressed and frozen in place. It’s such a first world problem, right? I’m the one standing in my own way and I can’t figure out how to make me move my ass. Maybe I need a tiger to chase me. I was kidding about that, but it’s actually kind of true. I’m really good in a crisis. I’m very levelheaded and on task. I hate every second of it, but I get things done. For other people. But I freeze solid when I’m the one who needs something. Because I’m only comfortable on the back burner. My issues can wait. They always can.
Except now they are getting in the way of front burner issues. Like potty training. I realized during my meltdown with our ABA PM that I’m part of the problem there. I’m resisting being consistent about making Zoo Keeper go. Actually about making him wear underwear instead of pull-ups at home and making him try to go. Because it’s a fight every damn time and I’m tired of fighting.
Part of what he needs is to alleviate his constipation. We’ve done that several times by using Miralax in apple juice. But I’ve stopped making him do that because every fucking sip is an all out war and I’m not up to the fight.
His constipation would probably improve if his diet were better. I might even be able to muster the energy to fight that battle, but I would certainly lose at this point because I would have to fight it with his brother as well and god knows I’m not up for that. I’m also not up for the fight it would take to get them to take supplements. I found liquid calcium and B vitamins because BamBam won’t eat the gummy kind. Or the chalky kind. Or the liquid kind, as it turns out. I could hold him down and force it down his throat, but I’m not up for that every day either.
And, so, my sons will likely be malnourished into their teens unless I muster the strength to engage in a daily fight with them in the next few years. But I can’t even seem to fix my own diet for any reasonable length of time, so who am I to tell them how to eat anyway. I know, I know. I’m their mother and it’s my responsibility to do it. I just don’t know how. Or, rather, I know how, but I’m at a loss as to how to make myself do it.
Those are the major battles, but there are others as well. Zoo Keeper comes out of school every day raring for a fight. I get it; he’s had to hold himself together at school all day and he needs an outlet for that energy, so he spews it at me. But that takes a toll. As does his reluctance to do anything for himself. Like buckle his own seatbelt. Or put away his shoes. Or take his underwear upstairs to put in the hamper. I know it’s completely run of the mill to struggle with the underwear in the hamper thing, but at least they’d be in his room instead of the middle of the floor just inside the front door because he sheds them in favor of a pull-up as soon as he’s in the house. And there are toys on the floor all over the house. Sometimes I fight that one, but it always wears me down. And there are zoos on every flat surface. We try to restrict him to certain areas and that works for a while sometimes. But then they start to move to chairs and couches and eventually walkways and stairs and I just tire of the sound of my own voice in the argument.
And then there are the battles I’ve been fighting that were apparently pointless. I’ve been cutting the boys’ hair for more than three years. They fight me every damn time, which is why I generally allow their hair to grow much longer than I’d like. They scream and they squirm and they make it so hard. So very hard. And they end up with uneven hair that looks…well, like their deranged mother cut it. But I’m okay with that, except that I wanted their hair to look nice for family pictures we had taken a few weeks ago. So I asked friends for suggestions and then took them to a woman who specializes in cutting hair for kids with sensory issues. They both jumped up into the chair like pros and hardly moved as she snipped and buzzed their hair away and I looked on in astonishment. Zoo Keeper even let her wash his hair, which is a battle I assigned to Sparky long ago. So, apparently I’ve been beating my head against the wall every month or so for the last 36 months for NO REASON.
And those are just the battles I fight with the kids. What about me? What about my own health? I’m pretty sure I’m at least on the precipice of diabetes, so what about my own diet? I know what I need to do. I read the (recent diet) book; the science is sound and, what’s more, the diet worked. It made me feel better. I did feel better. But it takes a lot to cook good food on a regular basis and that’s energy I’m already lacking. And then there’s the fact that sugar is soothing. It just is. And my nerves are frayed, dude. I need a lot of soothing. I know it’s bad for me and my body feels better without it and there are a million reasons to resist it, but it’s a drug and I’m addicted to it. It’s hard to continually fight that battle, too.
So, when Sparky told me to go take a nap this afternoon because I looked so tired, I went upstairs. I didn’t nap, but I did think about the fact that he’s right. I am tired. So very tired. But I don’t think a nap’s going to cover it.
It’s so nice of you to write for me so that I don’t have to. Can we sit down and talk, maybe not tomorrow ‘cuz boys will be around but maybe Tuesday during the day; the boy-free time. Because we need to talk. You ARE AMAZING and I know you don’t feel it; I never feel it. But we are living parallel lives except I’ve got a little jump on you. I’ve fought those battles, I’ve beat my head against that wall, and I’ve sooooooooooothed myself into obesity for 14 freakin’ years now. Yeah, we need to talk, lady. When are you free?
HUGS and fgbvs and HUGS.
1. This is not your fault. Repeat after me, it’s not your fault. If god forbid, your husband presented with prostate cancer would you tell him to GET OFF HIS ASS AND SNAP OUT OF IT??? No. Of course not, honey. Because you love him and know that he would need real help. So do you. I’ve been on this horse and ridden it into the ground. If I miss ONE antidepressant it is edgy panic for all the world to see and misery and hopelessness and some pretty severe mean self-talk and zero sleep.
2. You do have problems. No we are not starving or having brain tumors or things like that but there are real and massive struggles in your everyday life and they take a toll. I haven’t had to do battle like you have and like you still do and I’m damn tired myself. Should I beat myself up because raising my kid isn’t as hard as raising yours? Nope. Being a good mom is HARD and it is ALL THE TIME ALL THE TIME no breaks. It is a hell of a lot harder than teaching school.
3. I love you. Hug. Please be kind to yourself. I’ll tell ya what the Mother Food book said when I was flogging myself over breastfeeding. “If you give in to sugar, say to yourself ‘this is not my fault i am in the grip of a craving’ then permit yourself to enjoy the food fully and let it go”! THose germans know some shit, huh?
Pretty much Diva said. First STOP STOP STOP beating yourself up. I have remarkably easy kids and I still get exhausted and tired and cranky and eat too much. Yes, of course you can always find someone some where who has life worse than you. But just because my broken leg is a worse problem than your broken finger doesn’t mean that your broken finger doesn’t hurt or isn’t a real problem when you need to hook your bra or something. So, seriously, give yourself a break. Please. You are a really good person who deserves to have people (including yourself) treat kindly.
I’m not going to give any advice on the kids because I have no experience with autism. Even though I’m biting my tongue because I’m almost incapable of NOT giving advice!
Hugs and FGBVs.
Big, big hugs. Give yourself a break, girl. You are giving those boys love, and that is more important than straight haircuts or structured potty training. 😉 I’m sending you much, much sparkly love!
You know how when you’re in the thick of a fight, you have all that adrenalin going, pushing you to get through it. And you also have the motivation of a clear goal, something you’re working toward. It sounds like that’s been your norm for a while– working to get the boys in school and adjusted. And you’d made progress. You aren’t fighting everyday. Now that you’ve got some breathing room, the overwhelming nature of your struggle has it you. I think a little depression is probably to be expected. That doesn’t make it any easier to get through though, I know. Sometimes, life is just really, unbelievably hard. Wow, how’s that for profound? Me and the guy who coined “Shit Happens,” we’re clearly modern day philosophers. So yeah, I got nothing. But big hugs and FGBVs, and WEBS. This too shall pass. It won’t always be like this.
Poor baby – you are beset and besieged! I don’t blame you a bit for being too tired to fight every minute of every day about everything. That doesn’t make you a bad mom or a bad person, it makes you human. I’m right there with you with the frozen and tahrd thing, and just as frustrated about entirely different circumstances. WEBS and FGBVs and hugs and love and take some B vitamins – a good dose of B complex every day will help soothe your frazzled nerves at a very basic level, even if it won’t keep anybody out of pullups.
And there’s this:
Depression will tell you that you don’t matter; it’s a lie.
Depression will tell you this will never get better; it’s a lie.
Depression will tell you that you don’t deserve help, you should be able to do it all on your own; it’s a lie.
Depression will tell you that you don’t deserve to be loved; it’s a lie.
Depression will tell you that you don’t deserve kindness and care; it’s a lie.
Depression will tell you that you should be able to get over it on your own if you just suck it up; it’s a lie.
Don’t listen to the lies. You do matter. It will get better. You do deserve help. You do deserve love and kindness and care.
Here to cheer you on. I remember the day Spy finally accepted a real hair cut. For years I buzzed him outside/in the cellar. Then we got the right woman who deals with the hair touching his ears, the funny smell of the…. etc. What a relief. I think your life sounds like mine times ten. Or maybe a hundred. Sometimes it seemed to me I was being kicked to death by crickets. I can only imagine and wish I could physically help.
Maybe easing back into the eating plan a step at a time? It took me 6 mo to fully get there. And I still falter. Antidepressants, B vitamins and dark chocolate sound like a good plan to me.
Oh, my dear, I love you, and beyond that, I got nothin’. Everyone else has you covered on saying the wise things. All I got is that you can go into the deepest and darkest hole, and yes, in fact, you can both run AND hide, but we will still find you and love you, and love you even if we can’t find you for a while.
Breathe deeply and take your damn meds.
WEBS. Especially the Depression Lies part. All pain is valid and I don’t think that having depression and having to deal with extra challenges is a first world problem, it is just simply a problem and as valid as any others and as painful as it is, no matter what circumstances are like for any other being.
Be good to yourself. Treat yourself like your best friend, because that’s what you could be (I know, I’m working on that myself). Get help if you need it.
And feel free to keep venting here because everyone here is here to support you and listen to you and care about you. But we won’t let anyone treat you badly, not even you.
You are the best mom I know (and I know A LOT).
All the good shit has been said, (read through it again, it’s excellent up there). I’m just gonna complain instead. Is that okay?
My e-mail updates aren’t working and I had NO damn idea there were new posts! With Sam and Kaylee back-story!!! GAH!
Okay, glad I got that off my chest, on to the metaphysical assvice portion of the comment. Past life, Babe. Sit down for a quick Three Minutes (which you can totally grab in the car if need be) and go down that hallway of your previous lives (it’s at the bottom of those steps). Stop where you feel compelled to and peek in the door. Focus on the scene. It will help, I promise.
Be kind to yourself. You have a lot on your plate. I know exactly what you mean about people with bigger issues handling things better than you do because that’s me too. Depression is really hard, though. There are so many types and it affects each us in so many different ways.
Anyway, this isn’t a post that has anything to offer other than support and to let you know I get you. Sorry I don’t have any good advice, but I do have love & friendship & support. xoxox
Just stopping back in to ask how you are doing. Sending hugs and FGBVs.
I missed this, and don’t really have anything to add except to reinforce what everybody else said. Plus from the more recent post it sounds like you are through the worst of it anyway. My kids are 22 and 15 now, and I forget how exhausting those early years are until I run into someone who’s in the middle of it. It really does get better. Kids are always exhausting, but it’s not the same kind of bone-weary-I-got-nothin’ exhaustion once your youngest is six or so. Just hang in there, do whatever you need to do to get through it, and remember that you are a totally awesome mom.