Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Should this be the new normal?

     Depression has a way of making you question everything in the world including your own feelings. Outside of the generalized symptoms of insecurity and self-doubt, knowing I have a mental illness feeds my tendency to second guess myself. Unfortunately, it is really hard to come to a satisfactory conclusion.
     Case in point: these days I am angry all the time. I'm overwhelmed and sort of unfocused. I feel manic, but without the happiness. On paper, it totally reads like a time line of impending doom. On the other hand, this is a totally rational reaction to the state of current affairs. So, I go back and forth on it:
   On one hand: A lot of my behavior has changed, and it's sort of having a negative affect on me and those around me. I'm neglecting a bunch of my responsibilities just so I can fight with people on Facebook, and my relationship with my kids is changing a little bit because I ignore them a lot more. I know I am making some of my family and friends uncomfortable.
     On the other hand, this type of behavior is not necessarily out of character for me. even when I'm well medicated and stable, if I get pissed, I get pissed and am slow to recover.  I firmly believe real political push-back comes from people who are noisy, passionate and to some degree obnoixous.

     I told my psychiatrist about all this today and she agreed that I was in step with pretty much all of Seattle. She did however, adjust my meds a little bit.  I am not sure that's a good idea.
If I haven't made it clear thus far, second-guessing is my job.
Anyway, do I really want to medicate this away? Even if I am demonstrating a few symptoms and acting weird, do I really want to medicate myself out of it? Maybe we should have been behaving this way all along.  It is going to take some serious committment to outraged to fight what we are facing for the next four years. There is part of me though that is scared that my outrage and passion are symptoms of an on coming breakdown. Then again,  Maybe the world needs a little righteous-crazy to balance out the crazy from the other side.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Shhh...they'll never find us...

      You know what's great? I love being a mom. Like, really, truly, love being a mom. My kids are awesome and I love hanging out with them. Even though they are messy and loud and annoying and boring and stressful, I still think they are the best thing in the whole world. Which is a nice change from how I felt about parenting when my children were first born. I was hit hard by my postpartum depression after the birth of both my children, and I can now happily say that I am fully and completely out of the woods.
     For now.
     Turns out, while postpartum depression is a hot topic right now in the psychology scene, there is evidence to suggest that postpartum is not the most psychologically trying period for moms. In fact, postpartum might be one of the most fulfilling periods in a mother's life. According to a new study published by Developmental Psychology, mothers of infants report the highest levels of life satisfaction and fulfillment when compared to mothers with older children. Additionally, despite the societal emphasis on postpartum, the study found that new mothers report the low levels of emptiness, loneliness and stress when compared to mothers with children in school. According tothe data, the most difficult time for moms is when their children are in middle school. Mothers of middle schoolers actually feel more parental dissatisfaction and stress than mothers with children at any other stage.
     What the Hell?
     I feel a little bit like I've been tricked. All this warning and counsel over how to recognize and treat postpartum depression, and then science turns around and is like, "Oh, no. That's the easy part."
     The study gives a lot of reasons as to why this might be the case. First of all, science now recognizes that middle schoolers are horrible, horrible people. Well, maybe not horrible, but the report does note that middle schoolers are at least as difficult as babies, but not nearly as cute. Plus, teens and parents encounter a lot of stress as the kid deals with more complex issues in school and peer relationships. All this is happening, but there are not a lot of resources for parents of teens. There is an unending collection of books, and websites, hotlines and social groups for new mothers, but almost nothing for parents of children hitting puberty.  Parent of older children can hardly even find time to vent to each other because they all have packed schedules.
     Obviously, I just think this is all fan-friggin-tastic.
     I need to be careful though. This study is not saying that parenting my kids as middle schoolers will be worse than dealing with my kids postpartum.  I need to remind myself that the law of averages is clouding the results of the data. Yes, the study indicates that most mothers will have a decrease in life satisfaction as their child moves towards middle school, but most mothers don't have postpartum depression. Apparently, most mothers are blissfully happy postpartum. (Jerks.) Live it up ladies, because nobody gets through middle school unscathed.
     I'm just kidding. I love you.
You know what we all need to do? We need a bunker. Then instead of driving our grumpy little hormone-balls, to practice after study group after sleepover, we drink and plot ways to embarrass our kids at the mall. I've been through the paretal depression thing before, so you can just come and hide with under my blanket until they leave for college.