Hey! I'm Runnin' Here! | Men's Health URBANATHLON #MHURB #spon

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Over the last two years I've had a love/hate relationship with running. 
Mostly hate.
In my head I want to run. I want to plod my way through miles upon miles of asphalt. I want to have another moment when I happen upon a landscape that strikes me mute at the beauty that is unfolding before me with every step. I want my soul to be invigorated by achievements that bring on crippling joint pain that is silenced by the glint of a shiny finisher's medal.
And then I remember how I want to throw myself into oncoming traffic because I am so fucking bored.
Despite my boredom, I don't completely hate running. In fact, I love taking off in a sprint (or as close to a sprint as I can manage) and galloping along...until my throat seizes and I'm cursing my lead-lined sneakers. When I became bored of running, yet knew that I couldn't give it up, I had to reinvent what I thought I was capable of accomplishing. 
Enter, the obstacle race.
Y'all, I am a girly girl. I don't like the sand at the beach, I don't like dirt under my fingernails. Sweat? I really hope you are kidding. However, I LOVE tearing it up on an obstacle course. No, I'm not the stealthiest, strongest, most cunning, or even the least whiny on the course. But I'll wade through mud (and possibly eat some of it), climb impossibly tall barricades as I quiver over my fear of heights, crawl on my belly under barbed wire, dive into ice water, and even jump over fire for that precious finisher's medal and some bragging rights.
The only thing that scares me and gets my adrenaline pumping more than an OCR is a trip to NYC.
So how can I up the ante on an OCR? By doing one in NYC, of course!
I'll be running the Men's Health URBANATHLON Sprint on October 25th and I want you to join me! Use the code FIT at checkout and save 20% on your entry fee. The Sprint offers four and a half miles and 10 obstacles, and the Classic is ten miles and 15 obstacles through Queens. Climb over buses and under compact cars. Traverse walls and tires, jump barricades, and climb stairs. There's no better place to prove what you are made of than New York City!
After you've proven that the mean streets of NYC can't bring you down, stick around for the Urbanathalon Festival. 

Enjoy music and a post-race snack from the food trucks, grab your complimentary beer in the beer garden, and check out the wares and samples from the generous event sponsors!

Come join me and afterward we'll get a schmeer, or go to the deli, or something else that is pathetically touristy. 

ZOMFG Facebook is listening to me fucking fart in the bathroom! | How to Opt-out of Facebook's creeper setting

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Guys. Everyone is FREAKING THE FUCK OUT over the new Facebook messenger app.


The newest app updates disable messenger within the Facebook app, forcing you to download the Facebook Messenger app. I will grant you that it is a battery killa and that needs to change. But as usual, the internetz has devolved into a puddle of muppet-like arm-waving, and ravings about privacy because this new app requests access to your microphone so that it can hear your surroundings.

Why does the app want to hear your surroundings? Der. Total NSA KGB bullshit, y'all. Big Brother is totally listening.

Or maybe Zuck really needs an awesome holiday cookie recipe and wants to listen in when you call your mom.



First of all, you are using a free social networking platform. Despite your ideals of what should be, when you are using a powerful and FREE platform, you are not entitled to much - especially privacy. (And lets not even get into Facebook's recent experiment in emotional manipulation.)
So let's stop pretending that Facebook owes us any level of privacy or customer service. That's just silly. Every time you Like, Post, or Share, you are being bought and sold by a company that basically prints their own money. They really don't care about your privacy as long as their printer never runs out of ink or paper. 

Sorry.

Second, the microphone function is OPT IN ONLY. 

I repeat:

OPT IN ONLY

That means Facebook will not randomly turn on your microphone. It will ASK for access to your microphone.
If you have previously granted access to the microphone or have updated the app and mistakenly granted access, below are instructions on how to disable the microphone function on an iPhone (as well as giving it access to your contacts).

Step #1: go into your fucking settings and click on the fucking precious privacy button.
Step #2: click on the mother fucking contacts.
 
Step #3: turn off the fucking Facebook messenger access for fuck's sake.
Step #4: then go back the the fucking privacy menu and choose the damn microphone before I beat you with a shoe.
Step #6: turn off the fucking microphone's fucking access to your lame, boring, no-one-gives-a-rock-hard-shit, conversation.


Step #6a: If you are extra paranoid, just don't take the fucking phone into your bedroom or bathroom.

Can we stop it with this nonsense now?

And even if you have granted access and you are curious enough to try it out, you can turn it off whenever you want by tapping the fucking sound bar icon so it turns gray.
Seriously people, familiarize yourself with the technology you are using. People that don't understand basics are the people that cause a frenzy because they don't understand what they are dealing with. Do you really want to be that person? Do you want to be the start of the zombie apocalypse? Because this is how this shit starts.
 
Listen, I don't completely blame you for being technologically declined. Some people just aren't in that frame of mind. If we are being honest though, most choose to go on auto-pilot and let the technology do the work for them. And that kind of speaks to where our society is at right now, doesn't it? That, however, is a post for another day.

I will say that Facebook and any of its apps are really the only app I feel like we need to be wary of. I mean come on, if we are to believe the Hollywood history, Zuck stole the idea and coding for his Facebook empire. Its an empire built on the backs of schmucks like you and me. Zuck is not to be trusted. Moreover, I think we need to be more wary of our own apathy. There is no doubt that Facebook takes liberties and it preys on people's unfamiliarity with the technology they are using. On one hand, its super shady. On the other hand, its a smart business model. Sucks but its just how it works.

Long story short: Suck it up, Buttercup. This is the price we pay to play the game that is Facebook.

And turn off your microphone. Because even Zuck doesn't want to hear you having sex.

Wubble Bubble - Parent Aggression Therapy #spon

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Last week I went to a new conference, Blogger Bash, in NYC. I came home with lots of goodies, but the one I was most excited about was the Wubble Ball. Izzy has been bugging me for this thing ever since she saw the commercial a few weeks ago. When I was offered a chance to take one home for review, I flipped! Honestly, I think I was more excited about this ball than her.

I thought for the ball would pop as we blew it up with the battery operated air pump. It gets so thin and transparent and it inflates to 3 feet. But the ball is made from a unique thermo-stretch material makes it squishy, strong and incredibly lightweight. Kids can kick it, slam it, throw it, bounce it, smoosh it and smash it.
The idea of trying to keep a 3 foot wide ball in my house was kind of a turn-off. So it was really nice to discover that the ball could be deflated and blown up again.

Unfortunately the Wubble has a few downfalls. I had some trouble with the inflation kit.
I couldn't seem to get the cone part into the ball correctly and then insert the second pump part, the air nozzle. I chose to bypass the cone and push the air nozzle into the ball by itself. I had a lot more success that way than per the instructions.

The second problem we had was our Wubble popped.
I'm not sure what happened to make it split but we were super bummed when it did. Thankfully the Wubble Bubble Ball has a Lifetime Replacement Guarantee! All we have to do is cut off the embossed logo and send it back in the envelope the company provides in the package. Hopefully our next Wubble will last a little longer. 

Even though our Wubble had a short life, I would totally buy another one. For the in-store price of $19.99, we got that back and then some in fun! 

Disclosure: I received a Wubble Bubble Ball and compensation to take part in this review. All opinions are my own.

#OperationBabyWeight: Beginning another journey on Medifast #spon

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I'm starting Medifast again! I'll be switching it up a little this time and doing some videos. I hope you will join me on the next leg of my journey!



*FTC Disclosure: Medifast provides their products for my personal use for free. I am not paid or compensated in any other way for mentioning their products. All thoughts written here are mine. I love complaining so I would tell you if I didn't like something in the program. :)

Medifast products and the Medifast Program are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness. Any medical improvements noted while on the program are related to weight loss in general, and not to Medifast products or programs.

I had a baby. It was a pretty big deal.

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These are some of the last maternity photos that will ever be taken of me. This is a bittersweet notion for me. I don’t think I can manage more than two children. However, the idea of never being pregnant again - the pure sweetness of holding a newly born infant, or the feeling of peace you feel when they take their first breath and cry - it makes me wistful and daydreamy about having more babies. 

And then I remember that I’ve been up since 330am because my little boy thought that was a good time to start the day.

The day our son was born was somewhat fateful in that my husband decided to play hooky from work that morning. I woke up around 530am after a night of fitful sleep and crampy feelings in my back. When I stood up to get out of bed, there was a noticeable trickle. Wide-eyed, cautious, and in a state of disbelief, I went into the bathroom to assess the situation. 

Okay, wait. Do I really need to give the TMI warning here? Because if you know anything about me by now, I love telling a gross story.

So I went into the bathroom to check things out. And I figured I had just had an accident - as very pregnant ladies are prone to doing. Okay, okay, as I was prone to doing.

Several times a day.

Whatever.

Anyway, I had lost my mucus plug about two weeks prior. (Go ahead and google that. I DARE YOU.) It was disgusting.


And then it grew back.

I know it grew back because it fell out AGAIN two weeks later. And it was just as disgusting as the first time. But still, no baby. So jump forward to the morning of April 25th, I’m in the bathroom, check out the situation below, and not only is there clear fluid but a little blood. I was convinced that my water had broken and frantically ran around the house packing up the hospital bag that I was supposed to have packed the first time I lost my mucus plug.

And even though I was convinced that my water had broken and it was just a slow leak, I was not convinced that I was in labor. Or about to have a baby. Ever.

So I went to work.

Now calm yourself. I wasn’t having any contractions, my cramping from overnight had subsided, and I wasn’t leaking from my lady parts like a broken dam. I knew I’d be okay until 830, when it just so happened I had a pre-scheduled check-up.



When I got there I let my doctor know that I thought my water broke. She didn’t believe me. I could tell. And in my head I was all ‘Look I like you but I’m pretty sure I’m having a baby today. So you are stupid.’

Of course I didn’t say that. I was too busy writhing in pain while she jammed her arm up to her elbow into my vagina and cervix and tickled the bottom of my lungs. We discovered that the amniotic sac was intact and fluid tests confirmed this fact. Turns out I just had a very ‘ripe’ (ew) and goopy (ugh) cervix.

She assured me that I was not having a baby today. Despite being 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant, she seemed convinced that we’d end up with an induction at 41 weeks. I was only three centimeters dilated and 70% effaced. After she removed her hand from the deepest depths of my torso, she sent me on my way with instructions to call if anything changed. She also told me to go home and have lots of sex with my husband.

That did not happen. Thirty nine weeks and six days, people. The only romance I was interested in was one with the ice cream in my freezer.

So I went back to work and for about two hours things were fine. I had decided the doctor was right, nothing was going to happen and I started planning my weekend. Then I had to poop.

Well...I thought I had to poop.

Okay, here’s the thing - I was a little backed up. Between the naturally occurring constipation that happens in the end stages of pregnancy (thanks a lot progesterone), coupled with the fact that I was convinced I would poop too hard and end up birthing on the toilet where I work. I had not pooped in days. You see, one of my coworkers is a very enthusiastic Boy Scout troop leader and I was more than a little fearful that he’d be delivering my baby and using his teeth or some other McGuyver bullshit move with paperclips to cut and tie off the umbilical cord.

So you can understand my apprehension about pooping at work. I was feeling kinda….crappy...so when the feeling happened upon me again, work bathroom or not, I knew I had to try. Otherwise I might shit all over everyone in the delivery room.

Nothing.

I sat there forever, in pain, feeling like I really had to go and nothing was happening. I went back to my desk and the feeling went away.

And then it came back.

Try to poop.
Nada.

Now I know you are yelling at your screen right now about what an idiot I am. You are right. Because I went through this exact cycle for about couple of hours. Then I started consulting with friends, hoping they would tell me that I just needed to eat more fiber. Deny, deny, deny!

Here’s another thing you have to remember: I don’t know what a natural labor feels like. I also forgot what a lot of the pains felt like because it had been so long between babies. I was induced with Izzy and everything happened all at once. There was no easing into it, there was no guessing. It was straight up baby is coming out now! As a result, I doubted my ability to asses my pain level and whether or not I was having real contractions.

Around 1150am I told my friend Steph that I thought I might be having contractions.

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I am a delicate flower.

Of course I started googling because I needed to know if I really just needed to poop or if I was going to have a baby. Up to this point I had largely avoided reading anything about labor. I couldn’t do it. I have a pretty good idea of how that whole system works down there. I didn’t want to muddy things up and create more anxiety by reading about horror stories or fourth degree tears.

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As I had anticipated, googling did nothing to calm my nerves.

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How have I not been invited to have an audience with the Queen of England yet?

Friends encouraged me to download an app and start timing the pains. At this point the contractions were about 14 minutes apart and lasting about a minute. I was starting to get really scared. Mostly that I would deliver my baby at work.
This was the most convincing argument that I needed to leave:


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I continued to whine and moan to a few of friends for the next couple of hours, attempting to make it to the end of the work day (I get out at 3pm). I know you think I am insane - but I didn’t want to start the maternity leave clock any sooner than I had to. I wanted to spend every day of my six weeks at home with a real live baby - not waiting for a baby. My friends all repeatedly reminded me that I did not want to have this baby at work. I resisted the urge to whine and moan about it on Facebook, as I am prone to do about most things in my life. I knew the only thing that would make this worse was 300 people messaging me to check in. Not that it wouldn’t be appreciated - but I was worried I really did just have to poop and I wasn’t actually in labor.

“Hey kelly, how are you coming along? you feel okay?”
“oh yeah, i’m fine now. I dropped the kids off at the pool. so yeah...i’m cool now.”



awkward.

I spent the next couple of hours timing contractions (that I still did not believe were contractions) and hiding behind my computer screen hoping that my coworker did not notice the look of sheer panic on my face.


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The clock finally hit 3pm and for being 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant, and in active labor, I moved surprisingly quickly to the parking lot and into my car. Not at all to my surprise, as soon as I got in the car to head home, everything stopped happening. I was pretty happy about this because I didn’t want to have a contraction and drive off the road, or birth my baby in the back of my car. Because if I’m being honest, my car is pretty filthy. I was also happy (read: delusional) that I was going to get to carry on with my weekend plans. I had planned to attend the annual Mom Mixer that is hosted by the awesome Whitney and Colleen. I love this event because it’s such a great opportunity to get together with local bloggers. But it was not meant to be.

Twenty minutes later when I walked in the door to my house, I made a beeline for the bathroom. Because, you know, poop. And I totally pooped. I POOPED! and it was glorious. Then it was followed up by a mind-bending contraction. Hunched over, I waddled to my bedroom, hoping to take a nap before things really started happening. That was not meant to be either.

As I lay in bed, in as close to the fetal position I could get, Christian and Izzy came in to take turns rubbing my back and trying to comfort me. Around 4pm I told Christian that he needed to call my parents to come get Izzy and the dog.


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There was no denying any of this anymore; I was having a baby today. Poor Izzy, she must have been so scared. She is such a sweetheart and kept hugging me and reassuring me that I was going to be okay.

Thankfully my father was nearby and arrived a little after 4pm to retrieve Izzy and Tuna and lock up the house. At this point my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart. I may have waited just a tad too long to make the call. The hospital is fifteen minutes from my house. However, despite my protesting and chiding, my husband’s panicked driving made it more like a 5 minute trip...even if in ‘contraction time’ it felt like an hour.

We spent roughly three hours in triage between intake procedures and waiting for room in labor and delivery. It was the longest three hours of my life. The contractions were steadily getting closer together and infinitely more painful. We also discovered that the baby had not dropped (just like Izzy) which compounded my pain. I was more than ready to get my epidural but couldn’t have it until I was in a room. The worst part of the intake is when they separated me from Christian and wheeled me into a private office. I had no clue what was happening and was about 30 seconds from losing my shit. The intake admin started asking me where I live. Is it a house, apartment, trailer, fox den in a field? (Seriously the questions about my dwelling went on forever.) Does the baby have a place to sleep? The first of many reminders that co-sleeping is supposedly only for people that want their babies to die. Are we married? How often do we argue? Did I feel safe?

HOLY SHIT. Look, I get it. They separate you so that you will give honest answers in case you are being abused. But when I am having to breathe and answer these questions through contractions, I began to worry for the admin’s safety. If a person is in active labor, could we perhaps do this after the tiny human is removed from the body?

The rest of the evening is kind of blurry. I remember that my L&D nurse, Ruth, was an incredibly sweet and patient woman. Especially since I was asking about the epi every few minutes since we met. I remember finally getting an epi from a not-that-friendly anesthesiologist. It didn’t help that I had a contraction as he was putting the needle in my back. I did my best not to squirm but I am sure that I did. At some point my water bag was manually broken and we were told that there was quite a bit of meconium in the fluids. This is always cause for concern but I wasn’t terribly worried because the same thing happened to Izzy. I foolishly thought we’d have a repeat of the good fortune that it would be no big deal. Unfortunately we were later told it was quite a large amount and I would not get to hold him right away.

Around 830 I was feeling the epi I had been checked by the doctor just a few minutes earlier and she said she expected a baby before 10pm. So I texted my friends Stephanie, Melinda, and Robin to let them know the baby would be here soon and they were welcome to visit. Melinda had previously asked if she could be present for the birth. She had always wanted to see a birth but always missed her opportunities. I texted her saying I knew it was late and I understood if she didn’t want to come out to the hospital. The next text I received from her said ‘I’m in the car.’

And she showed up in these:


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I love my friends. The epi was working but I was still feeling the pressure from the baby moving down. I was in so much pain and she had me laughing so much. Robin couldn’t make it because I didn’t alert anyone that I was in labor earlier and she started her Friday early and got into the Blue Moon. I was jealous. My bestie Steph was on her way - unfortunately she wouldn’t make it in time.

Our son was born at 947pm after only 7 minutes of pushing…and a few F bombs. I'm not even ashamed. That shit hurt. Freaking big-headed baby.



I distinctly remember yelling ‘I can’t! He’s fucking tearing me in half!’ and Melinda yelling at me that I didn’t have a choice, I had to keep pushing. Then everyone took her cue and started yelling at me.

I am also pretty sure I pooped while pushing. Even though no one will tell me the truth.

They whisked him away to the warmer to clean him up and check all of his vitals. Then the nurse laid him on my chest so that Christian could cut the remainder of the cord. It was just then that Steph came in the room and demanded to know why I couldn’t have just held him in a little longer.

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I tried, Steph. I tried.

Finally after all the chaos died down, I was able to snuggle with the baby I’d waited for so long. The one we weren’t sure we’d have.

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It was one of the most precious moments of my life.


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This birth was so different than Izzy’s. With her, I was terrified. I was a new mom, with all of the new mom fears. I was so disconnected from the whole process that she and I did not bond right away. With our daughter, the atmosphere was stressed and heavy with fear. As a result, that deep, awe-inspiring love you have for a new baby grew over the weeks that followed. I always felt a little guilty about that.

This time, being surrounded by some of my closest friends, laughing and reminiscing as we waited, hearing their voices push me through the pain, and then watching my husband weep with pride and relief, the peace it brought me allowed me to connect with my son right away.


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We are complete.


But it would not last.

Initially we thought we had an especially vocal baby. He cooed a lot and made this cute grunting noises, especially when nursing. As the night wore on, the grunting became so excessive that I became concerned. This little bugger would stop grunting every time a nurse or doctor came into the room, so I had to catch it on video. The on-call pediatrician immediately started transfer to the NICU. I tried to stay cool but inside I was quietly freaking out. The pediatrician believed he may have gotten meconium in his lungs.

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The next few days were spent watching and waiting. He was treated with antibiotics, x-rayed, and on and off forced air. I tried to remain positive, knowing that he was the healthiest baby in the NICU. While we were frustrated with lack of definitive answers as to whether there was a problem or not, I stayed focused that he would only be in the hospital for a short time. I reasoned with myself that this was for the best. He would get the preventative care he (may or may not) need, I’d get a full night’s sleep at home, and it would make the transition for Izzy easier. She could get used to the idea of a new baby before we actually brought him home.
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As much as I tried to stay strong, the leaving was so hard. I gave birth on Friday and was discharged on Sunday morning. Our son would spend four full days in the NICU before coming home late Tuesday. A knick on the surface of lifetime we would have with him but difficult all the same.
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The days would drag as I mentally willed the clock and doctors to move faster, give us some news. The time was a true test of our patience because all we could do was let everyone do their jobs. This was beyond our control. I don’t know how other parents do it.

Finally, on April 29th, we got the news that seemed to take ages to receive. We were able to bring our baby home.

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Archer C. Brown
April 25, 2014
9 pounds, 7 ounces

Completely amazing.
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Benefit vs. Risk | Pregnancy, Depression, Suicide and Antidepressants. Fun stuff.

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I’ve been gone for a while. I needed a break from...well, pretty much everything. I feel like I can’t jump back into this blog until I talk about where I've been. So this is the story of where I've been since I last posted five months ago. Actually, I've been writing this story for almost as long. So please forgive me if it seems a little off, or weird, or the time frames don’t make sense. This is basically five months of brain dump that I attempted to package into something that might border on coherent. And it’s not pretty...but the last two years haven’t been all that pretty either.

I've known for almost two years that I've needed help. I thought that I could manage on my own, that it would pass, that I was ungrateful, that I just needed to try harder to be happy. But some things you cannot accomplish on your own. Like a home in need of much repair, the longer I let this go, the more tools I needed to repair the problems. I wanted to write a flowery story about this seemingly infinite sadness that ends with me telling you that I am all better now. That there is, at the very least, a pinhole of light to strive for in this darkness. I enjoy telling stories that make people happy, give them hope, or at minimum, make them smile a little. That isn't the way this story goes...not right now anyway.

Instead I’m going to tell you about how I've stopped being myself. How everything I present to people is actually a result of me standing outside of my own body and puppeteering my way through the motions of life. The past two years have been a slow but steady decline of depression and anxiety. A variety of issues brought on mostly by bad circumstances but made worse by chemical imbalance. Fatigue, sadness, loneliness, unrealistic and heightened expectations of myself and others, insomnia, agitation, increased impatience (but let’s be honest, I’m not that patient to begin with), hopelessness, panic attacks over simple, everyday tasks, complete inability to fulfill commitments to myself and others, falling in and out of numbness. I have become an expert at avoiding, shutting down, and finding negativity in even happiest moments.
It comes and goes. Some days are dark and hazy; others were not brighter but the haze less opaque. No day ever has full light and just as I’d start to feel hopeful and awake, the darkness would come again. I feel very much like a spectator in life. I’m watching everyone around me grow and flourish. I feel like a small tree in their big forest and they were squelching all of the light that I was so desperately reaching for. 

Was. 
Because I am no longer trying to reach but simply maintain. Every day I become more shriveled and weak. 
I am insignificant.
I am needy.
I am a parasite.
I am a burden.
I am tired. 
Tired of pretending to be happy – or at the very least, pretending to be okay. I am tired of crying every day, at times literally all day. I am tired of pushing back the tears and the lump in my throat so I don’t make you uncomfortable. I am tired of pretending to enjoy the company of others. Truthfully, I don’t enjoy much – I’m just really good at faking it. I continue to forcibly participate in life but I am simply here…at least my physical self is here. I am not making memories with my husband and child and friends. I am disconnected. I am angry with myself for creating these anchors in my life that kept me from leaving, that make me continue to care enough to make an effort. More than anything, I am angry with myself for creating this burden for them.

I have stopped smiling. 
I have stopped laughing. 
I have stopped speaking unless I needed to speak. 
I could almost stop breathing if it were not for the natural will of my body to force me to gasp for air. 
I have to remind myself to react to others; feign interest and emotion for their sake. Don’t complain. Don’t be a downer. Don’t be a burden. 
It takes 26 muscles to smile and 62 to frown. Unless you are depressed. Then the frowning simply happens and the smiling requires the whole effort of your spirit, mind, and body. It is exhausting.

For the few that I’ve allowed to see a tiny piece of my pain, I am further exhausted by their platitudes of everything will be okay, you just have to look on the bright side, and sometimes even their simple act of listening. And I hate how ungrateful that sounds. It’s not that the efforts and kind words are not appreciated, they are. But I’ve wanted, needed, just one person to attempt to rescue me. Come take me away somewhere and let me scream and cry and throw things and hurt with me until it didn’t hurt anymore.

But how do you ask for that? I won’t ask for it. It’s not who I am. And don’t tell me its always been available to me as if I’d be asking to simply borrow a cup of sugar.
It was at my first prenatal appointment that I truly realized that I had let this go too far. I was not having a good day. I wasn't even excited about hearing the baby’s heartbeat – though I’d become pretty good at faking the excitement.
I was filling out a battery of the usual paperwork when I got to a form about emotional health. It was a quiz that ran on a scale of 1-10. These are a handful of questions from the worksheet:

Can you find humor in a situation?
How often do you feel down, depressed or hopeless?
How often do you have trouble sleeping?
How often do you feel badly about yourself or that you are a disappointment to others?

10.
10.
10.
10.

Then the question came that I’d been refusing to ask myself for months.

How often do you think about harming yourself or ending your life?

There was no number designation that was appropriate for this question. Ten was not a big enough number. I wrote ‘yes’ and broke down in the waiting room.

The truth is that I had spent at least the last six months, if not longer, fantasizing about ways to die. I thought about it everywhere. At work, at the movies, while talking and laughing with you, in the car, in my bed, everywhere and nearly every minute of the day. I could ‘get lost’ on a run, step off the curb at the precise wrong moment, accidentally rear-end or cut off a dump truck at a high rate of speed. In the morning when I showered, I wondered how difficult it would be to dismantle a disposable shaving razor. What kind of accident could I have that would keep my family from experiencing the pain that comes from living with suicide. Or would they simply be relieved that this was finally over? I just wanted to fade away. I simply wanted to be gone. No muss, no fuss. Just erase me. 
My doctor listened and let me cry over everything and nothing and she hugged me and told me we’d fix it. Even now I don’t fully believe that we can. We discussed my options – of which there really were none. Most of my depression stems from a situational problem that I cannot resolve in the foreseeable future. She suggested medication and in my desperation, and despite my objection to medications during pregnancy (including aspirin), with slumped shoulders and a defeated spirit, I agreed.
She explained that the benefit of taking the medication was much higher than the risk of not taking it. In the moment I didn't believe her and immediately felt guilty, as if even the thought of medication meant I was sentencing this child to birth defects. But then I thought about the child I’d already left behind even if I was still physically present. That night I picked up a prescription for a low dose of Zoloft. 
At 28 weeks, I've been on Zoloft for almost five months now. It has not been easy to take that tiny pill every evening. It is a pill filled with regret, guilt and worry over what it might be doing to our baby because I am not smart enough, strong enough, rational enough, or some other shortcoming enough to just be happier. I wish I could tell you that it has lifted the haze. I wish I could tell you that I no longer have those thoughts as I pass a big truck on the highway. 
The truth is that the medication has only made it different. The tears are fewer and farther between but the sadness is still there. The thoughts of hurting myself only come on the really bad days and can often be pushed away. When I’m around others I can almost always find a way to be joyful - even if I have to expend a huge amount of energy pushing back the darkness in order to get through the moment. But it is all still very exhausting and very real. I’m scared that I won’t ever remember how to actually be happy - if it’s even possible. I’m worried that this fog has already erased who I really am. There is a sense of loss and mourning for my lost self that is difficult to explain.

Some people might find all of this very confusing. If you are friends with me in real life or on Facebook, you probably won’t see much out of the ordinary. I still crack jokes, I converse with others, I do everything that seems normal. More often than not, it’s simply a desperate attempt to not lose my grip on what is left of a lifeline. Just goes to show that you never really know what is happening with people. But this behavior also gives me hope that I’m still lurking in there.

Being here is better. I know this in my rational brain and in my heart. And I often ask myself what happens if I get too tired to go on? What happens if I lose my grip? There’s no way to know...but I’m going to take my chances. Because the benefit of trying makes the risks of ‘what if’ worthwhile. I’m going to find me again. 

You watched me shrink...

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Now watch me grow again!

We started our Spring planting early this year!

Who would have thought I'd be excited about getting huge again? Hopefully it will just be my belly that grows and everything else will stay (relatively) the same size. 

P.S. I totally got pregnant just because I ran out of blogging material. ;)