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Month: March 2012

Hiding from the world but I can’t hide from myself

Hiding from the world but I can’t hide from myself

The past few months have been kind of crazy around here. A lot of changes. For me and for my son. Let’s just say it might have been easier and cheaper to just get a double room in a hospital than it has been to pay co-pay after co-pay and gas and prescriptions etc all to get a big fat “We don’t know.” My son, he whose name shall not be typed, is going through his own situation that I will write about (because we could use some advice in one area) but not until he reads it and gives me the okay to tell his story.

For years I have suffered with migraines. It was one of the factors that led me down the path to my addiction issues. The last few months I have been suffering worse than I ever have. But I’ve had other complications thrown in to confuse things. So I have see a few specialists. With each new doctor comes new tests, new theories and new medications.

You see, having a mom who had MS, a cousin with Lupus, and  a grandmother with Parkinson’s, it can tend to freak a girl out when “autoimmune” is tossed around in casual medical conversations with my doctors. Especially when I already have been diagnosed with an autoimmune issue when I was pregnant. I’ll admit it. It scares me. I’ve never seen myself as strong as the people I know who fight with these autoimmune issues. I don’t know how I would handle it if something showed up.

And of course while we are figuring out what is wrong, the doctors want to manage my symptoms and try to eliminate them.

I hate seeing so many pill bottles on my counter. I hate the rattle of pill bottles in my purse. It makes me feel like I am failing. I’m not even on any narcotics or anything that is considered “addictive.” But? It still looks and sounds like “addict Jenn” and I don’t want to ever be her again.

Don’t get me wrong, I am careful. And my doctors are very aware of  my situation. But being on as many meds as I am for any reason is discouraging. Especially the Prednisone.

Let me just say here, I hate with the passion a thousand suns the steroids and what the effects they have on me.  When the doctor prescribed them a while back she warned me that I was on a very high dose. She even added in, “On this dosage it is not totally uncommon to hallucinate so be sure to let me know immediately if you do.” Wait. What??

I haven’t hallucinated. Though I wish the way my body was so fat and puffy was a hallucination. Even before the medications that are packing on the puff like someone is inflating me or like a giant puffer fish, I had been putting on weight and been fighting it with everything to keep it from taking over. I took a spin class. (It was a fail but I tried.) I work out at home. I walk. I have tried to watch what I eat. But the weight is hanging on to me like I’m about to hibernate for a decade or so. It hurts to hide from the world in shame.

And that was before I started on Prednisone and watched my body puff up in strange ways and plummet my self esteem even lower. I realized how much I am truly hiding from people. Friends. Family. Acquaintances. I don’t want to be the fattest woman in the room. I don’t want to be ashamed to meet my kids’ friends and their parents. I don’t like being ashamed to meet anyone my husband works with because he deserves the woman he married not the ginormous, puffy and medically screwed up woman he is now stuck with. I’ve avoided trips because I don’t want people to see me. Hell, I’ve even avoided video chatting with people I love but don’t get to see very often because of the shame of how I look right now.

I am hoping with the neurologist we have now- together with a specialist she is working with- we will figure out what is so out of whack with my body and I can come off of the medications. I can feel like myself again. So I can look like myself again. Sometimes I forget that I look like I do and when I see a picture or a video, I burst into tears. And that pisses me off because how damn vain am I that I care so much about that when one of  the reasons I look like I do is because of the medication I am on to try to make me feel better. Right now, I am blessed that they have not found something scary causing my headaches, dizziness, fatigue, high blood pressure etc etc. They are managing these things.

So until we know what I am facing (and Lord willing it is something easy to deal with and minor), I will not be discouraged by the counter full of pill bottles.  I will not beat myself up at the rattle of a pill bottle in my purse. And most of all, I will try to remember that the outside is just a shell and people who love me care about the inside. I’m not there yet. And I am still hiding. But I can tell you I am trying. I’ve been through tougher times and come out on top. Here’s to hoping I do it again…

ADHD is not a 4 letter word. Actually, it’s not really a “word” at all but just 4 letters. Like COOL!

ADHD is not a 4 letter word. Actually, it’s not really a “word” at all but just 4 letters. Like COOL!

So my good friend Liz made some smart comment the other day along the lines of bloggers actually blog and maybe, just maybe I could try it out and update my blog more often. You know, to be a “better blawger.”  Bless her heart for caring.  Well that and we all know the marketers want you to have content, content, content.  Gotta please da man. (If you’re new here, that is s-a-r-c-a-s-m.) Therefore, I am going to share with you a story about ADHD/ADD and how maybe, just maybe, we are the normal ones.

My middle son (the one whose name shall not be typed) was officially diagnosed with inattentive ADHD several years ago. While he was going through his intensive diagnostic tests, I was in there with him and suddenly realized most of my answers were very similar to his. I talked to the doctor and surprise of all surprises after more testing I was diagnosed with adult  ADHD.  It makes a lot of sense.  My son and I respond to things similarly and  have about the same attention span. (Shuddup. Just because they call me Dory at home doesn’t mean…ohhhh, lookie.. a blinking cursor.)

One evening my son and I were in the kitchen carrying on about 5 different conversations at the same time while I was cooking dinner. (*snort* I totally wasn’t cooking dinner. Are you new here? My husband was the one cooking.)  Somehow the conversation turned to all things ADHD and the topic of how our minds “work” came up. (What? You don’t discuss how your brain works at dinner time?) Suddenly my husband found himself on the hot seat.

Me:  So what do you think about during a conversation?

Clint: *blank stare* The conversation.

Z: (the son whose name shall not be typed)- No. No. We mean, like when we are talking about a particular topic like say something from the news. What do you think about?

Clint: Our. Conversation.

Me: Yeah, yeah, but what else do you think about?

Clint: The topic? Suddenly unsure why his answer was going to be wrong but knowing it would be.

Me & Z:  That’s IT?!! (We look at each other in both horror and amazement. But really more horror.)

Me:  Wait…wait…wait. Okay, so I start to talk about the horrible situation with our public schools and mention at least one teacher’s name, what do you think about? I mean, really.

Clint:  Well (starting to feel pressured– and maybe a little ganged up on) I think about the public schools and the teacher you mentioned.

Me & Z (in unison):  That is so WEIRD!!  As we dissolve into hysterical laughter.

Clint: How is THAT weird?

We volley questions back and forth at him.

Nothing? Not about buses?

Bus drivers?

Squirrels?

Bike riding poodles?

Dogs in clothes and the wrongness of that?

Where did  you last see your coat anyway?

Clint’s head now looks like he is watching a ping pong match as we volley these questions back and forth.

Me: Wait. Where did you leave your coat?

Clint: See?! Clearly, that is not a normal train of thought right there. It’s not my brain that is different.

My son and I dissolve into fits of laughter.

Clint is to the point of confusion and possibly a tad frustrated that he seems to be the butt of some joke and doesn’t understand it.

We stare at him blankly. I realize I am going to have to explain this in a way that is easier to understand.

So I begin to explain. “It’s like me  and adoption.”

Z (son whose name shall not be typed) nods in agreement. Clint looks like he stepped into some foreign country where he speaks the language but the words are not put together in any way that makes sense to him.

Seeing that I am getting no where in this explanation, I dig in further.

Remember how I told you that when I was growing up, the whole adoption thing made me feel different? That there were times I felt like I wasn’t special but was set apart and labeled as the kid in the family who wasn’t like the other two?

Clint: But you were not adopted!

Me:  Exactly! Now do you see?

Clint: No.

Me: *sigh*  I wasn’t adopted. My brother and sister were. I was different. I was the one who stood out. I wasn’t “chosen” or “special” or any of the words people use when talking to and about kids who were adopted. I was the one my parents got stuck with.

<blank stare>

I go on. “I have always had ADD brain. I thought everyone else thought the way I did but it didn’t take long to realize that was not the case. I was back to being the different one but this time it was kind of just me and I couldn’t imagine not having my brain go 800 different directions at one time. And now that Z (the son whose name shall not be typed) has it and understands it, we are the adopted ones. Now does it make sense?”

Clint looked from me to Z (the son whose name shall not be typed) and back.

“So to get from point A to point B, you visit every other letter of the alphabet first on your journey that could’ve been a straight shot? And that comforts you. And you feel sorry for people who don’t do that.” He goes on while we are nodding vigorously. “And you think my brain is broken because it can stay on one train of thought at a time?”

He watches us intently as we nod.

“And….squirrel!”

We both look and takes the opportunity to make his escape.

I think he finally got it!

 

 

 

 

 

Forgiving me

Forgiving me

I can practically hear the intake of  breath that I may be about to expose some deep dark secret. Forget about it. I’m not that interesting. Really.

What did she do that she needs to forgive herself for?  I hope it’s juicy!

And that is one of the reasons I sat on this one.  I could write an entire blog on forgiving myself if I so choose seeing as I carry a lot on my shoulders whether I need to or not. I could write something regarding my addiction but that is in my book so I am keeping that one back. I could write about letting toxic people into my world when I was warned by so many people not to do so, but I have moved on and realize I have indeed already forgiven myself for that, too.

So what does she have to say? Tell me it isn’t about her bad 80’s perm!

There is something I have been holding on to. Something I have lost sleep over. Something I have shed tears over. Something I have turned to friends about in hopes they have the miracle words that would bring me my own forgiveness. But it still gnaws at me.

I have to forgive myself for stepping out of the blogging ring when I was at the top of my game and the top of the heap.

Seriously?! Lame!

You have to understand, I was blogging long before there was a flood of mommy bloggers. (Hell, I founded the site mommybloggers.com!) I was blogging before PR and marketing even glanced in the direction of bloggers– especially mom bloggers.  I was in on the ground floor of an amazing organization that has become a huge, worldwide site. I worked for them. I wrote for them. I helped launch an ad network with them.  I was courted by more than one organization to be a founding member of their community and networks.  People came to me and asked me to blog for them professionally for good money when that was really rather rare. I had television news crews come to my house to interview me about blogging and what it meant. I was asked to speak at conferences. I was a mom blogger before Dooce (our  media labeled “queen of the mom bloggers”) was even pregnant. I was at the top of my game and had ideas that had never been done before. Ideas that could have taken off and become huge. (I know this because I’ve seen others do it on a model I helped create.) I was approached to submit essays for anthologies. I was published and republished several times in parenting magazines both nationally and internationally. I had a few columns appear in the paper. I was a top mom blogger. I was good. I had it all in the palm of my hand.

And I stepped away from it.

And my heart shatters a bit every time I think about it.

I’ve tried to jump back in other ways. I worked with amazing women who started a new **community and it was great. I loved working with them. I helped with some amazing projects.  But again, I wasn’t ready to be back in the world of corporate loyalties  that were replacing community co-operation at that time and life hit me like a 2×4. And I stepped back. Again. I didn’t want to dig in and play the cut-throat game of corporation bottom lines. Not when I knew how “it used to be.”

Silently stepping back sounded like a thousand hoof beats in my heart. Felt like hot iron searing my soul.

One of the reasons I stepped back this last time was because I was getting my ass handed to me on a silver platter and I wasn’t able to deal with it. It was the year of being broken. I was ashamed to admit I was dealing with depression of a multitude of things and I couldn’t come online and write the fun, the funny or the every day when I was broken.

So I stepped away.

I have a book to finish. And I am so close. I want to shout, “The blog hasn’t been doing great, but HEY, look at the book I have been working on! Look at the skeleton of the second one I’m writing! I AM doing something! Doesn’t that count?”

It doesn’t. Not in the blogging world.

Twitter can overwhelm me. Goodness, with ADD you’d think I could keep up but the truth is, it makes me feel like I am so far out of the loop or out of the conversation because HOW DO YOU LISTEN TO 1500 PEOPLE AT ONE TIME?! (And that’s just people I follow.)

Facebook can be a good outlet, but even there I have to be “careful” and that is not who I am when it comes to writing.

So I stepped back.

And it broke my heart.

Broke it into a million little pieces.

Because I love to blog.

Because I loved being one of the bloggers on the cutting edge.

Because I loved being asked to go on junkets or work with amazing people.

Because I love to blog for the love of the blog.

And I stepped away.

Now? I don’t know if I can ever get back to close to where I was. I don’t know if I can get another chance with the first blogging company I worked with or if I can ever get a second chance with the amazing women who are really doing amazing things with their community. I don’t know how to go from top to gone to a blogger that can get back in the game.

Because? The game has changed. I have changed.

What do I have to forgive myself for?

I have to find a way to forgive myself for stepping back when I was at the top. I have to forgive myself.

Because it hurts so damn bad to think of the “what if”s…” the “should’ve been’s…” and  the “I could have…”

I have to forgive myself because it tears me up inside when I think about it.

I had legitimate reasons. I had real life that had to have me totally present. I didn’t step back because I was flaky but because I had to for my life.

And I really hope that one day…. some day…. I will forgive myself for stepping back.

Because it hurts too much not to forgive myself.