4

The Kid I Cannot Have

I recently decided that I do not want to have kids. I resent that I had to make that choice.

You may be wondering, “If she resents it, why did she make that choice?”

My 35th birthday is in a couple of weeks. The statistics about pregnancy after that age are readily available and definitely not positive.

But that’s not why I don’t want to do it.

Mr. Lyndsy has pretty great genes. He’s 35 and in good health. He broke a vertebra in his back and an old ankle injury gets him sometimes, but he spends his days in activities with kids who are twelve years old and does pretty well. He still plays sports. His father is in his 60s and still VERY active. He’s smart. He’s funny.

I’m smart. I’m funny. But that’s where the good stuff ends.

I was born with a bad back, or so said the neurosurgeon who fused my spine. Even now I still have back issues, just located in a different place. I have chronic pain in my foot from the nerve damage and tendon transfer.

I have Hashimoto’s which causes my body to ebb and flow through periods of almost manic energy and then into a state of fatigue. I’m lucky to have an endocrinologist now who was willing to treat it with medication, but it took going through three doctors before him.

Even with the Hashimoto’s treated, I have to contend with fibromyalgia. Random flares of body pain and bouts of fatigue so oppressive I don’t want to get out of bed. When you do finally get out of bed to do something, brain fog kicks in and you can’t remember why you up in the first place.

Of course, that’s not the only reason I don’t want to get out of bed some days. Depression and anxiety also like to jump into the fray, further knocking me down. The commercials that say depression has a physical component aren’t kidding. The body aches and fatigue are on top of feeling like your soul has done a round with Mike Tyson.

Diabetes can be a result of lifestyle choices. But sometimes, when your body is under attack from a bunch of other shit, diabetes gets you anyway.

For shits and giggles my kidneys leak protein. They aren’t supposed to. We do not yet know why it happens.

Perhaps my favorite is that I seem to be allergic to the sun. Prolonged sun exposure (as little as 30 minutes) results in a butterfly rash across my face and bumps down my arms and into my hands.

I have walked on the edge of the ultimate blackness. Been in that place where dying seemed like a much better idea than living. I managed to walk away from the desire, but my kid may not be so lucky. And it hurts because I know that all of my love wouldn’t be able to save him or her from that edge.

I don’t want that for my kid.

I had 15 doctor appointments in one month. I had blood draws for probably 40 lab tests. I spent a lot of time going to and from the hospital for those appointments. I have spent 9 nights in the hospital. The place where you’re supposed to get healthy, but health is impossible when you can’t sleep because someone is coming in every hour or so to make sure you’re okay.

I don’t want that for my kid.

There’s a long ass list of foods I don’t eat anymore because they upset my stomach. I can’t eat some of my favorite treats, unless I’m willing to risk an explosion of diarrhea at the worst possible time.

I don’t want that for my kid.

Standing, walking, and sitting cause pain. Running is out of the question. Sports don’t happen. Theme parks require sunscreen and a hat, and even then my face feels like it’s on fire and my arms look like something out of a sci-fi movie.

I don’t want that for my kid.

So I won’t have one.

I feel like I’m making the choice any good parent would make.

That doesn’t mean I like it.

I resent the hell out of it.

But it’s the choice I have to make. For my kid.

 

2

Snow isn’t real

A Conversation

Person 1: Man, I hope the President and governors do something for the people in the Northeast who are getting pounded by those snowstorms.

Person 2: I don’t want my tax money going to help any of them.

Person 1: What? Why?

Person 2: Snow isn’t real.

Person 1: Um, excuse me?

Person 2: It’s all a government conspiracy to take my tax money and use it on those stupid Northeasterners. Like they don’t already get all the money.

Person 1: What do you mean it’s a conspiracy?

Person 2: Are you thick? Snow. Isn’t. Real.

Person 1: Yes, it is.

Person 2: I’ve never seen it.

Person 1: You’ve never seen snow?

Person 2: Nope. Born and raised in South Florida. Snow doesn’t exist.

Person 1: You’ve seen it on the TV and in movies.

Person 2: Like I said, government conspiracy. And, excellent sci-fi stuff.

Person 1: (points to himself) I have seen snow.

Person 2: No, you just think you have. It was an elaborate ruse.

Person 1: No. I lived in the Midwest. I’ve played in it. Made snowmen.

Person 2: Nope. I don’t believe it.

Person 1: (grabs a passerby) Is snow real?

Passerby: (looks around for a hidden camera) Are you serious?

Person 1: Yes.

Passerby: Yes, of course snow is real. (runs away)

Person 1: See, I told you. Snow is real.

Person 2: None of my friends have ever seen it.

Person 1: But other people have.

Person 2: But I haven’t. And my friends haven’t either. So it’s not real.

Person 1: (shakes head and walks away)

Sounds ridiculous, right? What’s really ridiculous though, is that this is basically the discussion I’ve had with people after Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand during the national anthem to protest the conditions of black Americans. All you have to do is substitute in “injustice against blacks” where I mention “snow.”

People (mostly white) keep insisting that blacks aren’t having problems. They’ve never seen it happen, so it isn’t happening. They work with black people, so black people can obviously get jobs. They have black friends who agree with them that the Black Lives Matter movement is overblown.

I have yet to figure out why people cannot admit there is a race problem in the United States. What is the harm in admitting there is a problem?

Is it an ego thing? A need to feel superior?

Or perhaps it’s economics? The (erroneous) belief that there isn’t enough for everyone to have a good share?

Of course, I fail to see how anyone could derive ego satisfaction for achieving more under these circumstances. It’s like being excited about winning a race when you never told your opponent when the race would be. Sure, you won. But who did you really beat?

There IS a race problem in the United States. People can continue to deny it, but that only means that some day, perhaps not a day far in the future, it will all blow up. We will have to face it. And, because we tried to sweep it under the rug for so long, it will be bigger, messier, and much harder to eradicate than if we’d just dealt with it properly in the first place.

 

Zen Habits September Challenge: Unprocrastination

I clicked through a link on Facebook and found a site called Zen Habits. The challenge for September is to stop procrastinating. The goal is to spend 5 minutes every day, doing just one thing. No switching tasks. No stopping to check social media. Just focus on the one thing.

I’m going to try this. I need to go through my things, unclutter, decide what I really need and what I don’t.

I will even be able to use this unprocrastination to focus on writing and other creative projects as well. I don’t know when the last time was that I did just one thing for five minutes. I think it’s going to confuse my brain quite a bit.

It seems like multitasking has become a way of life. I’m torn on whether it’s a good thing or not. I feel more productive, but am I really? I have read articles that argue whether it’s really possible to multitask. And, if we are multitasking, is the quality of what we’re doing suffering?

I’m looking forward to doing this. Are you going to give it a try?

Well, am I just Polly Positive or what?

Alright, I’m kidding about that I’m not Polly Positive. However, I realized something strange about myself as I was trying to fall asleep (unsuccessfully, I might add). My view on living positively has changed a lot over the years. Let me explain how I even went down this rabbit hole of thought.

I follow someone on Facebook who is a product designer. She posted that she’s been terminated from her independent consultant position due to a conversation she had that she thought was private. At first that struck me as horrible since she was really quite successful at what she did. Apparently someone in the group conversation snitched on her.

That got me thinking about where I could end up myself if people linked my worlds together. If someone found my little corner of the internet here or some of my other projects – could I end up in trouble?

So I thought about it. I panicked, wondering whether I should quit everything except the job that brings me the most income. I didn’t like that idea since it is like the death of creativity and I need, and I mean NEED, a creative outlet.

I have long held the belief that you shouldn’t talk about someone behind their back unless you’re willing to say it to their face. For some reason, that never translated beyond the context of people and interpersonal relationships. It never occurred to me that it would have any applicability anywhere else in my life.

That, my friends, was completely incorrect.

When I started this blog back in 2006 (OH MY GOD IT’S BEEN 10 YEARS!) it was a place for me to be angry and to vent about things. I was in a completely different place in my life then – I spent the majority of my day around people who were stressed past any point they’d been stressed before. The pressure on everyone to perform was enormous. After a while that wears you down. You don’t have the energy to filter through the emotions and we just sort of fell on the easiest one to find at the time – anger, frustration, and irritation.

What I didn’t realize at the time is that staying mired in the muck of bad feelings just made it harder to get away from them. We fed on each other’s stress and negativity. It seemed like it validated our existence.

Since then I have learned that positivity, looking for joy in all of life, and finding meaning in what you’re handed (even if it seems like a heaping pile of cow dung) actually bring longer-lasting and healthier results. I can probably only see this way now that I am taking medications to help me stave off severe depression.

I don’t want to post or produce content that only serves to bring us down. I want to be a force for happiness and good. I don’t want to rant about problems without first having tried to come up with a solution, even part of one. There are so many serious issues that we need to talk about. That we need to come together and work on. I don’t have time to waste on negativity, griping, and bringing other people down.

There’s more than enough success out there that we can all enjoy it. Why focus on anything but trying to find a way for all of us to succeed? Anything we can do for one of us enhances life for all of us. THAT is my focus now. THAT is what I want for all of us.

I’ve been wondering why posting here hasn’t been like it used to be. It makes sense though since I am not who I used to be and this blog is just an extension of me. I may not always be a ray of sunshine, and I still love my clouds, but now I focus on the fact that the rain clouds bring water which brings growth.

Bloom

Wow, I have not been here for a while. I haven’t figured out what that says about what’s going on in my life right now. Either I’m busy and haven’t had time (seems not quite right) or I’m avoiding something (also doesn’t seem quite right).

I have been super busy lately. Being in a place where you’re surrounded by people you know and can access things like fun shopping and the gym easily means less time staring at walls. I’ve been hitting the gym 4-5 times per week which has been so good for my body. I feel strength I haven’t had in a long time. I’ve developed muscles in places I didn’t know you could have them. Shoulders have muscles? What?

Probably the best part about it has been the discipline I’ve exercised. I’ve talked before about how I struggled with discipline. I just cannot get myself to develop good habits. I do fine for a while and then the wheels fall off. My gym activities have been helped by the fact that I have a gym buddy. She’s using my guest pass to go to the gym, so I feel like I should show up so she can go. She comes because she knows I’ll be there so she can go. It’s working out well enough now that I think I’ll be able to continue it on my own.

 I need to work on developing better habits in the rest of my life. It’s almost 2:15am as I write this and I’m still awake because I totally failed at taking most of my meds on time today. Got the pill I take when I get up and… that’s it. When I don’t take my meds on time, things are not good. I feel joint pain. I don’t sleep. I have to get better.

I also know that there are other areas of my life (read: flossing, sorry J), that I’m terrible about too. It’s largely things that would make me healthier. The bad stuff is so much easier to do because we can accomplish it by doing nothing.

When I started thinking about what I could do to make myself be a better about healthy habits, I was thinking from the point of a reward system. How could I reward myself for doing the shit I’m supposed to be doing anyway. But now that I’m writing this, I’m irritated at myself.

For the things that are good for me, I should do them because I know that doing them will make me healthier. Health should be its own reward at this point in my life. The other part of the problem is how I would reward myself. Cake and other goodies that I would normally consider aren’t things I should be eating now anyway. Also,  I generally buy what I want when I want it (perhaps this is something I should be working on as well…) so there’s no saving up good behavior credits for a special something.

So, I have to suck it up and face the fact that sometimes in life, I just need to do something because it’s the best thing for me to do. I can’t expect to get a reward every time I do something I *should* be doing for myself. Chris Rock has a skit about it – I won’t mention where it comes from here, but if you’ve heard it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. He’s talking about people want recognition for things they should just be doing like, “I ain’t never been to jail!” Response, ” What you want? A cookie? You ain’t supposed to go to jail…”

I am a very visual person so I am going to track and monitor how well I stay on track with the things I should be doing. The plan is to have a calendar that I hang up where I can easily see it as a reminder. For this month, I’m focusing on three things and will give myself one star/sticker per day for each of the following:

  1. Take all of my meds ON TIME
  2. Brush my teeth twice/day, floss, mouthwash
  3. Meditate for at least 5 minutes

I already screwed up today, but since I just came up with this plan, I’m going to give myself a “N/A” for September 1.

What kinds of things do you feel like you could be better about? What do you think keeps you from doing what you feel you should?

1

Ripple Effects of Depression

I have a big personality. Anyone who has ever met me in person and maybe even some people who have only met me online will tell you that. When I’m joyful and happy, it’s infectious. When I’m down, it’s like a raincloud covers everyone around me. Depression blocked any recognition I may have of this. Now that I’m coming through the other side of the tunnel, I can see how depression affected people around me.

For months now Mr. Lyndsy has seemed down and upset. I know he’s been having a stressful time at work. He essentially has been doing two jobs for the price of one. I assumed it was that and let it go.

However, over the last week or so as I’ve really started to feel better, he’s seemed lighter and happier too. It was only yesterday that I acknowledged there could be a connection between how I was and how he is. Obviously people who live together affect each other, but from my opinion, this seems to have gone beyond that. I know he hates to see me in pain. All he wants is for me to be healthy and happy. So if I’m not, it bothers him.

It was just so much worse than I thought it was. His light is shining brighter. He’s less irritable, more ready to laugh, and generally easier to be around.

It’s not like I could have known in advance that this would have affected him so differently and I don’t blame myself for his moods. For me this is incentive to stick with my meds. His happiness and wellbeing are of paramount concern for me. Now that I know how deeply affected he is by my emotional state, I want to make sure I do everything I can to keep our lives as happy as possible.

Clearly I want it for myself individually. But I chose him. I chose to be a part of his life and accepted that things I do can affect him too. I have a responsibility via my vows to him to make sure I’m the best partner I can be. He deserves that much from me. I know he feels the same way and has that same sense of obligation to me.

I’m keeping a journal about all of this so in case I forget I can go back and remind myself. Constant vigilance is my friend. If you see me and think something is off, please tell me. I appreciate that you’re looking out for me and won’t take any offense.

As always, thank you for your continued support.

4

Should have done it sooner. Get the help you need.

About a month or so ago, I started seeing a shrink. The increasing and widespread pain I was feeling pushed me to an edge I didn’t like. I simply couldn’t deal with anything anymore. I couldn’t see wanting to live if I was always going to be in so much pain and there wasn’t going to be an end.

The shrink told me to stop thinking in such long and broad terms and do what I can to get me feeling better. Find the pain meds I need. Sleep. Journal. And she gave me a prescription for Cymbalta and another antidepressant to help me sleep. That sleep one has been changed to something new and I think it’s better. I’m waking up early and I feel like it’s too early, but that’s probably just been more because of what I’ve been used to. I’ve found I feel more awake during the day if I get up instead of rolling over for a few more hours.  I do need to try to get myself to bed earlier though.

What’s been the biggest thing though is how much better I feel emotionally. I care about things again. I don’t want to just sit at home and read. I’m interacting again. I’m taking better care of myself. I hit a point where I said if I felt this bad I would do whatever it took to make me feel better. Now I’m finally living that. I’ve completely changed my diet. I take a million meds, but I’m committed to them. I’m following through with doctors.

It’s a million miles from how I felt a month ago. I’m enjoying things. I realized the other day that I want to live.

My endocrinologist said that depression is a chemical imbalance and we shouldn’t hesitate to treat it like we would treat hypertension, diabetes, or anything else that might be wrong with us. I didn’t really need to hear him say it since I’d already gotten there, but it’s nice to have a doctor who understands.

If you are depressed, don’t wait as long as I did. I have had serious problems since 2008, but I believed I could handle it all myself. I figured if I knew what was up and found a way to deal with it myself that I would be okay. But it wasn’t okay. I had periods where I was okay, but there was always this darkness that seemed like it was waiting for me.

I’m not under any delusions that everything is okay now. I know that I need the meds to help me. I still do exercises to focus on being in the now and not getting stuck in cycles of anxiety. I have to be vigilant about my health.

But, please, please, please get help if you need it. If you need to talk, reach out. I’ll listen. If you even just think you may need it, seek it out. I know how hard it is to make that step and reach out. But once you do it, things will get better. Maybe not right away but over time. YOU are worth that investment.

Thank you to everyone who’s cared and been there to support me over the years. It’s appreciated more than I could ever express in words on this page or anywhere else.