First Grade

SUPER excited for back to school night!

SUPER excited for back to school night!

Sonja and her first grade teacher.

Sonja and her first grade teacher.

First day of first grade!

First day of first grade!

Today is the second day of first grade for Sonja. We had a great time last week going to back-to-school night. We met her teacher, found Sonja’s desk and locker, and most importantly Sonja got to see some of the friends she missed all summer.

By Monday night Sonja was convinced that first grade was going to be horrible. She wasn’t going to have any friends and no way would her first grade teacher be as wonderful as her Kindergarten teacher! Seriously, there were a lot of tears, emotions, and reassurance from me that everything would be fine. The cloud hung over us literally and figuratively as Sonja got ready for school yesterday. She was still convinced she was going to hate it and it was actually raining outside which complicated my plans for getting adorable photos of my first grader.

But of course, just as I predicted (because I am wise mother right?), first grade is the best thing ever. It’s super fun. Her friends are awesome. And her teacher is really nice.

I totally get Sonja’s nervousness before starting a new school year. And I did my best to let her feel all the feelings and cry it out. But at some point I had to just tell her to go to bed because it was clear I wasn’t helping her feel better. I’m so glad she shook off her worries and enjoyed herself. I’m pretty sure I need to do a lot more of that myself!

But this isn’t about me! This is about Sonja and she is loving first grade.

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What a Strange Summer it’s Been

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We all know I’ve struggled with some pretty big anxiety issues after the birth of my babies. Actually I don’t know how “big” my issues are compared to other people with mental illness but they feel big to me. Do I want to harm myself? No. Have I ever thought about the fact that if medication and therapy can’t tame the anxiety, I don’t know if I can live that way? Yes. But lucky for me, I’ve always found the right dose and the anxiety has subsided. That’s where I was in April. I was almost off my anti depressant when I wrote this post for Real Moms. I thought my mental health issues were behind me and I was going to get on with the rest of my life.

Well, I am so silly. And stupid. And naive, maybe. Three weeks after I took my last dose of anti depressant I had a crippling panic attack. And it didn’t go away. It just hung on there in the back of my mind making my hands sweat and keeping me on edge at all times. A week later I was back on the anti depressant. Eight weeks later and I am finally on a dose that’s working for me.

This summer has been spent close to home with a lot of hours alone in my bed. I’ve managed to drag myself into the office most days. But I’ve been so foggy and anxious and nervous… This mental health crisis came on quickly and in the grand scheme of things has resolved itself quickly. Right now I’m in a tentative state where the constant anxiety/panic is mostly gone. But some nights I don’t sleep well and some days I don’t eat much and then my palms start sweating and my brain tells me that the world is going to harm me and I should be on high alert. I hate that feeling more than anything. Seriously, I hate it and I can’t always control it. But I’m working on it. I see the psychiatrist monthly and the therapist every couple of weeks. Those two are amazing. Yes, they tell me things I already know and the same things that my friends/family tell me but it helps to see them.

You know, I’ve always equated my anxiety issues with motherhood and post-partum depression. But this is obviously not PPD, my youngest child is almost two. This is just me. For some reason that’s hard for me to embrace. But I have no problem embracing my asthma or my allergies or my poor eyesight. It’s not like I’d ever try to make it through a day without my glasses. So why do I care if I need to be on this medication to keep my brain working right? It really doesn’t matter. That’s one of my things I’m working on.

I’ve also realized lately that I’ve had these issues for so long. I can think back to high school and specific moments when I was probably having some social anxiety and I just thought I had a stomach flu or I was sick. I don’t think I needed to be medicated then. Everyone has anxiety when they are teenagers. And post college I went through a phase where I felt nauseous and dizzy all the time. After several doctor appointments and blood work it was determined my calcium levels were high and I should eat more protein. In hindsight, I realize I was having anxiety. Maybe not full blown panic attacks, but definitely some pretty good anxiety that would keep me from doing things.

I haven’t blogged on here or on Real Moms in forever. And this is highly personal. But I don’t really care who knows what’s up with me. This is me. And I am fine. Or I am going to be soon. Part of me wanted to write all this down while I’m still close to it. Maybe to help future Mel in case I have to fight to get my brain healthy again someday. I have to thank my family, my friends, and my co-workers for bearing with me once again as I battle through this. I love all of them so much. And I am so lucky to be surrounded by such open minded people. What do people without a support system do? Or people who are too scared to say they have a sick brain? How do they do this? I have no idea. If you ever need an ear to listen, get a hold of me people. I owe the universe many hugs. As they say at Walgreen’s, “Be Well.”