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Panic Attacks. Through the Monsoon

19 Mar

After my son was born and I began having regular panic attacks, I  started a private blog that I called “Through the Monsoon”.  I didn’t want anyone to read it then, and I don’t want anyone to read it now.  I still have that blog and I write very train of thought but it is strictly for my eyes only.

I digress.  Through the Monsoon.

So I heard this song called “Through the Monsoon” by a young German band called Tokio Hotel (kind of a boyband with instruments. I may have had PPMD, but I wasn’t quite immune to the charms of a boyband).

Kind of emo.

And by “kind of”, I mean “completely”.

Perfect for how I was feeling.

I latched on to the lyrics and I played the song over and over, thinking of my kids as the “you” and the “monsoon” as PPMD.

Running through the monsoon, Beyond the world, To the end of time, Where the rain won’t hurt

Fighting the storm, Into the blue, And when I lose myself I think of you, Together we’ll be running somewhere new

Through the monsoon. Just me and you.

Yeah.

Exactly.

So lately I have been having some mad panic attacks. In fact, I am currently in a state of hyperarousal where my anxiety is so profound that I feel every physical sensation very acutely. My entire body is wound so tightly I feel like a an elastic band.

SNAP!

My muscles ache. My jaw is clenched so tight I feel as though I am wearing down the enamels on my teeth. My fists are clenched. I hyperventilate. I feel sick and tired.

I feel sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.

The worst part of it? I have no idea why I feel this way.

And that  is the nature of panic.

One of the things that I hate more than anything is that my panic disorder is not particularly situational, rather it is genetic, biological, chemical.

I don’t panic on elevators or airplanes, in crowds or while driving.

I really don’t have a large amount of internal stress at this point in time.

I know that there are times when I am triggered more than usual or times when external and internal stress is high (ie, in the Post Partum Period, returning to work after mat leave, moving to a new house, the death of my mother in law), but overall, there is no real rhyme or reason to my panic and thus nothing that I can specifically do about my behaviour or change about my environment.

Because I believe so strongly in cognitive behaviour therapy, I do a lot of thought records and worry trees in an effort to understand my thoughts and work at getting better. I track my feelings. Sometimes I can identify things like fear of having a panic attack in public or fear of leaving my kids. I read Mind Over Mood again. And again. And again.

I work so hard at getting better that when I’m not better, I just feel discouraged.

And it sucks.

In the past little while, I have had several people say to me in that voice,

How are you? How are YOU? Are you doing ok?

My response is always to smile very big and say,

I’m amazing. I’m actually doing really well.

I am a much better actress/liar than I give myself credit for.

I also really don’t want to have a conversation about it, and when I do, I talk about it to my people.

In the meantime, I look forward to my first massage since Christmas (I think), and a doctor’s appointment tomorrow after work.

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I am freakin’ exhausted

19 Feb

I use the word vomit about five times in this post. You have been warned!

Last night TJ got sick. 

Dave was going out with friends so Alex, TJ and I decided that we would have a “sleepover”. We set up our living room with blankets and pillows and stuffed toys. We got yummy Kernels popcorn and picked out a few movies (and by “a few movies” I mean Footloose the old one and Footloose the new one). 😉

Just as Ren and Ariel started planning their outside of the town line dance, Tj stood up and announced “mom, I feel sick”, and promptly threw up.

All over the blanket. All over the pillow. All over the floor. All over himself. 

You know that moment when you wonder if you can make it to the bathroom with your kid in a football hold before they throw up again or if you should just use the already dirty blanket to catch the rest of the vomit? I chose the latter. Wisely, I believe, because there surely would have been a trail of vomit from the living  room, through the kitchen, the hall and into the bathroom.

Instead, TJ stood there vomiting while I tried to comfort him and catch the vomit in blankets.  And with my hands. /gross

Once he was done with the throwing up, I stripped him down and brought him up for a bath. I also tossed all of the dirty linens in the wash. Alex laid towels all over the room in case of another “situation”.

Bathed and cleaned, we all went back to our sleepover.

I was up at least every hour. Tj dry heaved several times. I did three loads of laundry. He took several baths.

4AM baths with a sick kid are not that fun. Strange that.

Today?

TJ is feeling better. Still tired and a bit glassy eyed, but much better. 

Me?

I feel like crap and I am tired times infinity.

But now my little snugglebug is permanently glued to me and taking care of me.

 

Valentine Cards

14 Feb

I am addicted to Pinterest. Like I seriously love it. I like the concept of pinning. I like the photos. I like wasting spending time pinning photos.

I am not crafty. Or handy. Oh, in my mind, I am both crafty and handy, but in reality, I call tradespeople when I need something done, and I buy things that other people make.

But I still want to be crafty. (I am fine not being handy, I don’t need to put in a floor or toilet or paint a room to feel satisfaction. And tradesmen are usually hot, right?)

So tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. I saw a fabulous pin on twitter and promptly pinned it. I believe I even tweeted that I was going to do this for Valentine’s day.

Seriously? How cool are those cards? And even my wanna-be crafty self could accomplish these. But today is February 13th and I have run out of time.

Instead, I made a mad dash to Shoppers Drug Mart after picking up the kids from school and we got these:

Yes, that is a Cars Valentine Kit with lollipops. I also got the Princess kit and between the two, TJ was able to get all of the kids in both his JK class and his preschool class. These cards are unique and different not because they are handmade with a handmade bracelet, but because they have their very own cavity makers included. Store bought, sugar filled lollipops.

Alexandra is another story. When you’re 8, Cars and Princesses are soooooooo out of style. She needed a different Valentine. She would have been perfect for the bracelet valentines from pinterest.  Instead, she went through neutral 3D type cards.

Maybe it’s because I work. I don’t know. Next year, I am so going to be crafty. 😉 In the meantime, those lollipops aren’t half bad!

8 is a good age for an existential crisis.

2 Feb

I’m Catholic. My husband is Jewish.

We tend to bumble our way through the various holidays with lots of family and food and jokes and total avoidance of deep religious matters.

When we had our daughter, neither of us was particularly religious. I believe but I just don’t go to church much. (and I think all consenting adults should be allowed to be married to another consenting adult and women should have control over their own bodies) We decided to raise our kids as both and neither, which has really turned into nothing. 

It seemed so “right” at the time, but now, I feel really lost.

I grew up with faith. I was baptised, had my first communion, and was confirmed. I went to church and Catholic school. I questioned a lot of things but it came from that Catholic perspective so when someone died, I could rationalize where they were.

My daughter recently asked me “why am I here?” and I was like “in the room?” and she’s like “no, here, in the world”. 

Um.

So I told her she was here because she was, she IS, wanted. I told her that her dad and I wanted her so badly and we are so lucky and happy to have her.

And then I told her that God brought her here for us.

How can you know that? How do you know if God is even real. There is no proof.

There is proof. YOU are proof to me that there is God, I told her.

That’s not real proof, mom. 

Faith isn’t about holding something in your hand, it is what you feel inside. Can you see love?

No.

But you can feel it, right?

I know you love me because you give me kisses. But that doesn’t explain why we’re here, why I’m here and where it all comes from.

Ok kid, where do you think the world came from?

Space.

And where did space come from?

Clouds.

And where did the clouds come from?

Nothing.

And where did nothing come from?

Ok, I got it – light.

So some people call the light God, and others call it light, and some call it nothing, and some have other names. It doesn’t matter where you’re from and what religion you have, a lot of people and societies believe in similar things with different names. I love you, I want you, go to bed.

What. The. Eff?

I clearly skated my way through that one. I really had no idea how to explain things because the fact remains there is no proof and you can’t make someone without faith be faithful.

And my kid is clearly a genius.

I used to think that I was put on this earth to do great things and the minute I saw her, I knew, I KNEW, that my purpose was to be the mother of the person who would do great things and be great.

Plato said that you can’t conceive the many without the one.

Alexandra, your greatness is why you are here.

After the after school.

25 Jan

Yesterday I wrote about the issues am having with my daughter’s ballet school. To my utmost surprise the (main) teacher and owner apologized.

In the end, some of the classes can be made up and my daughter remains in the class until the end of the year.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad. It just is.

I look forward to whatever next year will bring but I remain apprehensive.  And hopeful. Always hopeful.

Afterschool (not so) fun

24 Jan

I am about 10 seconds away from being a dance mom.  I watch the show and think – I really could be those women. For serious.

We laugh and call them psycho, but no joke, I hover close to that. I think there is an inner dance mom in all of us, no matter how laissez faire we may present as.

My 8 year old daughter takes ballet. She started when she was three years old and has loved it ever since. It is not uncommon to see her dancing around the house putting on shows or asking me to film her. She has consistently attended the same ballet school. At this particular school, ballet is the only discipline offered, save for character and stretching, and the students attend no competitions. They do yearly exams and perform in the Nutcracker at Christmas and an end of the year recital.

While I consider her ballet education first rate (the teachers are former ballerinas), there are a few things that have been slowly getting on my nerves.

1. The class sizes. Every time I look around there is a new girl.  At one point, the size of the class was 27. Twenty-seven. 27. That is not cool.

2. They accept anyone despite saying that they have auditions and place people according to ability. Nothing annoys me more than seeing a girl who wandered in off the street and can’t point her toes in a class with kids who have been taking ballet seriously for years. It isn’t fair to the new kid, it isn’t fair to the girls who have been doing it forever and it isn’t fair to the teacher.

3. There is no individual attention. See points 1 and 2.

4. Nutcracker rehearsals start in mid-October and go until the show. Then there is a three week holiday break. There are almost no classes during that time. That’s right – no ballet classes in a ballet studio. Essentially, I pay for my kid to rehearse.

5. To add to that, my daughter was in a dance separate from her class this year. While her class rehearsed she watched. She did her rehearsing on Sundays, the days designated for rehearsals. I paid for her to sit on a bench.

6. My daughter has been told to get pointe shoes since she was 7 years old. Forgive me for not believing in the” assessment”, when the girls just off the street have also apparently attained the necessary technique and leg strength for  pointe shoes.

The giant class sizes, the lack of instruction, limited to no individual attention, putting super young kids and/or kids with no experience on pointe,  and the lack of appropriate levels has me pissed off.

My daughter loves to dance. I, however, cannot take the constant stress this is causing me or her upset at the large class sizes, no individual attention, new girls all the time and lack of instruction.

Today I went in to see the administrator with another mom, a woman who is a friend of mine and whose daughter has been dancing with mine for years. We came armed with a chart on the classes missed due to (lack of) rehearsal and the fact that we planned to come to an extra two classes a week until the end of February to make it up.. The administrator was NOT happy with us.  Essentially, he suggested that we pay for the rehearsals. What the? Apparently we were supposed to have known that part of our tuition was for rehearsals despite there being no precedent from the previous years. No one raised their voice but we were told that “if we need to part ways due to lack of agreement, our money would be refunded”. What the? I say again.

I am hoping that tomorrow cooler heads will will prevail and we can move forward for the rest of the year. Or move on. I need to decide whether to accept no make ups or to leave with a refund. Ideally, I will get what I want, and that is the make ups.

Where I differ from the dance moms on TV is that I like to think I walk the walk. I have taken my daughter to two  different ballet schools (same style) to try out classes in various levels. In the end she chose the one she liked the best and that is where I will take her next year.

For now. I wait until tomorrow.

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Shower me with advertisements.

22 Jan

I was at my local Walmart Supercentre a few weeks ago and I happened upon this item in the baby section.

Samples.

This “Mother and Baby Pack” is advertised as “great for shower gifts”.

Oh look pacifiers tucked in.  Sneaky.

When looking at these photos, are you struck by the same things I am? This pack is a blatant advertisement of these products, designed to get people to use the products a few times until they become necessary (as in the case of the bottles and the formula).

Seriously, who GIVES people an advertisement for a shower gift?

I have been to many baby showers and not once have I been inspired to BUY a box of sample items. If I go off registry, I usually get a spa gift certificate for mom or something I really loved, like the Ergo. If anything, make a pack of your own, using products you have tested and believe in, neutral items (ie a water bottle for mom) and some cloths or onesies for baby. If you have no idea what to buy, new moms can always use gift cards and cash!

This particular “gift” is all sorts of gross. If you see it, please don’t buy it.

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