Friday, June 17, 2011

More Explaining About the Crazy

When you are about 28 weeks pregnant you have to drink this gross sugar drink and get your blood drawn exactly an hour later for a gestational diabetes test. I did my drink 2 Mondays ago. Z was already in the waiting room when I arrived.  So he saw the receptionist hand me the bottle filled with a violently orange liquid. I said to him, "This guarantees I'll fail the test."

The next day we hopped on a plane, waited for almost 2 hours on the tarmac, still made our connection, hopped on another plane and arrived in Atlanta to go to my parent's place for a few weeks. When we got on the ground in GA there was a message waiting from my OB's office. I immediately called and learned I'd failed the test. It would be a ridiculous understatement to say I did not handle the news well. At the beginning of the 90 minute drive to my folk's place Z and my mom just let me sob hysterically in the back seat of the car. The next morning I posted a typically over-dramatic status update on FB and my kind girlfriends managed to calm me quite a bit by letting me know they too had failed the first test and passed the second, or they knew someone with gestational diabetes and it was no big deal. Mom hid the tastykakes she bought for me in the freezer, she and I headed to the grocery store and picked out lots of carb and sugar free food (harder than it sounds), and next Wednesday I go in for the three hour test. So no big deal. Right?

My dad and I got to talking about it. I've mentioned before that he is one of the smartest guys I know. He also is a happy person. Like almost all the time. He has struggled to understand my crazy person problems, but naturally it has been hard for him. That said, he's also provided some fantastic insight into my specific bag of crazy. He was concerned when I became a SAHM because I was at my best when I was working at Whole Foods. A schedule imposed by any authority figure seems to be one I can stick to, when my bosses said I needed to be at work, damn it, I showed up. Somehow that translated into showing up to social events and the agoraphobic tendencies receded. It was a very good time for me.

So it was with love and a spirit of helpfulness when he told me that one of my problems was I acted like little issues were literally the end of the world. And he was totally right. I am a Grade A drama queen. Everything is life or death to me. But what I tried to explain to him is I don't currently have a hell of a lot of control over it. The absurdly disproportionate reactions to small events are my anxiety disorder clawing its way to the surface. Some weeks or months or years I have a better handle on the crazy than others, but this is not one of those times. The miscarriage sent me off into a tailspin of crazy that only intensified when I got pregnant again and spent every moment of every day waiting to lose the baby. Things are feeling a bit better now that I'm in the 3rd trimester and summer is finally making its way to Syracuse, but traveling is a major trigger for me, and traveling while heavily pregnant and then getting news that there might be an issue with said pregnancy is enough to send me into super fancy crazy person mode.

I've calmed down a bit about the maybe gestational diabetes. But in the week and a half we have been here I've managed to work myself up over a short trip to Charleston to celebrate my grandmother's 90th (an event I've been looking forward to for a long time, and one that went off beautifully), I've had my first panic attack in several weeks, and I'm currently sure that something is going to go catastrophically wrong with my pregnancy before we get back to Syracuse on Tuesday. One of my picadillos is I need to perform tasks in the exact same order every day to prevent bad things from happening. I've messed up the order of several tasks today and I'm quite sure something terrible is going to happen before the end of the day. And this list is only going to get longer the closer we get to traveling home.

As I typed that paragraph I totally recognized that I'm being completely crazy.  But here's the thing, anxiety is way stronger than intellect. Or at least it is in my case. I am working on this stuff in therapy, someday I hope it gets better, but at this point the very best I can do is recognize what is happening. A couple of years ago I couldn't even do that. As I try to explain it here I'm saying to myself, "You know exactly what is going on! Just pull yourself together and be uncrazy!" I'm sure that a lot of people who don't struggle with this specific problem are thinking the same thing. These are the times I have to give myself pep talks about mental illness being real. I have to tell myself I'm not being lazy or doing it on purpose.

I wasn't able to give myself the pep talks during the worst of my breakdown. Instead I believed with all of my hear that I was a lazy, worthless, unloveable shit. Ahh, the wonders of a borderline personality disorder. Let me tell you something folks, no one is harder on someone suffering from acute mental illness than that person themselves.  I promise. When a sick person is able to admit they aren't doing it to themselves on purpose, even if they don't believe it all the time, they are turning a major corner. There are times when I get frustrated with my lack of progress and regress a bit. But I have Z, I have my shrink, when I'm not pregnant I've got my chill pills, and I have T. They all help pull me out of it. I know the New Guy will be on my side as well.

It's not all storm-clouds and poopie diapers. I am having a fantastic time down here. We've had visits from my parent-in-laws, my sister-in-law's family, my sister and her crew are here now, her sister-in-law and her husband are also visiting and before we go we will get to see her best friend. T has gotten tons of time with his cousins on both sides and it having the time of his life. We are so lucky that my folks wanted their retirement home to serve as a gathering place for extended family and friends and even more lucky that they were able to make that dream a reality.

Please indulge me while I go a little photo nuts...

Our first day in the pool.
First batch of cousins in the bath. 

Gram and her monster red velvet cake. 

Saying goodbye, check out her rockin' mardi gras beads! 

T just wants to hold and love on his baby cousins. Hope this bodes well for when our New Guy arrives. Samuel is 5 weeks old and the best baby I've ever met. Dude does not cry.

The boys playing soccer. Sort of. Yes, my sister gave birth 5 weeks ago. Yes, she looks that awesome in person. I know, I don't understand either.  


T has been so brave about going down the huge slide at the pool at the end of my parent's street.


  1. I completely understand the 'anxiety is stronger than intellect' feeling! It's the same for me. Even when I KNOW there's no danger, it's incredibly tough to 'turn off'. Hang in can do this! I'm already in awe of your strength at being pregnant and not being able to use your "chill pills" - that's what currently keeps me terrified of being pregnant! You're definitely stronger than you give yourself credit for.


  2. Kelly,
    I'm pretty much the opposite of strong, but when you do get pregnant, even if you weren't planning on it or completely on board with the idea like my pregnancy with T, a switch goes off in you. The chill pills will hurt the baby. They just stop being an option and you move on to other coping strategies. Sometimes you are epically unsuccessful. But I think science and instinct takes over. Procreating is the only way to extend your life on this planet and you'll do anything you can to protect that life. I actually don't think of this instinct as selfless, rather it is completely and totally selfish. Most parenting is. Hell, most choices we make, period, are.

    The bottom line is if you choose to get pregnant you somehow will make it work, I'm sure of it. At the same time you better believe I'm back on the chill pill wagon the minute I pop New Guy out. I took one pill in the 3rd trimester with T. I'd like to avoid it with New Guy, but if I can't that needs to be cool as well. I'm still not sure I made the right choice by not taking a pill on the plane. At this point in the pregnancy an anxiety attack might actually be more detrimental to the fetus than a chill pill. Hard choices.