Sunday, May 24, 2009

D is for Depression....

As it always happens, I sat down to blog about something else entirely, and this is what came out....

I've been diagnosed with clinical depression no less than 3 times in my life. Two of those times were post-partum depression and the other was a garden variety kind that took over my life at the beginning of 11th grade. I also suspect that there was a moment there, after my last miscarriage that might have warranted a note in my medical file, but since I wouldn't get off the couch I guess we'll never really know.
I'm lucky that I have such a supportive family, since my personality is naturally prone to some intense and lengthy lows at any given point, and though I've not been officially depressed for the last 4 years or so, I'd be lying if I denied the fact that melancholy was always in my line of sight, peering in my windows on dark nights waiting so patiently for me to take a step in the wrong direction. I'm sure my issues are genetic and biological (though I'd like to believe it is a function of misunderstood brilliance) but I've refused to take medication (since I've spent the last 8 years somewhere on the pregnancy and breastfeeding spectrum and back in high school I was worried that anti-depressants would interfere with my future appointment to the Air force Academy). In a conversation I had recently, my friend asked me how I knew that my depression was any different that the normal feelings everyone experiences. I didn't have an answer for her at the time, but I do now,

Depression is not just about feeling sad or upset or the inability to feel happy at the appropriate times. It is more the inability to feel at all. You know you should feel sad, but the process of emoting requires more energy than you can muster, so you're not sad, you're just..... nothing. You understand that you're not experiencing things in the appropriate manner, but again, giving a shit is just beyond your grasp and exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide is about the biggest accomplishment you'll achieve in those days, weeks and months (and even that would be set aside if it were possible.) there are many appropriate adjectives to go along with it, hopeless, despondent, detached, but there is no way to understand unless you've traveled to that place. Even now, as I am not depressed, I have a difficult time pin-pointing the emotions because they are so context dependant. When I've been depressed, I don't care, I don't care that I don't care and I have no desire to care. There is nothing anyone can do for me until I care enough to let them, and sometimes that takes a while. As a mom I do worry that one day the bomb will drop again and I'll become unavailable to my kids in a way no parent should, but luckily I've gotten very good at attending to all the warning signs and fending them off with exercise and projects and through other means (the details of which would bore you to tears).

So there is my answer, the reason I know that depression is not on the normal spectrum of emotions is because normally I do exist within the same spectrum and there is a marked distinction between everyday ins and outs and full on depression. I'm not sure who has it worse, the depressed or their loved ones since it can be so frustrating and infuriating to someone who wants to make it better but has never seen it from the inside out.

I've accepted the fact that I will permanently reside right here on the edge between normalcy and the abyss, and though I can't make it better for anyone else going through the same things, maybe knowing that you're not alone is help in itself.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

When I say "Tball" you say "Hell"

"Tball" "Hell" "Tball" "Hell"
I'm sure what I'm about to write means I am a bad mom, but it wouldn't be the first time.

I hate Tball. I don't just dislike it, I hate it. It is hilarious to watch, 4 and 5 year old running around on the field, fighting over the ball, picking flowers, doing cartwheels, etc., but, it is just another "fun" extra curricular full of politics and despicable grown up behavior.

When my husband volunteered to coach this season, I knew it would be a huge commitment, but I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. There are coaches in our league who have been caught cheating, CHEATING in tball. Oh, don't worry, they won't be allowed to coach next year, their reign of terror on the Tball field will end with this year's playoffs.

I'm not even going to go into the politics of how the teams are picked, especially after my husband made the mistake of pointing it out to the league president. I am still talking about a program for 4 and 5 year olds, just in case you forgot how ridiculous this all is.

I have even stooped to offering to sign my 5 year old up for drum lessons if he'd just agree to not play anymore, no takers.

Don't get me wrong, I like to watch my kid play, but the adults around me totally suck the fun out of it. Thankfully we lost our last play-off game (don't get me started on the ridiculousness of tball playoffs) last night, so our season is over........except that it really isn't. I happen to have some inside information about the fact that we have another 2 weeks of even higher stakes tball coming up. A good mom would be happy about that, right? What's the appropriate response?
"Tball" "Hell", "Tball" "Hell"!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

On being a Liberal

Until the last presidential election, I'd always considered myself to be a political moderate (even though I'd always voted Democrat). The year or so preceding the election, was the first time I'd ever really engaged in any type of serious political discussions with people who both opposed and/or agreed with my views. This really helped me to reflect on my ideology and reasoning, upon which, I discovered that I'm about as liberal as you can get, (A fact that my Republican mother is patiently waiting for me to outgrow).
With all the talk about the (lack of) direction and new emerging (and desperately needed) definitions of Conservatives and Republicans, I thought I should explore what it means to be a liberal.

Here is the American Heritage Dictionary definition of "liberal"

Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.
Favoring proposals for reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others; broad-minded.
Of, relating to, or characteristic of liberalism.
Liberal Of, designating, or characteristic of a political party founded on or associated with principles of social and political liberalism, especially in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.

I think I like my new label, how can you go wrong with not being limited by orthodox views, being free from bigotry, tolerant of the ideas and behavior of others, and being broad minded? Of course, this isn't to say that not being liberal means that you are bigoted and intolerant, but I do need more time to craft a description of conservatism that doesn't sound overly negative.

Living in the South, I do find myself with the need to seek out like-minded people, which isn't isn't necessarily difficult, but I'm not going to win any popularity contests in my small suburban town. Even among the liberals I have found on the Internet, I haven't always been met with tolerance and broad-mindedness. There are still a lot of sweeping generalizations and finger pointing that goes on amongst even the most liberal people, and I'm just not sure why. There are accusations of snobbery and elitism that go along with Liberalism, that I can't always defend or explain. Nevertheless, I'm still proud to be a liberal, and much to my mom's chagrin, I don't think I'll be growing out of it anytime soon!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Matrimony, minutia and monotony..

My life is always in a perpetual state of waiting to get to the next phase and, I must say, it is really getting annoying. If you go back a few posts you'll probably be able to sense the urgency with which I was wanting the semester to be over, but now I'm finding myself with the same feeling for the next semester to start back up.

When I have nothing on my plate I become much to finely attuned to the minutia going on around me, and, well, it is as lame as it sounds. Aside from the fact that my days are now filled with planning and logistics control over every freaking ceremony involved with being a parent. (I mean really how many graduations do you need before you even start kindergarten?) My husband is now artificially inserted into our days due to some "emergency vacation" he HAD to take to attend t-ball play-offs. I do love my husband, don't get me wrong, but I do find that he is much more lovable on a part-time basis. His time at home is usually spent setting the example for "stay-at-home" behavior. These are all the things I still have yet to master even after 8 years of being a "stay-at-home" mom. I'm sorry but laundry sucks, and I'd much rather take my kids out to a sit down lunch at say, Pei Wei, than eat something bland and sandwich-like at my own kitchen table.

Today he thought he was being smart in "cooking" a real meal, proving to me that eating at home is as much fun as not. As I sit here typing the dear man is coming up with some vomitous concoction that is filling my house with an aroma reminiscent of regurgitated excrement. As I look over at the stove from where I sit, I can see empty packages of turkey sausage, bison meat, mushrooms, brown rice and white flour, along with some other things that are just out of my line of sight (Thank God). I know I'll be getting a feigned silent treatment when I refuse to taste it sighting my acute olfactory sense and tendency to gag, but he's stuck with me anyway.

Later I'm sure I'll get a lesson in how to properly water the garden and organize the piles of research papers that litter my desk and seem to multiply in the night. I hate that I sound so ungrateful, I do have a husband that "cooks" and I couldn't be more excited about the "this is not pink eye" pink-eye infection that he gave me (the same one that sent me to the grocery store minute clinic for a 40 dollar, impossibly tiny bottle of antibiotic eye drops), BUT it is time for his vacation to come to an end, or my school to call needing my immediate assistance, surely there is some pressing research opportunity that only I can handle!

The good news, for me, is that these little life lessons are easy to ignore as I'm pretty sure my superior intelligence and winning personality mean that I am above it all anyway (excluding, of course, the pink-eye).

I am having some fun "researching" all things Texan and I look forward to writing some of the posts that are budding in my head about it, but, fear not this will not become an "all Texas all the time" type of blog, because well that would be just as bad as eating lunch at home everyday. I'll strive for, maybe, a once a week "Texas" post (until I get tired of it), separated by posts about other things that help me to display my contagiously positive outlook and charming wit.

Now I think I'll sneak out for something that looks and smells more edible than the steaming pile of goo sitting at my place on the "lunch" table.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Don't Mess With Texas?

After a spirited back and forth with another blogger about Texas (her dislike and my defense of) I've decided to try to examine the phenomenon of Texas pride (as objectively as possible and with some humor).
I mean really, where does it come from? I'm not even afflicted with true Texas pride, but I do find myself on the defensive when someone speaks negatively about us. Being Texan becomes an inextractible part of our identity, even when we don't fit the "Texan" stereotype. Why? This doesn't happen in other states, at least not to the degree it does here.
My plan is to elicit some responses from Texans and non Texans about Texan pride, I may even get brave and try to get some video responses. I think it will be alot of fun and very eye opening, to say the least. I'm sure anything short of painting Texas as the perfect place, is going to put me up for some pretty harsh criticism, but I'm a big girl.

To begin with, check out this video. It is tongue and cheek, but I think a lot of the country feels this way towards this state.

Are you still proud?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ralph the gay giraffe

My son (who is 8) approached me with a question about same-sex marriage, mostly wanting to know what the big deal is. I didn't really see any reason to dance around the issue, I don't have a problem with homosexuality, I am not threatened by same-sex marriage, if my kids were gay I'd be totally fine with that, and I do not think civil law should rely on a biblical definition (but you already knew all that).

After trying to explain both sides of the issue (emphasizing my belief in civil equality) I told my eldest offspring that all I really want is for him to be happy. If he marries a woman, great, if he marries a man that's great too. My goal as a mother is to raise happy, healthy, independent creatures, I don't care if they are gay or straight or somewhere in between. He was a little irritated with me for mentioning any possibility that he could be gay.

#1 "Mom, you know I'm not gay"

Me: "How do I know that?"


Me: "Okay, I didn't say you were"

#1 "Yes you did."

Me: "No, what I was trying to tell you is that I don't care who you marry as long as that person makes you happy."

#1 "well that person is going to be a girl."

Me: "Okay, but I don't care if it is giraffe named Ralph, as long as you are happy."

#1 "MOOOOOOOOM I told you that I'm not gay"

Me: "I still didn't say you were"

#1 "Look mom, I'm not gay, and if I do marry a giraffe, it will be a girl giraffe." he said as he walked out of the room in a cloud of indignation.

I guess he's not gay....but maybe I should keep a closer eye on him when we go to the zoo.