I hate when I think I have said something that seems perfectly sensical but it turns out that the person I am talking to does not understand things in the same way. This is particularly vexing when we are speaking the same language.
Happily this does not occur with terrible frequency. Ooh... another name for my rock band: Terrible Frequency. (Also the previously coined Perpetrators of Yelliness.)
Missed connections yesterday and today and felt kind of bad about it. Sometimes I was certainly at fault and other times it was not so clear. This turns out to also be an issue for middle schoolers. Go figure. And college students. And possibly toddlers, elementary schoolers. preschoolers and the entire schooler population as a wh.
It was lovely today. Which means it is too cold for most people around me. I think it is around 50 Farenheit. Nice. And the things I am allergic to are not around, or are hiding from the wind, or are damped down by the recent rain. I went for a walk (a quick march, actually) to the Science Museum to meet with students. I did not use my pedometer, but all told I walked about an hour up and down hills. And up and down four flights of stairs.
Did a bit of evangelizing today (or at least normalizing the issue of Depression):
At the Science Museum they have a series of exhibits on the brain development of children. One of these is the "still face experiment." In this experiment, one person (caregiver) starts out all friendly and cheery for a while, but then shuts down for a brief period of time (count to fifty slowly) and then resumes being friendly and cheery. The other person (child) is told to be friendly and cheerful the whole time.
I played the role of the still-faced caregiver while one of the students took the part of the child. It was a dramatic illustration of how disturbing it is when the person you are interacting with behaves counter to expectations. The caption above the exhibit stated that occasional slow-to-respond incidents were not damaging, but that untreated Depression in caregivers could have a devastating effect on children.
I mentioned to my student that this exhibit was one of the things that led me to do a better job of managing my own Depression. It was a clear example of how my own mental health was very important in the well-being of my children.
Grateful Crap: having a sense of humor about things that go wrong.
somehow missed the bupropion this morning, but took it this afternoon.
took sertraline 150mg and bupropion 450mg
went for 1 hour walk
outside for 1 hour (I realize this is "double dipping" but I don't care)
slept 7.5 hours last night (nearly enough...)
I have not yet figured out when to post given my new resolution to REALLY work on sleep. If I have not posted by 9:00 I will not pick up my computer. Because that is what pulls me down the rabbit hole.
On Tuesday (yesterday) I was quite tempted to not go to the Y because I didn't have the same schedule for the rest of my day. So I figured it was very important for me to keep to that schedule.
I more than an hour on the treadmill. I need to remember to stretch. (From the department of "duh!") I picked up my prescription from the pharmacy. I slept 7 hours in the night and took a forty-five minute nap. Kind of accidentally. I thought it was going to be a fifteen minute nap but apparently my body had other plans.
I went to bed a bit later than I should have (11:00 and then read until 11:30) but not so late as I might have. Today I will make sure to disable the autoplay function on Hulu and Netflix. Because that is one advantage of these subscription services over television; they don't just go on forever and ever. Unless you make them do so.
I'm gonna keep this short; decided that I was not going to beat myself up over not posting last night, but determined to post in the morning if I miss the previous day.
There were many scattered things that did not go the way I wanted yesterday. But it was okay. The day as a whole did not suck. And today is a different day, anyway. (Oh ick; I am starting to sound like Stuart Smalley.)
Grateful Crap: bouncing back more quickly from things that don't go as I want
took meds in the morning (150mg sertraline, 450mg bupropion)
70 minutes on the treadmill
adequate sleep (7 at night + 45min nap)
I worked with one girl in school who was so substantially different in her ability to learn that I was convinced she had some serious learning disability or undiagnosed mental illness. I tore my hair out and did headstands trying to figure out how to reach her in the pull-out English as a Second Language class . Her performance in class had no resemblance to that of her peers.
She didn't remember things from one day to the next. She was scattered and seemed not to be able to attach things she had learned in the past to things she was currently being exposed to.
After trying every trick in my bag, I sought help from the special education department. I asked if they could do an observation to see if she should be assessed for something... I didn't know what. They observed her in class and agreed that something was going on but it would require further investigation.
Maybe a week later she came to class and it was like I was meeting a completely different person. She was focused. She made intuitive leaps during our reading of a new story. She participated appropriately in class.
What happened? Some heavy duty cognitive and behavioral therapy? A wonder-drug? Had my teaching methods improved so dramatically that she could suddenly function masterfully in my class?
As part of the evaluation for services, there was a home visit where the school discovered that this girl was only getting a few hours of sleep each night. Her father worked the graveyard shift and she refused to go to sleep until he came home. She completely ignored her mother's attempts to get her in bed.
Her dad made a deal with her that he would go in, wake her up and give her a goodnight kiss when he came home if she would go to bed when her mom told her it was time to sleep.
Because of this, i have been adamant that my children get enough sleep-- especially when they were younger.
So, my toddler does get between 12 and fifteen ours of sleep-- falling asleep super-early if she doesn't get a nap.
The older kids are getting between nine and ten hours. I think that should probably be more like ten or eleven hours.
I am getting on average six hours of sleep and I am pretty sure I have a hefty "sleep debt" that I need to actively work to eliminate. I doubt that my spouse is getting any more than that.
I thought exercise and nutrition were going to be the next thing I tackled, now that I have the medication balanced okay. But I think I will get the biggest bang for my buck in the sleep department. And it is an area where I am so rigidly protective of the sleep habits of my family members and I completely ignore my own.
Mantra from the obvious devision of obviousness: The needs of children are best met when the needs of their parents are met.
So the next thing I am going to actively track (daily) is sleep.
Grateful Crap: Apple orchards. I am cooking local apples in the slow cooker with cinnamon and the smell fills the whole house.
took meds in the morning (450mg bupropion; need to pick up sertraline at pharmacy today)
slept from 10:30-7:00 clocking it in at 8.5 hours. I feel ridiculously alert.
I will walk around block (this should be my bare minimum per day to start; gets me outside and gets me moving even if it is a baby step.)
The first time I went swimming in the Ocean it was May. My California cousins didn't even bring their swimsuits to the beach. We, as Minnesotans, did not know that it was too cold to go swimming. There was water. There was sun. We were not wearing parkas. Too cold? Bah.
When I entered salt water for the first time I made the mistake of treating the ocean like a lake. I ran into the water until the water was up to my armpits and then I did a shallow surface dive to complete the process of getting wet. The gradual method is like a death of a thousand cuts. If you are going to swim in "refreshing" water, it is best done as quickly as possible.
I came up coughing, snorting salt water out of my knows and blinking through tear filled eyes. This was not how the water I knew behaved. The California cousins laughed at me, but they decided that if we could brave the water, they could too. We spent the afternoon in the shallow end of the ocean-- with heads above water.
I think it was on this same trip when I went out so I was deep enough to swim. There seemed to be someone frantically waving me closer to shore. It was hard to tell without my glasses on. I began to paddle back in a discovered that I was not able to get noticeably closer to the shore. I was slipping sideways. And getting tired.
I don't remember if I swam out of that tide or if a lifeguard came out to yell at me. I do remember the yelling. And that there was a strong riptide very near where i was swimming. The ocean is not a big lake. I wasn't even in the riptide and the plain old regular tide was almost enough to keep me at sea against my will.
I no longer feel like I am being pulled out to sea or having to fight against the tide. I felt my face floating into a smile today and it felt natural and unforced. Nice.
But sometimes I feel like I have to keep fighting (in the Kicking of Depression's Ass department) just exactly the right amount or risk going backwards. It isn't a frantic struggle. I am not trying to get away from anything. I can relax a bit from my initial battle with Dastardly Depression. But still, even a reasonable pace gets tiring if it must be kept up indefinitely.
It doesn't so much feel like I'm swimming against the ocean, but more like those tiny little swimming pools with a current for you to swim against. It will still wear me down, but I will not go anywhere. I will not get sucked into the belly of the ocean, but I will also not make any forward progress. I will just get tired.
Damn, this is quite a cheery post.
It was a hard night for one of my kids. Battling with BIG EMOTIONS. And one of the other kids had a difficult afternoon with similar but unrelated BIG EMOTIONS. The kind that swallow you whole and chew on you for a bit before they spit you out somewhat worse for the wear. And while the BIG EMOTIONS are grinding you in their gaping maws, they are not neat about it. Anyone near them had better beware. Fallout is messy, painful, noisy and unpleasant. Cleanup may take hours.
I realized this morning at 4 am that while I had diligently put all of my anti-depressants in the pill minder at the end/beginning of the week, I forgot to also put my allergy medication. I discovered this while sneezing uncontrollably. Which likely contributes to the melancholy nature of this post.
Grateful Crap: Ummm.... no wait, I will totally think of something. Wool socks. I love the wool socks. I should knit me some more of those. Yep.
took meds (150mg sertraline, 450mg bupropion)
spent time outside
walked a bit, but it was at a snail's pace
went to quaker meeting
Slow and steady is too... slow for me. And when I engage in marathon sessions of reorganizing and cleaning I run out of steam and leave things half done and everyone is much worse off than they were in the first place.
So now I am engaging in interval training for household maintenance and systems analysis. Periods of intense reorganization followed by slow, steady decluttering. And some rest.
Actually I am not really doing interval training properly. Its really more like the Swedish version which is called-- and I am not making this up-- fartlek training. (At this point my spouse would point out that I taught junior high for too long.) It's less regimented, but still involves variable speeds and intensitiies to build endurance.
...and it has taken me all day to get back to this post because I have spent the entire aftenoon
When I triaged the house today I determined that the children's room was in the most danger of becoming an independent life form and swallowing the family if extraordinary measures were not employed. Pitchforks. Forklifts. Dumpsters. Possibly I am exaggerating. But there were crumpled newspapers gathered by the heat register just waiting for us to turn on the furnace. Menacing.
I did manage to find a number of long-lost library books. And I found all of your missing socks. You know, the ones that disappear under mysterious circumstances? It turns out that the space between the bunkbed and the wall in the children's bedroom is the bermuda triangle of socks.
In the course of this marathon re-invention of living space I was brutal with the well-hidden boxes of things packed away for years-- unseen and unmourned. I will not hang on to cheap plastic things or swag picked up from county fairs. I have realized that I do not fix toys. I do not find all the pieces to incomplete puzzles. I feel a little bit guilty, but the rewards of having usable living space is well worth it.
These broken unwanted things turn out to be just like my now-defunct fossilized box of mending. I once kept clothes that needed repairs for so long that they came back into style. Those can go. So can the lonely socks. And the really horrible photographs (unidentifiable shadowy blurs taken with film cameras in the 1990s).
Grateful Crap: Very appreciative children (for the most part) happy to be reunited with their hardwood floor.
took meds in morning (150mg sertraline, 450mg bupropion)
engaged in aerobic cleaning
note: oldest son remarked that he has noticed a difference in my memory from the past year to now. That I am recalling things now that I was completely fuzzy on earlier in the year. And he has perfect recall for EVERYTHING so I believe him.
Okay, yesterday I had a sort of okay excuse not to post. Thursdays are kind of crazy busy. I drop older kids off at school and then go do yoga, then drop off youngest child so I can go teach.
Then I finish teaching, pick up youngest, pick up olders and return home. After a fifteen minute break I pack up the car and go to a professional development/continuing education meeting.
From there I race to band practice which goes from 7-9pm. When I return home I can be too tired to post, or wired enough from playing horn that I won't be able to calm down enough to go to sleep. I love playing horn. P.S. I have a concert coming up on October 27th.
October 27, 2013 - 3:00pm
Wayazata Community Church
My intention was to be all clever and back-post earlier in the day. Which would have worked if youngest had taken a nap instead of talking to her new stuffed bat. At great length.
So now here it is, 10:08 on Friday night and I have not posted for Thursday or today.
Well, these things happen. (And isn't that pumpkin face terrifying? I took that picture at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum).
Recap of yesterday: things went fine. I started scrambling to learn more about credentials and training and something about things that I can't even talk about yet because I don't even know enough to BS reliably about them. It would just sound like word salad.
Great meeting with a colleague where I brainstormed the heck out of her teaching situation and we both learned a ton and it was AWESOME.
I also realized that so very many things are blazingly obvious that we can't possibly have room in our heads for all of that obviousness. No wonder some escapes us. And then we have ridiculous epiphanies that make other people say, "How shocking."
I don't have time to write now. Must get off computer so I can wind down and go to bed.
Things went well. I feel clear. Not that awfully foggy-head feeling I had early in the summer. I feel like I have nearly developed super-powers, but in fact they are probably just ordinary-powers. When you have been operating sub-par, normal feels amazing.
When I sit quietly now, my brain doesn't just go to sleep or zone out. I actually find myself thinking about things and daydreaming and using my imagination and brainstorming solutions to various problems. Y'know, it is not so much fun to have a brain that just flops over and plays dead when you aren't actively engaged in physical movement.
Grateful Crap: the way my almost-three-year old enunciates everything she says with such earnestness. And punctuates her sentences with extravagent gestures. "Stellaluna likes to read books. But she doesn't care for it when people are being loud
Daily Convexions x 2
took meds in the morning both days
did yoga yesterday; am feeling it today
volunteered with little kids
did a massive restructure of my kids' bedroom-- hmmm... that was probably when I could have taken a break to post.
I am taking an online course called Reading Apprenticeship. It might have some other official title, but that is essentially what it is. Making the invisible process of reading more tangible for struggling readers.
I am very excited about this. It was piloted at some school or other and they liked it so well that they had the entire staff of their community college go through the training.
Why am I telling you about this? Because as part of the Reading Apprenticeshop (the first part actually) you need to do a Personal Reading History in which you think about:
1. What supported you in your development as a reader?
2. What barriers did you experience in your development as a reader?
3. Were there times that you felt like an insider/outsider to reading process?
I did this with my students. And as an opener I had did a brief description of my personal reading history. I was aware that for some of my students (non-traditional, second language, people who never finished high school) their reading history might be painful to recount. So I chose to be brutal and honest with my own. This seemed only fair. Plus it gave me yet another opportunity to evangelize and demystify...
1. support: parents who took me to the library a lot. A Lot. I joked that the barrier was the fact that they limited me to only the number of books I was able to personally carry.
3. insider - most of the time. outsider- when I went to Japan and suddenly became a functionally illiterate adult. It sucked. My spoken language was fine. That graphic language though-- the ideograms of Chinese that crossed the sea to Japan-- stopped me cold. I was prepared to start a movement to kick those foreign characters out of the language. Heck, out of the country. Some sort of nationalistic "Japanese for Japan" movement so that I could read things with just the phoenetic alphabets (is anyone else bothered by the fact that phoenetic is not spelled funetickly?) I was somewhat less flippant with my students. I don't want to scare them away from my class.
2. Barriers: BIG one was clinical Depression in high school. First I was unable to read for pleasure (because it wasn't fun). Then I was unable to read texts for class because they didn't make sense. Then I was unable to read a paragraph because by the time I got to the end of it, I forgot what was at the beginning. So I stopped reading. That was a fairly big barrier. The stopping.
This, for some reason brings to mind the Martin Niemoller poem...
First it came for my beloved books and I did not speak out
because I was not a piece of literature.
Then it came for my academic texts and I did not speak out
because I was not a scholarly work.
Then it came for all my words and I did not speak out
Then it came for me
and there was nothing left to speak for me
Grateful Crap: The growing sense of belief? conviction? that I am a kick-ass person who is well worth knowing. Even though it is really super hard for me to write that without cringing. It is not humble or Minnesotan or appropriately self-deprecating, but there it is. I totally rock. Not all the things that I do, but the essence of me. (Why is it so hard for me to separate those two? Why is it so easy to conflate having an untidy home with being a terrible person?)
took meds in the morning (150mg sertraline 450mg bupropion)
walked up and down those stairs... 3 miles today
evangelized and spread the radical idea that competent, not-unhappy people may struggle invisibly with Depression
I may have mentioned in an earlier post something that one of my wise friends told me about how I can organize my life. When I told her that I wanted a schedule she laughed at me and said that I couldn't have a schedule. It would not work for me. Guaranteed. She could have a schedule, which hardly seemed fair. What I needed, she insisted, was a rhythm.
Okay. I could see her point. Rigid routines don't work well for me because I overdo them and then get tired of them and stop entirely. Which kind of defeats the whole purpose. But a rhythm makes sense. Something more flexible. More intuitive. More me.
Mind you I didn't really get much of a rhythm going after this epiphany before I descended into deeper Depression. And I didn't realize that I was completely out of rhythm until I started to fall in to one again. Almost by chance. In some reverse version of "you don't know what you've got till it's gone" I find myself not realizing what was gone until I got it. (I am fairly certain that the paragraph I am finishing up here is completely unintelligible, but I am going to pardon it and just continue.)
Here are the basic things that I am happy to have already put in regular rotation:
Things I am hoping to bring back or work on next:
I cannot tell you how hard my family laughed when they heard that I was going to teach organizational skills and good study habits to undergrads. But I was pretty good at knowing what I needed to do and turning things in on time even if I did keep a Socratic calendar (Socrates believed that writing things down was bad; that it would make people stupid. He may have something. How many phone numbers do you know off the top of your head?)
Although I did once accidentally miss all of my finals one year because I didn't know what day it was. Neither did my housemate. We were closeted away studying like maniacs for the tests that we were pretty sure would happen the following day. Oops.
We were forgiven and allowed to take our exams firstly because our excuse was so preposterous that it must be true. Also, we were fifth year double-degree students in our final semester. Only first years or fifth years could be pardoned for such a bone headed lapse in noting the passage of time.
Grateful crap: I am not trying to fix everything at once. It is much less stressful.
took meds in morning (150mg sertraline, 450mg bupropion)
did 2 miles on elliptical trainer (but my pedometer registered this as .2 miles! All told I did 3 miles today)
engaged in enthusiastic brainstorming with a colleague (woot! brain gymnastics!)
I did not spend any time outside today. I debated about going for a walk outside this morning instead of going to the Y, but I decided that my routine is important for me to keep right now. I don't want to find excuses not to go in. And twice a week is certainly reasonable.
"Tell us more stories from your pathetic life!" this from one of my orchestra students when I was teaching K-12. And currently my children will ask for the same thing, though not in so many words.
Today things went mostly right, but the ones that didn't made me laugh. Out loud. They are fairly typical of what makes stories from my life "pathetic."
Thing #1: I was co-teaching in a class today in front of thirty or so undergraduate students. Often they are listening to a lecture with everyone facing the front, but as luck would have it they were deeply engrossed in some group work. I was very grateful for this when I stepped out from behind the desk and my skirt fell off.
Yup. Completely. Down around my ankles. And this is not a skirt that is too big. It fits well. I bent down, picked up my skirt and pulled it on before looking around to see if anyone noticed. If they did, they covered their amusement better than I could.
I told my co-teacher in a hushed voice "My skirt just fell off" She laughed until tears and said that she was really glad she hadn't witnessed this event because she would not have been able to contain herself.
I tried to recreate the conditions that caused my wardrobe malfunction when I returned home. No luck. I had to put it around my knees before I was able to get it to fall down. And even then I had to jump up and down vigorously ten times. I had not been jumping in class.
Thing #2: This morning I couldn't access the internet on my computer. Slight problem because I wanted to create some things for use in class and I wanted to do my online course. Oh well. I managed a workaround for my class materials and now I will just need to catch up with my online course.
I gave up on the internet until after dinner. When I was still having the same problems. Some business about not being able to establish a secure connection. But it had worked just fine for my spouse. Then he mentioned that it had worked just fine on his account. And that is when I remembered that I had sabotaged my own computer account.
Due to my chronic lack of sleep and the tendency to get sucked into whatever rabbit hole appears in front of me on the Internet (I did not know that balaustine meant of or pertaining to the pomegranate...) I decided to put parental controls on my account so that it would log me off after 10pm.
No problem. I have done this before quite successfully. And I am typically not a dunce when it comes to technology. Apparently there are exceptions to this, however.
It appears that in limiting the hours that I could use my account I also removed permission to access the internet. Minor problem. Sheesh. So I am now posting as an administrator. Ha.
I did not get outside today. That is something I need to work into my schedule somehow. Outside is a decent place to be. I mean, lots of people go outside every day with very few negative effects. Except skin cancer, I suppose. Or severe asthma attacks. Or becoming disoriented in a blizzard and losing your way home on the way back from the mailbox at the end of your driveway and freezing to death.
I will allow that these things are unlikely and should not dissuade me from my resolution to spend more time outdoors. A friend offered to walk with me in the summer. At the time my schedule did not allow it, but maybe I should take her up on this.
Grateful Crap: funny problems
took meds in morning (150mg sertraline, 450mg bupropion)
drank enough water, but it was kind of all at the end of the day
Today I went to the Landscape Arboretum with my mom for our annual photo shoot. Last year I either forgot to charge the batteries of my camera or forgot to bring my camera. Nice, eh?
This year I remembered my new/old Canon XT DSLR, my point and shoot Elph, both sons' cameras, fresh batteries, snacks for the children, two umbrellas and a partridge in a peartree.
I did not remember to bring raincoats or rainboots, but hey, it is such an improvement over last year. Honestly. Who forgets to bring their camera when the whole purpose of the trip is to take pictures!
It was rainy/misty/overcast today. We got some amazing pictures of my kids and their cousin. Also the rain on the flowers and leaves sparkling in the sun as it started to clear up. I found that I was very irritated by my one auto-focus lens. It made me very happy to have very nice and reasonably priced manual lenses to use.
Autofocus never seems to understand what I want to take a picture of. Some people can use it, and I am sure that I would get used to it "just like most professionals have discovered" as the owner of the camera shop said. But I don't really want to get used to it for what I am doing. The slow process of choosing the right lens, framing the shot, selecting aperture and shutter speed... that is what I like about photography. The artsy kind. Where I get the opportunity to take close-up pictures of the sex organs of plants.
I think it tired me out a little though, because I did take a four hour nap when we came home. Apparently children came and went, we entertained company and my spouse made a couple batches of artisinal bread. I had no idea. I don't know if this is residual fatigue from recent not-quite-controlled Depression, regular fatigue because I am just out of shape, or fatigue due to overexerting myself too soon.
I must avoid doing what I did when I had lyme disease.
I did a great job of keeping my children tick-free and carefully applying DEET prior to any trips through the long grasses or the forest trails of Wisconsin. We had been warned that deer ticks carrying lyme disease had been seen already-- although it was early in the year. I never saw any deer ticks. I did find a wood tick crawling around on me after we returned home. I am not fond of them.
Not even a week after returning home I noticed a bullseye shaped rash on my waist and wondered if it might be lyme disease. When I went to the doctor back in Minnesota he said, "Everyone thinks they have lyme disease. You don't have lyme disease. What makes you think you have lyme disease?"
Well, I was recently camping in an area that had deer ticks, I had noticed a regular tick on me so I thought the odds of a deer tick escaping my notice were pretty high, I had some flue like symptoms... then I lifted my shirt to show him my bullseye.
He was already writing a prescription as he said, "You have lyme disease."
GREAT! I thought. We caught it early, it responded well to medication and I didn't have the flu so I wasn't contagious. I figured I could pick up my medication, take the first dose and then spend all day at the children's museum with the family. Really?
Fast forwards a few hours and I feel much worse than I had before, I have a fever of 104.7 after taking ibuprofin to bring my temperature down. I am cowering in a cold bath while talking on the phone to the nurse care line. She recommends tylenol but it turns out that all we have is infant tylenol. So she tells me how many shots of baby tylenol I should knock back and within a half hour I have a regular human temperature of 101.
Lyme disease, by the way, does not typically cause high temperatures. That was probably due to some other tick-borne illness that I contracted at the same time.
The moral of my story is: I take longer to get better than I think I do. And I should go into things more slowly. Not jump in full force with both feet. How exactly is that done? Is it possible to be obsessively, compulsively moderate in all things?
I still feel Better. It is interesting because I am pretty sure from the outside looking in there is not that much difference in the me-ness of me. But from the inside things feel totally different. I have a stronger foundation again. This does not mean that I should add many many things to my schedule. It doesn't mean that I should start training for a marathon (because lord, do I hate running). It also does not mean that all the disasters in the house that have built up over time can disappear overnight.
I will try to remember to treat myself with the same respect and care that I would use with my children or my friends. I would never demand that they turn everything in their lives around overnight. I would never insist that they couldn't ask for help. I would absolutely not allow them to engage in negative self-talk.
Grateful Crap: local nephew who loves his cousins-- and is really adorable about it.
took meds in morning (150mg sertraline, 450mg bupropion); switched to new pill minder. I like it.
spent time outside (I need to do this daily. I should start now so it is a habit before winter comes)
went for long (but very slow) walk
Quaker, teacher, parent,