The Liz vs. The Potty

Before The Liz even turned two years old, there were questions being posed to be regarding potty training. Namely, when would I start.

Everyone is always anxious to get kids out of diapers, because let’s face it: diapering freakin’ sucks. They’re nasty, they’re expensive and unfortunately, very much needed for the first however many years of your child’s life.

So, I was anxious for it too. Even before she turned two, I went out and bought a potty seat and I was all gung-ho that this child is smart and she’s going to be going to the bathroom on the toilet before her second birthday and–.

Joke was friggin’ on me.

The Liz is very smart (and mama may be a little biased, but I was in labor with her for an ungodly amount of hours, I’m allowed), but she also wasn’t even two and needless to say, that crashed and burned in about a day of trying it at daycare.

So I let up. I didn’t drag her, screaming, to the potty. I didn’t make her sit on it while she was watching TV to get her used to it. I didn’t try to bribe her with M&Ms if she’d just touch it without crying.

And you know what happened?

She decided when she was ready and so far, we’re almost a full week into a successful potty training campaign.

GO TEAM!

This post isn’t to brag about my kid’s bowel and bladder habits (okay, maybe it is just a smidge but she’s earned me bragging on her a little bit).

This post is a reminder to listen to your kids. It’s a reminder that you don’t have to do things on anyone else’s timetable and you sure as shit don’t have to force that timetable on your kiddo.

Maybe it’s just my desire to be one of the crunchy granola moms who can wear a sloppy bun without looking like Ms. Trunchbull from Matilda, but one of the things I’m learning is that kids will do things when they’re good and ready.

Instead of fighting it, maybe we just need to sit back and go along for the ride.

Confidence is key and I misplaced mine.

Though I suppose truthfully, I’ve never been very confident.

It used to drive my mother nuts, still drives my padre insane, but I can’t help it. The world is cruel if you don’t fit in the mold of pretty or skinny, or if you’re too loud and not conventional.

I learned that from a young age and as I’ve grown older, I’ve found it to still be true.

But I don’t want The Liz to grow up feeling that way and I certainly don’t want it to be because of me, because she’s heard me too many times say that I’m not enough.

I want to teach her that she doesn’t have to fit into a mold to be something, that all she has to do is be her, but how can I do that when the last person I want to be is me?

My confidence was shattered before I even had a chance to let it take root, but I’m not living this way anymore.

Fake it ’til you make it, right?

Maybe it won’t work, but for fuck’s sake, what do I have to lose? A bad self image? Good fucking riddance.

Starting now, I’m living my life with a single motto, coined by a goddess of the same name:

It’s Brit(tany), bitch.

Opinions are like assholes…

I went to the cemetery tonight.

I usually only go a few times a year, if that, because I never really believed that I needed to sit and talk to a slab of rock to feel close to my mom.

But it’s her birthday today (the big six-one) and I’ve tried to make it a habit since losing her to spend a least a few minutes where she rests.

So I went, and I took The Liz, my padre, cupcakes and a cup of coffee for her and while I was sitting there, something kind of hit me:

Especially since she died, I’ve had a lot of opinions about how she raised me; things that she should’ve done better or things that she shouldn’t have done at all, but through writing and through evaluating my own mental health, I’ve come to some new conclusions.

She fuckin’ tried, man.

I believe that, with all of my heart. There were things she still got wrong, but isn’t that part of being a parent? The Liz just turned two in June and every single day, the thought of what I could possibly be doing to screw her up constantly weighs on me.

Throw that on top of dealing with depression and anxiety and it’s a giant cluster of Big Feelings.

Which, okay. I got that. I’m pretty sure I discovered that about myself a few posts ago, but I didn’t realize how much it applied to her.

My mom loved me, that I would never in a million years doubt. I could never fathom how much until I had The Liz, until I knew what it was to let my heart walk around outside of my body, but I understand the sheltering. I understand why she was what she was, through the good times and the bad.

I wish someone had been able to help you, momma. I wish your shitty doctor would’ve done more to keep pushing to help you find something that worked for you when it came to managing your mental health.

I wish that even just a few years ago, the world had been more open and accepting, more willing to learn and to share.

Your depression and your mental health did not kill you, I get that. But sometimes I wonder if you’d been in a different place if you would have pushed just a little bit harder about your other symptoms and if maybe it could’ve been caught in time to keep you with me.

It’s your birthday, my sixth one without you. This year, my gift to you is letting go of all the stupid opinions that I formed about what you did and what you did not do right.

And maybe that’s a gift to myself too.

I love you, madre, and in trying to understand myself, I think I’ve learned more to help me understand you a little bit better too.

The Swamps of Sadness

The last few weeks have been rough.

Between the sometimes crippling loneliness, the issues that come along with being a responsible adult and switching from one medicine to another, there were more than a few days when I wanted to grab my kid from daycare, get in the car and just drive off somewhere to start all over.

And then this morning, something just clicked.

I woke up and I felt better. I put on my makeup, I did something with my hair (like brushed it, even though there’s not much there) and I got through my day. But not only that, when I got home, I cleaned.

You’re probably reading this, thinking “…so what?” but let me tell you, there are days when I struggle to even take a shower. There were so many little moments of “who cares?” that added up until my house is a wreck, until I’m a wreck, because every bit of my energy had gone into The Liz or into work and I had nothing left over to fight the nothingness that is depression.

But today was better.

And that’s the point, isn’t it? That’s what fighting this never-ending fight is… always reminding yourself that it does get better.

It’ll get worse again. It always does, but until then, I’m going to enjoy the okayness and remind myself that when it does go sideways next time…

It’ll still get better.

I’ll be better. I might not be great, but I’ll be okay.

I always am.

Mercury in Retrograde

Do you ever just feel lonely?

Because I do. That’s me right now and I think the most frustrating thing in the world is that I am a fairly independent person so this shouldn’t bother me. I had a baby on my own, for fuck’s sake. I am content, most of the time with being alone.

But damn if it wouldn’t be nice to just be alone with someone else once in awhile.

Or at least shake this god damned loneliness.

Get it together, Sandra (my name is not Sandra). Or in the words of Colton Haynes, if you’re still in retrograde, Mercury… get out of retrograde.

Get out of it.

I don’t even know what that means.

“What’s WRONG with you?”

It would probably be easier to make a list of what’s not, but I’m not going down this road. Not today, Satan.

2012 is the year I started taking my mental health seriously. I’ve always had issues with anxiety and depression, but losing my mom and trying to deal with her death and my grief was the catalyst I needed to get my ass in gear and try to actively figure out how to deal with what I’d been experiencing and I think what people don’t get is that there isn’t just a simple fix.

I started taking Effexor after having a bad experience with Lexapro. It helped stabilize my moods, helped me think clearly and rationalize all these Big Feelings™ that were inside me and it helped me get away from some of my obsessive compulsive thinking.

For awhile, things were great. There was some tweaking that needed to be done, dosage adjustments to be made because like every other freakin’ medication, I started to build a tolerance to it, but that was still fine because it was helping me deal and honestly, that’s all I needed.

And then I decided to have a baby.

Many of these medications have adverse effects and the moment I knew I wanted to get pregnant, I started tapering down with my doctor’s help so that I could come off of Effexor and hopefully stay off for good.

Because I’d learned that I could cope, hadn’t I? Surely it wasn’t all the medication that was helping me handle my moods and my anxiety. I was still doing the work, right?

Let me tell you something: it was that thought process that made me feel like I should be ashamed for having to take a pill every day to cope. It’s what made me reluctant to go back on it 3 months after my daughter was born because I was having a hard time dealing. My anxiety was back full force (no duh, shit head, you just had a baby), I was having a hard time handling being a new mom with a new job and responsibilities to a whole separate person and so we started the process again.

Effexor, 37.5mg. And then 75mg. And then 150mg up to 300 and…

It worked so well before, why isn’t it working now?

People don’t get that learning to get a handle on your mental heath can be hard work. It’s not a matter of popping a pill every day and going on about your business. Effexor wasn’t working for me anymore and I am lucky enough to have a doctor who hears me, who takes my concerns about my health and my body seriously, who is working with me to find my new normal again with new medication.

In less than a year, I have gained 50 pounds. I am exhausted more often than not. I have let myself and my house go because every bit of energy I have goes towards my little girl, making sure that my issues don’t affect her.

What’s wrong with me is that I am depressed and I am anxious, and I can fake it better than most but there are days where the Big Feelings™ get to be too much and I am not okay.

But I’m working on it.