Friday, January 04, 2013

A New Year = Fresh Start & Admitting You Are Not Always OK.

So 2012 has finally come to a close and I have to admit, I was ready and I am excited for 2013. 

Don’t get me wrong, 2012 had many wonderful things…the biggest being Henry turned one!  And in the three months since Henry turned one I think he also turned 2 as well :) 

But 2012 hasn’t been all great, unfortunately.

Terry is working part-time and going to school which is stressful not only financially but just mentally and physically.  Because he watches Henry during the day, he works every weekend and most evenings.  A few days during the week I see Terry for 15 minutes within a 24 hour period and it is after I get home from work and before he leaves.  We say our quick hello’s while Terry is in the shower and Henry is running around.  This routine has been going on since Henry was 7 weeks old, but school on top of that was a new addition last August and will continue through summer.  Most times we are solo parenting far more than we are together.  It can be hard and exhausting and sometimes you feel like you never have one minute of relief.

Here is the thing.  I wasn’t myself much of 2012.  I was and still am at times, just OFF.

I don’t know exactly what it is or how to explain it, but I know I haven’t been myself for about a year.  Was/is it post partum depression…not sure, but right now I am just focusing on MYSELF and what I need to be ME.  To continue to get better.

It isn’t that I feel like this every day, I have great days…even weeks.  But there are far too many bad days, bad moments….and the moments, well they can get ugly.  There is this anger that is hard to control, I want to hit things (not people, unless they are people at the store... just things), I curse and say mean things and I then get extremely sad.

It is not that I am unhappy either.  I know it may not sound like it, but I am happy most of the time.  The issue is, when something does set me off I go to this extreme place and I go from being perfectly fine and happy to yelling, cursing and being flat out mean.  Most of the time it is over something stupid…. “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DIDN’T F&$KING PUT THAT IN THE DISHWASHER!!” “DON’T TOUCH THAT!” “WHY DIDN’T YOU ANSWER MY TEXT?!!”  “WHY IS THIS MOTHER F&^K’N CHAIR SQUEEKING EVERY TIME I ROCK IN IT?!?!” Things that should not require me to be filled with SO much anger.

If you know me, you know I am pretty relaxed.  OK, yes, a little high strung at times and I do have a temper on occasion….but snapping to this extreme, so often and for no good reason is not normal for me.  And the fact that it has been going on for a year and has gotten worse over the year is definitely not normal or healthy.

At first I thought it was the stress of having a new child and I was actually not bad the first few months.  Probably totally normal for any new parent.  But it (me) started getting worse but I then attributed it to breastfeeding. (oh how I loathed pumping and Henry never took to the breast. Many many many sessions were spent crying while pumping. I HATED everything to do with pumping, but felt I needed to do it.) I also thought, coupled with pumping that it was the lack of sleep I was getting.  Again, I blew it off and figured when I was done pumping I would get better.  I finally finished pumping around 8 months and things were OK for little awhile.  But shortly after that, Terry started school again and the stress just amplified.  Now, even when Terry was home he was studying and though Henry was getting easier and more independent I just couldn’t get myself out of this funk that I was quickly falling deeper in. 

I then thought, “when he turns a year it will be all good, just hang in there”.  Henry’s birthday came and went and I tried to de-stress, but then Henry started with the attitude.  Now for most his attitude may not be that bad as he is a great child and it is normal behavior, but as I am sure all of you parents know and can relate too; when you are already stressed and off that the constant battle to change a diaper or the crying EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I wash his face off after eating or just even whining because he can’t communicate that well can just push you too much and you snap at little things and more quickly.  It shouldn’t happen, but it does.

And then enter the guilt. 

The guilt of feeling so emotional, at getting angry at the people you love the most, the guilt of feeling like there is something wrong with you, the guilt of feeling like as hard as you try you just can’t be your best self, the guilt that you are letting your husband and even your son down as a wife and mother….it can just really drain you and pull you down even more making it harder for you to feel better. 

I try to keep a happy face for everyone, but it becomes too much and when I get home from work that I become reclusive, I don’t take care of myself physically (which then my weight and lack of exercise affects my mood and attitude even more - circle), I put blame on myself for everything, and I shut down.  Then because I keep everything inside, am stressed, frustrated, exhausted I become angry or emotional so very easily.

When I do yell and become crazy Jenn, it always feels like an out of body experience.  Like I am looking at myself saying “you are crazy, why are you acting a fool?!  You are ridiculous Jenn, calm down!”  But I can’t stop.  I just become so filled with rage and anxiety that it makes things worse. 

A few months ago I said something not nice to Terry.  Yelled at him and used a few not nice words.  He waited a moment and calmly asked if I still wanted to be with him and if I still loved him and if he was the problem.

I felt like I had just been slapped in the face, and I probably should have been.

Tears, instantly.

YES.  Yes I wanted to be with him!!!  Why would he say that?!?!  But I could see how, because he was the main person that I lashed out on and who took a brunt of my anger and though it wasn’t because of him, it was directed towards him…..and in reality it wasn’t because of him at all, it was me.

The reality hit…..Jenn, you need stop and refocus.  You are not yourself and cannot continue like this and ignore this and keep putting it off.  It is not healthy for you, your marriage and definitely not for your son. 


After a long talk and the suggestion of talking to someone, Terry told me that whenever I start getting angry and going to that place that I feel I can’t control, that I need to refocus on something that makes me happy.  At first I was skeptical but I recall the first night I tried it.  I was rocking Henry and we had this old rocking chair that just squeaked and was driving me crazy.  I didn’t want to go off while I was holding Henry but the anger just kept building and I remember I was about to push the table beside me over in anger but instead I took T’s advice and thought of the first moment I saw Henry.  I went back to those moments where I was filled with pure joy and love and I saw his beautiful face, this miracle we had created.  Of course I cried, but the anger was gone.

That is what I do now.  When I start feeling it come on, I just think of that single moment.  Nothing before, nothing after….just seeing my son for the very first time.  Now sometimes I still need to walk away from the situation…you know, redirect like you have to do with toddlers :)  BUT, it has helped.  That little mental exercise, I guess you could call it, helps me calm myself down enough to refocus.  That is a huge issue; I just focus on things that make me angry instead of letting them go.  (I am most likely going to have to talk to someone about that in time, along with the other thing that sets me off which are sounds.)  But I have come a long way the past two months, and I am very proud of that.

And that is why I am looking forward to 2013.  A new start and being able to refocus.  The past couple months I have been focusing on controlling my anger.  Now that I am aware of it, I try SO hard to prevent myself from going there.  If I start to feel angry or am in a situation that I know may make me stressed and angry I think of something happy and/or walk away.  If Henry does something that he shouldn’t, I try SO hard not to yell and get mad first and instead breathe, talk softly, and redirect the both of us. 

Overall, I am just trying to take back control of my emotions and be aware of my triggers and prevent myself from getting to that angry place.  I haven’t been perfect, but I have been sooooo much better the past couple months! And for the first time in a year, there are FAR more happy days then sad/angry ones.  I know I am a great mom.  I have questioned that a lot over the year….but seeing Henry reassures me that even with all my issues, that when it comes to him I have done something right.

So why am I sharing this long and totally boring post.  I think it is good for me.  Even if no one reads it (and if you still are, I am sorry for taking your time!), but I need to put it out there for ME.  I need to be accountable for my actions and how they affect those I love and by acknowledging that I have been angry and sad and probably a bit depressed, I think I will keep getting better….I know I AM getting better!! 

And I am not looking for sympathy at all; I really am getting to a better place.  I have been writing this stuff down for over a month, unsure if I will post it or just keep it for myself.  Then a friend of mine with twin 8 week olds (God bless her!!) emailed me and she is experiencing things and feelings I had that I ignored.  I think so many new moms ignore or are embarrassed or perhaps are even unaware of these feelings because they are so focused on their child/children that they don’t take care of themselves….physically and mentally. It isn’t easy. I told her to talk to her doctor and provided her with what little and unprofessional advice I could.  But the fact is that no matter what our situation, we all have to make sure we don’t overlook our mental well-being.

I never make resolutions, but this year I am.  I need to refocus this year. 

I need to refocus my anger/emotions, my marriage, my health, my lifestyle, my relationships with people that I have ignored the last year, my habits, and even my home.  I need to get out of this FUNK that I have been in this last year or so and focus my attention on myself, my husband and my son.

And with all that said, I am ready for 2013.  I am hoping it brings a new outlook for me.  Better health, mentally and physically and a much calmer attitude!

I am sure those around me wish that too :)

Because 2012 was so stressful and Terry and I have both been off, we decided to go at this together.  We have a motto - "It is 2013, The Year we Handle Our Business and Get Shit Taken Care Of!" Yes, a long motto :)  So here is to a new us and doing new things, being more positive, getting our shit together, and refocusing our lives!!  I think 2013 is going to be a great year.

Happy New Year!! 


  1. Jenn! First off, I love you! I'm sorry we don't talk as much as we should. I know that is my bad. Second, even though I'm not a parent, I can't believe we were going through so much of the same this year and I had no idea. I will say that I found out the benefits of both medications (for depression and anxiety) and talking to a psychiatrist and therapist. (yes, I will finally admit I have had both.) While I haven't seen them since my accident, I wouldn't have survived through most of the year without them. Life gets hard and 30 seems to be really hitting some of us in a bad way. Obviously we need to talk more, even just via email. I am looking to make some major changes in my own life this year too. We have to take back out lives and re-affirm the people we are! I know how strong we both are and I can't wait to see what 2013 brings for both of us! Again, I love you so much and I am so glad to have you in my life! Be strong and please, if ever you are mad, sad, or just need to talk, don't worry about if I'm busy or sleeping or whatever-call! I get what it's like and I will always be here! And-don't be afraid to ask for help. It took me several months of VERY DEEP DESPAIR before I finally went to my doctor and by then things were getting out of hand. It really isn't as bad as what we think it is to go to therapy. And I have come to be okay with the fact that I am a little bit crazy! But then, most people who really know me already knew that I am crazy! Love you all bunches! :)

    1. Oh April, I love you too!

      Do NOT apologize, I should be apologizing to you. You had an extremely rough year, much tougher than me and I just was not with it (no excuse) and feel horrible I wasn’t there for you more. I think it is safe to say we were both in a FUNK and weren’t around mentally. But I also know that as great friends that we were both thinking of each other and if we did need each other we were there….and that counts for something!!!

      Great for you for finally taking action and talking to someone and getting some medicine to help. That is awesome!! I still haven’t done that yet, though I feel it may be in my future as even though I am feeling tons better than I did even just a couple months ago, I can still be OFF at times and I want to know how I can prevent going back there moving forward.

      I am interested in these life changes!! Yes, we need to talk more! YAY for great things to start in 2013 and becoming new and better versions of ourselves!! Love you TONS!

  2. I'm sadly shaking my head yes right along with you for much of this. The RAGE! The CRAZY! The intolerable irritability. I've been ready to absolutely punch myself. PPD can come on MUCH later and this sure smacks of that. Read up on it and see if there aren't some suggestions like Terry's.

    Hugs, friend. Let's get us girls together like NOW for a draaaaaank.


    1. Thank you, N.

      The rage and “drop of the hat” anger just scares me. While I know would never hurt Henry I have punched things too much and have been mean to Terry which is not right. I am not and don’t want to be THAT person. I am finally feeling more like my old self, which is a wonderful feeling. Here is to us both trying to get ourselves better in 2013!

      Hugs back and thank you for the support!

  3. a little late to the game. i totally cannot figure out how to turn the "world class single" that i'm commenting as into "trophy life" (i started a private silly blog with 3 girlfriends to complain about single life!) and, well, anyway - geez, get on with it, Malissa.

    ok, thanks for posting. it's good to get this out and i agree that it's good to get it off your chest and feel like you're being held accountable. i know nothing about marriage and motherhood, but i know that you are doing the best you can and you have some solid goals for 2013. i admire your ability to go through this stressful busy time of life so that T. can achieve his goals. hang in there, both of you. soon this will be past you.

    1. oh, also, when i am really freaking out and stressed, i do this thing with post-it notes which may help to count down the weeks left for T's school. i take post-it notes - however many weeks i'm counting - and i put the number on each one and tape it to my bathroom vanity. each Monday, i take a sticky note off (it's good to start with 20 or as to not overwhelm). i find that "counting mondays" makes life a bit less crazier. it's too stressful for me to count the full number or days left, but mondays are better. just a little coping mechanism i have.

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