Keeping Quiet

24 Feb

First a quick update: I’m okay. I’ve had a bit of a setback with the meds – a few side effects that were, well, not pleasant, but I’m still sane, which is always a good thing, right?

I’ve loved starting my photography business. Scott and I are in the process of turning a downstairs room into a studio so that I can do even more portrait work, and I’m so, so thankful that this is a possibility. But while I absolutely love being able to earn money from my passion, there are a few things that I’ve had a difficult time adjusting to, like keeping quiet.

I’m not someone who keeps quiet. When I see something that makes me stop and go, “wait, WTF? Is anyone else seeing what I’m seeing?” it’s really hard for me to shut up. But I know that if I voice an opinion that is considered to be very controversial, I’m likely to lose clients, which I don’t want to do. I’m all about customer service, so I don’t want my individual opinions to make someone believe that I’m not a good photographer.

Good thing I have a blog to vent on, right? 🙂

Okay, so where I live there was a tragedy a few months ago. A little boy died a few days after he received a vaccine. And I apologize in advance if I’m keeping this fairly generic but – well – damn Google :).

Anyway, this little boy was under 10 and received a vaccine that he had received before with absolutely no ill effects. a few days later he started to get ill and his mother contacted her son’s doctor. Because the symptoms were those of a stomach flu, with a high fever, the doctor (a good one) said that she should give him alternating treatments of motrin and tylenol – something I’ve had to give my own children when they had high fevers.

Two days later the boy was dead.

So what happened? They don’t know so far. The family, and a huge amount of supporters, are blaming the vaccine. The medical examiner has stated that there is no proof yet that the vaccine caused any problems, and that more tests are needed.

EVERYONE is jumping on this bandwagon. My Facebook is filled with people supporting this mother and her family and they’re all talking about how horrible vaccines are – how they’re filled with horrible things and no one should ever have them.

What do I think? My opinion on vaccines is out simply because I honestly haven’t done a huge amount of research on them. No, I’m stopped short because of one thing: if her son was so ill on one day that she called the doctor, and died two days later, what happened in those two days??

No one seems to be asking this question. Her son didn’t get any better. His fever stayed high from what I have been able to tell, and she didn’t call the doctor again until two days after she’d already called him.

I’m sorry, but if my child had a fever for more than 24 hours that was THAT high – so high that he was delusional – you know I’d be contacting the doctor right off. Babygirl and Toad have both had the flu before, and one time when Babygirl had it her fever was so high that she wasn’t making sense. I immediately called the doctor as I was dumping her into a tepid bath and talked extensively with the nurse. She told me to give her the Motrin and Tylenol combo and to watch her temperature as she was in the tub. If, she said, it didn’t go down within fifteen minutes by a certain amount of degrees, I was to instantly call her back again. If, she also said, I felt uncomfortable at all I was to call her back again.

Thankfully Babygirl’s fever started dropping in the tub but I stayed in contact with the doctors office to make sure that she wasn’t going to get more ill.

The poor little boy’s doctor is a good doctor. I’ve had to work with him before and he’s good – he cares. I can’t see him ignoring a child who was seriously ill. Instead I wonder why the mother waited two days to contact the doctor again?

See, here’s my thing: EVEN IF the vaccine was a factor in this boy’s death (and there’s no proof that it was so far), why isn’t this mother being held responsible for waiting so long to get her son medical care? Who’s to say that he wouldn’t have recovered if she would’ve brought him to the doctors a day before he died? That his condition wasn’t treatable?

And yet, I have to stay silent. I feel for the family because they have lost a loved one that should never have been taken, but I am so frustrated with everyone immediately jumping on the mother’s bandwagon without asking questions like “why – WHY did you wait so long?”

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New Normal

16 Feb

That smiling? Lasted about three days. Turns out one of the side effects of Wellbutrin (one I apparently didn’t realize) is a euphoric feeling. No wonder I acted like a 12 year old on speed for a few days. This past weekend I crashed a bit, although things definitely didn’t get as bad as they were a few weeks ago!

So I’m looking for a new normal. I know it’ll take another week or two for things to even out perfectly, and I’m hanging on and waiting eagerly for things to be even. Now I’m dealing with some nausea from the increase in meds. I’m thinking about changing the time I take them, from the morning to the night, in hopes that I don’t have to deal with feeling “icky” anymore, because feeling “icky” is, well, ICKY!

In other news Scott was amazing for Valentine’s day. He fed the kids a quickie meal and then, once they were in bed, made me chicken stuffed with cream cheese and crabmeat – one of my favorites. The table was all decked out and he served me while I sat there. He also got dessert in the form of Ben & Jerry’s! Yum!

What did I do for him? I went down and visited him at lunch with a chocolate treat. I also left a box of candy for him on the table (I had photography group that afternoon). And I made him this…

The song is “I’m Already Loving You Too Much”, by Kevin Sharp. It’s the first song we really connected with and was also our wedding song. It is definitely our song.

Smiling

10 Feb

See this shot? This shot was taken by a fifth grader. The challenge? A photo scavenger hunt. On the list was this: take a photo of two people holding hands. I got a bunch of photos of whole bodies, but this was the only one I got of two hands.

I love this shot. Love.

Yes, love.

Emotions – I love emotions. My emotions are back. Actually I sort of feel like I’m bipolar as they’ve gone so high! So what happened between the last post and this one? The upped meds. As I said, the doc had me up the meds to two a day, so I did. Three days later, in the morning, I was still down. NOt down enough to be stupid, but definitely down and felt, well, not much. Then, around 4 pm, I started playing on the floor with Babygirl. She had me be a silly character who makes high pitched noises and laughs like a crazy person.

At first I struggled.

I couldn’t get the laugh right, but Babygirl didn’t say a word. The more we played, the better I felt. I made dinner, had the ambition to clean up the table (something Scott had been doing), and noticed that I was able to smile. Before the kids went to bed, I hugged them tightly. I smelled their freshly washed hair and enjoyed it. I helped put them to bed, came into the living room and cuddled with Scott. I kissed his neck and said “I missed you.” He said “I missed you too.” I said “I missed me too.”

I was scared.

I’d had a decent day on Friday and was scared that the next day I’d go downhill, as I did last Saturday. I didn’t – I felt better. And today? I feel amazing. I can see and enjoy the sun – I can pick on my husband and have been playing with my kids.

Most anti-depressants take a few weeks to kick in. The medication I’m on, Wellbutrin, is not like some other anti-depressants. There are a large number of people online who say that within a few days they start feeling better. Yes, it takes two to three weeks to keep your mood stabilized – I’ll likely still have some down times – but they’ll be nowhere near as bad as it was these past few weeks. All desires to do something stupid have gone. I do have a few side effects from doubling the dosage – I’ve got a lingering headache, my appetite is off (I’m less hungry than normal but eating more than I did in the past few weeks) and my mouth is dry, but they’re all minor. I will gladly accept these side effects for the next few weeks.

I’m so thankful. I’m so thankful that doubling the meds is working. I’m so thankful that my children seem to be fine and not overly affected by the whole ordeal. I’m so thankful that I have such wonderful friends and people to help me through all of this – and I am so thankful that I have Scott. He handled this whole ordeal amazingly well, and knowing that he’ll be here to keep me safe, even when I can’t keep myself safe, makes a huge difference.

Thank you all for your support – it means the world.

One Day At a Time

7 Feb


One of the things that keeps me going. Her brother is much more camera shy.

Friday I felt a bit better. Scott was home from work for the afternoon and I had enough energy to go with him to pick up his new (used) rig. We ate dinner together at a KFC/Taco Bell and I ended up singing songs with Babygirl in the car on the way home.

Saturday morning I woke up bawling uncontrollably.

I stopped breathing.

I don’t remember a lot of it. Scott says it was like I was holding my breath but refused to breathe. He snapped me out of whatever trance I was in apparently and then I remember being in his arms with him rubbing my back.

He said I scared him.

I didn’t mean to.

Things have been a bit better since then. I’m taking things one day at a time. I have called the doctors office and they upped my medication for the first time in years. It’ll take a few weeks for that to kick in. I told Scott that all I want is to be happy. I just want a few days of happiness. I don’t like fearing that the demon will come back.

How do I feel today?

Empty.

I’m empty and tired and have been since this weekend. Friends came over to watch the super bowl and it was a huge struggle just to hold on. The minute they left I finally felt like I could breathe. I’ve kept myself hidden in a little bubble for the past week. I only go out when I have to. More than once I picked the kids up in my pajamas (I stayed in the car so as to not embarrass them hugely). Yesterday I put on clothes and walked in to get them.

It was hard.

One of the teachers stopped to tell me about Toad’s day – a teacher I really like and have spoken with a number of times. She couldn’t tell that I’m empty inside. She couldn’t tell that I was hanging on by a thread.

Apparently I’m an excellent actress.

I’m holding on and will continue to hold on and fight. Tonight I have photography club at the school. The photo above was taken by one of my students a few weeks ago. Tonight I’ll have up to 9 pre-teens and teens looking to me to entertain them and to teach them more about photography – one of my passions. Except that right now I am not passionate about anything other than protecting my children from this side of me, and trying to hide it from them.

They know I had a rough week. I do try to hide a lot of it from them. They don’t need the burden of seeing their mother depressed. I fear that if they knew everything they would think it’s their fault the way that I always did when I was growing up. I always thought that if I were better, or nicer, or somehow perfect, those around me would be so much happier.

As an adult I know that’s not true – but I don’t want my children to even start to think it, so I hide a lot.

I’m not hiding from Scott this time like I have before. Every thought I have that is stupid I tell him. He holds me and whispers “it’ll be all right”.

Now if only I could believe him.

Fighting Again

4 Feb

It’s easy to forget that I’m not whole. For months and months at a time things go beautifully and I’m fine. Then something happens, or in this case a lot of things happen, and even though I try to fight it back, it comes to the surface and takes over.

Depression.

If you were to meet me on any given day you would say “wow, there’s a happy, silly, overly-talkative person”, and you’d be right. That’s what 99% of the people who meet me see. As a good friend told me the other day, I’m a good actress.

It’s not exactly like I’m acting – I consider myself more than one person. Just call me Sybil. There’s work-mode Randi, and mom Randi, and wife Randi, and fun Randi and disciplining Randi and…it goes on and on. Hidden under the surface, however, the demon waits. It waits until something happens that allows it to come out. All it needs is a little crack and suddenly I’m fighting it back.

I fight.

For days and weeks I fight. But then I can’t fight anymore and it pops out. That’s when I’m someone even I don’t recognize. That’s when I’m someone who can barely get off the couch to go get her children from school. Most of the time when this demon comes out it only creeps out for a short time, does a bit of minor damage, then leaves.

This time it did some major damage.

This time I found myself doing things that I’ve never done. Things I’ve never even thought about doing. And at the time they seemed right. They seemed normal. They made me feel good. Even though the rational side of my brain realized then (and now) that what I was doing was stupid, it felt right.

I scared myself.

I’m still scared.

I’m feeling quite a bit better, but I’m scared that the demon will surface again. I know it takes time to get well again, but here’s the thing: when you’re well, you forget that you have that demon lurking under the surface, just waiting to take you back into the deep, dark cave and to leave you alone there. Then the demon surfaces and you forget that it’s possible to be happy. You forget that at one point you had forgotten that you even had a demon to deal with.

I’m not 100% yet, but we’re working on it. Yes, we. Scott is here. Scott’s taking care of me and making sure that stupid things don’t happen. He’s on my ass like white on rice right now, but I need it. It feels right. I need to know that if I can’t make good decisions right now, he’ll take over for me.

I’m still in the cave, but the view is looking better by the day.

Us.

31 Jan

If you had been blogging the amount of time that I’ve been blogging, you’ll know all about Dooce – one of the original bloggers and someone who has made quite a bit of money doing this. I don’t begrudge her the money or the fame, especially since so many problems come with it all.

A few weeks ago she announced (in a roundabout way) that she and her husband were separating. I made a comment on FB about how so many marriages are failing and how it makes me sad as it seems like many people don’t work on their marriages anymore. Now I have no idea what the story behind Dooce and her husband’s separation is – for all I know they worked really hard on their marriage – it just made me think about those people I know who are separating.

It makes me thankful for us.

I’ve known Scott now for almost 13 years. We’ll have been parents for 12 years this coming December.

Our relationship isn’t perfect. We have arguments – we actually joke around that we can both tell when a fight is brewing because it’s been so long since we had one. Then, sure enough, we wind up having an argument. Sometimes it’s a small tiff that lasts only a few hours – sometimes it’s a huge blowout that shakes the very structure of our marriage.

Our foundation, however, is solid. That, I think, is what keeps us together.

Scott is my rock. He’s the calm one in this relationship and the person who keeps me tethered to reality. He’s always there to give me his opinion and for me to lay my head on. He knows me better than just about anyone else, even though his manly hormones sometimes stop him from doing what he knows I really want, he gives me everything I need. My photography business wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for him, and I truly believe that I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now without him.

He’s my best friend. He’s the one I want to hang around with and to play games with. I’m still amazed that after all this time together we haven’t run out of things to say to one another. I’m still amazed that all my lady parts can start tingling when he gives me a certain look. I’m still amazed that I haven’t driven him away.

I’m not an easy person – granted I’m sure I’m a lot easier than some people, but Scott once said I was high maintenance, and I agree with him. I’m not someone who needs to have a lot of money spent on them, or who needs to have fancy clothing or makeup – I spend 1/2 the day in my pajamas – but I am high maintenance when it comes to emotions. I need a lot of reassurance and cuddling and touching. Something he’s more than happy to give me whenever I need it.

A lot of people have told me how lucky I am to have him, and I agree. He’s an amazing, sweet, sensitive, funny man. But at the same time I’d say he’s lucky to have me too. We compliment each other perfectly, especially since he tends to be optimistic and I’m a realist. He tends to like to stay in his comfort zone and is a cheapskate (TRULY!) and I tend to like to try things outside of my comfort zone occasionally and am good at usually figuring out when we need to spend money on something even if he doesn’t want to. (NOTE: He ALWAYS winds up agreeing after the fact and commenting that he didn’t know how we got along without whatever item we purchased).

A close friend and relative of mine is having issues with her relationship. I’ve tried my best to be there for her, and to give her my opinion when she asks for it, but the way she talks about her relationship with her significant other I can’t understand. They do so many things separately, and they seem like they’re constantly at odds. They separate money and often have separate meals as well.

We do so many things together. I feel like I can’t start eating when he’s home unless he’s going to start eating too – and he feels the same. We go to bed at the same time almost always, and it feels odd to go to bed without the other. We watch movies together and play the Wii together. We do have separate interests, but we honestly do spend a great deal of time together. I know it probably sounds like an old-fashioned relationship, and you may be right as he was raised by parents who were a great deal older than mine so he likes those old fashioned values.

But, at the same time, a lot of those old fashioned relationships lasted a very long time – I see couples at weddings who have been married for 50 – 60 years.

That is what I want.

That is what he wants.

That’s what we’re after.

Seeing Things Differently

30 Jan

Okay, so it’s not every day but it’s a lot sooner than a month!

Did I tell you yet that I’m running an after school program at my children’s school? I’ve done it before but this time I get to teach photography. PHOTOGRAPHY! To a bunch of 5 – 8th graders! The above photo is one that Babygirl took during the last class. The challenge for the kids? Find letters in architecture around the school. I was amazed with the things that they saw, including this large H that Babygirl found. I pass by this hallway almost every day when I get the kids and I’d never noticed the H.

I know a few people who are going through some identity issues lately. I have some advice for them – “celebrate yourself”. Now hang on Randi, you’re thinking, you’re always on yourself about how your self-esteem sucks and how you hate how you look.

True! BUT when it comes to who I am internally? I’m great.

I wasn’t always happy with myself and my attitude – I had a lot of growing pains and Scott helped me to discover myself a huge deal. One of the biggest things that I realized a few years ago is that I’m different. I’m very different. I don’t see things the way that a lot of people do, and for a long time that bothered me. Now, I celebrate it.

I love that I’m able to see things a bit differently than a lot of my family members can. I remember driving down the road one day a few years ago with my mother and husband in the car. I let out a “ooooh – OMG!” and they both turned to me, worried, and said “what?!”

“It’s just – gorgeous!” I pointed towards the scenery. There was an old, half-broken down farmhouse on the left side of the dirt road, some telephone poles (the only blight in the picture – I get so annoyed with telephone lines!) gorgeous hills and a sun that hadn’t quite gotten to the point of setting yet.

Their response? “Oh – yeah – I guess.”

In VT we’re almost constantly surrounded by beauty – there are mountains all around us and we have a lot of lakes and rivers and streams. Many of the people who live here simply pass by all of the beauty without giving it a second thought. I tend to see it and to focus on it. When I’m driving I actually have to focus on nothing but the road because if I start looking at scenery I’ll veer off the road – seriously! I’ve gotten yelled at by people for not waving to them when they passed me. I can’t look at people who pass me as I lose focus too easily.

I love running the after school program. I love seeing things that the kids are seeing. I think as we grow we tend to get more of a tunnel vision. We focus on providing for our family and work and cleaning and on the things that we HAVE to do, while thinking about the things that we wish we were doing instead, and completely miss the beauty that surrounds us. Because no matter if you live in a large city, or a small town, there is beauty all around you. I’d love to see what beauty you see every day.

And to those who commented on the last post – THANK YOU! I didn’t get notified by WordPress so I’m going to do some investigating and hopefully I’ll receive any other comments so that I can respond quickly!