Everything is Different

If people would’ve told me three months ago when I started this blog that my life would be totally and completely different in just a few months, I would’ve laughed at them and rolled my eyes. My life was JUST fine and did not need to change, thank you very much. Then again, I probably would’ve believed them, but would never admit it.

I’m having a hard time adjusting. I didn’t want to change before the baby was born, but now that he’s here, I want everything to change. I’m alright with things being different, but I don’t know how to change the things I want to change.

After shit hit the fan in August I started counseling. It’s free from my work (they offer it to avoid problems and lawsuits) and my counselor is able to work with me on all issues, work, family, life, and what makes me tick. In the past I’ve tried it, but it didn’t seem to help me much. Reluctantly I started, and was pleasantly surprised at the turns that it took to help me find myself. The problem was that my counselor kept telling me I needed to paint the life I wanted and go get it.

Problem was, I had no idea what I wanted. The life I had was beautiful and perfect enough at that time. I didn’t think I wanted a change.

Then baby boy came. As soon as I held him in my arms I realized that I wanted everything to change. I knew my life had just changed for the best. My mind was flooded with all the things I wanted and needed to do. I realized that things were going to be okay, but I still felt overwhelmed.

I’ve been making lists. Trying to come up with ways to write out or verbalize what I want from my life. When I get online and check Pinterest and other blogs I feel overwhelmed. There is so much I want to do, so much I want to become.

The other big thing keeping me back is where I feel totally miserable and hateful towards myself; I’m starting to exhibit signs of postpartum depression. My mother had it. My mother-in-law had it. I’ve struggled with depression for years. I know I’ll probably get it, but I hate myself when I start showing signs of it. My husband doesn’t get it. He looks at the baby and is totally in love. I’m totally in love too, but I struggle so much with trying to be happy all of the time.

Husband is awesome. He lets me sleep at night and tends to the baby, then goes to work the next day and even offers to let me nap when he gets home from work. He helps me cook dinner and when the baby is fussy he lets me do what I need to do to clear my head. My husband is amazing. Me? Not so much.

Everything is different. That’s not a bad thing. Everything needs to change, and I hope that I can handle the changes that come.

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Rant: Antidepressants During Pregnancy

I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials, “if you’ve taken any of these antidepressants while pregnant, you could file a lawsuit.”

Let me begin this rant by stating a fact or two. I was on antidepressants when we started trying to have a baby, and I saw that there was a warning for my medication. I then took my medication to a pharmacist and asked about contraindications and drug interactions. I asked for studies and other information about the medication so that I could make an educated decision.

What I found was this (per a pharmacist and my PCP); If NOT taking the drug will kill you, take the drug. If it won’t, you need to find alternative methods of treatment and go off of the medication, because this medication is not safe for a fetus. With the help of my doctor I lowered my dose of the medication til I was off of it. Other methods of treatment were found and I was able to continue trying for a healthy baby.

Now some history on what happens when you ARE prescribed this medication…When you take any new medication that isn’t exceptionally safe for a fetus, your doctor will ask if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. If you aren’t pregnant at the time and want the medications still, they’ll prescribe it for you,  but will warn you about the risks and side effects. Anyone else remember the fun with accutane? EVERYONE who went on it was given a pregnancy test beforehand. Wonder why?

I have yet to find a pharmacy that doesn’t have protocol of the pharmacist checking your drugs with you before giving them to you. Even the low-level pharmacies (like Wal-Mart) do it. Once you have the meds in your possession there are these nifty little red and yellow warnings on the side of the bottle. They usually say “may cause dizziness” or “take with food,” but on the antidepressants in the commercials it clearly says on the bottle “DO NOT TAKE IF PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING.” It’s a BIG, RED warning. Impossible to miss.

So how exactly do they have a lawsuit?! I will never know.

My stance is this; If you were dumb enough to miss all of the warnings, then you got what you deserved. Let me state this again, YOU got what you deserved. Your baby on the other hand? I’ll forever feel bad for your baby, but you did that to them.

Lesson to be had? READ the warnings and labels. If you have a question about anything then ask the pharmacist or doctor who prescribed it. Drug companies cover their asses, why aren’t you?

For Some, Its NOT the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Part Two

Earlier my good friend TransportJockey posted about his experience and thoughts about suicide and depression. This is a touchy topic over the holidays. Studies have proven that people struggle more with this during the holidays. Is it due to holiday stress, or family? Is it due to the crowds of people or the lack of sunshine? Does it matter?

I, like TransportJockey, am an advocate on seeking help. I want others to understand this problem. People who do not know me personally do not get it, don’t get why I care, don’t get why I understand it when they cannot seem to get it. That ends today with me explaining it as best as I can to you…

When I was seventeen years old my best friend hung himself. We hadn’t spoken in a few days because I was out of town for an EMT competition for my state. I had forgotten my phone charger at home, and was unreachable for awhile. On the bus ride home another kid from my school approached me to tell me the news. I was in shock. I didn’t understand it. That night when my phone charged I found something nearly more painful. Voicemails from him. Six of them. He was crying, asking for help. He sought help and I wasn’t there to help him. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how I could’ve saved his life.

Days later I picked our mutual friend up from his home. We wore black and were going to the funeral home for the viewing. Nothing was more awkward, realizing that we were the only ones there that actually knew him. His dad pushed us to the front of the line and embraced us, warm tears streaming down both of our faces. He explained that after months of being bullied and hurt by others at school, he had enough.

I asked his dad if there was anything I could do. I talked with his mom. Their words have never left my mind. “He wanted it this way. He is finally out of pain. He isn’t hurting anymore.” As true as it is, I cant help wondering what could’ve happened if he didn’t do it. Nothing is more painful than realizing that right now he could be married, with a baby, with a job, and memories past high school.

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With my job I deal with psych patients. I do lots of 1:1’s, sitting next to the patients bedside while they sleep off an overdose, or while they fight the soft restraints that have them bound to a bed. They do it for many reasons. Someone they loved left them, their life is a mess, drugs, accidental ODs, there are so many different reasons. With work it is easy to become desensitized to it, but for me, I refuse to. I remember every patient that I’ve had to sit with. I remember all their stories. I remember their pain. It’s not easy to carry that on my shoulders, but I feel it makes me a better person.

I will never forget the patient that changed my life. I had been struggling with depression myself for a long time now. Being assigned to this patient seemed like a hassle, he seemed legitimately crazy. He had “psychosis” and made claims everyone thought was insane. After a few hours, something amazing happened. Just when the patient and I had enough, when he was doing everything he could to commit suicide (in front of me, having me literally fight him to stop him), and I was trying my best to try to calm this poor man down, a miracle happened.

His friends came. They had a guitar and they sat on the furnace in his hospital room. They laughed, they joked, they proved to us that we were wrong, he didn’t have “psychosis”, he was telling the truth. I will never forget the song they played to him that caused us all to smile…

The patient made it through, and made it out of the dark. Last I heard he is touring with a band and is very happy. People went to help him, and he made it through.

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My husbands good friend (his brother, for lack of a better term) committed suicide a few months ago now. Nothing is more depressing than having to deal with that again, so close to home. People tell you not to place blame, but when it comes to people who have good hearts, who are trying their best, people that are legitimately amazing people taking their lives, there is blame to place. The blame isn’t with his friends or family. The blame runs deeper than that.

Nothing is more painful than having to relive it all. Walking through the cemetery that my friend is buried in, visiting the funeral home all over again, seeing the tears from parents. Nothing is more painful than having to explain it all to others… to try to explain to them what their loved one has been feeling.

The only reason I know is because I’ve been there. I’ve been the person feeling lost and hopeless. The only reason I am still here today is thanks to my husband and my mother in law. They don’t get it, but have supported me through it.

People struggle with depression, its not uncommon. In my normal day of seeing patients 9 out of 10 patients have it. The difference is how people deal with it.  Some choose to medicate, to medicate with drugs, alcohol, antidepressants, with food. Medicating makes the pain go away, even for a little while. Some choose to self inflict pain upon themselves, to cut. People cut because the physical pain hurts more than the emotional pain, it makes you feel something other than the emotional pain youve been struggling with. Some people realize that feeling the way they do has been going on for too long, and they have had enough pain for one lifetime. They’ve tried other methods, with no success… they want to be out of pain. Sometimes people love too much, and their hearts cannot hold it anymore. I’ve never known anyone who struggled with suicide and depression that wasn’t a wonderful person. Sometimes their hearts are just too full, and the world is just too dark.

I’m not saying that suicide is okay. I’m not saying that it is acceptable by any means. But to those that are dealing with the loss of someone, you have to understand their side of it- you have to understand their pain and misery. And for those suffering with depression, you need to realize why people do what they do.

If you see anyone struggling with depression, you need to take action before it gets worse. There is no better time than the present to take action. There is no better time to try to save a life than now. And nothing, nothing in the world feels better than knowing you saved a life by doing the smallest of things.

My husband said it best. “I’m so glad I can hold you in my arms. I am so glad I can feel you. I am so glad you are still here. Please, don’t ever be the person in the casket. Please let me help you.”

If you have depression or have attempted suicide, seek help. There are so many people you know that can help you out. If you know someone who is struggling with this you need to take action, whether they ask for your help or not. Just do it.

For Some, Its NOT the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Part One

A look at Suicide and depression…

I asked a good friend of mine to help me co-author a post on suicide and depression. He is a certified EMT-I (almost a Paramedic!) and is an advocate of seeking help and other methods to cope when you are feeling low.

Yes the topic is dark and twisty. Yes its no fun to read about during the holidays, but it is something we ALL need to read.
Part One, written by TransportJockey:
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You think you’re all alone? You think no one cares? You think it’ll be easier to just end everything? You think it’ll be better for everyone you leave behind? Trust me. It’s not. When I was asked to help write a guest post for this blog, I had no idea how to start it. but those questions popped into my mind. They’re questions I wish I could ask someone, ask someone if they thought it was true. And for anyone thinking about hurting themselves, or trying to kill themselves, those are questions someone is going to ask about you. Every single person has at least one person who cares about them. One of my supervisors at work terms it like this: “Suicide is a very permanent solution to a temporary problem”. And he’s right. I know a lot of people who are considering it think that nothing can ever get better, that nothing can help what they’re going through. I know it seems like you’re feeling the most alone and there’s no one you can ever talk to. But that’s all not true. Why do I think so?

Well… two reasons… three really.

I’ve been where you are. That’s the biggest reason I know. I have even tried before to end things. I was lucky in that I had an amazing friend who realized what was happening and came to me and stopped me from doing anything further. It’s not a fun place to be, and I know it really does seem like there’s nothing there to live for. But life can be hard, and one of the hardest things is pressing forward to keep going. In five, ten, twenty years you are most likely not even remember what was causing you such pain at this point in your life. The girl who dumped you and you felt life wasn’t living anymore? She’ll turn into a stupid whore and get fat. The jocks who tease you day after day? They top out in High School and never go anywhere with their lives. Just try to remember that this pain isn’t who you are, it isn’t what defines you. Take that pain and turn it into energy, turn it into strength, and determination. It can be useful to you.

The second reason? I see all of this on a regular basis. With my job a lot of the time people don’t know who to turn to, or their families get scared and dial 911. We come and try and talk and reason to people. Unfortunately in my state we are required to take anyone who makes threats of hurting themselves to the hospital. I had one last night that said we only did that because we wanted to make his life even worse. That couldn’t be any farther from the truth. The truth? We care. A lot of us care way more than is good for us. I hate seeing a young life wasted. I hate not being able to do something to help someone. And we have seen what happens in a moment of carelessness. We have seen lives that had so much promise, so much potential, just like yours, wasted. We don’t want that to happen to you. All of us do this because we genuinely want to help      people, and to be honest, I treat the calls I run for patients that want to hurt themselves more seriously than any other I run. Why? Because you deserve it. EMTs and Paramedics have become kind of like a safety net when someone is having mental problems. Use us. If you have no one else to call, call those three little numbers, call 9-1-1, talk to us. We are always willing to listen and help you. And if we can’t do anything to help you right then, we will get you to someone who can help you.

And third… Well, this is the hardest reason for me to write. I have been one that has been left behind when someone decides this life is just too much for them. Every day I wake up wondering what I did that someone I loved that much would do something like that. I wake up wondering why she didn’t  come to me and talk to me. I feel guilty I didn’t see something happening, take notice of what was going on. I am, after all, at      least slightly trained in that. The feeling that you get inside when you lose someone you love… it’s… well, put it this way, it broke me in a way that I didn’t think I could be broken. It almost pushed me to the point of following her. Do you really want to do that to your loved ones? Please don’t.

I have no idea if this will help anyone.. but I just want you all to know that there are people who care about you. People who love you more than life itself. People who would do anything to make you smile again. Open your eyes and look around. They are most likely waiting for you to notice them, and would be more than willing to help. If you are ever feeling to the point of harming yourself, please talk to someone, anyone. Hell, poke me on twitter if you are at the breaking point and just can’t take it.

No one deserves to end their life on this world like that. Like I have said, trust me, it doesn’t make things any easier for anyone. Everyone is special, everyone is amazing, and everyone deserves a chance to live to their fullest.

-TransportJockey, EMT-I

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Don’t ever hesitate to call or ask for help. . . here are some of the numbers you can call…

Depression Hotline: 1-630-482-9696
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-8433
Grief Support: 1-650-321-5272

Revisited: An Open Letter to Transport Jockey

I wish I could be where you are, to hug you, to turn on silly movies and watch them, to eat as much comfort and junk food as our bodies and wallets would allow. I wish I could be there for you right now, because I have been where you are. The thing I needed the most, was a hug from a complete stranger. I needed someone who may never see me again, so I could say what needed to be said and cry, so I didn’t have to be brave.

Being brave is the hardest part.

To be perfectly honest, I feel as if this heartache is my fault. I encouraged you to move closer to her, to change your world to be with the woman you love. Seeing you hurt now makes me feel horrible, I could have done so much to help protect your heart. For that, I apologise. I wanted nothing but the best for you and for her. I am so, so sorry.

The pain does get easier to deal with, but when you love someone, it never completely goes away. There will be good days, and there will be bad days. There will be days you want to yell and scream and cry, and others when you can feel them sitting next to you, laughing at your jokes.

This song takes my breath away, but it fits the situation so well. It’s okay to cry about it. This song is everything I want to say to Scott… and instead of hurting myself with negative thoughts and energy, I let Catitlin and Will sing it…

I stumbled across your old picture today, I could barely breathe, The moment stopped me cold,

Grabbed me like a thief. I dialed your number, but you wouldn’t be there,

I knew the whole time, but it’s still not fair, I just wanted to hear your voice,

I just needed to hear your voice.

What do I do with all I need to say, So much I wanna tell you everyday, Oh it breaks my heart,

I cry these tears in the dark, I write these letters to you, But they get lost in the blue,

‘Cause there’s no address in the stars.

Now I’m drivin’, Through the pitch black dark, I’m screaming at the sky

Oh cause it hurts so bad, Everybody tells me, Oh all I need is time,Then the mornin’ rolls in,

And it hits me again, And that aint nothin’ but a lie.

Without you here with me, I don’t know what to do. I’d give anything

Just to talk to you Oh it breaks my heart, Oh it breaks my heart,

But all I can do Is write these letters to you,

But there’s no address in the stars

I can only think of how beautiful the services are today, with it being memorial day weekend. Nothing makes me happier than seeing all
those flowers, all the wreaths, all of the beautiful extras left. The situation is hard, and painful, and impossible, but I hope you look around and see all the beauty, those aren’t just flowers, those are people who have been in the same place. They know your pain, they’ve been there.

This next part is how you heal. You have to take these painful, beautiful steps to move on. Believe it or not this is making you so much stronger, everyday. This is making you a more compassionate man, a better EMT and a more amazing human being.

You’ve already accepted that she’s looking and watching over you. When you feel the sun against your skin, thats her warmth against your skin, thats her love for you keeping you warm. When you see the rain, she’s accepting the pain you feel, and sharing her own. When you see the sky so blue you could see into heaven, you are. And when you lay down and can feel someone there with you, they are. Thats not in your head, thats in your heart, and your heart knows best.

God knew what he was doing when he put you here. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and you have to believe that you didn’t sign up for twitter, blogging and FB for nothing. You signed up for whatever reason and were blessed with so many friends and family who know you, your heart and your pain. We all love you. We all want to see you make it through this.

Nothing is more beautiful than the chance to tell a stranger everything, and have them return your pain with love, kindness and peace of mind. Nothing relieves an aching heart more than people like that. It’s hard to find the words to say, but when you do find them, find those people and share your words, your feelings, your story.

I love you. I hope you know that if you need anything I will get in my car and drive to where you are at. If you need to drive my home is always open to you. I’ve been there. I know the pain, I know the worry, the wonder and the confusion.

More than anything I know that it gets better, and one day the sun will shine, the sky will be so blue and you wont want to cry, you’ll want to look up to the sky and bask in its warmth. Until that beautiful, clarifying moment, I will be here whenever you need me to be.