Sunday, May 12, 2013

Of Mothers

I had a great Mother's Day.  My husband fixed me breakfast (fresh berries with cream, waffles, orange and mango juice, and sausage), bought a pizza so I wouldn't have to cook (if he didn't have to work today, he would have been the chef), and filled a vase with a dozen roses.  From the kids, I received a handmade card and a heart and many hugs.  I did a bunch of housework yesterday so I could laze around today.  With nothing to do, I was bored until I took the kids to a park and enjoyed the rare sunshine.  We did a lot of exploring and I was very happy with the view and unhurried time.

Mother's Day as a gown-up hasn't always been good for me.  There were a few years there when my husband and I weren't sure I could carry a baby.  I was only a mother to a cat and a houseplant.  I didn't go to church then.  I couldn't bear to hear talks about the joys of motherhood and the platitudes about "every woman is a mother" and "you'll have children in the next life."  Crap on that, where is my kid?

But I was lucky and had two wonderful kids and really, every day is Mother's Day.

Growing up, Mother's Day was a bit of a question mark for me--how do I celebrate this holiday?  My dad refused to participate in the day to honor his wife's children ("You're not my mother, why should I give you a Mother's Day card?" my dad would ask my mom).  Consequently, we kids would just give my mom whatever hastily assembled creations from our art class.  I always felt guilty, because I didn't know how to celebrate this mom.  She didn't protect me from my father's actions (which aren't what you may be thinking), and she participated in his actions (again, not what you are thinking).  She didn't have my best interests at heart.  She babied my father and didn't take care of me.  I was the black sheep of the family.  She made fun of me, and teased me.  She was not a source of love for me.

Now, however, she is a very good grandmother to my kids.  She has mellowed, and although she doesn't acknowledge the crap that happened when I was a kid, and she doesn't recognize the other emotional abuse, and doesn't remember hitting me, and still babies my father, she and I can have a normal phone conversation.  I am only just now able to make sense of this duality.  When I talk to her, I have to forget about the past, compartmentalize that, and focus on the mother I am speaking to now.  Which means that I have to process what happened in the past, not in the present.  The present can take care of itself.  I felt like looking for a Mother's Day card that said, "You are the reason I am in therapy," but Hallmark doesn't make that card.

I have also heard of people who don't have strong relationships with their mothers fill that void with mentors or Heavenly Mother or other strong female figures.  That, however, is impossible for me.  The idea of a female figure who loves me unconditionally and is worthy of my admiration is laughable.  I have never had that, and I doubt I will.  Whatever successes I have had have been due to me plowing ahead of the obstacles, not knowing how to get past them, but knowing that I had better suck it up and go on through.

Perhaps that image, the image of me gritting my teeth against the wind and plowing through the obstacles of my life, the problematic relationships, going to grad school, navigating parenthood, learning how to caretake myself, maybe that image is my own image of motherhood.  That I am my own model for how a mother can be.

Friday, May 10, 2013

How Many Times Can I See My Psychiatrist in One Week?

It feels like it's been a long time since I rapped at you (that's my attempt at being hip from 1970), but I guess it has only been a week.  Here is what happened since then:

Friday--met with my psychiatrist who was only mildly surprised that I went off my abilify three days before.  I felt fine, and I worried about the weight gain.  She was going to supervise my discontinuance anyway, so it was all okay.

Friday night--I chose to also go off my celexa and my lamictal.  I was feeling like I didn't need it anymore, that I was doing just fine.  I wondered if I really was making myself worse than I was.  Maybe this whole going to therapy, seeing a psychiatrist thing was ridiculous.  Maybe if I just stayed strong (and got some sleep), then I would be fine.  Better than fine.  Maybe I needed to cut myself some slack.  How did the pioneers manage?  I could do just fine without all this therapy crap.  I just need to nap and suck it up.

(Sunday--I wrote my pensamientos here in this blog.)

Monday morning--I called my psychiatrist wondering if increased suicidal thoughts were the result of going off my meds.  (She said no, but she wasn't thrilled about my stopping my meds.)  I agreed to go back on my celexa and lamictal.  I white-knuckle my way through class.  I have to concentrate on the lecture; otherwise, my mind goes to wondering how I'm going to get home without intentionally crashing into an overpass on the freeway.  During film clips that I show in class, I try to plan not killing myself--should I call my husband and ask him to pick me up from work?

Tuesday morning--I met with my psychiatrist (as we scheduled yesterday).  She wanted me to go back on risperdol, three times a day.  This is designed to get those pesky suicidal urges to quiet down.  Still some white-knuckling in class.

Tuesday afternoon--I met with my therapist.  This was more of an information-gathering session, since it had been since the 16th that I met with her.  I doubted that therapy would help, but thought I'd give it a try.

Wednesday--some white-knuckling through class, but not as bad.

Thursday morning--at my psychiatrist's request, I meet with her again.  My suicidal urges have indeed quieted down.  She is more than a pill pusher, she really listens and does brief therapy.  My assignment, among others, is to ask myself where those negative, judgmental thoughts come from.

Rest of Thursday--I practice what she suggested.  I have some suicidal urges, but when I do, I sincerely ask myself where those thoughts come from.  Whenever I have a judgmental thought (about myself, about others), I ask myself where those thoughts come from.  I remind myself that even though I was mis-parented, I chose to create change so that when I became a parent, I would break the cycle.  So, if I can cause change in my parenting, I can cause change in how I see myself and relate to myself.  It was a good session this morning.

Today--my day off from work.  I was very lazy and watched crappy daytime TV and snoozed on the couch.  It was a wonderful day.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday Pensamientos

I just realized something.  With these pensamientos, I hope I don't come across as preachy or arrogant.  In this blog, which is truly a diary of sorts, I write of things of interest of me.  If these thoughts, these meditations and pensamientos are of interest to you, I am doubly pleased, but please do not think I am trying to endorse any one way of thinking.  I hope I have never given that message. I don't fancy myself a missionary or online visiting teacher.  (I look ridiculous in a nametag, and I make terrible cookies.)


I was in sacrament meeting today, and after all the kids had their turn at open-mike night, one of the grown-ups, seizing what time was left to bear testimonies, mentioned 3 Nephi 11.  To be honest, I hadn't really thought of that chapter in a long time.  I know it is a classic, but frankly, I have problems with the Book of Mormon, which I won't go into here.  But I have always loved 3 Nephi 11.  That whole section of the Book of Mormon is kind of like the New Testament, which I really like.

So, 3 Nephi 11.  Here is the part that I am highlighting today:

"...there was a great multitude gathered the land Bountiful, and they were marveling and wondering with one another....And they were also conversing about this Jesus Christ....

And...while they were thus conversing..., they heard a voice as if it came out of heaven,...and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice, being a small voice it did pierce them that did hear to the center....

[A]gain they heard the voice, and they understood it not....[T]he third time they did hear the voice and did open their ears to hear it, and their eyes were towards the sound...they did look steadfastly towards heaven, from whence the sound came.

And behold, the third time they did understand the voice...."

I like this because, to me, it outlines how I can learn more about Jesus.  First, I have to be prepared to learn from the spirit.  I have to be marveling and wondering and conversing about Jesus.  I will then be in the proper frame to receive new knowledge.  I will receive that new knowledge, but I probably won't understand it.  That's okay, because the knowledge will continue, the voice from heaven will not stop.  The knowledge, that spiritual manifestation will not be annoying or harsh or loud, but it will get my attention.  Finally, I will understand the spirit.

This seems to have been true in my life.  When I am prepared (prepared in my own way, not how someone else says I should be prepared), then I can receive spiritual knowledge.  Usually, I can grasp it, when I have questions and concerns that don't seem to be answered, I need to keep trying to get the knowledge.

Currently, I feel like I understand enough of my world so that I don't need answers, but underlying existential questions pop up just enough to keep me from being fully happy being LDS.  So, I guess from this scripture, I need to be in that spiritual state by conversing, marveling, and wondering about Jesus, I need to look for that quiet voice, and I need to be patient with myself if I don't understand the voice right away.  It may take me awhile--patience, Erin!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Not My Brain This Time--It's My Mind...

...or so I think.  Saw my psychiatrist today and she thought I'd been dissociating as a way to cope with underlying bad feelings.  I told her about my choice to accept the bad thoughts, to agree with them, to really absorb all that they told me, to quit fighting them, and to really believe that, yes, I am a bad person.  She was okay with the choice to accept them, but not the part about me believing in them.  She was worried about that and the dissociating.

I told her that I quit the abilify three days ago and she was okay with that.  I still chose to stay on the lamictal and the celexa, and she was okay with that, too.

You know, I've been fine for weeks, ever since I made this decision to stop fighting and to believe in the thoughts.  Very fine.  No bad thoughts, no feeling sad.  I was even fine at the appointment today.  But on the way home, I felt very numb and detached.  So I spent the afternoon watching Parenthood DVD's and eating McDonald's.  I still feel that way, except with a side order of sadness.

I chose to accept the bad thoughts, I chose to believe the bad thoughts, I chose to go off one med and stay on the rest.  But I didn't choose to feel numb, sad, and detached.  I wish there was something else I could choose.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thursday Pensamientos

"There are no new problems."


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Pensamientos

In sacrament meeting today, one of the speakers woke me up by mentioning a woman I had barely remembered, Ardeth Kapp, who was the Young Women's president when I was in college.  I don't remember much of her--whether she was one of those with the "primary voices," or if she was vibrant, or what.  I just have a positive feeling attached to her name, so she must have meant something to me, or maybe she was associated with a positive time for me.

At any rate, she is the author of today's pensamiento (which for the new to this blog, is Spanish for "thought," "pondering," or "meditation.").  She speaks of applying the lessons from the early LDS pioneers to our own pioneer experiences.  :

"And what of our Winter Quarters and Zion's Camp experiences? Times of difficulty try the faith of all who profess to be Latter-day Saints and follow the prophets. We are walking in the well-worn paths of those who preceded us in the quest for Zion. Help and comfort are available to us through sources beyond our own immediate strength, just as they were for those who have gone before us.

It has been said that trials are at the core of saintliness. Through our covenant relationship with Jesus Christ, we do all that we can do, and by the grace of God he does the rest."

I imagine a pioneer walking across a river, footing unstable, but grasping the hand of a strong arm from a preceding pioneer reaching out to her, pulling her across.  I imagine that we are all helping each other, and that Jesus Christ is that arm that completely pulls us across that difficult place.  

Friday, April 26, 2013

LDS Church Endorses Boy Scout Compromise on Gay Scouts

In case you missed the SL Tribune article and the Mormon News Room's announcement, here is some wonderful news  (this is quoted from The Salt Lake Tribune, 4/26/2013):

"The compromise proposal from the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay youths to join local troops — while continuing to exclude gay leaders — has picked up a powerful backer: the LDS Church.
The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the nation’s largest Scouting sponsor, announced late Thursday that it is "satisfied" with the BSA’s plan."