Back At It

Hello! My god, I haven’t posted on this blog in forever. I made my new blog so that I could separate my posts about motherhood from personal posts, but I guess I’ve learned that once you have a child, there is no separating your parenthood from your personal life. In a way it’s wonderful to be tied to someone like that (I mean, she’s literally 50% me), but on the other hand it’s a little exhausting.

I guess this post will be more of a rant if anything.

So this semester is my first time taking a full course load (12 credits) in a year. I honestly thought I could handle it, but I’m starting to find that I really, really can’t.

Here are the reasons why I’m freaking the fuck out:

1) More credits

Last semester I only took 6 credits online. The spring before that I took 12 in class. But there’s a difference.

The 6 I took last semester were psychology classes, and I already have a good foundation of psychology behind me. I already knew, for the most part, what was going on, or I would just have to build on my existing knowledge. Now, I’m planning on switching majors to business (marketing to be exact), and I have absolutely no experience with college level business courses. So not only are there more, but they’re all brand new, and require a COMPLETELY different frame of thinking than my psychology classes did.

2) Online

The 2 classes I took online last semester were nothing. I already had a lot of previous knowledge and they were pretty simple for the most part. Plus, they were both “pace yourself” classes with no fixed schedules.

The classes I’m taking this semester are COMPLETELY different. They have weekly schedules and deadlines to meet, and there are a lot more assignments than my previous classes had. I’m finding it exceedingly difficult to be able to keep up with the course work.

I feel like if I had taken these classes in-class rather than online I would be under a lot less stress, because in class I would have people to talk to and a lecture to listen to, but in my house, not only do I have to combat the feeling of general laziness, but I have my daughter to take care of.

3) Ember

My baby is not even 3 months old yet. She requires A LOT of care. Her day works like this: nap for 1 to 2 hours, wake up, eat, poop, play, sleep again. Repeat. High school had gotten me adjusted to this “do all of your homework in one sitting” mindset, and that worked for me for 5 years. Now all of a sudden it’s “constantly start and stop, and sometimes stop in the middle of a thought because the baby is crying”. Ember has finally gotten into the habit of sleeping 5-6 hours in a row at night, every night like clockwork starting at midnight. For the first week I thought “Maybe if I try to get it all done during that time span I’ll be good”. But no, no I won’t. Turns out staying up all night when you have a baby will kill you during the day.

When Ember is awake, she wants to be entertained. She will actually cry of boredom. I have to play with her. If I sit her down in front of the TV, she’ll usually stop fussing and watch, but the thing is that I don’t want to do that to my baby. I don’t want her to be a brain-dead TV head before she’s even 1 year old. I’ve considered dropping her off at my relative’s house some days of the week so I can go to a library or something a study in peace, but the weather is so bad that every time she goes out she ends up getting sick and I can’t let that happen.

So pretty much, I am a nervous wreck.

My anxiety had gotten better over the past month, but recently it’s almost been right back where it used to be.

Thankfully I don’t have suicidal thoughts like I used to. It was a really rough 2 months after Ember was born, but thankfully I’ve been able to pull myself out of that. This anxiety is more like an, “I am so stressed and I have so much to do that I literally can’t function thinking about all the stuff I have to do”.

People don’t understand how dangerous the “depression/anxiety” pair works when it comes to academics.

The depression, by itself, leaves me hollow and unfeeling. It leaves me paralyzed in bed unable to move, sometimes so numb that I let my daughter cry for about 10 minutes before I have the strength to get up and give her whatever she wants.

The anxiety, by itself, makes my body start to overheat, and I start having panic attacks over the smallest things. Little arguments can make me cry and hyperventilate. Thinking about something stressful can make me heat up and start nervously scratching myself until I bleed.

The depression and anxiety together puts me in bed, with no energy, scratching myself until my arms bleed while my head hurts trying to strategize a way to get all my work done in time. Once I have my mental homework schedule planned out, I remain in bed, still without energy, and panic, constantly revising my schedule because I lack the mental capacity to execute it with efficiency. When I finally get the energy to get my textbook out, the words are blurry and my mind is racing with panic and I start to cry because I am so worried about failing that the thought of failing is what is actually leading to my failure.

You can read that paragraph and tell me I’m insane, and others will probably agree with you, but I swear to god that describes me on a good week.

I feel in my heart that I won’t go spiraling into a pit of suicidal depression again, but I’m feeling such a horrible stress I’ve never felt before, and I honestly don’t know where it will lead me.

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Kicked Down on the Road Less Traveled

The other day I went to visit one of my favorite teachers from high school. He looked at me and gave me a hug and asked how I was doing, and he said, “How is your gestation going?”

Of course I expected this question. And I told him I was doing good, and he smiled and I could see that he was trying to look happy for me, but I could also see the worry in his eyes and the care he took in choosing his words.

“I’ve been keeping track of you on Facebook, just making sure you’re okay.”
“It seems like you have a strong family and friend support network, that’s really good. I’m happy to hear.”
“I’m sure you’re going to miss life up there at Tech, but you can always visit and maybe go back one day right?”
“You’re a very smart and sweet girl, I know you can succeed.”

These are all common questions and statements and I appreciate the concern, but it’s all just subtle ways of trying to comfort me and trying to comfort himself. I’ve been getting this from everyone.

Then he asked, “Do you remember the poem we read in class? ‘The Road Not Taken’?”

Of course I did.

“This is you taking the road less traveled by, and it will make all the difference, and it could be a good thing. Maybe it could be the best thing that’s ever happened.”

It was funny; he’s a very intelligent guy, I kind of anticipated he’d bring some form of poetry or history into the conversation at some point.

I loved that he did. I loved how he was trying to be encouraging and I loved that he smiled when he looked at me. But it’s all the same.

I have friends that look at me with smiles on their faces yet their eyes are downcast. I’ve heard, “You’re a very smart girl, you can do this” so many times that if I had a dollar for every time someone said it, I could send my kid to college. It’s come to the point where it almost feels like they’re not trying to reassure me as much as they’re trying to reassure themselves.

The other day I was having a conversation with my friend. He was talking about his college problems, then suddenly he goes, “Oh, I feel insensitive talking about my problems when yours are so much more severe.”

Um, thanks?

And I’ve gotten this multiple times! Friends talking about their problems, then looking at me and going, “Oh, but yeah I know you have things worse sorry for complaining.”

And it just kind of, you know, hurts.

Like, damn.

I’m doing my best to be as happy and positive about this as I can. I know I’m a smart girl. I know I’m capable of raising this child at a young age and I know I will still live a good life. I know that I got problems, but it’s just kind of irritating when people bring them up all the time, especially the assumed severity of them.

“Yeah, college loans are killing me. But I know that’s nothing compared to the cost of a baby.”
“Yeah, I’m worried college isn’t working out. My grades were so bad I’m worried I’ll get on academic probation… Oh, but you had to drop out right? What will you do about school? I feel bad for talking about this when I’m still in school.”

God, talk about kicking someone while they’re down.

I love my friends. I love that they’re so supportive and caring. But I wish they’d stop looking at me and talking to me like I’m wounded, because sometimes they make me believe that I really am. And I am strong and I am fierce and I am brilliant, but I can only take so much with everyone beating me down, no matter how subtly it’s happening.

I know this is a hard situation, for everyone involved. No one ever saw this coming. None of my friends know anyone in a similar situation, so no one knows how to handle it. Everyone’s trying to tiptoe around me because they don’t want to risk stumbling over and falling on me and crushing my spirit.

What I want is for my friends to be genuinely happy for me. And I know that they’re supportive and I know that they love me and I know that they’ll do whatever they can to help, but I just don’t want these vibes of, “Watch what you say around her, you don’t want to kick her while she’s down.” Oh the irony.

All I want is for people to stop looking at me as if I’ve gone down the wrong path, when really I’ve just gone down the one different from their own.

Life Is Hard

As I mentioned in my previous posts, I am an expecting mother.

I thought it would be hard, but for some reason I didn’t think it would be this hard.

It all started when I checked my final grades for the semester this morning *sobs*.

I got two 79% grades. No.

My immediate thought flashed back to when I first found out I was pregnant. That was the day before I had 2 exams in those classes. Talk about inconvenient. So obviously I couldn’t study because my head wasn’t in it, and the following, oh I don’t know, probably month or so I was an emotional wreck because I just found out I was going to be a teen mother and drop out of school for an unknown period of time to raise a child.

I couldn’t help thinking, “If I had waited to take the test or if I had only taken it earlier, then I wouldn’t have been in that state of shock and devastation, and I could have not failed those tests and had enough to get solid B’s instead of those fucking teases of grades.”

A lot of my friends are over-achievers and they would’ve been devastated with their grades too, but I’m especially tormented by these percentages because unlike them, I don’t know where I’ll go next year. I have to transfer to the school nearby because I can’t have a baby and raise it by myself at my college when it’s a 4 hour drive away. I ended my freshman year with a 2.6 GPA and to be quite honest things aren’t looking good about getting into the close-by university.

The second thing that drove me into panic was when I was trying to find a part-time job. Of course I think future employers would cut me a little slack if I don’t do anything this summer since I’m physically limited, but I just feel like I should take some responsibility and do something. All the jobs I want because they would help with my major (aka childcare related jobs) would be bad because I can’t watch kids when I’m nauseous and tired all the time. I don’t even think I could do a simple retail job because it’s not healthy for me to be on my feet for long periods of time, but I know how demanding retail is. At this point I don’t think there are jobs I can take without any repercussions, and it makes me feel awful.

At the same time, this gives me great(er) respect for single moms that had to do this all on their own. For those girls that got pregnant and didn’t have overwhelming family and friend support like I have right now, that had to work through hell and back and do their best to support their child. I imagine these women doing minimum-wage shit jobs while their legs swell and their back breaks, that have kids waiting for them to come home. I sit here complaining, while my parents are insisting I stay home and relax to have a smooth gestation, and they’re even signing me up for birthing classes and prenatal yoga. Teenage pregnancy doesn’t get any easier than this tbh.

On one hand I feel truly ungrateful for what I have, but on another I just feel… spoiled. I feel like I’m not suffering enough for this.

Then on another hand, I’m angry that that has to be in my mind. You see all these horror stories on TV about girls getting kicked out of their homes by their families and abandoned by their boyfriends and are forced to work multiple jobs to support a family they weren’t ready for. But why? Why is teenage pregnancy the biggest shame? People preach peace and tolerance but they don’t practice it. Once I even got an, “I hope you don’t abort it” from someone. Literally all I did was tell them that I was pregnant, and they threw that at me.

This is a hard situation for me. This is a stressful time in my life, and it’s not going to get better any time soon. I guess all I can do is hold my head high and roll with what life deals me.

Where Am I?

As of right now, I am 10 weeks and 5 days pregnant. All my books and websites say at this point my baby is the size of a kumquat, but I have no idea what the hell that is. [UPDATE: I googled it. Never had one, but they’re adorable. They’re like grape-sized oranges.]

The other week, I went to my first gynecology appointment. As I was sitting in the waiting room, I looked around and really noticed who I was surrounded by. To my left, a woman exhausted trying to keep a toddler sitting still with one hand on his shirt and the other on her protruding stomach. To my right, a gorgeous woman with a real pregnant glow — the kind you hear about in magazines and in movies — wearing a beautiful pink floral sundress and wearing 3 inch heels despite the fact that she looked about ready to pop. Looked probably in her late 20’s. Behind me, a woman with her husband holding hands while their two children sit across from them sharing a bag of chips. In a back corner, a woman that pulled out a huge blanket and spread it on the floor and put her baby on it, then proceeded to pour out at least 10 different toys onto her child.

No matter who I looked at, I noticed something they all had in common: They were much older than me.

There I sat, a little 18 year old in a neon pink raincoat and a Hello Kitty hat, 9 weeks pregnant with no idea what I’m doing. I felt a sense of shame, and panic.

I remembered at the beginning of last school year, I heard that this girl I’ve been going to school with since middle school got pregnant and had a baby. I thought, “Wow, how awful. Poor thing, life is gonna be so hard for her.” You know, all the stereotypical things to worry about and question for a pregnant teenager. And then I felt bad, realizing that now, hey, here I am.

After my exam, they gave me an bag full of pamphlets and information about being a first-time mom with some information about support groups for teenage moms. I had about another hour in the waiting room while I waited for my friend to pick me up, and I started reading some things when I noticed another girl come out of the office holding the same bag as me. She couldn’t have been much older than me, definitely had the feel of a student. She was wearing one of our school shirts.

That’s when I remembered. Soon after I found out, I actually (very awkwardly) messaged the girl I knew that got pregnant on Facebook and told her my situation and asked if she had any advice. And I’ll never forget what she said.

“Relax. You aren’t the first, and you won’t be the last.”

Which is 100000000000000000000000000000% true.

There are resources out there. There are friends and family. I am in no way alone. I can do this.

When I started college, I was asking myself what my legacy would be. What would I be remembered for from my peers?

I’ve always been “that quiet kid.” That “weird girl that doesn’t really say much.” “A little awkward.”

Never in my life have I wanted to be, “That girl that got pregnant in school.”

Of course I can’t decide my own legacy, but here’s what I want it to be:

That girl that got pregnant freshman year of college, and she had a beautiful baby and she finished school and now she has a successful career and a beautiful family.

Look out world, because that’s going to be me. Because I’m strong, and that’s exactly how I’m going to raise my child. No one will look down on us.

Baby’s First Therapy Session

Though countless counselors have been recommending I get professional help since I was in middle school, I had my first therapy appointment last week.

I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and social anxiety.

It was nothing I didn’t anticipate.

I was very interested in the experience though. Of course, I answered completely and wholeheartedly with nothing less than the entire truth, but I was very cognizant of how she was speaking to me. I aspire to be a therapist in the future. Everything she said and did was of vital importance to me.

Mostly, it was an hour full of her asking me question and giving me suggestions about how to approach things that make me happy. She told me that if I was with any other psychologist, they would most likely have put me on medication, but she didn’t want to. Instead she gave me a long list of lifestyle changes I can do to naturally increase my serotonin levels (the hormone in your body that produces pleasure/happiness etc). Just basic stuff, like dietary changes, exercise habits, maybe listening to music or meditation etc. I found it very interesting.

I’ve gotten a list of professionals to see here in college now that I’m off vacation. They say it would be good for me to continue seeing people.

When I told one of my friends what the diagnosis was, he replied with something I didn’t expect anyone to:

Were you at all surprised by those results?

He didn’t say it in a sarcastic or mean way, but he was genuinely curious. And to be honest, no, I wasn’t. I mean, I can take a hint. Ever since I was 12 school counselors and teachers have been telling my parents to send me to get professional help, and all this time not seeing one, I’ve just been assuming that something was horribly wrong with me.

Hearing the therapist say I was clinically depressed was almost exciting. It almost justified all those years of crying all night and all those panic attacks and all those terrors.

Hopefully now that I’m finally seeing someone, I can begin the path to recovery.

No-Good Rotten Good-For-Nothing Week

Everything pretty much fell apart this week. Everything that was good and bright about college just fell apart.

I’ll start from the beginning.

Last week, my boyfriend told me he was going to come on Friday night and spend the weekend with me. I was overjoyed. I’ve been so sad and stressed here and a little R&R time with the boyfriend sounded nice.

I had 2 exams on Monday, and one on Tuesday. I was dreading every minute of it.

BIOLOGY: There are 4 exams for my biology class. At the end, the lowest grade gets dropped. I got a 60 on my first exam, but I was optimistic. I told myself, “It’s okay, it was your very first college test you were nervous. This time you’ll really buckle down and do great.” So I studied my ass off the night before. The professor even allows us to have a double sided cheat sheet to take the exam, and I filled mine up and I felt good taking the exam. I looked at my grade on Wednesday, and I had gotten a 57. A fucking 57. All that hard work and optimism shut down. I cried for a long time.

PSYCHOLOGY: I’m a psychology major. Of course I want to do good on my psychology tests. Same story with biology: super stressed, 68 as the first test score, told myself I’d do better. Now I haven’t gotten my grade back yet, but I don’t feel good about it. Same story about studying my ass off and eating myself alive the night before, but when I was taking the test I was always double checking myself because all the terms sound so similar. I feel awful just thinking about it.

MATH: I actually got a 94 on my math test. But just to be a butt and complain about something, I knew how to do the problem I got wrong but I did a calculation incorrectly, so it was entirely my fault.

Plus, I accidentally overslept for the first time and missed a class. I mean according to my friend I missed nothing important, but I still felt horrible about missing it.

Now for the social part.

The start of my downfall was when my boyfriend called Wednesday night saying that he can’t come for the weekend anymore. I didn’t think it would, but it devastated me. That was when I realized I was more homesick than I thought I was. The thought of spending Friday and Saturday night without him made me feel so cold and lonely, and I craved going back home and curling under my big puffy blankets. We got in a huge fight, which resulted in me crying for 2 hours and waking up with bleeding and sore arms.

The rest of my spiral downwards involves my friends. We were all planning to lease an apartment to live together next year, and everything seemed perfect until we couldn’t figure out who was living where. I can’t even completely explain the situation because it was so fucking confusing (worse than my prom night if you read that post) and it resulted in everyone angry and frustrated with each other and me leaving the group. Now I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing next year, and I’m mad at almost every friend I made this year. I plan to lock myself in my room tomorrow and hibernate and forget that they exist.

I was so excited for college. I felt smart, bright, optimistic, social, and happy. But now I feel sad, stupid, and lonely.

Something I’ve wanted to tell my friends here is that I’m depressed.

That I had to talk to counselors all throughout middle and high school because I was so depressed I often thought about killing myself.

Tell them that I’ve actually tried killing myself.

Tell them that every night, I lay in bed trying to sleep, but I can’t because I’m plagued by thoughts of happiness and home and family and these thoughts are immediately followed by crying and suicidal desires.

I can’t tell them that I’ve tried killing myself here. In my room. I had a bottle of Clorox to my lips, and I was so angry and so frustrated and so upset that I took the smallest sip. That shit burned like acid. It was worse than a shot (which I regret knowing the taste of) and I immediately spit it out and started crying. Gross, heaving sobs.

I want to leave. Not this school but this earth. I just haven’t been happy for a long time.

1 + 1

“Depression is when you don’t really care about anything. Anxiety is when you care too much about everything and having both is just like… Having both is staying in bed because you don’t want to go to school and then panicking because you don’t want to fail. Having both is wanting to go see your friends so you don’t lose them all, then staying home in bed because you don’t want to make the effort. Having both is insanely hard and sucks to deal with.” Source

 

Well, I have both.

Last night I went to sleep feeling like shit. This morning, I woke up feeling like shit.

Last night I felt like shit because I was insanely homesick. My family came for the day to visit, and I felt sick afterwards. I woke up in the morning feeling literally sick. I had the worst headache. It was like an emotion-induced hangover. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I didn’t want to go to breakfast with friends. I didn’t want to go to class. I was coughing and sneezing and I had a stomachache. It was horrible.

But I wanted to get up. I wanted to see my friends. And I wanted to go to class. And I did all of those, but it didn’t feel like I did. There was a buzzing in my head the entire time, and it was like I was still sleeping but I wasn’t. I was half-convinced I was dreaming for a portion of the day, but I wasn’t. It was like I was walking in a dream. It was like I was in a coma. I was unresponsive, and when I did talk it only made my head hurt. Going to class wasn’t okay either. I felt like I couldn’t see a thing, and whenever I wanted to answer I question there was this horrible pain in the back of my head. It felt like I knew the answer but there was a physical wall blocking it from coming to the front of my mind.

After all my daily obligations were through, I went back to my room and climbed in bed. I didn’t do homework, I didn’t sleep. I didn’t eat or draw, and I’m not entirely sure if I was thinking coherent thoughts. That state lasted roughly 4 hours. When I was “conscious”, I noticed my roommate was sitting on her desk watching Supernatural on her laptop. I didn’t even notice her come in.

Now it’s 10:30pm and I haven’t done a thing. It feels like I haven’t done a thing all day. And I feel horrible about it. When I read the quote I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I was surprised how accurate it was. I want to do something but I can’t, and I don’t even know why. It feels like there’s something compressing my brain, and there’s this horrible pounding. I want to read and I want to write and I want to draw and call someone and text people and message my friends and eat for God’s sake, but I can’t.

Before coming to college my mom had sent me all these articles with advice for college freshmen. One article said that it’s normal for college freshmen’s grades to drop because of temporary depression and homesickness. They’re still panicking about being thrown in a new environment, even if they don’t know it yet.

Depression + anxiety = coma

Together they cause a sickness that leaves the host physically able yet mentally vacant.

I’m going to do my homework. I’m going to sleep as soon as the words stop making sense and the world starts falling apart the way it always does.