So Lonely

I’ve been feeling very lonely lately. Struggling with the feeling that I matter, that I’m worth something. That I’m important.

And I’ve talked to Robby about it lately but it hasn’t helped. He’s been sweet about it, telling me that I matter, hugging me, but it just hasn’t helped. Because he’s been the one making me feel lonely. He keeps withdrawing from me, putting up this wall that I can’t get through. So I just keep trying harder. Trying to be noticed. Trying to do everything, and do it all right.

And tonight was a catastrophe, which I won’t get into, but I ended up telling him how I’ve been feeling. That he makes me feel lonely because he shuts me out. That I feel like if I don’t try and connect with him, that we will just be here but never really together. And how it’s so confusing because some days he will want to be intimate, will really be himself, will be comfortable with our relationship. But then the next he will act as though he’s just going through the motions.

And I want to take care of him, to love him, but it hurts so much to feel like he just takes and takes without giving back. Without being sincere.

Because he never follows through. He says he’s going to make changes, says he’s going to do this and that, and for a little bit he does. But then it stops. He stops being a partner in our relationship. Stops trying. And it just goes back to the way it was, with me trying so desperately to bring him back.

And I shouldn’t have to bring him back. All I want is for him to be here, really here. And every time he pulls back, or stops trying, or leaves me emotionally, it hurts.

It hurts so much.

And to be honest, I don’t know how many times I can go through this. It seems like it happens every year. But words are just words, and I have to look at the actions. And I don’t want to reach my limit. I don’t want to have to accept that it’s never going to change. So I’m going to keep trying, keep loving him, and most importantly keep telling him when he hurts me. And maybe it will get better and be real this time. But I’m so afraid that I’m going to end up alone, whether alone in our relationship time and time again, or truly alone. Without him.

Have a Sweet ’16

I’ve seen lots of posts about how people hated 2015, or about their resolutions for 2016, but I’ve only seen one post that I like.

Make a list of things that make you happy. Then make a list of things you do every day. Compare the lists and adjust.

And I love that. It’s such a better idea than a resolution. To me, a resolution is telling yourself that you have to live up to a certain standard. That you have to be a certain way. It almost feels like you are telling yourself you aren’t good enough. As if you need fixing. But this way seems like you are working toward joy.

So I guess my joy list is something like this

  1. Art- I love art, but I don’t usually give myself the time to do something so frivolous
  2. Being strong- I love knowing that my body is capable of greatness. I love surprising others with that greatness. Gym, here I come!
  3. Robby. We spend lots of time together, which is fabulous, but I really want to work on just enjoying the moment with him.
  4. Education- I love to learn. I really do, and always have, so I want to learn things this year. Whether that means learning a skill, going to a museum, or reading a book, I want to learn things.
  5. Nature- I love everything to do with nature, and I want to spend more time in it. Plants, animals, the great outdoors, I want to enjoy it all.

And I guess that’s it. Those are the things I want to focus on in 2016.

What about you?

I’m Scared

Yesterday, something scary happened to me.

Rob and I went out to breakfast at Steak n Shake, and I ordered a Peppermint Chip Milkshake (one of my favorite things by the way). I hadn’t eaten anything yet, and I was super excited about the shake, so I pretty much downed it. A few minutes after I finished it, I started feeling really weird. I was trying to cut out a coupon and I could make my hands line up the scissors. I couldn’t turn the paper. My eyes wouldn’t focus. Then my hands started shaking and my head felt unattached from my body. I managed to say “Some thing’s wrong” to Rob, but when he asked me “What?”, I said “I don’t know, just some thing’s wrong”. I had a really hard time talking, but I managed to say that my head and my stomach felt hollow, that the insides (the bones?) of my arms felt cold, that my eyes weren’t focusing, that I was confused. That I couldn’t move. My brain was trying to tell my arms to move, to and they weren’t responding. It was like nothing in my body was working. I felt like parts of the room were zooming in and out.

I was terrified. I felt like I had lost control of my body, and I didn’t know if my body was going to keep shutting down. I was scared I was going to lose consciousness. Rob said he thought my blood sugar had dropped drastically and that I would be okay, to just breathe. I asked him to hold my hands, and he did. He said I was pale. Nothing was making sense. Rob had me drink some water, but it was hard for me to move my hand and I had no strength in my grasp. Then I couldn’t figure out why I was cold until Rob pointed out that I was still holding my cup of ice water.

Our food finally came, and Rob told me to eat some chicken, that it would help me bring up my blood sugar if that was what the issue was. When I tried to pick up the chicken, my hands were shaking and I had to put it down and try again. I had a really hard time holding onto the sandwich because I had no grip in my hands. After a few minutes of eating, though, I felt like my brain was clearing. I didn’t feel normal, but I could focus my eyes again. My stomach hurt really badly, and I would feel cold off and on, but when we left I was able to stand and walk on my own. Before I ate the chicken, I could barely move my arms, and there was no way I would have been able to stand.

Rob called his dad when we got to the car and his dad suggested that we get some orange juice, so we went to Walmart. In the car, my arms wouldn’t stop shaking and I wasn’t sure if it was because of being cold or because of what was going on. I didn’t want to be left alone because I was scared by what had happened, so we went in together. I walked very slowly, and I was still very confused when we were in the store. I drank the juice as Rob drove us to the doctor, and I was still really weak and confused. We went in, and I couldn’t really explain what happened so Rob took over and I asked if I could sit down. I could see the concern on the nurses’ faces.

They took me back right away, and took my vitals. My BP was a little high, but I think that was mainly because I was so scared. They tested my sugar and it was 106, which is within normal ranges. They said they would expect it to be a little higher, but it was still normal. They decided not to send me to the ER, but to send me home since my vitals were back to normal. They said I shouldn’t be alone and if it happens again, I need to go to the ER.

I’ve talked to a few people and done some research and everything points to hypoglycemia in response to food. It looks like my body over-produced insulin and sent my blood sugar way too low. I was told by my girlie doctor just last week that I should be tested for insulin resistance, and now this happened.

I want to get tests done to figure out for sure what happened, because aside from losing Jamie, that was the scariest medical thing I have ever been through. I had no control over my body and if Robby hadn’t been there I don’t know what I would have done. I’m planning to call the doctor tomorrow and ask for (demand?) blood tests for insulin resistance, diabetes, glucose tolerance, and postprandial hypoglycemia (my friend who is Type 1 told me to ask for that test). I’m just worried that the doctor is going to brush me off. Or that they won’t order the tests for me. I’m just scared that I won’t get answers and that I will be at the risk of just waiting for this to happen again. I think I’m scared of being out of control. Of knowing that I’m just waiting for something to go wrong. Plus, I had to call in to work, and that makes me nervous. I guess I’m just scared to be kept in limbo. Not knowing what to expect, not knowing what is wrong.

Just not knowing.

Can You Slap A Pregnant Woman?

A co-worker of mine is pregnant. They got married at the end of August and the baby is due at the beginning of June. I don’t have a problem with that.

What I do have a problem with, is this: the whole summer when she was planning her wedding, she kept venting to me and saying she wasn’t sure why she was going through with it. That she wasn’t even sure she wanted to marry him. She was angry and frustrated and questioning their relationship. And now she has been saying that she is regretting getting pregnant so quickly. That she wishes that she would have planned better, that she should have thought things through.

I hate the fact that she is pregnant already, but I hate even more that she is regretting having the baby. And I doubt that she actually regrets the baby, because she’s talked about being a mom for a while. I just feel like she’s rushed into this, which she admits, and is just setting up the baby for a rough life.  After losing Jamie, it just hurts so much to watch this unfold every day at work. To see someone regret the child growing inside them. Because it’s something we would not regret. She gets pregnant super easily and is now bringing a baby into an unsteady relationship, and Rob and I want a baby more than we can say and we have very little chance of having a baby. It just sucks. It makes me want to walk up to her and slap her for being so ungrateful. For not cherishing that little life inside of her. I would give almost anything to have Jamie back again, or to have another child, and she is complaining.

It makes me feel twisted and dark inside. Like I’m filling up with bitterness. And I know I should pray for her, for her situation to improve, and I am trying. I really am trying. Because I do want her to be happy, and I want so badly for that baby to have a good life, but I am so angry. I am so hurt. And oh Lord, I am so bitter.

Baby?

It’s hard not to think about having kids. It’s something Rob and I both want, but at the same time feel we can’t have. At least, not right now.

We tried to conceive several years ago after we lost Jamie, and found out that I don’t ovulate, at least not with any regularity. That, combined with several other factors, led us to the decision that we should hold off on having children for a few years. When we talked about it again, we both kind of mutually agreed that we would adopt.

But now the subject has come up again, and I’ve been thinking about rainbow babies. Carrying a baby inside of me. I know it seems irrational, because we have all these good, logical reasons why adopting makes more sense, but maybe this doesn’t have to be logical.

A co-worker of mine is pregnant, and when I saw her ultrasound pictures today I was just filled with this deep sense of longing. Not anger, not jealously, but deep, heart-filled longing.

And as I was leaving work tonight, I was so sad, because having a baby is something I want so badly. And I just kept replaying the other day when Rob said “Now I just have to not get my hopes up” in reference to us being pregnant. Not that we’re trying, but we’re also not not-trying.

And I guess there is always a chance, but I just don’t really see how we could conceive. Actually, I guess I’m concerned that we wouldn’t conceive a healthy baby. If I rarely ovulate, what are the chances that we will randomly have a healthy pregnancy? And if we do decide to try, I need to switch medicines because some of the ones I am on are not safe for TTC. I am so scared to conceive while on dangerous meds. I can’t even describe how scared. In all reality, I could be pregnant now (highly unlikely, but possible), and I have even been wondering about it the last few days.  Things like, ‘huh, my breasts are sore’ and ‘man, I am really hungry’ even (sorry if this is TMI) ‘woah, weird discharge’.

Part of me wants to test and find out, and the other part of me just wants to ignore everything. I don’t want to get my hopes up. I don’t want to find out I am. Because if I am, I have been on meds I shouldn’t be, and I could be hurting the baby. But if I am, I need to know sooner rather than later to stop the meds. But then I think I am just being paranoid and tricking myself because I want it so much.

I just don’t know what to do. Should we try again? Can we even afford a child? Are we ready for a baby? I feel like we are ready for a baby, but does being ready for a baby mean that you are ready for a 7 year old, because I do not feel ready for that. Can we handle it if we lose another child?

Dear Jenny

I cannot even say how excited I was to meet you Friday night when you came to Dayton. I’ve been looking forward to meeting you since, well since I first started reading your blog several years ago. Because honestly, everything you’ve written sounds like something I would (or have) said.

And when I thought I wasn’t going to get to meet you Friday, I was pretty much in tears. I was #128 and around #25 our friends who were driving in from Cleveland texted me to say that they were almost there. My husband and I knew we’d never get back in time if we waited, so I went and asked the post-it lady to trade in my books, but they didn’t have a copy of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. I thought for sure that meant that I just wouldn’t get it signed, but the kindness of your fans floored me. I’m explaining that I need to exchange my copy of Furiously Happy, while trying not to cry, and they offered to let me jump the line.

Every. Single. Person.

They all stepped aside and with kindness in their eyes told me to go ahead. They all told me not to worry about it, that they understood. And I got to meet you. I got to tell you how much it meant to meet you. I would have loved to talk to you for hours, but I am so glad that I got to tell you I submitted a writing for the Furiously Happy video. It touched my heart to see that you were so moved.

But if I could have said everything I wanted to, this is what I would have said.

You write about depression and mental illness the way I hope to write about abuse and bullying. I want to bring the awareness that you have brought, create the community and support that you have created. I want to spread the hope. And I just want to tell you how much I admire you for that. When you signed my books and I told you that what you do means so much to me, that was what was behind those words.

You truly are an inspiration to me, in all that you have done, and it gives me hope that one day I can write my own book that will (hopefully) create a home for those people who have been trapped by abuse and bullying.

You make me snort and giggle while I read your writing (which makes it really hard for my husband to sleep). You are completely the type of person that I would love to have lunch with and get to know. Swap crazy stories. Shake our heads about how or husbands don’t understand our awesomeness. Play board games. Build each other up. You can never have enough of those people in your life. I love that you embrace life and live FURIOUSLY HAPPY, and do the crazy things that make you happy. I try to live that way too. I have licked a volcano, taken a sword fighting class, danced in the rain, and done tons of other stuff like that. Because I have been struggling with recovering from being severely bullied for most of my life. And some days the voices that say ‘you’re worthless’ win, and some days I dress as a queen and play flamingo croquet.

Hold onto the love of the people you have helped, and when the struggles come, we will always be there for you, even if being there means writing notes to you as you hide under your bed.

Thank you for all you do

Laura

PS- When we were kids, my dad, sister and I totally ate milk bones. The green ones tasted the best. My dad used to pack them in my lunch as a joke when I was in Elementary School and my one friend still randomly brings it up.

The Best Words

Today, one of my kids at work said the best thing to me.

I’m the homework teacher. Which means that on any given day I help 18+ kids with their homework. At the same time. It’s a non-stop barrage of “Miss Laura, I need help”, “Miss Laura, I don’t understand this”, “Miss Laura, I was next” and “Miss Laura, it’s too loud”, naturally all being yelled across the room at the same time.

But I love it. I love watching the kids learn, and helping them see what they are capable of. I love that they know that they can turn to me with their problems, and not just their homework problems. Most days, it just fills my heart.

But some days. Oh, some days.

Some days, the kids who have finished their homework can’t seem to stay quiet so the other kids can keep working, and there are a few kids who are just at each other’s throats, and someone just has to have my attention right now, and BLARG!

And today was a little bit of that. Nothing too bad though, thankfully. But there is this one little girl, M. I love her to pieces. She is in 4th grade and super smart, but also super distractable. She is in advanced placement classes, but she gets lost in her own head (yes, she has ADD) and just can never seem to focus. She has good days and bad days and man, today was a bad day. We would be working on a problem together and she would drift off while we were talking.

And I just felt that I was failing her. I knew she had homework in three subjects, and that she needed to make a significant dent in it if she wanted to avoid getting in trouble at home, but I just couldn’t get her to focus. I was getting frustrated and I wasn’t doing a very good job of hiding it, and it was finally time for me to close my room so she asked to pack her backpack back up. I told her she could, because she wasn’t going to get any more work done and that I had to leave anyway. But after she finished, she came up to me and said, ” Thank you for doing all you could to help me Miss Laura.”

It just kind of made me stop.

I had felt myself starting to go over the my time with her in my head, wondering what I could have done different, what I should have done. What the ‘right thing’ was, because I felt that I had failed. I was starting to beat myself up because I felt that I couldn’t help this wonderful little girl, and yet she still appreciated that I took the time to try.

I went over to her and put my hand on her head and said “Thank you for saying that. That really means a lot. I was just getting frustrated because I felt like I was failing you because I couldn’t get you to focus.”

And she looked at me and nodded. She went over to get something she left at a table and said, very matter-of-factly, as if that’s-just-how-the-world-works “But not focusing is my issue, not yours”

This little girl gave me a life lesson in a 2 minute conversation. Because that is how the world works. I’m not responsible for her actions, only my efforts.

I don’t know if she will ever know how much I will cherish her words.

Snowballing into Shame

So often, I feel like I’m doing fine and then- BAM- something happens and everything snowballs. It brings up things that I’ve already dealt with throughout the day, stuff that I felt I had conquered. But when they snowball, they just all seem to pile on and they get so big that I’m left huddled in a ball crying at what a failure I am.

Seriously.

Take today, for instance. There had been some bumps- the cat peed on the floor, I locked myself out of the house and didn’t get as much done as I had wanted because of that, but nothing catastrophic. There was the normal body image struggles, as well as a bit of a headache that I had in the morning. Again, nothing major. But getting locked out put me on edge, because I was locked out for over an hour since my husband was sleeping and had his phone on vibrate. And I was frustrated, but I was still doing okay. I had a back-up plan for the side dish for dinner, since (thankfully) the pulled pork was already in the crock pot. So I was a little stressed, but still good, until the final straw. The big, giant event that pushed me over the edge and eventually led to me huddled in a ball and crying.

Dinner wasn’t ready on time.

Completely serious. The pork was cooked, but it wasn’t cooked enough to fall apart and shred. And so I gave it another hour, but it still wasn’t ready. At this point, I was ready to come out of my skin, I was so anxious. Every detail throughout the day kept coming back to me, reminding me how much I had failed.

I hadn’t cleaned the litter box on time, so the cat peed on the floor: failure.

I left my keys in the house and got locked out: failure.

I got locked out and didn’t get to make the original side dish: failure.

I wasted time being locked out and didn’t get all the laundry and dishes done: failure.

I am overweight: failure.

I got upset at my hubby for not waking up RIGHT THEN to let me in the house, even though it was my fault for getting locked out: failure.

I was busy trying to fix my failures and didn’t eat a real dinner: failure.

And it just kept going. On and on and on, until I was reduced to an anxious ball of self-shame huddled on the bed with my arms wrapped around the comforter with tears leaking from my eyes. And I hate that I do this. That one event–a comment taken the wrong way, a plan that falls through, any little thing–can send me over the edge into pit of self-shame. Of being so trapped in the belief that I am a failure that I can’t see anything else. It colors everything I see about myself and about the world around me. It makes me believe that other people must see me this way too, and that everything I do must reflect failure.

After all, how could I possibly do something good?

And I hate feeling this way about myself. I don’t want to spend my Sunday night writing and crying while questioning every single interaction, decision, and action, trying to discern if they add up to failure.

Writing Submission for MEND

I belong to a support group called MEND, which helps families who have experienced the loss of a child. They put out a newsletter, and they take submissions from readers. The next newsletter is about Holidays, and that is something that really resonates with me, so I want to submit a piece.

It’s is a modified version of something I wrote last Christmas, and it means a lot to me. I hope it touches someone’s heart and helps them heal. Even if it doesn’t get published, I hope it helps someone here.

 

Today is Christmas, but it’s not how it is supposed to be.

You’re supposed to be here.

We were supposed to make cookies together, get to watch you unwrap presents, and take you to see Santa. We should have gotten to help you decorate the tree, hang up the stockings, and unwrap your presents. We were supposed to get to hear you laugh at all the Christmas fun and see your eyes light up at all the wonders you would be understanding for the first time. We were supposed to feel our hearts fill with love and joy when you ate the frosting and candy toppings while decorating cookies, when we helped you hold your candle at the Christmas Eve Service, and when we all snuggled up to read The Night Before Christmas together.

But that’s not how it is.

Because you’re not here.

Instead we try and hold it together when we see the kids at the mall, excited to see Santa. Kids that would be about the same age as you. Instead, we feel an ache in our heart because the traditions we wanted to share with you make us miss you even more. They just remind us that you’re not here.  Some days are easier, and some are so much worse, and so to cope with the holidays, we cling to each other. We tell each other that’s it’s okay to struggle, that Christmas never will be the same, but some years will be easier–maybe even almost ‘normal’–and this just happens to be a rough year. We know you are having a wonderful Christmas in Heaven, and it soothes our hearts to know you are there, but oh, we wish you were here. So we spend time together, just the two of us, because even though it’s been years, the loss of you still hurts as much as it did the day we lost you.

Because we never stop missing you.

Frustrating Fish

So a few weeks ago my co-worker friend T told me about a program called Pets in the Classroom, where you can apply for a grant to get a pet for the classroom.

Super cool right?

Well, the only catch, was that my boss wouldn’t let me get anything other than fish (lame), but I really wanted to add more nature to my room, so I went ahead. I’ve had fish and I’ve never had any trouble with them, so I wasn’t too worried. I filled out the forms, got the confirmation, and got my coupons in the mail. I was super excited, and so were my kids.

So Robby and I went to the pet store and picked out the tank and all the supplies and set it up in the classroom. We let it sit for a week to get acclimated, like you’re supposed to, and went and got our fishies the next weekend. We picked out a snail and a green cory catfish to help clean the tank, and we also got fancy guppies, thinking they would be a simple but pretty fish and they could have babies for the kids to watch.

Boy were we wrong.

One male died before the weekend was over (we purposefully got them on a long weekend so that if any kicked it we could get them out before the kids saw them), then another died later that week after some really weird symptoms. She would swim upside-down, fall to the gravel, only use one fin. It was weird. Then the kids and I noticed that the other fish had cuts in their fins and were missing some of the color on their fins. The male used to have a big beautiful polka-dot tail and by the end of the week the center of it was completely plain.

Robby came in Saturday and looked at the fish (he showed fish tanks in 4H, cause apparently that’s a thing) and he said he thought they had fin rot, so off we went to the pet store again. The fish lady agreed, and said if we wanted to try and save them we could use a medicine tablet, so we got it, gave it to the fish, and went home. The next day (Sunday) they all looked way worse. Huge chunks of their tails and fins were missing, and a few of them were swimming wrong. The fin rot was too advanced, so we ended up doing a mercy flush, and went back to the pet store again.

This time we got 2 mollies and a platy. I had mollies when I was in high school and I loved them. They lived a long time, they had lots of babies, they were easy to care for. But the male dalmation molly died later that week. The other two seemed to be doing well, and the kids named the fish; Molly for the black female molly, and Swimmy for the platy.

Well, we noticed that Molly kept biting Swimmy. And every time, the kids would completely freak out. I mean, yelling, screaming, the whole nine yards. Crazy levels of freak out. And, of course, today Swimmy died.

So now I get to explain, again, that we lost a fish.

And I am worn out. I thought getting fish would be a fun thing for the class. That the kids would go “cool, fish” and move on to the next thing, and if one died, then I would eventually replace it. But they are FLIPPING OUT over EVERYTHING. And they want me to fix EVERYTHING with these fish. I get that some of these kids haven’t experienced loss, and that’s fine. But I can’t handle 15 kids screaming and yelling at me about the fish every 2 minutes. I can’t take the guilt that I couldn’t save the fish. Again. I can’t take the pressure that I have to be responsible for not only the fish, but for making sure all of the kids are okay.

And I feel like I’m failing.

Because I can’t keep these stupid fish alive. I can’t explain why they are dying. Or I can, but I can’t do anything about it. And I can’t keep the kids from being upset, or help them feel better. And I can’t handle the kids freaking out about the fish and do the rest of my job.

I’m getting grouchy and short tempered. I feel like I’m unravelling at the edges. I just want the fish to live, for things to be simple. For the kids not to freak out.

I just want peace.

I don’t want to feel like I’m failing.