Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Reply to a Reply to a Reply (Because. Heh.)


Trigger warning: Miscarriage and pregnancy loss, spoken about in very general terms. Possible postpartum depression. I'll go back and add similar warnings to the beginnings of earlier posts about my miscarriage. I hadn't read very many of other people's accounts yet when I posted them, and wasn't thinking yet of possible needs for warnings. If you're feeling fragile today, this might not be the time to read this post.

Caveats: Well, clearly, this is a mid-conversation blog post, and as such, may not make a ton of sense without the conversation for context! (Not to mention a good brushup on personality theory and cognitive steps...) The reply I'm replying to is in the comments to this post here, and though it's easy enough to backtrack from there, the beginning impetus for the conversation is here. Also, as a reply... well, there's not really one nice big point to it all, something you can use to tie up the post in a pretty bow and say, aww, what a beautiful and eloquent article that was. I respond to one sentence and sentiment after another, and though I tried to keep the general flow of Calise's comments in mind -- it's not like I was pouncing on bits that meant something else out of context, "gotcha!" -- it's, um. A bit scattered. Possibly.
I'm pretty sure I've heard blog posts are supposed to
include pictures, right? Right? Hmm.

Oh, and the only reason I'm not making this another comment on the original post is that I think it's about twice as long as Calise's reply (before I added even MOAR), which she already had to break up into two comments because it was too long. If I'm going to write another whole post, I might as well admit it, and publish it as one. :)

(I tried to break it up a little visually and use some bolding to make it scan a little better... hopefully it helps? A bit?)

Okay, got all that? Ready? Okay.


Oh man, I'm so sorry about your pseudocyesis. That's awful, and what a terrible doctor! I think that at least in some respects that would be even worse than other kinds of pregnancy loss -- not having anything tangible to grieve, no closure like you said, feeling stupid... which you weren't! Women who've miscarried often blame themselves when it isn't their fault, but a doctor should know better. Even just doing a really quick Google search, I can see that false pregnancy causes actual physical symptoms. Objective and everything. And I see links that talk about the mind-body connection causing a release of pregnancy hormones, so in that respect it might be closer to miscarriage than you think too, who knows? Ugh, I'm so sorry.

Also, I've seen a couple links now that say studies haven't been able to find any connection between how far along a woman was and the intensity of her grief. (Which, as someone with a relatively early loss, feels validating but also kind of weird and counter-intuitive, but, um, okay.) I would imagine that sort of thing could apply to pseudocyesis, too. In my experience, the "it shouldn't be that bad, because..." logic is normally WRONG WRONG WRONG, no matter the situation! Ah, yes. Here's one of the links, one that I loved: "Miscarriage and loss." Much of the third paragraph seems particularly apropos, and certainly the end of it, "... but of a woman's sense of self and her hopes and dreams of the future. She has lost her ‘reproductive story,' and it needs to be grieved."

I'm not saying I've been through what you have, of course, but I had a tiny hint of some of it, because I had a missed miscarriage -- I found out from an ultrasound that my baby's heart wasn't beating, and I waited a few weeks after that before I actually miscarried. So at first, after the ultrasound, I had morning sickness, knowing that I wasn't going to give birth to a live baby. Awful, awful, awful.

I'm sorry too, as a sort of separate thing? That you haven't gotten pregnant since then. :( Sending you so many hugs!


Thank you. A couple little items... I'd say I haven't really received a lot of direct invalidation? The closest, probably, would be my doctor not giving me any brochures or anything about PPD after the miscarriage, unlike when I was pregnant. But most of the invalidation has been indirect, my sense for the culture around me, people saying things that weren't addressed to me... heck, even just the fact that if you look up postpartum depression online, until you add "miscarriage" to your search, pretty much everything you see is going to be about dealing with it while having a tiny new baby. Which... makes a certain amount of sense, for various reasons, but is still hard. I'm overly sensitive and defensive right now, because even some of my OWN thoughts are invalidating, so when I hear them from other people... heh. Yeah. From what you said, you probably know what that's like!

::Smirks at self:: As an example of being overly sensitive, even in the article I loved and linked to above, I see the statements, "She says historically, a woman may have miscarried and never even known she was pregnant. That is much less likely today," and I'm like, "Yeah, sure, I'm sure I never would've noticed bleeding a river, and then an ocean, and almost fainting, etc. etc., if it weren't for the wonders of modern medical technology!" Obviously those statements weren't directed at me or even about me. But they were under the heading "Early loss," which I thought applied to me, and... yeah. Oops, my bad.

Principles? Why would anyone think in Principles when you can think in specifics! :D It's possible I... have a thing for exceptions... >_> :D

And STILL, even after laughing at myself, I see what it (and other articles) go on to say about modern parents getting more attached early on through ultrasound pictures, and I'm like, "Well, the only ones I saw, I saw after I knew there was no heartbeat, so I'm pretty sure a woman can get attached without them. Pshaw to you." And that's leaving aside that historically women were probably more likely to see and touch the miscarried baby, rather than sleeping through removal during a D&C, so you can just take all your opinions about ultrasound pictures making things worse and... Um. Sensitive? Me? I have no idea what you're talking about.

Oh, and sometimes comments people make about depression in general, yes. Sometimes directly at me, other times not. Sometimes things I'm remembering from before all this happened, other times not. Like, I understand the need to distinguish clinical depression from the really casual way people often talk about depression, as though it's just when you're a little sad or something. But people trying to draw those lines sometimes go too far, and it can be very frustrating and feel like they're trying to erase your experience. Like instead of letting professionals diagnose, they've suddenly become the arbiters, and "Nope, nope, that isn't real depression. Next!"

Sigh, I have lots of full blog posts in me about that. And the times in my life when I may not have been clinically depressed, but still maybe had a general mood disorder or something imbalanced. Like, I'm pretty sure when you're almost-suicidal on a regular basis, say once a week, even if it keeps going away after a day or two it still isn't a GOOD AND NORMAL AND HEALTHY THING. And the people who make it sound like the only two options are clinical depression or "feeling a little blue"... ARRRGH. Anyway. Um. Close tangent. Er, mostly. But that's played into my defensiveness some. Along with other things. With those frustrations in the past, I may have latched onto the postpartum depression label a bit when I realized it might possibly apply. "Look! Here's something real and all I have to do is say this term and suddenly you will understand instead of dismissing me!" Heh. The magic and power of words.

As far as full-term PPD goes, I saw someone say in a comment, "The typical PPD support group, which usually contains at least a mom or 2 who is experiencing regret/ambivalence about motherhood, is not the optimal place for bereaved moms to find support. We know these feelings are normal with PPD but imagine the impact of such words on a grieving mother."

Since this was my second pregnancy and I have a toddler to care for, I can see and feel both sides, in a weird way. So as far as my experience being more painful without the comfort and closure of the expected baby... in some ways, yes, definitely. In other ways, maybe not, but I won't go into that in detail, it kinda feels like that would be rubbing salt in YOUR wounds, to no purpose. (And like you said, you're not trying to belittle full-term PPD, so yeah. No point in talking about that more, stop rambling, Marcy... :) )


My first reaction to your comments about your post hurting me was that you're wrong, it didn't hurt me, it just brought up painful feelings that I needed to deal with anyway. And that your reply was reacting to other people's reactions too, not just mine, and that if you misunderstood my post a little, that's only fair, as I called it a Response, but it also reacted to People Not You, and I didn't necessarily fully clarify where I was speaking to you, and where to others. My sister read it before I published and suggested making it two posts, but that felt like too much work.

On second and third and fourth thought... yeah, maybe it hurt me some? It's very, very complicated. (And then I feel hurt that you thought I was hurt by your hurt... lol.) I will say that I understand it being a calculated move that you worked up to! Yes, it came across as emotional, but remember guys (People Not You), emotion and logic aren't contradictory things! [Insert RANT here.] :D And I totally understand it being hard to ask for help! I think I'd prefer lots of little, downplayed, short requests for help; as opposed to working up to one big request, but... ::shrug:: You gotta do what you gotta do. And... awww. I'm sorry it had gotten so bad! And this? "Lack of donations just seemed like a tragic symbol to me of how little people were willing to act." That makes a lot of sense!

Oh! And also the question, "I can't give money, but what can I do?" That's a really good question! I'm a little embarrassed I didn't ask it, myself. (Now I will! Hey Calise, what can I do?) I guess because your post, while asking for help, was so centered in its logic about us needing to act for our own sakes, our own self-growth, that I immediately tried to figure out what I needed that might help you, rather than what you needed that I could give. I think. If that makes sense. And obviously (heh) I'm a words person, and was feeling defensive of that, but... yeah.


Let's see. As far as, "You obviously want to do great things, but feel like there are distinct blockages in your way, and on top of that it seems like you have doubts about what you could do that would really make any difference anyway." Whew. Where to start? Um.

Yes and no? First, I certainly don't expect to be this depressed my whole life! :) I see some of these blockages as very, very temporary. Yes, I see myself as always weak on Action, but that isn't the same thing as a real blockage or full-on failing! And even now I'm doing things, it's just that most of those things have to do with finding help, feeding my toddler and myself... It's amazing how much emotional energy it feels like I need just to be present for her!

But again, temporary. I do believe I can change the world, especially with seemingly small actions. Kindness, etc. Blog posts, words, hopefully books... I'll admit that on a visceral level, it can be very hard to believe I can change myself. I both do and don't believe it, and both of those beliefs seem deep in my core. Because INFPs can be so very, very idealistic. We see so much meaning and beauty and potential in all the things! And we so want to change, and grow, and DO ALL THE THINGS! But then, failure after failure, it begins to feel like no, this new exciting thing you just found? You should know better by now. Those never work out. But... can't ever really let go of that hope, either.

And, hey. One of the things I love about being 31 years old is that I can look back at my early 20's and see how far I've come, how much I HAVE changed. YAY! And I look at your ideas and I see a lot of potential for my life. I see it logically and emotionally. I'm not completely sure yet of what it means (specifically and tangibly -- yup, detailed scope, and Action step is S, yep) to deal with my weaknesses by going back to my first step and strengthening Fi, but I'm eager to work on it and to learn. Yay!


Totally agree about chemicals and psychology. If I didn't, I wouldn't be scheduling an appointment with a therapist. :) Even though... well, thinking about writing this, I realized I'm super defensive in this area, too. I've already done a lot of work on myself in my lifetime on psychological issues, and I'm defensive of that. I feel the blackness suddenly coming out of nowhere, and I'm defensive of that. The things I normally love doing seem to have no power even to touch the black mood, and I'm defensive of that. My Fi hears various recommendations and is like, "WHAT? You're saying I could DO something about this? It's NOT MY FAULT! Let me explain to you how NOT MY FAULT this all is!" :) Poor Fi. ::pats Fi on the head:: So... yeah. Chemicals and issues and I'm really hoping that my hormones will straighten out soon and there'll be less of that factor. As I've heard one person explain it, there are your emotional tools, and then there's your threshold of need. So your tools can be great, but sometimes your need goes up, and the tools just aren't good enough as they stand, and need improvement. While you can also work on lowering the need, going to a doctor if that's the issue, for example.

Um. So. "And I think, 'I can fix that! I know how!'" That is SO AWESOME! And yeah, change is hard, but hey. Fi. I live for the feelings-meanings. I'm so there. I will step out into the darkness, and it will be an EPIC ADVENTURE. :D

Um. >_> Clearly I have no problem with your reply being long. :D


"But those are the reasons I thought it was worth it to shock people into action. I'm sorry if you didn't need it and it hurt you that I thought you did. But know that some people, possibly many, did."

Makes sense. Actually, I think some of the biggest hurt is in that defensiveness -- there are large parts of me that think I did need it, and other large parts that don't, that say no, I'm the idealist who's always too hard on herself and I need to give myself a break. I'm that earnest people-pleaser who often IS the exception to what the teacher's saying, the one who's trying too hard and needs to relax, but the teacher can't tell everyone there are exceptions, or EVERYONE will decide they're the exception. Sigh.

Like how normally epidurals slow down labor, but for me it helped my body relax from its weird five-minute-long back-to-back ineffective contractions and DO SOMETHING. It was my weak contractions that were effective. Story of my life. :D

It's hard, because in some ways it's a group issue. As you say, "Of the hundreds of people who have left wonderful comments, I have an awfully hard time believing not one of them could spare $1 for a website they claim to love." You're not saying that every single person needs to donate, just that you'd think at least some should. Group evidence that individuals aren't acting. But then to talk to those some, you have to talk about "Mr. Someone Else," and in the end it's no wonder that "it's the sweetest people who fear the most that I'm displeased with them," because everything about the post seems to be saying, no, she's talking to YOU!

And, well, you kind of were, because as you said, there wasn't just the entitled crowd, but "I truly wasn't sure that any of you sweet people were really going to do anything about it."

And... yeah. Everyone does need to take some kind of action. Yes. But exactly what that needs to be, especially on a self-growth level, is so very individual. (Can you tell I'm not a J? ;-P) And I do happen to believe there are seasons where I'll be a little more on the giving side and seasons where I'll be a little more on the receiving side, even though we all need both, and often need to be reminded we need to give a lot more. I'm just the sort of person who will feel guilty for not giving to ALL THE THINGS, even if a close family member has just died or something! And need to remind myself, no. It's okay.

Heh. I was saying to a sister that "On the other hand, it's true that I could have done something before this all happened..." And she reminded me that the last two years have been insane. The last three years have been, actually. But I said, "Well, last year was relatively mellow..." and then started laughing and laughing, because last year I had a new baby and a new boss, and often had to bring the baby to work with me. Which is an awesome benefit to be able to do, but also HARD. :D And yep! That was still definitely the mellow year!


And... since the day last week when I wrote most of this I've had lots more thoughts about fault and exceptions and seasons and my baggage combined with my cognitive steps... I was going to try to weave this in smoothly, but after lots of rereading and editing what I already had, I give up. :)

Auggh. Lots of thoughts I didn't write down right away, and then I kept putting it off because it got overwhelming and I was afraid of forgetting something important. Gaah. Can you say counter-productive? And then last night I went to bed super early, but then woke up a little before midnight and couldn't go back to sleep, and I so want to write out ALL THE THINGS (and we could make a drinking game out of the number of times I've used that phrase), but I may not be thinking too clearly right now. Bleh.

Okay. It's later. I've had some sleep. ::resolve face::

REMEMBER ALL THE THINGS! SYNTHESIZE ALL THE CONCEPTS! ORGANIZE ALL THE LOGICAL FLOW!

>_>


First off, there is a bit of weird dissonance here. I'm often an exception to what the teacher's saying, but I'm weak on Action? Really? Um, it's different in a group with structured accountability, like choir or Cross Country. I mean, you kind of skip the planning action step when you've already signed up for a thing and set aside the time and you're there, being told what to do. In fact, the big example where I remember someone explicitly telling me I was trying too hard, it was my voice teacher, about what I'd learned in choir. So... does that apply here? Maybe not directly. What's more applicable...

When I go from my last step, Te, and cycle back to Fi... maybe it doesn't work this way for all INFPs. (Or even all unhealthy INFPs?) But I was mocked a lot growing up, and... ::shrug:: My tendency is to do something... unwise. Then Te looks at the results, and is like, "Hey! That wasn't smart! Let's never do that again!" And Fi is like, "STOP YELLING AT ME! I know I'm a stupid and horrible person, okay? I'm just gonna go sit in the corner and sulk. YES I KNOW IT'S STUPID, SHUT UP."

Or as I put it The Epic Thread,

"Hey, I was wrong about having trouble looping back through the steps! I do it all the time! It just, um, has certain issues sometimes.
Fi: I'm depressed. Because this and this and this. I don't like it.
Ne: Well that makes sense. And also because this.
Fi: Yeah.
Si: Well what am I supposed to do about it? I'm weak, and we all know doing this won't work, or this, or this... Hey! I have an idea! How about we do some Ne-dominant activities? Ne is good at distracting you!
Fi and Ne: Yeah, ok.
*Ne stuff*
Te: Well that didn't work. Hey, just like all the every other time it didn't work! What a shocker!
Fi: Well thanks, Te, now I'm depressed.
Te: ...
Fi: I don't follow my own principles. Clearly I'm a horrible person. This is depressing.
Ne: That... doesn't make sense. You're better at this than that.
Fi: ...
Ne: No, yeah, whatever, makes sense. Stage whisper: Okay, it makes some sense that you THINK it makes sense...
Fi: I'm so stupid.
Ne: That's... not what I was saying...
Si: I know this one! Ne stuff!
Te: GAAH.
Fi: ...
Hey, I'm the one who figured out what you were all saying.
Ne, Si, Te: ...
It's true.

Ne: I helped.

Si: So did I! I wrote it out!
So... more Ne stuff now?

Si: Ooh! Or I could eat more things!
Te: *headdesk*

Si: I'm good at eating things! ^_^"


Oh hey, yeah, I see where I could go back and strengthen my first step. :) I've done a lot of work on this already, will continue to work on it, and I think I can get a lot better. Especially with the power of the lens of cognitive steps on it now.

So that's part of what I mean about learning I need to be easier on myself. Yes, I could use more Action, but it tends to help if I come at it sideways, and not directly with, "I must do more!" You know?

Which, again, yeah, overly sensitive right now, and that's SO not your fault! So I'm not saying you shouldn't have said what you did. Just kind of... thinking out loud. A LOT. :)


Melanie and I have a theory that makes a lot of sense to me, about adding High Sensitivity into the mix, as in Elaine Aron's Highly Sensitive Person. Even though she researched a lot of different Highly Sensitive People for her work, I sometimes think her book has a bit of an emphasis on how it plays out for her own personality type, and others with her type. But in our (Melanie's and mine) theory, being an HSP means you can get overwhelmed in your very first cognitive step. Which makes it hard to go on to the next step, at least in the area where one is overwhelmed, so one might distract oneself with something completely different, but in the secondary step. Or something like that. You know, like "INTERNET! FOREVER..."

Practically speaking, I've found that means I need to be careful to do my care-and-maintenance-of-Fi activities. It can be easy to feel like I'm doing too much of that kind of thing and not enough really "productive" stuff, but then if I try to cut back, my productivity will probably plummet. So.

But another thing I've learned is that sometimes, I'm just gonna be overwhelmed for a while, and maybe make some stupid decisions, and that's okay, too. I'll get over it and get back on track.

It logically follows from there that sometimes I'm going to have more overwhelmed days than at other times, and that this, too, shall pass. I can try to be smart and take care of myself and deal with the overwhelm, but if I fail at that I'm going to look back at myself with compassion and understanding. Yay!

Of course, one of the annoying parts of having lots of Bad Days right now is that it means there's a lot of catchup to do on the good days. Bleh. But anyway. THAT is where I'm coming from. Generally speaking, today and this week are a much better day and week than the day and week when I wrote my first Response, or even when I started thinking through this Reply. So right at the moment I'm a little more, "Hey! Yeah! What can I do to help? I'd love to help!" :)


Phew. All right. This could use more editing, but I've already spent a long time on this and should probably just hit Publish. (And I remember there was this other little phrase I wanted to say, and what was it and where did it go and WAAAAAH. Um. ::whistles::)

Also, my posts aren't normally quite so full of "um" and "and" and emoticons and... all that. The casual tone seemed appropriate for this. But really. They normally aren't so full. Of the things. Really. *pauses* *crickets* Regular readers, back me up here? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

But yeah, casual tone because ZOMG, this all turned out so personal. All the stuff about my baggage and thought process possibly even more so than the taboo topic of miscarriage. ::hits Publish before she can second-guess more::


P.S. If you're one of my Sensor friends reading this, and you made it this far? Wow, high five! Pretty sure I didn't pull any of my N punches, writing this. Pretty sure I am SUCH an NP, and I'm talking to an NP, and... yeah. Wow. Much concept. So idea. Very web. Sorry. >_>


So. Um. Tl;dr: um. Ramble ramble ramble. :D Also, thank you and you're welcome and thank you for listening to all my rambling feelings and thoughts all over the place and I love you too! ^_^

Thursday, September 04, 2014

An Open Response to A Little Bit of Personality's Call to Action


I read aLBoP's "A Call to Action" yesterday evening. My toddler woke me up about a quarter 'til two, and now I write this, a little after three in the morning. I can't stop thinking about it. Yay insomnia. (I'm not blaming aLBoP for my insomnia. More on this later.)

I could have just written this as a comment on the original post. It would be long, but is that really such a big deal? Seemed appropriate to put it here though, so here it is.

Sorry, as a first-time link sharing your site on my blog goes, this one... Um. Oops. Hey, everyone, aLBoP is awesome! You should check out the site! But don't start with the post I'm linking to and responding to here, because that's kind of a sucky place to start! Start here, right where Calise says to start.

Also, I'm sorry if I ramble a bit or go off on some other rants. I have so, so, so many words about so many things right now, and very little emotional energy for editing. (More on this later, too.) At least for my full, normal editing process. I don't know how to even start to get the words out except by just writing, and posting this when I'm done. (Well, sort of. It's 4:30 a.m. and I should go to bed without taking the time to post this first. But soon.) I'm afraid if I give it a day or two to let it sit before more edits, I'll question and I'll agonize and I won't have the energy and I'll never post it. And then it won't help much to have written -- sometimes it helps to just write things down in a journal, but some things need to be shared before they have much effect. Seems like.


So. All right. Back to the topic at hand. Response.

First off, I'm so sorry. That sounds so horribly discouraging, and I want to give you hugs, and then I want to DO SOMETHING to prove I really, really actually do care.

Money. I know you say,
"Oh, and you guys don't have to donate in order to show that you care!  If you're not in a financial place where you can do that, I don't want you to hurt yourself in order to show you care about us and aLBoP!  Action doesn't have to be money."
But you also say,
"Of the hundreds of people who have left wonderful comments, I have an awfully hard time believing not one of them could spare $1 for a website they claim to love."
The fact is, I could spare $1. I'm in a financial place where I could do that. But I'm very conservative financially, especially on things outside of my normal spending habits, and even MORE so now that I'm married. If it were just me, I probably would spend some money after your Call to Action. But it isn't just me, my spending affects my family. If I donate, I have to decide just how much we can afford, and then have a conversation about it. That might not sound like much, but again, more on that later. I. Just. Can't. Right now. So I very, very much hope that "Mr. Someone Else" can. I pray he can.

Other kinds of support

"If you prefer to show your support for aLBoP by sending in a video of you doing a happy dance rather than sending in a donation, then at least that shows me that you're willing to take initiative and actually take action!"
I'm... not really a video maker person, otherwise I would. I have stayed up late I don't even know how many nights, talking about your ideas with people, either virtually or in person.

"Words are cheap, and sweet comments hurt doubly when I feel like you didn’t really mean them, like you were just being nice but didn’t really care enough to do anything."
I know what you mean, but... words are kinda my life blood, right now. See above, and again, more on this later. But basically, words are, uh, much more my thing than videos.

I've been involved in The Longest (Semi-)Coherent Facebook Thread EVAR, sparked by your Cognition Process in Stick Figures post. I decided I wanted to make this discussion more accessible to others, and heck, even to myself -- I want to reference in blog posts some of what we've discussed on Facebook, and that would be a lot easier if I could link to a nice blog post quoting the relevant discussion. So I've been planning, for a little while now, to start a blog series quoting large parts of The Thread. I have the first post drafted and almost ready to go.

Why haven't I posted it yet?

Reasons. Well, I'm always slow. But right at the moment, it's not just that.

I think I probably have postpartum depression from my miscarriage.

Chose this picture because You Can't Tell a Mom Has Postpartum Depression by Looking.
Did you know postpartum depression after miscarriage is a thing? It is very much a thing. I have links! Lots and lots of links! That'll be a post for some other day. But for now, apparently postpartum depression is way MORE likely after miscarriage than after childbirth. But we don't talk about that. I hadn't even known it was a thing. Why?

Do we just assume it's all grief, not depression? That would be enough, but no. A mother who's miscarried goes through extreme hormonal changes, too. Actually, my hormones seem to be WAAAY more messed up right now than they were after my daughter was born. (For anyone new to this blog, I had a successful pregnancy and birth before my miscarriage. Codenamed Gracie for the blog, she's almost two years old now.) I could give you specifics, but maybe that's best left to another post. For now I'll skirt it, as TMI.


Of course, there are scientists out there who think postpartum depression isn't caused by hormones, just lack of support, etc.

AAAAAaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh.

Um. I can't find the link now. Most experts agree that hormones at least play a role. Wikipedia's section on causes is a pretty good summary, I think. But somewhere I saw something to the effect of, "These hormonal changes don't affect every woman this way, so hormones can't be the cause!"

AAAAAaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh.

Right. Not all women get menstrual cramps during their periods, so it must not have anything to do with hormones!

Not all women get certain menopause symptoms, they must not have anything to do with hormones!

Not all women get morning sickness, it must not be caused by pregnancy hormones! In fact, if you have morning sickness, you know what you need? A better support net, healthier food, and exercise! CLEARLY!

(I'm not saying those things can't help with PPD. I just... aaaaaahhhh.)


Um. Close rant? Sorry about that. I have lots and lots and lots of words in me about depression in general, postpartum depression after miscarriage in particular, and my story in even more particular. >_>

Maybe I shouldn't have tried to combine talking a little bit about PPD with my Open Response, but I needed to reference it for my Open Response, and I haven't talked about it yet here, and if I wait to post the Open Response until after I've done some Proper Blog Posts on the subject, it might never happen. And I can't just end this post with "I think I probably have postpartum depression from my miscarriage." Because I haven't said anything about it here yet, and I need to.

And I'll try to post more later, but for now, guys, I HAVE SO MANY WORDS!

And on the bad days, it feels like being silent is killing me. There is so much silence around miscarriage and postpartum depression each on their own, let alone together. Yes, there's a lot of stuff on the internet when you look, but it isn't exactly the subject of Facebook posts, ya know? And heck, even in the medical community -- they gave me pamphlets and brochures about PPD when I was pregnant with my first child, but not when I miscarried. I probably can't change the medical community, and I'm not sure how to go about breaking the silence in my little corner of the world, but I think I need to. I mean, the second part. Need that. The silence breaking. Yes.


So. Back to the Response. I think the probably/maybe PPD is why I can't stop thinking about your post right now, why I have insomnia. Insomnia is a postpartum depression and anxiety symptom, although not one I've had a TON of. Why I had some nausea too, thinking about writing this. Also a possible PPD and anxiety symptom. It's why I can't summon much emotional energy to edit right now (just enough to summon the energy to publish, which would be scary enough at the moment even with LOTS of editing), a part of why my words aren't cheap, and why I can't have that conversation about donating right now.

Heh. My conversations right now are about trying to find and decide on the appropriate help, and figuring out how much we can afford for THAT.


Okay. Remember in your first live chat Q&A video, where you said you'd have to look into it more, but thought maybe mental illness exaggerates that feeling of being stuck in your personality? That really, really resonated. I'm an INFP (most likely), and it seems like right now it's all DATA! FEELINGS-MEANING, FEELINGS-MEANINGLESSNESS, FEELINGS-MEANING! And like there's this huge brick wall between me and any significant or important Action, and to get over there I need to just hurl myself at the brick wall until I fall, bloody, onto the ground. Which still won't do any good. But then at least I'll look like I feel. >_>

Well, except maybe I can write words about all the feelings-meanings. That's hard, but doable. So here it is.

I mean, maybe that's kind of "duh?" Trouble doing things is pretty normal for depression, regardless of personality type. It's kind of one of the biggest symptoms. But, um, yeah.


Anyway. What I wanted to say, is hard though it may be for me to take action right now, I have an answer for "If you're not willing to take action to use what I give you, then what on earth am I doing?" I mean, an answer separate from the action of writing all of the above.

Long-term action. Your words have taken root in how I think about myself. They've given me some compassion for myself. I can see when I have a wall between Data and Observation and Action, and I can wait it out, work on my feelings.

Your ideas have fundamentally changed the way I think, to the point that it'll be hard to pick apart all the changes they'll cause in my future actions. They're a part of me now.

Thank you.

There's so much more I want to learn, so many questions! I'll try to remember to donate when I can. Please, can we be friends?


P.S. I'm certainly not trying to guilt you with this, like, I was already going through a lot and then this. For one thing, that would be kind of ridiculous! And as you put it, I'm not really afraid now that you're displeased with me, thank you for that update. But I wanted to reply, and that reply just happened to be kind of complicated and all tied up with painful things. But it was good. I think.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Toddler Negotiator

A little thing I wrote down last year, on November 17, 2013:

Where does a one-year-old come up with this?

John's computer is surrounded by "bribes" from Gracie. She brings a favorite toy over to him and offers it in exchange for some computer time. "How about this, Papa? Is this good enough? Coaster for 'puter?"

It's a consistent strategy with her. "No, Gracie, I'm not giving you my phone for a little plastic cat."
Front-facing camera. Oh look! Hi self! Hi phone!

Her negotiation skills could use some work, but for a twelve-month-old, they're really not bad.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Installment #6 in the Book Reviews for Melanie series.

"I remember my own childhood vividly ... I knew terrible things. But I knew I mustn't let adults know I knew. It would scare them." -Maurice Sendak, quoted in the epigraph

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Read: 8/11/13-8/12/13
This review mostly written on: 5/22/14

"She was power incarnate, standing in the crackling air. She was the storm, she was the lightning, she was the adult world with all its power and all its secrets and all its foolish casual cruelty. She winked at me. ...
"It did not matter, at that moment, that she was every monster, every witch, every nightmare made flesh. She was also an adult, and when adults fight children, adults always win."

It's been about nine months since I read The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and I know I won't do it justice. I need to reread it several times, anyway. But that shouldn't stop me from recommending it to you.

What do I need to say about it? It's brilliant, unique. The narrator is a young child for much of the book, but it's no children's book, and not just because the fantasy holds some horror. Actually, it seems quite middle-aged, and I strongly suspect I'll enjoy it more when I'm older than I am.

That said, Neil Gaiman gets the feel and details of childhood just exactly, exquisitely right. The full picture, not just the popular nostalgic wonder, but the moments of helplessness, terror, grief. The moment when a stranger runs over the boy's kitten and thinks giving him some other tomcat fully makes up for the loss:

"'There you go. Cat for a cat,' said the opal miner, and he ruffled my hair with his leathery hand. Then he went out into the hall, leaving me in the kitchen with the cat that was not my kitten.
 The man put his head back through the door. 'He's called Monster,' he said.
 It felt like a bad joke."

The moment in his house when he needs to get away from someone, so he runs as fast as he can for the bathroom, the one room with a lock on the door. (Yes. I did that so many times, though in much less serious situations.)

The narrator is middle-aged in the frame story, remembering this part of his childhood, and wow. Handled so deftly. Occasionally, if I'm remembering right, his older perspective is interjected into the tale, but it's never distracting. Some of the middle-aged feel comes from your greater knowledge of what the details mean than the child narrator, but some comes from the power of the frame story. It's quiet and understated, but wow.

Oh! And this quote has rather more to do with some of the themes than I initially realized:

"I missed Fluffy. I knew you could not simply replace something alive, but I dared not grumble to my parents about it. They would have been baffled at my upset: after all, if my kitten had been killed, it had also been replaced. The damage had been made up."

Oh wow. That whole section has a LOT more to do with the rest of the book than I had noticed. Don't worry, I highly doubt anyone will figure out spoilers from that. But WOW. Life, death, attempted help, damage done...

"Lettie shrugged. 'Nobody actually looks like what they really are on the inside. You don't. I don't. People are much more complicated than that. It's true of everybody.' ...
"'I'm going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don't look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they're big and thoughtless and they always know what they're doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren't any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.'"


"I felt uncomfortable. I did not know what to do when adults cried. It was something I had only seen twice before in my life: I had seen my grandparents cry, when my aunt had died, in hospital, and I had seen my mother cry. Adults should not weep, I knew. They did not have mothers who would comfort them."


"I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I found joy in the things that made me happy." 

Memory, magic, growing older, life, humanity, desire and danger.

You should read it.


"'And did I pass?' ...
"'You don't pass or fail at being a person, dear.'"

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I Have a Thing!

It's going to be PUBLISHED! Squuuueeeeeeee!

If you need me, I'll be over here on the ceiling.*


averagecats.com: Ceiling Cat


Oh wait, you wanted a few details? Fine. Be that way.

My "thing" is a personal essay. It will be included in a collection about infertility and miscarriage, from Kalos Press. Mine is about miscarriage.

"This isn’t a book that offers solutions – there are plenty of experts for that. Nor is this a book that expounds theological explanations for pain and loss – that necessary job is already well done elsewhere.

"What this book offers is simpler, and more primary: it offers companionship. No one loss is like any other, yet sharing our losses can offer, if not true solace, at least the comfort of knowing there is someone else there beside you in the dark, someone who understands. We hope that in sharing these stories you will gain the words and phrase to better frame, to better comprehend, to better share, your own story." [-from the introduction-to-be, quoted in the editor's Call for Submissions here]

Why, hello, my life mission statement!

("I write for myself, because I have to. I try and I hope to write for you as well. These things don't have to be opposed, either. Though I do it for myself, I hope my writing is not selfish. I tell my story to let you know you're not alone.")

(I would also quote some other blog posts here, about how my personality type helps me gain the words to frame my story and to help give you the words you need; but I haven't quite written those blog posts just yet.)

Um. Anyway.

>_>

The publication process is not a fast thing, so don't expect this book to be out any time soon. But I will let you know when it's available!

Believe me. I will SO let you know. ^_^



*Okay okay, I've known for a little while now, but wanted to make sure it was fine to announce before doing so. Still. Squee.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Concluding the 48-Hour Book Challenge for Another Year

48-Hour Book Challenge Finish Line! I don't want to stop now, I want to buy Dangerous and keep reading. But there's a house rental I need to call about FIRST THING tomorrow, asking if I can schedule a viewing (ideally before someone else snaps it up), and Toddler will want care and attention and then there's another viewing appointment in the afternoon...

I didn't make it up to even 12 hours, sadly. Besides the things I mentioned in my starting post, the weekend was full of pain -- the D&C I had two months ago after my miscarriage seems to have caused complications, and OW. This... would be to my advantage, Challenge-wise, as it gave me a good reason to just lie on the couch and read. But it also messed up my sleep -- not sleeping at times in the night when I was trying to, sleeping on the couch during the day when I wanted to read. So it goes.

At any rate, I did more than last year, and I had fun. Just read one book, Writing the Other, but I thoroughly enjoyed gobbling it up. And reading aloud many parts of it to my sister, and discussing them. (Which I counted in my time, part of why I read it as slowly as I did -- I figure if reading aloud to kids counts, this should too?)

I read a Kindle version, but according to Amazon the paperback edition is 122 pages. So yes, the 4 1/2 hours I spent reading it was definitely slow!

My total time was 7 hours 45 minutes. 4 1/2 hours reading, 1 1/2 hours on my starting line post (mixture of how blogging takes longer than you think, plus I'm just generally slow at things), 45 minutes on this one (yeah, see above), and 1 hour networking -- replying to comments on my blog, linking to my blog, and browsing and commenting on other people's blogs!

Didn't review anything this year. Will continue to read and review the books I mentioned in my starting post list, just not officially as a part of the Challenge. Mmm.


So, for a more concise summary of 48hbc stats:


Total hours: 7 hours 45 minutes

Books read: 1

Pages read: 122

Hours reading: 4 hours 30 minutes

Hours blogging: 2 hours 15 minutes

Hours networking: 1 hour

Saturday, June 07, 2014

48-Hour Book Challenge, 2014: Diverse Books!

Attempting to participate in the 48-Hour Book Challenge again this year! (See my 48-Hour Book Challenge label for last year's posts.) With the Toddler and house rental hunting this weekend, making it up to the full 12-hour minimum for participation may be slightly tricky, but I have a waaaay better chance than I did last year with a seven-month-old.

Starting late today, after noon, so technically I'm doing the 7:00 a.m. Saturday through 7:00 a.m. Monday slot. As it's the latest one allowed.

The theme this year is diverse books, in solidarity with WeNeedDiverseBooks. Now, I only noticed that the Challenge was coming up a few days ago, and my shelves themselves seem to be pretty sad on the diverse front, for the most part. At least the ones in my TBR virtual pile. And I haven't gotten a library card at the new place yet, nor put any books on hold. But! I have a Kindle, and a credit card. Heh heh heh.


First up is Writing the Other by Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward, a fun nonfiction pick I'm looking forward to. At least, it feels fun to me. Can't remember where I heard it recommended, and couldn't find the source in quick searches of my bookmarks and Feedly tags, but I'm pretty sure someone or other on Twitter or in the blogs I follow mentioned it.


Next is Dangerous by Shannon Hale. I always want to read her books anyway, and it sounds like this one fits the theme.


Then I'm going to attempt to read big chuncks of A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery by E. Benjamin Skinner. A... less "fun" nonfiction pick. I already have it and had read the first chapter a while back. It's important stuff to be aware of in general, and I think also important for a novel I've worked on a bit that involves some slavery. Slavery can look a little different in a historical form, so a fantasy novel will probably draw more on that, but I want to at least know more about the modern-day than I do now, so I can make informed choices. Not to mention more research can help with feeling the full horror.

Oh, and as far as the diverse theme goes, it talks about slavery all around the world. Again, not as much the positive and fun side of things, but again, I think it's important.

When I can't take that any more, I'd like to read Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay, an excellent book I was distracted from earlier somehow or other. It's fantasy inspired by eighth-century Tang Dynasty China.


Maybe another fun nonfiction book next if I can find one, but barring that, I'd like to pick up The House of Discarded Dreams by Ekaterina Sedia from the library. (It's actually available, without needing to put a hold on it; and it isn't by an author whose books I'm one hundred percent sure I'll want to own.) It was on Writing Excuses as the pick of the week in the episode "Writing the Other," and sounds pretty wonderful.

If I finish those this weekend, I'll take it from there. And possibly start writing reviews of them, which always takes me a while. I think it's a good list to be getting on with, for now!

All right! On to the reading! Yay!

Radio Silence

Or: All the Losses.

But that title feels too much like tempting fate. It's like when I had Cholestasis of Pregnancy, and so many times I wanted to say something like, "I have all the itchy!" except I'd read accounts which had shown it could get much worse.

Yeah, so I can be overly literal. What's your point?


I should probably explain where I've been for the last half a year? I wrote this post, everything not in italics, on March 15, 2014, but couldn't (or wouldn't) publish it yet, for various reasons. And then because we moved, as I mentioned we might in the post; a thousand miles north, and I was swamped. Also other things happened, and I was decompressing.


I thought about publishing a version more edited and updated, but I like the snapshot it creates as is. So I'm going to wait until later to give you more current details. Here, have a piece of a sad update:


Sorry for the long silence here. It's been... interesting. A lot has happened. As is often the case with silence. This year has paralleled 2012 too closely for comfort.

In the ten Christmases since I graduated from college, nine of them since I married, most of those years I've wanted to send out a Christmas letter. I've never done it, for one reason or another.

In the last few years, part of it was working at a liturgical church. Christmas is the Crazy Time. It's not enough that it's such a big holiday, Easter is that, but isn't as bad. It's also the year-end projects, and all the things to finish before going out on vacation.

So surrounded by liturgical symbols and words about Advent being a time of quiet and contemplation, I'd work overtime every day, then collapse at home, too spent and exhausted for thought. This last year, on my last day before vacation I worked almost eleven hours -- which perhaps isn't so very bad, except that it's exactly double my official office hours.

After that I was silent because of vacation. We went to Texas to see friends, and it was wonderful. Truly restful for me, and finally, a bit of that quiet and contemplation I'd heard so much about. Space, at least, to reset and recover. We stayed through the beginning of January.

January. At first there was a lot of adjustment, coming back to work. A new boss, other things. Then I was simply silent because I'd fallen out of the habit of blogging. I almost posted again, but...

The last week in January happened. I suspected, then found out I was pregnant. We didn't know how we'd afford a second child, or how we'd make room in our little house. Somehow, we would make it work. Somehow. I didn't know how I'd make it through work with morning sickness, either. It was already much worse than the early morning sickness with Gracie (codename). Make it work. Somehow.

The next evening Gracie suddenly came down with a high fever. We gave her Tylenol, and Tylenol, and more Tylenol... not all at once, of course... and I woke every couple hours in the night to check on her and make sure her fever didn't shoot up again.

The next day, the last day of January, I stayed home from work to care for her. But later in the day John came home, and I was called in to work, to find out I was laid off and turn in my keys.

The next month came with big decisions. Which direction to go in. An opportunity which seemed like it would have solved all our money problems, but may well have created new sorts of problems. We turned it down. There are still more decisions, and we might move. Also there were family events, more development to the tragedy I can't talk about.

Towards the end of February I went in for my first ultrasound. Only to find out our baby's heart wasn't, isn't beating. A missed miscarriage. It's been about two and a half weeks now, and still my body hasn't realized.

In my next appointment, the follow-up a week later, I thought to ask, and found out that his or her heart must have stopped within a few days of the ultrasound. The machine measured its growth to the very expected day -- 9 weeks, 0 days. So within a few days -- the margin of error.

My mother continues to decline. More than I've let myself see, think about, or admit. I don't think she remembers my name; she certainly doesn't remember my daughter's, but she loves to see her. I should take her to go visit more often, especially now that I'm a stay-at-home mom. Especially before we move, if we do.

All the loss.

But no, I know it could be worse.

What's my point?

I don't know, how can I know yet? I've barely written since that last week in January, and I process through writing. But I'm in a time of waiting now, and I think I'm beginning to come back to myself.

I want to be honest, here at Quettandil. I want to be like The Actual Pastor, and "Living my life as is, instead of as if." Heh. If this update on my life is my poor man's version of a late Christmas letter, it must be the most pathetic one in history. Now, if I were actually like The Actual Pastor, this post would both be deeply honest AND super inspiring. Somehow. I... don't know how to do that, yet.

But here it is. Why I've been silent, and the frame and context for whatever follows. If we move, I may not have much time to post again for a bit.