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So my daycare assistance authorization hasn't come through for this month yet.  I can't use daycare until it does.  So I'm totally, 100% screwed right now.  Finals are three weeks away.  Good thoughts, happy prayers, please, as you feel able.

Gabe's teacher stopped me when I was picking him up the other day- this is his daycare teacher we're talking about, not his preschool one.  Apparently he's becoming aggressive.  But not in the way you'd expect an autistic boy to become aggressive. 

It's like this- if a kid hits him, pushes him, takes his toy, he just lays down and cries or has a meltdown.  That's been his MO for a long time.  But say there are these two other kids- Giles and Anna.  Anna pushes Giles.  If Gabe sees her, he'll scoot on over and push Anna.  If Giles hits Anna, Gabe'll run over and hit Giles.

Weird, huh?  I swear, this boy was born with the heart of Superman.  Honestly, I think all he's doing, in his mind, is upholding justice.  On the one hand, it sucks, because you can't hurt your friends, even if they hurt your other friends.  On the other hand, I want to stand on a chair in the middle of the grocery store and scream about how freaking cool it is that he has a heart that seeks to right wrongs against others and not himself.  He is amazing.  He breaks my heart with how wonderful he is. 

He gives some of the best hugs in the whole world.  When Gabe hugs you, his whole soul is in it.  Actually, that's true of just about everything he does.  Jeff and I nicknamed him "Extreme Gabe" a long, long time ago.  He is a creature hot and cold, never warm.  There's something to be said for that.  He laid himself next to Jeff on Saturday and whispered in his ear,  "You're my best friend."  He made me a picture the other day and ended his litany of what it contained (Gabe pictures are very detailed and busy) with, "an' it's for you, because I love you, mommy.  I made it for you!  Uh-huh!  Awwwwww." (that's where he grabbed me around the neck and hugged me). 

He thinks kissing my nose is just about the funniest thing in the world.

But back to daycare...I have no idea how to handle this.  For a 5 year old, he seems to be using some pretty advanced thinking skills, as far as attacking the aggressor.  So maybe I need to regress him a bit somehow.  It's hard to know what will click with him.  Any ideas would be welcome.

I love this boy.
I'm alive.  And well, I guess. 

Winter is doing its sad-dance around me, trying to speed this little car straight into a brick wall at full speed, but I'm keeping it at bay, most of the time, with my light therapy and being faithful with my regular meds.  I didn't get to sit in front of my light today, and I can tell.  Honestly, I can tell.  I had a great day, lots of fun and all happy stuff, and here I sit, fighting tears and feeling like someone came in while I was sleeping and painted me black on the inside.

I hate it.  Nine months out of the year I don't mind being bipolar.  Now that I'm medicated and the swings are reasonably controlled, I like it.  Nine months out of the year you couldn't convince me to trade places with an NT person.  I don't understand why winter has to be this way for me.  I like snow.  I like snowboarding and snowball fights and sledding and building forts.  But I don't want to do any of that shit, because I'm too busy falling apart every 8th day.  And I just can't wait, because the bad days will continue to get worse until Christmas.  Have I mentioned lately how much I hate Christmas?

Well, I hate Christmas.  Please, let's just skip to Lent.

If nothing else, I guess today is a PSA about being disciplined.  I can't skip days.

I don't understand.  How can nothing hurt so much?

I am a gentle, kind, content creature.  My life is full of good things.  That's what I hate about depression.  It's arbitrary.  Sadness makes sense if you have a shitty week- someone close to you gets in an accident, your cat dies, you lose your job or have a fight with your best friend.  But depression is the ultimate in nonsense.  I had a great weekend, my twins are 5 today, I love all my classes now instead of just two- and I want to die.  Not only that, but none of those good things mean anything in this moment.  They're sterile and empty.

Now, I know I will be better tomorrow (but if you tell me that, I can't be responsible for my reaction).  That helps a little.  But I still don't understand why it hurts so much just to be on nights like tonight.  And how it can so strongly fly in the face of all the good in my existence.  Trample it to nothing.

And this is genetic.  Genetic.   One of my kids, statistically speaking, will be bipolar.

As long as it's not Gabe, I think I'll be ok.  My bet is on Eva.  She has my sensitivity and artistic bent.  My reluctance and aloofness in social situations.  My tendency to live life inside my head rather than in the world.  She will be better equipped than I was.  There is that.

Crying helps.  And tomorrow will be better, I know.  As luck would have it, that's not much more than an hour away...

He is forging crowns of beauty from ashes
Replacing fear with strength
Fashioning gladness from mourning
Peace for despair.

If there's a verse of the Bible that belongs to me, it's the one that chorus is based on.  Isaiah 61:3

Dodged  a bullet yesterday.  Lucille canceled class, so I didn't have to turn in the paper on therapy methods.  Of course, I'll not be much better prepared to hand it in tomorrow, being that our group leader is an ass, but hey, I got to go to Caribou during what would have been my class hour and buy coffee and a blueberry muffin.  After pulling an all-nighter, their Sumatra was like manna from heaven.  The muffin wasn't bad, but in my experience, all of Caribou's muffins are too sweet for me.  

The dreaded geography midterm went rather well, I think.  I got at least 80%, I'd say.  Not great for someone who's used to acing tests effortlessly, but hell, I didn't read 9 out of 11 of the chapters we were tested on, and I was only in class for lecture on probably half of the remainder.  So, not too shabby.  Midterm for my other psych. class tomorrow.  I'm expecting that one to be easy peasy by comparison.  94% on the closest thing I'll have to a soc. midterm.  All in all, I'm meeting my own expectations, though I'm far from exceeding them.

The light seems to be helping.  It's not instantaneous, but by about 30 minutes after dragging my apathetic butt to the kitchen table to sit in front of it, I feel sort of awake.  After a cup of coffee, almost perky.  And so far, I'm not crazy irritable, though it'll be at least another week before my circadian clock really starts to reset and I can confidently evaluate.

I saw this today and got all nostalgic for Jonah's birth.  It is so representative of my polar opposite experiences birthing Allie and Jonah (Gabe and Eva, my middle birth, was by Cesearean, so while it was a positive- if scary- experience, it's hard to compare).  It was such a difference having four people I had chosen myself, and knew very well, in the room rather than a bunch of strangers popping in and out randomly, making impersonal comments.
"Cognitive therapy portrays mental health in terms of an absence of distorting cognitions. This lends a value-free, scientific air to this psychotherapy that may, however, not be entirely accurate. A body of research exists that suggests depressed persons' perceptions and judgements (especially of interpersonal situations) are quite accurate and realistic, whereas nondepressed persons show systematic optimistic biases and distortions." -Mark D. Sullivan

So, if you're depressed, it's because you're realistic.  If you're happy, it's because you're deluded.  I feel so vindicated.
I feel like all I do is complain lately. I apologize for that- it probably won't seem all that sincere, since I'm about to do it again LOL.

It's midterms this week. So lucky girl that I am, I got sick yesterday. Tonsils all swollen and sore, fever, backache, coughing, nauseous. Exhausted. Bad vertigo. I think there must be fluid in my ears- I can't hear all that well, sometimes.

I have to write that stupid paper on therapy methods for psych. I was supposed to do it yesterday, but ended up going to bed early instead. I slept ten hours straight, and I'm still tired.

The sucky thing is, I texted Jeff last night to ask him to come over for a while today and give me a break so I could get stuff done. He would have, I think, if he'd ever gotten the message. And yes, I believe him when he says he didn't- he would have simply refused, if he didn't feel like helping. It occurred to me to wonder if maybe someone else *erased* the message before he saw it, but I'm sure that's just crazy paranoia on my part. She wouldn't be going through his text messages, would she? And even if she did, she wouldn't have any reason to do such a thing, would she? I mean, even though I don't know her or have any reason to trust her, that would be seriously wacko behavior.

Jeff's sick, too. In fact, he missed telling the kids goodnight on the phone tonight because he was napping and didn't wake up in time. I can't remember the last time he missed telling them goodnight. I was actually laying down with the boys, trying to stay awake, wondering why he hadn't called, and hoping nothing was wrong! How things change.

I guess I can't put off the stupid paper any longer. Sigh.
For H., I was listening to this on the way home and smiling about happy endings. I actually wanted to post another song ("Mansions"), but the version youtube has sucks. (It's here. And another good song, with a better video, is here.) I can't tell y'all how bummed I was when these guys (Burlap to Cashmere) broke up. Incredibly talented. Saw 'em live at Cornerstone '99, and I just about exploded into little pieces when they played the guitar duet in "Divorce".

A.: I talked to you about The Huntingtons that night we were discussing punk, right? Not their best tune (I prefer "Mom's In Rehab" or "Allison's the Bomb", but what can you do? Gotta work with what youtube has)...still, fun. (Aside to H, and anyone else with a southern accent: sorry for the lead-in. I'm sure they didn't mean it.)

I guess this kind of shows the weird range of music I like, huh? I could have really pushed it and posted Jars of Clay's "Love Song for a Saviour"... ;) (Check out the sweater! Sweet Lord, what possessed him? And the gratuitous shot of him with teary eyes...sigh. Still, the song is a longtime favorite. Yes, I'm a great big geek.)
I have this difficult relationship with the theological issue of free will versus the omnipotence of God (and both of those things are, in themselves, theological issues, or theories if you prefer). I like Frederick Buechner's explanation that just because I know you so well that I know what you're going to do before you do it, doesn't mean you aren't going to do whatever you damn well please. It makes more sense than anything I've ever seen from, say, John Calvin. Anyway, because I'm not wired for theological certainties, I just gave up. It's a mystery to me. I believe it works in the same way I believe bumblees can fly- I can't explain either, it just is.

So my deciding that it just works, and I don't need to understand that to believe it does, means I can thank God for nights like tonight, where something happens that is so wonderful, all I can do is be grateful.

I had a few hours on my hands tonight, and I went to visit C and H, thinking we'd watch Heroes or something, or just sit around and chill. What I got was a few hours of talking to a really, really good friend- sister, honestly. Love and encouragement and the gift of being able to see things from the other side. And also, I hope, offering a little of the same.

What I came home to was hard and hurtful, so I am all the more grateful to have had such a blessing to guard me. I could have come home unprotected, and I would have been devastated. As God would have it, I'm only mildly bruised.

Thank you, sweetheart. I love you.
This is so painfully boring, I'm reluctant to even post it.Collapse )
The nice thing about it taking oh, thirteen years to be finally diagnosed with bipolar, is that I really appreciate the level of health I have even during bad times.  Yeah, this week sort of sucked.  I was in this ruminative mood, thinking about things that are painful and unhelpful, and it tanked me.  Predictable.  But it would have destroyed me, pre-treatment.  There's a part of me that hates being tied to a pill, but most of me is just really grateful to be able to function.  Regardless, no one has to worry about me stopping my meds.  Ever.

Part of all of this is, it's October.  This is winter for me.  Again, I'm grateful to be diagnosed and treated- I used to be intensely suicidal from approximately the beginning of November to the end of January.  Even so, the black periods will get more frequent and more black until after the solstice.  I love the winter solstice.  More than Christmas, if I'm honest.  The darkest night of the year.  Lovely. 

Of course, I also love Advent.  But not Christmas.  I can't handle the commercialism.  When I get married again, it will be on Christmas Day, at the SP candlelight gathering, which is usually around 11 at night.  No real wedding wedding.  Just my SP family, and anyone from my other friends and family that cares to show.  We'll have a big cake, and enough champagne that anyone who wants to can have a glass.  That way, I'll have a reason to like Christmas. 

Oh, I like Lent and Easter, too.  Lent more.  I guess I'm just someone who is more drawn to times of waiting than times of fruition.  Makes sense, I think, if you know me well.  And it completely explains why my life is the way it is right now.

But it is better.  I've been gifted with some very wise friends who love me enough to let me talk through everything.  And I'm not confused anymore.  I can't see the end of the path by any means, but I can see a lot further ahead than a few weeks ago.  I'm still not quite ready to talk about it here.  But thank God I know where I'm going now. 

Jeff and I get along really well now.  I've made major, intentional adjustments in how I relate to him, and it's made an enormous difference.  Not to say that I'm being dishonest, or anything near a doormat.  I've done both those things out of desperation, and they don't feel good.  This is just me really focusing on how I talk and act, and bringing those things into line with the kind of person I am (which is hopefully improving by and by), and the kind of person I know him to be.  Responding rather than reacting.  It feels really, really good.

There is so much to be grateful for.  That's a whole other post, though.

I'm not good mentally these days.  Motivation is nil, the temptation is to just let everything go and take naps instead of doing homework.  I enjoy classes, and I don't mind going to MSA (hey, at least it's something to do), but really, anything else seems like too much.  Fortunately, one of the assignments I have to do right now is a group project, and the fact that they're depending on me helps some.  Not a lot, but some.  So do the sunny days we've had this week.  I've been deliberately not wearing sunglasses just to get as much light in my eyes as possible, since I know it will help keep me from complete collapse.  I will have to pull out my light box soon, and just pray that it works without making me a super-mega bitch like it did last year (hooray, no depression, but I was absolutely impossible to be around).  I'm thinking about calling Shawn at Caribou and asking if she needs someone on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Yeah, it pays crap, but crap is better than nothing.  Plus, it's close to school and daycare, and I like the job.  Of course, it'll cut into my time for homework, but then, so does MSA, and it's 20 miles away and pays zilch.  

Right now, I'm supposed to be doing a paper on the movie Proof.  My assignment is to analyze the protagonist from three of the four psychoanalytic perspectives we've studied (Freudian, Jungian, Adlerian, and Hornevian).  Party.  Maybe I'll post my paper when I've finished it, hahahaha.