JOMO

In Episode 26 of the podcast, I talked about JOMO, the Joy of Missing Out. Melissa Ambrosini talked about JOMO on her episode of The Good Life podcast, which you can find right here.

FOMO is an acronym for Fear of Missing Out, the idea that no matter what you are doing, there is something better out there. The party you are at might be fun, but somewhere there’s a party with better music and cooler people.

For the month of December, rather than get swept away by all the holiday madness, I decided to embrace JOMO. These are some of the things I oh so joyfully missed out on:

  • Fancy tree lighting ceremony. Instead, we decorated our tree and that was awesome enough.
  • Visiting one of the elaborate Christmas light displays in Los Angeles. We walked around the neighborhood instead.

  • Christmas cards – didn’t send them. They cause too much stress.
  • Excessive holiday baking. In years past, I agonized over which recipes to try and hunted down obscure ingredients.  This year, we baked chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies. Delicious and my daughter loved it.

  • Disneyland. I considered this for about 0.8 seconds. Do my kids really need to see Mickey Mouse in a Santa hat? No thank you.
  • Snow at our children’s museum. I could have dragged the kids and let them romp in the snow, but then fuck it, we stayed home and played in the sandbox.

I love JOMO!

2016: The Year In Review

Oh 2016, what an extraordinary year you were!

Julian grew up so much, from a newborn to a toddler.  I did it again, despite having PPD with Pippa, and I’m so proud of myself. 

In January, when I was three months postpartum, I felt the PPD beast waking up. I took action asap and contacted my psychiatrist. She increased my Zoloft dose from 100 to 150 mg and put me back on Remeron. I felt better overnight.  Over the year, I have watched and monitored and kicked the PPD in the ass.

I revived the mom-to-mom peer support group for PPD and other maternal mood disorders and found it a home at The Family Room.

I started my podcast!  And published 26 episodes! I got way out of my comfort zone and interviewed moms and discovered that podcasting is actually in my comfort zone.

I signed up for the Warrior Mom Conference and went and loved it and made new connections and started friendships and learned so much and got inspired and energized.

I hired an editor and got back incredible feedback on my memoir.

I outlined a novel which will be fun to write in 2017. 

I started therapy again and unlocked so much potential inside me and sifted through heaps of rubbish.

I tried Kundalini yoga.

I got back into Zumba with a vengeance.

I made a tote bag and sold nine of them and made some money for the first time in my entire life based on a product that I created.

I became a better mom.

I had lots of great mommy dates with Pippa, including two trips to Disneyland.

I bonded with Julian and now he is such a mama’s boy and we have so much fun together.

Nathan and I went on tons of dates.

I painted painted painted and even posted a half dozen paintings for sale on Saatchi Art.  I did not sell any paintings and THAT IS FINE.  I feel totally great that I took the risk and put myself out there.

I wore my Fitbit all the time and walked 10,000 steps nearly every day.  I embraced the power and joy of MOVEMENT.

I became a Warrior Mom Ambassador for Postpartum Progress.

What an awesome year it has been!

Medications Update

I saw my psychiatrist a couple of weeks ago. It had been a few months.  During my summer check-up, we decided to wait until January to wean me off Zoloft. We decided to stick to that plan.

I asked my psychiatrist about withdrawal, and she explained that withdrawal is something that happens with substance abuse. When a person discontinues a necessary mediation, and has a negative symptom, that’s called a “discontinuation symptom.”

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I like that. Withdrawal makes me think of that scene in Trainspotting when Ewan MacGregor quits heroin and hallucinates and seems like he’s on the verge of death.

But I’m not quitting heroin. I’m just gradually discontinuing the use of Zoloft.

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Right now, I’m taking 150 mg of Zoloft every morning and 15 mg of Remeron at bedtime. In early January, I am going to cut the Zoloft back to 125 mg. If I have “discontinuation symptoms,” such as dizziness, I can take 150 mg one day and 125 mg the next, or even 150 mg for two days and 125 mg on the third. My psychiatrist does not want me to suffer needlessly.

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After about two weeks at 125 mg, I will ease myself into 100 mg a day. Slow and steady wins the race.

This is going to be a gradual, gentle process.

I will keep taking Remeron during all of this. My psychiatrist only wants to discontinue one medication at a time.

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In the meantime, I will continue the same regimen. My psychiatrist does not want to see me again until early February, but I can of course call at any time for any reason. If something feels wrong about Zoloft discontinuation, I will call and talk to her and come in if necessary. Or if something weird happens tonight, I will call.

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When I had postpartum depression, I felt obligated to fix things on my own. That did not go very well. (Unless you think five weeks of insomnia and hospitalization is a good thing.) (It’s not.)

Now I am the strongest and happiest and healthiest I have ever been in my entire life; and I’ll be damned if I’m going to jeopardize that. I will call my psychiatrist the instant I have a question or the faintest tingling of an issue.

I am a bad ass but that does not mean I have to suffer alone.

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Let’s Kill All the Magazines

I threw out all of my magazines.

There was a big stack accumulating in the bathroom. Decorating magazines, parenting magazines, cooking magazines, “let us tell you how to live a better life because you are incapable of figuring it out” magazines.

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Pounds and pounds of magazines with shiny ads telling me what to buy. Get this fancy organic lotion for your baby and he will have an amazing life! Look at the cute pattern on the bottle! Buy this and everyone will know how much you love your little one!

A teetering slippery stack of magazines with hundreds of articles telling me what to do, when, where, and why.

Model children, model moms, model dads, look at their big bright smiles, don’t you wish you could be half as fabulous as them?

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Enough! I’m done.

The magazines make me feel insecure. Like I have to buy this toy or my kids will be dumb or I need to cook this recipe or my life will be empty and hollow or I have to watch this television show or I’ll be a miserable wretch.

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Holy shit, I don’t need magazines to tell me how to live my life. All they do is fill my head up with a thousand voices clamoring for my attention.

Goodbye, entertainment magazines! If there’s an awesome new television show, my sister will tell me about it.

Goodbye, parenting magazines! I know how to raise my children, thank you very much.

Goodbye, decorating magazines! I don’t need you to tell me about this season’s trendy colors and must have decorations.

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I banished about ten pounds of magazines to the recycling bin. It feels like I lost about five hundred pounds of emotional weight.

p.s. It took me at least a minute to remember how to spell “recycling.”

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The Postpartum Action Institute

Yesterday I learned about the Postpartum Action Institute, whose vision is “to motivate every community to create a support network for new families through grassroots action.”

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Since Warrior Mom Con, I’ve been wanting to do and learn more. Nathan is going to Vegas with a friend this month, so we decided I should get away for a weekend soon after. Then I learned the Postpartum Action Institute is having a workshop in January in Santa Barbara, my favorite road trip destination. And the workshop is being taught by Dr. Shosh and Jane Honikman, who are just too amazing to describe in a blog post, and oh my goodness, it seemed like fate.

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I went online and read up on the workshop and knew immediately it was something I wanted to attend. But.

There’s always a “but” isn’t there?

But the workshop is limited to six – six! – attendees.  WHOA.  That’s intimate. There’s no hiding in a group of six. If I registered, I’d surely be stealing the space from someone much more worthy and deserving than me, and Dr. Shosh and Jane would resent my presence and –

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That’s when I realized I needed to go.

I told my brain to shut up and registered and damn, I am glowing with excitement.

p.s. Don’t try to read any secret meaning into the graphics. I just think there is pretty and wanted to reward you with some eye candy. Because even though I’m talking about some heavy shit on this website, I want this to still be a place that feels warm and cozy.

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Bravery

 

 

I tried Soulcycle for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It was incredible – the best workout of my life.

The teacher said something that really resonated with me:

Bravery is not the absence of fear.  It is feeling all the fear about something and doing it anyway.

I wanted to scream “Amen!” but that seemed a bit dramatic so I kept pedaling. But now that I’m alone in a coffee shop with my computer, I can shout it across the internet: AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

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I always thought of bravery as being the province of the very few: the scientist who swims with sharks; the stuntman who dives off a cliff; the soldier who leads the cavalry charge.

But bravery is not just diving off a cliff or jumping out of a plane. And you know what? If a person has zero fear about jumping out of a plane, then they are not being brave. They are just having fun.

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An everyday person can be as brave as the most bad ass hero. If getting on an elevator scares the crap out of you, but you get on it anyway and ride it all the way to the top of the Empire State Building, then you are brave. If blood tests make you want to run, but you submit to the phlebotomist’s needle, you are brave. Or if going on a blind date makes you jittery, but you suck it up and go, then you are as brave as anyone I know.

Bravery happens everyday. For everyone.

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Especially for moms with maternal mood disorders.

When I had postpartum depression, the idea of calling my doctor scared the shit out of me. Something in my soul felt wrong, but what if she thought I was just lazy or weak and told me to take more vitamins? I made an appointment with my ob/gyn anyway. I was brave.

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I was afraid that my husband would be disappointed in me if I admitted myself to the hospital for psychiatric care. I did it anyway. I was brave.

I was terrified of what the other moms in my mommy and me class would think if they knew I had postpartum depression and needed Zoloft to feel okay. I told them anyway. I was brave.

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The idea of trying my gym’s Zumba class made me want to puke. I tried it anyway. I was brave.

The idea of starting a podcast about postpartum depression paralyzed me with fear. I suppressed the idea for months. But the idea would not leave me alone, so I bought a microphone and started my show. I was brave.lemonadepixel_camp2-17

Now I am petrified that when I finish my memoir and publish it, no one will buy or read it. But you know what? I am going to publish it anyway because fuck fear.

I am brave.

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p.s. I hope you like the totally random camping illustrations but to me, camping = bravery. So there you go.

p.p.s. YOU are brave, too.

 

 

 

Some Things I Know

Or, at least, here are some things I think I know. In no particular order:

  • Babies are awesome but holy shit, they are a lot of work.
  • Feelings must be felt.
  • The world is full of inspiration.
  • Sometimes babies poop on the floor at the dentist’s office.
  • Twice.

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Episode 19: My Crappy Ex-Psychiatrist, Part Deux

It’s all me again this week, wrapping up the Tale of The Crappy Psychiatrist.

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This is what life looks like lately.

I have written about my ex-psychiatrist in my journal. Talked about him at great length with my therapist. Ranted about his arrogance and awfulness to friends and family. I thought I had exhausted the subject and processed all my feelings.

Nope!

There’s something about telling a story into a microphone that helps me understand my experiences even more.

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Pippa took this photo. That’s me at work.

I realized during this episode that I excused my psychiatrist’s deplorable behavior because he was also treating my postpartum depression successfully. Since he prescribed the Zoloft and Remeron that helped me get better, I let him treat me however he saw fit.  Which happened to be rudely, arrogantly and even abusively.

My psychiatrist was a bully and an asshole and there’s nothing, NOTHING, that excuses that.

My new psychiatrist has also been successfully treating my postpartum depression and she is always, always, always caring and respectful.

I’m so glad I started this podcast. I started this show to help other women suffering from maternal mood disorder, but it is also helping me.

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Reading As A Stay-At-Home Mama

Reading is one of my great passions. And if postpartum depression has taught me anything, it’s this: I must make time for my passions.

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I spend a lot of time reading picture books to my children. There are some amazing children’s books that I enjoy as much as Pippa — Dragons Love TacosThe Bear and the Piano, anything and everything by Oliver Jeffers.

But I need more than children’s books.  My brain craves ideas and thoughts and words that are bigger than poopy diapers and teething tablets.

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To make sure I get the time to read, I have scattered books throughout the house like a squirrel hiding nuts all over the forest.

I only read one fiction book at a time. That book goes on my nightstand and migrates around the house throughout the day.

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I like to read multiple nonfiction books at any given time. I can also always read a graphic novel in addition to a word-novel. The graphic novel does not get tangled in my head with the word-novel. But two word-novels mesh into a big confusing disaster.

I keep a nonfiction book in each bathroom. Sometimes I can convince Pippa to leave me alone so I can poop in peace. (Sometimes.)

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There are a few nonfiction books and a backlog of magazines in a box on our kitchen table. I spend a lot of time at the kitchen table because Julian is a hobbit and constantly eating.

I want to scatter more books throughout the house. Put a graphic novel in the living room. Hide something in the nursery. Maybe a poetry in my car.

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I used to love poetry but then my high school English teachers beat that out of me. Now that I’m a mom, poetry might be exactly what I need. A quick flash of beauty that I can read in a minute or less. Without all the pretentious analysis because really, I don’t care if the poem is in iambic pentameter or if the oak tree is symbolic of the patriarchy.

I just want to read.

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Should Vs. Want`

I have been misusing the word “should.”  Sometimes, I say: “I should do ABC” when really I mean “I want to do ABC.”  But “want” sounds too greedy, too personal.  “Should” sounds noble. 

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Take writing.  I often tell myself: “I should write everyday because it makes me a happier person.”  But what I really mean is: “I want to write everyday.”  End of sentence.  That’s it.  I want to write every day.  No need for a justification.  For a noble purpose.  Nothing about writing making me a better wife or a better mother or a better human.  Just: I want to write every day. 

I want to write every day.

Beautiful.

I should write every day.

Ick.  That feels crappy.  If I should write everyday, the writing stops being about me and becomes about other people and what they want.  

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Let’s try another, shall we?

I should eat kale.

Ick.  Too much pressure.

I want to eat kale.

Yay!  That is about what I want.  Why deny what I want?  I like kale!  It is yummy. I want to make green smoothies and eat more vegetables. 

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WANT is a much more powerful word than SHOULD.

Another one!

I want to lose weight.

Yes!  It’s about me!  It’s not about society or the moms at preschool or what’s healthy or what my doctor says or what the media says or what anyone says.  It’s about me.  Because it’s my body.  My life. 

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Going forward, I want to say want.  I want to acknowledge and honor my dreams and wishes and desires.  I want to trust my inner compass.  I want to live my life for me.

want to want.

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