Age, We All Have It

Of all the things the human race has to worry about, age shouldn’t be one of them. Sure, we should think about our overall health, but that should be from day one and continue until we die. I don’t know about other countries but in the US the “prime” ages seem to be between 21 and 25. Within these ages exists a place where telling your real age comes with pride. You are no longer an awkward teen, you are given a bit more respect as an adult, and you’re nowhere near the proverbial “hill” we all go over.  I remember at age 25 hoping time would simply stop. I was perfectly fine with that number and no more were needed, thank you very much.

My mother has always been a great role model of how to handle the age thing. She never lies about her age and she openly discusses it if the topic comes up. Since she had me later in life she was typically older than the other mothers and she didn’t seem to mind one bit. My mother was also gifted with a youthful appearance. She has aged beautifully and I don’t blame her one bit for taking pride in that.

It is because of this upbringing that I can’t understand where my own insecurities come from. Perhaps it is because I’m now 10 years older than she was when she had me and I’m still without a child. For as much as age should not be a factor when it comes to attractiveness or ability, the sad fact of the matter is age does effect one’s ability to get pregnant. Perhaps it is because of this fact that ageism is still so prominent for women. But I won’t get into that now.

One thing I do have in common with my mother is that I haven’t physically aged too badly. I still get carded at the age of 40. Maybe they’re just being nice, but I’ve had some pretty interesting reactions when they see my date of birth. Typically I get, “Oh wow you look great” or “I never would have guess you were that old.” What the hell is a 40 year old supposed to look like exactly? I watch TV, I’ve seen movies, I know people my age and older. None of us are walking around with gray hair and canes. In fact, thanks to improved medical care we even live to our 50s!

I had a rather intrusive encounter with a waitress when we went out to eat one evening. I ordered a beer and she carded me. Once she saw my date of birth the look of shock was obvious. Then it got weird. She informed me she was the same age as I am, only a month older to be precise. She said she wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t seen it and said I looked so much younger. I was a bit uncomfortable, but thanked her. Then she said, “How do you look like that, but I look like this (she points to her whole self) if we are the same age?” How do you appropriately respond to that type of question? Do you lie and say they look great too? Do you fake plastic surgery? Clean livin? Good genes? Time traveler? It was so uncomfortable and I can’t even remember what I said. I’m sure it was tactful as she was handling my food.

There comes a point where saying someone looks good “for their age” isn’t really a compliment. How about they just look good?  Oh you run 5 miles a day, that’s amazing for someone your age, is NOT a compliment. There are thousands upon thousands of people that are of all ages doing amazing things, accomplishing goals, look fabulous, and living their friggin lives. Come on people, have we not advanced enough as a society to stop stigmatizing people based on age? Hahahahah, I know wishful thinking.

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Little Lies and Partial Truths

Sometimes I need to give myself a break. I’m really horrible when it comes to self punishment, blame, and put downs. I use these to prevent me from tunneling too deep into the depression mines. Here are some little lies and partial truths I tell myself to make me feel a bit better. Some may call this tactic reinforcing bad behavior or habits, I call it survival:

Reese’s peanut butter cups are good for you because peanut butter is a healthy protein.

Coffee is an antioxidant, wine is a fruit, beer is whole grain, it’s a totally healthy meal.

Took the stairs today, woohooo! Good cardio, got my exercise in for the day.

I’m not wasting time on the computer, I’m researching.

Playing games on my phone for hours teaches my brain to problem solve.

I’ll get caught up with my paperwork “for sure” tomorrow.

It’s OK that I’m not very social, I’m an introvert.

It’s good I didn’t get out of my PJs today, I’m saving water by doing less laundry.

It’s fine I can’t afford to get any new clothes, the ones I have still work.

No, I don’t really want that cool art piece, I would have nowhere to put it.

40 is the new 30.

I’m Ok with my BF not working, it will be good for him to go back to school.

I deserve this “sick” day even though I feel fine. It’s a mental health break!

I hardly ever use these excuses every day. 🙂

My Dad

I feel like I should start this out by saying I truly love my father. I know what he is going through is horrible and I will do most anything in my power to help him through this. That being said, he is driving me crazy!

As my dad’s physical health continues to decline he has been relying more and more on my boyfriend to help him get to medical appointments. This requires a lot of time and lifting as he doesn’t have enough muscle strength to get out of bed or even a chair. This weakness was worsened due to two falls he had in one week, injuring his back. Since my BF is currently not working he has been available anytime day or night to assist him.

Now, having lost his job last month, the plan was BF would go back to school. He’s already applied to a local junior college and will be taking the assessment tests to determine which math and English classes he needs to hopefully begin the winter semester.

My dad called me last night with an update on how he’s doing and to let me know the doctor approved him for physical therapy as he may be able to regain some mobility. After the small take and updates he said there was something he had to tell me before we hung up. He began by saying my BF is a “GEM”! He doesn’t know what he would do without him. He is so kind and willing to do everything and anything to help him. He is amazingly “Strong, with a capital S!” (His exact words). “I never fear he is going to drop me”, which my father has never been dropped but he didn’t feel safe once when being lifted by paramedics. He has eased so much of the burden off of his own significant other “A” and she no longer worries or stresses as much knowing she can count of my BF for help. “Just knowing I can count on him gives me hope!”

The outpour of compliments, dependency, neediness and praise was intense. I’ve no idea where that came from and it was a bit scary. I had told my dad only a week ago of our plans of BF going back to school. So I tried to be as tactful as possible by saying I was really glad he appreciated the assistance, but he does know this 24hr availability isn’t going to last forever…right? I emphasized that I have been encourage him to find a home care provider that could do exactly what my BF is doing for months now.

After all those words of praise, going on and on, all it took was for my little snippet of reality for him to say, “I know.” I asked if he was angry and he said, “No.” He was so quiet I finally asked if he was going to interview care providers and he said he would. I back peddled a bit stating that of course BF wouldn’t be in school 24-7 so he could probably help out when not in class or needing to do homework. He stated he knew that and had already discussed it with him. Clearly the conversation was over. Oooook.

I’ve no idea what type of response he wanted from me. I don’t know if he wanted me to offer BF up full time or what. I asked my BF about this and he said my dad had joked about him living with them full time to help out, but it was a joke. I’m thinking maybe not. Right now I’m trying very hard not to read more into it. I can’t feel guilty for us trying to move forward with life. Then why do I feel so…wrong?

Mental Health and Dating

Thanks to social media and the internet in general, there has been a huge increase of dating sites and aps. There’s always a ton of spam in my email regarding finding that “perfect someone” and commercials showing people who met their soul mates thanks to answering a few hundred compatibility questions.

Before my current BF I dated a man that was diagnosed bi-polar with psychotic features. I didn’t know anything about the disorder at the time and I didn’t find out he had it until a year into the relationship. This was a caustic mix of my major depressive disorder symptoms and his rapid cycling ups and downs. Because of his psychotic features he would often believe my depressive isolation was because I was having an affair. If I didn’t want “attention” from him I must be “getting attention” from someone else.

Remembering how completely incompatible we were I thought there should be dating site where all the symptoms, diagnosis, addictions, and over all craziness was clearly laid out in the open. I called it mentalhealthmatchup.com. It would save people from having the startling discovery well into the relationship and you wouldn’t have to struggle with finding a way to disclose or explain your diagnosis to someone that may not understand.

Then the flood gates of my imagination were opened. I created a place where people could say, ‘well my disorder is agoraphobia so I’m going to check out this major depressive person since they won’t want to get out and do much anyway.’ I imagined compatibility graphs, like the ones they do with astrological signs. If you have this diagnosis you will be driven less crazy with people having this diagnosis. The site would also show who to stay away from e.g. codependent people should stay away from borderline personality disorders etc. I was making up all kinds of possibilities and match ups. I cracked myself up, but also thought dang that could actually be really helpful!

Logically, I know this isn’t a realistic idea. Just a few reasons being 1. Most of us don’t want to share our disorders openly thanks to stigma and ignorant people, 2. People would make incorrect assumptions and judgments, and 3. I don’t know if we should be defined by our mental health issues.

But I’m all for possibilities, so who knows what the future may hold…

Infertility and Possibilities

I went to my follow-up appointment with the fertility specialist this week. It was not good news, it was not definitive bad news. It appears my ovaries aged about 3 years faster than my actual biological age. How the hell does that happen? Well, endometriosis could wear them out and cause damage. I’ve never been diagnosed, but apparently it’s possible to have it and not know it. There is no cure and the test is horribly invasive. The fact I’m part Asian may or may not be a factor. Studies have shown that Asian women tend to go through menopause much earlier than Caucasians and African-American women. Ok great. Basically what that means is fewer eggs are produced and the quality may be weaker which she says may explain why I had the miscarriage last year.

We reviewed all the choices, the outrageous costs, and the chances of success. All very dismal, unrealistic numbers. The only option that seemed remotely affordable and higher success rates was embryo adoption. These are already created embryos from a man and woman who chose in vitro fertilization (IVF). They already have the amount of children they want but there are live embryos still frozen. They then allow the clinic to put those embryos up for adoption. This is basically adoption, but you get to actually go through the pregnancy process. You and your partners name are on the birth certificate.

I tried to research embryo adoption online, but found very little information. Mostly, they were “private” clinics, that were more like adoption agencies in that the donors were apart of the process. Some even had the biological donors screen potential parents. UGH, I did not like what I was finding. When I asked the doctor about why there was so little information, she was very honest in saying it is not a money-making procedure. Hospitals and clinics would rather people go through IVF or other fertility treatments because they make a lot of money from those procedures. I would like to say I’m shocked and appalled that a treating facility would rather make money than help people, but I’m really not surprised.

She reinforced that in the region we live there are major hospitals that offer embryo adoption and the donors are completely out of the picture. The only information you are given are health and ethnicity of the donors. Donors sign away all rights and are not even told if their embryos were adopted or not. I find this reassuring since I’ve seen some standard adoptions go really bad.

For now she recommended two different vitamin supplements, DHEA and CoQ-10. She says that these have been shown to increase woman’s reproductive organs and quality of eggs. She believes I could still get pregnant so all is not lost in that area. The good thing is I have some answers and some choices. The embryo adoption is something my BF and I will need to really talk about considering our current circumstances and what the future may hold. Another really positive aspect of embryo adoption is that it can be done at any age as long as you have a uterus. Now I’m not saying I want to get pregnant after menopause, but I like knowing there is no rush.

Friends, what are they good for?

I have very few friends and none I would consider a “best friends.” The few friendships I somehow maintain are all people I’ve worked with. Only one or two of them are aware of my battle with depression but not the severity. I attempted to get a few of them together to help me through what was an extremely depressing time. I was turning 40 and the weight of that age was excruciating. I had sent a mass text letting them know I was needing some support. I didn’t want a party I just wanted to socialize and be with people I enjoyed. Initially ideas were coming in, while others were too busy with other plans. I was fine with that just as long as at least one person showed they cared and made an effort. In the end, no one did. I messaged again that apparently everyone was too busy and maybe we could get together the following month.The responses were minimal, I was heart broken.

For as depressed as I was, it took a ton of effort for me to even try. Every fiber of my being wanted to try and ignore my impending birthday, crawl in a hole and disappear. But I didn’t. I grabbed that sliver of hope and asked for help from people I love and trust. They may as well have beaten me to death.

The following month I attempted to remove my depression blinders and recognize that people do have their own lives to lead. They get busy and it’s not always personal. I sent out another message, this time something more specific we could all do. Not only was I met with declines but some just ignored it.

Ok, so are these people still my friends? Were they ever? Why am I putting myself into situations where I keep getting rejected. Screw these people I don’t need them anyway!! They can all go to HELL!!!!!

At this point I don’t know if I’m overreacting to this continued rejection. Is it more intense because of my depression and I don’t have any other friends I can count on or vent to? Whatever the case may be, the reality is, I feel like a rejected piece of shit.

Stress and Depression a sloppy mix

Disclaimer: In this blog I discuss my personal experience with suicidal thoughts. If for any reason this offends or triggers negative thoughts for you please don’t continue reading. Much thanks!!!

Another trip to emergency this week for my father. His blood pressure spiked at 200+ over 90 and the doctors have no idea why. He has a follow-up with is primary MD this Friday. Will we get answers, who knows. This is more to add to my list of concerns regarding my father and his dwindling health. I also have my “big reveal” appointment with the fertility specialist today. This appointment will reveal the results of the blood work. This is supposed to tell me what is happening to me internally and if there is any hope for pregnancy.

I can tell I’m not handling all these events well. When I finally do fall asleep I wake up really sore and exhausted. I’ve fallen behind at work and today I just said screw it I’m staying home and sleeping in. My relationship with my BF has been a struggle and we had a pretty heated fight Monday night. I actually started planning in my head what I would need to do if I was suddenly single.

Since I have no close friends I spoke with my mother about all this. I had to vent this out as it is driving me mad. She was empathetic and offered to help in any way she could. I didn’t know what to tell her. Right now the only thing that would help is if everything miraculously got better or I change lives with someone who has a better life. All very realistic…:-P

A symptom of my depression is that suicide is always at the forefront of my thoughts. I realize this is a huge taboo for many and I respect that. I want to emphasize that I in no way believe suicide is a solution. These are simply my thoughts and how I’ve lived with them. For me, I think I get a sad comfort in thinking I have choices, I have an escape route. It is certainly not a good choice. I’ve heard all the propaganda that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I know those I love and that love me would be negativly effected by my actions. I also have a very healthy fear of failing at it. Working in mental health, I’ve seen clients with failed suicide attempts that have mangled themselves physically and/or caused horrible internal damage. And yet with all that it is still in my thoughts.

I’ve been fortunate in that my thoughts don’t consume me to the point of action. I’ve never been hospitalized and I know who I can talk to for help. I’ve actually gotten used to these thoughts which I try not to judge as a good or bad thing,They simply are. When the chips are down, they are there for better or worse.

If you are feeling suicidal and they are not passive thoughts, please call 1-800-273-8255. None of us are as alone as we feel.