Posted by: Hannah | 10/03/2015

i can see clearly now

Well, it’s been almost two weeks since I started taking a low dose of Wellbutrin, as prescribed by my very sympathetic and practical doctor (“there are lots of options for anxiety, let’s try this, I want you to see a therapist as soon as you feel able to make an appointment, and come back to me in a month”).

The physical side-effects haven’t been too onerous and are already passing. I had a terrible headache for the first couple of days. There were a few nights were I just couldn’t close my eyes long enough to fall asleep. I either wasn’t hungry at all and could barely make myself eat, or I was starving for weird taste combinations, and my digestive system wasn’t happy about it all. Things are leveling off though, just a few days shy of the two week mark, as promised.

Emotionally, I already feel different. I’ve heard people say that when they started with medication they became more acutely aware of a range of feelings; they’d been so preoccupied with white-knuckling their way through the anxiety that they couldn’t feel anything else. I’ve had a couple of crying jags, but they were the kind that leave you feeling better after the storm passes. I had a workday where I felt an odd sense of contentment no matter what happened; I took the kids for a walk and we did some crafts, and it was such an unfamiliar sensation to feel peaceful that I almost didn’t recognize it.

Yesterday I had a real test; I had an interview scheduled with a potential new client. I spent the week decluttering, reorganizing, and cleaning my entire dayhome space. I put all of my paperwork neatly in a binder so I’d have it ready. Every time I started to get the fluttering in my stomach and the sweaty palms, I was able to say to myself OK, that’s the anxiety talking. You are prepared. You will be fine. Just breathe. 

I was as ready as I was going to get when, fifteen minutes before the interview time, the client emailed to say she’d found someone else closer to her house, and wasn’t going to keep our appointment.

I was disappointed. I cried a little bit. I needed to sit for a while and just be sad. Eventually I was able to get back up, make some applesauce for after school snack, and do some chores. I didn’t spend the rest of the day convinced I’ll never get another interview. I reacted, I think, in the same way that someone without anxiety would act.

I know that I have a long way to go. I still haven’t made an appointment with a therapist. I don’t want to go back to the same one I’ve used in the past, but that involves a lot of steps that traditionally stress me out (calling a receptionist! booking a time! meeting a new person! explaining my situation! spending $150 for an hour of me talking while someone nods a lot!) so that’s still going to take some work.

I’m sure right now I’m in the honeymoon phase. I’m sure there will be days when I still feel terrible. I know there will still be events I don’t want to go to (I’m already fretting about the family Halloween dance at my kids’ school; it’s the scariest thing about the holiday, in my opinion).

What’s different is that I’ve now had a couple of days where I felt like myself again, for the first time in many months. Having done it once, I can do it again. The helpless hopeless feeling that characterized most of my summer is gone.

Baby steps, ya’ll. But I am taking them.

Posted by: Hannah | 09/28/2015

in which i find my people


When I was a kid, I wanted so badly to belong to the popular set. I wanted more than anything else to be “normal”. Conformity was my goal. I didn’t want to be unique. I wanted to blend in.

As a teenager I rejected all of that (or thought I did; in retrospect I was just conforming with a different crowd). I shaved my head, let a guy I was dating pierce my bellybutton with a needle, listened to angry music and read angry books.

I still didn’t really feel like I knew where I fit.

Yesterday, it became obvious where I belong. I spent the morning busily ticking the boxes on “suburban middle-class mom” and my inner 15-year-old wanted to punch me.

We woke up bright and early to take the children apple-picking. Apple-picking! We’ve been doing it for years, but recently it has become one of the standard events you see on social media. Think the visit to mall Santa. As soon as the back-to-school pictures are over, for a few weeks it’s nothing but kids in orchards and artful shots of perfect apples still on the tree.

We piled into our minivan and headed out, with a detour at McDonald’s for coffee. I ordered a pumpkin spice latte because goddamn it, I like pumpkin spice lattes, I don’t care if that makes me so basic I could cry. I just want to be able to drink my pumpkin pie for the entire month of October, OK?

Michael handed me my latte and I sniffed it. There was no smell except coffee. I tasted it. There was no deliciously-sweet flood of nutmeg & cinnamon & far too much sugar. They had given me a plain latte by mistake.

After some back & forth (Michael: Just go in and explain the mistake! Me: No, I’ll just drink this gross thing because I don’t want to make a fuss) I took my latte back in. I learned an important lesson very quickly.

It is impossible to say the sentence “excuse me, I ordered a pumpkin spice latte and this is a regular latte” without sounding like an utter wanker.

Now, they very quickly handed me the correct drink, and no one seemed overly bothered, but as I walked back to my car (only not wearing yoga pants because they were in the laundry, can you even?) it occurred to me that I had found my tribe.


Posted by: Hannah | 09/15/2015

i got you babe

So. I’m back.

I know, I did that scary thing where I wrote a long post about how emotionally-unstable I am, and then disappeared from the blog.

I know, I hate it when people do that.

In the meantime I got so many comments, and emails, and texts… I truly am blessed to have so many people rooting for me, and encouraging me to keep that doctor’s appointment and get some help.

I feel that I owe you all an update on that.

The appointment was this morning. The same day as George’s first day of preschool, so after dropping he & Daisy off at school (it was fraught, but that’s a post for another day) I took Charlie and went to my appointment.

I got there a good 40 minutes early, because I couldn’t imagine what I would do to fill the time otherwise, and the waiting room has wifi AND a train table. I settled down to wait while Charlie played.

Five minutes later, Charlie squatted in the corner and got a Very Serious Look on his face. I sighed. His parents are planning on starting with potty-training next month, so I couldn’t very well say “I KNOW YOU ARE POOPING, SMALL HUMAN” and rush him to the bathroom. Instead I had to sit there, waiting for him to finish, trying not to make eye contact with anyone else in the waiting room.

To the washroom! Fortunately it had a change table. Unfortunately it was installed by a giant. When I hoisted him up, the table was level with my boobs… meaning that his now foul-smelling rear-end was basically level with my face.

As I cleaned and wiped and flushed and sprayed Febreeze (good thinking, doctors!), I couldn’t help but think that if I were a celebrity, I could just go to a cushy rehab centre somewhere, get my vaj steam-cleaned, and become a Scientologist. Instead, I was face-level with a two-year-old’s dirty diaper.

Back to the waiting room for another fifteen minutes… then the receptionist came over and apologized, but my doctor was not going to be able to keep the appointment. She was stuck at the hospital, delivering two babies, and could I reschedule for a later date?

I did, and I didn’t wig out, but inside my head I was thinking yup, of course, it fucking figures. I finally get up the nerve to make this appointment, and I make myself come, and now I have to go through the same cycle of emotions & stress next week because it’s like the ‘Groundhog Day’ for the mentally ill.



I made another appointment, for next Tuesday morning. I will go again. I will persist.

But dammit, pregnant ladies of Halifax! Can you just hold on to those babies next Tuesday? That’d be GREAT.

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