Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Man I'm in a strange place in my head.

People are used to seeing me in here clacking away at the blog. When I don't do it regularly now people start to get worried. Then the e-mails begin, the phone calls, the wall posts, and believe me when I tell you, it's very touching indeed, the fact that people are checking in on me. Checking to see if something is wrong.

Something is. Me.

I've spent the last 9 months being very concerned about my son's brain, and I guess now, with great reluctance, I have to start worrying about my own. I can't explain it, though you know me, I'll certainly give it the old college try.

Come to think of it, I never tried that hard in college. I'll try harder than that.

I thought that, after the seizures were gone and the brain tumor removed, that there would be a steady upward momentum as far as how it related to how I emotionally coped from day to day as I also expected a steady upward momentum as far as watching Bennett develop new skills and walk his path towards whoever he is going to become.

It's not working out that way exactly.

Bennett is learning new skills, don't get me wrong. Maybe not daily, or weekly, but he does pick things up in a way that he didn't before, though sporadically. So what's left in there of his brain, the parts not tainted by the tumor and seizure activity/focus, is functioning and learning, well, unless you count the language part. But my point is there is forward momentum with him, there is a sense of moving forward. It's spotty and jerky, not steady, and INCREDIBLY slow, but it's there.

But then there's the aggression, the quirky behavior, the speech that seemed to disappear completely and doesn't seem to be anywhere near interested in coming back, the mimicry that isn't happening, his compulsion to do certain things like rub an air conditioner vent for 30 minutes, and I am so focused on these things. So consumed by them.

I'm so zeroed in on the things that he isn't able to do right now, or the things I can't really 'explain', that I am not taking the time to enjoy or celebrate the things that he IS doing. And it's out of control for me right now and I don't know how to fix it. Hell, for all I know half the things I get my panties in a knot over could be 100% 'TYPICAL' things a near 2 year old would do. I'm no expert.

My emotional state is linked to those things I focus in on, and linked HARD. Because despite positive gains, despite having seizure freedom, I am sinking, and I can feel it. My emotional state is NOT progressing with a steady upward momentum, I am NOT feeling better, and I can't really figure it all out. Yeah you could say I maybe got hit harder by the miscarriage than I'll admit. But did I? I don't know. Hard to figure out how I feel about anything right now, because nothing feels 'right' in my world yet. Too many things still feel like they are spinning out of control.

I've bitched and moaned about stuff before, about how shitty I felt about this, how angry this makes me and so on and so forth. The anxiety attacks I'd been having are gone because of the medications I take for them, but I think it's really time to go back on a fucking anti-depressant again. I say 'fucking' because for some reason, right or wrong, I consider that to be MY failure as a human being, MY failure as a father and MY failure to cope with situations that other people seem to be able to WITHOUT drugs.

Logically, I know that to be horseshit, but what the fuck? I'M MENTALLY ILL. So of course I would toss logic into the shitter and instead beat myself to death with self-recrimination. And yeah, yeah...I know...I am especially hard on myself because my step-father was hard on me, and it's a learned behavior from childhood, a sort of Mirror Universe Comfort Zone and that's why I go there, yadda, yadda, yadda...I don't need a shrink to get that far inside my own head. My Momma din't raise no dummy.

BUT I STILL HATE BEING 'CLINICALLY' DEPRESSED. I hate it. It's a mother-fucking stigma and people look at me like I'm nuts when I talk about it but hey guess what? That's because I AM. Over the course of my life I've had about 4 psychiatrists that I had regular therapy with. A few more than that for just drug management, but 4 I actually sat down across from and had a go with. All four diagnosed me with PTSD and Clinical Depression, 2 of the 4 added in ADHD to the mix.

Anyway, where is this post going? I dunno. It's gotten a little out of hand. But I wanted people to know...I'm OK, I'm not on the edge of a precipice looking to jump, but yeah...I'm in a bad place right now in my noggin' and I've been in a shitty mood.

I'm depressed about pretty much everything, have a hard time with grasping and clinging on to the positive, I'm super busy with work and it consumes a majority of my time now, and the rest of the time is spent trying to figure out Bennett's stuff, make time for Carter or Jen or just find a place to be alone so I can let out some emotion in private before it builds up to a level where I have to let my kids see their Dad in tears.

I'll get by, though. I'll figure something out. I always have, I always will. I'm a survivor, if nothing else. And if it ends up being the drugs again, so be it. I fuggin' HATE the side effects of that shit too...but waddya gonna do?

I think now I'll go find something to kick and then go have a good cry, maybe order a pizza.



  1. I second all those "yadda, yadda, yaddas." Glad to see your blog...I had become quite used to enjoying your very unique sense of humor and honesty...makes me smile.

    I won't insult your intelligence by reminding you that everyone who posts a comment, and all those who don't, have our own crumbles, and our own ways of dealing. Your's might be an anti-depressant, mine might be God (and some drinking).

    Thanks for being who you are. I want the best for you! And I know you want that for your family as well.

    (On the side: It takes newborns a year to say one word...I think that would be a good analogy for Bennett. His brain is nearly as inexperienced as a newborns. Fortunately it is just as plastic.)

  2. Plasticity is a funny term. It makes me infer that everything is malleable and can reform easily. It suggests a fast process. Its not fast. Wish it was. Wish I could give you words of hope but we both no there are no guarantees of what a child will learn and when. Sophie went home from surgery and her vocabulary exploded. Bennett did not. Emma did not. But it is too soon to panic. Increase therapies. Check the vitamin and mineral levels. Give him another few months before you panic. As you know, I have started to get worried about Emma's verbal skills. But I have a few months head start on you...

    I'm sorry you need help but you were dealt a hand that is very hard to play. Take the help and support that you need and be proud that you are among the few who can distinguish that they need help.

  3. I was one of the worried ones, but I knew you probably needed some time.

    I wish I could give you some advice or encouragement in terms of Bennett's progress after surgery. But you know I have zero experience there.

    But based on what I've heard, it's no easy experience to go through. The disorder itself grips you and changes you. Then brain surgery? I hope you cut yourself a little slack there. That's not something many people can handle alone -without religion, anti-depressants, support.

    I hope you take whatever step you feel will lead you in the right direction. I miss your regular blogging, but I want you back on feet again more.

  4. I'm sorry it all feels so heavy right now. I wish I knew how to help.

    I am normally an optimistic, high energy, high intensity sort of gal. But I was clinically depressed once as a side effect of a hormone I was on. And I thought I was going insane. I had always thought people choose how they are going to handle life. Until all of a sudden I couldn't. I was seeing a therapist and starting meds, when suddenly it dawned on me that it seemed to have started with the new hormone. So I strongly believe it is a chemical issue.....

    Anyway, I'm rambling, but my point is, I know how awful it feels to feel so wrong everyday. And you have to try to treat it so that you can feel good again. That does not make you a failure.

    You have had a heavy year. Do what you need to do to get through it.

    Thinking of you!

  5. I once read a description of depression that compared it to a record player with a skip--the brain is stuck in a rut it can't get out of. Figuring out how to get out of that rut is the question.

    I say, do what makes you happy and if drugs is the answer then so be it. Life is entire too short to beat yourself up--leave that to someone else.

    Maybe if you could look at drugs as a tool for strength as opposed to a sign of weakness?

    Wishing you the best. . .

  6. I think it's really important to remember how common this is - anxiety, PTSD, depression. I'm on a pile of meds for anxiety attacks where I feel like my throat is closing and I can't breathe. I was clinically depressed in high school. I'm in the middle of writing a play about anxiety attacks and the director has just pushed it back about six months because, you guessed it, she just developed a crippling anxiety disorder.

    But more to the point I'm the product of genetics and my mother, and sisters, all share the inability to deal with stress and anxiety. my mothers words were very helpful after my first really bad burst of panic attacks - "It's your body not cooperating with your mind. Be frustrated, be angry, be irritated, but don't be scared and don't be sad because it will pass and it'll pass faster when you can accept that it's purely medical and nothing to do with you as a person. You aren't insane, you are sick. And you'll get better."

    There's nothing wrong with you. You have an illness, maybe a few, but they are no different from a flu or arthritis or measles. Certainly there's nothing wrong with ME - and I challenge you to find something wrong with me. You're in the same boat as a lot of people, champ. I'm on skype and facebook a lot if you ever want to talk.

  7. I saw your comment on To The Max, and I wanted to give you an "atta boy" and a punch in the arm and some macaroni and cheese and tell you I just went on an antidepressant because even though my baby with CP is really doing well, I haven't been able to handle all the thoughts in my head. I haven't told most people that this is how I'm coping, but I will (just started this week) and dammit I don't feel bad. We have too much to do to spend time feeling bad about trying to feel better so we can be ourselves. I vote for you! I support you! Make yourself as well as you can, in any way that helps you. Best of luck!

  8. Meds are not a bad thing. It's a sign that you know something is worng and you know it needs to be dealt with. It's a sign how strong you are to admit there is a problem and get help. As I have said before, I, too am on anti-deppressant. And yes I hate the side effects too. But over all, it helps me cope and that is what is important.

  9. Ken, you are dealing with more stress than man was ever designed to cope with. The fact you are honest and talking are signs of hope. I know you value things being in order and under control and right now very little probably seems to be under control. Hang in there, you got family and friends praying for you.


  10. Didn't any of those psychiatrists ever diagnosed you with OCD? Because it seems to be you're compulsively obsessing about Bennett. Guess what? Bennett needs time, and he'll probably never be the Bennett he was before. Remember when people wake up from comas and they do so with a new personality? Well that could be Bennett.

    So lets Bennett, be Bennett, and let's focus on Kenneth.

    Remember Kenneth? The boy that wasn't actually born with chronic depression, but was actually made to be depressive because of all that happened all those years ago?

    The boy Kenneth grew up and became Kenneth the man, with PTSD and chronic depression. Does anyone really like to take pills? Yes, when they are 10 and are playing doctor. Apart from that no one really like taking pills, because we all know they aren't M&Ms they are actual drugs that will fuck us up if we aren't careful.

    Everyone that knows me, know that I was diagnosed with chronic depression when I was 12, and as bipolar a few years after that.

    I wasn't totally made chronically depressed like you, it's more like 40/60 with the 60 being a biological and genetic factor.

    I describe myself as a "Legal Drug Addict" because, the definition of a drug addict, is someone that is unable to life or function without drugs, and that's me to the last letter. And I'm fine with that being part of my identity.

    Now if you are not comfortable with identifying yourself like that, it's simple, just think of yourself as something else, you are what you see yourself as being, now what others think you are, or perceive you to be.

    We've had this talk before, so I'm not going to go over everything again, but remember that if the drugs make you better, it's probably because you do need them. It really isn't because you want them.

    If you were a diabetic would you still think taking insulin was wrong, because you should be able to produce it yourself? The drugs you take just give you what you need which your body isn't producing, and you actually need. Insulin or antidepressants, don't really make you into some other person, they just help you be "the best you can be".

    So let's think about Ken the Man, and forget about the rest for a little, even if just one hour a day. Ok?

    Just a few thoughts from a Mentally Ill friend.

  11. So Ken...

    You know me. I have nothing profound or eloquent to say. Other than I truly care about you. And I see the people surrounding you...and think there is Someone else who does too.



  12. ps. Richard...I loved the newborn thought. Thank you...


  13. This stuff can make anyone lose it...and FWIW, coming from a long line of clinically depressed people, stigma shmigma. It's just brain chemistry and if you need a litle help so what. I'm sorry that there are still worries about sucks that after surgery they have to be there, hasn't a parent been through the ringer enough? And that there is no manual for what to expect and when. I think the fact that he is learning new things, however slowly, is an excellent sign.

    I feel far more worry and anxiety now than I did immediately following surgery...feels a bit like PTSD.

  14. So sorry to hear about all of this. It seems pretty silly to "say" anything, especially when I don't even know you. I guess I know a bit of what you go through, at least the child with the seizures thing, though, and what's helped me for all the years I've been going through all of this shit (14 and counting) is mindfulness meditation. Sounds goofy, but it helps.

    I wish you better days.

  15. I hear ya on the clinically depressed. But you must know that you are not the only one. (I raise my hand over here in Michigan). But nothing to beat yourself up over. Some people handle things differently than others. I'm sure you've heard the whole spiel before.

    So just think of it this way, you now belong to the not so elite group of parents that have a hard time accept or trying NOT worry so much.

    Anyways, if you ever need to B*tch or complain...I do it all the time ;) I have good ears!

  16. I, too, am a member of the "antidepressant crowd" and have been for ~ 11 years....Funny, though...NOT originally from the stress with Colby, but with the nutty, abusive ex....But, nevertheless, been on one or another ever since...And funny thing, I'll bet I can count on one hand the number of folks I know that AREN'T on one! So I would say majority rules....

    I tried to go without for just one summer...Couldn't even watch a TV commercial w/out croco tears!!...
    I just know that I NEED the extra boost to keep me relatively sane...Especially over all these years with things getting worse for my son....

    As for the timing of your sinking spell right now, I am wondering if it could just be "letdown"....??

    After all of the build up to the surgery, the surgery itself, the lost baby? You were in high gear for all that stretch and using superhuman strength to just get through it...

    Maybe your mind is NEEDING this little "break" right now...Just trying to "relax" a bit....Just a thought...

    But you will weather this period and get back to where you were soon...

    And in the meantime, Bennett will start making more strides towards his milestones.....



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