Hey hey hey I’m leaving for a road trip tomorrow to see a friend. VERY. EXCITING. I will be driving across Eastern Washington for the first time ever and through part of Oregon to Idaho. I drove across country when I was 16, and I have been fortunate enough to fly to some hithers and other yons, but I have never taken such a long road trip by myself. The plan is to take loads of pictures and stop at every sign that says THE THING THAT IS A THING AND COSTS $3 TO SEE, 500 YARDS.
I like being alone on occasions like trips, but I like being alone less now. I am thinking thinking thinking now that it’s been a month sans IUD. There were immediate effects as I have mentioned, like my hand stopped tingling and falling asleep. I am also not waking up several times a night, so sleep is better and I remember more dreams. I had my period and it was pretty normal for me, which is about 5 days, which felt like another milestone.
Looking at this on the surface, I know it all seems pretty trivial–it’s an IUD. I was overmedicated from it. Sadly, lots of women whose accounts I’ve been reading about online had similar problems. I did not die or have really serious permanent effects (as far as I can tell). On one hand this is just a bump in the road, on the other, three years is a long time and it’s weird to think that I was a different person, like an alternate universe me.
In March three years ago I woke up one morning and wanted eggs so badly, worse than I had ever wanted them in my life. I made a plate of eggs over easy, which I probably hadn’t eaten in about 20 years, and was never a regular eater of non-hard cooked or scrambled eggs. In fact, “undercooked” eggs used to turn my stomach. I inhaled them and considered having a second plate of them. I started having cravings for Frappuccinos, the blended kind you buy from Bux itself, and I bet I had only had one of those before ever. I drank them through April and May, telling myself I was unwinding from the stress of the auction I was running.
I was also craving burgers about three times a week. I’ve eaten fast food more in the past three years then I probably ever did through the whole of my twenties. In the meanwhile I was trying to tell my girls to eat healthy and not feed them fast food all the time. I felt I had changed and felt vaguely ashamed and hypocritical about it, since I always tried so hard to model good behavior. My solution was to get it during the day and hide the wrappers in the trash.
I think most parents (and most people) sometimes get treats they don’t want to share, and try not to flaunt that. I didn’t feel like my eating was disordered, since I was not ordering four burgers at a go or anything like that. I just felt off. I had gotten burned out on cow as a child since my parents would order a side of cow every winter and my mother would cook the crap out of everything until your tastebuds lost the will to lick. But cow was so delicious again. Who was I? All I cared about was scotch and raw eggs and bleeding cow parts. This turned into Year of Gravy. Was this part of turning 30? I tried to make sense of it, but could not, really.
I have mentioned I was depressed for the better part of the first year with seemingly no explanation, but the mood issues carried on after I climbed out of it and stabilized. I started therapy to try to make sense of what was happening in my life and the decisions I was making that were influenced by my mood. I had an overwhelming sense of anxiety that plagued me for a long time. I would lay in bed sleeplessly wondering if I had offended someone that day with an offhand comment.
I made some bad decisions about friendships. You might think a person in my position would lose friends, but the problem was more the friends I made at this time. People I had been (wisely) keeping at arm’s length were now admitted to the inner circle. Were they bad people? Not really. Just not a good fit for me. I started realizing about a year ago that I had picked up some people during my depression who were not working out for me, and made changes to rectify that. I really lost my good judgment for a while in a lot of capacities. Again, nothing earth-shattering happened, but I felt I was unsure who I was to have friends that I meshed so poorly with. I tried to regularly communicate with my older friends that I was going through A Mysterious Thing, and it was not them, and I feel lucky that I can say they stuck by me.
The worst thing that happened, though, was the effect my mood had with regard to my girls. I was pretty irritable most of the time and spent most of my time white knuckling around them. Sometimes I would snap and bark at them unnecessarily. I never experienced serious postpartum depression so I didn’t know if this was what it was like for some people. I knew before that I liked my girls and I wanted them. I still loved them but it feels really bad to have to force yourself to be around your children, who you previously found delightful.
I questioned my whole life. Had I made a mistake? Was I not the super domestic person I thought I was, who liked being partnered and raising children? Things I had delighted in before, like super elaborate projects with them, now seemed tedious and pointless, which made me sad for myself and them. I gritted my teeth to get through sometimes. It wasn’t their fault that their mom had turned into a short-tempered ADD monkey; they deserved better and I was going to do whatever it took to keep things predictable and normal. I was very deliberate about how I spoke to them and treated them, and made sure we carried on with our family rituals and that I spent time with them.
I think all of these things were getting better and allowed me to come out of my fog as bit as the hormones in the IUD naturally decreased over time, which I think was evidenced by the fact that I was recently spotting once a month, after not bleeding at all, ever. I got much less fierce and introverted after the first year, and projects and seeing people sounded like a good idea again sometimes. But now, with it out, I feel so calm. This is who I am. I feel happy as I chop almonds for cookies, as I weed the yard, and as I talk to my girls. I read novels for hours again and it is a pleasure and not a chore.
There is one funny thing in all this–I think I am having a tiny bit of mourning for my previous self now. I don’t really want cheeseburgers every day anymore, but I kind of miss wanting them. Shrinking has been pretty fun–my clothes fit better. A dress I bought for the memorial did not really fit right when it was time to wear it, and I did not think to exchange it, but it was okay. I’m glad I’m less ship-prow boobsy, and instead of looking four months pregnant all the time I just look kind of regular fat. And this is the last I will say about this, because it’s done now.
Thanks to Spock for this.