Friday, February 27, 2004

I am sick of feeling nausea. I am sick of my head spinning. I am sick of having hot flashes. I keep telling myself to give it a few more days, but maybe these are just Wellbutrin side effects. I have never gone through this before in my life. Suddenly, I feel alot more sympathy for pregnant and menopausal women.

Haven't seen The Passion yet. Don't think I am going to. At least until video, when I can escape from time to time and digest it in stages.

If any of you guys think about it, pray for Secret Agent Josephine. It looks like she is going through a really hard time right now.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Jason and I are convinced that the writers of "Scrubs" are geniuses. Last night, I was laughing so hard through the whole show, then bam, the last two minutes of the show, we find out that one of the characters was dead the whole time. I actually started crying. Usually, I can spot that stuff coming up. But this one totally blindsided me!

Feeling better. I went home from work early yesterday and fell apart. The rash was everywhere, the nausea was back and my head was spinning. My poor husband. I kept calling him pathetically wanting sympathy. I called the nurse and we agreed to give the Wellbutrin a few more days, since it seems to be working for what it's for (depression), and the side effects might just be temporary. I took a Benadryl and a long shower and it made a big difference. What was a bad day turned out to be a pretty good evening after all.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Well, most of my other Wellbutrin side effects seem to be gone, only to replaced by a giant rash all over my body. My tushie is especially itchy.

Monday, February 23, 2004

I have a new favorite band--Everclear. They've been around for awhile, and I always liked their songs on the radio ("Daddy Gave Me A Name", "AM Radio" and "Wonderful"), but Jason and I have only recently "discovered" them. We love their album, "So Much For the Afterglow." So Jason ordered the rest of them from BMG. Right now, I am digesting their album, "Songs From An American Movie, Pt.1." (not really songs from an American movie. Just the name of the album.)

The reason I love them is thus: I have never heard such raw, frank emotions expressed in song. They aren't saying the f-word just to say the f-word. They are saying it with their soul. And for that, I respect them, and say "Go right ahead and drop a few more f-bombs." Some of their lyrics that I enjoy are as follows:

"She's perfect, in a f*cked up way."

"The Prozac doesn't do it for me anymore."

"She looks like a teenage anthem
and she looks like she could have been happy in another life."

"I know there is nothing perfect,
I know there is nothing new.
We are just learning
How to live together
Me and you."

"I wish that I could find the words to tell,
In the best way possible...
You and your friends to go to hell."

"You are quite alot of trouble
for such a skinny little girl."

"Just take your pill
and everything will be alright."

And so on and so forth.

I forgot to tell about my little experience in church on Sunday. I have never been so offended. We were taking communion (the one thing I hold dear above all the church crap that I can't stand) and I was sitting next to this family--father, mother and five year old boy. First off, the kid is a total wigglewart, which I can usually put up with, although for the life of me, I don't understand why these parents don't
a) plant your child's butt firmly in his chair and put the fear of God in him, or
b) take him to the nursery.
Anyway, along comes communion. The mother proceeds to get her communion pieces (little cup of grape juice and small wafer, for those of you who are non-churchgoing) off the tray, then actually grabs a small handful of wafers for her son to munch on!!!! I just about fell over. First of all (and here I go, so if you don't want a rant, then skip this part) I believe that communion is sacred. That is the representation of my Lord's body and blood that I am taking (some even believe that it actually becomes the body and blood) and this lady is using it as a snack to keep her son quiet! Personally, I've always felt that a child should not take communion. It is not something that you do until you know what it means and you have made the decision to follow Christ. I will grant that some parents disagree with me, that they are raising their children in God's family, and therefore want all of their family to take communion together. Okay, I'll give you that. I can understand that. But then, you need to use the experience to teach the child what it means to take communion and how special it is.

Communion is not a snack!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Shelley is going to get published! (If you don't know Shelley, go over and visit Finding Normal.) She is going to have an article in Philosophical Mother in April. I'd like to say that it's all because of our newly formed Creative Guild, but...she actually sent the piece in last November or so.

Speaking of Shelley, she got a mothering reprieve yesterday and we went off to wander bookstores and drink coffee. We had a really good time browsing self-help books (a guilty pleasure of mine, since they never actually do any good) and slurping down way too much caffiene. I was so good, though. I only bought one used book for 4 bucks.

When I came home, after the five hours, I was exhausted. That was the most I could do. Being an introvert is hard sometimes. Even being with people that you really like and connect with can be draining. Shelley, the extreme extrovert that she is, probably had the opposite reaction. She comes alive after social interaction.

I'm having crazy side effects now from the Wellbutrin, and possibly coming off the Lexapro. Hot flashes. Skin discoloration. Droopy eye (Yes, eye. The right one.) I just feel sick. Here is my Official Wellbutrin Side Effects List: (I know you guys really don't care, but this is what is going on in my life so I'm going to write about it) Nausea, headaches, chills, hot flashes, itching, paranoid invisible rash, skin discoloration (on my boobs), droopy eye (it's like one lid has silly putty on it), ringing in the ears, and lastly, the infamous Electric Dizzies (my name for them.)

Those of you who have never gone off an anti-depressant won't know what the heck I am talking about. Those of you who have are probably standing up and saying "Yes! I hear you, sister!" The Electric Dizzies are like being dizzy all the time, but when you stand up or turn your head too fast, there is a shock wave of electricity that reverberates through your brain. It's more than vertigo. The only way I can describe it is "chemical pulses."

Did I ever blog about "Lost in Translation"? Maybe I did. Can't remember. I think I might be changing my mind about my vote for Best Picture of the Year. I was all about LOTR and Peter Jackson, but I don't know. "Lost in Translation" has just stuck with me for weeks now. I keep relating to it. I love the ambiance. Watching that movie is what being depressed feels like. I love the oddness of it--feeling like an alien. I remember living in Italy and having every sight, smell, and blinking light remind you that you don't belong. I love the relationship between Bill Murray and Scarlett Johanson. Nobody has ever made a movie like this (at least that I've seen) about finding your soul mate...and it, of course, being all wrong and perfect at the same time. I love at the end, when he chases her down and whispers something in her ear. You don't get to partake in the exchange, but you know that it's a moment, a word, that they are going to think about every day for the rest of their lives. And that's it. That's all they get. But it's all they need to be able to go back to their own lives and make them better.

Of course, most of the people I know that have seen this movie hated it and found it depressing. So I certainly won't be offended if you rent it and say, "That damn Ellen."

Well, my Sunday night of shows is going to begin soon. The evening that I look forward to all week. Fox Sunday Night!! Simpsons! Malcolm! King of the Hill! (Used to have Futurama in that list, but it got canceled due to the fact that only myself and a handful of male Trekkies in North Dakota were watching it.) Again let me say that if you haven't watched "Arrested Development" yet, please please PLEASE watch it so they don't cancel it. Funniest new show in years. I promise.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

More new side effects...ringing in the ears. There's a symphony in my head. Jason looked it up and it's called tinnitus, or something like that. Plus, I am so nauseaus. Also listed as a side effect. I just have to get through the first week hump, then most of this will go away.

I worked on a book illustration cover last night and really enjoyed myself. I think I might finally have a set-up that will work for me. We bought a cheap card table at Walmart and put it behind the couch. I have all my watercolors and boards scattered all over it. My animals (including my dog) all perch on the top of the couch and watch me paint. The heater is next to me, and I can see the TV. This just might work. When I was growing up, I worked on my floor. I hunched over my artwork for hours, and usually ended up with a back ache by the end of the evening. I got away with that through college also, but my body just can't do that anymore. Ever since then, I've tried all sorts of new working areas. Jason bought me a drafting table several years ago. It didn't take, so we got rid of it. It was too big and just accumulated stuff on it. I've had my own "art room" but I got lonely, so I would drag all my stuff out to the living room couch. But I think that this new set-up has promise.

I went over to my friend Erin's house yesterday for lunch to look at her baby room (it was her shower on Sunday.) So adorable! It is yellow, and absolutely charming. She has her husband's old crib and little knickknacks here and there, like baby spoons and big blue elephant toys. I could see Mary Engelbreit doing one of her magazine's little "profiles" in there. I always wonder if those little charming cottage houses really exist. I suspect that some magazine editor has gone in there with a big box of antique whatnots that they found in New Jersey and sprayed the house down with sweetness. But Erin's house actually looks like that. Unless she just sprayed the house down right before I got there. She's 8 1/2 months pregnant, though, so I doubt it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Weird dreams. That's what you get when you switch anti-depressants. I had another one about my high school friend, Sarah. She must represent something to me, because I dream about her often. Usually, the dreams are about me reaching out and trying to help her with something, and her rejecting me. Same last night. I was always a little conflicted in my relationship with her. She was a very nice person and I liked her. But I was always a little envious of her because of her family's wealth. (And I'm talking wealth for my small hometown.) Everyone always wanted to be her friend, and she could do no wrong (maybe because she could take them skiing, who knows). It never seemed fair to me, for her to be able to have anyone or anything she wanted. But I wonder if she wondered who was her friend and who wasn't. People would drop anything they were doing to go out with her or fly in the family's plane to Dallas to shop for the weekend. I guess I always knew who my real friends were, because I couldn't give anyone anything but a headache.

I went to yoga last night. I really love it. It's like the perfect workout, I think. I actually want to push my body to the limit. I've never wanted to do that before.

I am already seeing the effects of the new drug in one area of my life. Waking up. I have actually gotten out of bed when my alarm has gone off for the past four days. I have gotten to work EARLY. This is a major big deal. For several years, getting out of bed has been an ordeal, to say the least. Snoozing for at least an hour, feeling like I am pulling a wet blanket off my head. During the day, I could drop for a nap at a moment's notice. Basically, I have felt drugged. And maybe...drugged in general. Yesterday and today, I feel like I have a lot more energy.

Some of the possible side effects of Wellbutrin are paranoia, hallucinations, seizures....lots of scary stuff. And this is weird but last night, I woke up itchy all over. I thought, "The meds are giving me a huge rash!" So I ran into the bathroom at 3 in the morning, pulling off my shirt, truly expecting to be covered in hives. Nothing. Not a spot. But the rest of the night, whenever I woke up, my first thought was "Rash!" I couldn't seem to let it go.

Sometimes, when I really think about it, it feels overwhelming to me that I will never be "normal." Everything in my life will have the cloud of depression hanging over it. My poor husband will never have one of those wives who is put together. He will have to hear, "Do you love me? Do you really love me?" for the rest of his life. I might end up with serious post-partum. I will probably end up in the therapist's chair several more times. I will probably be switching around my medication for the rest of my life. And who knows what long term effects they will have? Heart problems? Seizures? Growing antennas? Who knows.

I guess I just do what I have to do today.

Monday, February 16, 2004

Well, I got home this evening and had a forehead-slapping "duh" moment with my husband. After being a mess the past couple of days (as the blog entries beneath can attest to), and taking the Not Being Pregnant thing alot harder than usual, I was wondering what the hell was the matter with me. Jason read my blog and said, "Didn't you just switch your anti-depressants?"


No wonder I have been crying off and on for three days now. I just switched from Lexapro to Wellbutrin.

So, people, if you want to see what the former Ellen used to be like, stick with me for the next couple of weeks (until the Wellbutrin kicks in), and you too will become a believer of anti-depressants.
I'm having a hard time at work today. I've been reading in my Purpose-Driven Life book about practicing the presence of God. Living your life in constant conversation with God, and doing everything you do specifically for Jesus. Washing the dishes, typing a report, cleaning your cat's stinky butt--all of it for God.

Well, I'm having a hard time doing that. Somehow, I think it might be easier if you are a missionary or a teacher or a nurse. But I just sit in a cubicle. I file papers. I burn CDs. I'm bored 95% of the time. Playing solitaire for Jesus!! Hardly seems holy.

And the book has also been talking about how to have a friendship with God. The first thing is you have to be honest with Him. I struggle with that also. I keep my real feelings from Him, which is really stupid and delusional since He knows what's going on really.

I want to stamp my feet at Him, like a three year old, and shout, "Why why why?!" Why do I feel useless all the time? Why don't you take away my depression? Why didn't you give me parents that could cope with me? Why won't you let me have a baby? Why does everything that I try seem to fail? Why won't you talk to me? Why won't you give me an answer? Why did you make me?!

I feel so angry and confused. Lately, I feel like the tears are just one blink away from rolling down my face. It seems painful and cruel that I have to go to work everyday and smile when I just want to go home to crawl into bed.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

I have been so emotional this weekend. Jason was home all weekend, so it was nice to spend some time with him. I went to a baby shower this afternoon, and I just felt so tired by the end. Emotionally drained. It wasn't the shower, it was me.

I talked to Shelley for awhile in the car after the shower. It isn't just the not being able to get pregnant--it's just a confusing time in life for me. I wonder if I want to get pregnant and be a mother for the wrong reasons. I wonder if maybe I shouldn't even have children because of my chronic depression. I wonder what my purpose in life is. I wonder why I can't just turn off my brain and enjoy life. I want to so very badly. But I've never been able to do it. Sometimes I just feel like it's my body rebelling against me--it's hard to do mind over matter when your body isn't cooperating.

I really don't want to sound like a poop. But so often I put on the chipper face, especially at work, and it takes more energy to do that than just being how I'm feeling. I had several people ask me if I was tired last week. Emotionally tired, yes.

And then there's my family. Karen and I were planning on going to Scotland for a week this summer. Had the whole thing planned. But we knew that my youngest college-age sister would get her feelings hurt. Right before we booked the trip, we called my parents to get their advice. First mistake. We soon found ourselves in a classic double bind. Damned if we do, damned if we don't. My father said that he was willing to pay for Sara's chunk of the money if it meant that we would all be able to finally bond as sisters. Guilt guilt guilt. Long story short, we aren't going at all. There's too much baggage attached. I don't want to be a babysitter for a week, but to tell her she can't go....well, hello Bad Sister Ellen. I just can't deal with the guilt. Trip's off.

I think that I missed out on some fundamental growing up experience in life. The teenage rebellion part. The part where you stop trying to please your parents, you sneak out of the house to get into mischief, you slowly become your own person by making mistakes. I never did that. And I'm just lost. I feel like a 15 year old most of the time. On the brink of making my own decisions, but completely petrified whenever one comes my way.

I feel like snapping at everyone, "Get the hell out of my office!" "No, I will not do your work for you!" "Who cares what you think of my life?! It's MY LIFE so stop offering your unsolicited opinion on it!" "Stop being so shallow and BORING!" "I cannot make your problems go away!" I am not perfect. I am anything but. I want to yell that out loud.

I do not have to achieve perfection. I do not have to be the perfect daughter. I do not have to be the perfect friend. I cannot be everything for you. I cannot be your strong listening ear all the time. I cannot hold my old family together. I do not like that church. I don't owe anything to you. I will not be manipulated. I have let you treat me small for so long. I became harmless in life. Easy. Won't say no. Give it to Ellen, she'll eat anything.

I guess maybe I am a little angry tonight.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

God is good to me. Right after I wrote the post below, my friend Melissa came into my office and gave me a beautiful elvish-looking silver ring that she just bought in London. She said, "God told me to give you this ring this morning. He wanted me to tell you that you are a beautiful elf." I started crying all over the place. I needed this ring really badly.
Another chemical pregnancy. Sigh. After two faint positives last weekend, a week of nausea and a metallic taste in my mouth, nothing. Negative for three straight days. What is wrong with me?! I feel so discouraged and disappointed right now. Jason says that there's a reason, and I know there is, but right now...I just feel so conflicted. I try to not get my hopes up, but it's hard. Especially when you test positive for two days. I wish God would just send me a telegraph telling me why He doesn't want us to be parents right now. Then I could go, "Oh... well, I see. That makes sense. La dee da."

Plus, two different people told me they were pregnant of them with twins! How's that for adding insult to injury?

It's officially been a year now since we've been trying.

Monday, February 09, 2004

Got my camera! It's awesome. Jason is teaching me how to use it.

It was a nice weekend. On Saturday, Anna, Sydney and David came over for lunch. It was a really fun time. Anna is really down-to-earth and easy to talk to. Sydney is a hoot. She was determined for my cats to like her, but instead, they all piled themselves (in a pile, literally) in the back of one of our closets. They are not used to children. She's a cute kid. Even when she is pushing her mom's buttons, she's still pretty good.

On Sunday, we had the second meeting of the Creative Guild. We had a new member, Becky. We read one of her stories and it was so good! Very dark. I liked it. I think that she will be a good addition to the group. She's very "Just do it. Send it out." Whereas, Shelley and I think too much about stuff. "Is it good enough? Is it ready? Would anyone want it?"

I am reading the book, The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren. You are supposed to read one chapter a day for forty days, so that you can digest everything that the book says. And so far, surprise surprise, I have! I read it when I am drying my hair in the morning. It poses a question for you to think about every day. Yesterday's was, "What do you need to stop doing, and what do you need to start doing, in order to fulfill your purpose for God?" Today's was, "What in your life, when you think about it, has God been using to test you? What are the most important things that God has given you to take care of?" (Or something like that.) It is really thought-provoking for me.

The answer to the first question is a) stop watching so much television and b) start working on my cartooning seriously. I'm still thinking about today's questions.

Friday, February 06, 2004

I have a new project. I'm going to make animal adoption flyers every week to put in Walmart for the Animal Shelter! I am very excited about this. I already talked to the shelter and to the Walmart manager about it, so it's a go. The problem was that I have no digital camera. So I presented the idea to my husband at lunchtime that I would like a camera. He said, "You're kidding...that's what I'm getting you for Valentine's Day!" Woo hoo! So tonight I get to go pick out my new camera.

It's 4:29 on a Friday. It's the worst, most restless time here at work. Nobody is doing any work, but it's not 4:39 (the official "okay" time for leaving early.) ERg. Hurry up, time.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I had one of those weekends where I cleaned the house practically the entire weekend. By Sunday night, I felt cheated. So I took a personal day yesterday to catch up on artwork and to go out to breakfast with two friends. My friend Mindy has a friend who is starting Clomid and had a bunch of questions to ask. She doesn't really know anything about fertility stuff. Her doctor called her first baby a miracle, since they weren't charting or anything, with her ovulatory problems.

I brought her my Taking Charge Of Your Fertility book and tried to explain luteal phase defects (what I have) to her. Mindy was like, "You are so brilliant!" I tried to be all "Oh shucks" but the truth is I'm not. I really just read the book. It's very self-explanatory and easy. Once you know the stuff, it's almost impossible NOT to know what your body is doing.

Then I went to Hobby Lobby and bought some watercolor dyes that I have been drooling over for a couple of months. Some women buy shoes. I buy paint.

Then I took a nap, which I probably shouldn't have done. I kept tossing and turning last night and making Jason mad. So I got up and took two Tylenol PMs, apparently making alot of noise in the process. Jason informed me that I was not allowed to take any more days off. I said, "Yes, Dad." Which made him even pissier. This morning I felt so drugged up from the PM. It was like pulling a fog blanket off the top of my head. Plus, those things always make me cranky the next day. I get so irritable with the normal things that wouldn't bother me at all any other time. Things people say that I normally blow off, suddenly get under my skin.

It's sort of like PMS. Jason always tells me that I get short and bitchy during that time. I always say, "No, I just don't put up with the same crap during that time." It's true. All the rudeness and insensitive things that I tolerate the rest of the month suddenly becomes intolerable to me. I say just feel lucky that I put up with the crap most of the month, because I have reason to be a bitch all the time if I wanted to.