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I’m not sure you got the memo, but just incase I would like to announce that I am not, in fact, crazy. Well..not entirely. Let’s back up.
Remember all that stuff surrounding Michaiah and his birth- the gallstones, surgery, and the too long stay at the hospital? Well, I don’t think I’ve indulged in details too much because honestly, I was ashamed of the outcome. Essentially what happened, was I had the gallbladder surgery and was promised I would feel as good as new. This didn’t happen, as I ended up back in the hospital with gallstone attacks from a gallbladder I didn’t have anymore. After some tests, the doctors found some stones stuck in the bile duct. This was after 3 days of being in the hospital and being away from my newborn son. At this time, the doctors were trying everything they could to ease my pain. All of these things they tried resulted in me being in a coma like state- I could hardly stay awake I was on so many drugs! And, I was unresponsive to the meds as the pain did it’s own thing. After that three days however, I started to bounce back and feel better. I was using the pain med drip less and less, and was excited to get the heck out of there. The surgeons then came in and told me I needed a stint in my bile duct. I told them I was feeling better, and would prefer not to. They pushed, and told me it was a good idea. So I listened. We had the surgery, and directly after waking up from sedation I knew something was wrong. I felt WORSE. It felt like gallbladder attacks all over again. I was weeping of pain, shaking, throwing up, and my blood pressure was dropping (something I’ve learned is a sign of REAL PAIN). So we’re into day 4 of being at the hospital and not being able to see my newborn baby boy. So with this new pain (which, remember, was getting better) we’re back on all the pain meds- patches, drips, you name it. All of it I was unresponsive too and sometimes flat out refused because I didn’t want a cover up- I wanted it fixed. I kept asking questions, but nobody would give me answers. I was getting more and more confused. Everyday I was told I could go home..so everyday I wouldn’t shower thinking I would get a bath at home soon. I started to get rather stinky.
I noticed everyone was looking at me weird, asking questions and writing down everything I said…then just leaving. With no answers. At this point my days are confused and I have no idea what is happening. Then., to my relief, my two midwives came in. When I saw them, I starting balling and begged them to help me. They sat down, held my hand, and told me they were switching my meds. My heart sank. I asked why, and told them I was not at all having postpartum depression like I did with Ayden. I know what that feels like, and this was different. This was physical pain that was documented and had physical reactions. They looked me in the eye, and told me it was in my head. They told me all of this was a manifestation of the baby blues, and the pain wasn’t real. I.was.shocked. From that point on, the plan was to bring Michaiah in so they could WATCH me take care of my own son. Yup, I was on lockdown. I wasn’t allowed to go home until I was stable and they saw me taking care of my son. Although I didn’t believe a word they said, I did everything they asked so I could get the HELL out of there. Well, eventually I won their trust (still with this pain) and was released to go home.
Once I got home I was just happy to be home, so I took a break from thinking and enjoyed it. But…as time went on, I couldn’t shake what happened. Was it really in my head??? Am I, crazy? I really began to doubt everything in my head at that point. I would often ask Levi, should this (whatever “this” was) hurt, am I crazy, is this in my head too??? I doubted everything.
So the past year has been a struggle to accept that my mind could so easily turn on me, but slowly I let go and accepted it. Kind of.
Flash forward to now. As I was meeting with our OB to get my tubes tied, I informed her my mind is weird and I have issues…and I might need to be observed after minor surgery. She asked why, and I explained to her all the drama from the past year. She stopped me when I told her the doctors told me it was in my head and she said, “I don’t buy that.” This OB then proceeded to explain to me how medically, everything I experienced actually made perfect sense. It wasn’t in my head. It was real. I’m not crazy. I’m not crazy. I could feel my heart rejoicing, but mourning all at the same time. My lip started to quiver. All this time. All this doubt. All this worry. So right then and there, she took me off my meds I had been on for over a year (unneeded ones) and replaced them with meds that fit for me. The side effects I have experienced from these unneeded meds sounds like a commercial (you know, the med commercials that list all the side effects lol) and I no longer need to deal with that as a part of my life. I have quite literally been, restored. I’m back.
“Then I will make up to you for the years That the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. “You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied And praise the name of the LORD your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you; Then My people will never be put to shame.” Joel 2:25-26
I remember a lot of things about our premarital counseling but the main thing was that I was defined as an introvert. I had never really heard the term, but it sounded a lot like me. I rebounded by being alone, I filled up alone. When surrounded by people, I would become exhausted and drained. The opposite of that is an extrovert, someone who gains energy by being around people, and someone who would likely go nuts being alone too long. How it works is (taken from The Introvert Advantage (How To Thrive in an Extrovert World), by Marti Laney, Psy.D.) neuro-transmitters follow different dominant paths in the nervous systems of Introverts and Extroverts. If the science behind the book is correct, it turns out that Introverts are people who are over-sensitive to Dopamine, so too much external stimulation overdoses and exhausts them. Conversely, Extroverts can’t get enough Dopamine, and they require Adrenaline for their brains to create it. Extroverts also have a shorter pathway and less blood-flow to the brain. The messages of an Extrovert’s nervous system mostly bypass the Broca’s area in the frontal lobe, which is where a large portion of contemplation takes place.
Our Pastor really focused on this, because Levi is an extrovert, and I’m an introvert. He talked about how to honor and respect his quality each of us have and how important it is. We naively nodded our heads, smiled and batted our eyelashes at each other and said “Ok, yes, we understand.”
Flash forward 6 years. I am currently at a coffee shop and not allowed to come home until the kids are in bed because I started t become increasingly depressed, weepy, and overwhelmed. All I wanted to do was sleep, and through talking about stuff we realized I haven’t been alone in 5 years. No, I’m not exaggerating at all. Aside from the shower (which, Moms…you know how that goes), sleeping (again, Moms lol), and an occasional run to Target for meds or something I haven’t honored or respected my own neat quality of introvertness (yup, I just made a word up). I have only left Ayden overnight once, and that was with Levi while I drove 16 hours in a car with my Mom to a wedding that was full of…you guessed it…PEOPLE. Everyday, since May 3rd 2007- I have been surrounded. Please don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my life. I love my family. I even pride myself (a little too much probably) that I have always been with my kids and that I always put them before myself.
I have essentially plugged my ears, and closed my eyes to the warning of our pastor. I have ignored wise counsel. I have been in denial- I have THROWN myself into a life of constant motion, socialization, and engagement. This past week I felt as though my world was quite literally spinning around me and I couldn’t catch up. Nothing bad happened, in fact it was great! But I couldn’t see. Literally. It was chaos in my mind. I would try to do what I always do, pick myself up and start cleaning- that always works. Nope, I quit within a minute. It then accused to me that we were going to have a house full tonight, and then Levi would be gone all weekend as he works. Complete defeat filled my heart. What was wrong? Levi got home from a side job and I was just weepy. So, he kicked me out. And now that I’m here, I feel about 200x better. Wow. I forgot what this alone thing feels like. I forgot how good it feels to fill up, to be alone, to finish a thought, to be clear minded. it’s only been 45 minutes and I feel like I could take on the world! I have hours left lol!
So, I think I am going to re-embrace the introvert in me. I’m going to allow time just me, alone. I’m going to allow my husband to help in that. I’m going to say, “no” more often. I’m going to listen to the wise words of a dear friend back home in Oregon and let go of my control freakiness and just go be alone- even if it means ~gasp~ the father of my children actually have to care for them.
And, I’m not going to be ashamed of being an introvert. We introverts, although rare in today’s society offer some pretty neat things. For more- watch this: http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html
When Levi and I argue (no we do not daily frolic in a field of butterflies all the time, just…some of the time lol) I noticed I don’t usually get mad at what we’re arguing at or disagreeing over. I can handle disagreeing. I can handle being wrong. I can surely handle being right (right?)! So why the anger??? Where was it coming from?
I was a little bothered by this anger until I realized where it stemmed from. Everytime we argued we were both guilty of the same thing. We would see the GOOD “we” had done and bring it up. It might sound something like this: “Well I work so hard for you, and make sure dinner is ready and etc etc etc” or we both would accuse eachother. That sounded like this, “you always do that, you never listen etc etc.” Sound like something you’ve heard and/or said? Well, think about this:
The only good that is in us, belongs to Jesus. We have NO right to take His goodness, and claim it as our own. And Satan is the accuser, so when we accuse (this doesn’t mean graciously bringing up truth) we’re flat out evil.
We both realized this, and have since taken the “I” and “you” out of the discussion. It’s “we” need to work on this, or “by the grace of God we…” Making these small changes have been amazing. Try it next time you argue?