Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas without crying

Christmas is always an emotional time of the year for me. At least it has been like that for the past 5 years. I'm either away from my Brazilian family, or I'm struggling with some kind of loss. Last year, for instance, I spent Christmas in my home country, but my grandmother was not among us anymore. She passed away back in May of 2009 and I could not cry enough for being so far away. So when Christmas came and we arrived in her house on the 24 of December, I could not hold back my tears. Everyone else had grieved already, but I hadn't. I hadn't seen her grave, or her empty living room, or her gardens full of her favorite flowers. I was happy, oh so happy to be with my family, and yet, my beloved grandmother was not there with us.

This Christmas we're with my Canadian family, and it's been a good one. Of course I miss my loved ones back in summery Brazil, but not enough to cry over it like it happened before. I'm actually really impressed with myself, especially because I'm decreasing my meds.

I've decided that my resolution for this new year is to speak less and to listen more. I often get in trouble for talking too much, and therefore exposing my feelings and emotions way too much. It is part of who I am - a very expressive artistic person - and I know it is a package deal, and it comes with pros and cons. Nevertheless, I believe I can learn more by being more quiet, more observant to what other people have to say. I think it is a good resolution!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A surprise birthday party followed by a meltdown

It was supposed to be a Christmas party a friend of mine was throwing at her place. She asked me to bring a couple of grape Martinelli's. I told my husband about it and he replied with a "oh, nice". December 12 came and we went to the party that ended up being my surprise birthday party, organized by my husband and friends. I wasn't really expecting it at all, so it was very very special.

I'm officially 30 years old now. The party mode has been replaced by a mix of feelings that may be the result of my medication reduction, and/or the fact that it's been a year I visited my home country (so homesickness), my turning 30 being away from my family, the holiday season approaching and bringing the sense of family, which only enhances how much I'm missing mine.

My emotions are out there in the open, for everyone to see. It may be good, at times, to be so expressive about the way one feels, but it is not a good thing when it makes one look weak and vulnerable.
Today, for instance, I cried at the end of Toy Story 3. I remember I used to laugh at some of my mother's friends who cried after watching some silly cartoons. Now look at me! Andy goes to college and I cry seeing Woddy and Buzz wave good bye?? What is wrong with me?!

Perhaps I know it, and it is what I feared the most. I realized, yesterday, that I haven't been out of medication for longer than 5 months at a time since I got depressed, in 2004. It's been 4 years I'm on Effexor XR taking the same dosage every single day. I've just started to reduce it - I'm still taking 2/3 of the full dosage - and I'm feeling all emotional?
I hope I'm wrong. I don't want to give up before I have tried to be completely off meds at least for a month or two (so that I can try to get pregnant). Of course I don't want to be depressed while I'm expecting, and my doctor will not prescribe medication if I'm pregnant, so I understand the risks I'm taking by doing the reduction now.
I would like to make it clear that I am not reducing my medication on my own - my doctor is the one deciding how many milligrams to cut each time. I've gone through this before; twice, actually. I usually feel very dizzy when I'm down to the minimum dosage (37,5 mg), but it goes away as the weeks go by. Right now I'm still taking 150mg out of  the full dosage of 225mg, and my doctor and I hope I'll be completely off meds by the end of February.

I've always tried to feel positive about my future. When we decided it was time to try to have a baby, I knew it would require stopping my meds, and I was very hopeful everything would go smooth. Even now, when I feel I'm having mood swings, crying while watching cartoons, and feeling nostalgic about turning 30, I'm trying to stay positive and avoid thoughts of defeat. I know I'll need to be strong; I know I can have a relapse; I know a child will require an immense amount of dedication, time, and love from me. But you know what? I've never felt so ready in my life like I feel now. So I need to shake the dust off my yoga mat and focus on my practice, do my meditation, my prayers, and trust my serotonin will work well enough without the help of my long-time friend 'venlafaxine'.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thirty Springs

I've lived thirty springs
Thirty summers
Thirty of each of the seasons, and months, and other obvious reasons
We've created to count time

I've cried at least once a year
After the years of infancy
Perhaps twice a week on my teens
And probably less often with time

I've loved a few boys with all my heart
Or at least it felt like it- at the ripe age of 18
I got engaged twice, married once-
for love and friendship- and so far I enjoy married life.

At 23 I wanted to die. I'm still not sure why, but I have some theories.

I've always wanted children, but never felt capable and emotionally ready.
Until now.

They say I'm still a baby. What are 3 decades compared to near a century?
I say being 30 means there's no turning back from adulthood- as if there was ever a way to turn back time.

There was. There was a way to feel 18 'til I die; forever 17 and in love with a college boy.
There was a way to still be a girl in her early 20s.

I'm a woman now. Fully grown and ready to be a mother. It is one thing to be ready to procreate; another to become a parent.

I've lived so little compared to my grandparents.
Yet, I've been to more cities in different countries than they ever imagined. I've experienced more cuisines and attended more concerts;
But I know one truth - I am no wiser than they were.

Friday, December 10, 2010

So this is it

I'm turning thirty this following Monday.
I have one weekend left - just one weekend - of my 20's.
I feel melancholic and a bit depressed. Why?
Perhaps I should explain myself a bit better.

I've suffered from clinic depression since 2004. I say "clinic" because I don't mean I'm a little sad, or anxious. I need medication to function. I have been released from my drugs a couple of times - only to find out I could not stay without them.

I've been taking Effexor XR continuously for the past 4 years, and now my doctor and I decided I'm going to try to stop. We've already started decreasing my dose, and yes! I'm excited!
The reason I'm stopping my medication right now - at the dawn of my big 30's, is because my husband and I want to start trying to conceive. We have no idea how long it may take for me to get pregnant, so we thought it would be best to start asap.

OF COURSE stopping an anti-depressant has its lows. Effexor is a very tricky medication - it has strong withdrawal symptoms and cannot be stopped cold turkey. It needs to be reduced very slowly. I know it from experience for I've been released from Effexor before. This time, however, I am really hoping I do not have a relapse before the end of my pregnancy and breast-feeding period.

I was all excited about turning 30. I was even more excited about trying to conceive while being 30. I think it's a great time in my life (age-wise as well) to try to have a baby. P and I have been married for near 4 years; he's reaching his 40's pretty soon, and we've done a decent amount of traveling. Everything sounded great, until this week.

This week I've felt somewhat lost. Is it the lack of medication already having an effect? Is it the fact that I was born during Summer but here in America December is during Winter? Is it all this rainy gray sky? Am I feeling the weight of turning 30 already? Am I afraid?

I am not sure. I feel nostalgic. I miss my family. Of course I have my husband and my friends around, I know. Is it too much to want all the people I love to be around?
My roots are still so deep in Brazil. And yet, I've started to forget words and expressions in my native language. I remember them later, obviously. What I feel, however, is that English has become my primary language. I think in English. I talk to myself in English. I even dream in English now. Sometimes I'm talking to my mother on the phone and I want to tell her something that happened, and I forget how to say "spill", or "threat" in my own language!

I named this blog "Thirty Springs" because of a poem I wrote about my turning thirty. It is usual for Brazilians to refer to age as "Springs". "She has lived 15 Springs"; "he's completed 25 Springs". I like this way of talking about age. I've lived 30 distinct Springs in my life, and reminding myself that there is only one Spring per year makes me realize how valuable and incredible life is.

I just did not want to have to turn 30 during Winter. I was born on a hot Summer's day after all!