ATL>LAX>TUS>ORD>ATL

Wednesday I am flying out to visit my friends in Arizona! I am so excited about this trip. First of all, I am traveling alone. Which means I have no one to worry about, but myself. Now you know I LOVE my family. And if I’m being super honest, I am very bummed that Jerimiah and Jackson are not coming with me because I love to travel with them and I am meeting a new baby that I want them to meet too! But the timing did not work with their schedules, so I am going alone. It has been a long time since I have travelled alone, and I am sorta excited about not having to pack three people. Kennel a dog. Fight with my 11-year-old about Arizona-appropriate clothing, etc. You know, the mommy logistics of travel. Instead, I can just pack myself, walk from the car to the security desk at the airport, show my own ticket, not worry about where everyone’s shoes ended up, grab myself whatever I want to eat for breakfast, and get on my damn plane. Wow. Amazing.

But the nervous part? Well, for all the shit I give the Atlanta airport (and I give it a lot of shit, because it is the busiest airport, uhhh, ever) I have never navigated my way through it. I have never flown in or out of the ATL. I’ve never taken the SkyTrain, or snaked my way through that security nightmare. I have only ever heard about it from my husband and friends. I have also never been through LAX, and because I used miles for this flight, thanks #AmericanAirlines, and I only paid $12, I have layovers. One on the way there, and one on the way back. I detest layovers, but I’m not gonna complain, because #TwelveDollars. So I go from Atlanta to LA, then from LA to Tucson. Then on the way back I go from Tucson to Chicago O’Hare (which I have been through, and it’s not too bad), then back to Atlanta. Whew.

I keep having all these thoughts about the first time I ever flew alone. I was 18 and on a flight from Kansas City (MCI) to Boston’s Logan (BOS). This was pre-9/11, which of course meant I just kind of walked onto the plane. I might have had to show a ticket, I’m sure I did, but it was Kansas City and it was 2000, and I was young and stupid and remember very little. I think people still smoked in the airport back then. Maybe.

Anyway, I had a six a.m. flight, and I had to go through Detroit. I was on a Northwest flight, remember them? And Detroit was their “hub” and if you have never been to the DTW, well, just consider this a blessing and move on about your life. Right before take-off I had a panic attack. Like, a real one, y’all. An honest to God, could not breathe, thought I was going to pass out, was willing to open an “Exit” door, panic attack. I didn’t know what to do. The sun was just coming up over Kansas City, and I just kept telling myself to watch the sun. Watch the sun, watch the sun, watch the sun. I repeated over and over again to myself. And before I knew it I had a glass of OJ in front of me and a bagel with cream cheese (they still served food on flights back then) and I had managed to slow my breathing, and recline my seat, and just watch the sun.

My palms get a little sweaty when I think back to that day. And I’m pretty sure I never told anyone about that panic attack. I was embarrassed to say the least. But it was real. And sometimes when we are taxing to take-off I remember that day. Then I find the sun, and close my eyes. Usually I reach for my husband’s hand, or give my son’s leg a reassuring pat. I can never be stressed when he is watching, because I don’t want him to be stressed. But this time… hmmm.

I will be fine. I am pretty sure. Yes, I will. But I guess keep your eyes on the sky on Wednesday. And if you see a news report about a woman pulling an emergency exit in an American Airlines flight en route to LAX, well, I guess maybe just send up some good thoughts!

But for real, I will let you guys know when I land safely in Tucson. 🙂 And of course, I will share pics of the new baby!

M.

Check Ya MTHFR Genes, Y’all

A couple of weeks ago I did this weird thing in my Psychiatrist’s office. I know, I know, I do weird shit all the time, but this wasn’t my idea, this was hers. First, let me say that I know I talk about therapy a lot with you guys, but I think it is so important to have an open and honest conversation about mental health, and for me, regular therapy and medication are just what the doctor ordered. So thanks for reading and talking about it with me. It really helps. But I also know that regular therapy and medication are not the best case scenario for everyone. So as always, you do your thang, and I’ll do mine. Cool? Cool.

Alright, let’s get back on track. I have a therapist (y’all know about her, I told you about her here: https://missygoodnight.com/2019/08/13/dig-dig-climax/), but I also have a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. This is because the particular place that I first found here in Georgia was not accepting adult patients for the psychiatrist at the time I started. She is now, but I’m like six months in with my therapist, and I LOVE her, buuuuut she’s a therapist so she can’t dispense drugs. That’s where the Psychiatric NP comes in. All caught now? Yes, good.

A couple of weeks ago my NP, ohhh, let’s call her Susie Q, Susie Q was going over my charts and we were discussing new medication. She had already switched my anti-anxiety meds a few months back and of course I blogged about that here: https://missygoodnight.com/2019/07/02/backstreets-back-alright/. Duh. But then she wanted to move on to updating my anti-depression medication. I suffer from a small host of mental illnesses, but most prominently: Generalized Anxiety and Chronic Depression. I was game because I have been on Lexapro for years and it is starting to not work so well, besides the more obvious things like inability to lose weight and a dwindling libido. Both common side effects of most antidepressants. This new class of antidepressants coming out now are supposed to be much better, with less side effects because science. #TheMoreYouKnow #Rainbows

Normally the process of finding the right medication for you is trial and error, and boy have I done some of that. In fact, I’ve done a decade worth of it at this point, so Susie Q was all, “Ohh, let’s swab you!” Then she jumped out of her chair, literally, and ran back a few minutes later with two long swabs (the kind they check for strep throat with) and a FedEx envelope.

Let me stop there. Susie Q is a very nice person, but she real cray. Like I think this is one of those instances where she studied a field she was familiar with because she too suffers from a host of mental illnesses, one of which has got to be ADD. Has. To. Be. Anyhoo, she got herself composed again and explained the swab test.

“Apparently” (and I am using quotes here to show my pure suspicion about this whole thing) “apparently” by swabbing the inside of my mouth with these two giant Q-tips and sending the samples to a lab somewhere in a corn field in Iowa, Susie Q could tell me a whole bunch about my mental health that I did not know. Yeah. She said this to me. And she was very excited about it too. Like, bouncing in her seat excited. She said this would make it so much easier to get me a drug that actually worked for me. I asked if my insurance would pay for it, she shrugged a “probably” and that was good enough for me.

Listen, I have tried A LOT of drugs. Been through many years of self-medication, and have yet to find the “magic” one. Do I think the “magic” one exists? No. But at this point I just want to have one that does more good than bad, so I was game, albeit suspicious.

So I waited a couple of weeks and went back. My insurance did in fact pay for it, which is great because these Iowa people billed my insurance like $5,000 for the two swabs. I swear to the Lord Baby Jesus our healthcare system is straight jacked up and… no. That is another post. Anyway, when I sat down in front of Susie Q again she was bouncing out of her damn seat talking bout, “I think this will work! Ohhh, I think this new medicine will work!” Christ on an antidepressant cross, I sure hope it does, cause she really has to stop bouncing so much in my presence.

So that’s that. I’m on a new medication, one that has significantly less side effects than my old one, and one that “apparently” works with my genomic DNA and my T allele of the C677T polymorphism in the MTHFR gene (which I can only assume is short for Motherfucker), not to mention my “significantly reduced” folic acid conversion (I have to take LMethyl Folate everyday now too because Susie Q was “astounded” at my lack of folic acid conversion.) I wish she had done a better job of explaining all this so I could tell you all, but… crickets. Bouncing crickets.

Get your motherfucker genes swabbed you guys. Get your motherfucker genes swabbed sooner rather than later…

M.

Poodles Are Crazy

One thing I wish someone would have told me before we adopted Sir Duke Barkington, is that poodles are fucking crazy. Of course, it would have been hard to tell me that, because I woke up one day and was all, Hey Missy, let’s get a poodle today! And so we did (because my husband truly gets me all the things I want, and for the most part goes along with all my crazy plans. He really needs to stop that. Someone needs to knock some sense into me.) So there’s that. Although, come to think of it, maybe Duke is just exhibiting behavior he has learned from me? That’s neither here nor there, let me tell you about car line.

Jerimiah usually drops Jackson off at school in the mornings on his way to work. It would be a nice little sleep-in kinda deal for me, if it weren’t for the damn dog. Sir Duke REALLY likes car rides, so when he watches them leave in the morning he freaks out. Like, freaks out. Goes from window to window to see them drive away, then goes to the front door and cries as they pass by the porch. Why do I know this? Why am I not fast asleep in bed? Because if I sleep in, then the damn dog “acts out” after they leave. Usually this means going through the trash, or tearing apart one of my books he has managed to nose off the bookshelves. So I have to be up and at ’em in the morning, or else.

When Jerimiah is away, I have to take Jackson to school, which is totes fine as it is a three-minute drive (which is much better than the 25-minute drive we used to do in Charlotte up and down the highway each morning.) BUT, that means Sir Duke Barkington either gets left outside or gets to come along. This week he caught on pretty quickly that if he gets put outside before we leave, we aren’t letting him back in. And he has to stand at the gate and whine and watch us as we pull out of the driveway. So on Friday, he guilted me into taking him. How? His eyes, his deep, brown, soulful eyes. Here, look:

Oh, oops. Sorry, that is a picture of his balls hanging freely. So sorry, big mistake. Trust me, he has soulful eyes. BTW: He still has these bad boys for another month, so if you know any, ahem, pretty SPOO or DOOD ladies… He’s looking. #Thumbs Up #WinkyFace #NoPreferenceWhatsoever

Anyway, this sonofabitch followed me around all morning and whined at my feet, refused to go outside, and just as I was slipping Jackson’s lunch box into his book bag, he ran over, sat politely, and stared at his leash. See what I mean? Guilt. So we took him.

You know how sometimes you feel like people are watching you, or looking at you, or judging you in some way? But really they aren’t. You just feel that way because we are all self-centered, when in reality we are all too busy thinking the same thing about ourselves to be actually paying each other any attention? When I’m in the car with Duke, people really are looking at us and judging.

First, he’s adorable. No, for real, here look:

Oh, Jesus, I’m sorry, it’s a zoomed in balls picture, I’m so sorry! How did that happen?! Okay, trust me with the next one:

Okay, okay. See what I mean? Really sorry about the other picture. Not sure what happened.

So, yeah, not gonna lie, he’s totes adorbs. And people want to pet him. And he wants people to pet him. He LOVES people and pets. Unless he is in the car. Something happens to him when he’s in the car. He goes into “Batshit Crazy Poodle mode,” as I refer to it. I have only ever seen this type of behavior in more protective, aggressive breeds like German Shepherds and Chihuahuas. The car, like his house, is his domain to protect and he does just that. It’s just that, say, at the carline at school, or in the line at the bank, it kinda sucks to have to roll all the windows up, and have your giant Standard Poodle barking ferociously over your shoulder at whomever you are talking to. And in the carline, when the teachers—or in the case of today—when the PRINCIPAL opens the car door for Jackson, and he lunges at the tiny woman from the backseat, which makes you nervous and you let off the brakes a little while the car door is still open and she says, “Ohhhh,” well, it can be embarrassing.

So what is my point here? Don’t adopt a Standard Poodle?! Oh, no! Adopt one, they are amazing, here, just look at him when he was a puppers:

You were sorta scared to look, huh? I said you can trust me now, you guys! Adopt away, just know that they are crazy-ass mofos who feed off your anxiety and worry. They are SUPER smart and also SUPER stubborn, so while they know that you want them to calm the fuck down, they refuse to do it. You won’t be telling them what to do, rather they will be telling you what to do. But in return, if you obey their demands, you get a ton, a ton, of cuddles. Like, probably more than you want. But don’t complain, or they will attack the mailman.

Smoochie booches!

M. and Sir Duke Barkington of Charlotte

Down the Worry Hole We Go

Since school is back in session, and things are back to normal around here, Jerimiah is back to his previously scheduled trips to Baton Rouge each month. This week he had to fly out on Labor Day in what sounds like, to me anyway, one of those “If I have to be here, then you do to” sorta deals that bosses do. So that’s fun. This is the second holiday he should have spent with us this year, but instead was in Baton Rouge (he was called to work on Fourth of July as well). Before June this was old hat. He flies out for one week a month and Jackson and I are left here to do the mundane daily stuff without him. It was tough at first because we are a tight unit, but it’s getting easier. This month though, after being with him for a full five weeks straight (wow!) it has been a bit more difficult.

Sunday night we all headed to bed like any other night. Jerimiah tucked Jackson in, but instead of saying, “I love you. We are going to have a great day tomorrow, I will see you in the morning.” He said, “I won’t see you in the morning, I will see you Friday night.” Jackson said okay, and we headed for bed. A few moments later a crying Jackson came into our bedroom saying that he was afraid something bad was going to happen to daddy. What if the plane crashed? What if he never made it home to us? Why was his brain making him think about this?

I sorta froze at first. Jerimiah jumped into action, called him into our bed, held him while he cried. I was just so damn shocked. Not because Jackson has never had worries or anxiety like this before, but because he had said something new, that I have been saying for a couple of years now, “Why was my brain making me think this way?” He knew it was a worry. He knew it was anxiety, but he didn’t know how to stop it. I jumped into therapy mode and tried to emulate what my therapist says to me. Tried to get to the root of this particular thought. Jackson and his class have been tracking the hurricane, was he scared about that? Daddy assured him that Louisiana was safe this time. But it wasn’t that.

I started to ask more questions. Was it because he had read about a plane crash the other day? We saw it in the newspaper together. Maybe, he said. Was it because when we hiked Stone Mountain that day, Daddy needed to sit down at one point, when Jackson and I didn’t? I got another maybe. The bottom line he said, is that he was afraid something bad was going to happen to us. Man, that is tough to hear. Maybe all kids have this worry, some just don’t admit to it? Maybe I’m overreacting, but this shook me pretty hard.

I remember when I was his age. My mom would go out at night and leave me alone at home. She would tell me to lock the doors, and have the phone by me in case I needed it. I was always afraid, but I never told her. I wasn’t afraid to be home alone. I wasn’t afraid that someone would break into our house, or try to hurt me. I was worried that my mom would not come home. This was around the time my worry and anxiety started, and I am afraid he will be the same.

He ended up sleeping with us that night. He snuggled in between us, and we lulled him to sleep with silly stories of the day. He was laughing before he drifted off, and right before the Uber came for Daddy in the morning daddy kissed him and told him that he loved him. Jackson shot up in bed and said bye, and that he loved his daddy, then drifted back off to sleep. For that I was glad.

Jerimiah’s plane landed fine. He did his day and week of work, and we will see him tonight. But there was worry and anxiety floating in the air this time, one that I am just learning to deal with, let alone help my son combat. I tried to keep him busy, have some good Mommy and son time, and of course talk to daddy every night. I’m just nervous this is the beginning to more worry and anxiety for my son. I’m nervous I passed my mental illness down to him. I’m worried I’m at fault.

Man, this parenting thing is tough. We blame ourselves a lot. We worry and we wait. And we are never quite sure if we are doing things the right way. Or what the hell the right way even is. I’m sure you’re all struggling with something today, so here I am, sending big hugs to all of you out there doing it today. You’re doing just fine, Momma. You’re rocking it, daddy! Things will be okay.

M.

It’s 5 O’clock Somewhere

It’s 5 o’clock here, in Georgia. Five a.m. to be exact. So I’m not sipping a gin and tonic on the beach. I’m in my warm, cozy bed and I’m awake and staring, once again, at the light coming from the cracks in the curtains. I do this from time to time when I’m stressed and anxious and feeling the weight of all the problems of the world on my shoulders.

Stress manifests itself in bizarre ways with me. First there is the “I can’t sleeps”, then comes the bad dreams. Eventually I wake up with a clenched jaw, clenched gut, and more recently clenched fists. The first time this happened I thought I was developing arthritis. I’d wake up at 3:00 am and my hands would ache. It would hurt at the joints, just to move them. Then one day it was my elbow. Then one day it was my knee.

A couple months later it happened again. Then again. And I started to see the trend. That’s when I realized the ways stress manifests itself into physical pains in my body.

Listen, I’m not too bright. It took me a long time to realize that stress does this. Sure people told me. Doctors told me, therapists told me, that 84-year-old woman at the Kroger check-out told me, but I didn’t listen. The stomach issues, the joint pain, the migraines and cluster headaches, the weight gain, I chalked it all up to other things. But in reality I know what it is. I just don’t know how to stop it. And that stresses me out. It’s cyclic. Duh.

So here I am. In my bed, my husband snoring peacefully along next to me, and I’m thinking about all the things I need to do. All the people I’m probably disappointing, all the ups and downs that will be my next few days, and have been my last few. And I’m warming up my hands for a new day to tackle the tasks.

Don’t get me wrong. Not all days are like this. Not all days, or weeks, or months are spent waking up at odd hours and worrying, but when they are like this, I’m glad I have an outlet to let things float out into the ether. It makes me feel less alone. Because sometimes I need reminded that I am not alone. Maybe you do too.

❤️

M.

Give it to Oprah

I already have a topic on deck to discuss with my therapist this week. Is that weird? Probably so, but she has the potential to really help me with one of the two problems plaguing me right now: Trusting my intuition versus listening to my anxiety. My other problem has to do with eating too much pizza last night, and I’m positive she can’t help me with that one, but, eh, it’s worth a shot to ask.

Y’all know I suffer from a myriad of mental health conditions. I have chronic depression, generalized anxiety, a touch of OCD, and probably some personality disorder that has yet to be identified but makes it easy for me to both cry and scream in public bathrooms, then blog about it. That has to have a name. But the important thing about all of this is that I am getting help. I have been on medication for years, and I see a therapist, and a practice mindful breathing, and I write, and I order llama-shaped cookie cutters from Amazon. Which is to say that I have my ways of dealing with things. But sometimes, sometimes, my anxiety reaches a peak and I start to spiral out of control, and that’s what happened this week.

My son is going to the Midwest to spend some time with his grandmas over the next 10 days or so and I am freaking out, y’all, like Karen at a damn taping of the Oprah show in December, freaking out. Losing my mind. Unlike Karen, I am losing my mind from intrusive thoughts brought on by a flare up of anxiety. Not because I just found a ticket under my seat for an all-inclusive trip to the island that P. Diddy owns or keys to my own Chrysler Minivan. Fuck you, Karen.

I’m freaking out because he will not be with me. Plain and simple. I am freaking out because I will not know what he is eating, how he is sleeping, how much tv he will be watching. I will not be there to assess how much fun he is having at any particular outing, to remind him to change his underwear, to take his glasses off before he falls asleep. I will not be there ensure that he is doing what he wants to do, not what someone is making him do. I will not be there to control how people talk, or react, or approach him. He will meet people I do not know and so therefore do not trust. He will be with people I do know and therefore do not trust. What if someone is mean to him? What if he wonders off at the waterpark and he drowns? What is the car he is riding in is hit head-on by a semi-truck? What if this is the week the big one hits Kansas and he is swept away in a tornado? What if he can’t sleep because I am not in the next room? What if he is ignored all week? What if he has a horrible time and never wants to go back? What if he has a great time and realizes he doesn’t need me anymore?

If this all seems really dramatic, it’s because it is. This is anxiety, y’all. Welcome to it.

So last night I was tossing and turning in bed waiting for 6:00 am, when he would pile into my best friend’s car (she has been visiting and is heading back home today so he hitched a ride to his Mama’s house with her) I was thinking about all the bad things that could happen. All the fears I have started to bubble up and I started to worry. What if this is my body’s way of telling me that he shouldn’t go, I thought. What if my intuition is wrestling my anxiety, but I am brushing it all off as anxiety? I actually, for real, 100% Googled How to Tell if it is Anxiety or Intuition. I found a bunch of articles, but none of them helped. I had to talk myself off my own ledge that I created and just trust that all these people, and all these places, and all these moments (like when he threw up in my best friend’s car about two hours into the trip) are not signs that something bad will happen, rather they are ways for him to learn, and grow, and become an independent person in his own right. Even as I type this I am rolling my eyes. He’s 10 years old for crying out loud!

Christ Missy, get it together.

Okay. I do have some ways to combat this. You don’t live this way for this long without picking up a few tricks. I’ve been busy all morning. I’ve been working, and cleaning, and Googling whether or not your therapist charges per “topic” or just “hourly”, but still, there in the back of my mind is all the things. And all the things can really take it out of me. It can take it out of anyone. If I were a religious person this would probably be the time I “give it to God” or whatever. So maybe I will try that. Maybe today I will just “give it to pizza” or “Give it to Oprah” (that sounds dirty) and just see what happens.

Hope you are all coping today too.

M.

Backstreet’s Back, Alright!

When I moved to Atlanta in April I decided to go back to regular therapy. Therapy and I go way back, like the epic battle between Backstreet Boys and N’Sync, we’ve had our beef. The first time I remember going to a therapist I was sixteen. I had been pretty sad and started to skip school in lieu of sleeping all day. My mom was nervous so she took me to a therapist. As I was waiting in the reception area I was reading over a pamphlet that asked: Do You Suffer from Depression? It was a quick little quiz that promised to diagnose a mental health problem if you answered five questions: Are you tired a lot? Do you feel hopeless? Do you have trouble concentrating? Are you irritable or annoyed? Do you suffer from low self-esteem? Looking back now I would say this was just a list of normal teenager behavior, but when I looked at that list I was like, Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! And for the first time ever I had a name to go with how I felt. And it made me feel worse.

The therapist ended up being a real whack-job, and she kept trying to get me to admit to being sexually assaulted or beaten as a child. so I went a couple more times and then quit. Then in my early twenties I went again to a therapist a couple of times, then quit. Then at 27 I had my first child and fell into the biggest bout of depression I had ever experienced. Postpartum Depression is a real fucking horror, y’all. It is nothing to sneeze at. At that time I didn’t have the stamina or the willingness to go to a therapist, but my primary care physician put me on anti-depressants after my six-week postpartum check-up because she could see that I was struggling, and that is when my life changed.

There was always a stigma with pills in my family. I would overhear my mom talk to people about how she was sad or irritable or couldn’t sleep, but pills were never the answer. You just had to pull up your bootstraps and keep on keeping on. But honestly, if my doctor had not recognized what I was going through when I was going through it, things might have ended differently for my baby or for me. I had a total loss of control during those early days. Not to mention a colicky baby and a husband who was just as green as I was. It was touch and go for awhile, but the pills helped me so much, that only six weeks into my antidepressants (which was Wellbutrin, and they are totally kick-ass), I decided that if I had to take a pill everyday for the rest of my life to feel better, I would. And I do. Well, now I take two, and this is only after ten years of trial and error.

Look it, I’ve been on Wellbutrin (awesome-sauce, but it made my blood pressure skyrocket), Prozac (the magic pill for more reasons than one, but it gave me horrible migraines after three years), Buspar (this is an anti-psychotic that they paired with Prozac to help with anxiety after I lost my daughter and now it’s on all my charts as a no-go because it made me suicidal), Celexa (good stuff, but plummeted my libido), Zoloft (made me feel no emotions, like zero emotion, all the time, weird stuff), Lexapro (Celexa’s sister, but the one I am currently on because I finally decided I could deal with the libido and the inability to lose weight like a normal fucking person as long as I have a pill that makes me not sad about those two things very often) there has to be some give and take. Then there are the other pills.

The first time I took a Xanax was the night I was released from the hospital after giving birth to my dead daughter. Yeah, that sounds harsh. Because it was fucking harsh. I was given a prescription for Xanax before I left the hospital and my husband drove to Target to get it filled before we went home just in case, even though I told him there is no way in hell I’d be taking that kind of pill. Stigma, remember? Well, I took that kind of pill (which happens to be a pill in the benzodiazepine class. It also happens to be highly addictive and is a way that a many of lonely housewives made it through the 70s, apparently, Valium is in that class) and I was able to sleep that first night. For a few hours anyway. Until I woke up screaming that I was a baby-murderer and had to take another one. That was eight years ago and I still, to this day, keep a bottle of Xanax next to my bed. I am on the lowest dose possible, and I routinely break it in half. I am prescribed 30 of them to last me for three months and I have never run out of them. Why? Because at this point they are more of a crutch than anything else. Just knowing I have them when a panic attack threatens is good enough for me. But things are changing now.

This new town, new me has me thinking differently. For the first time in two years I am with a therapist on the reg. She is a licensed therapist, so she can’t prescribe drugs, but I still wanted to take the burden off of my PCP, so my therapist told that I could use her offices’ Mental Health Nurse Practitioner for all my mental health medication needs. It was interesting, and a little weird at first, but after our first visit I felt confident that she gets it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my PCP, but she doesn’t specialize in mental health. I mean, when I have lady-garden issues, I go to a lady-garden doctor. When I have tooth pain, I see the dentist. So it makes sense that I would go to a mental health professional for my medication now too. And she is nice, but she is aggressive.

The first thing she did was take me off Xanax. Now remember, I have been on this pill (as needed) for eight years. I was a little nervous, but talk about being on a pill with a stigma. In fact, one of the first things I said to my new pill-lady was, See, see that face you made when I said I take Xanax, I’m tired of that face. There is a stigma attached to this pill and I don’t like it. She smiled and apologized for the face. She gets it though, and then she explained the stigma. It’s a highly addictive pill, with a big street value. I know all this of course. I know it first hand. I have a very close friend who was addicted to them a few years back and I watched her life unravel at an alarming rate. She finally got real help, but at a major cost to her life and to her family. So I get it. I do. But when something works, it is hard to turn your back on it.

Long story short (What do you mean, Missy? You always tell a long-ass story, we know this about you!) Well thanks, but let me get to the point here. Long story short, she put me on a new pill. Not a new anti-depressant (just yet), but a new benzodiazepine. And this new one is old, really old. Maybe you have heard of it, it’s called Klonopin. I had heard of it. In fact, I had heard bad things about it, I guess the sorts of things people hear about Xanax, but this one is supposed to be longer lasting so you don’t have to take as much, meaning it has a lower risk of addiction. Okay, I went with it. Next month we are changing my other pill. Apparently there are new fancy ones with less side effects. I’m game. I always trust the professionals.

So here we are. I came home and started to read all about Klonopin, then got myself so upset by what I was reading that I had to take a damn Klonopin, y’all. I wish I were joking. But, it turned out to be okay. It sort of cleared my mind, a feeling I haven’t had in awhile. And it made me talkative and happy. It made me relax and appreciate the good stuff all around. I might be able to get used to this. Maybe just maybe.

I’m telling you all this today because I have learned over the last few years that the only way to break down a stigma is to talk about it. An open and honest discourse about uncomfortable topics has never let me down. We see very little progress when we keep closed off. When we let other people dictate how we should feel, or act, or get help when we need it. We see very little progress when we feed into those antiquated ideas of what is right and what is good. Because the bottom line is, what is good for me may not be good for you. But we shouldn’t be judging each other when we are just trying to figure it all out.

As always take care of yourself and others.

M.

Sir Duke is a Shithead

My dog woke me up at four this morning. I suspect it was so that he could go poop out the book that he ate yesterday when I left him at home for about three hours. I wondered, for a split second, what it feels like to poop out a book. Which led me to wonder why one would eat a book? Is it like when I was pregnant and I craved coffee grinds? Is it that thing where your body is lacking iron so you desire to eat dirt? Or is it more of that thing where you have a mental problem and you only feel better if you eat little bits of mattress that you purchase in bulk at Sam’s Club, because they can’t be used mattresses, you have standards. I suspect of course, it’s because he is a dog. And dogs eat crazy shit. He likes, for instance, to rifle through our bathroom trash from time to time and get himself a little snack. Used q-tips, leftover floss, or his personal favorite: tissue smeared with excrements from our noses. He doesn’t prefer one of our noses over the other. He likes all snot the same.

But this whole only eating my shit when he is left alone, well that is pointed.

When he was a puppy we kenneled him, much to my dismay. Our overweight, chocolate lab Bentley who was put to sleep last year (you can read about her here: https://missygoodnight.com/2018/10/20/bentley/) was not the kind of dog that we had to kennel. She never wanted to tear our shit up, or make us pay for leaving her alone. She was merely the absolute perfect, best doggo in the whole wide world. No biggie. Sir Duke Barkington of Charlotte, however, is a little shithead.

Sir Duke has anxiety. And believe me, I get that. I too have anxiety. But he has separation anxiety, which is not what I have. In fact, I’m totes okay with spending load of time all alone. All. Alone. Expect for the past year I have not had that opportunity because well, Sir Duke Barkington of Charlotte. He is with me ALL DAY LONG. Everyday. And therein lies the problem.

Make no mistake, I did this to myself. I have always wanted a doggy who loves me so much he waits for me to get home with a wagging tail. He loves to cuddle with me. I am his human. His one and only. Bentley, for as awesome as she was, she wasn’t a cuddle buddy. She slept on my feet for five years or so (until Jackson was born and she had to sleep on the floor in his room for her own peace of mind) but she wasn’t one to hop on the couch with me and watch Netflix. In fact, if you ever accidentally sat down next to her, she’d give you about two minutes to change your mind, then she would get up and walk away. If it weren’t for her size, I’d think she was part cat.

Sir Duke is quite a different story. He seeks you out. Then he hops directly on top of you head. Or your face. Or your uncovered limbs. He licks your eyes, he tries to put his tongue inside your ears. He relentlessly runs to the bathroom whenever he hears me using it. If I have closed the door he whines outside of it. If I have left it open, half-asleep at 6:00 am, he stands in between my legs and waits for me to finish. I just don’t get it.

But, I guess I don’t need to. I guess he’s just that guy. An large, annoying, cuddly, deranged poodle. And well, as much as I bitch and complain about him, he’s mine. And I’m his. And I love that about us. I just wish he’d stop eating my damn books.

M.

It is Never a Good Time for a Waterbed

We are renters. Meaning we choose to rent our houses, rather than buy our houses. Call us what you will: Rotten Millennials, Killers of the American Dream, Bad Economists, Stupid. Whatever, doesn’t hurt our feelings. We don’t mind paying a premium for a house in a neighborhood we couldn’t otherwise afford, that allows us to send our son to a top-tier school. We don’t mind paying a premium to live in a house with a pool, or a house with one of those fancy refrigerators that talks. Because we value things that might be different than what others value, or (gasp!) that might be different than the values of our parent’s generation. One of the things we value is proximity to “cool shit”. Cool shit here being, museums, festivals, children’s libraries, theater performances, amusement parks, easy and quick access to both major highways and a large, international airport for easy traveling, etc, etc.

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Mornings with Missy

Hey you guys! Today I was trying to figure out why Snoopy, the CMPD Patrol Helicopter, AKA my best friend, was out and about in my hood. Then I realized that you guys might not know about Snoopy! So here is a little introduction to Snoop and how we came to know and love and mutually respect one another. Also, there might be someone living in my house that will pop out any second and murder me. No big deal.

M.

Pulling Out My Hair

All morning I have been putting my hands on my keyboard in an attempt to will myself to write something, but nothing comes out. This has been happening for about two weeks. I don’t mean with this silly, little blog. I have a million topics for this place. Climbing out of this blue spot I have been in. My recent gastro-intestinal upset. Our house-hunting trip to Atlanta. Jackson’s ongoing obsession with Harry Potter. Those are all easy topics for me to slap down here for our mutual reading pleasure. What I’m having a really hard time with is writing other things. Things I need to be writing. Short stories, and flash fiction, and creative non-fiction. Things that I write to send out for consideration. Things that, you know, a writer should care about.

A couple of weeks ago I started an essay about mental health. It’s morphed into more of a lyric essay. I talk about my penchant for weeding, then I talk about the unnerving condition I was diagnosed with shortly after the loss of my daughter. It’s called trichotillomania, which is a really long, crazy-sounding word that means at times of high stress I pull my hair out. Literally. I subconsciously run my fingers through my hair, often times when I am asleep, and I pull strands of hair out. I do it over and over again, in the same spot, until finally I have a little bald patch on my scalp and I have to part my hair to cover it. It sorta sucks. But also, I guess it sort of helps too.

It doesn’t always happen when I am asleep. Sometimes I am fully-awake, but I am distracted. When I first noticed it I was sitting on the couch with my husband. We were watching tv, toddler Jackson was asleep, and I was actually engrossed in whatever was happening in that episode of, probably, The Office. Before I knew what was happening I had taken my pony tail out and began running my fingers through my hair. At some point my husband looked over at me and asked what was wrong. I told him nothing was wrong. Because nothing was wrong. Weirdo. Then after the episode he looked at the spot next to me and asked again what was wrong. I looked over too, and there was a massive pile of my hair sitting next to me. We didn’t really know what to say. Over the next few weeks it got worse. I was waking up in the middle of the night to clumps of hair all around me, and my hand resting on my head. It was exhausting. So I finally asked the doctor and she explained this all to me. I felt relieved, but you know, not really.

So here I am, reliving all of this to write it out on the page, in hopes that I will actually finish this essay, submit it to a publication, they won’t think I’m too weird, and they will publish it, so that maybe, maybe, someone who pulls their hair out realizes, perhaps for the first time, that it is a mental health problem. Realizes they are not alone. Realizes they need to seek help. But until then, I am stuck, you see. Stuck. Unable to think. Unable to write. Unable to help. Stuck with idle hands, wanting to pull out my hair.

M.

Panic! Not Just at the Disco

The first time I remember having a panic attack I was 17 years old. I’m almost positive, looking back, that I’d had them before that, but I just didn’t know what to call it. Once, when I was about nine, I was so nervous waiting for my mom to come pick me up from a sleepover, that I had to go sit in my friend’s bathroom, away from all the noise and laughter. I was trembling, and my hands and feet were clammy, and my chest felt very tight. I sat in the bathtub, pulled the curtain closed, and waited for my friend’s mom to open the basement door and call down to tell me that my mom was there. In hindsight, that was probably one of my first panic attacks, but I didn’t know it at the time. I did know, however, that I was different than the other girls.

At seventeen I woke up in the middle of the night. I’ve always struggled with sleep, so I didn’t think much of it. This was back before you kept your cell phone charging next to your head, so I would just lie awake and stare at the ceiling listening for unfamiliar noises and worrying, mainly, about all the things that could go wrong in my life. What if I didn’t pass my next chemistry test? What if my mom found out that I had pot stashed in my dresser drawer? Those sorts of things. This particular night I remember with clarity, because it was the first time I thought about death. I wasn’t suicidal, never have been. Save for that time I was put on a medicine to help with anxiety and it didn’t react well with me. But we will save that for another time. What I mean is, I became hyper-aware for the first time, that one day I would die. That’s the funny thing about this life. It ends the same for everyone. And when you’re a kid or a reckless teenager, you don’t think too much about that. Until the day you do.

Existential dread or angst, I jokingly call it now. Jokingly because it happens to me all the time, I sort of live in this space, and it happens to a lot of us, most of use, from time to time. But when I was seventeen, I didn’t know what the hell it was. I just realized I would die, then wondered how I would die, then ventured into this whole new world of anxiety and worry that was never there before. It struck me so violently that I found myself awake for days, unable to sleep, consumed first and foremost by the idea that I was going to die, I had convinced myself, at any moment.

Of course I did the worst possible thing, I told no one. I went about life as normal as I could, all the while plagued with these constant, OCD thoughts about death. In AP English I’d think about death. In Chemistry, I’d think about death. At lunch, death. Hanging out at my friends’ houses after school, talking about crushes and pretending to care about my make-up and hair, death.

Then one day, months after the first thought, I had a total and complete meltdown. I was still a kid, as much as I thought otherwise, so I had my meltdown in a totally kid way. First, I flipped out at school. I got into a fight with my best friend, on purpose, because I wasn’t happy and she was and that pissed me off. Then I hitched a ride home halfway through the day with another friend (read: we skipped school and got high, then went to Taco Bell). Afterward, she dropped me off at home. I forgot that I don’t normally beat my mom home from work (don’t smoke weed kids, mkay), so she was confused when she got there and I was home. This led to a fight when she accused me of skipping school. I was appalled that she would “accuse” me of such a thing, then I went into my room, and slammed my door. (Ugh, moms are the worst!)

That night my mom went out and she told me not to leave the house, I was “grounded” in as much as she could ground me. So at about 8:00 pm, a friend picked me up and we left to go smoke more weed down at the river. Here’s the thing. The “river” was the cool place to hang, way down by the railroad tracks, because we were totes sad, sordid, teenagers with the weight of the world on our shoulders, oh poor, pitiful us… We were living every single scene from #MySoCalledLife.

The cops came, as they often do, and everyone took off running. Well, I don’t run, ya dig? Even when I think my life is in danger. Like if a bear came at me in the woods I would be the last one there, trying to reason with the bear, all, Listen bear, I’m mostly fat and who likes the fatty parts of the meat? So I just sort of walked away, down the railroad tracks to an old railcar. (Insert the Daria soundtrack). Turns out the cops weren’t too hellbent on arresting a few teens passing a dime bag, so they took off, but there I was alone, at night, a little high, on the train tracks. When, you guessed it, a train came.

Now, I’m not suicidal (see above), so meandering around the live tracks at night, weren’t exactly what I was going for. In fact, I was scared shitless, and I started back to the riverfront park to find my friends, but they had left my ass. That’s about the time the intrusive thoughts started up again. I know it, I told myself, I’m going to die and this is probably the night. I could smell the fire burning from the hobo village (I don’t think that is politically accurate now, but that’s what we called it) under the bridge, the train was approaching, my friends had left me, and there may or may not be cops lurking in the woods waiting to arrest me for being out after curfew. Plus, I was going to die. Maybe not that night, but certainly some day.

I made it down to the park, where there was a large mound of grass, and a well-lit walking trail. I sat down as the train approached, and all the things hit me at once. My chest tightened and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My hands became clammy, my feet went numb. The train hit the city limits. The thoughts raced through my mind. Things are changing, it won’t always be this way. The lights on the track flashed their warning, the bars lowered. Breathe, Missy, breathe. The bells chimed. The engine gave a loud hiss. I can’t stop time, one day I will be here on this earth, and the next I will not be and the whole wide world will still spin around without me. The sound of the wheels on the wood, louder and faster. I’m going to die. The train wooshed by. All the people I love, we will all be gone. And then, just like that, it was all over.


Jesus, this all sounds dramatic. But it really felt like the end of the world. Of my world, anyway. And sometimes, some days, it still does. I wish to all the universes that this was something that I grew out of, or something that never happened again. Something that goes away every day when I take my pills. But no, it’s always here. And I’ve had about ten or so of the actual, painful, Am-I-having-a-heart-attack panic attacks in my life. I can remember each one of them with a clarity I wish I could have given to my chemistry homework. The time Jerimiah had to hold me in the living room because I couldn’t sit still. The time I had to excuse myself from class because I thought the walls were caving in on me. That time I was driving through Tennessee, my son snuggled up in the backseat, and I had to call my friend just to talk. Thankfully, I have people, and thankfully I know when to reach out.

I wanted to share this today for two reasons: 1. It is coming. I’m headed down a dark, bleak hole, and I know it and I feel it, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. The stress is inching up in my neck and in the next few days I will be down for the count. It’s not anything different than it was yesterday, or last year, or 10 years ago. I just know how to read the signs now. How to better equip myself for the fall. Which leads me to number 2. I’m still here. I’m still alive, and this is only temporary. One of my favorite writers likes to remind us that #DepressionLies, and shit yeah it does. But man, it doesn’t feel like it in the moment. It doesn’t feel like it when it’s 2:00 am or 2:00 pm and you are in your bed, covered to your neck in blankets because that is the only way you can get through the day. It doesn’t feel like it when you stop texting friends back, or when you just want to eat chocolate and not make eye contact with your partner or your kid. It feels like you are trapped in this dark place. It feels like you did it all to yourself. It feels like it will never be right again and that you will never be right again. But you will.

Take care of yourselves, y’all.

And I’ll take care of me.

M.