A Full Year and Counting

Advice to Myself as a Young Mom of a Child with Disabilities
May 26, 2016
Daring to Dream
June 16, 2016

A Full Year and Counting

The first part of this story can be read here

After reading the first part over again I have to say this: the truth is I am not now who I used to be prior to my hospitalization. My experiences and the medication have made me a new person. Whether I like it or not. I spent the better part of a year trying to get back to where I was. People would comment how quiet I was and were wondering if I was ok. And I was. I was doing ok but I also felt lost. I had a horrible memory and almost zero motivation to do anything. My favourite thing was to have a nap – I would come home on my lunch and curl up on the couch and be dead to the world for a full 45 minutes.

My head felt foggy and I wasn’t sure of myself. The medication gave me a hand tremor and I felt so unsteady I stopped taking the stairs at work for fear of falling. My doctor assured me that most of these symptoms would soon stop. For the most part they did. I can make it through the day without a nap, the tremor is almost non-existent and the fog has mostly cleared. I’m still more tired now than I was before my hospitalization – it’s just an unfortunate side effect of the many medications I am on.

What I notice now is that the thoughts that were once whirling around in my head frenetically have slowed and the remarkable thing is I tend to have one thought at a time. One thought at a time. I didn’t even know such a thing was possible. I think this has been the biggest change I have seen (aside from the lifting of the depression). This change though is hard to get used to. I have spent 40 years with my thoughts whirling and twirling around in my head. I often thought of it as a train going around and around that I couldn’t quite catch. The filter between my thoughts and my mouth was often missing. People knew I was a straight shooter – often reacting to things spontaneously while others gave it careful consideration. I also wasn’t the best listener as my thoughts would go off racing in a zillion different directions when someone would tell me something. I’d already be thinking of my response before they were finished talking. That is not good listening.

So now I am a better listener but I don’t feel like me. That often makes me pause and wonder if the side effects are worth it. One of my main complaints before was that I couldn’t handle the racing thoughts – they drove me crazy – literally. Now I find the quiet in my brain eerie and disconcerting. Adam constantly wants to know what I am thinking or why I am being so quiet – he thinks there is something wrong. It is that I have no thoughts. I never knew it was possible to have nothing to say. Now I know.

All of this to say that I am not the person I used to be. Just like all experiences we have in our lives – I have come out the other side a changed person. Some for the best and some not so much. Overall I think life is going well now – I just need to get used to the quiet in my brain.

Tina Szymczak
Tina Szymczak
Tina Szymczak is a 40-something mom and wife with two spirited boys. She has worked in early intervention and as an advocate resource for families with a loved one with a disability. Now she also writes a blog about raising children with complex needs, trying not to lose your sense of self as you parent, and her struggles with mental health.

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