Friday, February 02, 2007

Feelin' better, bald eagle, and why it's good to be friendly with other birders

Word of the Day:
moribund \MOR-uh-bund\, adjective:
1. In a dying state; dying; at the point of death.
2. Becoming obsolete or inactive.


Did I see the bald eagle?
We will get to that in a minute.
First, there was a lot of mockingbird attitude going on in the front yard today. like suet
Dude was all over the suet.
He was not a happy camper when the starlings moved in.

Back off starling!
"Back off, you stupid starlings!"
"I mean it!!!"
Oh I don't THINK so
"OH, I don't THINK so..."
Okay, okay...I get the hint
"Okay, okay, we get the hint!"
Mr. Yellow-Eyed Fluffy Pants
"I rule this suet, because I am Mr. Yellow-Eyed Fluffy Pants."
mockingbird streching neck
"And I want THAT berry right THERE."
I am such a beautiful specimen of my species
"What a beautiful specimen of my species I am."
Meanwhile, over in the crabapple, a cardinal dozed off...if you look close, you can see his nictating membrane.

Snow shadows
Over in the back yard, I saw snow shadows. See the snow by the fence? The trees shielded it from the warm sun, and voila..snow shadows.
Robin tossing leaves
A flock of robins were tossing the leaves under the maples. I thought I would help them out by sweeping the leaves away from the base of the trees.
They approved.
just a red tail
Now, onto the eagle:
This is not an eagle. Just a red-tailed hawk.

I used my temporary scope (I so don't want to give it back) to check out the action at the gravel pits. I saw:
Ruddy ducks
Ring-Necked ducks
A female American wigeon, I think...some birders have seen a Eurasian wigeon here, but I was too far away to really be sure.
While scoping, a car pulled up behind me. A fellow birder came up and asked what I was seeing. She asked if I was looking for the eagle. Turns out that she had just seen it about 2 miles down the road. Hopped in the car and went searching.
Did I see the bald eagle?
Did I get a picture of it?
Damn. I will try again.
full moon 020207

Happy Groundhog Day/Full Moon.

I have wanted to bring up something for quite a while. I have had a post in draft mode for ages, but haven't posted it because it didn't feel right.
Lynne brought up her past use of antidepressants in a comment last night, and I love her for it. I know you all like me, so I feel safe in talking about my mental health.
I have been in therapy off and on since I was 13. First it was for motivation in school (IQ tests to show that I definitely had the brains, and realizing that I was just not being challenged enough) and a few years back when I was pregnant with Isabelle, a new therapist. He did nothing for me. Then, 3 years ago I found my soul-mate therapist. She has seen me through my Dad's passing, my anger, my depression.
I have been on antidepressants for 2 years now, and it seems to be working...except for the times that I react in ways that are not appropriate for the situation. I don't let these feelings out when I am away from my family, such as at a RAPTOR program or out in public. My safety zone is my family, and unfortunately my family also takes the brunt of my anger. I am not abusive, I do not hit, but I yell and I say things in ways I don't mean. The meds have reduced my depression and it feels great. (It looks like I have needed this for years, since high school)
Where does all this stem from? Partly, a chemical imbalance in my brain that I can't help. And partly, a crappy relationship that nearly squashed my self-esteem. When I was 16, I was dating a 22 year old man. Why would a man want to date a 16 year old? You can figure that out.
I wouldn't get into details. I will just say that he was not a nice person.
He was mean and abusive.
That relationship colored every other one to come along. Thank goodness Geoff is understanding. He obviously saw past all my baggage to look into my soul and saw the small, undamaged part of me. He taught me that I was worth loving.
The only thing in the way of me becoming the person I really am inside is that the meds and therapy aren't helping 100%. My therapist wants me to see someone else, to determine if I have "soft bi-polarity". Lovely. I don't think I am, but everyone I have told about it has NOT been surprised. I am not the type you see on TV shows...I just have mood swings from Hell. I am not Mother of the Year sometimes. I am not the wife that Geoff deserves. But I can be. I feel it. I want that.
So there you are. I'm not perfect, and I don't think anyone expects me to be. But I could be happier. You guys, who read my blog, see the side that I truly am, the ME that shows up in small bursts. The loony, fun, sweet Me. I want to invite her to stay forever.


Mary said...

I posted this on your new blog (I don't which one to use yet LOL):

First of all, your photos and the attached commentaries are superb tonight. You must be smiling about that! Secondly, not everyone lives in a fairytale world and we all get down and depressed. I haven’t always been very nice to ones I love - I get cranky and irritable, too. I am glad you have a therapist who is concerned about your best interest, so keep at it, Susan. Go with your instincts and always know you are loved. Not only by Geoff, your beautiful girls, and your assortment of cats, dogs, and other critters (Junior), but by your friends, right here on the net. You keep us smiling day after day and even on your off days, you speak clearly and show how much you care and love life.

LauraHinNJ said...


My boss, who lurks on my blog, says that reading it shows a whole other side of me that she never sees at work. Like I'm some kind of grump all the time at work (which is true!). Really I think it's the *me* without all the crap I have to pretend to at work.

I think my point is that we all have a somber side, and the hurts that come with living, if we're homest about it.

Therapy and meds are good things if they help you through. A label is just that; you know yourself - what will it change about you to call yourself *something*? Not much, I think. Just be you, that's enough!

Glad you got your eagle.

Susan Gets Native said...

Thank you. Right back at ya.

Thanks. It's not that I want to be someone else. I want to be the me that I know is in there.

The Swami said...

Keep the invitation open; "The loony, fun, sweet [You]" will stay.

Swami at first thought your last photo was the bald head of the eagle. Well, it's back to bed. I obviously need the rest.

katdoc said...

Glad you got your eagle! Aren't birders the nicest people? Whenever I meet strangers while birding, they are always so helpful about pointing out something I missed or giving me tips, directions, pointers, etc.

Birders rock!


NatureWoman said...

I love your mockingbird photos - what an excellent job you did capturing his attitude towards the starlings!
And amazing shot of the cardinal sleeping. . .
Congrats on seeing the bald eagle - woo hoo! That must be awesome! You'll get photos sometime soon!
Ohhh, I love your moon photo - it's so pretty. Mine is just very cold and white.
OMG Susan, I love you girlfriend! I know it is hard to open up about yourself (I still have that problem). You will work through this. You are very smart - it shows. You care - that shows too. And you rock so hard. You are a very awesome person. And I'm here for you!

Liza Lee Miller said...

You are very brave, Susan. Depression and the anger and mood swings that accompany it are major tough to deal with.

I went through a major depression a few years ago. It was REALLY tough -- especially since none of my support system saw it happening. I remember the feeling of shock when I opened up to my sister and sister-in-law -- fully expecting them to say, "Yea, we were going to say something soon -- you need some help" and they said, "Really! Oh my God, I had no idea." I felt like it was all up to me.

I did go on meds and they helped. I also solved my sleep apnea which was totally compounding everything.

This year, I went on birth control to control my monthly mood swings and it worked beautifully.

My point is . . . do what you need to do. I wouldn't waste too much time worrying about other diagnoses until you have to . . . many, many times the meds need adjustments. Both my parents take anti-depressants and they took ages to get on the right dosages and medication that worked for them.

And as for mother of the year . . . this is going to sound a little wacky but one of the things I've learned being a teacher is that on my worst day of parenting I'm way better than a lot of parents. That doesn't excuse my behavior when I am the mean, grumpy mom but it can help me forgive myself and move past it. My kids were about the age yours are now when I was in my depression . . . I was not a great mom then but I was a good mom who needed help. Now, I am a great mom but I don't hide my emotions from my kids. I try not to flail them with my emotions but I don't hide them. I want them to know -- especially my son -- that people feel things and that that's okay.

Okay, way too long for a comment but girlfriend you are not alone and you are not a bad parent.

I'm hear if you need to talk.

Lynne said...

You are one brave and articulate woman Susan. I love you for what you said and more importantly for who you are. None of us are perfect mothers, I think too often we hold ourselves up to standards that are humanly unatainable. You are aware of the changes you want and you are usung the tools available to make those changes reality. I am proud of you, here for you and honored to know you better.

Ruth said...

I admire your honesty, Susan. No one would be surprised to hear someone share about their gallstones or diabetes, but mental health issues are still largely taboo. How wrong is that?! With any health issue, physical or emotional, I think it is best to try a non-drug treatment first IF possible. But if you need something to even out an imbalance, that is OK. I often see the damage done by people not facing their emotional needs head on. All the best!

Susan Gets Native said...

All of you just ROCK.
Now, quit making me cry and let me get back to my new post!

beckperson said...

Susan, as you know, this stuff runs in our family. Although I haven't succumbed to depression myself (yet), I don't think you'd be surprised at the number of us who have sought therapy or are taking a medication of some sort to cope with daily life.

You're lucky to have found a good therapist - that's a huge step forward. I'm sure I can speak for those of us who are happy we're related to you...that we think you're one helluva good soul and we love you lots.

dguzman said...

Hey, if it weren't for antidepressants, I'd be in prison for going postal on my entire company. Little do they know that their lives are saved by nothing more than a little pink pill every night!

Therapists are real life-savers, huh?