"It’s My Post-Katrina Time of the Month"

Since Katrina, the residents of New Orleans (and perhaps former residents as well) collectively have suffered from lingering effects of post-traumatic stress. This operationalizes in different ways for each of us, with each on a different cycle of ups and downs, good days and bad. It makes everything a bit more interesting because you are never quite sure when anyone (yourself included) will be pushed that teensy bit too far. As a result, we have people blowing up or breaking down regularly over things like not finding Splenda at the coffee shop counter. Or tripping on uneven sidewalk. Or, like the woman in line at Whole Foods, who burst into tears when she thought that she left her wallet in the car.

My bad days find me drifting in a blue hazy funk.

This is where I am now. I call it my “Katrina time of the Month,” although the reality is that it can last much longer and comes and goes without the regularity of monthly intervals.

My Katrina blue funk fills me with apathy, freezes my decision-making, shortens my patience, and leaves me with a small amount of coping skill to handle stressful situations. It is triggered by stress, frustration, feeling out of control, and sadness. It feels like all those things together.

I have this “thing” about bad years and good years and having the tendency to overgeneralize as I do (occupational hazard), have come to believe that my “lucky” years are even numbered years and my “unlucky” or “difficult” years are the odd ones. Much too much brain power has rationalized this. And whether a true fact or an outcome I’m assigning myself to believe, 2007 is sucking. As the year progresses and life continues to gnaw away at our rear-ends, I’m starting to look forward to 2008. Surely there will be happy times ahead, once we get out of this awful, off year? For someone who honestly tries to live in the moment, looking ahead for encouragement feels crummy. It means I’m missing out on something today.

Perhaps my funk is contributing to my overall sense of dread over Kate’s (and my) condition. This feeling, her illness… the yeast, the on-going night waking for food, being hungry all day no matter what, extended periods of irritability, difficulty sleeping, and beating the tar out of me at every opportunity… are all bothering me. So I called the doctor and began the over-worried discussion that:

unexplained yeast
+ sudden increase in appetite and thirst
+ irritability
+ fatigue
+ sores that take a long time to heal
+ my general feeling of dread and “waiting for the next bad thing”
= a situation where it would be a good idea to run a tests.

Kate has never had anything outside of physical exams and so a little test wouldn’t be too crazy, right? Just in case….? (In my defense, Will’s first ear infection was diagnosed out of my feeling that “something was wrong,” holding firm even while being accused of bringing him to the doctor because I wanted something to be wrong. Paul reminded me of this, I think in an attempt to boost my ego or get me to just call to get all this worrying over with.)

The doctor generally humored me — in the sense that she didn’t accuse me of being a Munchausen parent — and is leaving diaper collection baggies in the office for me to pick up. We’ll collect some urine, they’ll run a test. Hopefully this is what it will take to bring me back to the sunshine for awhile.