i hope she laughs the way you do

‘Cause if she’s anything like her father, I’ll fall in love with her just like I did with you – Us The Duo, Like I Did With You

Sammy and I have had an affinity with Us The Duo since our early days of dating. Along with our family and friends, we danced to their song One Last Dance on the beach after our wedding ceremony. Now, with our little girl on the way, their song Like I Did With You has such personal meaning as well. I happened to be listening to this song when I opened my new blog post today. I should mention that I have had two drafted entries just waiting to be edited and posted, however, I have had a pretty gross headache for several days. Being able to listen to music is almost like the light at the end of the tunnel kind of thing. Headaches and migraines in pregnancy is a bittersweet kind of torture. My diagnosis with Chiari Malformation changed my life, in many ways for the good and the bad. I have been a singer (self-proclaimed) since I was in elementary school. Somehow I managed to play both Belle’s father and LeFou during a 5th grade production of Beauty & The Beast. I am cursed with the love of singing, which leads to a pressure headache for days if I do it the way that I want to do it. I’m talking, Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper Shallow style. Recently, Sam and I introduced the kids to our ability to sing at the top of our lungs in the car to The Jackson Five and the greatest songs of the 60s. Our 7-yr old’s favourite song is Build Me Up Buttercup. She gets all guttural and into it. She also freestyles her own music and lyrics on the guitar. I am a proud musical theatre mom.

Long story short, these days, I am better off if I listen without joining in. Curse of Chiari & intracranial hypertension. I feel like I run the balance of sounding like I am persistently complaining, versus explaining what life is like living with conditions of the brain. I am also still not sure how to categorize what I live with. Conditions of the brain? Chiari is a “malformation” … I acquired hydrocephalus and I have a shunt for fluid and intracranial hypertension. Increased pressure in the skull. This has not been the easiest journey, but I am grateful every day that I wake up. Even if it is with a migraine.

One of the drafts that I had written 4 weeks ago, was with the intention of going into detail with my personal (non-medical affiliated) experience with these fun brain things during pregnancy. I was so excited. Until at the end of the post, it was like Sod’s Law. I developed a sickening headache for days. Days and nights. Mentally, I could not justify posting a blog about how great I felt, when hours later I came down with a skull-splitting fuck you headache.

I am so lucky to have a wonderfully supportive and understanding husband. Sam takes care of everything. If I feel guilty for having a headache (wait, what?), he snaps me out of it. “Rest, get better.” Sam, you are a gift. My amazing mom also sent an old-fashioned hot water bottle to me within 24 hours of my latest headache. Sammy fills it, brings it to me with lunch, water & a kiss. It’s a bittersweet kind of thing. Having a partner who builds you up and supports you is beautiful. I’m not even sure if there are words for this feeling. We are halfway through our 24th week of pregnancy and the hormones are real. The kicks are real. The headaches are real. I do want to blog more, but in all honesty, when I am looking at my computer, I’m writing spec scripts. Not mad about that. It’s always been my escape, but when I sink my teeth into a new script and characters that all carry a little piece of me, I can get lost for hours in my thoughts. I had lost some motivation for a while, which I think is normal for everyone. Getting back into these scripts has given me that mental break that I need.

I am slightly frustrated with myself for not having a post ready to go on World Mental Health Day. Being such an advocate and believer of mental health support and awareness, I was being way too hard on myself. I had a raging headache, which was beyond my control. Sitting behind my laptop was in my control, and I exercised my ability to control what I could. That is my kind of a double-edged sword. Always a peacekeeper, I will apologize to prevent any situation from unnecessary escalation (even to my own cathartic blog). Perhaps a coping mechanism. These days, I find myself telling my kids to stop apologizing unnecessarily, yet I still do it as an adult. A very bad habit that I need to shake, is also at the core of who I am. I see the “Unapologetically Me” tags and think, hell yeah, that’s me! But in all reality, I am apologetically me, but I should not be. I am an over-apologizer. Accepted. Now what?

Mental health matters, speaking on these topics is important. Recognize it, change it; do something about it. Who is putting pressure on me to push a blog post on a particular day of the year? Nobody. Just me. I should be in control of those thoughts by not allowing the expectations that I have set of myself to limit my mental clarity. So let us rephrase. I am in control of my thoughts. Woooo saaa Alex, it’s all going to be okay.

It Continues.

Still, somewhere amidst the chaos.

Seriously … we are experiencing a moment in our world that will be marked as a major event in history for the rest of all time. Generations will learn about this. Our children growing up in this era will have a different outlook on the future of this planet. These are not bad things, but they are different. Life is different. Life is unique. We have all been trapped in this going-through-the-motions for years when it takes something like COVID-19 to make the world stop turning. I’m not a fan of the “well only -x- many people are dying” compared to the 1918 flu pandemic. We do not get to decide that. Ethically, morally, whatever you want to call it – acknowledging that the 100,000 death count is better than a million … those 100,000+ deaths are lambs? Are you kidding me? Mr. POTUS is in an abusive relationship with the citizens of this country. Again, apologies on the political references and obvious loyalties of my own.

We are repeating history. This is what a cyclical world will do over time; this, we have proven. The CDC.gov has a timeline on the history of pandemics. Almost every single country in the world has had at least one case of the novel coronavirus. We are all at risk. Some at a higher risk, for sure. I am still trying to figure out of I am at a higher risk since I had asthma as a child, I have failed every lung test that I have ever taken and a few months ago, a CT scan revealed a spot on my lung. (A spot? I don’t even know what that means, but for someone who has never been a smoker, I’m not thrilled to know that’s in there and I don’t know what that spot even is.)

Sidebar, I have been having some balance and brain oddities this week. I am still working, but I did have to call out today. There was no way I could drive. I still battle Chiari, Hydrocephalus, VP Shunt & Intracranial Hypertension every single day, but some days are worse than others … today is one of those days. That being said, the brevity of the current state of our world, country and state, the importance of mental health for those who are finding themselves in new routines with new stress factors. This is real, no matter how hard we might want to try to blink this away, it is not going away anytime soon and it will likely get a little bit uglier before it does. Until then, support those around you with love and compassion at this time (and always, duh, but even more in this moment) as some may be suffering deeper than they realize.

Help is out there. Hold the ones that you love. Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Do all that you can to help this earth. Nobody else needs to die. Nobody else should be dying. Shut the damn country down and fix this once and for all.

Read this.


CDC.gov & WHO.int