Thursday, April 16, 2015

Life Goals and Disappointments

#HAWMC Day 16:  What’s one thing that your 10-year-old self  thought you would do? Can you still do it? How would you approach it to make it happen?

Let me start off by saying that when I was four, my goal was to be a "Dunkin Donuts Lady", I had developed an apparently very influential friendship with a nice woman named Jackie who worked at the nearby Dunkin. By ten, after a trip to Wheaten Village, I had switched my allegiances and wanted to be a glassblower.  So with all due respect to all of the Dunkin Donuts ladies and glassblowers out there (I actually still think the latter is an amazing art, I just have zero glass-blowing talent), I am not sure that my young self's dreams were exactly the most on point. 

With that said, I can tell you one thing that I was sure I'd be when I grew up: a mom. My dad has five kids and my mom has two, both of whom she had by the age of 26, and I had a big family in general, so naturally this seemed like the path that I'd follow. When I got married, all of that changed. Let's suffice it to say that my brain seemed to sense something was wrong, that having children at the time wasn't a good idea (this was true for numerous reasons, a major one being that my marriage didn't last long). 

When I got diagnosed, I was told that my condition was very genetic. Basically, it doesn't just "show up", there had to be a family history somewhere. I consider myself a relatively bright person, and I therefore know that means that if it was passed down to me, it could be passed down from me.  This was confirmed, and it was also confirmed that the severity of it may change generation to generation - as in a child of mine could battle not just hypomania and depressive cycles, but full blown mania, depression, delusions, hallucinations, and basically anything else that could possibly be a symptom of any type of mood cycling disorder. I was also told if I ever wanted to have children, I'd have to work very carefully with doctors because I couldn't be on my meds and we know by now this could be pretty disastrous to me. I've been hospitalized once. I don't want to be there again. Long story short, I decided not to put myself, or more importantly my future children, through this, and I decided I would not be passing along my genes, the messy ones or the awesome ones, to a future generation. I got an IUD put in (fun fact: oxcarbazepine messes with hormonal birth control) and decided when that was "up" I'd probably do something more permanent. 

It's heart breaking. I don't ever think it will not be heart breaking. I look back on my 24-year-old newly married self and realized that probably, somehow, I knew this would all come about even though I wouldn't be diagnosed for another 6 years. It's the only reason I can think that I intuitively and so decisively put the breaks on something that had been my life plan all along. But there are still times I wonder, if I had had children during my marriage how would I have fared? How would the children have fared? But I can't think on it too much. I believe, when all is said and done, I would make the same decision again, knowing what I know now.  

Could I still achieve this goal? Well, possibly. I've never particularly tried. How would I approach it? Well I think we're all adults here and know how one goes about "having a baby". How would I approach it with my condition? Work closely with doctors, meditate on it (I'm Buddhist) and hang on tight for the ride while hoping that everyone around me doesn't want to strangle un-medicated me with their bare hands? I really am not sure. I could adopt. I've considered it. I still do sometimes, and maybe one day that will happen. 

But in the end, this is one challenge in life I have to say I did not meet, at least not the way I planned. Perhaps I should have just stuck with Dunkin' Donuts Lady. 

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