Friday, September 18, 2015

Success Disguised as a Failure

I try to be strong. I'm a mom. And I'm a supporter. I aid women overcoming perinatal mood disorders in an online support group; I take on their struggles and feelings and doubts and reassure them relief is near and recovery is possible. I preach it all day long to anyone willing to listen. But I have bad days too. Lately, I've had a lot. And after awhile it gets really hard to disguise them. My true colors are shining through. And I hate it.

How can I support all these other women when there are times I barely am holding my own shit together? How can I tell them it gets better when I am in fear that I myself am relapsing? How can I assure you that you will eventually feel like yourself again when I'm not entirely sure which role I should play anymore?

I still consider myself recovered as I find joy in each day, absolutely adore my daughter, I eat regular meals (at one point I stopped eating altogether), I sleep all night every night (usually), I look forward to things, I laugh with friends and mean it, and most of all am living a medicated free life (this is by far a huge accomplishment). I am recovered. But since I was a child I have always been plagued by the What Ifs. And I often think of the poem WhatIf by Shel Silverstein, a favorite of mine as a kid, and the part that goes:

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old Whatif song.

Unfortunately, that WhatIf bug has been hanging out So I appear a little needier. I'm a bit more irritated, more easily annoyed, a little more on edge....

I have recovered. I know that relief is possible and recovery is too. I know these things. I have felt these things. I AM these things. So why on Earth would I feel like I am taking steps backwards? I have been thinking about this for a couple weeks now in silence for fear that I have relapsed. For fear that I need to go back to the doctor. And I have honestly been waiting for Hubs to tell me he's had enough and to go back and tell the doctor I'm not better, but he hasn't. Because now that I've been thinking about it these last couple weeks, I realize that I am not relapsing. I am still learning. I don't fully understand PPD, so I continue to educate myself, and it is through that education I am re-living those early times of P's life. I remember those feelings so vividly it feels as though they could have happened yesterday. I think it's important to remember those feelings if I ever want to help someone else. 

I am human, afterall, who has life experiences and feelings and recovery means not forgetting that. If I forget, if I don't stay relevant, then my advice and support to those currently experiencing PPD/A/P will become robotic. My words will be monotone and my heart won't be in it anymore and if my heart isn't in it anymore, well then, that torture I experienced and that misery I felt would have all been for nothing.

 So yes, I might be a little irritable some days. I might get annoyed by the way you tap the steering wheel when you drive or the way you're chewing your food, but it's those WhatIfs...they're there, and we're working on finding them a new home, but if you could just bare with me for a moment while I try to get my shit together and work through it, I promise I'll do something good with it. I promise to keep moving forward and to keep helping others. I'm only human. I need a bad day here and there. And I promise that if you let me have one, I'll let you have one too.

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