Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How My Medication Saved Your Life

Whenever I start helping a new mom, the first thing she tells me is that she doesn't know how to ask for help. She's afraid to ask for help. Her partner doesn't understand and a doctor probably won't either. So she stays quiet. She thinks those thoughts and feelings are shameful and should be kept to herself and she needs to accept this as her new life. She can never go back to the person she was.

I am calling bullshit.

If you were once a happy person, enjoyed life, found pleasures in the simple things, or were able to leave your house, you can be that person again. It is not impossible. And shame on anyone in your life that would make you think you can't be that person again. Shame on anyone that makes you think nothing is wrong. Shame on them for not being there for you when you needed them the most.

After I hear this heartbreaking new reality for these new moms, the next thing I tell them is this: admitting something is wrong is the hardest part of getting better.

Admitting to myself was the worst. I cried every day. I dreaded Hubs leaving me home alone, even if it was only for a few minutes. I knew something was wrong, but I wasn't going to have postpartum anything; I was fine. But around week 5 I knew this wasn't going to pass and was in fact, only going to get worse. Thankfully, my postpartum check up was right around the corner. (PS - if you think you are suffering, you DO NOT need to wait for this appointment. If you are one week postpartum, you can call. If you are 2 days postpartum, call and make the appointment). I feel so lucky that I only suffered for 6 weeks before finding the strength to ask for help. And my help wasn't even gifted to me through asking, but by my lack of ability to hold my shit together when my doctor cheerfully asked me how I was doing at my postpartum checkup and bursting into uncontrollable tears so horrible a nurse had to come take my daughter from the room because I couldn't hold her.

So I awkwardly laid there at my postpartum checkup while my doctor examined how I was healing as she explained she knew exactly how I was feeling and knew what I needed to feel better. She was going to write me a prescription for Prozac. Ya'll, I have never filled a prescription for something so fast in my life. I needed those pills. I had reached a point of desperation and anguish that I needed it to go away and go away NOW! I knew it would take almost a whole month to build up in my system to fulling start working, but after just a few days I started only crying once a day instead of all day, so I knew they were working. But then a mysterious rash started on my back and abdomen and was diagnosed with hives. I was allergic to fucking Prozac! My doctor then prescribed me Wellbutrin. The pharmacy told me it would take four days to get the medication in. I couldn't handle it. I was unmedicated, allergic to the one thing that gave me relief in almost 2 months and now I can't even get Option B. I called my nurse crying. My nurse, whose name was Jackie and I will never forget how absolutely amazing this woman was, called the pharmacy and miraculously they were able to fill it for me same day. (There is a special place in heaven for Jackie). After a week of the new medication, I didn't feel any better. In fact, I felt worse. I went back yet again to my doctor. I was miserable. She admitted she had been thinking about me since my last appointment and didn't think I was allergic to Prozac. Well hallelujah. Apparently my rash was something that most often occurred in postpartum women, but typically right after birth and not almost 2 months later. Go figure. So I was back on the Prozac. Things started to get better.

But why couldn't you just go to therapy?

I will tell you why. I was not just depressed. I had postpartum OCD, anxiety and depression. I wasn't 'just sad.' I feared things I had never feared before and in irrational volumes. I thought things I knew I shouldn't be thinking, and that made me fear doing much of anything. If I was driving the car with my daughter in the backseat, I would wonder what would happen if I just didn't stop at a stoplight, or didn't turn the wheel when the road turned.....I would be holding P and vividly see myself dropping her, or leaving her outside strapped in her carseat on the back step (in negative temperatures). I didn't think I would actually do these things, but how could I possibly know that? I never hurt P or myself, but those thoughts were scary and I was afraid for the one day I wasn't able to control them. I honestly believe that help came just in time.

Medication saved my life and it saved my babies life. I don't know what this disease could have done to me if I hadn't been able to admit, seek and begin treatment. I could have hurt others. I would have hurt others. I'm sure of it. My treatment was not easy. It can't always be a walk in the park. It's really hard. There are bumps in the road that are sometimes so huge you don't even want to attempt to get over them. But eventually it levels out and you get to live your life again.

Just when I thought I was better, I fell low again and needed medication to bring me back up. This time, I did need therapy too, which helped immensely, but I needed something to help control the emotions and irrational actions. We're trying this again, Hubs and I, and hoping for a full recovery. There are only a few pills left in the bottle I haven't touched in almost a month now. I hope I never need them again, but I can't be ashamed to admit when I'm wrong and when I need help. Admitting will always the hardest, but the outcome is so incredibly worth it. How could you possibly know how great your life can really be if you don't give yourself a chance? You're worth being the best you for you. Don't forget that.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


I've rewritten this blog post about 400 times this week, but since I have a great bout of insomnia going, I figure I would give it one last shot before posting it for the world to see.

Make that 402. I just wrote this post, twice, and deleted it, twice. I want to write to you about burdens and mental illness, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to put that into words. So maybe the key is to just write without thinking because if I don't get it out I fear I will never sleep again. So here goes.

I feel like my mental illness is a burden on others. Mostly, on Hubs and P. Is that true? I don't know for sure. What I do know is that they get the brunt of my illness. They have to deal with my emotions and my actions more than anyone else. There are days when I know what I'm doing is wrong and that I'm burdening them with my own issues, and on those days I feel like a super horrible mom. I'm such a bad mom. I still don't really know how to do this whole mom thing and I try to figure it out, but clearly some of you got the manual and I didn't because there are so many reminders on what I'm doing wrong. And I'm a bad wife. I don't remember my vows word for word anymore, but I'm sure I'm not living up to the expectations I set for our marriage on that day. And depression and anxiety are not my illness, but my families'; I may suffer from it, but they are carry the burden. My family lives with this everyday, and I bet there are days they get really sick of it. Me too. I am tired, ya'll (emotionally, not physically, because that would just be too good to be true).

I read an excerpt the other day about light and shadows and no matter how much we try to move, the light continues to cast a shadow behind us. The darkness, the shadow, is behind us. We cannot be in our own shadow; it's a mere reflection. It got more complicated after that, and I think it was actually a comparison to Heaven (not really sure), but as I read it I could only compare it to mental illness. This illness is a reflection of darkness, but there is light around it too.

So basically what this means is I have this thing that won't go away no matter how hard I try and there are good days and there are bad days and light and darkness and it all comes together to symbolically remind us that everything will be okay, but at the end of the day there is still a burden. (Yeah, it was really unhelpful when I read it, too).

I love my family. I don't want to burden them or make them feel bad or think they are in any way to blame for why things are the way they are and I just want everything to be better. To be okay. To be how it used to be. And then I try to remember what life felt like before we all became burdened and I really don't even know because it doesn't seem so bad now as it did before, but it's still not the same. And I don't know what any of this means, really, but what I do know is that there is a weight, a really heavy weight, and it's on my shoulders all the time. The weight cannot be lifted through selfcare (which I am a very fluent practitioner of), or rest or hugs or prayer (trust me). The weight, much like physical weight, will dissipate with time and hard work.

In the mean time, we suffer. And I somehow have to keep moving forward on days when I don't want to, and I still need to get out of bed even if sometimes I really need to convince myself that I can do it. And my family does too. They will keep tolerating me through my outbursts and keep loving me even when they don't like who I am in that moment and together we'll keep trying to lift this weight and push it off, into the shadows behind us, forever.

This is probably the only blog post that truly upset me because there was no solution at the end. I don't know what the answers are. I want to, does that count? I wish this story had a happy ending with a successful plan of action that you could put into place in your own life to feel less burdensome, but I don't have that today. And that's what this blog is for. I promised in my first post that this would be real and raw. So here it is.

22 months later. No cure yet. Will check again tomorrow.

Edit to add: If you read this entire post, thank you. I needed to get this out, which meant I didn't spell check or re-read anything. This was the result of that. I accept full responsibility of any spelling or grammatical errors.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Boxes and Bitterness

 After our recent move I decided it was time to organize all of the random baby items and clothes throughout the past year that were literally shoved into a box as we stopped using them. What this really should have been called was "after our recent move I decided to surround myself with triggers." Remember triggers? We talked about them before, it's a situation/thing/person/anything that triggers your mental illness. I am somehow in denial that I have triggers, yet I continuously throw them in my own face.

Anyways, I started organizing. And I was doing great; boxes were getting emptied, items were getting organized and grouped by size and age group and I was making great time! And then, as I started folding the teeny, tiny baby clothes up and packing them into boxes with size labels it hit me....

I am mad. I am still mad. And I am so, so bitter.

I think it's hard for people who haven't experienced a perinatal mood disorder to truly understand how I could STILL be so mad for something. I think it's hard for those people to accept that I still get sad about it. Well screw those people, because it's real and it sucks. As I folded those tiny clothes I realized I didn't miss having a baby, I missed having my baby. Do I want another baby one day? You betcha! But I will never, ever, ever, get to hold my tiny, newborn P and smile and love her and wanna be with her and cuddle. I will never get to experience first time mommyhood laying around on the couch with my newborn and walking lazily around the mall on a Tuesday afternoon. Nope. Because when I had a newborn, I couldn't leave my couch (ask hubs - I legit never left the couch). And I wasn't rooted to my couch with my little bundle of joy, I was paralyzed with sadness, fear and regret while P slept in her swing next to the couch. I could not physically hold her or emotionally enjoy her.

And that's kind of about when I lost it. I realized I will never get to hold my newborn again. This is what makes me bitter. And it makes me mad I feel this way because so many women wanted to hold their newborns and actually couldn't due to tragedy or otherwise, and yet I was able to hold mine, but was too sick to pick her up, and that's where the guilt comes in. The guilt that makes me want to apologize to all women that I'm sorry this happened to them and that I couldn't make it better, and the guilt that I'm sad over a period lost with my child, while others are sad over missing out on the entire lifetime of their children. How do you cure guilt? How do you cure sadness and anger and bitterness? Is there a cure?

So there I sat, in the middle of my living room surrounded by boxes of clothes and bottles that P will never need again, and I felt so small. I had failed my child at a time in her life when she needed me the most, and I know she won't remember those first couple months, but I will, and I'll be spending forever trying to make up for it to her. I will spend every day kissing her too much and hugging her too tight (sorry P) and splurging on her every chance I get (sorry Hubs) and doing everything I can to try to justify the bad mom I was to her in the beginning.

Damn those boxes.

I stacked those boxes up in a closet and there they will sit until I can use them again. And I promise that the next time I need them it will be different. I will revel in self care and selfishness to keep the guilt at bay and happiness on the forefront. I will enjoy the moments I have with my new little family when we decide to add to it, and I will learn from the past and fight to make sure it never happens again. PPD won that last one, but I am determined to win the next one. The fight never ends, but there is progress. There are days I see glimpses of my PPD peeking it's head around the corner to say hello, and although I cannot ignore it, I can acknowledge it, validate it, and learn from it.

Not everything can be packed away in a box, and that's okay.

Monday, August 15, 2016

What Really Changes When You Have A Baby

Lately, things have been a whirlwind for us. Between work, bills, traveling, summer plans, moving, managing two homes and everything else that's been thrown our way, it's been hard to take a breather and it's really got me thinking. What happened????

Let's put aside all the stereotypical stuff that can change after you have a baby, like appetite, your boobs, sex drive, exhaustion, packing up the entire house just to run to the ATM, etc etc....can we talk about the REAL stuff that changes?

Time. Seriously, where does it go? Not the cutesy time of watching our babies grow up and missing every stage after it's over even though we totally dreaded it while it was happening, but the actual minutes in a day. You have no more minutes. I don't know where they went, but they're gone. It seems like every day it never fails that as soon as I get home from work I'm already going to bed and someone has magically made dinner, unloaded the dishwasher and put the baby to bed, but no one has any actual recollection of who did any of that stuff. Want to do something out of the ordinary that day? Who the hell has the time! Go to the grocery store? Need new pants for work? You're now taking PTO just so you can go do it. Alone. Sure, you can take the kids with. Have fun.

Decisions. Lawdy, lawdy. Who would have thunk that every thing you did was an actual life decision? Well. It is now. Do I get gas now, or tomorrow? I could do it now, but the baby is with me and she's crying and I know she's hungry, maybe I'll wait until tomorrow. Welp. Tomorrow came and went and now it's twelve days later and you're coasting into that gas station with your crying, hungry baby anyways. Want to have a date with your husband? You are now running background checks on every person you've ever met in your life and every person they've ever met in their life just trying to find someone you trust to sit home with your sleeping kid for 2 hours before you decide to just stay home anyways, order a pizza and watch re-runs of Shark Week (great date!). Literally every thought you have will be followed by 40 more pros and cons. Remember when you didn't have kids and you just went and did stuff? Nope, me either.

Emotions. Everything is sentimental to you now. Every damn thing. That little newborn onesie at Target? Swoon and cry a little on the inside as you miss holding that tiny little babe sleeping on your chest. Charmin commercials? Don't even get me started. How much that little bear loves his mama bear and needs her help? Ugh, hand me a tissue please; I can't even. Kid tells you 'I love you'? Hey waterworks, missed you.

Food. You can now eat an entire meal that is steaming hot in approximately 35 seconds and not even get burnt. I don't know how, but I'm pretty sure it's a super power given to all mamas upon receipt of their firstborn. You will also notice you have this crazy talent to throw together a gourmet meal made entirely of cheese and crackers.

Sight. Your sight will significantly improve. You will be able to spot a piece of scotch tape on the ground from 200 yards away and think of all the horrible things that can happen if your child gets a hold of that. Brake lights 6 miles a head? Yep, you'll know about it. That guy sitting across the street from the park in his car? You don't even have to look - you know every time he picks his nose and changes the radio stations. Mama senses.

DGAF. For those of you not familiar, you will most certainly not give any fucks. Forget to put make up on? Whatever. Wore two different shoes to work? It's a new trend. Splattered milk on the backseat? It'll dry and crust off on it's own. Person glaring at you at the super market? That's cool. Baby pooped and no changing table in sight? Turns out the floor in the middle of this restaurant works just as well. And just when you think you might start to give a fuck, you will quickly realize that you most definitely, in no way shape or form, do not.

Bad-assery. This one is mostly for Hubs. You will find yourself becoming a complete and total bad ass as soon as you reach the DGAF status of parenthood. You will have no problem shoving children away from your child as you foresee danger approaching, you will yell at other children you have deemed rude or out of control that are within the vicinity of your child, and you will do whatever the hell you want with your kids, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Thought you were a bad ass before? No, you will reach an entirely new level of bad assery once you become a parent; your kid might not think so, but trust me, you are.

It can sound pretty overwhelming to experience all these new changes at once, but don't worry, they happen with time. Biology wants you to get used to the changes in your appetite, sex drive, sleep schedule and new body before it throws everything else at you, but over time you'll find that you are acquiring these new skills with little to no effort and that no matter how many times you forget to bring diapers with you or let your baby roll off the couch, you're still an awesome parent.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Why I Climb

It was the middle of the night; dark, quiet and still. I sat in the glider rocker in my living room holding P as she slept. Everything was so still. It felt like me, in this chair, in this room, in this house, were the only things that existed; everything outside these four walls wasn't there. And that was when, for the first time in my life, I felt completely and utterly alone.

It was in those late night hours when I felt like the only person on Earth that I scrounged the internet on my phone looking for answers, desperately searching for anyone that could relate to me to give me hope. It was in those hours that I stumbled upon an online support group where one particular post caught my eye: Event in your area - you are NOT alone!  An event? Near me? With other women who know how this feels? I HAVE TO GO!!!!

I needed to meet other women like me. I needed to be around other women who have felt how I had felt. I needed to know this could get better and that there was light, and I knew these women could provide me that. But more importantly than that, I needed to celebrate what I had gone through. I struggled and felt defeated, but I also clawed and fought for recovery. I deserved to feel liberated. I deserved to celebrate and to feel free of the shackles of depression. I deserved empowerment over mental illness and show that I will not lose. And at the same time, my baby and my amazing husband deserved a strong woman in their lives that wasn't ashamed of a dark season.

Life is a series of seasons, some better than others, but a season nonetheless. Times change, leaves fall, it gets hot and then cold, but we trudge through them because we are anxious to get to the next one. Mental illness is by far one of the darkest seasons we can endure, but the light of recovery shines over it and through it and leads to hope.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that we deserve to need this feeling of light over our darkest season. And when your season is over, celebrate it. Don't let it fall away and fade into a distant memory, but rather hold on to the knowledge that you fought the war and won. YOU did.

So to anyone out there right now, scrounging the internet late at night in hopes of finding someone, anyone, that can relate to you, I am here. And I am your post telling you that hey, guess what? There's an event near you where women and families will gather, will celebrate, and will lift you up to hope and recovery. They will remind you that you are not alone and will climb through the battle with you to your light. #climbout #whyiclimb

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Warrior Mama Out

So, here's the thing. People are motivating. They encourage you. They urge you to keep going and instill feelings of strength deep within you. People lay a thick layer of hope and belief in you that you might not have in yourself and they lift you up and liberate you to be this amazing person that they know you can be on the days when you don't think you can. But you know what? I'm tired.

Scratch that.

I'm exhausted. I cannot get up anymore. I feel defeated. And then there is this group of people standing in front of me yelling that they know I can do it, get up, keep going, you can do it!!

Well ya know what? I can't do it. And I don't think I should have to. I should not have to be a strong person all of the time. I want to inspire people. I want to lift others up when they feel down, but at the same time I want others to know it's okay that when you're down to not want to get back up. So here I am, telling you that it's okay. Stay down there a little longer. Take a nap. I am not going to force you to get back up before you're ready. Because I know firsthand that it is completely draining to keep getting up. Sometimes you need a minute.

I am giving you tired souls permission today to take all the minutes you need. Loathe in self pity for a few seconds, wish things were different, remember when things were easier and simpler and happier. Then, spend as much time as you need after that thinking of your next step, your game plan. But take your time. You do not need to figure things out right now. I am giving you permission to not give a damn today. Don't do the dishes. Let the laundry sit one more day. Stop texting people back. Do nothing. Self care does not need to be complicated. It does not need to be massages and girls nights and pedicures. Sometimes self care is just doing jack shit because it's the only way to remove yourself from how crazy things are getting around you. Sometimes self care is staying in the car just a few more minutes to jam out to your favorite song. Sometimes self care is a candy bar or non-diet soda. I'm not here to judge; do what you gotta do.

But I am TIRED ya'll! I need some self care. My knees are buckling and my back is breaking. I cannot be strong anymore today. I know warriors are suppose to be courageous and aggressive, who fight in battle and never give up, but hey, a warrior needs a day off here and there.

Today I am waving my white flag. I am putting down my shield. Warrior mama out.

Friday, May 13, 2016


I've been sitting here for awhile, writing and deleting this paragraph over and over, trying to think of something clever to say. I thought about describing how, like it is for everyone, some days are hard and some days are amazing. I thought about writing how thankful and blessed I am to have someone as supportive as Hubs in my life, who has literally gone through the ringer being my husband, but loves me just as much as the day he married me. Yep, I've been trying for hours to be witty and yet, this is the best I got.

What I really wanted to say with this post is easy: parenting a toddler is hard. Being a parent with anxiety to a toddler is super, super sucky.

Life is really busy right now. Between work, home life, summer plans and selling a home, there are some days I literally don't remember them happening at all because they went by so incredibly fast I didn't even realize it. There are entire conversations I don't remember having simply because I had too many of them that day. My mind is constantly thinking 479 things at the same time because I need to remember to buy diapers, cook dinner, meal plan, go to work, meet deadlines, pick up dog food, go to the gym, do the laundry, make the bed, text the realtor, approve showings....and the 479th thing I'm thinking is that I cannot ask anyone for help, including Hubs, because for some reason I need to do it all myself. Hubs is capable, willing and able, but Anxiety tells me I just need to do ALL THE THINGS and then get mad that I am doing ALL THE THINGS. And then Anxiety lies again by making me think I really am doing all the things, when really Hubs is taking on just as much, if not more, than myself.

And then life gets super, super busy. It gets so busy I forget to take my medication, and when that happens you better make sure you have a strong drink in front of you at all times because Mama Bear comes out with fists swinging (figuratively speaking). I thought back to last week and estimated that I roughly went four days in a row without taking my medication. A few side effects erupted from this, such as extreme irritability, overeating (awesome), inability to control my anger, and general lashing out at things completely out of my control.

Honestly, those side effects just sound like a bad day to the average person, but to a person with anxiety, it affects daily life and relationships. When the dogs whine, I scream at them. When the dishes and laundry are piled up, I cannot bring myself to take care of them even though I want to because it's too overwhelming. When P cries, I lose my shit. Like, storm out of the room type lose my shit. My anxiety level soars extremely high extremely fast when I cannot meet her needs or soothe her fast enough.

P is the victim of my irresponsibility. The thing is, is I don't want her to grow up with a mom who yells. I don't want her thinking I'm always mad at her, because I'm not. And I don't want Hubs to think all I do is yell at everyone in the house (which he does, but he forgives me and loves me anyways). It's not that I can't 'handle' things, it's that I struggle with just holding my shit together sometimes. My emotions are not directed at any particular person because of something they did, my emotions are spilled out at everything in front of me because I can be a forgetful person. No bueno.

So no, this post isn't going to be clever or witty, and there's no special lesson learned. It's a simple post. One to explain 1) toddlers are super whiny sometimes and there's nothing we can do about it, 2) parenting with anxiety makes just about every task more difficult, medicated or not, and 3) taking medication when you really need it is extremely important; it doesn't matter what other methods you use that you 'think' will cure you. #meditateonthis

So there it is. Honesty. An update on life as a working mommy to a toddler who just wants to not be such a basketcase all the time, but really can't help it. And a reminder to myself that I need to keep myself in check. P deserves the best mom, and Hubs deserves the best wife, and there is really no excuse for not delivering that.

(Note: If you are also struggling to remember to take medication, or need to keep your emotions in check, download the app called Start, currently only available in the Apple store.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016


I don't consider myself a particularly 'religious' person and tend not to talk about it often, if at all, but this Sunday was different. I sat in church this past Easter, as I'm sure many of us did, listening to the message of Christ dying for our sins, and rising from the tomb and the testimony from one couple of the congregation. They were an average couple whose testimony did not necessarily jump out at me, except for one sentence: We aren't sure why God gives us the trials to go through that he does, but we know we can get through them.

I thought about this a lot throughout the service as P kept wiggling around from seat to seat. I thought about the trial we had been through together and would be lying if I told you I still wish I knew why I was chosen to suffer from mental illness, why I didn't have the strength to get help sooner, why I feared fear so much, and most of all why my prayers weren't answered every night for weeks as I laid in bed begging God to fix whatever was wrong with me.

I think a big part of religion, Christianity, and having faith, is acceptance and forgiveness. I still carry a lot of guilt as a mom for those first few months of P's life. I struggle with forgiving myself and accepting the past is the past and I can't change it, that P is growing every day and now she's too big to cuddle with (mostly because she won't let me). Yes, I have missed out on those newborn times with her, the times when I could have spent an entire day just napping with her, holding her, admiring her little fingers and toes and watching her sleep (I do sneak into her room from time to time just to catch a glimpse). No, I can never get that time back with her. I can never experience the happiness and overwhelming feelings of love and amazement as my first baby is placed on my chest for the first time. I think about this a lot. Maybe more than I should.

We don't go to church every Sunday, or even every month, but I do expose P to religion and Christianity. She has her own Bible that we read from time to time, and she has been known to fold her hands for prayer before a Holiday meal. She has witnessed baptism, although there are no plans in the near future for her own. She has attended church and celebrated Christmas and Easter. Maybe she doesn't know what it all means quite yet, but I want her to know it's okay. Religion isn't meant to be something magical where you ask for something you want and receive instant gratification. I want P to grow up knowing that God is peace. Through God, you can find acceptance and forgiveness. You can find comfort in uncomfortable times and the strength to do things you never thought you could. God will not cure you. God will not change the circumstances of your life or the people in it, but what He can do is give you the tools you need to survive this season.

The thing with trials is they are lengthy. Hello, they are trying. They are not easy. They come with ups and downs, setbacks and strides, and they come with no end date. And after the trial is through there is still the processing period. Processing what happened and why and learning to adjust back to normal life. I would like to think my trial is over and I have moved into the processing stage. I am still working towards accepting my past and forgiving myself for something I had no control over. Things happen, and as much as I would like to, I cannot change that.

“When you look at the past without God’s eyes, you subject yourself to deception. The past no longer exists and God doesn’t linger there. However, Satan will show you whatever you want to see and believe, so you will be trapped in an emotion that cannot communicate truth, beyond what you want to remember.” - Shannon L. Alder

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Finding Peace

I remember shortly after P was born, in the midst of my struggle, my own mother telling me, "She's too little to give right now; all she can do is take." And in those first few months my mom would tell me this and I would roll my eyes because how stupid, but over the last year I have found myself saying this over and over.

{don't you just hate it when your mom is right? She really is, like, all the damn time}

So I waited for P to grow up and I wished the days away (no, I do not regret that) and wanted her to be older so she could hug me and miss me and appreciate me and give. And a few weeks ago the clouds broke and my little girl grew up. I asked her for a hug, and wouldn't you know she actually gave me one! Then she started blowing kisses. And now, she leans forward for me to kiss her tiny little forehead. I could hug that girl forever, except after about two seconds the hug is over and she pushes me away and starts pointing at a piece of lint on the floor and reaches out for that instead of me, but as soon as I ask her for a hug again, she willingly gives one.

Were the horrible days of wanting nothing to do with my baby worth it to get to this place of appreciation and love? Probably. Would I want to go through it again? Hell no.

But what I have learned is that in our short lived hugs together there is peace. When I sit with her on the floor and she builds her block towers and squeals and points for me to see it, there is peace. When she lays still in her crib while I tuck her in at night, there is peace. When we're driving home from a fun filled weekend at Nana and Papa's house and she's sleeping in the backseat, there is peace.

These moments do not happen multiple times a day. Some days are filled with cries and tantrums and her attempting to throw a toy at me because I told her no or won't let her eat my shoe, and some days are filled with boredom when she has no interest in her toys and relies solely on me or Hubs to help her climb to dangerous heights on furniture (no dear child, no). Some days are harder than others. Some days I need to walk away from her and just have a moment to myself. Some days I wish she would just watch TV and give me a break for an hour or two (too young?). Some days I get frustrated. Some (most) days I make Hubs do most of the dirty work (literally, because some of those diapers I just can't even). Some days go too slow and I count the minutes until bedtime. And some days I never want to end because I can't believe how amazing this is and I fear tomorrow will be a poop-filled, crying over my dirty shoes kind of day that I won't be able to handle.

I take those moments of peace I have with P and I tuck them away for when days like that happen. I keep them close to me for when I'm having a bad day. I remember them when I'm struggling. When P was born, she was only able to take, but I was too sick to give. I'll spend forever trying to make that time up to her and to myself, but I will find peace in knowing that I am well enough to give now, and on the days when she can't that I am more than happy for her to take.

Monday, February 8, 2016

When You Lose the Battle

I was standing by the kitchen sink. Hubs was standing next to me telling me about his day, when our two dogs entered the kitchen. And that's when it happened. My blood pressure sky rocketed, my mind went blank and I could no longer hear what Hubs was saying. I lost it. I began screaming at the dogs to get out of the kitchen, get out of my way, get out of my life, they were ruining everything and always in the way and couldn't I just please get a moment to myself for ONCE! The dogs ran away, clearly in fear. 'Why are you yelling?' Hubs stopped telling his story. Because they're always in my way and I'm sick of it! I lied. The real reason?

I didn't know.

I had no idea why I irrationally flew off the handle, flew into a rage and screamed. And that wasn't the first time, nor was it the last. Yelling was normal in our house now. I yelled (yell) constantly. At everything. At the dishes, at the laundry, at the dogs, at the weather, at the bathroom sink, at the water in the tub, the food on the floor, the dogs not eating when I wanted them name it, I found a reason to be mad about it.

But it wasn't just the anger. I distanced myself from others and didn't open up much about what I was really going through. I went through the motions, but the real stuff stayed in. The stuff I wanted to say and ask and find opinions on what my friends thought was going on, but I couldn't. I wanted to know if it was normal to follow your baby around when they played and put their toys away behind them, or to constantly feel the need to be cleaning something up, to get mad when dishes weren't washed right away or put in the dishwasher, to feel utterly irked by the fact that melted snow made a tiny puddle by the door. Is it normal to be completely annoyed by a puppy wanting to cuddle with you? Was it okay that I didn't want anyone or anything touching me, unless it was P giving me a hug or sitting on my lap? Was that alright? Is it normal to go on a weekend getaway to the lake, but constantly feel the need to be cleaning something or moving? To wipe down restaurant tables after eating and tidy up? Are these just normal 'mom' things?

I honestly felt that these little quarks, these feelings, these worries and annoyances, were normal to mtoherhood.

The first time I became of how out of control I had become was when P started to fear me. I had yelled at the dogs for something or another and P started to cry. I hadn't yelled at her, she had done nothing wrong, but she felt like she had. She sat on the dining floor crying, refusing to reach her arms out to me when I tried to pick her up to comfort her. And that's when I knew. I was causing fear in my own child of me, the person that she's suppose to be able to count on, to feel safe and comforted by, to receive love from. This wasn't an end all that made me see the error of my ways. This same scenario played out multiple times and eventually P cried almost every time we were alone together. I told myself it was just a phase, but deep down I knew it was because she was afraid of my temper.

It was February 3rd, 2015 when I was first diagnosed with postpartum depression and it was August 4, 2015 when I deemed myself well enough to stop taking medication. But sometime after that things blurred. My recovery turned into anxiety and my anxiety turned into anger, an anger I couldn't control. I pushed it away and thought if I ignored it that it would fix itself. I was afraid of relapse. I was afraid of old feelings. I was afraid of letting everyone down around me that I wasn't better. I preach to women on a daily basis that they are warriors, that there is no shame in seeking help and that the sooner they get that help the sooner they would feel better. But I couldn't take my own advice. It was too hard to accept that I wasn't over this.

When I started this blog, it was mostly to help my recovery. Writing has always been an outlet for me and I thought if I could write my entire life about everything and get through it, then I can write my way through this too. Over time, my outlet turned towards a bigger cause: helping others. I wanted to be honest, even if it was embarrassing or intrusive, because I wanted other women, and society, to see the truth in PPD. So here I am again, being honest, being open and letting everyone intrude themselves into my life. I am not better. I still struggle. I find it hard to ask for help and accept when I need it. I struggled for months before giving in.

It was February 8, 2016 when I was diagnosed with postpartum anxiety and my recovery has no set end date. I won't stop fighting for this. I may have lost this battle, but I am determined to win the war.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Silent Struggle

Ah, Wednesday. The week is half over and the weekend is almost here - wahoo!


I love work. I love getting up early, getting ready, going to work and sitting there all day, going home, playing with my baby and making her dinner and putting her to bed, then relaxing on the couch with Hubs and our furbabies. And five days of the week that is our routine. The other two days? They can be painful.

I try to stay busy on weekends. I try to leave town or make a list of errands to run to get out of the house. I need plans. What happens if I don't have a plan? Panic. Anxiety. Not because I'm Type A, but because PPD. Weekends, when nothing is happening and no one is around, are when small glimpses of maternity leave seem to creep their way back into our living room. And what happens when those memories come back to the surface? Panic. Anxiety. No, I don't burst into tears and have full blown breakdowns like before, but the anxiety stays and rises. I worry. Inside, I'm freaking out.

I spend my week brainstorming ways to leave the house on weekends. I wish I could be at work every day. Understand it's not because I don't want to be around P, because I do. I love hanging out with her and cuddling her and taking her places and watching how excited she gets when she sees something for the first time, and for that reason I cannot stand being home with her. When you're pregnant, it sounds relaxing. Baby gets older and starts to play independently while you sit on the couch and watch in awe, sipping a cup of coffee and flipping through a magazine. Maybe you imagined yourself watching a movie, or painting your nails or organizing your kitchen cupboards. Fat chance, and good luck. Once baby is here and playing independently your days (or atleast, mine) are spent chasing them around the house, putting tupperware back in cupboards, pulling them away from the dog dish, making snacks, putting down for naps, changing poopy diapers (seriously, how much can one small person poop in a day?), reading the same book 17 times, scolding them to get out of the garbage can, attempting to do the dishes only to wash one before said small person poops again.....the days can be busy. They are busy. But they can be painful and lonely. In between chasing a toddler around, there is down time, when you sit on the couch and watch them play with blocks (for about three minutes) when you don't know what to do. And those moments are frequent throughout the day. The moments come and go of being busy and moving and being productive and moments of being still and silent and panic filled.

Where does the panic come from? There is no harm in simply staying home and just not doing anything, you crazy lady. You're right. There isn't. But somehow, staying home with P and simply 'watching her' for 12 hours straight has the power to bring me to the brink of insanity. And don't think these moments are better because Hubs is there. He is. But the anxiety still happens. The anxiety does not stem from loneliness, but from the mere memories that tend to surface when I am stuck inside my home for an entire day.

There is a silent struggle. Not every day poses challenges, but each week does. I don't know if it will get easier. I don't know if it will get worse. But PPD took 9 long months to build and take over every minute of my life, and 'getting over' it I suspect is going to take many, many long months.

What I do know is that as long as I'm out, busy, experiencing, doing, everything is okay. And if the worst thing that happens is that I get a few more things on my to do list done, or experience a few extra things with my daughter, then I guess it's not so bad.