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.

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