Thursday, June 29, 2017

postpartum depression: an ugly peek inside my brain

I have had a handful of women thank / commend me for my transparency about my postpartum depression. When they reached out to me, though, I felt a little guilty because I haven't been 100% transparent about the thoughts that I was having or what led me to where I am now. I can't speak to others' experience, but this is what postpartum depression looks like for me. Let me tell you right now: I felt like a total monster. The reason I want to share this is to give a glimpse into what postpartum depression can do to a person. If you have any thoughts like what I share below, please seek help. I know how awful these thoughts make you feel; you don't need to suffer. With medication and a great therapist you can get better.

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One friend was impressed by how self aware I was that I knew to get help right away. There are two factors to this. First, I suffered from depression as a teenager, which is what threw up the first red flag; when I am depressed, all I want to do is sleep. The second is that I literally went from being a functional person with pretty normal thoughts on a Friday to wanting to drive off a bridge Saturday.

As for my thoughts, here are some of the big ones:
-I did not want to be alive anymore because I was so miserable, both physically and mentally. The only thing keeping me from planning my suicide was the knowledge that Jon wouldn't get any life insurance money and therefore he (and the kids) would have a lifetime of struggle. What scared me the most was the thought of the kids growing up without me--a thought that wrecks me when I'm healthy--didn't even register. I was totally unphased by the notion. The last two days I had work before I took time off, I prayed my entire commute that a semi would hit my car so I could stop suffering and Jon could be set financially. This was why I was so fearful my OB would send me straight to the hospital to be admitted--because even though the life insurance thing was a good enough reason not to do anything that day, who's to say it would be enough of a reason the next?
-Normally the kids cuddle with me in the morning for a few minutes before we start our day. At my worst, I wanted nothing to do with that part of our routine. I just wanted to be alone. This was when I felt the most like a monster.
-I genuinely believed I would never be 'me' again. The overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and darkness of that belief is one I will never be able to adequately convey. It was the worst feeling I've ever felt.
-For lack of a better term, the first few days after I restarted my antidepressant, I had moments of lucidity where I felt totally normal. However, as the medication would wear off I could physically feel the anxiety building up within me. The lucidity and the anxiety came in waves and I never knew what I would be feeling at any given moment.
-The bigness of the rest of my life was the biggest source of my anxiety. The notion of having to work every day for the next 40-odd years, child rearing (plus a lifetime of worrying about the kids) the next 18 years, debt the next 28 years... cue panic attack. As soon as I would redirect my thought away from that, something else would pop into my head and overwhelm me. It was crippling. That's a big part of why I slept so much - I was wholly exhausted.

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I'm a little bit nervous to hit publish on this post. I know I need to lay it all out there because if it helps one mom know she isn't alone and she doesn't have to suffer anymore, my concerns about others' perceptions of me mean nothing. Before this experience, I never could fathom how a mother suffering PPD could take her life--not from a place of judgment, but because I had never experienced it before and I truly just couldn't understand. Now that I've been in that place, I totally get it. Please don't suffer in silence. Reach out to someone, get help. You can come back from this with the right support and resources.

Linking up with AnnieNatalie, and Julie.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this! Your honesty is beautiful. After suffering through a bought of PPD myself after the birth of my son, I feel it is a conversation that needs to be had! You are an inspiration!

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    1. Ugh I'm so sorry you dealt with this, too! It is so hard but more common than I think people realize. So glad you're on the other side of it! ❤️

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