I am about to get really raw with you. Really honest.
I am sick. I cry a lot. I have guilt. I feel worthless. I feel detached from my body. No one understands it. I hear a lot of “You have beautiful kids so why are you so sad?”. I don’t have an answer for that. Right now I am almost 9 months postpartum & I am still on the bottom. I wait for it all to end every day.
My postpartum depression (PPD) started when I went back to work when Elliot was 6 wks. There was the usual mom-guilt there regarding me working & having a new baby, but I was anxious about getting back to work. Out of nowhere, I had no control over my thoughts. It literally happened over night. My mind was spinning out of control. “My kids deserve better. My husband deserves better” over & over & over. My panic attacks started around this time, also. I would vomit off & on all day. I couldn’t think straight. I hit rock bottom at 4:30 am on a Friday morning in July. I drove myself to the ER & begged them to keep me. I could hardly tell the Dr my name. I was sent home with a script for Ativan & was told to try to rest. I stayed up for 2 more days. Things have not been right since.
The on-set of PPD brought on a whole new part of anxiety that I have never had to deal with before: health anxiety, or more commonly known as Hypochondria. Since July
I have had breast cancer, kidney infections, ovarian cancer, liver cancer, thyroid cancer, colon cancer, IBS, gall bladder problems, brain bleeding, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, & tumors on my spine. I have had to pay over $2,000 out of pocket to be told over & over again that I have none of those things. My PPD has gotten so bad that I become OBSESSED with my health. I carried a thermometer with me to work, & would check my temp on & off throughout the day. I was calling my Dr’s every other day. I was in the ER so much I literally knew all of the nurses names. That’s not even the worst of it.
PPD has caused a strain on my marriage. It has taken time from my children that I won’t get back. The reason I am so worried about my health is because of my kids & my fear of leaving them. Yet, there have been days where I would be locked in the bathroom crying because I was “dying”. I have prayed on my knees for this burden to be lifted from me. For me to get back to ME. PPD if not taken care of, can be a monster. The guilt & feelings of despair are things I wish on no woman. I am Mom. These are my kids. This is my husband. WHY AM I LIKE THIS? I can’t tell you how many times I have wondered that.
I have been in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) for 3 months. I am on medicine, as well. I see my therapist once a week & I have no shame about any of this. If that is what I have to do to get myself back, then so be it. It hasn’t been easy. When you are depressed, you are sick. You are sad. You feel physically ill. You want to isolate & shut the world out. That wouldn’t be fair to my children. They need me. They deserve a mom who is attentive. I deserve to be happy again.
I don’t know if my PPD will ever totally do away or if this is something I will have to work on for the rest of my life. PPD isn’t something that is talked about very often. If you aren’t experiencing it, it’s hard to understand. I am glad that I have the support that I do. Being honest with my husband was the first step. There was no way I could cover how I feel up. Suffering in silence isn’t what would make me feel better. Talking about it, reaching out, & seeking help have made all the difference.
I am confident that slowly this darkness that I feel is following me will lift. I have good days & bad days. I want so desperately to be well again, but that will take work & time. Life will continue & my kids will keep growing. I don’t want to miss out on any of that.