Getting there

Well, I guess it’s time to get this out.  I’m finding that by keeping this to myself I can’t write about anything, it’s a lump in my throat.  Not sharing it is making me a farce, a liar and I dont want to be either of those things to you.

I’ve been lying for a long time, probably as far back as when Nate was 7 weeks old and this happened.  It hasnt been intentional, I knew something was off but I couldnt place it.  I even once said I was on the other side and was so sure that I had made it out.  I had so many excuses and names for it.  Not sleeping, missing work, having a hard time adjusting to my new life, getting bored, getting restless, being fat, weaning, my period coming back, going back on the pill.  You name it I could use it as an excuse. 

Over the past few months it’s been more and more clear to me that I am not well.  That I keep filling my days with projects and keeping Nate busy and educated and all the while feeling empty and haunted.  Never really me.  Going through the motions, and usually failing miserably.  I’ve been irrational and snappy, completely aware of the hurtful things flying out of my mouth and not at all able to stop them.  Like a snarky run away train.  I am always exhausted despite getting a full 8+ hours per night for over a year, exercising, taking my vitamins, etc.  It seemed that no matter how hard I tried to force the band-aid to stick, it kept giving up on me.  

And then someone on-line started talking and I started listening, I had a few really hard conversations with Mike and a girlfriend and it took me two weeks to call and make an appointment with my Midwife.  “I’m pretty sure I have some sort of pp anxiety issue and probably PPD, too.”   This was by far the hardest sentence I’ve ever spoken in my entire life. Ever.

See, my mom told me this would happen to me.  “I’m watching you, you wont be able to do this on your own.”   I was pissed, I was about half way through my pregnancy, who the hell is she to tell me I’m not strong enough!  I decided right then she was wrong, of course I am strong enough. 

In those two weeks of knowing enough was enough that conversation came to me and I knew in that moment why I had chosen to suffer silently for 23 months. TWENTY-THREE, one month shy of 2 years.  That is not a short time to beat  yourself up over every damn move you make, feeling inadequate and like a failure to your husband and your child and me, too.  I was failing myself.  I feel like I have no coping skills.  Everyone who has a kid goes through this exact string of events but if my dog barks at me at a time that is not designated to poop or eat it have to stop myself kicking him in the face.  I feel like I want to run away from home, all the time.  No matter how hard or easy the day, I always feel like Im no the verge of a massive breakdown and cannot possibly take it for one more minute.   Yet Im “there” enough to know that this is absurd.  My life is what I want it to be, I have no stress, an amazing husband and a really great kid so WTF is my problem

I can’t tell you how exhausting it is to be “okay” all the time.  To put on the fake mask and pretend that you havent put on weight and that all is well in your little protected SAH bubble.   And, it feels like that in it self was a farce too because everything really is great, everything but me.  Another lightbulb went off in the car on our vacation when I cried all the way home from the grocery store and then several times in front of people and I wondered if they knew.   Everyday I would have a pep talk with myself to keep it together Christina!  They will know something is wrong with you if you lose it one more time. SUCK IT UP!

My problem is just as I feared,  generalized anxiety and depression.  Internet, you have no idea how sick I feel to admit this to you.  And why?  This diagnosis is not shameful.  If my friend were feeling out of sorts in any way at all I would be and have been her biggest cheerleader.  Get Help!  There Is No Shame!  Take care of yourself!  And what do I do?   Well, ignore my own advice, of course.  I am mortified, full of shame, of regret and of relief. 

Relief.  I saw my Midwife last week and she made it all better.  I am normal, this is normal and we can fix it!  I’m not some spoiled brat that cant cope and gets restless when she doesnt have a room to decorate.  I am a woman who gave birth and my hormones took me for a ride.  I am not damaged goods, I can and will get better.   

I was letting myself be taken by the ride.  I kept trying to fix it myself as the roller coaster would go up and back down, always back down.  I’d try and try and fail.  I couldnt fix it.  I would wonder why is this taking so long?  Shouldnt it be over by now, my god he’s almost two.    The thing is when you’re actually sick the self help stuff only helps so much. 

I’ve been taking an antidepressant/anti anxiety for 6 days now.   Just 6 days and I’m feeling a little better already.   I suffered for 23 months for what could have been helped in SIXDAYS!   And why?  Because I was ashamed. 

I won’t beat myself up over time I wasted because I was doing my best during every day of those months.   For whatever reason I needed to try on my own for a long time before I could admit defeat.   But, in the end (and oh god let this be the end) I did ask for the help and it was as hard as I was afraid it would be. Saying the way I feel out loud in complete sentences under flourcent lights was painful. It was painful in a way that I knew it was going to be hard to admit it but that if I could string my sentences together in a coherent way through the tears that maybe that would be the last day I would have to feel it.  So I did it, I admitted to all of it.  It took me a few days to come down from the anxiety heldover from that appointment but I am feeling a little better.   I’m not there yet but this is as close to fine as I’ve been in a really long time.   And my god, it’s about damn time.

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16 thoughts on “Getting there

  1. Let me be the first to say: I am proud of you.

    You were my inspiration when I was pregnant with Tony; you handled Nate’s birth with such class and love and strength, and I’ve LOVED reading about you becoming a mother.

    But I saw the pattern that I saw in my own life. I used to say I was numb. Good days weren’t GOOD; they merely sucked LESS.

    I’m glad you’re better. Seriously. You’ll see a world of difference. If you need to talk, I’m here. I know we all say that to eachother, but again.. you’re my inspiration, and I won’t let her suffer. 🙂

  2. I am glad you finally figured it out! Reading you and Bessie Viola go through this has been eye opening. I was blessed to not have to face it, but I know there are a lot of women out there who have faced it – either head on or in secret. It is like miscarriages – something we try to hide, but when we tell our stories it helps other women deal with what they may face in the future.

  3. Christina….bless your little heart. Im so glad that you called your midwife. It’s not only great for you, but Mike and Nate will reep the benefits of your decision. I understand your need to try and fight it yourself especially after your mom’s comments, but sometimes you just need help.

    I would cry and cry even though my life was great. I had two healthy girls a great husband and the life I thought I wanted and that my girls needed, but my hormones had a different idea. I noticed the difference within three days after I started my meds. The sun came out, the birds started singing, flowers started bluming…and I didnt mind getting out of bed. Lee was so worried about me….so this was great for him too.

    Im so glad that you feel better.

  4. I’m happy for you that you were brave, and went to the midwife, and found a solution that works for you. You deserve to feel better, no matter what comments your mom or anyone else has made.
    Also, I want to say that you shouldn’t be ashamed and you definitely shouldn’t feel alone. I bet quite a few of your friends have felt this way, even if they don’t talk about it.
    *Hugs* and I hope things only continue to get better. 🙂

  5. I’m so happy you shared this with us. I have suffered some pretty heinous bouts of depression myself and I know how hard it is to take that first step to getting help. Kudos to you for that! It sounds like you’re heading in the right direction- just hang in there!

    We’re all here rooting you on. 🙂

  6. I’m applauding you, Christina. I’m right there with you, cheering you on. You are so strong: for making it through this, for taking the action to get help, to keep moving forward each day. I’m so proud of you, and so happy that you’re feeling better. I feel lucky to know you – you’re doing so great! Keep it up, and you know I’m always here.

    (and what your mom said? My sisters-in-law both said about me. Not to my face, but to my husband. So I get trying to “prove them wrong.”)

  7. so glad you are able to talk about this and have taken the steps to start feeling better! you are a beautiful person and you deserve to be happy every day of your life.

    i’ve never had post-partum anything, as i don’t have kids, but i do have chronic depression and so much of what you said rings true no matter what the cause of the depression. hope the meds continue to bring you relief. i’m here if you ever need or want to chat or vent.

  8. You are amazing, and strong, and beautiful – and only more of all of those things because of what you’ve been through. You are incredible. And an inspiring. I’m proud to know you. I wish I could be more like you. And thanks.

  9. You are a champion among women – this was a beautiful and brave post. It’s unreal the amount of pressure we have as moms – as women- isn’t it? You feel almost like you’re not allowed to be sad or admit that you’re having trouble, but we’re human. You have certainly helped me several times when I called to find out what you had done with Nate, because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get through whatever problem I was having with Claire. You always made me feel better and reassured that I wasn’t the only one whose kid couldn’t sleep when they were having a growth spurt and that, yes, they do eventually sleep longer than an hour at a time. I’m so sorry you’ve been sick and I wish you all the best in your recovery!

  10. I do not have children yet (my husband and I are thinking of trying in the next year or so), but I still thought your entry was so honest and inspiring and brave. I’ve read your posts for about half an hour now, and I’m touched at what a wonderful mother you are. Good for you for being so honest!

  11. I agree with everyone else, Christina – you are so brave to get yourself the help you need and to share this with all of us! My heart breaks a little when I think about how sad and alone you must have been feeling all these months. You are worth taking care of! You are just as special as Nate and Mike and deserve to have a happy life!

    I hope things only get better for you.

  12. I’m giving you lots of mental hugs! I just finished reading “Motherless Mothers” which discusses some of the unique anxieties & PPD of mothers who lost their mothers at a young age. While your circumstance is different — the similarity is how women effected by anxiety and PPD don’t see it, sometimes until it is too late. I am SO PROUD of you. I am obviously not a mental health expert, but I’ve worked with a number of experts. What I’ve learned is that we always need to keep our mental health in check — it is when we think we’ve completely licked something that we are most suceptible to relapse. I hope you always know that asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but of strength. I love you!

  13. This was such a brave and honest post. I am so glad for you that you’re already feeling better (just 6 days!) and hope that things will continue looking up. We’re all here for you. 🙂

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