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.