On my favorite message board today, I had a bit of awakening. I was telling them about my evil evilness and despair crap that’s been going on as of late and one of them suggested that what I am actually dealing with is postpartum depression (PPD). I was quick to assure her that my feelings are not that of weepy sadness and drowning my kids, no. I just wanted to throw things at my husband for no apparent reason, have been irrationally angry in general and well, am basically a loose canon. So another mama posted this list which asked you to take a moment and ask if you are:
- sad, irritable, angry, frustrated? All but sad (OK, sometimes a little sad).
- feeling like you are a terrible mother? Sometimes it seems the only possible conclusion.
- guilt, not feeling worthy? All the time.
- trouble sleeping, always exhausted? I’ve been awake more times at night than the baby is; so yeah, that would be a yes.
- thinking there is no light at the end of the tunnel? Oh, I know it’s there, it’s just so tiny and far away and I clearly didn't wear the right shoes.
- an extreme change in weight, or loss of appetite? I’m not actually feeding myself so well these days. I know I am hungry, but it’s just too much bother to make something.
- you can't concentrate or remember things? I’m sorry, what did you just say?
- constantly worrying about things? Yep.
- you burst out crying for no apparent reason? No, but only because I am clinging onto that thread for dear life. My throat is almost raw from the pressure of holding it back.
- anxiety? Yep.
- do not want to talk or be with friends and family? A dark, quiet room with a stack of books sounds so inviting… especially if there is a nice blankie.
- your baby does not make you feel happy? Nope, my baby makes me whole. My toddler on the other hand…
- blaming your baby for your feelings? No.
- wanting to hurt yourself or your baby? Absolutely not.
Hmmm… that’s an awful lot of affirmatives. So, I emailed my fabulous midwife and will go be a good girl and talk to her. I don’t know what she (or anyone, really) can do for me, but I am obeying my message board friends, Daphne (thanks for the chat tonight, girl, I totally needed it) and everyone else and I am opening my mouth. And you know what? Everything I write, every call I get, every time I think, “this may all be explainable” I feel like the stone on my back gets chipped a little lighter. I’ve been through this once before and I did it alone and silent last times. How much better will it be to do it within the company and support of friends? And while I am struggling with the feeling of utter and complete embarrassment that there could be something “wrong” with me, I’d rather have it be something that millions of women deal with and overcome rather than something millions of schizophrenics are medicated for everyday. Besides, a thing looses so much power over you when you put a name to it.
And really, if I know I am in the company of mothers, I know I cannot fall to far; not without strong and caring hands to pull me back.