Thursday, July 31, 2014

Coming out of the dark

My last blog caused quite a stir among friends and family members.  While I always post in hopes people will read, I never intended to cause anyone to be concerned or to seek out extra attention or to create drama.  But I am glad that I did cause the concern because it allowed me to truly reflect on the way I had been feeling and to realize that what I was experiencing was Postpartum Depression.  While the most severe cases of PPD involve women having suicidal thoughts and neglecting their babies, my case was much less severe than that.

Being aware of my feelings helped me to find freedom in admitting that I did have a problem.  It wasn't "normal" and it wasn't something that felt like it was going to go away.  It was looming over me on a daily basis, haunting me at just the slightest touch of happiness I would feel, and threatening to affect my ability to take care of my baby.  I would sit on the couch in the living room and have a conversation with my husband about everyday topics and just find myself in tears for absolutely no reason at all.  I would lie in bed at night and cry, asking Shane, "What is WRONG with me???"

I became obsessed with sleep.  I couldn't sleep, so all I did was think about it.  I would lie in bed and literally just pray over and over, "Please Lord, help me to sleep."  And I didn't!  So I grew more and more bitter and angry that I still wasn't sleeping, despite my prayers that I would.  I started feeling ill due to lack of sleep and had trouble functioning throughout the day.  I wasn't eating much ecause I rarely felt hungry.

It was then that I knew I needed help.  Luckily my 6-week post-delivery check-up was scheduled already so I was able to talk to the doctor about everything that had been going on.  She did not hesitate in putting me on medication.  I have been taking it for just at a week now, along with some natural herb tablets that are for emotional well-being.  And I feel like a new person.  Literally.

I can get through a whole day without crying or without even wanting to cry.  I can feed my baby and talk to him and sing to him without bursting into tears.  I can lay in bed and relax and not worry about the fact that I may have trouble falling asleep from time to time.  My mindset is literally altered now.  It's not perfect and it's not always optimistic, but I don't have the fears and worries I had a week ago.  I'm not constantly afraid anymore.

Speaking of optimism, I think one of the hardest things about going through all of this has probably been dealing with the many people in my life who are extreme optimists.  I know that sounds harsh--it isn't meant to sound harsh at all.  I know these people love me and want the best for me.  But sometimes I feel like an eternal optimist, in their pep talks and attempts to appease my emotions, are more condescending than anything else.  It's almost like they're saying it's silly for me to feel this way or that way.  I often feel judged for the way I feel and think.  Unfortunately because so many moms adjust to motherhood beautifully, I am thrown into the group that didn't adjust and, therefore, am probably viewed as weak to many.  I know I just have one kid and I know there are so many who have it WAY harder, but for me to say that things are hard isn't wrong.  And I have finally come to a place where I don't really care anymore about people who think it's wrong/weird/dramatic/over-sensitive for me to have felt the way I felt.

All that to say, I am extremely happy to say that I finally have found a way to cope with everything that has come to pass in these last 2 months.  I've always been overwhelmed with love for my baby, but now I can truly find happiness in that love and find a way to smile and laugh instead of cry.  I can accept the bad days and know that I will have them.  I can also find comfort in knowing that so many others are in my same boat.  I can thank God for all the support and help I have and continue to have.

I can find my way out of the dark.

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