Monday, March 15, 2010

When Enough is Enough: Post-Partum Depression

This weekend was rough, no two ways about it. While we all eagerly awaited the arrival of The Husband from "The Business Trip That Would Not End," I decided in my desperation to leave the house, and my bull-headed determination to attend the HUGE children's consignment sale I had had on my calendar for months, to load up the kiddos and bring them with me into bargain hunting mayhem. I felt wildly guilty bringing them, felt the sanction of the other veterans there for even thinking of it, much less attempting it. I mean "what kind of woman brings a 3 year old boy and a 6 month old infant to a cramped, slightly avaricious exercise in economy?"

A desperate woman, that's who.

I already felt like a crappy mother for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was subjecting my sweet Big Kidlet who just wanted to go and see the promised horses (conveniently nearby at the fairgrounds) to the melee, when the woman at the checkout (who wasn't even my appointed cashier by the way) with the ROCK that said "I don't need to bargain shop, I just volunteer for all the poor souls that do," didn't need to speculate aloud, "that baby's (the one I was carrying all snuggly warm against me) head looks cold." I was a bit aghast, so I made her repeat it, feigning not understanding what she had said. Um no lady, he is just fine thanks. It was her entree into expressing her derision. I shut her down. I will confess I worked the "poor dear obviously must be a rookie" assumption to allow myself to score getting my stroller to seat my rambunctious, but really doing pretty awesome considering, 3 year old while waiting in the line. (Strollers are a no-no due to the space constrictions, although the veterans get around that by buying a stroller for sale inside.)

What was I thinking? Clearly I was out of my mind you are saying?

You would be correct.

Over the last month or more of super charged emotionalism (more than usual), over the top hypersensitivity (view some of my recent posts on friendship struggles), and misconstruing each time my son declared in all his toddler asserting-independent-control glory, "Mommy go away, I want Daddy!" as a clear sign of rejection that would land him in juvenile hall down the line for having such an abject failure for a mother, I thought this is not normal. You think?! I am given to a certain degree of, um, shall we say "dramatics," but this was topping all previous benchmarks for absurdity.

And it was rapidly getting worse. Bella Swan in Twilight tells the morose hero Edward, "Your mood swings are kind of giving me whiplash." My mood swings were heading towards a crash that could possibly do a little more physical damage.

It was in the shower, when my son was throwing an epic fit because I was the one showering with him and not his (much missed and recently home) dad, that I had a breaking point. And the hell was further scared out of me when the voices and images in my head started to get, well scary. That was when in yet another irrational crying jag that I pulled myself up short and really let myself acknowledge that post-partum depression had returned, and stronger than after the birth of my first son.

So I got proactive, because I love these little boys and my husband and I never want them to have to live in the aftermath of something like I witnessed after a friend suddenly and inexplicably took her own life violently earlier last year, leaving two young children under five.

Gratefully, also over the last few days God has made sure that little beacons have been placed in my path. People whom I read regularly, who have never previously written about ppd, posted on the subject, emails appeared in my inbox on the subject. That alone gives me the resolve to rise and meet this latest struggle with the pernicious "D." Hopefully, I do that for someone else as well. A resource that I'm finding helpful: When I want to figure something out, the nerd takes full control.

The first step is I told people I trusted that I am not o.k. From there I am grabbing on to the rope they have thrown to me, and my own resolve and moxie, and I'm grabbing and pulling myself forward, one step at a time.

Another step...sleep.

Photo by wonderbjerg

This has been an anthem of sorts at periods like this over the years. Just ignore the bad 90s pop fact you know just close your eyes and listen. :)

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