Time for Some Real Talk.

Some of the bigger posts on this blog have been a result of me experiencing something while I was pregnant or postpartum that I wished I had known more about before it happened. I usually felt like some of the harder or less pleasant experiences would have been made a little bit easier if I felt I had someone that could relate, or if I had more of an idea of what to expect. So, here we are again. I’d like to share the reason for my over one month long absence from writing.

 

Postpartum depression was not something that I realized could set in once you hit a certain point in your postpartum timeline. I don’t know what that point was, in my mind. But I felt like I had gotten far past it and was all in the clear. February was one of the best months I have had since August was born. I felt like I really knew my baby and that I had a pretty good handle on how to deal with the day-to-day of being a stay at home mom. I was also ON POINT with my diet and exercise. I was being active most nights a week and paying attention to what I was eating. I was seeing the results on the scale, in my clothes, and in my energy and strength levels. I felt productive, I felt accomplished, I felt confident, and I felt happy. February was fantastic.

 

Not far into March, all of this stopped. I stopped exercising, without much of a reason why. I stopped paying much attention to what I was eating. My sleep habits became very disrupted. I was waking up several times a night, worrying about things that 100% did not matter. Then I stopped doing the little things. I wasn’t making it out of the house very often. I was canceling plans and blaming a pretend stomach bug or headache or imaginary crazy day with an imaginary difficult baby. I started giving those same excuses to Adam when he would come home from work and I hadn’t changed out of my pajamas or brushed my teeth. I kept telling myself that it was my ADD, that I hadn’t been back on my medication since August was born and of course I was being lazy. It was just my inability to focus. But then the crying started.

 

There was a lot of crying. I would spend most of the day with a tight, anxious feeling in my chest. I was experiencing this bottomless sadness that would cause me to sob worse than I had in years. It was the kind of crying I had only experienced when a loved one died. And it would go on for hours. During all of this, I kept being afraid that I was going to have some kind of negative effect on August. I felt like it was inevitable that he was going to absorb some of this sadness. But at my worst, he would sit in my lap, smile at me, and hold his hand up at my face. And then I would cry harder, because this happy moment wasn’t giving me even a spark of happy feelings. I kept recognizing that I was experiencing happy things, but they weren’t giving me a happy feeling, or really any feeling at all. It became really difficult just to force the muscles in my face to smile back at my baby. I have never, in my entire life, felt such a flat, empty darkness.

 

My brain felt like it stopped functioning properly. Presented with a simple decision, like choosing between two restaurants for dinner, reduced me to tears in seconds. And it wasn’t even like I was having a hard time weighing my options. It felt like the two choices were coming from the person presenting them, flying towards my head, and hitting a wall. They couldn’t even make it in there for me to think about them. And I was having instances several times a day where I would be trying to complete a thought while speaking to someone, and completely lose track of what I was saying. And then more crying would happen because that gets really frustrating when it happens for the fifth time in one day.ย Doing almost anything took an enormous amount of effort. Just the thought of doing something as simple as getting dressed to leave the house would leave me sitting on the floor, feeling crushed under the weight of this simple task that wouldn’t take me more than five minutes if I actually got up to complete it.

 

Through all of this, I was still lucky. A lot of moms with PPD don’t have the will to do anything at all, including doing the basic things to take care of their baby. I did not experience that. August may have been in his pajamas with me, but he was always fed, changed, clean, and cared for. I wasn’t able to do much playing, but I could sit with him on the floor and change out his toys, shake a stuffed animal at him, or flip through a book. He never seemed distressed by the state I was in, and I am very, very grateful for that.

 

Another thing I am really glad that I was able to do, was that as soon as the ridiculous crying started, I made a lot of phone calls. I was sobbing hysterically, but I was dialing every person I thought could help me, because I knew this was absolutely not normal. I called my husband, my therapist, my mother, my sisters, and my doctor. My therapist and my doctor soon both diagnosed me with postpartum depression, and told me that PPD can set in as late as six months, and sometimes even later.

 

Then came trying to fix it. I could find Where’s Waldo in a sea of bespeckled hipsters in knit caps before I could find a psychiatrist that took insurance and could see me before May. Some couldn’t fit me in until July. And those were the ones that actually returned my calls. I would just like to raise a big, enormous, blinking-neon What In the Fuckย about that for a moment. I knew that I needed medication, and wanted to start as soon as possible. I would have lit my hair on fire if I thought it would help me feel something good at this point.ย I’m still trying to find a doctor that can treat me, and may soon just tell my general practitioner to write me up some drugs because I don’t want to go through to all over again, ever.

 

But, just as my depression had faded in, it started to go away. I started to notice that on the days that I was able to get out of the house in the morning, I wouldn’t experience a big low for the rest of the day. So, I would push myself to make it out, even to just drive around with August during his morning nap. Before long, I was feeling happy feelings again. I wasn’t crying everyday. I was smiling back at my baby without having to think about it.

 

There’s not much else that I can write on this, beyond just my, in retrospect, very short experience. A lot of women experience much worse for much longer than I did. But this was a story I felt was important to share. Even if it isn’t a story that particularly reaches or helps anyone, it’s important to discuss. Postpartum depression is something I know that I should feel no shame over having gone through. But, it was a lot harder and scarier to write about than “Hey guys, I peed my pants again.” And, unlike all of my fluid stories, (those are great, I know) I want you to talk to me about this. If I know you in real life, if I have never met you, if you’re some weirdo that looks in my window to watch me put on socks. If you want to talk about it, I want to talk about it. I felt really lucky that I had a few people I could talk to openly. I really wish that wasn’t something to feel lucky about.

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15 thoughts on “Time for Some Real Talk.

  1. i was thinking about you literally the other day and how you hadnt written anythin lately.i dont even know you,but i feel like i do because we have such a similar outlook on life.with my last baby i had the sad feelings too.and sometimes angry.you’re lucky to have such a good support system!it makes all the difference…..and its good to see you back.

    1. It makes me feel the coolest when people that read my blog say things like they were thinking of me. I’m glad you’re out of the sads, lady. Thank you for the nice words!

  2. Sorry you’re going through that. It’s good that you’re talking about it too. PPD is no joke. I hope you find a doctor who can help. If nothing else, there’s always having yourself committed – they’d have to help you then, no?

    1. THIS. “You whores wouldn’t help me one hour per week. Now I’m yours 24/7 and I will poop on the walls if I feel like it bc really, where else?”

  3. The funny thing is… I am single, and I have no children. Yet from the very first blog I ever read of yours (thanks to a pin on Pinterest). I immediately subscribed and look forward to each post. You are hilarious and honest and I truly enjoy reading your blog. I too had began to worry about you! Where was the next post!? Is Sara okay? Even though this blog had a very serious tone, I still enjoyed it. Not bc you went through what you have/are going through, but bc it is your story, and true account of life. I am happy that you are starting to feel a little better, and hope that b*tch PPD gets the hell out of your life! Looking forward to the next post.

    x0x0, Mallory

  4. Wow, what an amazing job you did in explaining what this was like for you. I think having the courage to speak openly about something like this can help so many other people. It’s times like these, when people feel most alone, that they need to know they’re not the only ones most. Good job and please blog more.
    PS – I do know you ๐Ÿ™‚ (and I’m very lucky I do)

  5. I’m so proud of you for having the courage to share your story and let other people know they are not alone after all. It can give a boost to someone when they realize they aren’t the only one who has gone through these kinds of things and realize, “IT’S NOT JUST ME!” Good for you!!! You just keep better and better Miss Thang! Hugs!

  6. Hey lady, so I’m not some creep who likes to watch you put on socks, just a normal fellow mom who is looking thru your shuffled blog posts while my baby naps. I love your blog; I literally laugh out loud at your posts bc I feel like you write exactly what I think. It’s awesome. And then I came across this one and was bawling before I got to the end. Seriously, so much yes, and so many thanks. My youngest turns 1 next week, and when he was about 2 months old, I was hit with PPD and anxiety so severe I was almost hospitalized. I finally got help when I couldn’t even get behind the wheel of my car because I was so afraid. Afraid of what? Hell if I know. Everything and anything. I literally went a week with absolutely NO sleep. I couldn’t. I was a zombie. I still have nightmares about going back to feeling that way. I met with my OB several times who tried me on meds that just weren’t working, so he referred me to a psychiatrist. Who didn’t have any openings for a month and was a cash pay doc. I literally didn’t think I could make it through a week, let alone another month. And throw in a $350 per visit charge on top of that. What in the literal eff. Why. Why is this such a problem? Anyhow. I finally got on some meds that had me feeling like a human being again, and I am infinitely grateful for the people who reached out and helped during the time I was less than human. I will never forget it. THANK YOU for this post and your honesty. You are awesome and hilarious and real, and I love it. I would probably watch you put on your socks if I could.

    1. Putting on my socks is actually super interesting to watch, because I’ve had a bum hip since my first pregnancy and I can barely reach one of my feet. Bodies are fun!

      But thank you so much for all your nice words, and for reading. I’m so sorry you had to go through all that. It’s ridiculous that our mental health system is such complete and utter shit. If you want help, it shouldn’t be so inaccessible. I’m glad you’ve come out on the other side.

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