Friday, June 7, 2013

PPD, Part II: Is It Better?

After I had Bug I was fortunate enough to join a Meetup Group full of fantastic women, and over the past three years I have collected a handful of women who I consider to be my closest friends up here.  Three of them and I were in the middle of an email discussion (when your hours are erratic, email discussions often prove to be the most fruitful).  I had been addressed directly, so I knew I needed to say something...

...and then I thought, maybe I should tell them.

I shot for innocuous.  I wrote and rewrote my statement several times, and then I finally broke down and was honest:

"So...I'm not doing well with my stress levels at all.  I can't decide if it's just because there's too much crap going on or if it's something more serious.  I mean, I do have way too much crap going on and I literally run all day long from the moment one of my three wakes up until the last one's in bed (and even after that I usually have stuff to do).  I'm not really the medication type but I'm considering maybe seeing if I could see a counselor because I really don't like the stuff that I'm thinking/feeling."

There, I thought.  I had told someone.  I had sort of left out all the really bad bits, but they knew.

Immediately, I got responses back. 

"Please talk to your doctor about options.  This stuff can get pretty bad fast.  We'll come over and see you asap."

"Amanda, you should talk to someone.  In the meantime, what can I do to help?"

"I'm so sorry, let's get you out of the house."

And then I wrote on a message board for Project Purse Club (which, by the way, if you are a lady blogger like myself, you should join) and shared how I was feeling, and the person who responded to me told a story that described what I was going through exactly.

And then I told someone who I knew would hold me accountable for my actions.

And immediately, I felt an upward shift.  Sharing my problem made me feel better, happier, and then I began to wonder why I had been hiding my feelings for so long.  My friends cared about me.  They didn't judge me and just offered the support that I really needed...and I began to feel better.

The other thing was, I knew other women who had PPD, and I did not feel any disdain for them.  Rather, I had thought to myself, "Oh dear Lord, that sounds horrible.  I'm so grateful that hasn't happened to me."  And I had seen how they had come through it all and I admired their strength.

But what, was my body turning on me?  Again?  I had already felt like that with the gestational diabetes...was my mind going to turn on me too?  And because I was feeling better, I started to think that maybe I had been blowing it out of proportion.  Then I started to wonder if I had PPD after all.  I mean, I was so much happier, and calmer, and even though life was very calamity-filled, I had a good support system--and I even grudgingly admitted how badly I had been feeling to Jon, but then I reassured him I was better, much better.  Things were looking up and so when the nagging, nasty, ugly feelings came back, I tried to brush them off.  A fluke, I told myself.  Today was really freaking stressful, of course I don't feel like I have it together.  

Besides, just a couple weeks ago you were at your six week checkup, and you were fine, you told the doctor you were fine.  And you were!  You were so happy, so grateful that Peanut was such a wonderful baby.  So what, suddenly everything fell apart?  It's in your head, Amanda.  Suck it up.

Other troubling thoughts occurred to me.  Was PPD a mental illness?  Was I mentally ill?  The stigma attached to that term was something I couldn't even countenance.  I refused to accept that there was something wrong with me, and so I buried it again, for a couple weeks.  I reassured myself constantly that things were just ducky, and once all of the current stresses were over, I would be my old self.  I was not sick.  I was not depressed.   This was not happening to me, and that was that.  Nope.  You're fine, princess.  Keep on keeping on.

But then life started to get worse.  More stress.  Things just kept going wrong.  

Then one day Jon came home.  By way of greeting, he said the following to me:  "Hey, so I made you an appointment to see the doctor about your postpartum depression."

I was stunned.  "Oh," I managed.

"I got tired of you dragging your feet on this, and telling me you were going to call the doctor, so I did it for you."

"Gotcha," I said, having been reduced to one-word responses.

"Look, you owe it to yourself, and you owe it to our kids to be healthy.  And you can't take care of them if you can't take care of yourself."  He came and sat down next to me, and I felt tears in my eyes again.  "Are you upset I did that?"

"No," I said.  "No, that...means a lot."  And it did.  It meant a lot of things.  It meant that he had been perceptive enough to know that I was still falling apart, and that he loved me enough to want me to be better.  It meant that he knew what I was going through wasn't good for me or the kids.  But the biggest thing it meant was something I had been afraid to acknowledge, which was it was bad enough for Jon to call my doctor and say, We need to get her help.

1 comment:

  1. THANK YOU for sharing this. The more of us that talk about it, the more those suffering in the dark will understand that they need to SHARE and SEEK HELP and that it DOESN'T MAKE HER A BAD PERSON.