My Dark Cloud

I’ve talked about this before, and for those of you who have been reading me for a while are well aware that I’ve struggled with mental illness for most of my life. Depression and social anxiety are two big ones for me. When I was pregnant with Liam, I was warned to expect the hormone shift after birth. I was told to expect it to hit me about 3 days after birth, and that I would cry for about a week or so. I was told that it would most likely hit me harder because of my history with depression.

I was entirely unprepared for what would happen. It was right on time, about 3 days after Liam arrived. I found myself crying over nothing. Over everything. Then the darkness crept in. I was completely overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, isolation, terror, worthlessness and panic. I was having flashbacks to labour, I couldn’t sleep or eat. I was having panic attacks over naps and snacks. I felt so incredibly alone and considered running away and in my lowest moments, I thought that everyone would be better off without me.

Luckily, I was very vocal about what I was going through. I talked through it with Pat, my sister and Pat’s BFF, Jan. We pinpointed what was triggering me and I was able to avoid those triggers. They gave me unending support and love and eventually, I started to see the light again. The darkness started to fade, a little bit more each day.

As it happens, my triggers included social media (my forums, facebook, twitter. I was focusing on the negative in each of these groups), stressing myself out over “Sleep when baby sleeps”, and being overwhelmed by options for food. I coped by taking a break from the internet, by doing whatever i wanted when liam slept, and eating whatever was brought to me.

About a month and a half after Liam arrived, I was feeling really good. Things were like night and day. I felt way more confident in myself and my ability to handle being alone with our boy. Unfortunately, as these things go, it’s a rollercoaster. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed I was feeling low. A lot. I was having a hard time dealing with rough days. I was crying more and more often. This past week, I finally admitted to myself that I’m not ok. I can’t keep ignoring this. I cry almost daily. I feel anxious and overwhelmed. I avoid social situations (including medical appointments) due to anxiety and stress. I feel very isolated.

On the 18th, I told Pat that I needed to see my doctor about this. I booked myself an appointment for Monday. I feel that this is important to discuss. I have learned recently that several of my close friends went through PPD after they had kids and I had had no idea. I wasn’t there for them like i could have been. I want people to know that this happens, that if they are going through it, that they aren’t alone.

I’m still in the middle of it, but I can see it now. I’m doing something about it. I’m repeating The Bloggess’ words to myself over and over again. “Depression Lies”. This is a part of me, but not all of me.

I will work through this.

3 thoughts on “My Dark Cloud

  1. Thank you for sharing this. Its one of the things that they mention in all the books, but you never hear people talking about. Of course, having it come from one of the strongest people I am lucky enough to know gives me great hope if this is something that I will have to deal with down the line. <3

  2. Just a suggestion: there’s a book at the public library by Heather B. Armstrong entitled “It sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, A Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita”. I’ve read it, and I really liked it. The author is an American, “ex-Mormon”, mother (of two girls now) who suffered of post-partum depression, and mental illness most of her life. She also has a blog, at: dooce.com, but if that’s a trigger for you, you may not be interested in that, although her blog posts, for me, are often a welcome distraction and also often make me laugh. Her book is easy to read and also funny.

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