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.