Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Constantly Feeling Judged #PostPartumDepression

I felt discouraged after my counseling appointment yesterday. It wasn’t until later that I realized maybe my discouragement was occurring for exactly the same reason that I feel so overwhelmed and anxious lately and my counselor had literally just explained how to work through those feelings.

Maybe I didn’t feel so much discouraged as I felt extremely challenged. She asked me questions yesterday that I could not answer and it made me feel hopeless and like she didn’t understand me and thought I was really messed up--until I had a sleepless hour this morning thinking about it.

We talked about how I can’t shake the feeling that everyone is always looking at me and judging me—while I didn’t go into the specifics with her, I will here. From day 1 at the hospital, I have felt like everyone looks at me and judges me as not knowing how to be a mother and as fat and disgusting and of course that makes me a horrible mother also. There are a MILLION thoughts that go along with those two basic foundational thoughts.

I felt crazy expressing those feelings. Like how just going for a walk is nerve racking even though no one is even around—I imagine people are watching me and doubting my every move like I am an incompetent mother. Sometimes I want to close the shades because I am convinced all of my neighbors think I am lazy and worthless (and of course a horrible mother). And then you can imagine how trips to the store or to church are so overwhelming because this is my thought process.

It is exhausting. And I know it’s not LOGICAL—but at the same time I cannot control it. The thoughts come and I cannot stop them—and I have believed them. Mental illness is horrible in that way—it’s separate from what you KNOW to be yourself and yet it’s all happening within you and it’s hard to tell the difference because well, they’re your own thoughts—even though you know that you would never think them in your right mind.

So the counselor asked me—if Mrs. Green on the corner is judging you and talking about you, what is the worst that could happen? Why would this be such a horrible thing for people to judge you? And I could not answer that question.

And in my sleepless hour, I realized it’s because I do not have much confidence at all. I don’t have faith in myself. I doubt myself. I question my every choice, action and word. I do not value myself or BELIEVE in myself anymore—and I used to. But this mothering thing has thrown me for a loop and it has affected every single area of my life—and I think that is because of postpartum depression and not because I actually am terrible at mothering—that’s the logical response but not my emotional response which believes that I do not know what I’m doing.

The counselor drew me a Venn diagram with logic on one side and emotion on the other—they intersected with wisdom. Depression makes one think with emotion and we fail to see things logically. But if I begin to acknowledge my emotional thinking and try to bring some logic to the thought, I can begin to change the way that I think.

I have a huge task at hand—HUGE. This is going to be incredibly difficult for me but I have to learn to do it and I know that for a while it will take the help of my hubby and my family to stop me in my tracks and tell me that how I am thinking is too emotional and to help me be logical. But I’ve been thinking/feeling this way for 10.5 months and it will take some time to change that again.

My counselor reminded me that as much as I want there to be, there is not a switch that I can flip and be better again. It’s going to take time. I was pregnant for 9 months and my hormones were naturally out of whack, and now I’ve been living like this for another 10.5 months—it will take time to recover and heal. Not to mention, I need to also find the right medication that makes a difference because the one I’m taking doesn’t seem to be making much of a difference.

So, I guess from here on out it’s “Operation Build Alissa Up”, as silly as that sounds. It’s time to build my confidence as a mother and as a person in every facet of my life.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for opening up about your journey. I needed to hear this today!

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  2. I have a certain person who I get around that makes me a nervous wreck. I was very good friends with this person for 5 years. I *heard her* first hand talk about people who were overweight... or black... or poor... or just not up to HER standards. I am so opposite of that! I love people! I don't know how we managed to be friends for so long. But to me, she felt like the popular girl that I never got to be friends with in high school. That's sad to admit. Lol :(

    Fast forward to today when we aren't friends and feelings have been hurt and words exchanged. She can smile when she's around me, but I KNOW WHAT SHE'S THINKING! And it has destroyed my confidence even more that I am at my heaviest weight EVER. And in our last argument, her exact words were, "This is about your weight, isn't it?" She honestly told me she didn't compliment my weight loss because SHE COULDN'T TELL. She weighs 100 pounds, of course. So I have to see this person 2x a month at a homeschool thing. I begin to feel nervous. That makes me start fidgeting and having nervous ticks, I guess you'd say, like giggling at the wrong time or saying stupid things. Ugh! I hate it, hate it, hate it!

    If that is how you feel around EVERYONE, then I feel so sorry for you. I don't even care what this person thinks of me anymore. It doesn't even matter! She sits alone at lunchtime while I am surrounded by many friends. Yet I always feel like I am under scrutiny when around her and it sends me into an internal frenzy of panic. And then, of all things, I begin to feel sorry for her sitting all alone and try to include her in the conversation I am having with others. And that, in some way, makes me even madder at myself.

    Well, do you want to be my counselor? LOL I just dumped all of this in a comment to you! Ha! I just wanted you to know that I can sorta relate to the things you think and feel. Yes, once a medicine has had time to work (probably a month) let it be known that it is not for you and keep going until you find the one or combo of two that help you. I think it is good for you to be honest here, and I am so happy for all the support you get in the comments. :)

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  3. I don't know if this will be of any help but ive been reading an incredible book lately that I feel can assist you in your current situation. I love that you are using therapy and writing out your thoughts on your way to recovery. I know you are in the right track and sooner or later this will be a thing of the past. But I also know that we are depressed it doesn't seem like it at all. Hang in there (I am working on taking my own advise as well). Anyways, the name of the book is "Loving what is" by Byron Katie. I plan to write a full review of it on the blog when I finish it but is truly amazing. Check it out.

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  4. "Courage isn't having the strength to go on - it is going on when you don't have the strength." I think you are showing courage by getting help from the therapist and by sharing your journey here. One day at a time, friend.

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  5. I know right now you are feeling helpless, but just know that we are pulling for you and we know you can get through this. Keep letting your feelings out....we are always here!

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  6. I know right now you are feeling helpless, but just know that we are pulling for you and we know you can get through this. Keep letting your feelings out....we are always here!

    ReplyDelete

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