Monday, August 31, 2015

I can’t live like this: postpartum depression

I attended a church convention this past week that I go to every year. I would say that it has been about a year before I really remember the postpartum depression symptoms getting bad. The symptoms started to get bad during the church convention last year. I love to go, and I need to go for the benefit of my soul, but the fact that there are so many people and that I have social anxiety means it is very stressful for me.

I was handling everything really well the first couple of days, or so I thought. On Friday night I actually commented to hubby that I was so happy at how well I was handling everything and that maybe I was finally getting better.

When we got home and I put baby girl to bed and I laid down, finally able to relax, it was like a switch flipped in my head and suddenly I was this depressed and anxious person. Literally, just. like. that. No warning.

And that’s how it continued for the next two days. It took over my whole body. My body began to “buzz”, which is the only way I know to describe it. My jaw is literally sore from clenching it. I was so tired that I didn’t want to do anything but crawl under the covers and sleep. I felt myself taking shallow breaths—thankfully, I can recognize these symptoms and I know when to start practicing my coping skills to get the anxiety part under control.

But I didn’t feel like it was so much anxiety this time as it was just this overwhelming sense of sadness, of feeling simply overwhelmed, like I was incapable of handling anything, like I was not meant to be a mother, like I am simply not good enough for my hubby and baby girl. Like I didn’t want to exist.

I was lucky to have my mom’s help and hubby’s help and to be honest, I feel like they did more of the work than I did—so I’m really not sure what this is about. But I hate it. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I cannot live like this.

Sometimes I don’t know why I was given such precious gifts of a husband who loves me to no end, or a vibrant and social little girl who I feel so incapable of meeting her needs. I feel like I’ve been placed into someone else’s life—a life that I don’t deserve but want to deserve so badly.

Usually, I feel completely refreshed in my soul after being at the church convention just a short while. I was so distraught when I realized that I hadn’t heard anything that had really, really fed my soul. I felt like God was disappointed in me and had turned away from me.

I prayed and prayed that night that God would speak to me as He always has in the past. The next morning, a minister spoke about depression specifically and the guilt that it can make a person feel. And then I knew that God had heard me. The minister continued on that Satan can use those thoughts to try to discourage us, but we need to just turn a deaf ear to those thoughts because Jesus can cover all of our imperfections. And now if I can just learn to do that.

I realized that it has been a long, long time since I really felt like myself. I would even venture to say that I was slightly depressed while pregnant. That’s almost over two years of not recognizing myself and of being trapped somewhere while my mind and body have taken over to become my worst enemy. Imagine your worst enemy being trapped in your mind and constantly telling you lies that you begin to believe even though you don’t want to.

How is it possible that I’ve become like this? How do I make it stop? Will it ever stop? Will I ever be me again?

I am still clinging to hope that I will find myself again. I’m going to make an appointment with my doctor to see what she can do for me. I also have a counseling appointment tomorrow.

There are some positives to this experience: 1) I have more empathy for others, 2) it has made me “hate” life enough that I have a greater hope for eternity, 3) it has made me feel a more desperate need for God, 4) seeing my husband’s unconditional love for me has opened my eyes to the perfect love of God.

And so I will take it one moment at a time—sometimes taking it an entire day at a time is too much. But I will continue and keep hoping for improvement! But I cannot shake the feelings of guilt for why I am not happy with all that I have been given—it’s not that I am not thankful. I’m trying to convince myself that I am just sick. Mental illness is hard because it doesn’t really show—it’s only felt.

6 comments:

  1. I am glad you have such a supportive husband that is there with you through thick and thin!

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  2. Okay, I'm not really the "huggy" type, but this definitely calls for a (((HUG))). I'm sorry you're going through this; it isn't fair. Saying a prayer for you.

    "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

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  3. I am glad you have a supportive family and I am glad you are making an appointment to see your doctor. I hope he/she can offer you a good solution.

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  4. Have you been busier lately? Getting enough sleep? Why I ask ~

    Last night I was exhausted right about 5:30 (not really night but dinner time actually) Hubby and I had busier than usual Friday and Saturdays which in turn caused us to get to bed later than normal BOTH nights and then I had to work from 9:30-4 at the Y on Sunday. When I came home around 4:30 I literally felt overwhelmed and when the girl asked to go "driving with ME" (because she was going to be having her first OFFICIAL Behind the Wheel THIS morning and REALLY wanted to practice the 90 degree park) I could have cried.

    I didn't, but I did think, "Why didn't she ask dad to go driving earlier??" Now, I HAVE TO.....ugh.

    We went driving and after 30 minutes and a funny park job I started laughing. I tried to hold it in but I couldn't. And honestly it probably could have been tears but instead it came out in laughter. She took it as I was laughing at her horrible park job (well, yea that started it ;-) but she too couldn't laugh at the sight....she got mad, I almost did cry and the experience was not the best.

    I went to bed soon after we got home. I know my stress was heightened and I simply couldn't handle doing any thing more that night but, I pushed myself and obviously lost it.

    Today the girl got a "Great Job!" on her park job from the driving instructor and she came home all smiles....I guess it turned out ok after all.

    I think those of us who have some depression, introvertness or the like need more time at home to reenergize instead of going and interacting all the time. Maybe the convention was just too much right now?!

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  5. So sorry that you continue to suffer like this! I only know that God made you. He must have a special reason for needing you to struggle. Hang in there. I had a bit of postpartum depression right after my youngest was born but that only lasted 2 days. I just know there was nothing I could do to feel better. I have no way of knowing exactly how you are feeling, but I feel for you and send you positive thoughts and will hold you up in my prayers! You are deserving of everyone and everything you have....don't forget that!!

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  6. I am so sorry. Depression is definitely a battle of the mind. In those moments when you are so deep in negative thoughts, maybe it would help to have a CD of your favorite songs turned up a bit or an audio book or something going. Just something to distract and maybe improve your mood??? Memorize that verse on "Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are of a good report, THINK ON THESE THINGS." I just went by memory, so I probably have it a bit mixed up. But maybe hiding that in your heart will help you to stop the negative thoughts sooner and squash them with thoughts of how you ARE loved and ARE needed and ARE worth having around! I know there were times in the past when I would dwell on thoughts of how my husband and children would be so much better off if I just left or died. Then I would begin to think of how untrue that was. My husband would have lost his best friend, and my kids would be at a loss. Life is hard, we don't always get along perfectly, but they need me and love me! Just think - If Sienna didn't have you, then who would she get all smiley for and reach for in the mornings??? I'm sure there are a million other examples like that. Try your hardest to fight all those horrible thoughts the devil puts into your mind. Oh, and my Wellbutrin makes me clench my jaw sometimes. That is one of the side effects if you google. I'm sure that wasn't your issue, but I did want to mention it because you never know. (((huge hugs)))

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