Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Rollercoaster of Postpartum Depression

I have felt a little bit “off” since sometime last week. It has kind of been a rollercoaster of sorts. It got the worst Saturday night and so I spent all day on Sunday resting as much as I could. I actually took two naps that day and thankfully hubby picked up the slack for me. I guess it’s going to take a really long time to fully recover from PPD. Supposedly, the longer you wait to get help the longer it will take to fully recover. I waited too long!

There are so many ups and downs. At the beginning of last week I felt amazing. I was highly productive and feeling like myself. Towards the very end of the week it all started to fall apart. The first sign is that I’m not keeping up with the housework or the laundry. And somehow every single time I never correlate the two when I’m in the midst of it. Instead, I just feel like my environment is completely out of my control and it overwhelms me even more yet I can’t find the energy to get the needed tasks done. Anyone who has had depression can probably relate to this.

I finally went to see my counselor again on Thursday. I know that I should probably go more consistently and more often because apparently I still need a lot of help. I feel like I spent most of the time telling her how I feel and my concerns for an upcoming event. We discussed how something triggered a relapse for about three weeks (the stressful appointment at my psychiatrist) and how I want to learn how to avoid that in the future.

It is absolutely horrible when somehow my brain tells me that it’d be easier if I wasn’t around, or that my husband and daughter deserve someone much better than me, or knowing that I have everything I’ve ever wanted but yet feeling like I just want to die. These thoughts aren’t like the “real” me. I’m an optimistic and hopeful person, but somehow this horrible illness does this to me. And it makes me feel utterly out of control even though they’re my own thoughts…it’s so hard to explain.

My counselor told me that if I ever feel like that again (it’s not the first time) that I need to call her office and ask to be added to her wait list so that I can get in to see her as soon as someone cancels. That is good to know because sometimes it’s hard for me to remember what was going on in my head during the experience when I’m past it and feeling much better.

I still have thoughts that I thought were normal until I start telling my counselor about them, or even tell someone else about them. I feel so much guilt about pretty much everything, and especially as it concerns being a parent. I still feel like everyone in the world is looking at me and judging me. I have improved to the point where I don’t often let it stop me from going out in public (except when it’s really bad), but the thoughts are still there and I think that eventually it just all adds up and I completely fall apart.

I keep snacks in my purse for the little one for when we’re out and about—it’s really just entertainment to keep her from having a melt down while I’m getting groceries, for example. I feel like everyone judges me as a bad mother because she’s not eating something like fruits or veggies. She might be eating Annie’s bunnies, Cheerios, or animal crackers because they’re convenient and no, she doesn’t eat them all of the time—but I feel like a bad mother. I have a lot of hang-ups about myself and body image and I am sure this is why I feel so bad about these issues.

Many have reassured me that toddlers act out, but I still feel like I’m a horrible parent when she does this in public. I feel like I should be able to handle it better or prevent it from happening. Maybe it’s feeling like I have a lack of control in general. My counselor told me that people are not meant to be completely controlled and a toddler will do what a toddler will do and it’s completely normal for a toddler to act out and is not a reflection on me—but yet I feel like it is.

I feel guilty because I still haven’t worked up the confidence or the energy to take the little one to an activity where she can interact with other toddlers. It takes everything I have sometimes just to take her outside and let her run around. I hate feeling like that! For a while I was doing so well, taking her to the pool, to various parks, to the library, going for walks, etc. But then something happens that triggers the depression symptoms and I’ll take a few steps back again. I am afraid I am failing her in not providing enough experiences.

My husband reminds me that he never had play dates and come to think of it, neither did I and I think we both turned out ok…well maybe. (ha) I just want what’s best for her and it frustrates me when I don’t have the energy or state of mind to do the things that I want to do with her. We have lots of play time at home, read books, etc. I just hope my love is enough!

Last night, even my dreams were filled with anxiety. I remember telling myself to breathe deeply in my dream as I kept panicking. It’s like my entire being becomes affected, even in the state of unconscious sleep. When it starts to get bad, I start to feel like my body is buzzing, my eyes feel heavy, I’m tense, and all I really want to do is stay in bed all day (or for a lifetime)—but of course I can’t.

Anyways, I’ve been doing what I can. I’m looking for the triggers. I’m resting when I need to because that seems to be the only cure for me. The counselor says that’s a good choice because many people turn to alcohol in those situations. (Eek!) And so, I’m hoping that instead of plunging into weeks of depression that instead I will just have moments or days where I feel like that.

It’s hard to be patient with myself when I have goals that I want to meet in so many different areas of my life. The good news is that I am on track with my points. I quit tracking on Saturday and of course that leads me to feeling even more out of control. Yesterday I went back and tracked everything I had eaten and realized that I was doing just fine—what a relief!

I guess this post turned into a long rambling one!

Is there anyone else out there recovering from postpartum depression or depression of any kind? How are you doing?

8 comments:

  1. I think I have mentioned I have to deal with "SAD" during the winter here in MN. I have had many feelings of wanting to stay in bed..forever..but, simply can't. Life has to be lived and I guess its a good thing sometimes that I can still pull myself out of bed because when it gets to that next step of NOT leaving the bed, then I guess I am in more trouble. ha!

    I think right now I am more upset with myself for enjoying this past year waaay too much. I have gained back 20 pounds and a few more from what I had lost years ago.

    Don't get me wrong ~ I enjoyed every beer, sweet treat, DQ Blizzard and the like ~ now however, I am not enjoying tight clothes, blubbery thighs, and skin loose in areas it hadn't been before. (I am also attributing that to getting another year older and slacking on the weight lifting...ugh!!) Always something.

    The UP note??? We get to start fresh every day and thank GOD for that!

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  2. Your story gave me so many feels. While I've never had postpartum (no children), I have been depressed. I'm so impressed with the work you are doing to get through it though.

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  3. Aw, ~hugs~ I have three kids and what you're experiencing is actually pretty normal 'mom guilt' that I think most of us go through. Whatever we do we always feel like it's not good enough, we feel that other moms are judging us, we feel that we're messing up our kids lives etc etc. Don't be too hard on yourselves-kids are pretty resilient no matter what we do lol.

    Yesterday I took my kids to a library hosted magic show and my 7yr old son declared I was the 'best mom ever!' Fast forward a few hours later when I was 'forcing' him to go on a family walk and he declared that it was the 'worst day ever!' Sigh... lol :)

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  4. Sorry you're feeling out of it lately! You always take the right step and recognize when you're "off" a bit. You do the right thing and vent, and seek advise. That is the best thing you can do. I know it helps just getting it out! You are an amazing mommy and wife, and don't think otherwise :) Hang in there!! Hugs!!

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  5. It's good you're learning to recognize when you're in a "down" period. For me, housework is the first thing to go too; which leads to getting more depressed because the house is a mess, and after a day or two it's so overwhelming that I just don't even try, which adds to my depression... it's an awful cycle. I often feel inadequate as a mother/wife too, but I'm learning to just do my best and that my best IS, in fact, good enough. When I'm feeling extremely down, a good, long nap helps a ton; I think the exhaustion of motherhood wears on us more than we realize, especially for those of us already dealing with depression. Anyway. This comment is kind of all over the place, but your post resonated quite a bit with me.

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  6. I'm catching up on posts I missed while gone, but I did want to say this. If you research, you will find that most toddlers don't even usually"play together." They play near each other, but not really together. It's odd. They will be side by side and doing stuff but not really interacting. Lol So don't feel terrible about the social scene. At this point, it may just be more stressful since she is so full of life. One of my kids was a biter and I was always so scared when we were around other kids. I got that stopped right quick, but still. I'm just saying that it could stress you out more instead of helping you and her. She is still young. She will have plenty of social opportunities as she gets older. Not sure if anyone else at church has kids her age. I have learned that sometimes I just need some time alone when my depression takes over. If you are unable to attend church, maybe your husband and daughter should go on without you. It gives you some complete time alone and (if there are kids there) still gets her around others in her age group. I tend to recoup best when I'm not noticing hubby taking care of the kids while I rest. I think it makes me feel guiltier. And he may already be going on without you, but that's just a suggestion that helps me if not.

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  7. Hi there,Postpartum depression,then again,is a genuine condition that requires more than naps and caring attention.In the event that the issue has held on past a couple of weeks and has been inert to support and help,the mother ought to first be assessed for a medical condition.Once in a while a vitamin deficiency or another undiscovered issue is a contributing factor.Best wishes.
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    www.depressiona.com

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