I've been waiting to post about my struggle with hormonal sanity. Thinking that first I needed to get 'it' all figured out. I didn't want to have a whole post dedicated to my complaining, with no 'happy ending'.
(...Or perhaps I thought I could just ignore the way I feel and eventually it would go away...)
But, I realized what if another mama out there is suffering from Late-onset of Postpartum depression? or anxiety? or with hormonal imbalances? And she finds this post. Does she really need to hear my happy ending? Or perhaps, would it be more encouraging to know someone else is going through the same thing?
I obviously, decided on the latter.
I'm not sure when I should say it started, while pregnant? I had many bouts with angry, crazy mood-swings then. Or perhaps the anxiety has been there my whole life?
But, for the sake of this post, let's say it started about a month ago. When Redding started whining. All day. Every day.
Good god, not that I blame him. Can you imagine what it's like being a 7 months old? You're physically exhausted from trying to move. You are emotionally exhausted from trying to communicate without words. You have excruciating pain in your gums/mouth. Not to mention the tummy adjustments from your mom trying to give you peas. When all you really wanted was some freakin' breast milk! Wow! and that doesn't even get into the new feelings of separation anxiety a seven month old starts experiencing.
Now, why would it shock me, that with all this going on it is hard to sleep at night? Well, it did. It was. He would be awake all night, causing me to be stressed and frustrated all day, causing him to not sleep well at night, causing me ... (you get the picture). (AND, just incase you have't read that, it is true, your baby will respond to your emotional well-being during the day by either sleeping well or not the following night).
Perhaps the lack of sleep can account the recent depression.
The feelings of hopelessness and wanting to disappear.
The continual crying. (Yes. Yes, I did cry a couple weeks ago when the waiter brought out my lunch and it was eggs instead of tofu. "I'm so sorry *sob*, I meant to say tofu *wail.*" No, i'm not kidding. And No, It was not the glistening-tears-brimming-up-in-your-eyes kind of cry either. It was the snot-dripping-down-your-face, unable-to-stop-hiccuping-for-fifteen-minutes kind of cry).
I told a friend recently that I just wanted to break-up with my boyfriend, abandon my child and go to the beach. Probably just for a few days, then I'd be ready to come home. She then laughed, saying "Andrea, I think that's called a vacation, not abandonment." (oh, haha). Seriously though, I think to us mommies, leaving your baby for 48 hours would feel like abandonment.
My fear with a vacation really, is breastfeeding. I could pump enough for 48 hours, but how do I know he will still nurse again when I get back? I just don't know if that's a risk I'm willing to take. (this is a serious question, if you have experience with this I'd love to know!)
Then there is the anxiety. I've casually mentioned it on the blog before. But, if you have any experience with Postpartum Anxiety, you know. There is nothing casual about it.
The thoughts I have are scary, obsessive and consuming. And I feel alone. There is the fear that if you even mention the thoughts to another person, they would wonder what was wrong with you, that you were unfit to be a mother and perhaps try to take your baby away.
Battling off these thoughts 80% of the waking hours is exhausting. Exhausting.
Perhaps I should give an example, some of the less scary thoughts:
I get overcome with the fear I've forgotten my baby at home every time I drive down the street.
I have to pull over while driving and check on him because of the thoughts that he has somehow died in his carseat.
And then there is the visual of seeing his carseat flying down the freeway. I know that's ridiculous, so every time I try to rationalize that thought away... will the whole car seat fall out of the car? Is my car falling apart? And surely if my car was falling apart piece by piece, after the bumper flew off the other cars behind me and myself would have time to come to a stop before it came to the carseat.
(think i'm crazy yet?)
I've finally decided to be proactive about these struggles. And let's face it, we live in a society that no longer knows how to be proactive, so it's difficult (many doctors will just opt to give you a pill, instead of trying to change your diet and encourage you to exercise).
(edit: I should mention, I am in no way, shape or form against medication. For myself or anyone else, I do however think every other route should be tried first. Like that saying "when diet is wrong medicine is of no use, when diet is right medicine is of no need." obviously that doesn't work for everyone. but you get what i'm saying)
So, I started therapy for the anxious (and very morbid) thoughts a couple months ago and am shocked at how much they have already decreased (Using something called 'EFT' or Emotional Freedom Techniques).
I saw my physician two days ago and a Acupuncturist yesterday. The acupuncturists strongest recommendation was actually to lay off the sugar, saying that will help the intense mood-swings (oh, did I forget to mention those? Moments of intense anger where I want to crawl out of my skin and just like the hulk, break everything I see).
I definitely think things are looking up though, with tweaking my diet, getting acupuncture once a week and starting some, well ... let's just say 'supplements' ... (for fear of losing readers, I won't tell you that it will be pills of dehydrated pig placenta). (oh, oops) :)
So there is no happy ending. Other than the fact that I might actually go through with publishing this post. Here's the deal, I just don't want other mamas out there to google 'late onset of postpartum depression' or 'postpartum anxiety' and have the first thing that pop up be images of Andrea Yates. (yes, that happened to me). And holy bejesus, that is scary and discouraging.
I've also decided to include a self portrait. Feeling that I've been hiding behind other people's photographs too much lately. So, here I am. With out brushing my hair, teeth or getting the sleep out of my eyes.
p.s. I labeled what I am going through a few time in this post. However, my acupuncturist was explaining to me that we should really keep from labeling our 'disorder' because our bodies and minds are constantly changing and it doesn't help anything to slap a label on it and think you are going to stay that way. Just FYI :)