There's no better way to say it and you probably guessed it, right? Postpartum depressions SUCKS! I mean, the term "Post Partum Depression" doesn't exactly conjure up images of chocolate fountains and unicorns. But seriously...really? Does it have to be THIS bad? Does it have to last THIS long? Isn't it punishment enough what a woman's body goes through during pregnancy and then childbirth?
As a woman, your body is totally wrecked after having a baby. There are the stretch marks that are now gridding your body like latitude lines, the leaky nipples and smell of rotten milk that just seems to linger with you wherever you go no matter how many times you wash your nursing bra, your hips which have spread themselves due east to one side and due west to the other without the intention of ever reuniting in the middle, and the closet full of shoes that now seem like they were made for Cinderella and here you find yourself identifying more with both of her ugly step sisters, newly developed Godzilla-sized feet included. Why, then, may I ask you, does it have to wreck your mind too????
I feel like the moment I gave birth to my son I simultaneously and unknowingly bid adieu to myself. I'm not talking about my pre-mommy lifestyle, either. I knew I wasn't going to stay up as late anymore, or sleep in as late in the mornings. I knew I would no longer be able to go out on a whim for drinks with co-workers on a Friday when the workday had been rough. I mean the "myself" who once lived in my head. The sense of normalcy that I so enjoyed before becoming a mom. I would say I took feeling like myself for granted, if only I would have ever known ahead of time that "myself" wouldn't always be around.
I've gone on medication to help with my postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, and postpartum obsessive compulsive disorders (yeah, lucky me, I got the lion's share of mental crap-load out of the postpartum grab bag) and I've had periods of normalcy. The longest normal-feeling real "myself" stretch lasting for almost 2 weeks and coincided perfectly with my last blog-post which depicted me (truthful to how I was feeling at the time) as over this junk! Looking back at that normal stretch now is like torture. I was led to water, but I'll be damned if I could take a drink! Why get to glimpse the Emerald city if you'll never be able to live there and see it shine? Really, folks, I want ME back PERMANENTLY. I don't want to visit her, I don't want to casually pass her in the halls of my mind and give her an awkward smile and a polite head bob with a quick glance down to the ground, damnit! I want to run up to her, grab her, shake her violently and then chain her ass to my ankle so she can't ever get away from me again! Is that too much to ask for?
I have increased my medication (as of 3 days ago) and I know it takes a while to "get into my system" ,as the line that has been fed to me from all health care professionals involved in my quest to return me to me, have said. "It's only been 3 days" has played on a commercial-free loop inside my head all day long. I've tuned my dial to play that mantra so that I don't let myself get discouraged and then overwhelmed by the thought that "It's never going to get better and you'll always feel like this empty shell of the woman you once were." Once that thought moves in, it's so big that there isn't room in my head for anything else, let alone the real "me" to return, rest a spell and then decide to never-ever leave again.
I'm ready for me to return now, damnit (or dag-gomm-it, as I know say around my dinosaur's little ears). I'm ready for her to move in and come back from the 8 1/2 month vacation she's taken to God-knows-where in the recesses of my very twisted mind. I'm tired of hashing out these thoughts in my head and then feverishly typing them into my blog because I'm through having these thoughts. Why does my mind have to race and then scatter like marbles spilled on ice? Why do my thoughts have to skip and swagger like kids on a playground? Why do I have to have lurking "bad guys of doom" hiding in the shadows of my mind ready to pounce at the smallest sign of weakness? I especially loathe the lurking bad guys of doom. If I take a break from the vigilance of my mantra, the bad guys of doom will spread in my mind like a flesh eating bacteria- munching away at my hope and faith with the fervor of termites in a tree trunk. The bad guys of doom will bleed into my brain like ink from an un-capped magic marker runs through paper. I can't let-up and ease my thoughts that I will get better because if I do then, surely, I won't.
Tell me I'm not the only mom out there who has experienced this feeling of "me" coming and going as she pleases like a teenager unafraid to break curfew and sneak out to meet her boyfriend. Tell me that my "me" isn't just a flake who takes leave and then returns when she's got dirty laundry to wash and doesn't want to do it herself. Tell me I'm not the only mom to have ever wondered if "normal" is a permanent feeling or if I was just teased in a cruel and sick joke by knowing "normal" for all of my life until it was yanked out from underneath me like a rug after the birth of my son
It will get better, right? I just have to give the increase in medication time to kick in, right? Tell me my thoughts are valid. Just typing them out makes me feel a little like they're more believable. It will get better, it will STAY BETTER. It won't not stay better, right? Normal will be permanent again? It will stay better!!!!!
Keep up the mantra with me, folks, until I can write here that it has gotten better and that it has STAYED that way!