I tried to chalk it off to getting the short end of the stick when Vivi came home...
You see, right after we brought Vivi home, Jeff's bosses sent him out on the road. Besides him being gone, my other support system, his family, had all left town for various vacations. Jeff came home, I broke down...and thought it couldn't get worse, until my lovely toddler tornado and I caught a gastroenteritis virus (aka stomach flu) and besides taking care of a newborn with tummy issues due to milk allergy/intolerance, I was trying to recover from child birth, stomach flu, and was cleaning up puke every 5 minutes, trying to console sick toddlers who didn't understand why they couldn't eat, and washing every towel in the house(literally every towel) twice to three times a day...to say I was tired would be the understatement of the year...
Jeff came home again, I broke down again, and then he would leave and the cycle repeats.
I was feeling pretty positive, but was exhausted and never felt like I could get enough sleep. If I could have slept all day, I would have. More than that, I began to notice that I would go from fine to snapping and fuming in a rage so bad that I had to count to 100 to calm down over something as small as spilled crackers on the floor.... and major anxiety over stupid things I couldn't control keeping me up at night.
I began to wonder. ..could this be Post Partem Depression?
No... I felt positive most of the time. I must just be really exhausted from doing everything on my own... I started trying to go to bed earlier, plan more of a schedule to get things done...but nothing helped the exhaustion and the rages were still fuming...and I realized I spent half of my day yelling at my toddlers (as if it was doing any good...)No matter what I tried, I couldn't stop the moments of anxiety that kept me awake and continued to foster the cycle...but I'm a mom. ..its normal to worry and have sleepless nights, right?
I realized, this isn't me...
My 6 week post partum check came and I decided it didn't hurt to talk to my doc and ask about it...
As usual, I was given the written PPD quiz that all doctors offices. I filled it out honestly, not thinking much of my answers and handed it in. The doc came in and asked about the flags from the quiz.
He asked if I felt like it was just because I was sleep deprived, and that is when the tears began to roll and I realized, it was so much deeper than that.
I may not have been a classic case of PPD, but I had it and I needed help.
The doctor gently put his hand on my shoulder, handed me a tissue, and said he would give me a scrip to try. He said if it was just sleep deprivation, I wouldn't notice much difference and explained how to come off the meds after a month if it wasn't working by then.
Here I am, three weeks later. I'm sure the meds are helping and things are much better.
My heart has broken the last few weeks as i was able to see the aftermath of my rages in the weeks previous...my poor babies would make a mistake, say "uh oh" and wince, waiting for me to blow up. Poor Phillie spilled her milk and tried desperately to clean it up all alone (without a towel, she was just trying to spread the milk out on the floor like she had one). When I caught her, the wince came, followed by alligator tears. I gently picked her up, dried her off, and then handed her a towel so she could help me clean up... no yelling...but the wince, the alligator tears... I wished I could have gotten help sooner.
Why am I writing about this? Because I wrongly thought that if i had PPD, I would have all the symptoms or at least the symptoms commonly talked about or worried about. I thought I would feel "blue" all the time or that I would be so depressed I wouldn't want to get out of bed... that is what you always hear about...
But did you know extreme exhaustion is a symptom of PPD? Anxiety that keeps you awake? That you can feel perfectly fine and snap all of a sudden and that it may not just be because youre tired?
I have PPD. I am so glad I spoke up and got help.
One pill a day and everything changes.
I dont feel exhausted anymore...sure I'm tired, but not so exhausted I can barely see straight. Even getting up at night with the baby is easier. I feel more alert.
I dont snap at my sweet babies. I can keep my calm and cool. They are no longer wincing when they know they made a mistake.
More importantly, I can sleep without worrying about things I have no control over. I can put my worries aside and allow my mind to calm.
Beyond education for my friends and readers that may be wondering if they have PPD, but are trying to write it off as normal, I want to offer support.
Dont be afraid to ask for help. Dont be afraid to talk about it. Yes, the doc may ask if you think its just sleep deprivation, but you know the answer in your heart (I know I did). You know if you feel like you...if youre acting like you normally would if you were tired.
There is NO SHAME in seeking help. I promise, you will be so glad you did...and, worst case scenario, you will end up deciding not to take that little pill because it doesn't help, but what if it does? Isn't it worth that risk?
I'm a better mom now that I have help. I have been able to function and it feels like I came out of a fog. I am not ashamed of PPD. I am not ashamed I needed help in the form of an antidepressant and took it.
And if my story seems all too familiar to you and you are worried about what may come if you ask for help, you shouldn't ve ashamed either.
You are not alone.
Hugs and loves until next time, darlings.