It’s been a few months since my last post and I want to talk about why! I want to talk about it because hopefully it will help someone out there to recognize it in themselves and get the help they need.
I had baby #4 in December. I was worried about postpartum depression because I was having him in the winter and I struggle during that time anyway and because I’m pretty sure I’ve had it with one of my previous babies, possibly 2 of them but there were a lot of situational things going on too and each time the symptoms have been different so it was hard to know. I never actually sought help with my others, it was like one day a fog was lifted.
Anyway, it was a Saturday four months after having baby #4 I was sitting at the kitchen table fuming. I was sooo angry, “why couldn’t anyone help me clean and clean my way”! My husband came into the room practically tip-toeing, poor guy. I was so irritated at everyone and everything. He finally asked me what was wrong. He said he felt like I was mad at him but he had no idea what he had done wrong. I didn’t feel sad or lonely or like I wanted to harm my baby or any of the “usual” symptoms you think of when you think of PPD. I felt straight up angry at the world, like blind rage!
I started thinking over the last little while and realized I was avoiding people in general, which if you know me is not normal at all, I wasn’t finding joy in any of the activities I usually enjoyed, and it was getting harder and harder to get out of bed each day! But it had already been 4 months since having baby and I thought everything was going fine so I ignored it for a few more days. I mean I had 4 kids now, of course I was overwhelmed! But this was more than that…
When I looked it up online and found an article that talked about how it can be diagnosed anytime in the first year. I talked to my husband and called my OB. But for some reason I was so anxious about this appointment. Like crazy, crazy anxious! I made my husband go with me and I was having mini panic attacks in the waiting room (yes, I have had full scale panic attacks so I know what it is). The logical side of me was trying to tell my overly irrational anxious side that this was no big deal and that women have issues with PPD. For some reason I just couldn’t relax. I was worried about weird things like, “Will the doctor think I’m a hypochondriac?”, “What will my mom think?”, etc. I even told my husband about what I thought my mom would think or say about it. He told me to stop having pretend conversations with my mom! Good advise if I could follow it, but I wasn’t capable of thinking clearly. It was almost an out of body experience, yet it was all consuming.
Some of my symptoms included:
- lack of energy
- avoiding family and friends
- loss of interest in usual activities and hobbies
- utter exhaustion, I could literally sleep ALL day (by this time my baby was sleeping through the night so I couldn’t blame the tiredness on lack of sleep)
- unable to sleep at night
- unable to care for baby and myself (not in the Hollywood way that you see in the movies, I was doing the bare minimum. Feeding, changing diapers, etc…but once I was diagnosed and given medications I realized I hadn’t bathed my baby in 3 weeks 😳… and I hadn’t put on makeup in probably over a month, except for Sundays and even then I barely did)
I didn’t even recognize anxiety as a symptom. Not even sure I was fully aware of postpartum anxiety as a thing. But when I filled out the questionnaire they give you in the office and the doctor came in and said I had moderate PPD and that it sounded like anxiety too, it all clicked. Of course! I blamed a lot of the anxiety and overwhelm on just moving to a new area, trying to make new friends, having 4 young kids, but this was sooo much more than that. I left the doctors office with a prescription, and while I can’t say it’s been all smooth sailing since then my symptoms have improved dramatically.
I feel almost like myself after 2 full months of being on medication. It was slow, but each day I began to feel more and more like myself. Each day it was almost as if more color was let back into my world. Like I had on grey tinted glasses that were slowly being removed. I’m so glad my husband noticed something was off and supported me by helping me get to the doctor. If you are struggling, get help! Find support! If you need a hand to hold when you go in to talk to the doctor like I did ask your spouse or close friend. I’m sure they would be more than happy to be there for you! For me the symptoms were not what I typically thought of PPD as so I wanted to bring awareness to the more “unique” symptoms and share a message of hope that things can and will get better.