Monday, May 07, 2012

Finding the light

Back in December of 2010, just before I got pregnant with our daughter, I wrote this in a post looking back over the previous year:
One of my greatest fears of having another child is not that I won't be able to handle the logistics of it or that I won't have enough love for it - but I am scared of the emotional aftermath. I never wrote down the things I was feeling about Little G when I was feeling them because I was afraid that if, God forbid, anything were to ever happen to him, someone would look up whatever I had said in desperation one day on my blog and take it out of context and who knows what might happen. Maybe someone would toss me in a looney bin...maybe someone would take away Little G.  
But on the other side of the abyss I am realizing that perhaps it is important to write those things down so that should I ever feel that way again, I can recognize it and seek out help.
I always thought having a second child would send me over the edge because the only reference I had of how babies act was the first one I had weathered the storm with.  I never imagined that the reality would be that the first child would still be the one to send me over the edge.

I didn't see it at first.  I didn't write about it.  I didn't recognize it.  I was getting through our days but things were getting harder.  I felt slogged down.  I felt angry.  I was angry.  There was no light in my days.  There was no laughter.  I was annoyed by everything and everyone except my beautiful new baby. My biggest annoyance was my firstborn.  And I lashed out at him - with thunderous tones and mean words and loathing eyes.  I was angry.  I felt rage towards him and then I felt rage towards myself and then I fell into a rabbit hole of dark thoughts so black with anger and disgust that I could not see light.

And then a voice that barely knew me told me what everyone else had said; to talk to my doctor.  So I did.  I called immediately and whispered the words I feared the most to the receptionist: post partum depression. My doctor took me in that afternoon.  She embraced me in her mother's arms.  She supported me while I cried.  She listened to my dark thoughts. She explained to me the hormones in my body.  She refused to allow me to blame myself.  And she prescribed me three months of medicine.

It took a couple of weeks for the light to come back.  I was so afraid of losing who I was to the medication.  Instead, it allowed me to see myself more clearly.  It helped me pause to take in information instead of reacting in anger and lashing out.  It brought back joy and clarity and love.  It allowed me to forgive and move on.

My prescribed course of medication has come to an end so I have been weaning myself off at the instruction of my doctor.  I wish I could say I was healed. Instead, I can feel the darkness taking over.  I am losing myself again.  Days have gone by without any laughter.  I am angry. I feel rage creeping under my skin.  I am hateful towards my family and myself, the light is disappearing.

So I am writing this down.  I am recording it here fully accepting that someone could very well read this out of context down the road.  I am writing it down so that I can recognize the darkness and seek out help. I am writing it down so I can start to find the light again.


It's funny.  Well, maybe funny isn't the right word.  Interesting?  It's interesting?  Hmmm.

Anyway, I find the following interesting to me: I wrote the post above over the weekend and as I was writing it, I could feel the darkness creeping over me - quite like one of those Dementors from Harry Potter.

I didn't publish the post immediately thinking I would schedule it for this morning with the intent that the more people that read it, maybe the more I would be motivated to go get help.  Instead, I woke up this morning with a cheery disposition and feeling totally fine and thinking, "uh, I don't need to call the doctor...who has the time today, anyway".  And then I re-read this post and just in reading it, I was reminded of how important it is for me to write things down and get them out of me so that I can see them and observe them.  As I sit here staring at the sticky black tar of my mind that fills the page, I know -- today.  Today, I call the doctor.


  1. The good news is, you know the drugs work! Three months seems like an awfully short course -- for some people they don't even fully work until several weeks have gone by at the start -- so there's definitely no shame in taking them for longer. 

    My PPD experience was very similar to yours. And I think there's a lot of misinformation out there (everyone's either quick to cry PPD whenever someone has the tiniest troubles with mothering, OR they think it only applies to the tragic moms who go crazy and kill their families), so it's great that you're sharing your experience with others who might be reading. Hang in there, honey!

  2. You are awesome.  And brave.  Good for you!!