So...I think recently what I'm figuring out, because I'm like a year out now, I'm kind of realizing that maybe it's more. Maybe I don't only have post-partum anxiety and depression. Maybe it was post-partum, but maybe also I was depressed before I had a baby. Does that make sense? I just never realized it and I think that like...I'm not trying to toot my own horn. But I feel like people who are severely depressed sometimes get overlooked because I don't feel that I portray that I'm depressed. Does that make sense? It's not even sadness, it's just like, I don't know how to explain it. It's guilt, and total dread. And the longer that I'm in this, the more I think it was happening before my daughter was born. Before I was pregnant. Before I even knew it was happening.
So now, I'm just awake at night, with all of these thoughts when I'm laying in bed. Like last night, honestly, I knew I was going to do this. I drank the rest of the milk, and then I put the milk container on the top of the recycling bin because I didn't feel like opening it. And I was like, "My cat is going to knock this off in an hour, and then I'm going to spend the rest of the night laying in bed thinking about how there's someone in my house, how I'm going to be murdered, how they're going to shoot my dog with a silencer..." Just like, all of these absurd things, and you know it's absurd but you can't stop. So I talked to my therapist about it and he was just like, "You definitely have a problem. These aren't normal thoughts. It's okay to be like, 'What was that bang? Someone might be in my house, I'm going to go check on it.' But past that, it's not normal.'" And I was like, "Shit! I've been like this my whole life!" So for me, I don't think it's post-partum anymore. I think it's just general depression. My whole life.
And it's like you're living your whole life, and you're feeling those things, and you don't know that other people aren't living their lives that way. And now it's like the beginning of my life, when before could have been so much easier, you know? I could have known better. I should have known better. I worked in the mental health field before my daughter, like all of the signs were there. Everything was there. And it's like, you start to realize that and it's just...I don't know.
Two nights ago I just started crying at 2am and I was thinking, "I can't sleep, my insomnia has been wild lately, my medications aren't working, my husband is going to want a divorce." And that is not a thing that would EVER happen. And I'm just laying there thinking, "My husband is going to want a divorce, we're going to have to split our time, we're going to have to do this this and this, I'm going to have to figure out how to pay bills..." And it's the silliest thought I've ever had.
It's crazy how having a child puts those things in perspective for you. Maybe it happens for people who don't have children but I've never experienced that before. Having my daughter, it's put things into perspective and it's made me want to...not want to be better but want to be more aware. I don't think saying "I want to be better," is realistic. I think it's just something I have to live with and I think I just need to be more aware of how I handle it, and how it affects me and our family, and how it affects my daughter and how it affects the people around me.
Pregnancy definitely exacerbated my symptoms, though. I have never felt, and everybody knows this, I talk about it all of the time. I will yell it at people. I have never felt more alone, more fearful, not even afraid of having a baby, but afraid of everything in the world that could possibly happen. You can't live in a bubble your whole life. You can't. It just was awful when I was pregnant. Because you worry about all of your fears, but for your children. And your child obviously isn't worrying about it, you're worrying about it for them. Like, "What if this happens to them? What if I pass this down to her?" Like, I'm crazy because my mom is crazy. What if I pass it on to my daughter? And then you feel guilty because you're like, "What if...what if?"
I feel like the more I talk about it and the more I normalize it for her, the more maybe if she does develop those symptoms, then she doesn't have to live the way I lived, where I just thought it was normal, that everybody felt like that all of the time.
I'm in this group called Punk Mamas that's run by some of my friends, and it's just this safe space to go to vent, or to laugh, or to cry, to relate to people...I'm trying to think about what the last thing I posted was. I don't know very many people in my life that are my age and have had children. And it's isolating. I was the first person out of my friends to be pregnant, and people can say all day long, "Oh, I'm so sorry, I totally understand." But at the end of the day, it's like you have an alien in your body and people are poking and prodding at you. I remember I wouldn't even want to leave my bed. I would be thinking, "What's the point? I don't have anything to talk about other than this child." And nobody wanted to talk about an unborn baby all day. And I had a rough pregnancy. I had stressed myself out to the point where I gave myself shingles. It was horrible. So to have this group, there's like 300 people in the group, even if you say the most obscure strange thing that you're feeling and someone will be like, "Oh, that's totally normal! I feel that all the time!" It's so nice to have them. And I've made so many good friends through that group. So many good friends. And it reaches all over the world, we have people from Israel, Canada, all over the US, they're from everywhere. They're the best ladies ever. I'll come home and I'll have packages from them, who were like "I saw you were having a tough day, here you go!"
There's just always someone in there that's been through what you've been through. It's such a tight community. We had a Galentine's Day here and some of the girls came from like Massachusetts or Philadelphia, people came from all over. And anytime I'm going anywhere I"m always like "Hey anyone in this area want to meet up?" And there are moms with kids of all ages in there, it's just such a support. And you can talk about anything you want to talk about, as long as you're not racist, or hateful, or rude, or a jerk. People have been kicked out for being a jerk. You have to respect other people's opinions, because no two people parent the same way.
But even with the support, I still carry that weight around. It's definitely in waves where, this week has been horrible. All summer I have been going to the pool, nannying, and this week the girls I nanny are out of town, and my friend that's been helping me has her in service days, and my husband works Monday through Friday, so I just sit in my house. And I'm constantly thinking, "I really should go do something," but then you start to think about the emotional energy it requires to leave the house with a child for even an hour it's just like...is she gonna have a meltdown? Has enough time passed since her last nap? Are we gonna need food? Where am I going to feed her? And then I just stay home, and at the end of the day I feel like, I had the whole day. I could have gone out and done something. And I just didn't. And then I feel guilty. So it comes in waves. I have good weeks and bad weeks. And it changes day to day. And typically once I get out, and I get moving, and I get going, it feels better. But still, sometimes to get to myself to that point is just exhausting.
There's such a stigma. But now I just feel like I want people to know...it's okay. What's someone going to do? Bully you for feeling complete and total dread in 2018? I feel like people need to talk about it because maybe if it wasn't so shamed and stigmatized, maybe people would feel more comfortable being honest about it. Maybe they would just realize that they're not alone in how they feel. I feel like you can say, "I'm depressed," and people will be like, "Sure, you're depressed, but you're not going to be depressed forever!" But actually, I might be. And what's the problem with that, if I am? What if I am? Why are you saying that I shouldn't be?