Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stones and Glass Houses

Today's post is about something that I have been fairly hesitant to talk about. Postpartum Depression, regular run of the mill depression, anxiety in all of it's fabulously inconvenient forms. My little one and I had a play date with a very good friend of mine yesterday, and after the conversation we had I made up my mind that it was time. My friend has two little girls, one of them is 18 months(three weeks older than my little pixie-chic) and her younger daughter is 4 months. We don't get together nearly enough, but when we do, it is always a great time. Our daughters have grown while their momma's called each other with the new mommy questions. I feel extremely fortunate to have a "Mommy friend" with a child so close in age to mine. She thinks to ask the pediatrician things I never thought to, and I ask about things she doesn't think about until later. We have shared tips, tricks, milestones, and first birthday parties. It has truly been a blessing to have her. In all of that talking and tip-trading, we never really talked about depression, or the fact that I myself take an anti-depressant. I had taken it long before my daughter was even a thought, and once she was born and out of any potential danger, I resumed taking it. It is not something that, up until now, I have advertised. I am not ashamed, in fact I am actually proud of myself for having the the good sense to recognize that I needed help. While I am not ashamed, there is a stigma attached to mother's taking medication especially for "that" sort of thing(thanks a bunch Tom Cruise), and I was even a bit weary to open up about it to this friend that I had known for so long. I was afraid she would think less of me as a person, and as a parent. She didn't. She asked questions about how it helped me, whether I actually noticed a difference, how long I had been taking it, and how I had come to the conclusion I needed it in the first place. Talking about it was actually kind of therapeutic. So I decided then to write a post about it and my experiences with it.

I am here to tell you, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, it does not make me(or anyone else) a bad person that I take Zoloft every night before bed to help myself cope. Let me say I don't think that every person who has a bad day here and there needs to take medication, it took me a long time and several episodes to accept that I wasn't one of those people. I wasn't before I had my Chickadee and I definitely wasn't after. My hormones were ridiculous after I gave birth, I think they were actually worse than they were while I was actually pregnant. I was a wreck, I have never been a crier and I was crying over everything. Little stuff would happen, and I would fall to pieces.  Being a mom was like a 24 hour panic attack for me.

I can remember one time in particular, my little was about three weeks old and her hands were so tiny that the little mittens wouldn't stay on. I had put them on over and over again that day and I just wasn't winning the battle. I had put her down for a nap, and was doing some laundry trying to get things cleaned up before she woke up. I was in the middle of folding a load when she started screaming, like top of the lungs type screaming. I dropped whatever it was I was folding and sprinted down the hallway taking out a wall or two on the way. I picked her up and realized that not only did she not have her mittens on, she had scratched the crap out of her face. It wasn't terrible, I can look back now and say with certainty that I completely overreacted, but at the time I was blinded by the fact that I had let it happen. All I could think about was what an awful parent I was, and she deserved so much better than me. Crazy stuff. My father calmed me and we took a look at her face, she was fine, it had already started to fade a bit. That was when I realized I needed some help. I am not that crazy person, I don't fall apart(mostly), I think rationally and logically about things. I needed that person back, and quick, or being a parent was going to give me a heart attack. My six week check-up came and I spoke honestly about how I had been feeling and how I didn't feel like I was coping. I didn't feel like I was able to put my best parenting foot forward. He listened, he didn't judge, and he asked what I thought we should do to help me. I told him I wanted to go back on my medicine, he agreed, and here I am. After about a week I started to noticed a marked difference in the way I was dealing with things. I was much calmer, much clearer, and I was able to deal with the little snafus all parents go through without having a complete mental break. After a month I started to feel like my old self, the me I recognized and had been missing. I felt as though a weight had been lifted.

I am living proof that you don't have to let depression and anxiety own you. If you feel like you need a little help, don't be afraid to ask for it. Nobody is perfect, there isn't a person on the planet who doesn't need some help at some point. Don't let fear keep you from asking the questions that could lead to a happier, healthier you.

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