Where, oh where has my sanity gone? Oh where, oh where could it be??
Posted Jan 14 2009 8:55pm
Okay, it's been a LONG time since I've updated this blog. In all honesty, I had forgotten about it until recently. I went back and read through all the entries...I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more and and then I cried again and then finally started guzzling some wine. Well, that's not entirely true but I WANTED to guzzle that wine, does that count?
So how have the last 7 months treated me? Not too kindly, unfortunately. I'm not really sure where to begin but I'll try to piece it all together as best I can. Seems post-partum depression got a hold of me and I didn't even recognize myself anymore. Now, looking back, I can see that I had a touch of it after I had Cole and Bella. But I convinced myself at the time that it couldn't possibly be PPD. I made myself believe that I was just overwhelmed with the responsibility of being a 1st time mom of twins. After having Garrett and Landon, the PPD was far worse...and even in the midst of it, I still didn't believe it was PPD. Probably because it didn't hit me immediately after giving birth. It was a few months later when just getting through a 24-hr day was excruciating, it was downright painful. Oh but I was really good at putting on a smile and telling everyone I was "just fine". I'd be out shopping with the kids and people would come up to me and tell me how blessed I was and I'd smile and thank them and then cry all the way home, thinking why don't I feel blessed? Why am I not happy? Why do I feel like slitting my wrists every minute of every day? I tried to convince myself that I was overwhelmed, way in over my head yet again but somehow it felt much worse. I couldn't imagine surviving another day. The worst part of it all was the thoughts I would have that would just pop into my head at any given time for no reason. I'd be carrying the babies upstairs to their room and think "what if I dropped one down the stairs?" or I would be giving one a bath in the kitchen sink and think "what if I put one of his limbs down the drain and turn on the garbage disposal?" These thoughts were frightening and scared me, yet I never told anyone about them. I'd try to dismiss the thoughts as quickly as they came into my head, knowing I'd never actually act on those thoughts but they still scared me nonetheless. I wondered why I didn't feel that strong motherly bond with Garrett and Landon...there were times in the middle of the night that they would be crying endlessly and all I wanted to do was smother them. I would cry right along with them and then when Tim would come into their room to see what was wrong I'd start screaming at him that I wanted to die. I walked around in a rage all the time, angry at the world. I kept myself pretty hidden in the house, too afraid to socialize with friends who might ask me how I was doing and so fearful that if I opened my mouth, I'd let everything out. My only connection with the outside world during this time was a couple online message boards that I belonged to. It was easy to hide what I was going through because no one could see me, no one expected anything from me.
At some point, my mom hooked me up with my former therapist, who immediately diagnosed me with PPD as soon as I opened my mouth and told him what was going on. I think my first reaction was relief....relief that I wasn't actually going crazy, relief that finally there was a reason for how I was feeling. He urged me to contact my dr for anti-depressants and continue therapy with him. I did contact my dr and filled my scrip for anti-depressants but for some reason I kept telling myself that I could get through this without the use of meds. I was scared of the meds for some reason. But things were spiraling out of control quickly....most of the time I was in a rage over the littlest things and then other times I'd just start crying for no apparent reason. I remember one time I was fixing dinner, just standing in the kitchen stirring the spaghetti boiling in the pot and I could hear all the kids in the family room. Tim was playing with them but the noise was getting to me and I ended up bursting into tears, running up the stairs and planting myself on the floor of our bathroom where I laid for the next hour, wishing there was some magical way I could disintegrate into a cloud of dust and be sucked up into the air vent on the ceiling. Also, during this time, I had convinced myself that Tim was part of my problem, that I didn't love him anymore and I should probably just divorce him. But everytime I tried to plan things out in my head, I knew I couldn't make a realistic plan and that lead me to feeling trapped. Then I started having anxiety attacks and all I could think of was to run away...seriously, just pack my bags one day and get the hell out of here.
From there, I decided I need to start the meds. I had to let go of the belief that I could do this on my own. I knew I would end up hurting myself, or worse, hurting the kids if I didn't do something to help myself. Or I would actually run away and never come back. My therapist said it would take about 4-6 weeks for me to really feel a difference from the meds and in the meantime, I started taking Omega 3's since I had heard that there have been studies showing that Omega 3's can help with depression.
I had been suffering from horrible insomnia. It was so ironic...the babies were finally sleeping through the night but I wasn't. I was in a constant state of alert, always thinking, always planning, always on alert. My mind just wouldn't stop running, 24 hours a day. And it didn't help that Bella still had the habit of crawling into bed with us in the middle of the night. So after being awake for a good 5 hours....tossing, turning, thinking, planning....I decided I was gonna get up in the morning and wait for Tim to take Cole and Bella to preschool and while he was gone, I'd pack my bags and put them in the car, so he wouldn't be aware of it. I had no idea where I was gonna go...just figured I'd get in the car and just drive until I felt like stopping. I knew I had a dr's appt that day so my plan was to have Tim keep an eye on the babies while he worked at home and I simply just wouldn't return home. I knew he'd be worried but I didn't care. But my plans backfired on me....I was so tired and irritable that when I went to change Garrett at some point that morning, he was crying....no, actually he was screaming bloody murder. I couldn't take it anymore and next thing I knew I was yelling at him, screaming "shut up, shut up, shut up...will you please shut up?"....and the more I yelled at him, the more he screamed. Then I put my hand over his mouth and yelled even louder "please shut up...I can't take this anymore". Tim came flying in out of nowhere and I said to him "I can't do this anymore...I just want to die" and he said "get out...just leave". And I did....
Of course I ended up coming home that night.....and just continued to take my meds and go to therapy and pray with each passing day that I'd feel better. And pretty soon the good days outnumbered the bad days. I have had a few setbacks here and there but thankfully I'm no longer completely irrational when it happens. I don't want to go flying out the door in a rage, threatening to kill myself or anyone who gets in my way anymore. I still can't believe I let myself get to that point...I can't believe I was so afraid to get help. It's so easy to feel so alone and isolated when suffering from PPD...you think no one could possibly understand how you feel, especially because you don't even understand yourself why you feel the way you do. You just know you're not yourself.
I remember while I was in the midst of the worst part of my PPD, reading an article online about a woman who jumped to her death from an apartment building a couple months after having her baby. The scary part is that I immediately thought how brave she was to actually act on her feelings, I envied her that she had the guts to do it. I wondered what went through her mind as she jumped. All I could do was be relieved for her that she was no longer suffering. How sad is that??? Now I feel completely ashamed for feeling the way I did...my heart breaks for what her family must have gone through. Now, with my rational sense of mind, I can see how devastating it must have been her family....and I totally understand the pain she felt and what would cause her to throw herself out a window. I get it....I understand it....at the time, I wished I had the guts to do it...plain and simple.
In thinking I was alone, I realized I wasn't....I managed to find a book one day called Postpartum Depression for Dummies written by Dr Shoshanna Bennett. Anyone suffering from PPD needs to read this book....it touched my heart and helped me to understand that there are SO many women suffering from PPD. I mean, there it was, right there in print everything I was feeling and it made sense, finally something made sense. That book got me through an especially rough day, on the day I found it. It was one of those days where I was feeling extremely overwhelmed, ready to crumble and I grabbed my purse and my keys and told Tim "I'm outta here" and I drove off....the poor guy had no clue where I was going or when I was coming back but I didn't care. I just needed to get out, I needed to hear my own thoughts. I honestly wanted to find the nearest cliff and just drive off of it. But instead I drove to Borders and stumbled upon the book and practically cried while I read it. I sent an e-mail to Dr Bennett after that, thanking her for the book and telling her how much it meant to me.
Okay, so enough of that....I'm doing much better...I'm starting to feel like the old "me" again. It's such a huge relief. I'm enjoying being with my kids, I'm enjoying life again. Unfortunately, though, our marriage has suffered a great deal and now we go to therapy sessions together to repair the damage. Not all the problems stem from my PPD but the PPD didn't help an already stressed and miserably failing marriage. But Tim and I are on the same page again and dedicated to do whatever it takes to make this work, esp for the sake of our kids who deserve that.
This is such a long post...I didn't mean for it to be but it's been months since I've updated so I wanted to put down everything that has happened in the last 7 months. Tomorrow when/if I get time, I'll update on everything going on with the kids and post pics!