Tania's Words

here is an empty shell- a resonant shadow- waiting

Archive for postpardum depression

Another Day, Another Diagnosis.

In an effort to be the most honest and candid I can be, this blog will be very personal. There are somethings that I won’t share, because I don’t want to trigger others. As long as I think I have a voice that can be useful, I’m willing to share my experiences and stories with you.

I’ve said I knew soon after having Lucas that something was wrong. But I thought it was just the baby blues. This summer was hard- my mother was in the hospital for five weeks and I was distracted. I noticed, during that time, that I didn’t miss being with Lucas the way I missed Parker at that age. Being away from Parker for a few hours felt like torture. When I didn’t feel that for Luke, I thought it was exhaustion and stress and the fact that my focus was on my mother, who was so very ill.

After things settled down, I needed time to decompress and really start processing what had happened and how scary it had all been. I know that I started to have frightening thoughts around this time, and heightened anxiety, but I was ignoring them, explaining them away.

Pretty soon a day couldn’t go by without having thoughts of hurting myself. But I ignored them or told myself I was exaggerating the situation.

Meanwhile, inside our house, life was slowly unraveling. I could barely get myself to get up to do laundry, cook, play with the kids. After a while, most of my day was spent on the couch, just trying to distract myself from how miserable and empty and overwhelmed I was.

And then one day, I’d had enough. I got the name of a highly recommended therapist. I thought, well, maybe I’m a little depressed. I am excellent at hiding how I really feel, so Dan was understandably a little confused. I sat on that therapists phone number for over a month before I finally decided to call.

Things snowballed pretty quickly after that. I was put on Prozac for major depression (even I had no idea how depressed I was. Seeing yourself check of one yes after another is quiet the wakeup call). I was seeing a therapist and a phsychiatrist. There was some question of whether or not I had a mood disorder.

Going on the Prozac made things horrifically worse. I was agitated and frightened. I wanted to hurt myself all the time. I would swing from crushing depression to periods of mania. One time I stayed away for 3 days straight cleaning my house. I felt amazing and on top of the world.

So I was diagnosed as Rapid Cycling Bipolar. They added Abilify to my meds. Every few weeks my Prozac would get increased because my depression was just getting worse and worse. Then I’d have more swings and manic behavior and they’d increase the Abilify.

Over time, the depression became such a problem that Dan was spending more time at home than at work. My sister and friends, my mother in law were all constantly checking in, offering help. Help I didn’t know how to ask for. Because the biggest cause of anxiety and depression were my children. There were days I could cry because I could not even look at them. When the thought of having to spend the day alone, in charge of their care, seemed overwhelming and impossible. I didn’t even feel like I could take care of myself.

It was at this time that thoughts of hurting myself peaked, which was really very frightening. So I talked to my therapist and my psychiatrist, who recommended I go in for inpatient treatment at the hospital. Which is an experience that deserves a blog of it’s own.

Needless to say, at the hospital I received another diagnosis: Clinical Depression. Here and there for months people had been throwing around the idea that I also had Postpardum depression as well. I’m still not sure how that works. I’ve been depressed before I had kids, so maybe that part is the Clinical Depression and right now it’s a postpardum thing? I’m still learning. At any rate, I was taken off of the Prozac and Abilify and put onto Celexa.

Which is neither here nor there. Because Monday I started Outpatient treatment.  6 hours a day of therapy which is intense and exhausting.

Today I met with a Psychiatrist/Psychologist who works with the practice. He thinks I have Postpardum Depression and Borderline Personality Disorder. For the third time since this started, I have different meds; Zoloft and Lamictal, in case you were wondering.

At this point, I am just along for the ride, I figure. I am starting to slowly research what all these labels mean, what they mean for me, and what I can do. Writing about these things is good. For me. To admit to feelings I normally would ignore or repress or wish away. Writing has always been so therapeutic for me.  You guys, unfortunately, are just along for the ride.

So it’s another day and another diagnosis. I’m slowling learning that this isn’t something I can control. It’s not my fault. All I can do is hold on until it gets better. Which I am promised it will.

On Postpardum Depression

You might have noticed that I’ve been absent for a while.  It started with my pregnancy; morning sickness wrecks havoc on the best laid plans, always. Then I had my son and was understandably tired.

But it’s more than that.

When my first son was born, I felt the most incredible rush of emotions. It’s hard to describe, the sense that suddenly everything is right. That you are exactly where you need to be. To understand finally, the depth and width of capacity for love that a human can experience.  The moment I heard Parker cry for the first time was the most profound experience of my life.

I worried constantly through my second pregnancy. How would I be able to love another person the way I loved Parker? Was I capable? I wondered if it would feel like dividing my love and grieved the idea that I might have to give up even an ounce of love I felt for Parker.  But I was reassured by other mothers. My best friend described it by explaining that it wasn’t about dividing your heart. Instead, she said, it felt like you grew a whole new heart for each child.

That sounded amazing.  I was signed up, I bought into it, I’d drunk the Kool-Aid.

Instead, the moment I heard Lucas crying I thought, I’m tired.

I tried to breast feed and felt nothing but crippling anxiety.

Our first day home from the hospital I stood, petrified in our family room, crying. Trying to assure my very worried husband that I was okay, but something was wrong. I was wrong. Everything felt off.

Where was that rush of love, that incredible feeling? That instant bond and the knowledge that this was what I was meant to do, who I was meant to be. Having Parker felt like finally finding my calling, motherhood fitting over me like a second skin. Only with Lucas it was like the skin was torn and shrunken, it’s warped weave making me vulnerable. And empty.

It’s been 9 months since I’ve had Lucas and for the first time, this week I was able to say, I have Postpardum Depression.

So I hope you don’t mind, because that is what this blog is going to be about for the time being.  Because we hear about it, we know about it. Moms say they’ve had it, but the reality of this kind of depression is like a dirty little secret. And no one wants to be the woman to admit, I feel nothing for my children. I know I love them, deep inside, somewhere I can’t feel it.  What kind of mother feels that way?

This one.