Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The moment I knew I had PPD

I have one specific memory that for me was the point of no return. I knew that I was depressed. Before I was released from the hospital (the second time around. I'm so cool they wanted me back for more), I'd cried that I thought I was becoming depressed and my doctor told me that I'd been through a lot (Duh, but thanks for the reassurance). We just kept hoping it was the hospital, the situation. These things would pass and get better. We all, my family and I, were trying to convince ourselves that I'd been through two major surgeries and had been in the hospital for three weeks and so of course I was depressed, of COURSE I was overly emotional, of COURSE I couldn't hold the baby for long because it hurt...and also because I didn't want to.
But there was one moment: my mom was here at our house and I was crying on the couch. I wasn't bonding with Gregory and I'm pretty sure she recognized that. I wasn't succeeding with breastfeeding and pumping was not going well. At all. She handed me the baby and the bottle of formula and said I needed to feed him. She did this from a place of love and hope and want; wanting me to bond with my new baby.
The second I held him and he started in on the bottle I started crying harder and tears were coming so fast that I couldn't see. I remember thinking to myself "I felt really horrible this morning and I didn't think I could feel worse. I was wrong. Holding this baby is pure misery".
I wanted to shout for her to take him. I wanted someone to rescue me from this horrible mess I was in but no one, and I mean no one, knew what to do or how to help me. Everyone thought that trying to make me bond would heal me or at least send me in the right direction. My family had goals for me. 5 minutes of taking care of him alone, 10 minutes of taking care of him alone (it was PURE TORTURE PEOPLE!!!).
PPD doesn't run in our family - on either side. No one that was helping us had any idea what to do. But that moment was the single moment that will forever be seared into my mind. It was the one moment I knew I was more than depressed from everything that had happened. I was in serious Postpartum Depression. I was in serious trouble.
Later that night I had a panic attack so bad I made myself sick. The panic attack came on while convincing my husband this was more than your every day depression, this was more than recovery from major surgery, this was more than physical pain... This was PPD - and later PTSD and Anxiety would be added to that diagnosis. The next day I called the psychiatrist I'd worked with 8 years ago and begged for help. I paid $500 out of pocket to see him (I clearly should have gone to Med School: $500 per hour. Sa-Weet! No wonder he's on vacation 2 weeks out of every month!) in hopes that he could find a simple answer. Klonapin anyone?? This was before I learned everything I know now, of course.
So here I am - 8 months later. Getting better but still remembering that day. I will always remember that day. But today I played with my son, I rocked him at nap time, I played with him in the bath and read him 5 books. I fed him breakfast and we laughed through lunch. That, my friends, is progress.
It does get better. It's like walking through fire and barefoot through an ice storm all at once, but it gets better. I remember when I was hopeless and feeling no need to live. Anyone would be better for my son than me. Anyone.
We somehow survived (PPD belongs to me but everyone around me experienced it) and are moving forward. Today I thought I was doing pretty good as a mom. There was a LOT of laughing going on in our house and we left the mess to prove it!

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