Tuesday, August 26, 2008

:: :: In Which I Complain About How Much Postpartum Depression Sucks :: ::

Oh, Friends. I’m in a way today. Not, like, in a way like people say when they’re pregnant or whatever. What is that saying? In a family way? Well I’m not in a family way. I’m in a disheveled, confused, anxious mess of a way. I’m feeling battered and torn. I’m feeling tossed around. I’m feeling frustrated for feeling this way. Twelve steppers would probably call this a relapse. I’m a mess again and keep finding myself thinking, again, “I want my mommy.”

My doctor upped my Zoloft dosage today. Great. Soon I’ll be taking so much Zoloft I might actually fly away like a hotair balloon fueled by Zoloft and neurotransmitters. Only with the way I’m feeling now, I won’t even enjoy the flight. I’ll probably get stuck in a storm and be wet and cold and shaky. It’ll be awesome.

Today I found a picture in a magazine that immediately made me go, “Yeah. That’s me.” The shock of recognition was so strong I laughed and smiled and immediately cut it out and saved it. I’d just been writing in my journal about how little I know myself. Am I type A or type B? Am I, generally and notwithstanding the last few months, a relaxed or a tense person? Do I want to wear a watch? Carry a purse? Wear hiking boots in winter? What do I like?

Seeing this picture, which maybe I’ll remember to scan in for you so you can see it, it made me think, “I’ll get this. I’ll figure this out. I’ll get to know me better than anyone knows me.”

And then I got home and completely freaked out. Called Brian twice in ten minutes freaking out. He rushed home so I could take my Xanax and lie in the crunchy brown grass and watch these hyper little birds rushing around me. All I could think lying there is this:

I have the capacity to get better. It’s there in me. Only I’m totally overwhelmed by the process of getting better. I don’t know how to do it inside this particular life. I don’t know how to do it with a little boy running around (he’s practically running now, it’s crazy!) and a kitchen table piled with things that don’t fit anywhere else and a husband who desperately needs me to pitch in around here already. I don’t know how to do it without immersing myself in it completely.

That not knowing is enough in itself to keep me freaking out, I suppose. That along with all the other things and those yucky stress hormones flooding my neural synapses. It’s enough to make me lie in the grass watching hyper birds and thinking how much they resemble my insides lately. And how tiring their lives must be.

Right now my life is so simple. So easy, on paper. My boy is in daycare most days and my husband is making his meals in advance the night before. I do the groceries and laundry and little else. I’m not working on my dissertation and not yet working a job. I have all day most weekdays to heal. To meet myself. To discover who I am. To get better. And yet all I sit here thinking is that it’s not enough. I need more space, more time, more freedom. I need to be less responsible to others.

One of the hallmarks of postpartum depression is feeling dread around your child. I don’t know about other women with PPD, but I think a big part of this for me is the overwhelming feeling that I need someone to take care of me — that I need to take special care of myself — and here’s this little being who needs me to take care of him. It’s almost like I resent the amount of energy I have to spend on him because it’s less energy I get to spend on me.

I feel so thankful that I had the first 8 or 9 months to love my baby without dread, because it makes loving him now that much easier. We have this special bond that I really appreciate. That I need. That I drink in like a hummingbird drinks in nectar. And yet it’s not an energizing bond. It doesn’t fill me with the time and the capacity to do what I need to do to get better. And that sucks.

Postpartum depression totally sucks.

There was an error in this gadget