Wednesday, March 8, 2017

If I'm being honest

I'm not ok.  I'm not.

I've avoided talking about this with anyone because I everyone in my life has either abandoned me, or if they haven't, they've made me feel like I'm somehow a burden when I actually need someone, so I've been white knuckling it, and this is my only safe space.......or, at least as safe as I can get since it, too, has caused problems when I've let a select few people in, but since it's as safe as I can get, I'm here.

I'm not ok.

I have spent the last two years battling a lot of things that I've been burying and pretending didn't matter, and pretending weren't a problem, but lately I've been reading a lot of stuff, and I'm realizing that everything I've been burying is cropping up when people talk about their issues and it's becoming apparent that I've been in the same boat as them. For example, this week's essay by Chrissy Tiegan hit home.  Sections like this:

"I had never, ever—in my whole entire life—had one person say to me: “I have postpartum depression.” Growing up in the nineties, I associated postpartum depression with Susan Smith [a woman now serving life in prison for killing her two sons; her lawyer argued that she suffered from a long history of depression], with people who didn’t like their babies or felt like they had to harm their children. I didn’t have anything remotely close to those feelings. I looked at Luna every day, amazed by her. So I didn’t think I had it."

So I started doing some digging, and apparently undiagnosed PPD can last up to three years.  And suddenly, so many things started to fall into place.  Some of the crazy I was feeling, some of the struggles I had early on, and have continued to have.  I started looking up symptoms and while not all applied, there were some that just......damn. 

  • You feel guilty because you believe you should be handling new motherhood better than this. You feel like your baby deserves better. You worry whether your baby can tell that you feel so bad, or that you are crying so much, or that you don’t feel the happiness or connection that you thought you would. You may wonder whether your baby would be better off without you.
  • You don’t feel bonded to your baby. You’re not having that mythical mommy bliss that you see on TV or read about in magazines. Not everyone with postpartum depression feels this way, but many do.
  • You feel irritated or angry. You have no patience. Everything annoys you. You feel resentment toward your baby, or your partner, or your friends who don’t have babies. You feel out-of-control rage.
  • You feel hopeless, like this situation will never ever get better. You feel weak and defective, like a failure.
  • You feel disconnected. You feel strangely apart from everyone for some reason, like there’s an invisible wall between you and the rest of the world.
  • Maybe you’re doing everything right. You are exercising. You are taking your vitamins. You have a healthy spirituality. You do yoga. You’re thinking “Why can’t I just get over this?” You feel like you should be able to snap out of it, but you can’t.
  • You know something is wrong. You may not know you have a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder, but you know the way you are feeling is NOT right. You think you’ve “gone crazy.”
  • You are afraid that this is your new reality and that you’ve lost the “old you” forever.
  • You are afraid that if you reach out for help people will judge you. Or that your baby will be taken away.
Check.  Check.  Check.  Check.  It's much of my life has been this, for two solid years. 

And then I think about how hard it's been, because I've been doing it solo.  Because while I spent several months feeling like a crazy person and playing desperate person attempting to break through that invisible wall between me and the rest of the world, that became too much for some people, and in the time I most needed people in my life, they all left.  And it's stayed that way.  And I haven't had anyone to talk to.  I haven't had anyone to understand any of this.  I haven't had......anyone.  I've been so incredibly focused on putting up this fa├žade of a person who has everything under control, and who was easing into all of this without much struggle, and it was forcing me to just bury everything.  But, over time, it's gotten harder to bury, and harder to pretend I'm holding shit together.  Furthermore, it's harder to actually hold my shit together.

Then, when I think about all of those items in that list that I've been fighting for so long, and I couple it with people telling me my daughter deserves better, or that my daughter deserves to know she's loved and cared about but I don't adequately do that, or what I'd do if I was a good parent, it's sort of shocking that I haven't completely lost my shit before now.  But I've held it together through all of that too.  Through the times when I needed people to support me, and they chose to do harm instead.  Though, since it has never felt really safe to fully discuss this with anyone around me, maybe it's not their fault.

At this point, I'm getting to where I just don't care about anything, at least not in a way I should.  I don't really care about keeping the house as clean as I used to.  I don't care about hosting gatherings.  I don't care about going to gatherings.  I'm physically exhausted all the time.  Most nights I just want to go home, curl up on the couch and sleep.  I don't necessarily want to play with my kid.  Everything feels like a chore, and everything feels like it'll take way more effort than it needs to.  And I don't care about most of it.

I don't know where I need to go from here.  My life doesn't currently have time for therapy, or help, really.  And I'm sure there are a lot of people who are going to roll their eyes and say "There is always time to take care of yourself", but those people can shut up because they don't understand how my life is structured and they don't understand how hard it is to take time.  I could probably talk to my doctor and pop some anti-depressants, but without therapy I think that's just a Band-Aid on a problem.  So, the reality is that since everything is indicating these issues can last up to three years but I hear nothing about it going on for longer, maybe I'll just wait it out. 

My knuckles are already used to being white anyway.