April 25, 2012

Fighter/ I Came to Win

When I orginally wrote here about being diagnosed with and surviving post-partum depression and anxiety I chose not to share my story. Since that day I have shared bits and pieces of what my life was like during that time. It's hard for me to write about it; it's hard for me to share because that time of my life was the darkest it's ever been. It was awful and even being recovered and off meds it's hard to relate that experience to others because I can still barely relate to what happened in those months myself. However as I approach the one year aniversary of my diagnosis, it is time I share these stories because they are not anything to be ashamed of; they are a part of who we are and who we are is beautiful.

This is a result of over fifteen posts that I started, stopped, edited to pieces and eventually abandoned. I've managed to make what I think is a fairly accurate account of those months and broken it down. It's a difficult story to tell not just because PPD/A is a stealer of happiness but because it's many faceted, convoluted and confusing. Most of these posts will relate to music. Music has always been where I have found solace and a way to express joy that seems inexpressable Please stick with me.

Part One: {HERE}
Part Two: {HERE}

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Even as feelings of happiness and normalcy started to break through, I was still stuggling. There were hard days and even more difficult nights. In additions to crippling depression and anxiety I was dealing with the after effects of the worst days. The guilt. The guilt was overwhelming and astonishing. What kind of monster yells at a new born? What kind of mother tells her helpless baby to shut up?

What kind of mother contemplates giving her child away or leaving?

The brief moments of happy I felt were generally quickly dispered by feelings of guilt, self doubt and disappointment.

Somewhere in the midst of all of this confusion, sadness and happiness I, very abruptly, went off my meds. If you are familiar with SSRIs (Selective Seratonin Reuptake Inhibitor) at all, you know that is never a good idea. They were making me physically miserable though. They made me sleepy and it felt like I had a huge swollen very painful lump in my throat that I couldn't swallow down.

After that I spiraled down again. Things with me became worse, and the situation became unbearable. When my husband found out what I had done he was livid with me. After that he was hypervigilant; watching me like a hawk to make sure I took that little pill every night before bed. A reluctant patient, surely, but I took my medicine like a good girl.

Then one day it dawned on me. I could stay down here in this mucky terrible dark place and miss out on my daughter growing up or I could stand up and fight for our future together. It wasn't my choice to have this happen to me, but it was my choice to be tough enough to be beat it or to lie down and give in.

Luckily, my parents didn't raise a quitter; I was raised to be a fighter. My family and I were meant to shine brighter than this, and it didn't work without me in it. So, I gathered every future happy moment I could imagine and bundled them together and put them in my corner. When I needed strength to not cry, to beat back an anxiety attack, to make it through one more day I pulled out that bundle and sifted through all those moments I wanted to enjoy. I turned them over in my mind like gold coins. I clutched them to me for support and spread them over me like armor.

I became a warrior for my mental health. I wouldn't go down without a fight because my family's future was too important.

I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive
I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise, to fly.


And for the first time I looked at my child, my beautiful daughter and fell in love.

*Lyrics courtsey of Nicki Minaj & Rhianna*

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Part Four Tomorrow.