April 24, 2012

Reset/ The Dog Days

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}

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For awhile I limped along. There were better days and some that were indescribably bad. There were bouts of extreme depression and even worse ones of anxiety. Nights when I lay in bed with every muscle so tense I felt like the slightest touch would literally shatter me into a million tiny shards.

And still I didn't sing. I didn't sing in the car, not to my daughter, not to myself or in praise. It was as if I was an emotional mute. My song was silenced and I felt like I might never get it back. I barely turned on the radio in my car and when I did I NEVER stopped on the Christian station. Still so angry with God, still so hurt over all that had been taken from me.

Until one day when I heard a song that reminded me of how happy used to feel. It was upbeat and it had tamborines or some other instrument that made happy noises. I kind of bobbed along and slightly smiled to myself. After so much time not using it my smile felt rusty and unused, but it was still there. A few days later it came on again. I liked it enough to use the shazaam app on my phone and found out it was a song by a band called Florence and the Machine. Its name was "Dog Days are Over", and it became my anthem of happiness. I downloaded it and burned a CD that I played over and over again. When I sang that song I felt happier, like I wasn't so much in a haze so I kept it on a lot.

A friend and sorority sister who fought and beat PPD once told me to find a way to "reset" my emotions. Driving with the windows down and blasting this song as loudly as I could was my way to reset my emotions. It was like being in a desert and finally getting a cool glass of water, like being on the outside looking in, wishing for what everyone else already has and finally getting a little taste.

Happiness, hit her like a train on a track
Coming towards her, stuck still no turning back
She hid around corners and she hid under beds
She killed it with kisses and from it she fled
With every bubble she sank with a drink
And washed it away down the kitchen sink.
The dog days are over. The dog days are done.

A place I could always count on being happy when so many of my places were so unhappy. Even if it was only brief moments of time those moments sustained me and sometimes carried me through when nothing else could.

*Lyrics courtesy of Florence and the Machine*

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Part Three Tomorrow.