PPD…it’s ugly and it’s real

Hi. I’m Marisa. And I have Postpartum Depression. I also have Postpartum Anxiety and OCD. Yes, those last 2 are real too. Who knew? I cry uncontrollably and for no apparent reason. I snap into nasty moods with intense irritability, anger and rage. Most days, I think I am inadequate, unable to mother my children, and want to run away. I hate my body and can’t stand looking at myself. I have a hard time eating, but when I do it’s crap. I am hopeless and despondent. I feel like this can’t possibly be my life—parenting and marriage isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. I can’t stop cleaning, rearranging, straightening, or purging stuff from the house. I do dishes, put stuff away, and clean bottles and wash baby clothes incessantly. The house can never be clean or tidy enough. I don’t sleep well because all I do is worry. I feel pity for both of my children and my husband because they have to live with me. I have panic attacks where my heart races and I am rendered immobile. I can’t handle cooking dinner and watching over my 4 year old at the same time. Multi-tasking is becoming overwhelmingly difficult for this once overachiever. I’m forgetful. I get dizzy a lot. I don’t know how to relax anymore. Things that bring me joy are becoming distant memories. I worry that something bad will happen to both of my girls or myself. I feel like I should be able to snap out of this, but I can’t. I don’t know how to feel better and it’s getting worse. And most of all, I am afraid that if I tell anyone they will tell me that I’m full of shit, seeking attention or will just judge me harshly. They’ll say I’m a bad mother.  {I also know none of this is true, but that doesn’t just make it all go away or stop it in its tracks.  PPD is a tough, persistent bitch bully.}

I knew something was wrong on the Sunday before Christmas. I was baking my last batch of cookies—thumbprints. My absolute favorite. I pulled out the cookie sheet to find a big mess of 12 cookies all melted into one. And boy was I mad. And not just mad. I was enraged. I cried; I slammed shit. And then I pouted and declared that holiday baking was over. From that moment on, my night was ruined and I didn’t snap out of my funk until the next morning.
Then Tuesday rolled around. It was about 5:45 am and my husband was getting ready for work. I was partially awake, but enjoying the last 15 minutes of quiet before my alarm would go off. In walked Derek. He leaned over Mia’s bassinette and re-arranged her. He scooted her down from the Boppy and moved her around. Then he left the room. Mia woke up, started fussing, and she didn’t want to go back to sleep. Really? Derek woke her up? What the frig! She would need a bottle and I was mad. Raging mad. I stormed out of the bedroom and got in his face. “Why did you mess with her? She was asleep?” He said it was because her neck was all contorted and she looked uncomfortable. “Well thanks a lot. She’s awake for the rest of the morning now,” I said. I stormed off with bottle in hand and left Derek in the wake of my anger.

My thoughts went crazy as I fed Mia that bottle:
It must be nice to be able to get ready for work with no interruptions. It must be awesome to take a shower in the morning and not have to take it the night before and go to work in your own sleep sweat. What is it like to watch the news and eat breakfast before work? I don’t know because I’m getting 3 people ready before I leave. He has no idea of what sacrifice is, does he? When do I get to take my time and not be dead last for once? I’m so sick of his selfish shitty-ness. Why doesn’t he ever think of me and how his actions might affect me? Why did I have to plan all the mailing of the gifts and the meal and the stuff for the kids? When will he friggin’ care? Yeah, maybe I would have re-positioned her too. But he’s still a jerk. I am so mad I want to bash in his closet door with a baseball bat. Wait. Whoa. Stop. Something is wrong.

And so I cried. Again. All the way to work. I cried because I knew. Oh dear God, it got me. PPD claimed me.
I got to work and started Googling right away. I started to read one article and I knew less than halfway through. Postpartum depression had lurked its way inside of me and was here to stay for a little while. PPD mixed with a little postpartum anxiety and OCD. Fucking fabulous. I picked up my phone and numbly dialed my doctor’s office. “Hi, I need to move up my birth control consultation appointment. This can’t wait until the 15th. I need to talk to my doctor. I think I have postpartum issues. Depression.” I couldn’t believe I was saying those words. Tears rolled down my face as she spoke and confirmed an appointment for Jan 5.
The next call was to my husband. Well, I texted him because if I called him, I’d start sobbing. “I’m sorry I’m such a mess. I think I have postpartum. I’m sorry you have to put up with me.” I sent him the link to the article I’d been reading. He read it and concurred. He told me that I had nothing to be sorry for and that I will be ok. We will all be ok. Right now, I’m not so sure that we’ll be ok, but deep down I know that we will be.
Since I made the startling revelation, it’s been one of the longest weeks of my life. I am mentally beat down. I’ve had really low days of crying, intense agitation, malaise, and creepy thoughts. I’ve had other days where my mood has been generally ok, but the OCD was out of control and completely overran me. I’ve had days of depression and OCD combined, but both less intense than days when it’s just one or the other. It’s hard to tell how the days will be, but I can usually feel myself falling into one “personality” or the other. One morning, Mia spit up on me and I could almost feel the switch flip—I became unhappy and depressed and it lasted for several hours.
My husband has been surprisingly supportive. I shouldn’t be surprised because he’s a good man. I guess I just thought he’d judge me harshly too. He’s looked online and read articles about PPD and anxiety, its causes, its cures, and how to be the supportive spouse. When I realized he had done so much research and has empathy for me, I hugged him and told him I loved him. He gravely whispered, “Just please don’t leave…or worse.” He’s worried about me and that sucks. Of course, I cried. The funny thing is that as much as I feel I am failing as a mother and a wife, I am still rational enough to not run away or hurt myself or anything crazy like that. Knowing that he is on my side keeps me going every day. For the last 2 days, he has been pushing me along and has helped me get through the darkness. Derek helped me to relax by taking over almost 100% of the parental duties. We also went to the park, I went to the gym, and we went to the beach. I guess exercise and sunlight help with the PPD. Who knew? I never researched what could help because I’ve been too busy basking in my own misery. How sad is that? Seems like I should have done that first. I guess a healthy mind would have figured that one out.
The past 2 days have been good mental days and I have put together a fitness and diet plan. Today was the start of it and it kicked my ass, but I am proud that I got through it. I hope that I can stick to it—even on the bad days. But I can see a light. I have the support at home that I need and I am going to seek professional help. It can only get better right? I’ve been through some very dark days, and will probably have more. But like they say, it’s always darkest before the dawn.
I feel no shame or embarrassment anymore and I guess that’s why I chose to share this part of my journey with you. Maybe some of you reading this have felt some or all of this, but didn’t do anything about it for whatever reason. It’s nice to know that we’re not alone. You’re not alone, just as I am not alone. For crying out loud, we are wonder women! We incubated for 9 months, sacrificed every bit of ourselves for our babies while they grew inside of us, and then passed life through our bodies and into the world. We are amazing. And this one little hiccup in our giddy-up….yeah, we got this. We have to because we’re mothers. I’m Marisa and I have PPD and I’m gonna be ok someday soon.

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4 responses to “PPD…it’s ugly and it’s real

  1. Feelings of anger, depression, and despair creep into our lives without us even knowing it. Then we wake up one day and realize that it’s there and has taken over our lives. I commend you. You are a mother, a wife, and you work too! That is allot. I can barely take care of myself sometimes. You are amazing. Even if you don’t feel like it. You are.

  2. Marisa you are not alone. Many of us are out here. You are a barefaced blogger mom who is reaching out. You are brave, healthy, honest, dutiful, loving, hard working, and much more. I’ve seen you in action. I just didn’t read your sadness well enough. It was staring me in the face and I didn’t see it. You are teaching me what to look for. I’m wanting to be there with you again and helping. Knowing what I only felt a tip of is understandable now. You are taking the right action. D is perfect for you at this time. I love you. You are being the best mom wife business woman you can be right now. It will get better too. I understand all the anxiety . I’ve been there. I also trip up back into it. With so much love Marisa

    Sent from my my iPhone

    >

    • Thank you 🙂 Please don’t beat yourself up for not seeing it when you were here. I had no idea myself. I thought I was just overwhelmed because it was still so new and Derek was gone. I think that is what jump started it though. Anyway, I know this will pass. As each day passes, I am beginning to feel better and I think getting to the doctor next week will be perfect timing.
      Love you and thank you for your kind words 🙂

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