This is going to be a very personal post, and the reason I haven’t posted this yet is because I honestly didn’t know if I wanted to. BUT. My niche on here is to be honest and real, and what’s more real than sharing some of your most vulnerable times? It’s long I know.
The whole reason why I started this blog in the first place was because I believed I had Postpartum Anxiety. I needed an outlet to gather my thoughts, as I thought I was going legitimately crazy.
Postpartum depression/anxiety is easy to figure out. It generally has a lot to do with being a new mom and the care for your child and the feelings you get towards it (There are many articles on this – so if you want exact info just google it). The baby blues is also another easy one. This really just kind of stems from the lack of sleep you get… and with anyone who hasn’t been able to sleep in a full week… o two, you get cranky, irritable, and extremely emotional. Basically ladies.. your hormones are completely FUCKED – hang in there! Baby blues go away after a couple of weeks… but if you think you have postpartum depression or anxiety – please talk to your Dr. A simple medication will help ease those feelings and I promise you it will get better.
Ok – so what if your thoughts and feelings have absolutely nothing to do with your baby or the role of being a new mom? What do you do?
The first couple of weeks after having Mr. Cheeks I had typical baby blues… I was tired as all hell and just really irritable. Nothing too crazy there.. I was prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for was the wave of overbearing emotions that I would feel after giving birth. Some good, and some bad.
First, I was NOT ready to feel the overwhelming love. I had so much love for Mr. Cheeks, it literally scared the hell out of me. People will tell you time and time again when you are pregnant how that love is just indescribable and amazing. I was looking forward to feeling that. I was excited. But after I experienced it – it was not amazing…it was scary.
I transformed into this animalistic protector. I remember one of our first outings we went to a craft fair thing and I was gripping the stroller with all of my might. Brandon took over to let me go taste some goodies and when I turned back they were out of my sight. Those feelings….. were unreal. Extreme fear. I was the most scared in that 2 seconds then I think I have ever been in my life. I think for 2 and a half months straight I lived in fear. Fear of death. Fear off love. Fear of my mind..
After 6 weeks, I finally returned to work. I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I love working and it was easy for me to shut my brain off and was able to surround myself with my friends and laugh again.
Shortly after returning to work, I had a weekend where I wouldn’t stop bleeding and ended up in the ER. I received probably the worst pelvic exam I had ever had in my life by a male Dr. who had absolutely no business shoving any type of contraption into my vag. After those 5 minutes of uncomfortable shock… my world literally turned upside down.
My mind went into complete….meltdown….breakdown…..I cant event describe to you the month after. I started having playbacks in my mind of situations that I couldn’t ever remember…. people…places…..situations… it was like movies were playing in my mind and I couldn’t figure out what was happening. I tried to shut them off. I meditated and prayed.. I did everything I could to just stop these small.. horrific memory clips involving me…. “are they memories? No, they couldn’t be! That never happened to me… I don’t remember that!”.. . I was getting so angry and sinking deeper and deeper into a dark hole… it scared me. I just wanted to scream.. at everyone. I researched postpartum anxiety and depression… all the information was about the child and caring for him. I didn’t want to kill my child.. I loved him. If anything he calmed my episodes. I called my Dr. and she had given me Zoloft to help with everything. It wasn’t strong enough to stop my mind. At this point….my crazy level was at an extreme I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. Talking with Brandon now – he said he was scared by how I was acting..it got to a point where he feared I was going to kill myself (do not fear – I have never in my life ever thought about killing myself – this was just how off I was).
The moment I knew I needed to seek therapy was the day Brandon and I were running errands. Brandon was telling me about his day… nothing crazy… But my anger was boiling… to an extreme where I was trying to calm myself down. All I wanted to do was scream. Literally just scream at him to stop talking.. or as my mind said “SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!” I was raged.. not annoyed.. raged. I scared myself. I didn’t say one word to Brandon the rest of the night in fear that I was just going to snap. When we finally went to bed, I got online and looked for a therapist… and told Brandon, “I need to get some help. I cant describe to you what’s going on, but I’m not Ok.”
I was able to get into the therapist the following week, and I am so glad I did. I explained to him everything… the clips playing over and over in my head, the anger, the fear… how none of what I am feeling has anything to do with my child or parenting. And more importantly… how I felt like I was going crazy.
Well… it turns out my sudden turn is very common.. and very normal…… for those who have PTSD. ‘PTSD? AAAWhat? Noooooo. How could I have PTSD?’ As it turns out, my horrible cervical exam had triggered memories of a childhood trauma that I had blocked completely out of my memory. The clips were real…. the feelings were normal.. and I…was not going crazy. I had spent over 10 years perfecting the art of emotionally shutting off and shutting down…. My defense mechanism is quite easy – No feelings = no hurt.
Two things happened after Mr. Cheeks was born. 1. Emotionally blocking and shutting down my emotions caused a sudden flood of emotion when I first saw Mr. Cheeks. I describe it as this – There is a wall that I had built.. a strong wall…holding in water of emotions.. every now and again there is a leak that I patch up very quickly before anything can really leak out. I saw my child for the first time…. and the floodgates opened. And so I am left drowning in 20 years of emotions, feelings, and memories that I am now left to deal with all at once.
2. PTSD Trigger that made me go absolutely nuts.
Sometimes its not postpartum depression. Sometimes we can experience something totally different. I wanted to share this for the women who have or are going through the same thing as I am. Postpartum depression in itself is very hard for women to admit having, and when it comes to situations like mine I’m sure it’s even harder to admit. If you are reading this and have a similar story.. please please seek therapy. Don’t try and be the hero and think you can deal with it yourself. It was the best decision I have ever made. Not only did it help me overcome this very hard obstacle, but it has made me realize a lot of other things I need to work on. And quite frankly.. at this very moment I am the happiest I have ever been.