This is the continuation from Part 1 of my postpartum depression story. You can read that here.
Life has a way of continuing on…no matter what the circumstances are. Cause that’s how life is…it moves forward. It doesn’t wait for people…it just moves along, like the rhythm of a song. For many people, on normal days, you don’t even really think about it. You’re caught up in the hustle-bustle of life and you step to the rhythm of the beat. But for those who are suffering, those who are grieving, those who are lost…that rhythm is so hard to catch up to. Because all you wish in those dark and hard moments is for the song to stop…pause…and let you just be in that moment. But it doesn’t. It keeps moving and you are left feeling more and more hopeless and lost and confused because you cannot step to the rhythm anymore.
The month of August continued on like this for me. Most days I was just too tired and mindless to really think about how I was feeling. But the foggy moments started becoming a regular occurrence for me. The overwhelming sadness was starting to overtake many of my days…where many regular, everyday tasks started to feel like an insurmountable problem that I just couldn’t deal with.
But the foggy moments started becoming a regular occurrence for me. The overwhelming sadness was starting to overtake many of my days.
It was the day of my son’s 3rd birthday party. I worked like crazy making sure every detail was perfect (and it was!). We had many of our friends over. Laughter filled the air as the kids raced up and down the stairs in their train boxes. It was chaos everywhere you looked and that’s exactly how I love seeing my home when it’s filled with friends and their kids…toys everywhere, an abundance of food being consumed and everyone having a great time! The party wrapped up and we said all our goodbyes. It was time to start cleaning and just like we do after EVERY event, we recap how it went and debate on what we loved most! But this time was different. As my family and I talked while we cleaned, I was very aware that I felt differently than I ever had after any event I had done. You see, usually, there is a great feeling of accomplishment after a party. I’ve dreamt, planned and executed the event just the way I wanted to. I’ve flexed my creative muscle and it always feels great and very rewarding. But for some reason, after that birthday party, I didn’t feel that way. Don’t get me wrong…it wasn’t because the party or the guests weren’t fabulous. Quite contrary, it was an awesome time gathering with our friends, celebrating our precious son. But I felt different. I felt sad. My heart didn’t overflow like it usually did after hanging out with friends and family. This wasn’t right.
Something was wrong.
I SHOULD feel good, I thought.
I SHOULD be happy with how that turned out.
I SHOULD be so thankful that God has blessed our family with such amazing friends.
Why don’t I FEEL that? Why do feel sad? What’s wrong with me?
The song of our lives continued on, seeming to pick up the tempo at a rapid pace as our oldest daughter was getting ready to begin Junior Kindergarten. Although I had known that day was coming for awhile, there was something about the eminent start of school that threw me into an absolute panic. I had read what felt like a million articles on what preparing for school was supposed to be like. I THOUGHT I was ready. Until it was actually time to BE ready. Then all I longed for were a few more months to plan. But more months wouldn’t change how I was feeling. It wasn’t a lack of being prepared that was really at the root of my panic. Rather, it was loss of control. As I was spiralling out of control in those summer months, mentally speaking, what I still had control of was my house and my family and the day to day happenings. I knew which park to go to on which day and which friends were available on other days for playdates. I knew what my kids schedules were and there was something comforting in having that routine in my life. And now that was all going to change. And it was all going to be unknown. I was sending my oldest into the world, where I wasn’t going to be with her for most of the day. I think that is frightening and difficult for most moms to deal with but add in this “thing” I was dealing with and it seemed like an impossible step to take.
It wasn’t a lack of being prepared that was really at the root of my panic. Rather, it was loss of control.
I had been going to the store almost every night, making sure I had everything she would need for a successful start to her school career. I was fretting about most things, again, no more than the average mom would…or so I thought. I had bought reusable containers for her lunch box and I can remember sitting at the kitchen table the Saturday before school started, absolutely sobbing over what I would fill the containers with. And if she would eat all her food. I only had about a thousand pins pinned to my “Lunchtime” pinboard but none of those mattered in that moment. I had spiralled so far out of rhythm that the simple tasks like making a lunch for my daughter had me completely loosing my marbles. Literally, sobbing. My dear husband finally looked over at me and in the nicest way said “Christine, I know this is hard on most moms to adjust to their kids going to school, but the way you are reacting over this is on another level. What is going on with you?” Of course I was quick to snap back “NOTHING IS WRONG WITH ME! It’s just my firstborn going off into the world and I have no idea what to feed her!!!”
Chris would come grocery shopping with me the next day to help me decide what to buy for her lunches. This was something he never did. I did the grocery shopping. I made the meal plans. I did most of the cooking. But something was wrong…and I could barely function anymore. I felt like a little kid who needed her parent to help make the big, hard decisions for her like which fruit cup to buy.
I felt like a little kid who needed her parent to help make the big, hard decisions for her like which fruit cup to buy.
We managed to get through the first day, surprisingly with no tears. Honestly, I think I had cried them all out in the weeks leading up to it. I felt rather numb by the time that first day came around. Just going through the motions. Not really present in life anymore. Something was clearly wrong and I was becoming more and more aware of this fact. What IT was…I had no idea.
The rest of the week carried on like this…unsure of what I was feeling, most days too tired to really care. Lonely. Lost. Sad. Overwhelmed. Numb. Panicked. Exhausted. But by the end of that first week of school, it was clear, I needed help…
More to come: identifying the problem | diagnosis | treatment | living with PPD.
Thank you so much for following along with this journey. This is hard for me to be so vulnerable, especially to a somewhat unknown audience. My hope and prayer in sharing this personal journey with postpartum depression is that someone, even just one person, will know that they aren’t alone. That the stigma of PPD can start to be lifted as we realize so many mommy’s (and sometimes daddy’s) struggle with this very-real, very-frightening illness. That there is nothing to be ashamed of and to seek the appropriate help, at the right time. I pray you will find solace in knowing and reading someone else’s struggle with this.
Love & Blessings,
* Stock image used