I'm assuming she's going to ask me why I think I have PPD. I just might shoot back at her "Can't you tell just by looking at me?" but that might kill my shot at having an advocate ;-).
I'm normally a very patient person. I usually know exactly what to do, and how to do it calmly and rationally. I'm normally very organized. I'm not confrontational by nature but I can be when needed. I'm usually pretty "together" and know who I am. But I've noticed things about myself that just don't feel right. It's like I'm watching a movie and I'm seeing someone else. I don't recognize myself most days, and I don't like what I see.
I wake up often knowing if it's going to be a good day or a bad day. I can tell within seconds of seeing my girls if it's going to be one of Those Days. I measure how well my day is by how in control I feel, by how they respond to me, and how much I felt like accomplishing. I've felt disconnected from my kids. If it's too noisy or their behavior is reaching a point where it's just "bad" I either shut down and can't deal with it or I lose my temper. I can't get out of it when I lose my temper. I get trapped. I either clean house like a mad person or I don't want to do it at all. There have been times where I've questioned not whether I could hurt my kids, but if I can really meet their needs.
I'm tired a lot. I have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and by the time morning comes, I'm so exhausted that I just want to stay in bed all day. And not because the kids are up at all hours most times, because they sleep pretty well lately. But because I'm up and can't help it.
I'm having anxiety attacks more often lately, and headaches. I either don't want to deal with "issues" or I jump into them like a cannonball.
My self esteem has taken a beating too. I hate how I look, with all of this extra weight but I don't feel a motivation most days lately to do anything about it. I just found out that my thyroid checked out as normal so I can't use that as an excuse. Thank God LOL.
I find myself thinking about worst case scenarios as if it's actually happening, and they're scary. I find myself resenting my husband for no other reason than he can't understand this. I find myself thinking about the babies we won't have in the future because he decided we're done having children. I feel cheated because we always talked about having 3 or 4 kids and now he's taken the option away by deciding for us rather than coming to the choice together. And yet I know he's right. I just don't think it's fair that the choice was taken from me. I'm someone with a great libido... usually. Until all these other feelings made themselves dominant. That's a big deal for me too, and always a sign that there's something really wrong. I cry. A lot. And I can't stop. My thoughts race so that I feel exhausted just from the effort of thinking. I have very little appetite but I find myself binging. I find myself forgetting to eat very often. I just literally forget. I was anorexic in high school and college but never diagnosed because I hid it so well. I don't think it ever really went away, although during my pregnancies I made it a point to eat very well and healthfully. My family eats well. I guess I just don't care as well for myself. It's never been a priority to remember myself when I've felt like this.
The key moment for me was when I was cooking dinner one night, and I was so involved in the task because it had been a particularly hard day and I heard Anneliese crying. It takes a lot for my littlest princess to cry, yet she was crying so much she had tears and was very upset. And I realized that I had no idea how long she had been crying. That's a scary thing to recognize, let me tell you. It made me wonder how often that happened and I never knew it.
I recognized that I had it at least mildly but it felt controllable. Probably from about 1 month. Then I noticed that the feelings were getting stronger, and lasting longer. I was having fewer blocks of time where I felt more than numb. Fewer blocks of happiness and laughing less than usual. I realized that smiling felt forced, and laughing was an effort. Then I realized that my entire days were encompassed, drowning in feeling this quiet desperation. I started thinking more about the baby that went Home early, the missed pregnancy before Anneliese, and an increasing need to find some closure. I think maybe there are things I never dealt with from my trip down PPD lane after Juliana, and I never even acknowledged PPD with Grace. So for all I know, I've had it and it never stopped since Juliana was born. Is that even possible? I know that things started to drastically become more desperate and intolerable for me when Anneliese completely weaned herself from nursing at 5 months old. It was a one month process, and now that I think about it SHE was weaning ME from nursing. And in some ways, I feel like she failed me. I wasn't ready and still am not ready to let it go even though she's been exclusively on formula now since she turned 5 months old on July 5th. My milk is gone, all I have left are drips. Not even sips worth. I don't even care about the nutritional aspect of it, I just wanted the feeling to continue. It was totally selfish of me, especially considering she clearly didn't want to do it any more.
I've had moments where I'm happy or even excited, but it's hard to feel joy. I adore my children and I love my husband. I love our family and our friends. I have everything I could want and there's no "reason" I should feel this way and yet... and yet the animal is stalking me, making me feel like the stereotypical hormonal basket case. I find ways to focus, like cooking and lately reading, drawing with my kids, and helping the mothers on the birth club and worry/complaints boards that I host. Those things are enjoyable and give me an outlet where I feel useful and know I'm doing good. I can focus my positive thoughts and try to redirect, and sometimes I get too involved and have to step away for a little while. But it helps me stay grounded. I call my best friend a lot. She's my lifeline and without her I think I'd be a total disaster. Manny tries, he really does, but I think he also blames me and thinks that this is just something I can recognize, deal with and move on. He doesn't quite get the need for medication, even though he admits there's been some slow improvement. But I think he's expecting a magic bullet cure. You know, identify the problem and somehow that'll make it go away.
Until you go back to my comparison to a hungry animal hiding in the bushes.
I think that's enough for now. This was more exhausting than I thought it would be, and there are so many thoughts bouncing around my head that I need to let these words settle and then think on them later.