I'm going to just lay this out here: I'm pretty sure I'm suffering from post-partum depression.
I knew I was having some issues with anxiety and put it off to the baby blues for a while. Then at one point one of the OBs told me that anxiety can be a symptom of high blood pressure, so I thought it was "just" that.
And for a little while, my blood pressures improved and so did the anxiety. And then my blood pressures have gone wonky again the last few days and so has the anxiety.
So the two things at least seem to be correlated.
But the thing is, I still feel anxious even when my blood pressures are fine.
About 6 or 7 at night, it really sets in. It starts with that sinking feeling of doom. Then the nervous stomach starts. Maybe some chest pain. My hands and legs start to tremble. My mind races. I worry about Charlotte's weight, about my milk supply, about germs, about how many episodes of Mickey Mouse Robbie watched today, if the pain my legs is a blood clot, if the cough is really pneumonia, if my husband resents how much of my slack he's pulling, and on and on and on.
I tell myself it's a chemical reaction, not a real one. I try to talk to myself rationally. But it won't stop. Usually until around 10 or 11 at night when it will ease.
The last 2 days have been particularly rough. Yesterday morning I had a round of Anxiety that is usually reserved for the night. I was home alone with the kids and just feeling completely overwhelmed. I walk through the things I'm "supposed" to do to take care of them, but I feel like a zombie. I do them because I have to, not because of any internal drive to do so.
The long and short of it is that I don't feel joy. Yesterday I heard myself laugh at something on TV and actually found myself surprised. I realized it's been days since I laughed. How can that be?
And then the guilt comes. I have two amazing, healthy, beautiful children at home. I have a husband who is supportive and loving. I have family who loves and cares for us without judgement or complaint. I have an awful lot of things to feel joy about. But here I am anyway.
What I realized today (duh) is that it's clearly a "problem." Today I ended up at a cardiologist's office being scanned for blood clots because I couldn't stop worrying about the leg pain I was having. Logically, that probably wasn't too out there- I've got a lot of risk factors- but it was how I felt inside that made it clear it was more than a "better safe than sorry" situation. I was obsessing about it. Because worrying it what I DO.
I sat down tonight and told my husband what I was really feeling. I hadn't told him, or anyone really, how bad it was because I was ashamed. To be frank, I'm still ashamed. I shouldn't feel this way. I feel like a bad mom, a bad wife, a bad daughter, a bad friend, an annoying patient. I feel like I'm letting everyone in my life down.
David was amazing. I feared he'd tell me to get over myself, but he didn't. He reassured me that I'm a great mom and a great wife and that even though I may not feel like I'm doing enough, I really am. We talked about brain chemistry and all of that and he didn't make me feel crazy at all. We talked about natural ways to fight this (exercise, more sunshine etc) and about my decision to call the doctor on Monday for medication.
I wish I could say that made me feel somewhat better, but again- I seem to be incapable of feeling better. It mostly just didn't make me feel worse.
I am worried (there I go again) about the meds and nursing. I'm worried the safest ones won't work. I'm worried I'll never feel better again. Because that's how my brain works right now. I feel stuck in a hole. But I'm also trying to tell myself that's the condition, not reality. The reality is that lots of women are able to successfully treat their PPD and they do come out of it. And their kids are okay. I have to hang onto that in my brain, because my heart isn't quite buying it.
So I will call the doctor on Monday. In the mean time, I hope that you will all pray for me. And I hope that you'll be kind in your comments. I know this is yet another whiny post, but I wanted to be honest and real. This is how I'm feeling. Mental illness isn't fair or logical. It is, however, part of my life.