Tag Archives: post-partum depression

Insomnia and Anxiety create a Mix of Regret

I can’t sleep, though I am tired. I can’t focus on anything, because I’ve got free floating anxiety. I don’t know why I’m writing right now, except that I’m hoping that it will make me feel better when nothing else has today.

It is after midnight so it is mother’s day. I’m not feeling excited about celebrating motherhood. I don’t know why. I think maybe it’s because I don’t get to spend as much time with my son as I feel that I should. I try to do the best I can for him, and right now that means that he goes to school where someone can be home for him when he gets off the bus. I can’t. I have to work, and I don’t make enough for after school child care, and that’s not what I want for him anyway. This however, isn’t what I want either.

I want to see the things he does every day. I want to hear him laugh, watch him grow, and help him with his homework. I want to be the person the school calls when he needs to go home sick, and I want to be the one who tucks him in at night, and teaches him his nightly prayers. I want to read his bedtime story and sing him his song. I want to hold him and cuddle him and show him how much I love him every day.

For the first part of his life I wasn’t capable of feeling these things. It got easier for me to let him be with family that could give him the love he deserved. That’s the problem with post partum depression. You can’t feel what you want to toward your child, and you hate yourself for it. I tried medication, and therapy, but nothing helped. Now I lost the chance to create the bond with him that I should have had.

There is no way to change the past. And while I can try to forgive myself for things which were out of my control, I don’t think I have the right. Not yet. Not until I again have the chance to be a family, be his mother.

I don’t deserve a happy mother’s day, because I haven’t been a happy mother. I’ve hardly been a mother. Others stepped in to fill that role, and I feel that now it is too late. I will never have my baby back, and I will never get to know what it’s like to hold my new born child with awe and wonder at the beauty that he is. I might not deserve it, but I wish I had it.

So now I’m exhausted, sad, anxious, and lost. I feel alone all the time, and I don’t see things getting better in that department. I have let down the one person I should never have let down. I’m not a terrible person, and I hope that I’m not a terrible mother. I’m just not mother of the year.

I want to grow, and watch my son grow. I want to love, and be loved. I don’t want to be alone, but I want my time with myself. I want more time with my son, because he is the world. The most special and spectacular thing I will ever create. No piece of art, music, or writing will ever compare to what my son is.

I’m not sure this is the type of crazy to embrace. So instead I say embrace the love. If you are angry with your mothers, or you children for not being able to be the best versions of themselves, especially if it is due to mental illness, please take today to forgive. Maybe if we all forgive each other, it will become easier to forgive ourselves.


Mitch Hedberg Got it Wrong

Mitch Hedberg once said that addiction is the only disease you can be yelled at for having. Unfortunately, I have found in my life that people are just as willing to yell at you for being crazy. So ultimately he got it wrong.

If you have a mental illness, people often get upset with you for it. Post-partum depression is one that people really just don’t get. Often people think that if you just have more time to bond with your baby that things will be alright. Or if you have anxiety they get angry because you can’t always do the things you want to do, or planned to do. Those who have never experienced these things often get angry with the afflicted person. Even if they truly wish to be understanding, at some point they get mad.

Now the problem with this is that it is completely counter productive to tell a crazy person to stop being crazy. You can’t tell someone with OCD to knock it off, it doesn’t work that way. I can’t shut off my OCD any more than I can shut off the need to eat and drink to live. I don’t need OCD to live, but I’m hardwired for it. Getting angry with me because I see the world different isn’t fair. It’s not like I have an opinion you don’t agree with, my brain literally works differently than yours does.

Lots of crazy people end up with addiction problems and then get yelled at even more. Well I think that if we were more understanding in the beginning that some of these people would have never turned towards self-medicating to feel better, or feel nothing. When everyone around you doesn’t understand you or accept that you have a problem it is tough to recover, whether you’re an addict or have a mental illness, we need love and support. Screw that, as humans we need love and support.

Now there is love and support, and there is smothering. You can just be there as a friend to be loving and supportive, you do not have to constantly go over to your friend’s house to make sure they are alive, a text works. A phone call to show you care. Be there when they need you, so they know it is okay to ask you when they need help. Be prepared to be frustrated, those of us who are crazy and know it are a tough bunch to be around. You have to understand that we can’t always control how we feel, most people can’t control how they feel all the time anyway, so why expect us to be able to.

We are a little different, maybe even slightly broken. This doesn’t mean to throw us away, this means you sit around while we stich up our gaps. Just existing helps us more than advice. If you don’t understand it you can’t fix it. Those of us who do understand our illness can’t fix it. We think differently, and that’s a good thing. If everyone in the world saw things in the same way, then it would be a very dull world.

Embrace the crazy. Don’t be angry about it, learn how you can live with it.

Battles With Medication

I was first medicated when I was 16. My mother thought I was depressed and had our family doctor prescribe me happy pills. So my first happy pills were Paxil. I had a not so great response to the medication, well this I suppose is subjective, but for me I believe it was not a good reaction. This isn’t to say they didn’t work, they did, too well in fact.

The Paxil within a week or so had me happy and bubbly like a cheerleader or valley girl. This is not my normal personality and my friends were concerned. Nothing made me angry, and I laughed about everything. I thought it was fun for a bit, until it got worse. Now being happy doesn’t sound bad, but when it comes with an inability to focus and your grades start slipping this is bad. Also, I couldn’t eat. I would be starving, take two bites out of something and then felt so full I thought I would be sick. I lost a lot of weight from being on this medication.

My friends convinced me to stop taking the pills and I went back to normal, and pretended for a little while that I was still on them. I never regained my appetite and lost a total of 30lbs in six months. I swore off pills as a fix and decided then I wouldn’t take that route again. However, I did, and that has been a long road.

At 21 I went to my doctor for anxiety problems and he gave me a low dose of Ativan, only ten pills. It took me a year to go through this medication, and when I needed to go back to refill it was because my dog, Ballad, decided she was having an anxious day and ate my last pill, bottle included. Now when I went back, there was no record of the other doctor, who had since moved away, giving me this prescription. However, despite the fact that the nurse practitioner had decided I was a drug seeker she gave me a new prescription of Klonopin. This worked well enough and I stayed on this medication for several years. That is not to say that the doctors did not try me one several other medications first. I was on Buspar, which made me violently ill, and Lexipro, which also made me violently ill. So my doctor was stuck giving me small doses of the Klonopin. Then I got pregnant and I couldn’t take medication.

After the birth of my son, and the rise of my post-partum depression I want back seeking something to help me out. The doctors didn’t want to prescribe anything to me at this point and I went to a psychiatrist, who started me on Klonopin and Wellbutrin, they didn’t help. I was still anxious and depressed. We then switched to Xanax and Prozac, this had less results then the previous combination. Finally we settled on Time-released Xanax and Paxil, I figured it made me happy before so it should again. I was very wrong. The Xanax worked alright, but the Paxil made me super crazy and I lost it. I was so out of it one night that I had drank a few beers, got in a fight with my boyfriend and decided I wanted it all to stop, so I ate all my Xanax.

I didn’t want to die, I just wanted to feel normal again and I figured in my insane mind that if I overdosed that everyone would realize how bad off I was. After my 72 hours of observation I was sent home. I didn’t feel like myself. I felt drugged out and confused. I refused again to go back on medication and for the next year and a half I lived happily enough pill free.

I moved to San Diego and back again to Jacksonville in that year. My sanity was shot again from the return to Florida and I had to go back on medication. My new psychiatrist put me on Respidol, bad idea, all it did was make my heart race. Then I was back on Klonopin. This would have worked, but the company making the generic at the time, wasn’t outing any medication in the pills, so I went crazy again.

Over the next year I went through Valium, Klonopin, Ativan, and back again. I was also supplementing these with daily doses of other medications some of which I can’t even remember the names of. Then my doctor retired. I went back again to my old psychiatrist, new rounds of attempts to figure out what pills fix me.

We tried Xanax again since the valium was making me depressed, and then Klonopin, and then back to Ativan which is what I’m currently on. I had mention previously in another post that I had been prescribed a new anti-depressant, I couldn’t tell you how this one works because it is way too expensive to purchase. The recently released generic is $250.00, which is too bad because I have heard such good things about it. Perhaps when I get some health insurance I will have the opportunity to try it out and end the lingering depression I get from my other medication.

Until then I will leave you with this. Finding the right medication is as difficult if not more so than finding the right doctor. It is trial and error. Don’t give up. Just because one combination doesn’t work for you doesn’t mean another wont. My best advice is to remember that the pills are supposed to help and sometimes they don’t work after a little while, but there are always more out there.

I’m not promoting medication as the best choice for everyone, but for me it was, and still is. I have every intention of getting of my meds for good one day, but for now I will live with them, and try to take it one day at a time.

Not Just the Baby Blues

It is hard enough for any mother to have a child and not lose her mind to a point, yet some of us completely crack. For the ones that crack it is hard to accept everything about being a mother, from the pregnancy itself, the birth, and finally the all-consuming responsibility of raising the child. Support is key and that doesn’t start with the birth it starts with the conception. I give praise to the women who decide they want a child and they do it all themselves, no fathers involved. I think that if that had been my plan, or story, things would have turned out very differently for me.
When I found out I was pregnant I was 25 and not ready to be a mother. This isn’t to say that I didn’t want children, I wanted kids, but I wanted to be married and have already finished college. These things were not in the cards for me though and my depression began almost as soon as the clear blue easy digital pee stick, boldly stated pregnant, without the first word, the word which I had always relied on being there. So I texted my roommate and ask for another box of advanced technology. (That’s how the pregnancy test was advertised and all of my female friends at that point loved the idea of peeing on advanced technology.)
Three tests later I was being congratulated and I couldn’t figure out why. Yes I wanted kids, but why is it a good thing right now? I was about to move to Boston and go back to school and make something of my life. These were things I suddenly felt I could not do alone and pregnant. So I resigned myself to having the child thinking everything would be just fine. Other women have babies without husbands and they are okay, right?
My roommate moved out, long story there, and I was alone in my house and sick. For the first five months of my pregnancy I couldn’t do anything without getting sick. I had a friend stay with me for a short time, but then she had to go and I was again, alone, depressed, and sick. If I hadn’t reconciled with my old roommate when I did, I’m not sure how I would have made it through that time period. She started getting me out of the house, and because of her I met a wonderful man.
I was six months pregnant when my friends made me dress up and go out for New Year’s Eve. That’s how I met Mike. He dragged my pathetic self out of my self-loathing and depression and made me start really living again. Although my belly was growing, and I still hadn’t accepted being pregnant, Mike became my perfect distraction, and to him I am eternally grateful for that.
My son decided that he was done with the whole being prenatal thing when I was 30 weeks into my pregnancy. He came out, natural as I wanted, and extremely healthy for being so small. When they showed him to me, with one of my oldest friends and my sister at my side, I said nothing, and I felt nothing. I could not touch him, or hold him, and I refused to let myself feel for him because if there was a problem, I felt that if I got attached, that would be the end of me.
This was my first taste of post-partum depression. Once called the baby blues, and still unrecognized by many old school doctors as a real thing. This state of numbness, was my first taste of the trouble I was going to have for the next four years. Even now, my son is five, I’m not sure if I have really come out the other side of all of this. My first step was feeling again, and being able to look at my child and feel, and miss him in his absence. There is a lot of rebuilding to do. In my depression, and my search for feeling I tore my entire world apart. I lost all sense of who I was, who I am. However, today I believe I am ready, ready to tell that story.