Wednesday, January 23, 2008

We have nothing to be ashamed of!

Since I recently started writing in this blog again, beginning with my LONG, very detailed post about my experience of PPD, I've received several e-mails from ladies talking about their PPD. Ladies, it's okay to write about it openly...if there's anything I've learned from my experience is that we are not alone...tens of thousands of women suffer from PPD, most of them in silence. I was one of them...I suffered needlessly for months before I realized I HAD to get help or I was gonna hurt myself, hurt my children, or drive off of a bridge off Highway 4 in the middle of the night. But there's nothing to be ashamed fact, I think the more we talk about it and share our experiences, the better off we's hard to talk about, esp once you're "better". I mean, who wants to go back to that ugly, dark place again?? However, it helps to connect with other moms who've been there. No one, and I mean no one, can tell you "I know what you mean" unless they've been through it, unless they have walked through hell too.

It's a scary place to be...the sad thing is that I used to look at people who were depressed and think "why can't they control it? why can't they just be happy and feel blessed with what they DO have, rather than focus on what they DON'T have?"...well, now I understand, now I get it. You literally have no control over your own brain, your own thoughts. It's like you're stuck on the ceiling looking down at yourself, but it's not really YOU you're looking at. I found myself doing really odd things, like obsessing about how Marie Osmond planned her get-away when she had PPD. I read about her constantly wondering how did she make arrangements for someone to watch her children...did she plan it or did she just do it spur of the moment...did she take cash with her or did she use credit cards, in which her husband would be able to track where she was...did she plan on coming back at some point or did she plan to stay away forever....I wanted to know everything about what was going on in her head when she ran away from home. I found myself staring out our bedroom window from upstairs, quite often, and wondering if I could actually die from just jumping from the 2nd floor...well, maybe if I planned to land on the cement instead of the grass but how would I actually make sure I landed on the cement. I would actually get engrossed in thoughts like that. I'd do google searches online looking for the least painful way to kill myself but each time I'd do a search I'd end up at sites on God and Jesus and how killing yourself is not the answer. That just made me even angrier...and feeling like no one in the world could understand. I didn't even understand...I just knew I hated my life and wondered why God was punishing me. I started to believe that God had made a mistake in sending me my 2nd set of twins...He must have meant to send those 2 miracles to someone else who was desperate for them and made a mistake by sending them to me. And by the time He realized it, it was too late and He must have just laughed and said "well, they say I don't give people more than they can handle...let's see how true that is..." And then I felt all everytime I prayed to God for more patience, more strength, more sanity, it just got worse...I never heard Him answer me back. In the past, I could see signs or feel lead by God to make certain choices but this time I heard nothing, I felt lead to nowhere...I felt like He simple vanished out of my life.

And in my setbacks of PPD, I got even more scared....I think sometimes the setbacks are worse than the actual onset of PPD, b/c you're good days start to outnumber your bad days. You start to feel strong again, you start to feel more patient, you start to feel like you can handle is good again...and then you get sucked back in for no apparent reason. During one setback, at 2:00 am when Landon had cried for hours and hours and nothing I did seem to appease him, Tim said "oh just let him cry...we've already tried everything and nothing's working". So I went back to bed and all I could hear was Landon crying, as if he was saying "you're a terrible mother, nothing you do is good enough, you make me so unhappy"...I went downstairs (where Tim was sleeping on the the hell could he sleep with a baby screaming in the house, anyway??) and told Tim "please help me through's taking everything I have in me to not go into his room and smother him...I seriously want to hurt him right now and if I don't hurt him, I'm gonna hurt myself"...but he didn't get it. I think he thought I wanted him to try and rock Landon asleep again so there would be quiet again...but what I wanted was for him to sit with me in the darkness and hold my hand and help me through each minute that passed. I was afraid if he left me alone to tend to Landon that I was gonna slit my wrists or overdose on some Vicodin I had been taking for my thoughts were racing and all I wanted to do was not hurt anymore...I was surprised by how quickly things had spiraled out of control in just a matter of a few hours. That day, things were fine, I was fine....but somehow I ended up right back where I was a few months earlier. And that's when I thought I was gonna be banished to a life of setbacks and I couldn't deal with it...I didn't wanna put Tim through that again or my kids. I ended up grabbing the car keys and sitting in the mini-van in the garage with the engine running, waiting to die....I must have sat there for a good 20 minutes just waiting and waiting (later, come to find out, I would have had to have the windows OPEN with the engine running for it to actually kill of the things I forgot to google I guess)....but somehow in the darkness and finally the quiet I came to my senses and thought "what the hell am I doing???" and I got out of the car and went back upstairs and went to bed. It scared the shit out of me, it really did. But now I expect the setbacks...I know they'll happen but I also know I'll get through it. No need to hurl myself off of a bridge, no need to sit in our mini-van with the engine running in the middle of the night....I just have to remember that it's temporary and maybe 6 months from now, maybe even 1 year from now, I'll have no setbacks at all and I'll have survived....I'll have survived PPD.

So ultimately what I'm saying is that we shouldn't be ashamed of what we've been through...if you can help one person...just one sharing your PPD experience with someone else, you may just be saving a life....

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I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

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