Thursday, January 10, 2008

Where, oh where has my sanity gone? Oh where, oh where could it be??

Okay, it's been a LONG time since I've updated this blog. In all honesty, I had forgotten about it until recently. I went back and read through all the entries...I laughed, I cried, I laughed some more and and then I cried again and then finally started guzzling some wine. Well, that's not entirely true but I WANTED to guzzle that wine, does that count?

So how have the last 7 months treated me? Not too kindly, unfortunately. I'm not really sure where to begin but I'll try to piece it all together as best I can. Seems post-partum depression got a hold of me and I didn't even recognize myself anymore. Now, looking back, I can see that I had a touch of it after I had Cole and Bella. But I convinced myself at the time that it couldn't possibly be PPD. I made myself believe that I was just overwhelmed with the responsibility of being a 1st time mom of twins. After having Garrett and Landon, the PPD was far worse...and even in the midst of it, I still didn't believe it was PPD. Probably because it didn't hit me immediately after giving birth. It was a few months later when just getting through a 24-hr day was excruciating, it was downright painful. Oh but I was really good at putting on a smile and telling everyone I was "just fine". I'd be out shopping with the kids and people would come up to me and tell me how blessed I was and I'd smile and thank them and then cry all the way home, thinking why don't I feel blessed? Why am I not happy? Why do I feel like slitting my wrists every minute of every day? I tried to convince myself that I was overwhelmed, way in over my head yet again but somehow it felt much worse. I couldn't imagine surviving another day. The worst part of it all was the thoughts I would have that would just pop into my head at any given time for no reason. I'd be carrying the babies upstairs to their room and think "what if I dropped one down the stairs?" or I would be giving one a bath in the kitchen sink and think "what if I put one of his limbs down the drain and turn on the garbage disposal?" These thoughts were frightening and scared me, yet I never told anyone about them. I'd try to dismiss the thoughts as quickly as they came into my head, knowing I'd never actually act on those thoughts but they still scared me nonetheless. I wondered why I didn't feel that strong motherly bond with Garrett and Landon...there were times in the middle of the night that they would be crying endlessly and all I wanted to do was smother them. I would cry right along with them and then when Tim would come into their room to see what was wrong I'd start screaming at him that I wanted to die. I walked around in a rage all the time, angry at the world. I kept myself pretty hidden in the house, too afraid to socialize with friends who might ask me how I was doing and so fearful that if I opened my mouth, I'd let everything out. My only connection with the outside world during this time was a couple online message boards that I belonged to. It was easy to hide what I was going through because no one could see me, no one expected anything from me.

At some point, my mom hooked me up with my former therapist, who immediately diagnosed me with PPD as soon as I opened my mouth and told him what was going on. I think my first reaction was relief....relief that I wasn't actually going crazy, relief that finally there was a reason for how I was feeling. He urged me to contact my dr for anti-depressants and continue therapy with him. I did contact my dr and filled my scrip for anti-depressants but for some reason I kept telling myself that I could get through this without the use of meds. I was scared of the meds for some reason. But things were spiraling out of control quickly....most of the time I was in a rage over the littlest things and then other times I'd just start crying for no apparent reason. I remember one time I was fixing dinner, just standing in the kitchen stirring the spaghetti boiling in the pot and I could hear all the kids in the family room. Tim was playing with them but the noise was getting to me and I ended up bursting into tears, running up the stairs and planting myself on the floor of our bathroom where I laid for the next hour, wishing there was some magical way I could disintegrate into a cloud of dust and be sucked up into the air vent on the ceiling. Also, during this time, I had convinced myself that Tim was part of my problem, that I didn't love him anymore and I should probably just divorce him. But everytime I tried to plan things out in my head, I knew I couldn't make a realistic plan and that lead me to feeling trapped. Then I started having anxiety attacks and all I could think of was to run away...seriously, just pack my bags one day and get the hell out of here.

From there, I decided I need to start the meds. I had to let go of the belief that I could do this on my own. I knew I would end up hurting myself, or worse, hurting the kids if I didn't do something to help myself. Or I would actually run away and never come back. My therapist said it would take about 4-6 weeks for me to really feel a difference from the meds and in the meantime, I started taking Omega 3's since I had heard that there have been studies showing that Omega 3's can help with depression.

I had been suffering from horrible insomnia. It was so ironic...the babies were finally sleeping through the night but I wasn't. I was in a constant state of alert, always thinking, always planning, always on alert. My mind just wouldn't stop running, 24 hours a day. And it didn't help that Bella still had the habit of crawling into bed with us in the middle of the night. So after being awake for a good 5 hours....tossing, turning, thinking, planning....I decided I was gonna get up in the morning and wait for Tim to take Cole and Bella to preschool and while he was gone, I'd pack my bags and put them in the car, so he wouldn't be aware of it. I had no idea where I was gonna go...just figured I'd get in the car and just drive until I felt like stopping. I knew I had a dr's appt that day so my plan was to have Tim keep an eye on the babies while he worked at home and I simply just wouldn't return home. I knew he'd be worried but I didn't care. But my plans backfired on me....I was so tired and irritable that when I went to change Garrett at some point that morning, he was, actually he was screaming bloody murder. I couldn't take it anymore and next thing I knew I was yelling at him, screaming "shut up, shut up, shut up...will you please shut up?"....and the more I yelled at him, the more he screamed. Then I put my hand over his mouth and yelled even louder "please shut up...I can't take this anymore". Tim came flying in out of nowhere and I said to him "I can't do this anymore...I just want to die" and he said "get out...just leave". And I did....

Of course I ended up coming home that night.....and just continued to take my meds and go to therapy and pray with each passing day that I'd feel better. And pretty soon the good days outnumbered the bad days. I have had a few setbacks here and there but thankfully I'm no longer completely irrational when it happens. I don't want to go flying out the door in a rage, threatening to kill myself or anyone who gets in my way anymore. I still can't believe I let myself get to that point...I can't believe I was so afraid to get help. It's so easy to feel so alone and isolated when suffering from think no one could possibly understand how you feel, especially because you don't even understand yourself why you feel the way you do. You just know you're not yourself.

I remember while I was in the midst of the worst part of my PPD, reading an article online about a woman who jumped to her death from an apartment building a couple months after having her baby. The scary part is that I immediately thought how brave she was to actually act on her feelings, I envied her that she had the guts to do it. I wondered what went through her mind as she jumped. All I could do was be relieved for her that she was no longer suffering. How sad is that??? Now I feel completely ashamed for feeling the way I heart breaks for what her family must have gone through. Now, with my rational sense of mind, I can see how devastating it must have been her family....and I totally understand the pain she felt and what would cause her to throw herself out a window. I get it....I understand the time, I wished I had the guts to do it...plain and simple.

In thinking I was alone, I realized I wasn't....I managed to find a book one day called Postpartum Depression for Dummies written by Dr Shoshanna Bennett. Anyone suffering from PPD needs to read this touched my heart and helped me to understand that there are SO many women suffering from PPD. I mean, there it was, right there in print everything I was feeling and it made sense, finally something made sense. That book got me through an especially rough day, on the day I found it. It was one of those days where I was feeling extremely overwhelmed, ready to crumble and I grabbed my purse and my keys and told Tim "I'm outta here" and I drove off....the poor guy had no clue where I was going or when I was coming back but I didn't care. I just needed to get out, I needed to hear my own thoughts. I honestly wanted to find the nearest cliff and just drive off of it. But instead I drove to Borders and stumbled upon the book and practically cried while I read it. I sent an e-mail to Dr Bennett after that, thanking her for the book and telling her how much it meant to me.

Okay, so enough of that....I'm doing much better...I'm starting to feel like the old "me" again. It's such a huge relief. I'm enjoying being with my kids, I'm enjoying life again. Unfortunately, though, our marriage has suffered a great deal and now we go to therapy sessions together to repair the damage. Not all the problems stem from my PPD but the PPD didn't help an already stressed and miserably failing marriage. But Tim and I are on the same page again and dedicated to do whatever it takes to make this work, esp for the sake of our kids who deserve that.

This is such a long post...I didn't mean for it to be but it's been months since I've updated so I wanted to put down everything that has happened in the last 7 months. Tomorrow when/if I get time, I'll update on everything going on with the kids and post pics!


Christy77 said...

Thank you for your posts. I come back to check periodically to see if you have added more. I had my second set of twins in September 2007 - my first set in April of 2004. Each are boy/girl. Yes, they run in my family (everyone always asks!).

I would like to start a blog as I need to somewhere to release the day's experiences. But then I think - when am I going to have time to keep up with it?! A lot has been changing in our lives in addition to the kids. Anyway, I often feel stressed to the max and tired just because. Sometimes I think if I could just get a shower in, I will feel better. I usually do, but it never happens many days in a row!! My husband and I joke about when we get divorced who has to take the kids.

I just feel like I could sleep for a year. Then I blame it on being out of shape/overweight and who wouldn't be tired with this life. I think what it really is is that if I take the time to actually think about things, I can get sad/depressed very easily. So, I keep myself busy working from home, dealing with kids/husband, and then letting myself get sucked into the TV until bed. My family has always had a "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" kind of mentality.

I am so happy for you that you had the strength to get help. I will check back to see how things are going for you. The picture I saw was adorable! I hear the monitor squaking! Good luck!

Leslie said...

Oh my god, Helene, I had no idea you were going through all that. I'm so sorry. It sounds terrible beyond belief and I wish we friends could somehow have helped you. I'm so glad you got the help you needed. You are stronger than you know. My best wishes to you and Tim and your absolutely beautiful kids.


Michele S said...

Helene, I'm so sorry that you've been through so much. I had it as bad as you did. It was awful. The worse thing I've ever been through. Someday, I'll have the courage to write about it. I've buried it so far down now, that it would take a lot to bring it all back up.

I'm so thankful that you are getting help and that you are feeling better. For me, having someone with me at all times was imperative. Things were much worse for me when I was alone. Also, you have to try and get out of the house. That's imperative. I know you are so tired, but try to make yourself leave the house. Nothing is as bad as having those walls closing in and the voices (did you have the voices?). I heard crying too. Even when no one was crying, I could hear it. I talked to myself too. I had the severe, severe insomnia. Did they give you anything to sleep better?

I just want you to know that it will get better. I came out the other end. I lived. You will too.

When you said you were pregnant with twins, I was afraid for your life, Helene. I'm really not kidding.

In two years, Cole and Bella will be in kindergarten and the boys will be in preschool. I swear to you, Helene, we will go somewhere. So just put that in your head. A fancy vacation with no kids around. Just you and me!

I can't think of anyone that deserves that more than YOU!

Helene said...

Thanks for the comments...I do appreciate them!!

Christy, e-mail me anytime or drop me a note on my blog and let me know how you're doing! We multiple multiples moms gotta stick together!

Leslie, I really wanted so badly to talk to someone about it but honestly thought everyone would think I was crazy. Clearly, I can see now that friends will understand...thank you!

Michele, oh yeah I heard crying all the time, even when there was no crying. I was on "state of alert" all the time, 24/7. I said to Tim, "you can't even imagine what it's like inside my head all the time". Poor guy! I did finally get some sleeping pills and OMG they help so much! And I get out of the house more now that I feel better. I've even figured out how to drag all the kids with me to Target, by myself!!! Vacation??? Girl, count me in!!

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You are so brave to write about your PPD! Hopefully, your honesty will help other woman. I suffered from it about 6 years ago. It was one of the most difficult times in my life. I felt like my days were being stolen from me. I remember crying with my husband for the pain to just go away. I remember not being able to sleep and all of the scary thoughts are awful. Luckily, I got help right away, though because I had watched a family member go through it. I knew the symptoms well. I am in such a better place. It is such a blessing to be healthy! Even though thinking about it is painful, I feel that it has helped me to be more sympathetic towards others who have issues with depression or PDD. God bless you!! Jen

Kim Scott said...

I think it is great for you to post your experiences with PPD. I also had a serious case of PPD and it was such a difficult time. I think more woman should share their experiences so we know it's ok.

Dianna said...

I've been meaning to comment on this post for a while .... thank you for sharing your experience, and reminding all of us that what we're feeling is pretty common. I appreciate knowing that other moms are struggling as well. (does that sound odd, or what?)
Hope you are doing well.

Christina said...

I know this is from a LONG time ago, but I got PPD too..bad. So much of what you right hits close to home! *hugs*

Lee said...

I was meandering along your blog...I love it, by the way...and read this post, and I completely related to you. I didn't have PPD, just plain old depression. Mine was for very different reasons, but the way that you felt summed up exactly how I felt. I am so glad I have looked around and that things are better for you.

Merri Ann said...

Like a couple other comments ... I know this was posted awhile ago, but I had to comment. PPD is awful and for me the worst part was my husband just not understanding. When I was pregnant with the twins, I was afraid to fall asleep ... afraid I'd die and my daughter would be without a mother. I went into mothering twins and a 15 month old severly sleep deprived.

My Pediatrician and my OB were calling me daily to check on me after having the twins ... afraid that I may be having thoughts of harming them ...

My husband came through for me about 6 weeks after the twins were born ... once he started to understand what was happening ... he took over ALL the night feedings for the next month so I could sleep for 8 hours every night ... that was huge ...

Thanks for this post ... I hope it helps other moms and encourages them to get help.

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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