On the other side of that fence are some yappy, cranky dogs.
BunJovi is new to the outdoors,
we have not ventured out with him before this.
He was very interested in what was going on over there.
It got me thinking about this post though,
the one that is 2 days late.
Everything for a reason though because it gave me time
to think about this page and my purpose.
When you are in the muck,
fighting depression, get a friend on the other side of it.
Let me introduce myself
I’m all about people who are stuck in the depression, OR
those who might just be letting themselves get stuck in the
overwhelm. That comes from worrying
about things instead of taking intentional action,
finding help from many sources.
I did, I had to.
I’ve given bits and pieces before, but it’s kind of a long tale, it involves many areas of my life, and different times. But I think it’s time to condense it as much as possible, but put the whole thing in one place. Ready?
I was born on a dark and stormy night…. ha ha just kidding we don’t have to go that far back…
After having my third child, my first daughter, I had expected to have everything kind of under control. I thought that after having two other children, I knew what I was doing and therefore it would be easier. Are you experienced moms laughing yet? Yeah, I know, but it is where I was at the time. Miss Maggie came in like a lion and made sure that my expectations were thwarted immediately. She would not sleep, she cried constantly, nothing made her happy or comfortable.
Ok, not totally true but that is what it felt like as I stayed up walking the floor with her many nights. It turns out she had a reason for being so unhappy, she was not getting enough nourishment. She was hungry and she was telling the world. I was exhausted, and sad, and frustrated… I had experience, after all, I should have known, right? No. Each little is different, we don’t know it all not even after six littles. On top of all that, my body decided to go on hiatus. BAM!… postpartum depression. I went to the doc, got some low dose meds, exercised more, tried to eat better, made sure we got a little more sun. I was lucky in that I had family that supported me and helped me. By the way, looking at that time period from the other side… she was really a happy baby after we got the food thing figured out.
Fast forward to baby #6
Baby #6, another girl. My third girl. Miss Emma was a rolly polly, little one who either had no issues with getting enough food, or I had learned by then that a little supplementation with formula does not make one a horrible, incapable mother. At any rate, she was chubby and happy, and we had long conversations from the get-go because she loved to babble. There were other things going on at that time too, I had made a financial mess of things, I was having some issues with my back that made it hard for me to keep up with everything. Homeschooling was hard… so hard. I thought that as a good wife, I should be able to handle everything without worrying my husband. Because I was not being honest with my family, with my husband, about the messes I had made, I as living in constant anxiety even before Miss Emma came along. Given all that, AND the fact that my body once again conspired against me with PPD, I was one big pile of a hot mess momma. I didn’t understand, she was a happy baby… how could it be PPD? Like the one had anything to do with the other. But it added to my guilt. Guilt over the messes, guilt over not being the wife/mom I should be, guilt over having put my family in the mess that I had, guilt over the homeschooling not going as it should, guilt over the messy house, guilt over feeling like I was failing at EVERYTHING!
My family didn’t know. It was a snowball that got out of control so quickly that I didn’t know how to stop it. Well, I think I did, but I was scared to do what needed to be done. That was just another part of me being irrational. In my worry and my anxiety, I imagined the worst case scenario of every situation, which in hindsight and from a non-anxiety filled brain, I can see that my worst fears were not even a thing that would become reality. HUGE lesson right there.
So, I’ve got this happy, babbling, rolly polly brand new baby, and I’m a mess. Not like before, a real mess. When I leave the house I make sure to have one or more of the kids with me, because if I don’t I might just keep on driving. My fight or flight response system had gone from fight to flight with such fierceness that I thought about just driving till I couldn’t drive anymore on a regular basis. I knew this was ridiculous, I knew it was crazy, I knew I needed to get a handle on this, and I knew from experience that I needed to get some help from outside of myself.
The moment that needed to happen
The 6-week postpartum appointment. My doctor’s office is about 30-40 minutes away. I was so happy that I had an appointment that day. I had printed out a questionnaire on depression and answered the questions with brutal honesty, I had gathered my courage to actually insist on some help, I prepared some simple statements that wouldn’t get lost on me when I got face to face with her and got nervous. I was ready to lay it all out there for her. I got into the office, went to the front desk with baby and papers in hand and signed in. The receptionist called me back up to the desk – way too soon, and told me that my appointment was not that day, but the next day.
I’m not sure what my face or body language LOOKED like, but I can tell you what I felt like. Crushed, absolutely crushed and deflated. I had been ready, I wasn’t sure I could gather that up again for the next day. I stood there for I don’t know how long, unable to move, or speak, or leave. It was likely a few seconds really, but it seemed like forever. When I felt the tears well up in my eyes I quickly said “thank you” and walked out the door. I got downstairs, across to the parking garage, and into the car with a crying, and by now hungry, baby girl. And the tears just flooded. I sat there in the parking garage, nursing my beautiful, bubbly baby girl and just cried.
As I sat there, the thoughts of running, just driving as far as I could get came back. I was at the point where I think a lot of desperate women might think of harming themselves, I imagine that is what they feel like at that moment. I think that because I had experienced what it was like to have someone you look up to and love go that direction, I had something in me that would not allow me to do that to my own family. Someone I loved had tried and thankfully failed, a suicide. That was enough to know the damage and pain that it causes those you leave behind to keep me from considering that. Yes, I know that sounds almost ridiculous as taking off and just leaving your family would also cause damage and pain… in my muddied, mucked up brain it seemed better. And I prayed. It seemed I was always praying for something. This time I just prayed for help. I didn’t put boundaries on the help I wanted, I just pleaded for some guidance and some help.
Respect for medical professionals who see and act
In the middle of all that I got a call from the receptionist asking me how far I had gotten from their office. I told her I was feeding the baby in the parking garage, her voice was full of relief when she told me that she had talked to the doctor and while she could not fit me in the nurse practitioner could. She told me to take my time taking care of the baby and come up as soon as I was ready. More tears, this time of thankfulness.
When I got into the office I was depleted, sad, red-eyed, and I’m sure looked the mess I felt I was. The receptionist took me directly back, one of the nurses reached for my baby girl – to whom I clung tighter. I mean I’m a mess and acting a bit nuts (the thoughts going through my head) if they take her are they going to give her back? She assured me that she just wanted to give me some time and that yes, indeed she’d be back with me before I left. She read my mind. I had not vocalized any of that. I have so much respect for nurses and practitioners after all that. Really, they were spot on with the whole situation. As it was, I didn’t have to get prepared again, I only had to answer questions.
The beginning of the leap to the other side ~ fighting depression
As it turns out, I wasn’t as “nuts” as I felt, I wasn’t as lost as I felt, I wasn’t going over the proverbial edge of the proverbial cliff… I was a new mom, with a lot on her plate, stressed, and to top it all off hormones and natural body chemistry going a bit off track. I was NORMAL but needed some help. Help that this practitioner and doctor could provide. I also needed to get honest and open with my family. Remember, I said it wasn’t just about PPD. That was the straw that broke the camels back, but there was more… and this is what I know to be true about any strong negative emotional state it is NEVER just about one thing. Depression, feeling overwhelmed, anxiety, feeling lost… those things, more often than not come in pairs. Those things are also multi-faceted. Does it really surprise us that we might have to take a step or ten back and come at them from different angles, using a variety of tools in order to get it all figured out and get ourselves to a better place?
No magic formula
So there is where the beginning started. That is where I turned the corner. But it isn’t a magic formula, I had to find the things that worked for me. It took me a long time, and I stumbled. But this is why I’m sharing my story, long as it is because I can also share some of the tools I have found, learned, been given, discovered, made up… I went through all of that for a reason. I believe it gave me a purpose. To help others who are also going through it.
You don’t have to be in the same muck as I was, you don’t have to even be depressed. These tools can be used by anyone at any time to move forward. Because every woman I know has chaos of some kind… family, work, pets… and every woman I know has felt overwhelmed and even lost at some point. I think most of us even love our chaos – at least the causes of it – to some degree. I have a story to share, I have the tools to share, and I think that instead of making it out as if we all have to be perfect little homemakers who have conquered or gotten rid of all our chaos, we just need to work out how to find happy in our chaos.
Throughout my blog I share a lot of things as they come to me, usually due to some post or someone saying something to me about a state of mind they find themselves in. In some of the posts, I give “tools”, the ones I used for myself, and some that didn’t work well for me but might for others. I also give some “action steps” that anyone can take to gather their thoughts. I’ve added the tags for those in the tags for this post as well. Just click “toolbox” or “action plan” in the tags and you’ll find those blog posts neatly (sort of) tied in a bow.