Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Survive {PPD Part 8}

The end! The end! Hallefreakinglujah! It's the end of the saga! I kind of feel like I need a "I survived writing about this and all I got was this lousy T shirt" T shirt. It's been really hard. H. A. R. D. But now it's out there. Now you know. And now, more importantly, I know. It's kinda priceless, the knowing. The acceptance of the jagged edges. The willingness to work at it.

Mostly, though, I'm just really, really, really unbelievably glad it's over. Thanks for sticking with me.

The Monster is Back and It Won't Do the Dishes {Part 1}


The first few months after Kellan was born were wonderful (as wonderful as sleeping in two hour increments can be, really). But the depression came back. And it got bad, really, really, really bad, before I finally took my own advice.

In June, I started feeling like everything from brushing my teeth to keeping up with housework was a Herculean task. Then I got the itch to dye my hair a crazy color (for some reason that's generally a warning sign that something in my head needs attention). Then I started spending massive amounts of time on the Internet avoiding life.

And then the thoughts started again. I was not worth the air I was wasting. My family would be better off without me. I was broken beyond repair.

I'm still floundering with my Christianity and what that means, so instead of being able to accept the great big grace of God, I just felt guilty. I should have figured it out by now. I had used up all the mercy for reals this time. There was nothing wrong with my life and I had no reason to feel this way.

I started crying about everything. Stopped taking care of myself. Let the suicidal thoughts build to a crescendo that drowned out all else. Everywhere I looked I saw a possible “out.” But this time, in LARGE part due to the prodding of my family, I managed to drag myself to the doctor. I told her everything from the beginning - the postpartum depression after Gracelyn, the suicidal thoughts, all of it. Instead of judging me, she gave me another lifeline. A diagnosis. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Which is basically PMS on crack and meth at the same time. Craaaazy bad hormone cocktail.

And guess what? It was not my fault.

There was HOPE. There was HELP. Medication and counseling and doing this super-awkward mindfulness exercise thingy where you pretend you're a tree. So. Weird. And it's working.

I'm beginning to accept there is no “getting back to normal” from this point on. It's about finding a new version of normal, or even chucking the whole “normal” premise out the window and starting over with something else entirely. Stasis, maybe. Balance. Some days just straight survival.

But survive I will.


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Saved By Grace {PPD Part 7}

Previous posts on postpartum depression:

The Monster is Back and It Won't Do the Dishes {Part 1}

The following is the second-to-last bit and I cannot tell you how excited I am to be done hashing and rehashing and hashing some more. I do think it's brought me (forgive the buzzwording) "closure", though, and my greatest hope is that all this soul-baring and life sharing might help someone else ... and not just make you think I'm in serious need of a straight jacket and some Valium.

I'm not sure you're wrong about that.


There was no "reason" for me to be depressed, no "reason" for me to want to commit suicide.

And you know what? There doesn't have to be a reason.

You don't have to justify. You don't have to rationalize. You don't have to make excuses. 

But you do have to tell someone. 

They won't know unless you do. They can't help unless you let them. 

I didn't say anything because of guilt, shame, pride, fear and a variety of other assorted stupidity. DON'T DO THIS. IT SUCKS. I barely made it. The only reason I did, in fact, was because I got pregnant again. As pregnancy hormones took over, the nasty imbalance wreaking havoc in my brain resolved. It was almost as if someone had flipped a switch.

Coming out of the fog, I realized a few things. Like how the whole, “It's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” thing was not just poetic BS. It was TRUE. It didn't matter if I had another six days or sixteen years or a whole lifetime with my daughter. It was worth it. Loving her was worth it. The paralyzing fear of losing my child lost all power in light of this little epiphany.

I also realized the God I really believed in would never give me a child just to take it from me. The God who required me to pray x number of hours per day, read through a list of scriptures morning, noon and night, go to church every time the doors were open, tithe, abstain from “unholy things,” never EVER say “shit,” and make sure I didn't have too many square inches of skin showing at once was a god of my own making.

Not God at all.

The God I really believed in was Love. He saw all of my disgustingness. He knew how screwed up I was and still, He loved me.

These realizations and the happy hormones looping through my system made me shove the problem into a mental box and try to forget about it. It worked ... for a while. 

Which is why, if any of this resonates with you, please, please, please don't stay miserable. You don't have to live with this. Call in the professionals. Tell somebody. Do it now.

It's wayyy more awkward/messy/embarrassing/painful if you wait two years for the monster to circle 'round and take a bite out of your ass.

Kind of like doing this:

Or this:

Seriously. Don't wait.
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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Don't Huff Glitter

I'd love to write something here that grabs your attention while simultaneously making you think my life is all sunshine and rainbows, something that makes you want to be just like me and live in my sparkly clean house and wonder how I manage to make awesome crafts out of toilet paper tubes while wearing really high heels and ridiculous amounts of eye makeup. Something that makes you hate me a little for being so perfect.

Unfortunately, I'm not perfect (this is the part where you act surprised). I tried to be. I tried really, really hard. And I ended up with a face full of glitter and a lot of self hatred. 

Don't huff the glitter, you guys. Just don't

Sometimes my life is dark and messy and broody. Sometimes there are monsters lurking in the dark. Sometimes I don't feel like I can do it. I rarely put on real pants and my house is clean in the same way that Pluto is still totally a planet, but it's real life. It's a little bit random and a little bit weird and I'm learning to love it.

And sometimes there are rainbows and sunshine. My family. My children. My Nikon. My sweet skills with a crochet hook. Other assorted beauty in the universe-at-large.

But all of it, this whole big mess of contradiction stuffed into a freckly and very easily-sunburned package, that's who I am.

I'm working on it. Sort of.

In between slamming Snickers bars and Facebooking and keeping my kids from eating more than five bugs a day and other super-important and possibly top secret stuff.

It's nice to meet you.

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