The Secret I Won't Keep

I am generally a super extroverted, happy, outgoing person.

I love meeting new people and can start up a conversation with pretty much any person I come into contact with. So when I found myself curled up in a ball in my bed, bawling, not wanting to see my kids or husband and his family I knew something was terribly wrong.

Post Partum Depression,

Here’s the story:

I’ve had thyroid problems since I was about 17 years old. I’ve always had my levels tested when I started to notice symptoms appearing. My most noticeable symptoms appear as extreme anxiety, racing mind, insomnia, brain fog, and fatigue. Any time I start to experience two or more of these at once I assume something with my hormones is off and I usually have to adjust my medication.

When I was pregnant I had to adjust it nearly every single time I went to my doctor,  so I knew once Beckett was here I would most likely be going through the same process again. Which let me add, getting bloodwork done is NOT cheap being paid for out of pocket.

 I had felt pretty good for most of my post birth so I figured I was past the whole PPD stage and that my anxiety and stress and irritability was just due to lack of sleep. Combine that with Becketts growth spurts and breastfeeding on demand, it made perfect sense in my mind that’s what it was and I never even thought about PPD.

Fast forward to the last few weeks.

My migraines came back with a VENGEANCE. I was becoming more and more irritated with everyone around me. I was not sleeping at night even though Beckett was going to bed around 7:30 pm and sleeping until 4:00 am. My body and mind were so fatigued and yet I was extremely restless. Sound like my thyroid and hormones were starting to adjust back to what I consider to be my “normal”. I started having a really hard time concentrating on things, which I just assumed was my ADHD rearing it’s ugly head in combination with the hormones, so It was time to call my doctor and get the dreaded bloodwork done. 

I went in and we discussed all of my issues and she got my panel of tests ready for me. She did not want to refill my ADHD medication because of the risk of it passing to Beckett and I will be honest I was devastated. If you have ADHD and you’ve ever experienced medication that allows you to focus and be PRESENT with people and actually soak in everything going on around you, you’ll understand. But, I also understand why she wouldn’t prescribe it. What I want to point out here is when I got in the car and walked out with an order for bloodwork totaling $454 and a list of supplements to try and help my ADHD instead of a prescription I was SO so SO discouraged and frustrated and sad beyond what would be considered normal. I broke down. This was the third time I had a break down over something small already that day and it was only noon.

We had plans for the next day to have Zach’s family over to see the new house.

His oldest brother loves cooking so he said he would bring dinner and I offered to make dessert. After my doctor appointment and bloodwork and getting my other prescriptions filled I made a run to the store and grabbed the few ingredients that I knew I was out of at home. I got home and decided to make the cake a day early so I didn’t have to worry about not getting it done the next day. When Beckett went down for her nap I managed to get it done between going back and forth into her room a million times to give her the beloved pacifier every time she would spit it out. Mind you, I am not sleeping well at all. Elijah had a friend over and my irritability was out the roof from running all over town, trying to keep a baby asleep while there were two 8 year old boys playing in the house, and bake a cake.

The next day was no better.

Beckett was only napping for about 30 minutes at a time and extremely fussy during the times she was awake. By 4:00 when I knew Zach’s family would be headed over I was completely emptied of any type of energy, positivity, or even desire for anything at all. I knew that Beckett was needing to take a nap and by the time she was getting fussy and tired again, I heard people start arriving. Cue the screaming. I tried everything to soothe her and none of it worked. I finally walked into the living room, handed her to Zach, and proceeded back to the bedroom where I just sat on the bed and stared out the window. Zach came in to check on me and I literally lost it.

 I’m talking sobbing tears down my face, can’t hardly breathe, hunched over type of cry. I told him I just needed to be alone for a while so he went back out to his family while I tried to pull myself together. I knew this wasn’t normal.

It wasn’t until I remembered a message I had received a couple months back that a girl from high school sent me that I began to realize, maybe this was something more.

She had reached out to me on Facebook after I posted how irritated and frustrated I was with Beckett’s most recent spurt and just let me know to be mindful of myself because she herself had PPD and her symptoms started out much like mine. Naturally I turned to google and  searched post-partum depression symptoms.

Insomnia, intense irritability, anger, anxiety, loss of interest, mood swings, crying, restlessness, fatigue, lack of concentration, depression, repeatedly going over thoughts, guilt.

There are more symptoms but those were the ones I identified with the most. I immediately reached out to the sweet girl who had contacted me and told her what was going on and she told me some experiences she had while walking through the process herself. After talking with her I realized how serious this could get and I immediately called my doctor to let her know what I felt was going on. As terrible as I felt at that moment I couldn’t imagine allowing it to get any worse and I knew I was the only one who could do anything about it. I called and talked to my mom just to be able to vent it all out to someone and she was a great listener which is exactly what I needed. She suggested I tell Zach exactly what I felt was going on and then to spend the evening relaxing. So that’s exactly what I did. I took a bath, stopped reading facebook, and got in bed at 7 pm. I slept that night from 7:00 pm until 7:00 am and if it weren’t for having to get ready for work, I would have slept longer.

The worst part about it all is feeling like you are an inadequate mom and that you are the only one who has felt this way.

I opened up to a few other people about it and I realized so many more women deal with this than it is ever talked about.  I for one have had times where I have told Zach, jokingly, “I am so done, I’m getting an AIRBNB and I’ll be back in a day or two.” The funny thing about that is… I eventually truly felt that way. That evening I would have loved nothing more than to be in bed in a dark room, completely alone in silence, no makeup, no tv, no music, just quiet.

I’ve had days where I don’t feel like I can be a mom anymore.

I’ve had times of frustration that I am hateful and rude to my husband and Elijah. I have had times where I isolate myself and disappear for an entire evening. There are times where Beckett is just doing normal baby things like crying for comfort and I am so irritated for no good reason. She wants me, and I don’t want to be wanted. All of these things just add on to your guilt and depression… yet so many of us struggle with it.

So I decided to tell my secret,

so that hopefully more awareness is brought to this issue. Medication is okay if you need it. A therapist is good if it helps you. Journaling your feelings and thoughts will help you be self aware. Being open with your husband and kids about it will help all of you understand one another better. It’s okay to need help, but it’s up to YOU to ask for it. Don’t let your joy get stolen from you, fight back. Your family is worth it.

YOU are worth it.

I am still walking through this season and God is giving me grace every step of the way. But I stand on His promise to me from His word and know that because I have called on Him, He will set me free.

“Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free.” Psalm 118:5

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