My gosh, Kristin (@littlemamajama) is here with this inspiring tender guest post! I love this woman, and I am honored to have her at my Mama’s Comfort Camp Facebook refueling station for moms.
Kristin is a stay-at-home mom, writer and social media marketer. She blogs at LittleMamaJama.com. She resides with her husband and one-year-old son in a university residence hall, where her husband works. Kristin enjoys writing, biking and her long lost love – sea kayaking.
Climbing Out of the Pit of Pain
Have you ever had a moment that completely stopped you in your tracks and made you think, “What am I doing?”
My moment occurred one night during November 2011. My seven-month-old son looked at me and cried. He wanted me to actively entertain him at every moment, but I just didn’t have the energy for that anymore. My energy was quickly being replaced with more rage and hopelessness every day. He continued to cry, and a few sentences played over and over again in my mind.
Please stop crying. I can’t. I just can’t. I’m so tired. All I want is for you to stop crying.
The pleading in my mind became more urgent, and I burst into tears as an uncontrollable rage built up inside of me. Suddenly, I repeatedly yelled, “Please stop!”
I was instantly flooded with guilt and confusion. What am I doing? Who is this person I’ve become? I couldn’t recognize myself anymore. I was filled with anxiety and rage. I was reeling out of control, and I had no power to stop it.
I called my OBGYN for help, and was diagnosed with postpartum depression in December 2011.
The diagnosis was confusing to me. My doctor had asked me at my postpartum checkup if I was depressed; and when I said no, he had ruled out any postpartum depression. The problem was that I had never felt depressed. I learned that you don’t need to feel depressed in order to have depression!
In addition to the anger and rage that had taken a prominent role in my personality, I also experienced crippling anxiety and intrusive thoughts. I was terrified to cook, because I was convinced that a knife would slip out of my hand and fly across the room to injure my son. I started to avoid driving, because I would constantly think things like, “What if I drove us off of the road?” or, “What if I hit that oncoming car?” I was afraid to keep attending the local moms’ group because I felt like the freak in the room, alone with all of my scary thoughts and anger. I didn’t know what to say to those other women anymore. They seemed so happy and in control.
I certainly wasn’t in control. I wasn’t happy anymore, either. Generally, I had three emotions: exhausted, irritated and numb.
When my OBGYN wanted to put me on antidepressant medication, I obliged. I felt that if something didn’t change quickly, I’d be lost in the pit of pain forever – too far down to reach for help. It was difficult to believe this at the time, but postpartum depression truly is a treatable illness.
It took me many months to climb out of the pit. I’ve lost my footing a few times, but have never fallen all the way back down. For me, the road to recovery has involved several avenues of healing. Medication, talk therapy, and online support in the form of Mama’s Comfort Camp and #PPDChat have helped pull me out of my pit of PPD.
As with all challenges in life, this experience has changed me. I do find that I have a lot more anxiety and am more easily irritated, but I’ve also discovered methods of coping with these new aspects of my personality. A few deep, slow breaths can be enough to put things into perspective. There are still hard days, but they are dwindling. I’m able to appreciate my husband and son in a way that I don’t think I ever could have without experiencing PPD. Sometimes, there is beauty in the breakdown; and I recognize that every time I look at my son and well up with love, joy and motherly pride.
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Kristing, may your recovery continue undisturbed, and if/when setbacks show up, remember that we are here for you. You are never alone. You can find Kristin on her sweet and inspiring blog Little Mama Jama, on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/LittleMamaJama) and on Twitter (@littlemamajama).
Talk to Kristin, talk to me, talk to you. Tell us: what parts of her story touched you? Where are you on your motherhood journey? What would reassure you to know?
Few things touch my heart more than stories about recovery and hope after PPD. If you have a story to share, I’d love to publish it here. please email me at ppdtojoy at gmail.