It would be so much easier if I woke up and my body was covered in a rash. Perhaps I could have a small cough or drippy nose. I would then know. It would be obvious that something was wrong with me, but that isn’t how it happens. At first you attribute the mood swings to the stress happening in your life. I mean who wouldn’t be a bit frazzled after moving and having a new baby? Of course it is stress. And the constant stream of tears? Well, I did just have a baby my hormones are just normalizing. Everybody has bad days. The loss of patience and irritability? I haven’t slept well in weeks and any normal person would be a bit annoyed. At some point it becomes harder and harder to explain and justify. And then it happens. After Max was born it was uncontrollable anger at David for leaving his coffee cup in the sink after I had just finished the dishes. This time it was being so frustrated at Lucy I gently pushed her out of my bedroom and locked the door. I didn’t throw her to the ground, or hurt her, or violently push her – but push her I did, and the underlying anger that was bubbling inside of me was scary.
Depression. Postpartum depression.
Depression isn’t like any other kind of illness. You can’t go to the doctor and point to a physical ailment and say “fix this”. It is like a toxic gas that slowly creeps into your life. You know that something doesn’t smell quite right but you can’t figure out where it is coming from until you are doubled-over sick with toxicity. And once you are sick it taints everything around it.
I spend most of my days feeling overwhelmed and on the verge of tears. All I can think about is wanting to sleep. If I could just sleep. And yet, even when the baby is asleep I can’t sleep. Insomnia plagues me at night. Every obstacle and daily frustration feels like an insurmountable problem that needs to be faced. My mind restlessly wanders from one thought to the next never settling. I’m incapable of decision making. Just getting dressed or deciding what I’ll cook for dinner paralyzes me. I spend hours aimlessly knocking around my house unable to focus my mind on any one task. My inner voice obssessively chants; “So sad. I’m so sad.”
My only comfort is David. His presence seems to settle the demons and lets me be at ease – even for an hour. I know what I need to do. I’ll make the necessary calls to doctors to get medicine prescribed and people to help and people to talk to about it. In the meantime I feel a bit like Eeyore waiting for the rain cloud to blow away.