Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's that fight or flight feeling- only on crack- part 2

If you missed my emotional wreck confession the other day, you should probably go back and read about my anxiety from the beginning.

So, where was I? Oh right... confessing my deepest, darkest secret to the whole freaking internet... awesome. 

As Fynn got older, I kept feeling like I was getting a better hold on my anxiety. I wasn't waking up in the middle of the night to check on her any more (mostly because she was up 5-6 times a night on her own) and I wasn't freaking out so much all the time... but on the inside I felt awful. I had this deep, heavy pressure in my chest all day long. I couldn't describe it... it was just always there. 

Then came the end of my maternity leave. For 12 weeks I had been with her all day every day... yet suddenly I was supposed to leave her for 8 hours a day with someone else... well, all hell broke loose. I spent hours crying those last couple of weeks. Hours. I was a mess. What if something happened at daycare? What if a natural disaster occurred and I couldn't get to her? What if she wouldn't take a bottle? What if I couldn't pump enough to keep up with her? My "what ifs" went on and on.

Drew was annoyed with my worrying... hell, I was annoyed with my worrying. He kept telling me to see someone about it, go back to my doctor... but I was too stubborn to admit that maybe there was something wrong. I went back to work and freaked out all day. I was a mess. I cried all the way to work every day. I cried while pumping. I cried when my kids were at specials. When I wasn't crying I was on the verge of panic attacks and had a couple in the staff bathroom on a few really rough days.

Still, I wouldn't admit there was anything wrong. I chalked it up to stress, lack of sleep and being a new mom. All legit excuses... but they were just exacerbating a problem that really existed. 

Finally, when Fynn was 5 months old, I hit my breaking point. I had gotten so bad that I was walking around with this constant tightness in my chest and feeling like I was going to hyperventilate all day long. My friends at work were constantly asking if I was okay, and while I brushed them off and said I was just tired... it was more than that. I wasn't enjoying anything. At work I just wanted to be at home, but at home I just wanted to be alone.

So I called my doctor. And cried while talking to her about how I was feeling. My doctor is amazing. The kindest, most supportive woman I've ever met. She made me feel okay about how I was feeling. Okay asking for help. It was hard... I like to fix my own problems, but this was too big for me to handle on my own. Even now it's hard for me to talk about. At that appointment she prescribed an antidepressant. Of course I freaked out immediately .. I couldn't take an antidepressant while nursing! It would be in my milk, my baby would get it. However, after a lot of research and a conversation with Fynn's pediatrician, I realized that the minuscule risk associate with it was far outweighed by the benefits of having a saner mother.

Not going to lie... a part of me thought about not filling it. That part of me figured I could still find a way to deal with this on my own. But Drew convinced me to give it a try... and if I didn't feel better on it, then I could just stop taking it. 

I've now been on it for almost 5 months. While I'm still anxious, and I still worry... it's not as all-consuming as it was. I can breathe easier. I can go hours, sometimes even a whole day without being overcome by a million what-ifs. Meds don't get rid of the anxiety... but they take the edge off of it so I can function and deal with my anxiety in a healthy way.

To be honest though... writing all of this right now scares the crap out of me. Once I hit publish... it's all going to be out there, in black and white. But I feel like by not writing about it all these months, I've been hiding this big part of me... and feeling ashamed of something that shouldn't be shameful. It's not something I should have to hide or feel bad about... it's something that is actually more common then I even thought it was... and a lot of other moms go through this roller coaster of anxiety. No matter how much I rationalize it though... it's still scary to put yourself out there like this.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for writing this. It sounds like you were suffereing from post partum depression coupled with your already present anxiety and it just exploded. Antidepressants aren't for everyone but if it works for you? MORE power to you. You are SO right...Fynn will benefit so much more from having a calmer, saner, and happier you then she will from having totally clean breast milk. You're doing an amazing thing for yourself and your family, don't forget that!

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  2. I so love your honesty. So much of us deal with similar feelings and hearing (or reading) it from someone else can be such a help to others. So thank you. I had major anxiety during my pregnancy with Cruze and even worst after he was born. I seriously barely left my house for the first 4 months of his life. FOUR MONTHS at home. I'm not the kind of person who likes to be home 24/7 but leaving the house, just walking out the front door would put me into a major panic. So I didn't. I just stayed home, isolated from my friends and the rest of the world. I'm still recovering. I'm doing my best to learn how to let go so that my son can LIVE. I want him to enjoy life and I fear that my constant worries that hold me back from doing so many things, will hurt him down the road. Sorry for the novel. I'll just leave it there for now. But good for you for doing what you had to do for yourself and your beautiful baby girl. Much love

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  3. I'm glad you put this out there. Although I'm not a mom, I've struggled with anxiety and depression issues on and off for years, and I wish people weren't so afraid to talk about their mental health! Every time someone opens up about it, you really never know who you're helping or what you're bringing to light for them. Life is never perfect, and sometimes we all need help getting through the extra-tough patches!

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  4. I am a teacher myself with two small girls at home and I have found the anxiety and stress of balancing it all incredibly overwhelming this year. Just like you I am still battling with whether I can handle it on my own or go to the doctor for help. Thanks for sharing your story. I know it s hard to put yourself out there sometimes.

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  5. Anxiety seems to all be mental, but it isn't. It's just as physical as a broken arm or leg but anxiety is found among miniscule chemicals and electrical impulses and trace minerals and synapses and neurons, things not nearly as easy to see and understand as a broken bone. It is not a moral failing. It also isn't often something that can heal itself any more than a bone can reset by itself. You are on a good path of healing, keep at it and push forward with confidence that you can change your brain just as you can change your physique.

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