Overwhelming sounds

A lot of the shorthand in the online community talks about our “triggers”.  It took me a while to realize that a trigger was a physical or emotional response to some type of stimuli.

One of the biggest contributors to my anxiety still continues to be noise.  If the noise reaches a certain level, I lose my ability to think or concentrate.  This aversion to loud noises began shortly after Skeeter was born.  She had a very loud cry that was almost like a shout.  It would startle both my husband and I awake.  It would evoke that fight or flight response in me.  My heart would be pounding in my ears, and my breathing would be shallow.  I would be sitting bolt upright before I even realized that I was awake. 

In my darkest moments, I remember sitting in the corner with my arms hugging my body into a ball.  I would beg Skeeter with the same phrase over and over “please don’t cry, please don’t cry”.  I could barely manage to take care of her without breaking down myself.  If she was screaming, I would get anxious and tense.  I would be unable to respond quickly enough to meet her needs.  If she was screaming like that, it was so difficult for me to discern what she needed.  All I could hear was the noise.  I was unable to decide if she was hungry, wet, tired or needed comfort.  In that respect I felt like a new parent all over again.  I needed some time to process and make a decision.  I felt pressure to make a quick decision so I would be responding quickly and appropriately.  I would get angry and frustrated with myself because I did not know how to handle my own child. 

I didn’t realize at the time that I had postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression.  I just thought that having two children simply overwhelmed me.  I wanted so much to be the perfect mom to both of my girls.  I did not want either of them to have to wait for anything.  I wanted to be able to meet and even anticipate their needs.  What was missing in all of this?  It was me and my needs.  In my need to be perfect, I was not taking any time to tend to my own needs.  I was suffering from fatigue, insomnia and stress.

Now if I get overwhelmed with the girls running around and shouting, I take a step back.  I ask them each to repeat their questions or requests.  I then determine which need is most urgent.  They have learned how to share my time and attention, and they have learned how to be patient. 

If I could say anything to that mom crying in the corner, it would be some words of wisdom that I learned from the lovely Lauren Hale of http://mypostpartumvoice.com/.  I would say to myself “Jen, you are okay.  You are not alone, and you are not to blame.”  You will get better once you get help.

About tranquilamama

Juggling parenthood, housework and working outside the home in the corporate world with my wonderful husband. Mom to 2 beautiful girls. PPD and PPA survivor. The title of my blog is after a phrase that was repeated to me in Spain during my semester abroad in college. It roughly translates to relax and calm down. Trying to tame my inner perfectionist and just be a good enough mom.
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14 Responses to Overwhelming sounds

  1. PushDumpFatButton says:

    Reblogged this on Push Dump Fat Button.

  2. This is so true.
    I didn’t know I had a definite trigger until this year.
    My daughter is two.
    But I wouldn’t have made it without help and support.

  3. This is so true.
    I didn’t know I had a trigger until this year and my daughter is two.
    I wouldn’t have made it without help and support.

    • I am so thankful for getting the help and support I needed. I am so grateful to have found such amazing online support. Reading blogs like yours & participating in #ppdchat helped me understand my anxiety and my depression.

  4. addyeB says:

    Noise has been a huge trigger for me since Alex was born. I so relate to this. ((hugs))

    • Huge hugs. It stinks that you can relate to this too. Noise is a trigger, but music is my place to sing & dance my emotions out. I also will just listen to a song’s melody & lyrics to let my emotions just wash over me.

  5. story3girl says:

    I am with you. I need quiet, and the crying and screaming and whining drills right through you. Proud of you for seeing it and learning how to deal with it.

    • Yes that description of drilling right you is exactly what it feels like. I crave quiet more than I thought I did since I’m an extrovert. I think I do my best thinking when I am quiet. The external noise makes it hard to hear what’s in my mind.

      I am getting there with recognizing my triggers with the girls. Sometimes their laughter & screaming just pierces my ears. I probably say “settle down” a lot.

  6. anonymousmomma says:

    Noise is such a huge trigger for me, especially when I’m in a manic phase. Love this and love you. thank you for sharing.

    • Huge hugs. I cannot imagine how difficult that must be in a manic state. I know how agitated & anxious too much noise makes me. Sending you love. Hope this helped. I realized how many of us are so profoundly affected by noise.

  7. I am so proud of you for recognizing your triggers. You’ll be better equiped to get out of a situation before it gets out of hand.
    I’m still learning mine. They are very different from time to time since I am bipolar. Each state carries with it different things like loud noise, bright lights….caffiene…oy.
    But a crying baby always sends me over the edge which is why I am so thankful that I do not work in the Pediatric ER anymore.

    • Thank you, Kim. I am still a work in progress at recognizing my triggers. Trying to figure out what state carries which triggers must be challenging and frustrating. My other big trigger is being at the doctor’s office or our Children’s Hospital. The girls being sick and babies crying in pain sends me over the edge as well. I cannot begin to imagine how challenging working in a pediatric ER would be. I admire anyone who can work in that type of environment. You, my friend, are an inspiration to me. xoxo

  8. Yes, yes, yes to the noise triggers! I have always been like that, but now with two kids it’s never quiet here. I think that’s part of the reason I stay up so late even though I know I’ll regret it in the morning. It’s the only time that the whole house is quiet and I can feel my body really relax.

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