***Note: If you are feeling fragile, this post might be triggering. I talk about intrusive thoughts.***
I am linking up with Shell at http://thingsicantsay.com/ and pouring my heart out today.
I dread the morning routine. My husband works from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., so I do the entire morning routine by myself. This was my biggest struggle for months. I was dreading how to do all of it even before Skeeter was born. I would wake up, eat breakfast, pump, get myself ready, wake up Skeeter to nurse her, get her dressed, wake up Munch and help her get ready. Then bundle us all up and drag all of our bags to the car.
If anything threw off this routine, I could not cope. This could be Skeeter waking up early or Munch refusing to get dressed. I would end up yelling at my sweet girls. I would then burst into tears. Both Skeeter and Munch would follow suit, crying or screaming in fright. I would end up sitting on the floor with my head in my hands after these outbursts of rage, crying and apologizing. My poor Munch is so sensitive, and she hates being yelled at. I wonder now if I did any lasting damage to her psyche. She’s as sensitive as I am. Now she bites her nails when she’s “nervous”. I know the anxiety gene got passed down to her.
We were always running late, and we would make it to daycare just in time for the girls to eat breakfast. I was always flying in, talking a mile a minute, trying to disguise the fact that I was barely holding it together. Munch’s teacher, Miss A., was wonderful. I think she realized I was struggling. She always had a kind word and a smile for me. I would make it to the car before I would collapse, mentally and physically exhausted. More often than not, I would be sweating from all the exertion and the anxiety. When I get anxious, I sweat like crazy. I would have to take off my coat. I would also be crying again, in relief that I had survived and in shame and guilt for how I had behaved.
Sometimes I would call my mom to complain about the morning. Other times I would call my husband to berate him for throwing off my routine by doing one little thing like not pulling out the coats. I was so irrational in my irritability that I could not identify why this upset me so. Other times I would turn my music on and worry about car crashes. I constantly worried about my lack of sleep and how easy it would be to just lose control and drift over that center line into the oncoming traffic. I would never act on these thoughts, but they were there constantly.
After my recovery, I had a dear friend ask me if I suffered from intrusive thoughts. I hesitated when she asked me and said no. My brain had blocked out some of these horrible intrusive thoughts to protect me. As I got stronger, I started to remember more about my darkest days and hours. It wasn’t until Casey Mullins from http://www.mooshinindy.com asked for PPD and PPA survivors for confessions. I realized that I had suffered from these thoughts. I sat down and just cried at how lonely and terrified I felt at the time. I did not even disclose this to my therapist or my husband when these thoughts were happening. I stuffed them down. I anonymously contributed to Casey’s article on babble – http://blogs.babble.com/babys-first-year-blog/2012/03/12/postpartum-depression-thoughts/. I am referred to as Hannah W. I am linking up with Shell for Pour Your Heart Out – Things I Can’t Say.
Many thanks to Casey for helping me bring catharsis and closure to this and to sweet Frelle for starting the conversation that got me thinking about intrusive thoughts.
If you are a mom who is suffering from intrusive thoughts, you are not alone. This is common for women that struggle with postpartum mood disorders. Please search http://www.postpartumprogress.com or http://www.postpartum.net for local resources that will help you recover from your postpartum mood disorder. If you are feeling suicidal, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) – the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.