Intrusive thoughts were like a gut punch to my psyche. They were so vivid and so real. I could not bear to even consider what my mind was showing me. It was all too horrible to imagine. I would shake my head to clear the thoughts from my mind. I would turn on the television or turn up the radio if I was in my car.
I felt this urge to jerk my car into the path of oncoming traffic. What if I got into a little accident and broke my leg? I could finally get some rest and some sleep. Then I would shake my head again and berate myself. What kind of person thinks like that? I hated myself so much for these thoughts. I felt like I was a complete failure. Many women were able to handle motherhood with grace and ease. What was my problem? Why couldn’t I cope? Why did everything set me off? What was it about the noise level that made it impossible for me to concentrate?
I hated myself. I loathed my weakness and my anxiety. I could not believe how my mind was betraying me. I let my anxiety go unchecked, and it developed into rage. Anything could set me off. It could be stains on clothes or a sink full of dirty dishes. After my outbursts of rage, I would feel ashamed that I let myself get so out of control. I would sob uncontrollably, feeling the horrible pit in my stomach that signaled my shame and disgust in myself. Again I would berate myself in my mind. My inner monologue would hurl insults at me. I was a terrible mother. I was a terrible wife. My husband and my girls would be better off without me. I should just run away from my life since I was bringing nothing but pain and misery to my family. I could not bear the thought of leaving my family behind even though my anxiety made me want to run far, far away from them. My anxiety was so severe that I lost thirty pounds in six weeks. I could not sit still. I had to be doing something all the time. I could not rest, and I felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin.
I did not feel the anxiety leave my body until seven months after my youngest was born. I laid in Corpse Pose in yoga class, and I finally listened to that small voice in my mind. I knew that I needed to get help. I made the phone call the very next day, and I had my first session with my therapist that same week. I survived with the support of my family, my friends, my therapist and my online support team of #ppdchat and the Warrior Moms.