The past 9 months, since I had Big Guy, I’ve been in denial. Denying anything is wrong. Carrying on with life like nothing is wrong. Doing my best to look okay on the outside. And when people ask how I’m doing, my answer is always, “Okay.” No more, no less. Well, occasionally I’ll spice it up and say (sarcastically), “Fabulous!” Or I may lie and say, “Oh, I’m just tired.” Pretty sure I’m not fooling very many people, but it doesn’t hurt to try, right?
The truth is, I’ve not been okay. And people all over FB have been “coming out” while I’ve stayed in the dark by myself. I can’t live a life of denial anymore.
So let me level with you.
After I had Big Guy, I was in a super scary place. I should’ve been overjoyed because we were told he likely had dwarfism and he came out of the womb perfectly proportional. No complications. Just beautiful (not that he wouldn’t have been beautiful if he had been born with dwarfism–because he so totally would’ve been). Not having to worry about medical problems, though? What a blessing.
So, imagine my surprise when I wasn’t happy. When I had to plaster on this smile…the “I just had a baby and am overwhelmed with happiness” smile. And my further surprise that even the housekeeping lady who cleaned my room in the hospital didn’t believe it.
“Why is everyone asking me if I’m okay,” I asked The Manager.
I lied to him just like I did everyone else. “I’m okay.” “Nothing’s wrong.” Those words became my mantra.
“Why aren’t you talking to me?” became the infuriating question I got asked almost daily. Infuriating because I didn’t want to answer it and also because he needed to ask. He was supposed to read my mind, you know? Well, he did know what was going on. He started to pick up the slack around the house made by my complete lack of energy and motivation, which made me feel like total shit.
He forced me to go see someone. I wasn’t talking to him, so he made me an appointment. He and the doctor decided I should take medicine. I went back to that doctor weekly, and every week there was no change in my mood. In fact, I felt worse. And I didn’t talk to either of them. I guess it was my big “F*** you” to them. Because the doctor kept mentioning the hospital and there was no friggin way I was going. Even if I did contemplate ending my life almost daily.
Eventually, since I couldn’t say it out loud, I emailed The Manager and told him that I simply couldn’t see this doctor anymore. I don’t speak to men. I don’t do well with them. And I didn’t trust him. So they switched me to a female. And I got a bit better, but not totally. I eventually found an excuse to leave altogether and then decided to stop taking my medicine all on my own.
Since then, I’ve been fighting it all on my own. But the more I read from other women who have PPD, the more I recognize that I’ve been fooling myself. Maybe I don’t cry all the time, but I certainly feel irritable quite a bit. I certainly feel anxious. And I still lack the motivation to do things that I used to enjoy doing (not to mention the motivation to do things that I NEED to get done). I’m not suicidal, but there are certainly many days that I pry myself out of the bed with a crowbar.
This directly impacts my ability to deal with the tantrums, the meltdowns, and the stress of not having time to get work done at work. And maybe that’s my fault. I mean, I sometimes spend up to half an hour of my planning staring at my desk and not knowing where to start. So when I pick up Squeaker from preschool and bring him back to work with me, only to accomplish nothing, the pressure mounts. I simply cannot seem to get it together.
And here I am, sharing this for all the world to see, and it makes me nervous because there are maybe a handful of people who know I’ve struggled with depression, and I think most of those people think that I’m better now. Because I think I’ve gotten pretty good at putting on the mask. But, it’s there. And I’m telling you now, even though I know there are people who read this that may even say mean things about me for admitting it, that it is a daily struggle. One I should probably not be attempting to fight on my own.
Some how, some way, I need to feel better than this. I need to be strong enough that other people’s emotions don’t drag me down like an anchor into murky depression-filled waters. I need to feel like I’m the wife, mom, teacher, etcetera, that everyone needs me to be. I need to actually BE okay when I say that I am.
[bctt tweet=”It’s Time to Be Real. The Truth About My Depression.” username=”embracespectrum”]
One of my friends posted a link on Facebook titled 5 Damaging Myths About Postpartum Depression. If you think you might have it, read the article. Tell someone. Don’t stay in the dark.