It’s been a year since the words were finally said out loud.
I had my yearly exam scheduled for this week and the timing couldn’t have been better.
I’d had moments on maternity leave during the summer where I was scared that I was seeing the signs. But then I went back to work and I was ok. Maybe I was just distracted; surely it’s normal to feel this way when you’re stressed from a heavy work load, pumping, handling a house, a kid, and a baby waking up every few hours to eat.
Until last November when there was no longer a doubt that I wasn’t just overworked, overtired, overwhelmed. I hadn’t dodged the bullet this time.
J came with me to the doctor. I knew I was gonna talk to my doctor and I wanted him there for support. After nine months of visits, we all were pretty comfortable with each other.
As J and I sat talking to Dr. P, I heard the words coming from my mouth. My educated self knew what I was saying. I knew the diagnosis. But until he said it out loud, I kept thinking I just needed to figure out a way to relax. To chill out.
But it was so much more.
I had PPD.
It was a relief and disappointment all at once. I knew that if I could just get hold of this medical condition there would be an end in sight. For a person who is always in control, I was upset I didn’t outrun it and couldn’t deal with it on my own.
I didn’t actually talk about it till this spring. You can read that post here. I wrote it and then password protected it. I wanted people to know, but wasn’t ready to share-not yet, and not with everyone. I was scared of being judged. I didn’t want people to think I was not normal. I didn’t want people thinking I was unstable or incapable of handling daily life.
But none of that’s the case. Having PPD doesn’t make any of those things true.
What do I have to hide?
Post partum depression and anxiety is very real. It’s manageable. You can beat it.
And sometimes the depression and anxiety comes back when you think you’ve got it beat. You have to be on guard and constantly look out for the signs. But that’s ok. Because you just get back in battle mode and put that bitch in check.
Am I ok? I have my days. I sometimes feel that slip like I’m going back to that place and it can be scary, even when it’s just a brief minute. It’s scary thinking that moment can turn into more until you’re back in that place. It’s not a fun feeling to be “sad” or anxious for no apparent reason. I want to be happy for me, my husband, my girls. But sometimes you don’t get to control it. There is no choosing. That’s torture for a control freak like me.
All I know is that I’m worlds better than I was a year ago this week.
A year ago the prospect of going to our friends’ house for Thanksgiving suffocated me. I was in panic. This year I’m ok. I still don’t love having to be in social spots and be on sometimes, but I’m ok.
This week is even more meaningful when I look back on the last year. For my loving husband girls who love me all the time. For the resources to get better. I’m thankful for the friends who have helped me get through.
I’m thankful for every single day that I can see my girls, smile, and know it’s more than a reaction because I can feel it in my heart.