Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Asking for help

I read this blog by a mom named Jen, shown here, and it really described how I feel a lot of time:
I found myself spacing out, shutting down, crying easily, getting angry easily, and feeling like I was emotionally sinking. I thankfully came out of it, but I tell you that only to say that I kind of feel like I'm working to out-run postpartum depression. I fear that if I go several days without enough sleep, if I let frustrations or day to day decisions overwhelm me, if I don't ask for help when I need it, or if I keep my emotions and thoughts bottled up, that PPD will catch up with me. And I worry that if I let it catch up, I won't be able to get away and it will consume me.
When I completed my out-patient treatment, I felt this huge sense of accomplishment and relief. "Phew! That's over." But it wasn't. It's a daily recovery process. I have many more good days than bad days now. I spend more time laughing than crying. I am closer to M than I have ever been, and I'm less afraid to be her mom. I realized now that she needs me - imperfect, regular me.

I am more aware of my feelings, and this has been a big help. I can identify sadness more easily. Last night I asked for help twice. First, I felt very anxious and wanted to be sick. I said this aloud to L. Just by telling him the feeling faded. Second, I was trying to fall asleep and my thoughts rode away with me. I started fretting about how we'll pay for M's first birthday party, which is only a cookout for family and close friends. Nothing big. But I spiraled into worry that we couldn't afford any of it and, therefore, I am a terrible mother. I asked L to hold me, and that anxiety faded.

This is probably a good life skill to have. So maybe bottling up fear isn't a good idea. Weird. Who knew? Hopefully this will help keep me a step ahead of postpartum depression.

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