Friday, February 25, 2011

about Amber and Ann...


Yesterday, I sat down and talked to two other mothers who experienced Post Partum Depression and Post Partum Anxiety. We talked for almost 2 hours about the women we were before pregnancy, the women we became after having the baby, and the women we wanted to ultimately become. The entire time I talked to them, I could not help feeling a slight tinge of sadness that I had to find comfort from the ears of strangers…versus those who I had grown close to over the years.
It felt good to REALLY know that there are some women who have gone through EXACTLY what I have experienced in the last couple of years. I have read several accounts of women with PPD and my mother shared her experience with me. However, these women were sitting right across from me…and this has made a huge difference. They never assumed I was going to kill my daughter or that I even harbored those feelings. They were compassionate and empathetic. It was more of a relief and it actually helped.
This morning, a young lady tweeted how we are taught to take care of ourselves physically but most of us are not taught anything in regards to mental health. It is very true in my case.
I can still hear my father telling me, “No one really likes a stupid girl so that is why intelligence is so important.” So being smart was his focus. My mother was intent on teaching me all of the things that would allow me to be a good mate to someone one day (cooking, cleaning, submission, etc.). In the midst of ALL that teaching, never once did my parents teach me or my siblings how to deal with our “demons”. I honestly believe it was because they did not how to deal with their own.
After talking to Amber and Ann, it solidified my decision to educate my daughter about mental health. Just as eating McDonald’s everyday will ultimately lead to debilitating health, so will not releasing her emotions in a healthy way. I was taught not to cry, even when I was in physical pain. This taught me how to have a high tolerance to physical pain. I adopted the same attitude when it came to my mental health too…because my parents were not too keen on fully discussing how we felt either. At 31, I know that this has not helped me AT ALL.
Listening to Amber and Ann express how important it was for their children to be okay with how they felt, let me know I am not the only parent who obsesses about wanting the best, ACROSS THE BOARD, for their child. I do not want my daughter to ever feel like she has no one to go to. My parents live thousands of miles from me, as do my siblings. Pooda’s other grandparents live in another state and her father has no siblings. So sometimes it IS just us three. We are all we got. I never want her to forget that either…
Our friends are not always there for us when we need them the most and that is when you realize, sometimes you are more of a friend to other people than they are a friend to you. There is a quote that says, in summary, if you cannot deal with me at my worst, then you do not deserve me at my best. Every time I have tried to talk with someone I THOUGHT was close to me and they give off the vibe that this is not the conversation they want to have, I remember that quote. From the outside looking in, I might not appear to be “at my worst” but mentally, I know I am.
If we are REAL friends, you should at least have the balls to say “hey, I don’t know how to respond to this”. Completely brushing it off as if it is of no concern though? That lets me know where we stand. I have never desired to have friends who are not FULLY supportive so this shedding period has probably been long past due. We all want different things out of friendships but this is essential for me. Talking to Amber and Ann gave me the necessary clarity to just move the fuck on and away from these people.
They might be perfect friends to someone else but it is time for me to let go. I would say it is nothing personal but…it is. I am at a different place in life right now and I need people around me that understand that. If they do not want to see me walk away, they will communicate like the adults they are. If their level of comfort is more important, THAT, I will not take personal.  How could I when my level of comfort is SO important right now?
Amber is about to have her second son and she gave me the assurance I have been trying to swallow…it DOES get better. She said I might not walk away from this with EVERYTHING I desire but you cannot have it all. I knew that because logically, how could you not? But when it comes to how you FEEL, logic sometimes gets thrown out of the window. Sure it is easy to say “GET THE FUCK OVER IT!” but it is not that easy to do. MY ENTIRE LIFE HAS CHANGED…in two years. One day people will fully grasp that…
I was making good money at my job, driving the vehicle of my dreams, eating out whenever and wherever I wanted, taking trips out of town, picking up entire tabs when me and my friends would go out, buying clothes/shoes whenever I wanted, dating whoever I wanted, and other stuff that made my life SEEM grand.
ALL of that has changed…I am living the COMPLETE opposite of EVERYTHING I mentioned above. Anyone who says it is not that serious…is delusional. I had been independent for 13 years; moved out at 16 yrs old and been taking care of myself since then. There was no going back and forth to my parents financially or emotionally. So imagine what having to depend on someone else NOW would do to someone…while I have this tiny person who needs 100% of me. Yes, there is someone else going through a more terrible ordeal than I but the flip side to that is, there is someone else experiencing a better life than what I am living. Sorrow, pain, and adversity is all relative….
ALL pain feels the same…it hurts…regardless of it being a knife wound or a gun shot.
I will never downplay anyones anguish…so please do not downplay mine. If you cannot deal, just go away. We will both be better off.
So here is to improved mental health :-D

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

about MY postpartum depression...


I had a great doctor that looked out for me while I was pregnant. She could sense things about me and my pregnancy without me ever saying anything. It was uncomfortable for someone I barely knew to be so empathetic to what I was going through. I passed it off as her just doing her job and being good at it.
She always asked me how I felt about my pregnancy and I gave her very vague responses because…I did not know her. Every visit though, she would tell me that if I needed to talk about ANYTHING, she was there and to just call her. I had a pretty complicated pregnancy too; my daughter was 100% fine the entire time though.
However, my body was not adjusting because of other things that were going. Anytime I would call her about the complications though, she would call me back within 5-10 minutes…no matter how small the complication was. Several times she called me just to check on me. During those times, she would always ask if I was okay and if I needed to talk. Of course because I did not really know her, I always said, “I’m good but thanks for asking”.
After I had the baby, I had to take this test to see if I was headed down the road of postpartum depression. I tucked the test away because I figured if I did not focus on that, it would not happen. She repeatedly asked if I took the test and I finally did. I lied on the test because…I was embarrassed. As I sit here typing, I wish I had not.
She asked me several times after the test if I had been honest and I lied every single time. 
I figured, back then, that maybe this depression thing was all in mind, no pun intended. Any time I mentioned it to someone I always got the same responses:
  • you’re better than that
  • you’re not really depressed
  • you’re strong enough to get over that
  • oh please!
The only people who actually took my concerns seriously were two people who were thousands of miles away from me…my mother and my sister. I have never missed them so much. This is not something I can deal with over the phone or through an email. I need my mother and my sister….
I think that some people see who I was before my daughter and think that I should automatically have stayed that way. Having a child is a HUGE life changing experience and if a simulation existed that could allow people to even relate a little bit, I would suggest EVERYONE test it out. I thought I was strong enough to withstand anything…but I am not.
I wish the people I was closest to understood this…it is not an act. It is not a cry for attention. It is my life and I do not want to keep feeling like this every day but…I do. I worry about my daughter all the time because I just want to be a good mother to her but I feel other things too. It is a neverending cycle that I sometimes sit and attempt to solve…but I do not think straight all the time. A large portion of my daily thoughts are how and what I can do to MAKE myself end this.
Asking for help from people who do not understand this is sometimes like speaking Spanish to someone who only hears English. Some people genuinely feel there is nothing they can do to help someone in this state. 
I look at my daughter and see how independent she is and it pains me. She does not even like anyone to hold her hand…much like me. I just want her to know that it is okay to ask for help and KEEP asking until you get what you need. I did not KEEP asking for help and it put me in this predicament. Now, when I ask for help, it is not received well and I am misunderstood. Maybe I am not conveying my thoughts as well as I once did but I am actively trying.
ALL of this is new to me…this level of depression…having to depend on someone else…giving up my freedom…raising this tiny, wonderful person who just wants to learn everything from me…and I feel like I have very little to teach her sometimes. It is taking some time for me to adjust and there are days I sit and just pray for help…
I guess the good that can come out of this is…whoever cannot deal with me at my worst will fade out of my life. My only hope is that the people who claim to love me the most, stick with me while I make my way through this.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

trying not to neglect blogger anymore...

I intended to come back and post on Blogger but I have a love/hate relationship with it.

There are a lot of things/people I have been separating myself from since Babybottoms was conceived. Accepting that people you once cared for, do not have your best interest at heart...hurts.

But...moving forward...I am back to submerging myself in my writing. I am in my 30's now and one day closer to my goals I had dreamed up in my 20's. I have had some MAJOR, difficult life changes; some things I have had a constant battle with every day...other things I have grasped and never looked back.

I am grateful for ALL of the life experiences I have had in the last two years. It has started the process of filtering I was putting off for a while now. The things I attempted to change, thinking it was going to make me a better person, I found out are the things I need to keep the same.

I have just been living :)

So now, I am moving forward, living my life to the best of my ability. They say your 30's are supposed to be fun so that is what I am looking forward to. Spending my days with people who matter...with those who love me and my little family UNCONDITIONALLY. I know that is not an easy task to take on for ANYONE because it requires patience and learning every day. However, this is the stage of life I am at and I am excited to get to my future :)
 

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