Oh hello PTSD…

So we’re 11 months out from having our baby. Things are going well! I feel happy, content…but more importantly, I feel like myself.

Hooray!

And then I saw this new Mazda commercial. As I watched, my stomach turned. Tears started pouring out of my eyes. Flashbacks to that horrible perinatal depression fluttered across my closed eyelids. Flashbacks to the hopelessness and despair. Visions of my friends enjoying their babies while I felt like I was dying; like my life was over. My heart started to pound. My palms started to sweat.

My PTSD from perinatal depression had made it’s appearance, again.

That’s the part of recovery that they don’t tell you about. They don’t tell you that as you’re enjoying a nice afternoon, thinking how lovely your vacation was, how cute your baby is, how suddenly PTSD can spring up and paralyze you.

I don’t know why the Mazda commercial triggered me. I don’t know why when people joke about me having more than one kid, why that triggers it.

It just does.

I hate it.

I know that even though I have made so much progress and I feel so much better…that PTSD is still waiting in the wings to strike. I feel stupid saying that. I feel like some soldier returning from Iraq probably has way worse PTSD – his/her PTSD is real. One of my friends who found her father after he killed himself – she’s got legitimate PTSD. I just had perinatal depression.

But I’ve realized that I can’t minimize it. I need to own up to whatever it is. Maybe I’m weak for being so affected by this…but it’s my motherhood, it’s my experience. I still need to tackle it and deal with it.

I avoid triggers as best as I can. I’m careful about the pictures that I view on social media of people’s newborns, because I know that in the blink of an eye, it can take me back to those dark, dark days. Those dark days aren’t what I want to think of when I want to celebrate the joyful birth of a new child with my friends.

I know that I have to stop the conversation if people start joking/asking about having another kid. I know that I have to walk away if they tell me that I’ll feel differently in another year or two. They could totally be right! But right now, I can’t hear it.

Because as excited as I am about how much better I feel…as my therapist reminds me: I’m still on the road to recovery. Maybe I always will be. But I’m proactive about it and I watch for triggers.

I’ll get better, I hope. Or maybe I won’t. But I can cope. I can deal with it. I’ve got the tools.

We’re just taking it one day at a time.

Postpartum World_ICON_4C_Yellow Rattle

2 thoughts on “Oh hello PTSD…

  1. Maybe this is what I’m struggling with.
    I’ve had anxiety and depression since I was 18. Usually it’s been pretty manageable with an SSRI which I have been taking since I was 19. Trying to get pregnant for many years we finally conceived after 4 miscarriages. I was so excited I lowered my antidepressants in fear of hurting my growing baby. I felt great until the 20 week mark and then had crippling anxiety and depression that I had to increase my meds again. I feel like since that episode last December, I have not been the same. I waited it out till I had the baby, telling myself that once he was born everything would be better. I would have this bundle of joy and I would be feel so blissfully happy and my depression would be no more.

    I breast fed for 3 months (my goal) and then felt like I had to increase my meds back to my regular dose (Celexa 40 mg) which I am usually very good and stable on that dose. It’s been 6 weeks now and I still don’t feel like I’m back to myself. I still have days of crippling anxiety and severe depression. Wondering why my regular dose isn’t working like it used to. I’m scared to increase them even more, I don’t want to be a walking zombie.

    I’m waiting for the day that this gets better and I can finally enjoy my boy. I don’t feel disconnected to him or anything, I love him so much. But I want to be able to enjoy life again. It seems like everyday is a battle, a battle that I fight and I have no idea when it’ll end. I’m tired. I’m tired of this battle that I’ve had for almost 10 years.
    Now it’s mostly the fear that I struggle with. The fear of getting worse, ending up in a mental hospital, or worse dead. It scares me because I don’t want to feel this way. I want to be happy, that’s all

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    1. So a word of encouragement:
      You’ve had a lot of fluctuations and changes as far as your hormones go. Your estrogen gets really high during pregnancy and then crashes and is really low during postpartum while you are breastfeeding (to make room for the prolactin). All of that impacts your mental health and your normal chemical balances.

      So you’re only 6 weeks out from weaning? That’s not a ton of time for all your hormones to get back to normal and allow your meds to function the way they usually do. You might need to adjust your dosage to get through the hormonal rollercoaster.

      It is not inevitable that you have to up your dosage permanently. You might just need to make some changes for a couple more months.

      When I had PPD, I felt numb to life. I felt like I couldn’t look forward to anything. But I got treated and had to get my meds adjusted twice – one of which I had an increase. But I got there and it didn’t make me feel like a zombie. I just needed some extra to help get through.

      Be kind to yourself. Your body has gone through SO much in the last year. You can get better. It is possible. If you can talk to your doc about your symptoms, be open and honest about the PPD symptoms and see if there’s a solution out there to carry you through the next couple of months. It does get better. Good news – PPD is VERY treatable. Don’t settle for less.

      Hugs! If you need to talk, just email me at postpartumworld@gmail.com.

      Like

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