Thursday, September 6, 2012


I'm back, but goodness! It has been hard to get back into the routine of my real life!

For instance today is supposed to be "Thoughtful Thursday" but I forgot completely that it was Thursday until about 20 minutes ago... I spent the day running errands and trying to keep my kids happy and didn't give anyone else a second thought. Total fail.

In honesty, I haven't given anyone else a second thought much at all in the past 3 years. I have been consumed with trying to survive each day.

We ran to the library today and picked out some new books. The kids also played a bit on the computers for the first time. The Squeak discovered Oregon Trail and loved it instantly (I knew he would); I was weirdly shocked at how much it has changed since I was a 5th grader looking forward to "Oregon Trail Days" at school.

Before I proceed with this very intriguing story ;) , some background: For the past 3 years (since becoming a parent to two children) I have not handled errands well. No matter how smoothly an outing goes, there is inevitably that moment, usually in the checkout line but sometimes in the produce aisle or while waiting for the bathroom or during some other transition, when everything falls apart. One kid won't stop kicking the other. The other kid starts bouncing and running and jumping and playing loudly and screeching and just generally annoying everyone. Someone gets hurt and won't stop wailing. There is a major meltdown when it is time to go. Whatever. It always ends the same way, with me feeling stressed to the max and needing to hole up and recover for the rest of the day (usually after having yelled at one or both of the kids). I have avoided outings as much as possible.

As we waited to check out at the library, I sent the kids on an alphabet scavenger hunt to find something for each letter of the alphabet. They found something for A through E and I avoided the usual craziness of checking out. There was no climbing on counters or running out the door or spinning around and crashing into other patrons or fighting or crying or screaming. It dawned on me that with a little effort I can really minimize my stress when we are out and about, and I finally, finally, FINALLY feel like I have at least some of the energy needed to give that little bit of effort.

In the past month, I have felt some fog lifting. Everyday tasks don't seem quite so insurmountable. The kids' big emotions and reactions don't seem quite so scary. Getting up off the couch, or sitting down on the floor to play with my kids, or even getting us out of the house, doesn't seem quite so impossible or purposeless. I am beginning to finally feel like myself again, and to finally like myself as a parent again.

And here is an admission.

(my Pixie, just one week old, wearing in her expression how I would feel, looking back, 3 years later...)

It has been a long road. Postpartum depression sneaked up on me, wearing a disguise so good I didn't recognize it until two years had passed. I listened to its voice in my head telling me that *I* was the problem, that for most people, adjusting to having two children wasn't this hard, but it was hard for me because I wasn't enough. It filled me with doubt and fear. It sucked me dry. I was immobilized by fatigue, by anxiety, and by apathy.

I wish I could have recognized it sooner. I have attempted to heal, but I still fight with the words I hear in my head: "You are not enough." "You should be able to do this. Why can't you do this?" "You are pathetic." "You have damaged your kids beyond repair."

I have attempted to keep it under wraps, haven't acknowledged the issue much. I don't want sympathy, or affirmation, or reassurance. I know I'm a good mom, I am enough, I can do hard things, life is hard, mothering is hard, my kids will be fine (well, that one, I do admit, I don't know quite so much...), and when I am told these things in reassurance, while intentions are good and hearts mean well, I am left feeling silly and stupid and pathetic for believing the lies of depression. So no, I don't write this to garner a response of any kind.

I write this because I have felt silenced by depression long enough. I write this because postpartum depression (and depression in general) wears many masks, and it can fool even the least-likely candidates (not that I am necessarily a least-likely candidate, but I did feel like I was well-versed in the symptoms of postpartum depression and would have recognized it, felt prepared, even, to recognize it, in myself. And I also have never before in my life felt depression of any kind, anything more than the ordinary temporary "blues" that I could always shake myself out of easily...). I write this because for the first time in 3+ years, I am actually feeling like I am more than my depression.

And that deserves mention.

While I can't know what tomorrow will hold, I feel hopeful for the first time in a long time. I feel like slowly, ever so slowly and delicately, I am rising.

And I want to celebrate!


  1. Odd you should write this today. It was just today, as I was reading the article that I linked on Facebook, that I realized it's been awhile since I felt the overwhelming sense of failing at this whole mom gig. It was a nice realization to have and I'm glad you're feeling that glimmer. Also, it never occurred to me that all that time spent in crazy, angry, overly-tough-critic land (where I finish each day feeling like a waste of space) could be attributed to postpartum depression. What an eye opening realization.

  2. Yes, for me I didn't recognize it because I didn't necessarily feel depressed, at least not at first. I didn't feel resentful of my kids or disinterested in them. I just felt completely overwhelmed and like I was failing totally (which I chalked up to trying to adjust to having two kids, and not being able to handle it). I felt like I just couldn't get a handle on my kids, on other responsibilities, on any of my relationships, or on life. I didn't have energy for anything, and felt like there wasn't really a point in doing anything because I failed at everything I did anyway... Everything was too hard. I just thought my kids were hard and having two of them was hard. I suspected PPD a few times over the years but my symptoms/feelings didn't seem to match any of the lists I could find online. I've since learned that postpartum depression can look like a lot of different things to different people. I've also been dealing with adrenal fatigue so that probably hasn't helped with feelings of fatigue, crazy reactions to stress, and such...

  3. I'm sorry you've been struggling so much, sis. I appreciate your honesty. Although I obviously can't relate to PPD, I've suffered from depression off and on my entire life and I know how hard those days/months/years can be.

    We are "lucky" enough to have major depression and anxiety run on both sides of our family (double-whammy), which totally sucks... But it also means you have many people who love you, who also understand what you might be going through. I hope I can be a better friend. Please know I am here for you. I love you!