Monday, April 14, 2014

“I don’t like being a mom”

Those were the words that I finally got up the courage to tell Adam last summer. I remember the thought just came to me suddenly.

I hadn’t been feeling right for about a month or so and was I trying to figure out what was going on. I had talked to my Dr. and she said I had anxiety. But I had nothing really to be anxious about. So I kept searching.

Then it was one night in late July or early August that I went outside for a walk by myself and I called my best friend Stephanie and uttered those words to her first. As I said them it felt like a weight had been lifted off my chest. Everything made sense. As I talked to her my “anxiety” seemed to drift away. And she sat there on the other end, 2 hours away, listening as I told her: “I love my daughter, but I don’t like the being a “mom”. I don’t like caring for her and all that that entails.” After we hung up I went inside and told this Adam through tears since I knew how much he wanted a big family and my goal as his wife has always been to make him happy. He listened to me and asked what could he do? He said he would support me any way he could, but I knew I had hurt him.
Stephanie on the other hand (which I found out months later) had hung up and freaked out. She called her mom and husband proclaiming “Something is WRONG! I have to go to her, I need to drive up there. That is not Stephanie! What should I do?? Call Adam??” But they both told her that she needed to let us deal with it;that was not what she wanted to hear, but she sat by idly (and very supportively of me) while I went through the weirdest time in my life.
I had known something was off with me for a while, I had had a few panic attacks over the last couple months, but after I had that “epiphany” I thought: that’s it, I’m good. And I went on accepting that the problem was I just didn't like my role as mom.

Until I had another episode.

At the end of August, Adam’s birthday to be exact, another one hit me.


It lasted for days. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t shake the feeling of dread, sadness, lifelessness. I felt like I had to throw up all the time. I would come home from work and burry myself in bed. I even missed work a few times. I had to call Kristi to come take care of Charlie when Adam worked late. I would cry for no reason. I couldn’t sleep through the night. I had the most ridiculous thoughts.  And I thought “If I died right now it would be ok…because then I’d feel better”
During this time Adam was supportive of me 200%. Whatever I needed he’d do. He took care of Charlie all the time and cooked and worked and ran the house.

One Friday night when I just couldn’t stop crying he took me to the beach. I was happy for 2 hours…it felt wonderful.0734134959009
Meanwhile in Michigan, my mother was worried sick. What was going on with her happy outgoing daughter? The morning after we went to the beach I woke up feeling even worse and my mother pleaded with me to call my OBGYN. “You have post partum depression” she said. So I did, I called my Dr. He told me that 8 month post partum was beyond their expertise, but to take the anti-anxiety medicine my General dr. had prescribed in July and that it should help.

I spent the day with Tara trying to relax (Adam had to work) and then later that day I booked a room at a fancy hotel and checked myself in. I just need to get away I told Adam. “I have to get out of this condo. I’m so hot. I hate it here.” So I spent two glorious days at the Hyatt relaxing. Adam and Charlie slept at home, but they were with me during the day. By the time I checked out I feeling better.
It was Labor day weekend and my aunt offered to stay with us the next week to help out. Thanks I told her, but there’s really nothing to do…I’m feeling better and my parents will be here next weekend.  I had also made an apt with a counselor in a week at the advise of a few friends, so I was good, I could handle it.

My parents arrived the next weekend and all was good. I felt myself. We all took Charlie to zoo on Saturday morning. Then all of a sudden my face started to tingle and I had to sit down. Eat your protein bar my mother said as she took me into some a/c. What are you worried about? NOTHING I said, “I’m fine. There has to be something physically wrong with me. I don’t feel normal.” So I decided to go to the ER. My dad and Adam took me and they ran all the blood tests and everything came back normal.

I was fine.

Finally a Dr. came in a told me I’d had a panic attack. Why? I asked I’m not worried about anything. And he said it may be related to PPD. They sent me home with some anti-nausea medicine and pumped full of saline. The next morning I wasn’t much better and as I changed Charlie’s diaper I asked my mother through tears “can you please stay for the week?”
My mom stayed on and that week I went to my first therapy appointment with Lisa Armstrong. I told her I kept thinking about that mother who her shot both her children when they got home from school. And that I didn’t want that to be me. She was very straight forward with me and told me that I was not crazy and that it sounded like I’d had anxiety all my life. It also sounded like I had PPD. She gave me some mental exercises to do and told me to take a more natural sleep aid and that I would get through this, that I would get better.  After a couple of weeks I was feeling better, but I still was not sleeping good. She told me “you’re depressed. You may need to get on an anti-depressant.” But I don’t feel depressed I told her…I just can’t sleep. “That’s a sign of depression”" she replied.

Up until this point I was against taking certain meds because I had been nursing, but now I knew it was time to take care of myself. Charlie was 9 months old and barely nursing so I went to my Dr. and talked with her about my symptoms.

She said it sounded like I had PMDD and PPD. She put me on a low does of anti-depressants and was very supportive and optimistic that we would get this under control. In early October I started the medicine and continued to see my counselor. By the end of October I was feeling better and sleeping! I remember waking up one morning and going “AHHH I slept all night!” It was the first time in months.

At the beginning of January I had my last appointment with Lisa and she proclaimed me “cured”. She said I was night and day from when she first met me. A few months later and I can now say that I am feeling 100% normal. Yes there are days when I’m exhausted and I wish Charlie would just let me take a nap, but I don’t feel the need to run away.  I weaned off the anxiety medicine months ago and I no longer take melatonin to sleep. I will soon try to get off my anti-depressant.  I’m nervous about it, because I do have small anxiety attacks every now and then, but they’re nothing I can’t handle.  However if I do get off them and start feeling bad again, I know I can go back on them and it will be ok.

One main thing that helped me get through all of this was being vocal about it. I didn’t hide it, I talked about it. I asked for help.  And you know what? I found out that A LOT of my friends had gone through the same thing.  I was not alone. Trust me there were people who didn’t understand, but that’s expected.

I have always been a very optimistic, happy and out going person. The glass is never half empty…but for a time there there was nothing in the glass and I had no desire to fill it up. Understanding that what was going on was chemical helped me so much. It gave me an explanation, a name to call what I was feeling. Talking to friends also made me feel less alone and gave me hope. So now, when I do start to feel anxious or sad, I KNOW that it’s not going to last and that I will get through it!

I want to thank EVERYONE who was there for me and who helped me and my family get through that rough, horrible time. I owe you so much more than a thank you and a hug. And I hope that someday I can return the support to you when you need it. 

If you ever start to feel not yourself know that you’re not alone. Get help. ASK for help. Do NOT feel ashamed. It will be OK…and you WILL get better.

And by the way, I LOVE being Charlie’s mom.
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