Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Part One.

The truth is, I'm depressed.

When I was younger, I didn't really believe in depression. I knew it existed, but shamefully, I was usually of the just power through ilk. You know, the people that think that just going for a walk and putting on a happy face will cure what is mainly an excuse to abstain from your own life. Mostly I blame this on my own ignorance and stupidity, but I'll lay a small - nay, tiny - part of it at the feet of experience; the only two people I knew with depression were also entitled, incredibly self-centered and in one case, incredibly selfish. So, while they happily lived off their parents well into adulthood and expected everyone around them to like the same things, to take their cues when planning social activities, to pay them for jobs half-done (and so on), it was easy to dismiss other aspects of their behaviour - being withdrawn, not being able to hold down a normal job, staying in bed all day - as laziness and selfishness.

After reading and researching, I started to come around to the idea that this was a real thing and not an excuse to avoid living a normal, productive life.

And then I got PPD. Looking back, I can pinpoint the moment it hit.  My parents were visiting. It was a horrible visit, though I doubt they'd see it that way. They spent the entire time baby hogging (including walking away with the monster in Walmart at 2-3 weeks), comparing the monster to my older brother (he was a clone, they were the same, my brother did the same things at that age, the monster was my brother - ad nauseam), making inappropriate jokes and comments about breastfeeding, suggesting that the monster only wanted me for sustenance, essentially ignoring me to focus on the baby and just basically taking up my space and destroying my fourth trimester. My mom had been visiting my sister and her new little one, the monster had been crying crazily for ages due to gas. My Dad had finally backed off, given back the monster and gone to look at something on the computer (the one my mom set up when they came to stay and paid every scrap of attention not taken up by the monster to). I was sitting on the couch, holding the monster, finally able to breathe, holding back tears from utter exhaustion (the monster never slept longer than 2 hours at this point). My mom came home, sat down on the couch and held out her arms, asking if she could hold him because she hadn't talked to him all day. I couldn't answer. I couldn't say a word. Logically, I should have known that she would never try to take him from me if I said no, but I just had this overwhelming sense of panic that she would, so I just clutched him tight to my chest and fought back the tears and wished everyone would just leave me the hell alone to hold my baby in peace.*

Then it came in waves. I was glued to the couch with a cluster-feeder because I'd realized that I couldn't safely feed him in bed, so even at night, all the feeds happened on the couch. I felt completely trapped, like I didn't have ownership of my body, like I would do nothing but breastfeed for the rest of my life, like eventually, in indent in the couch from my ass would be deep enough to swallow me whole.  I would, on good days, take him out to the park, keep him in his stroller or lie him on a blanket and read to him. On bad days, I would just hold him while both of us cried. But there were a lot of good days.

Until he was around a year old, we got by. I thought my unending fatigue was from a lack of sleep. I thought my propensity to burst into tears for no reason was a result of normal postpartum hormones. I thought I was doing ok. I never said anything to Mr. Wolfman about it, or if I did, I downplayed what was going on. I remember one day I just started sobbing and couldn't stop. I called my sister and she came and we went for a walk, and the next day I felt better and it was easier to pretend that it was a one-off and sweep it under the rug. Then I started to get angry. Not like normal FTP frustrations, but fits of absolute, whole-body-shaking rage. For the first time, I worried I would inadvertently hurt the monster, being too rough getting him dressed when he struggled, or pulling too hard on his arm when he tried to dart into traffic. That's when I finally (on the advice of my birth board) contacted the mental health unit at the hospital and set up an appointment with a therapist.

I saw her exactly twice before Mr. Wolfman decided to take a second job without consulting me. I knew he'd applied, but the deal was that it was only an application and we would discuss it if he was offered the job. So he was working 16 hour days and there was no longer a time when I could go to therapy. It did get bad enough that I tried once more on his day off, but my therapist was going to be away for a few months and the substitute was AWFUL. He didn't listen, cut me off, blamed everything on his own weird fantasy of us living in our town because Mr. Wolfman made me (Mr. Wolfman doesn't like it here. I don't either, but it was my idea to come) and didn't do his fair share of work with the baby.  He tried to convince me that I wasn't depressed, just tired (my previous therapist said nothing of the kind and didn't act stoned like this fool, so I'm inclined to follow her opinion over his). So that was the end of therapy. And then I did nothing. I just sucked it up until it went away.

I could go on at length about what's going on now, but I honestly don't have the time or the energy. So I'm leaving this here as part one, and I'll add parts two and three, about my current suspected ppd/ppa and my life-long anxiety issues, when I have some energy and drive.

*I know it seems like it, but I don't blame my parents for my PPD, I think they just pushed it to the surface. All of their crap was well-intentioned crap, but hopefully it isn't too big of a mystery to them why they're no longer invited to stay the night in my home.

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