What do you do when you can feel your anxiety building, your temper worsening, and your patience shortening a little more each day? Exercise, deep breathing, yoga, a glass of wine, bubble bath – you try it all and nothing seems to help. Then you’re driving home from the one fitness class you can escape to a week and you feel your throat closing up. Everything starts to look a bit dark around the edges and you realize you’re having a panic attack. You practice what you learned years ago – counting back from ten, inhaling through your nose and out your mouth – and the wave of uneasiness seems to temporarily melt away. But it doesn’t disappear.
Parenting is hard.
It’s so so hard sometimes that I just don’t want to do it. I want to fall down a rabbit hole that takes me back to a time when I thought life was hard like college exams week. When I would feel as if studying for five completely different finals was the most difficult task in all the lands and I would cry to my Mom about being stressed I wasn’t going to be able to keep up my 4.0. Some days, being trapped in the library for 72 hours alone, surrounded by books and notecards, seems like a welcome vacation.
Then I snap out of the funk – there’s a clearing in my foggy consciousness and I read an old blog post where I realize I’ve been down this path before. I remember I always find my way back home every time I feel like I’m lost. The struggle is real in motherhood, but I can’t give up. My girls need me. My husband needs me. I need them. And I’m not alone.
It’s okay to be honest with yourself.
Postpartum depression can occur anytime during the first 12 months after you’ve had a baby. I experienced PPD 16 months after having Annabelle when I was weaning her from breastfeeding. I never followed up with a post after talking about my depression and anxiety, but I did see a doctor who offered me some advice: talk about it. If you don’t want medication, then talk about how you’re feeling. And if it gets bad – really bad where you feel like harming yourself or, gosh forbid your child, then call the doctor again.
I began writing this post on Saturday after my breakdown in the car. It’s now Monday and after a few naps, some chats with friends, and putting my feelings into words, I feel better. Do I think I am fully healed? No… not at all. There will be another bad day probably sooner than I’d like and I am sure I will feel myself begin to crack again. The best thing I can do is be honest with myself, though. Write about it. Talk about it. Embrace the worst and remember there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.
Caitlin Houston is a Connecticut based life and style blogger.