Happy New Year ya’all! SO, I began this blog a couple of years ago when I was in the midst of Postpartum OCD. I’ve never had a blog and didn’t (still don’t) know how to have a great one, but my new resolution is to try! I’m starting my blog back up again because I still get lots of messages from women in the midst of the struggle who need someone to relate to and talk to. I’m NOT a professional, I’m just a mom who had a problem and got help when it was HARD.
I have a few topics off the top of my head I’m going to be writing about in the following weeks. These ideas come from the women who message me for advice. I’m going to give my perspective and experience on these topics. Some things I’m going to write about are: time and how long I struggled, medication and why it was the right choice for me, and coming to terms with the “why me” question.
I realize this blog isn’t going to be for everyone. I still want to sprinkle in humor, craft projects, and my thoughts on family, but my main goal is to let women know they aren’t alone. When I was in the midst of my OCD, I spent HOURS looking for people like me. I messaged old forums, Facebooked strangers, e-mailed professionals, I did WHATEVER it took to find someone who could help me. I want to be that resource for others. Right now I have the privilege of being able to stay at home with my children, I want to be able to spend time with them and begin helping others too. For me, if 1 woman reaches out to me a year because they are desperate for help, it’s going to be worth it.
So, if you don’t know me personally, quick update. I finished redecorating my old house and immediately decided we should move. I also made this decision at 6 months pregnant with my third baby (weird, my husband says I’m never allowed to be pregnant again). So we have a new baby and a new house and things are GREAT! I’ve stayed on medication throughout pregnancy and postpartum (Ella is 4 months) and I’ve also kept my eyes peeled for symptoms. The amazing news is, this is nothing like last time. I’ve had approximately 4 days of crying before reaching out and have been fine ever since. There IS hope for more babies after postpartum struggles!
Every woman who struggles with postpartum depression (anxiety, OCD, etc) has one overwhelming question: how long will I be like this!? As someone whose thoughts were coming 24/7, I can say with complete honesty that every second of my day felt like an eternity. I’m not joking. I felt like I was “white-knuckling” my way through life. A thought would pop into my head, I’d have to disagree with it, another one would come, I’d throw up because the thought made me so upset…and on and on. It was so constant that I really questioned myself and my morality. I was convinced that something terrible was happening and the professionals whose care I was in really didn’t understand what a mess I was in. This is also when the depression crept in. Once my anxiety had convinced me that I was a danger to my children, I had no joy. I would just hopelessly cry on my couch, waiting for myself to go crazy and ruin everything.
The GOOD news is that if you think you’re crazy and FEEL crazy, you aren’t! The anxiety is your body’s reaction to thinking things that are morally the opposite of who you truly are. Unfortunately, knowing that doesn’t make the disease disappear. It just makes it (slightly) easier to trudge through. I “faked” my way through life for months. I played and laughed with my children when I only felt emptiness inside. I cried to my therapist endlessly because I felt guilty that my children trusted me and loved me so whole-heartedly. I didn’t deserve their love. Or trust. I was a horrible mother thinking horrible things and I literally could not stop.
So, you ask, how long until this goes away…the bad news is that it totally depends (worst answer in America, I know). I was pretty resistant to treatment, meaning that I was so scared of the thoughts. I had a hard time letting them go because I felt that if I did, something bad would happen. I struggled HARD for about 4 months. Once my son turned 1 I still was having some trouble, but nothing like before. I got pretty upset at the 1 year mark though. I thought, how in the world is this still happening to me!? Why am I still crying about this? The key is to keep doing the things you know are right and don’t focus on how much (or how little) progress you are making. Take the medication, practice yoga, talk to your family, ask for help, see a therapist…do ALL the things.
Struggling doesn’t make you a bad mom. Getting help makes you a GREAT mom! It doesn’t feel like it right now, I get it. Having postpartum depression is the ultimate HARDEST thing I have ever gone through. I feel so strongly about demolishing any stigma associated with it and helping women as much as I can. I’m still on medicine and went to weekly therapy for a year and a half (as well as a 3 week outpatient program). There is hope, my favorite quote about OCD was written by a woman named Lauren Hale on the Postpartum Progress website. She basically said that it is so hard trudging through OCD, you feel like you’re stuck in the mud. But she promised there was a nice warm bed at the end of the road, I held on to that promise throughout my struggles. There IS a warm bed, free of depression, anxiety, and intrusive thoughts at the end of the road, don’t give up!