dear me…

Dear Self…

It’s been a year, my friend.

A year since you felt that you were caving in to what you thought was a weakness…an embarrassing flaw.

A year since you read Emily‘s blog post about not feeling right after having a baby and tried to brush away the fact that all the commenters suggesting she seek help?  Were talking to you too.

A year since Cort read the post and thought it rung true for you too.

A year since you sat and had yet another horrible ugly cry meltdown in your brown chair, and since Cortney sat across from you and suggested you call the doctor.

A year since the call.

A year since the visit.

A year since the first little pill.

It would be two more months yet before I could admit this to the world, but at least I had admitted it to myself.  And to Cort.

It would be even longer before you would decide you also needed AND wanted to talk to a therapist, but by then you had discovered that you were not, in fact, blogging in isolation…there was an entire world…blogasphere, if you will…out there.

You made very close friends because of your postpartum depression.  Not only did people in your life come forward in emails and private asides about their struggles, but you met Casey (through Emily) who let you know you aren’t alone.

And from there you met Katherine and Lauren and Miranda and Grace and Kimberly and Amy–women who have become so very important to your daily life.  They are you…us.  They have shown you that they are us and are successful, and have downfalls and bad days, but they bounce back.  And so can we.

In this past year you…

…have learned to communicate better with Cort.

…found patience you didn’t know you had.

…been able to work through Eddie’s meltdowns instead of having one of your own.

…stopped bottling your feelings because you were afraid of them.

…accepted that you have something chemically different in your brain now than you did before.

…realized you can’t “do it all”…at least not alone.

…have tried to become a voice for all those who feel the way you do…who have traveled your path…but are silent.

…have started to accept yourself.

You have come so far.  I am proud of you in so many ways.  And so are others.  Cortney, you families, your friends…they love to see YOU.

It’s not over, though.

You didn’t hit the year mark and get a nice release form to turn in stamped “DONE”.

This is not over.

Your anxiety is back and you may be dealing with depression for the rest of your life.  Right now you are struggling with this.  You need to accept that this is what it is.  Life is different now, but those things don’t define you.

You have the tools to get through the rough parts now.

Cortney has a new job.  The transition is much harder for you than you would like to admit to people.

He has always been home to make your world less chaotic.  Of the 21 months that you have had a child together?  He has been home for 17 of them.

You feel completely thrown into whirlwind of utter confusion.  You feel lonely and abandoned.

This is the anxiety talking.

You can do this.  You just need to adjust.  And it’s TOTALLY OK to need an adjustment period.  DO NOT feel bad about that.

You also need to forgive yourself.

Yes, your undiagnosed PPD made you all crazy and mean and awful to be around.

But you got help.

Everyone has forgiven you.

Even those you were the worst to.  Yes, even Cort and your mom have forgiven you.

You need to let go of how terrible you were.  You need to let it go so you can go forward.

They have let it go.  They never EVER hold it against you.  You need to stop holding it against yourself.

Friend, you are not “fixed”.  Some things can’t be “fixed”.

But you are better.  You have survived.

You are a survivor.

And you will, in the immortal words of Beyonce, keep on survivin’.

Love,  Me

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About Katie Sluiter

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a high school English teacher, college adjunct instructor, freelance writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Congratulations on a year!

    Baby steps, my friend. Baby steps. I’ve noticed that things take me longer to get used to now. And I get anxious over things that are probably kinda stupid. But it is what it is. And we survive by leaning on our loved ones and friends.

    Love you.

  2. This is too scary… it’s almost like I wrote this myself. This past year has been a different world for me after the 5 previous years of wanting to just disappear. When my 3rd daughter was born I literally thought I would go straight-jacket crazy. Actually, I kinda did. Taking the first step of calling the doctor was so hard – admitting that I’m an utter failure as a mother. Of course, that wasn’t the case but it’s how I felt. I never wanted a third child and resented the hell out of her for a long time. It was hard on all my kids. It was harder on my marriage. I don’t know why my husband stuck it out – but thank god he did.

    This year has slowly led me into the light. Yes, I started blogging… my kids are all in school full time (which has made a huge difference) and I’ve rediscovered myself. I still slip sometimes but I recognize the signs now and I can usually catch myself when I’m falling. I still get scared. And frustrated. And panicked.

  3. Oh, Katie. Me, too, hon, me, too.

    “You are not ‘fixed.’ Some things can’t be ‘fixed.'” <—so true. We survive, but we will never be the same. And there are bad parts to that, but some damn good ones too.

    I'm proud of you.

    And of me. And of all the others out there that go through this every single day.

  4. This is amazingly honest and I don’t know you, but I’m so happy for you that you figured out the problem, got help for it, and recognize the struggles you’ve faced/will face. I was pretty severely depressed after I had my second baby, and then mildly depressed again after my third. It’s good to know I wasn’t alone.

    I blogged about my experience, too, a couple years after the fact.
    http://gfunkjewelrylady.blogspot.com/2010/03/ivy.html

    I’ve got a little over a week until my fourth baby is born, so here’s hoping for the best. But I know to get help if I need it, and hope that the blog world will support me, too, like you’ve been so lucky to experience.

  5. I’m crying.
    And I love you.
    You are amazing.

  6. My path has been a little different, but it’s also the same. I’m trying to accept a lot of these same things.

    Power to you.

  7. Huge virtual hugs…

    Taking those first steps are indeed the hardest!!! Bravo to u to make it through and continue to make it better. And these changes (new job) are just bumps in the road….so u can tell THAT to the anxiety. ;) you will survive! !!!

  8. I am so happy that you have found the community you needed. While I don’t share your experience of PPD, I am no stranger to depression. Here for you friend.

  9. Amazing what a year can do, especially when you have to take it day by day. Congrats on a year of going in the right direction.

  10. I love this post. I got diagnosed with Anxiety a year ago, and was told I have many symptoms of PTSD 6 months ago (though not an official diagnosis). I life with this Anxiety for at least 2 years before I started on medication. I’m not sure I consider myself a survivor quite yet, but at least I’m on the path. I know why I am the way I am, but I can’t imagine going through it after pregnancy. You are so strong, and you can make it

  11. Oh, Katie! First, I’m so sorry that you are still fighting the battle with depression. Second, Craig was the one to call the doc/my parents for me, too.

    And lastly, I’m sure it’s a huge adjustment with Cort gone during the day now, but just try to take it day by day, and you guys will find a new “norm”.

  12. You’re so brave, Katie. You are an awesome mother, wife, and friend. I’m so blessed to have met you through my PPD journey when I thought there was no way I’d ever get past those first few angry months. Hearing your story and the stories of other survivors helped give me the strength to seek help and my family thanks you. Huge hugs!

  13. I’m cheering for you!!!! Go Warrior Mom!!!!

  14. Such a brave and honest post and one I have been wanting to write myself. I don’t think though that I have reached that important milestone that you have. I just cannot accept PND into my life; it just doesn’t sit right with me. I have however, accpeted that I need a little help in dealing with my son’s birth and I guess that will be my first step.
    Thanks for sharing. And big hugs to you!
    XxX

  15. Katie – I am so happy to have met you. So happy that you’ve hit the year mark and even happier that you motivating yourself to keep surviving.

    I know sometimes just surviving is harder than anything. Just keeping moving seems impossible some days.

    But you can do it and we’re all here cheering you on!

  16. oh girl. i got all kinds of hugs for you.

  17. Hugs. You’re awesome. And you’ll keep on fighting.

  18. Wonderfully said.
    How true that PPD is always lurking waiting for our weak moments.
    Congratulations on one year.
    Keep going strong b

  19. I commend you for getting help and for posting your story so that you can help other people.

    Transitions are hard even when you don’t have PPD.

    Be nice to yourself!

    You deserve it

    that is all

  20. I’m pretty sure I’ll never ever be fixed. But I deal. You will deal, too. You can do it. I promise.

  21. Hey you, I love you. Millions. I know how hard this year has been and I’m so glad that I’ve been here for most of it. It’s amazing the difference a year can make, isn’t it!? While things seem rocky right now, hold to the moments of peace and let them carry you through.

  22. Wow, a very powerful post. Thank you for being so open and honest and for sharing it with us. I have suffered with PND twice and each time it took me nearly a year to admit to it and another year to recover. I am now being treated for anxiety and I have to wonder how much of it is down to the birth of my youngest, 10 months ago.

    You’re a very brave lady and you sound like an inspiration to all those that struggle to admit to suffering with PND. We all want to be the ‘perfect parent’ when actually there is no such thing.

    Many hugs to you xxx

  23. i can imagine your world feels tipped big time with such a huge change – cort back to work. I KNOW you are happy about it and feel so blessed, but that still doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy – and that’s sooo OK! Give it a little time and you guys will hit your groove. thinking of you lots.

  24. I am so proud of you. Which feels weird to say since I’m trudging the same muddy field, but I am really really proud of you.

    Way to survive, survivor!

  25. Hugs to you, Katie. Hugs to you.

  26. I have much pride and love. But…you already know that right?

  27. One small step at a time.

    One little victory at a time.

    Be patient with yourself.

    Sending hugs.

  28. Thank you so much for your post. I just joined my website a week ago because I was desperate to find others that felt like I did so I wouldn’t think I was alone and now I know I am not. Eventhough the fear is crippling sometimes, to know I am not the only one makes it just a bit easier. Thanks for all your posts!

  29. I just had my 2nd chils about 6 months ago he was born 6 weeks early. I have asked for a lot of help with postpartum depression, i dont feel like me i bearly ever wanna hold my baby and i feel like a bad mom i get so angry so fast and it is over stupid little things. I have been put on pills and those are not helping and i have also went to counceling and that didnt help. I am losing my husband and i know it, half of the reason is because i push him away so he cant push me away cause i have been cheated on in all my relationships but this one. I feel like i have so much on my plate i just cant do it anymore. I just wish i had someone i could talk to that understood what i was going thru and could help me or give me tips to getting back to my normal self.

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