I’m Depressed, Not Moody

I’m having a hard time.

For the past month I have been having some pretty rough bouts of depression, mostly brought on by long periods of time shut up in the house alone with my kids.

Don’t get me wrong, I love those crazy wiener kids of mine, but refereeing quarrels and having a whiny baby follow me around while I get nothing done wears on me, as I suspect it would anyone. Christmas break was especially bad for me. And I would open up this little blog of mine and stare and stare at the draft box, eventually heave a huge sigh, and close my lap top. I just didn’t know how to put words to anything. It was all just too hard. Life was too hard.

Then a local mom took her young kids out for Starbucks and never came home. She shot herself in a field while her children were right there. She suffered from postpartum depression.

On December 30, I had a chiropractor appointment and was feeling so hopeless that I just didn’t want to go back home to what I perceived was my jail cell. I knew the boys would be bickering and Alice would need something and Cortney would be frustrated. The kids all needed bathes and dinner. Bedtime would be a battle yet again. I would get maybe an hour and then I would need to go to bed to start it all over again the next morning.

I was just so tired.

Rather than go home, I drove around our town for over an hour. I drove up and down streets I hadn’t been to since I was in high school. I halfheartedly told myself I was looking for houses for sale, but I knew I was just avoiding my life.

I kept thinking about her. She had done everything right. She was seeing a therapist, she was on medication, she had a strong support system. Yet this stupid disease still won. It still talked her into believing the lies that her life was just not worth living.

If there were no guarantees…what about me?

I saw the news link shared on social media. I saw people ask, “but how could she do that?” and “why would she bring the kids along and then do that?”

I know how and why.

It’s because she didn’t plan it when she left the house. Her plan was to spend a new Starbucks gift card on her kids and get out of the house for a few minutes. She didn’t plan to kill herself.

But something snapped. When she pulled over, got out of her car and put a gun against her head, it was because her depression finally whispered something that pushed her over to believing it.

I wasn’t there, and I don’t know all this for sure, but I can imagine it because I have been so so close to this. I have been incredibly hopeless. I was that night I drove around town, although I didn’t have any intrusive thoughts. I haven’t had those since Charlie was a baby.

I just felt…worthless. Trapped. Done.

This past week New York Bestselling Author Marianne Wiliamson posted this on her FB page:

CODE ALERT: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says women should be “screened for depression” during and after pregnancy. Their answer, of course, is to “find the right medication.” Follow the money on this one. Hormonal changes during and after pregnancy are NORMAL. Mood changes are NORMAL. Meditation helps. Prayer helps. Nutritional support helps. Love helps.

Let me tell you something: I was not screened for depression with Eddie or Charlie. It took me nine months after Eddie’s birth to admit something wasn’t right and get help. Yes, mine included medication and therapy. It was (is) a long, painful journey to wellness. It is NOT a normal hormonal change or mood change. Depression isn’t just feeling bummed out. It’s chemical imbalance in my brain. It’s an illness.*

I am mentally ill, not a little moody.

I can’t pray my way out of this, friends.

Although I know I am preaching to the choir here, I just want to make sure I say here that had I been screened before leaving the hospital with Eddie, some red flags may have shot up. If I had been screened at my 6-week postpartum appointment red flags would have punched my OBGYN in the face.

Thankfully, they do screen now. In fact, I failed the screening with flying colors when they asked me the questions after Alice was born.  I knew I would fail, the nurse knew that I knew that I would fail, but they followed up with me anyway so I could assure them my support team (Cortney, my family, my therapist and my GP) were on board and that yes, I was still taking my meds.

Now that I think about it, I have not had any postpartum depression with Alice. She will be 11 months old this week and while I have had some depression, none of it was the same variety as I had with the boys.  The screening didn’t prevent my PPD this time around, but it definitely put everyone on alert right away rather than nine months later when I practically crawled into my doctor’s office shaking from defeat.

All this to say…actually…I don’t know what my point in all this is.

I guess it’s this: I’m having a hard time. There is a lot going on in the media that is not helping. That makes me angry because I have fought and spoke up about my depression for six years because it’s stupid that there is still a stigma. Postpartum Mood Disorders are the #1 complication after birth and society is still trying to tell us to “get over it.”

I’m having a hard time.

It will get better. I will continue to go to therapy, to drink lots of water, to sit in front of my SAD lamp when there isn’t enough natural light in my day, to take my medication, and to let my support system know how I feel. I will continue to try to take the advice of those who love me and tell me to be gentle to myself and to find alone time to recharge.

I will continue to see the good and silly and beautiful that is right in front of my face, and it will pull me through.

Because I am not alone and this will not last.

2016-01-21 19.11.11

*and to be clear: I believe screening for depression in pregnant and postpartum women is important and does not necessarily lead to being medicated. For me it did because that is what I needed. Screening does not automatically equate to being put on pills.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
About Katie

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 middle school English teacher, 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. I love you. I’m sorry it has been such a challenging time. I don’t have PPD or depression and I still know the feelings of being trapped and the frustrations of dealing with the kids on my own for a period of time. So I can’t even imagine what it’s like for someone with PPD.

    It angers me that people think it’s a money conspiracy by pharma companies when it comes to issues that require medication, and they say, don’t do it, they just want your money! Some people NEED these meds. Some people need those vaccinations (yup, I still feel strongly about getting vaccines for children).

    Feel better soon – sunnier days are coming! xo
    Alison recently posted…Pumpkin Zucchini BreadMy Profile

  2. ((((((((()))))))))
    The Many Thoughts of a Reader recently posted…Moonlight over ParisMy Profile

  3. Love you, Katie. Sending you hugs and love and all good things. You’re strong and amazing and you have an army at your side, your back, wherever you need us.
    Andrea recently posted…Why I Take So Many SelfiesMy Profile

  4. I love your openness, your honesty. You’re giving a voice to what so many feel. Thank you and I’m so happy we met.
    Jennifer recently posted…Let Us Be SilentMy Profile

  5. It’s good, I think, to put it out there that those of us who have suffered with ppd and never really got over it, understand it when women snap like that. When I read about the stories I know it could’ve been me. I hope the sun shines on you a bit more tomorrow.

  6. Thank you. What I’m going through right now is so similarly triggered by being alone with my (beloved) child for very long days. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • I am constantly reminded that I am a much better mother when I am working. I do not have the chops to be a stay at home mom. I really wish I did because I do love my kids so very much, but a lot of alone time with them is very triggering for me. Love and light to you as well.
      Katie recently posted…Family Adventures!My Profile

  7. Big hugs Katie. I haven’t been through what you have but when I find myself at snapping point with my kid I put him on a screen so I can get a break! Bad for him but good for me..
    Heather recently posted…News in Bullet PointsMy Profile

  8. My Katie, That is heartbreaking about the mom in your area, and her kids. As someone who has gone through this, let me just give you the biggest possible hug I can, even though it’s virtual, and tell you how very glad I am you’re surviving this instead of getting dragged under (even though it might not always feel like you’re surviving it ). ❤️❤️
    Jennie Goutet recently posted…New Release: Stars Upside DownMy Profile

  9. If she’d just said “medication” instead of meditation. Grrrr…. obviously you know how I feel about this one too. And how hard this can be on us, as mothers, women, wives. I suppose it is hard for some people to understand, I guess, if they are blessed not to deal with it or go through it. But still, understanding is key. I love my pills AND I love my kids. You can do both.

    XOXO
    Elaine A. recently posted…The Unexamined LifeMy Profile

  10. Just exactly what Elaine said. Love you, Katie.
    Greta recently posted…One-Man Star Wars Trilogy at #StarlightIndoorsMy Profile

  11. It amazes me that in such a short time between when I had my kids and now that screenings for PPD would be a thing. I barely thought about it when my kids were small, and who knows if I would have failed a screening? But of course back then there were mothers who drive their cars into lakes and drowned their babies in bathtubs and everyone wondered what kind of a monster would do that, and I thought to myself, well, I could do that.
    Andrea recently posted…I’d Do Almost Anything ElseMy Profile