Moving Forward

“You seem to be in a place where you can now decide if you are done,” she started to say as I started to shake my head, “or if you want to cut way back on our visits.”

I started picking at the seam of my pants with uncertainty.

Three years ago I finally told my doctor something wasn’t right and got help. Two years ago I started talk therapy with Dr. Melissa.

One year ago I had a relapse with my postpartum depression.

But I have been feeling really good the past month or so.  Like really good.  Like…dare I say…”normal”?

My last visit to my psychiatrist was approximately 3 minutes long.  There was nothing to discuss other than he didn’t need to see me again for 12 weeks and here are the refills on your prescriptions until that time. Have a great summer.

And then there was the therapy visit.  We talked about being in a good place.  We talked about putting my care back to my GP and away from the psychiatrist. And then she said that thing. About being possibly done.

That can’t be right. I can’t be done. Not yet.  Not with so much uncertainty out there.  I mean…what if I have another break down?  What if the day after we decide I am done, I need her?  I need therapy?  I need…to not be done?

Last week, eight days after that therapist appointment, I read a post by a blogger that encouraged her readers to come here…to this place…to Sluiter Nation…to learn “how to move forward” after having a postpartum mood disorder.

Me?  Showing how to move forward?  How to pick up the pieces and go on with your life?  That is a big responsibility.  That is a big compliment that I could possibly be well enough now to be a role model for Life After PPD.

Is that me?

Am I now in a place that is Beyond PPD?

I still take my medication.  I still have anxiety attacks, but I know how to spot them coming and what to do about them before I am throwing potato chip bags at my poor, confused husband.

However I can’t remember the last time I had a depressed episode.  I’ve had funks that I have been in, but nothing that I would say qualified as actually being depressed.

I have never thought of myself as being “past” that phase until this weekend. For one, I realized Charlie is almost 14 months old–I am not considered “postpartum” anymore.  I know that seems like a mundane thing…like a “who cares” kind of label that was just shed, but it’s sort of a big deal to me.  I’m out of that “first year” phase.  Any of my mood stuff is not associated with “postpartum” anymore.

And I do still have mood stuff.

Friday night after Cort’s graduation ceremony we were herding the kids home waaaay past their bedtimes and I was struggling with some breathing exercises because I could feel the panic of a full weekend ahead of us rising in my chest.  Instead of giving in to it I just informed Cort that I was struggling, but that things would be Ok.

He tried to tell Eddie to stop talking so it wouldn’t bother me, but I recognized that while his incessant constant chatter was bothering me, he was just being a three-almost-four-year-old who hadn’t seen his parents in over 12 hours.  I said, “it’s ok. He can talk,” and I closed my eyes, leaned my face against the cool window, and breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth.

When we got home, I went right to the bathroom to collect myself.  I put my jammies on and heard Cort insisting Eddie go downstairs and wait for him while he put Charlie to bed.  Eddie was not having it (you know, because he was over-tired and missed his parents).  I weakly called out, “I’ll put him to bed.”

Cort was insistent, “you don’t feel good. I can do it. Really.”

(Side note:  That guy takes SUCH good care of me.  I am a lucky lady.)

I pulled myself together and went downstairs to where Cort was helping Eddie with brushing his teeth.  “Really, babe.  I want to.  It’s just laying by him.  That is what I should do if I feel bad anyway.”

So Eddie finished up and we hopped into bed 90 minutes past his bedtime.  We chatted quietly for about 5 minutes, he announced he couldn’t sleep and within 2 more minutes he was sawing logs with an open mouth breathing heavily into my face.

I smiled.

I pulled his blankets up a bit further, kissed his smooshy cheek, and told him I loved him.

And then I was fine.  The anxiety attack had passed.  I could handle the busy weekend.

It was just one weekend.

And the busy was good busy.  We would have such awesome experiences.

It’s Monday morning during my planning hour.  I am tired.  Over-tired.  Normally this would be the first step to depressed, but I don’t feel it this time.

I just feel tired.

So I will go to bed on time tonight–probably not post anything here tomorrow–and get a good night sleep.

And I will be myself again tomorrow.

I still have anxiety.  I still deal with OCD. I will still have depressive episodes.

But I am beyond PPD.  I am more myself now than I have been in four years.

Am I ready to be done with talk therapy?  No.

But I am willing to cut down to once a month and move my prescriptive care back to my GP from my psychiatrist.  And even though that might sound like a boring little tidbit, it’s sort of a big deal to me.

It means that I haven’t just shed the label of postpartum, I have also gained more of myself back.

And that is a big deal.

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