Four months in and it was crippling.
Unable to leave the house.
The inability to find words for a simple conversation.
Overheating in an instant.
It was clear that something was wrong, and I felt trapped in my own body. Unable to fix everything that felt so wrong.
Days and days passed, and there was no will to move. To function. To enjoy the life that has been so graciously given to me.
It appeared that motherhood had exposed a whole new level of anxiety that I had yet to experience.
For years I have been a person who has battled with anxiety.
How will it all come together?
What is the plan?
What do they think of me?
What should I say?
Am I good enough?
The list of anxious thoughts is endless and it circled through my head daily. And, for years I was able to self medicate with easing up on my coffee intake, and reciting a list of positive phrases over and over.
By Christmas it was almost unbearable.
I can't do this.
Why did I have a baby?
I am not strong enough.
I don't have enough money.
I am stuck.
This is unbearable.
It's a heart wrenching thing when you love the child in front of you, but feel incapable of loving it enough.
One trip to Ontario, and a trip to the Dominican were great. They were a break. A welcome breath of fresh air. But they were temporary and a distraction.
I remember getting home from my trip to the Dominican and countless amounts of people saying "Wow. You left your baby? That must have been so hard…" No. Not really.
It was a cold Saskatchewan day when I was laying in bed with the covers over my head and sobbing when Matt texted me and said "Would you be mad if I told you that I think you have post partum depression?" I replied with "No. I know I do."
What is it inside of us that causes us to fight until the very end, even when we know that we cannot do it?
A day later I was sitting in my doctor's office. Greasy hair. Unwashed face. Unbrushed teeth. Bottom lip quivering.
Doctor: "What's going on?"
Me: Big tears "I didn't even miss my baby when I was in the Dominican! I haven't brushed my teeth in two days and I am a dental hygienist!!!! There is something wrong…"
I am thankful for a great doctor who took time to listen to me, and my concerns. Who didn't give me a textbook answer, but has walked beside me to this day.
That day I left with my very own prescription for an anti-anxiety medication. A moment in my life where the walls of pride came crashing down.
It was a great relief to learn that help and medication did not mean that I was weak. A lie I had believed for so long.
My doctor had concluded that I had anxiety that was heightened post partum, and was probably causing a bit of depression.
I had never felt so relieved.
I wasn't crazy.
There was hope.
It was like that day a weight was lifted off my shoulders. The days following were like freedom I had never know.
I don't remember ever feeling this healthy.
There is so much joy in a heart that feels at peace.
I write all this now because tomorrow I am embarking on something that I would have NEVER done 6 months ago. I am flying, alone, with a 10 month old. I have a few concerns, but I can honestly say that I haven't really thought about it much. I am excited, at peace, and almost carefree about the whole experience.
This is a whole new me! I even surprised myself with this one.
I am enjoying my son like never before.
The little things that use to get me worked up, are now just little things that aren't worth worrying about.
My friendships are getting stronger, because I have stopped caring about what they think of me, and just learned to enjoy the times together.
If you are going through something similar please know:
You are not weak
You are not alone
You are not crazy.
In my conversations with people, it turns out, you are actually quite normal.
You could be just a step away from enjoying your life the way it is intended to be.
Take the step.