A couple nights ago, my daughter caused herself to puke since she was upset, well that was the straw on my back. I cried my eyes out, and while my hormonal woman time is sure to be partially to blame, I know that that's not all.
It is very hard sometimes to deal with those "mommy frustrations."
Sometimes for me, it is impossible.
While I won't totally go into it, I will admit something. My "post-partum depression" is really more like post-partum OCD. My life, at different periods since having bitty, have been filled with overwhelming thoughts of "what if I harmed her?" Or if I go look in on her and check on her breathing, as I still always do every single day...well, sometimes my brain signals get mixed up. My relief at her being okay gets mixed up with my worries, such as what if she stopped breathing, and the result is I feel relieved but am attributing it to whatever fear I had coming true. Which is torturous. It has made me feel at times in my life totally worthless.
I don't even know how I'm saying this "out loud" because it is the most shameful part of my life. And yet I know I am not "making" it happen, nor is it happening due to any failure on my part. I know when I have sought out help for my anxiety/depression issues, I was told that an RSD patient's brain will react/handle things the same way as an OCD patient's brain would.
I love my daughter more than life itself. There are times, in the past, when I was so angry and ashamed of my thoughts that I thought she'd be better off without me. Luckily, I am surrounded by a support system and was lucky enough to stumble on the website http://postpartumprogress.com/ where I was able to read the story of a fellow redhead, Katherine Stone, and her journey with postpartum OCD.
And then I didn't feel so bad. Then I was able, if only for a moment, to stop blaming myself. A dear friend of mine who is studying mental health and counseling also "normalized" it for me, telling me that many women go through it. Events in the news or a change in routine or period hormones can trigger ups and downs with it as well.
I still struggle, at times. Some more than others. I can tell you over the summer when all I had was time, time, time on my hands, I found myself struggling more with feelings of anxiety. When all the Casey Anthony trial was on the news, it overwhelmed my thoughts. All I could do was look at my precious baby and wonder how someone could do that? Then I would worry if I were secretly a monster, too.
I can tell you this. I'm not. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not. I am a good mom. Almost anyone who knows me would tell you the same.
At the end of the day, I am glad I've had the chance to get to "know" about wonderful moms out there with a brain that short circuits, so to speak. Because feeling so awful and feeling as though it is you alone makes a lonely, awful place an even darker pit of despair.
For those other days, when I see a fellow mom posting that her child as a "curb alert" on Facebook or posting a stressed, frantic message about how bat shit crazy their 2 (or 3 or 5 or 15) year old is making them feel, I feel less alone. And I laugh.
I realize...no matter what you're going through, you're never alone. And you're not the first or last person to face the battle you're in.
Then there are the times, the times when your toddler says, "You're my best friend mama," and it makes riding out the storms you sailed through worth it.