Tuesday, December 13, 2011

PPD / PTSD update

I recently had a reader email me and ask how I was doing with regards to PPD now.

Well, I believe my struggle with PPD is over. Although now that my life is finally beginning to settle, drama is subsiding, really for the first time in over three years, I am beginning to notice that I seem to be a little more prone to low spots than I recall being before my struggle with PPD.

Could this be a lingering effect of the PPD? Could the PPD have triggered the same depression and anxiety issues that other members of my family suffer from? Could it be PTSD related? Could it be a lingering effect related to the multiple chemical and hormonal changes my body has gone thru over the past few years?

I'm gonna say the answer is probably yes and no... to all of them. I think the answer is probably far too complicated to say that it's any one of those things, or that it's not any one of those things.

I will refrain from saying my "low spots" are depression, because the truth is they don't usually last very long - maybe a day or so, if that. But they are very low, and tend to come on very suddenly, often without warning, and sometimes without cause. It's a fight to convince myself to do anything but sit on the couch or lie in bed.

Well, not really. Because I have Jena.

But honestly, if I didn't have her to take care of...

Just thought of it while I typed those last two lines, but maybe the reason they don't last so long is because of Jena, because I don't give in to them because I'm taking care of her, so I don't linger in it. I take care of her, and she makes me smile and makes me laugh and reminds me of how grateful I am for her, and... how can you be low very long when you have that, right?

The "without cause" thing is the most confusing. For me and my loved ones. Because they can see how down I am, and the "what happened?" questions inevitably follow, and of course no one understands that nothing happened, and that I really, honestly, truly mean that. Nothing happened. Nobody was mean to me, I didn't have a bad day.

I can't explain it. I wish I could. I'm assuming what "happened" is there was some shift in the chemicals in my brain. That's probably what happened.

But these low spots don't come very frequently. Once every couple of months or so. And like I said they don't last very long. And since my life is just now stabilizing, I'm hopeful that maybe they will eventually get less & less frequent, or maybe even finally go away.

As far as the PP-PTSD, now that Jena's birthday has passed, my flashbacks have pretty much ceased. Although for some crazy reason earlier this week I was drawn to visit the website of the hospital where I delivered, specifically the maternity ward section, and just seeing the pictures of the room stirred all kinds of feelings in me.

I could feel the pain again, feel the uncomfortableness of the beds, the curiousness of not fully knowing how much time is passing... just seeing that tiny web pic brought it all back.

I've wondered many times... if Jason & I ever do decide to have more children... what am I gonna do? I've said before (this is all hypothetical) that I think I should begin counseling probably as soon as we find out I'm pregnant. Because I can tell you right now there will be quite a bit of anxiety as we near labor & delivery, especially considering we would most likely be delivering at the same hospital.

I have to have the same Ob deliver me again. Which would so probably not happen, considering it's a group practice and it's a crapshoot as to who's on rotation. But I firmly believe he saved my life, and probably Jena's. As I've dreamed of having another child, the idea of not getting him nearly throws me into an anxiety attack.

Oh yes, I'm all kinds of crazy.

Lots & lots of therapy should I ever get pregnant again. Lots.

Or maybe as more time passes, things will settle down. Maybe.

So, that's where I am right now, so you know.

Although things have definitely settled, tons, I mean, tons... there are still residual effects of the illness. I don't know if they will ever go away.

I don't know if I want them to go totally away.

I think the experience has made me much more sensitive and understanding to the trials that others are going through, and how every experience effects everyone differently. In short, although I'm still learning, still figuring things out, I'm starting to see that PPD and PP-PTSD have widened my world to the struggles of others, have broadened my perspectives, have made me more sympathetic towards others.

Yes, I'm starting to see that PPD and PP-PTSD have made me a better person.

As always, thanks for checking in!


Diane said...

I have been reading the blogs for awhile now of a few women who have battled (and some who still are) PPD and I can honestly say that before hearing their stories, I had no idea.

I didn't experience that but I do know exactly what you mean about something making you a better, more understanding and sympathetic person. Grief did that for me...

Glad that you blog about your feelings. I think it is wonderful therapy.

areyoukiddingme said...

I would bet that some portion of your husband's reluctance to have a second child is due to all of the things you wrote about here - he probably fears that you will return to PPD, and that's not something he can fix for you. (Just projecting, based on how my husband reacts to stuff)

Melissa said...

I was thinking the same thing, about Fireman. I read back and saw where Fireman was originally on board for two kids, until after Firegirl's birth.
You said the birth was traumatic for you, and you'd mentally blocked most of it. But he didn't/couldn't block it, so he probably remembers clearly how he felt while it was going on.

Even if you did convince him to have another, you're afraid you'll need therapy for the anxiety of labor & delivery. I assume from that you had an otherwise healthy, normal, full-term pregnancy, and if so, the solution to your problem could be a pretty simple one: tell the Doctor you want that you want a scheduled C-section.

I read that you had nixed having a c-section during labor with Firegirl, but you don't recall doing it, so I don't know if you had a specific reason for being anti-C-section.

I had an emergency C-section, a scheduled C-section, then a vaginal birth, and I can tell you none was really worse than the other. Truthfully the scheduled C-section was the easiest I think because my body wasn't so sore from laboring for hours.
My gallbladder surgery was WAY worse, and they didn't even cut me open for that.

I hear these younger women carrying on about C-sections these days like you'd told them to cut their head off or something. I don't get it.
Maybe they think not squeezing a pup out makes them less of a woman or some such thing. Ain't true.

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