Postpartum Depression

I feel like I’ve fallen completely off the map and then some.

Here’s a quick recap, though I’ll be skipping a lot: three months ago my daughter was born. I’ve had health issues that I’m working on getting diagnosed. I was put in the hospital after being suicidal and released from the day program the same week. Now I’m on medication which may or may not be making my anxiety and depression worse. I’ve started school online. That and taking care of my two kids are pretty much all I feel like I’m accomplishing.

I’ve been apathetic. I have cared. I do care. In a lot of ways, I care more right now than I usually do. In a lot of ways, I still feel emotionally healthier than I have been in years. But at the same time, it’s like I’ve had an aversion to actually doing anything.

With my online classes, there are actual deadlines that will affect my grade if I miss them. School is the one thing I’ve always been able to stay on top of regardless of what else is happening in my life. In a way, I guess absorbing myself in learning is an escape. A coping mechanism. I’ve always been the smart kid, the teacher’s pet. Still, I hate that it’s the only thing I can make myself do.

For a while I noticed that my anxiety was worse. Much, much worse. Unbearably terrible. I suspect that my apathy is actually an aversion to anything that could possibly trigger my anxiety. I haven’t cooked. I haven’t cleaned. I haven’t even put away laundry. Just thinking about those things makes my chest feel tight and my heart race. So, yeah. That’s probably what’s going on. And honestly, this sucks. I told my OBGYN that I wanted to start medication for my anxiety. She wrote me a prescription for Zoloft because that treats both depression and anxiety and it’s safe to take while nursing. A lot of my depression symptoms cleared up before I started taking it, and my anxiety hasn’t gotten any better while I’ve been on it. I probably need to talk to my doctor and get something changed here.

Except that isn’t going to happen. Not as long as it’s up to me. Not if I’m the one that has to make the phone call and talk to people and show up places for appointments or picking up prescriptions. I can barely keep on top of taking my meds. All those other things make my anxiety worse and they have for a few years. My husband is in charge of making sure appointments get scheduled and phone calls get made. My husband is forgetful. I’m kind of okay with that right now. My depression and anxiety are so bad that I’d rather continue taking a med that doesn’t work for me and keep myself from panicking about any of that than even give him a reminder that I need him to help me by making that call.

I really do want to get better. I just don’t want to have to go to anyone else. I feel like I can’t. Not because I don’t think they can help me, but because something about reaching out to other people for anything other than homework gives me panic attacks.

Usually my depression by itself isn’t even this bad.

This war between wanting to improve my life and not caring enough to do anything has been torture.

One of the classes I’m taking is Introduction to Social Media Marketing. I freaking love this class. It excites me. Anytime I can get away with it, I use my own author page on Facebook as an example and brainstorm ideas around that. My instructor has even looked up my page and books and thrown some awesome ideas my way. She’s led me to tools that I can use, that I’m excited to use, to help market my books. I’m seriously pumped about this. I want to get going on it right away.

But I can’t.

I think it’s some kind of fluke that I’m sitting here right now typing this up. I meant to post an update weeks ago. I’ve been meaning to do that every week. Right now it’s 4AM and I should have gone to bed four or five hours ago, but I’ve been up playing Township and watching House and just avoiding sleeping because for whatever reason I haven’t wanted to sleep lately–I think it’s the nightmares. Every so often I’ll have vivid nightmares every night for weeks, and it’s been happening again. But back to the point, I probably would have gone to bed twenty minutes ago, except I thought to myself, I’ve really been meaning to update my blog lately. I have an idea about what to write about and the kids aren’t up to distract me, so I might as well do it now, right?

I probably shouldn’t have done it now. I don’t know. I’m exhausted.

I’ve been getting migraines from the sleep deprivation lately. I’ve stopped exercising. I’ve given in to more cravings and started gaining back the weight I just lost.

This is so not the worst my mental health has ever been. Not even close. And I don’t know if my depression and anxiety are particularly being affected by being postpartum or if they’ve just been evolving as they always have, but that’s the phase of life I’m in right now. This isn’t the kind of depression that makes me want to hurt my baby. I’ve never experienced that. And I don’t think I’m going to have a psychotic break this time like I did with my first child. Or, if I am, it would have been that suicidal episode that already happened. Things have been getting better since then. I just have no reason to believe it’s because of the medication. But that’s a post for another day.

I want to have an online presence again. I want to do livestream posts on Facebook and interact with readers and other authors, and see if I can run some successful ads. I want to order paperback copies of Book 3 of my Recovering Happily Ever After series and get books 4 and 5 written so people can finally be impressed by how effective the series is as a whole. I want all of that so bad, it hurts.

Maybe that’s why I’ve been avoiding making progress. It’s for the same reason I’m avoiding cleaning and cooking. It’s painful. As hard as it is for me to maintain my home and the food in my fridge, being an author is harder. So much harder. In my current mental/emotional state, it’s easier for me to avoid everything than to trudge through each paragraph, each Facebook post that only gets two likes. It’s easier for me to isolate myself than it is for me to put myself out there. It’s easier for me to focus on myself than it is to pour energy into something that I hope might help other people.

I’m too busy finding the faith to put effort into my own recovery. I don’t think I have what it takes to have faith in the fruit of my charitable efforts.

That is the whole reason I write, after all. I write in my journal for myself. I write my books to help other people.

I can’t guarantee if or when my books will match my particular definition of successful. A lot of that depends on whether readers actually share how my books impacted them. If that happened now, I do think that would help me a lot. That might give me the strength to keep going, to pick back up on the series. But I can’t hold out on that. I can’t wait for others to give me strength. And I can’t work on the series as long as I don’t have the inner strength. That’s part of the conflict for me, too.

I’m used to being able to do everything. Even when I was depressed in the past, I still felt like I could do everything. I don’t feel that way anymore. Now, it seems like I can commit on the same level I used to, but I fall short every time. I give up every time. I’ve broken my trust in myself on so many occasions.

I want to be successful. I want to make a career out of writing. I want to at least know that I can go back to work at my day job and make sure we don’t get into more debt. But right now, I can’t even do that much.

This time around, I’ve had no trouble not hating myself. But at least when I hated myself, I could face all my other problems instead of hiding from them to avoid feeling worse.

I don’t know if I’m ready to use the L word on myself. I thought I was. I thought I’ve loved myself despite the depression all along. I haven’t. I think I respect myself, but then again, I haven’t been eating right or exercising. I don’t know if I appreciate myself. I don’t hate myself for not doing more around the house, but I’m underwhelmed by my accomplishments. I know that I have potential. I know I have strengths and talents. I know a lot of people love me, and I know I’ve already helped a lot of people. I know I have a great family. I know I have faith in my religion and spirituality. But, I don’t know how much else I know. I’m not sure I have enough of all of those to pull myself through this quickly. I don’t know if it’s a matter of pulling myself through. I wish I knew how much of my anxiety and depression are residual and how many are chronic because the behaviors and patterns I have that I don’t even realize I have. I honestly don’t think it’s genetic. Not in my case. At least, not the worst of it. I just wish I knew how to better help myself. Going with the flow and pushing myself only when I know I won’t be pushing myself over the edge is all I feel capable of. Maybe that really is all I’m capable of. It’s hard not feeling like I can do more. It’s hard when all I can do is hold on, day after day.

I need to go to sleep. Today is going to be another long day of exhaustion and migraines. I can already feel it.

I try to remain optimistic, to at least battle the depression on that front. I try to hold on to hope.

Today, I already feel like that isn’t going to be enough.

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