As I started to happily pullout all my Christmas decoration bins, I honestly could not believe what a huge difference a year made. I am talking ..monumental difference.
For the past 35 years of my existence, I have thought of myself as a positive easy going gal. In fact, I relished in saying I was the typical type B person, who did not get bothered by much.
I can vividly remember getting so excited about the small things in life. Going to go eat treats and watch a movie with pals, yesss please!! Running into someone I have not seen for years and having an awesome catch up sesh! Amazing!!! Knowing I had a scrumptious doughnut waiting for me when I got home…yipeeeee!!!! I did not realize how easily pleased I was.
So, last year when my birthday and Christmas came, not going to lie, I was a bit like Scrooge except for the fact that I did not have three ghosts visiting me and making me see the light. Perhaps a room of succulent delights would have brightened my spirits? Most likely not so much, but maybe eating a whole room of treats would help?!
So, after having Holly..I just thought, I am super sleep deprived and that is why I have this heavy feeling lurking over me. I mean, I have always been a homebody..this is not so much different?
Buttt, after you have a baby , not matter what, your life completely changes. I know for me it did. All of a sudden you are responsible for this tiny little human. And YOUR whole life revolves completely around them. I suppose, I felt like a part of me was dead and there was a sense of deep mourning for her. Would she come back? Am I always going to feel this way? Yikes
Of course I had read countless articles about postpartum depression and anxiety. I got this in the bag. There is NO way I am going to get that, or let myself feel that way. Well, that is not how life works, is it? No woman would EVER choose to feel this way and go through it…cause it ain’t no picinic. Sorry dear hubby and close family members, not being a clustereff of emotions on purpose. 🤷🏼♀️
Of course, there are SO many different layers and levels of Postpartum depression and anxiety. Definitely not a one size fits all..like in anything in life! Not one person goes through and feels exactly the same way. I would not assume any other gal has the same thoughts and goes through the same things me, right?! So it makes such sense that with PPD/anxiety it is not a generic thing.
For some mom’s they simply do not feel a bond with their infant. This was not the case for me, and I cannot imagine is hard that would be to go through that. My struggle was with myself and my identity. I would look in the mirror and think, who the hell is that. It was so odd and so hard to explain. Jenny D, where are you?
And, for that matter it can happen to anyone. And I mean ANYONE!! I have read countless celebrities stories of how they struggled terribly with PPD/anxiety. In many of their cases they have nannies and housekeepers etc. All of these, others consider to be advantages. Does not make a difference.
I had, and still have an amazing support system. The Holly Dolly Village. If it was not for them, I would have been up shit creek. Even though I had that support, ( and I recognized that some people do not have any support) I still had days where I could not shake those feelings.
The thing about depression and anxiety is the stigma that surrounds it. Funny enough, the more I shared with others, the more I found out soooo many others struggle or have struggled in the past.Wow, ok, I am not the only one and this somewhat was comforting to me.
I learned the most dirty rotten thing about it all, especially anxiety is…you literally cannot explain it. So, when someone simply asks you, “what are you even worried about?!” For me, all of a sudden I would clam up and be a babbling idiot. Uh, ahhh, uhhhhhh, wellllll, I am not sure. I would say. Sometimes just this simple question would make it worse.
All I know is that the worry would come out of nowhere and I could not control it. Yup, don’t mind me, perched like a demented parrot in the corner pretending to be chill. I would get so hot and feel like I could not breathe. Wonderful.
Side note, when I would get super anxious, I would know I was being so ridiculously irrational, BUT I could not help it. And you know what the cherry on top would be? Someone telling me that I was being ridic. Yah, thanks tips. I am aware I am being a complete dimrod. I get it. 🤷🏼♀️
As time passed and I recognized what was going on , there would be certain triggers that would be the root cause of these little anxious bouts. Anddd, of course to others they would be the most minute of things, but for me ( in those moments) it would be earth shattering, end of all days terrible.Like my child would burst into flames terrible. Hard. To. Explain.
Just as I had written about sleep deprivation, one of the main things that would cause sheer panic in this ol’ gal, was an interruption to our sleep schedule. To most, no big deal…but to me…end of the world as I knew it.
So, there was good ol’ jen ( at a family functions , usually at my husbands family) obsessingly glancing at the clock every 2 seconds. Oh god , ohhh god…her bedtime is soon. Holy mother of pearl, we aren’t home and she is not ready. Holy terror of life! As I would be thinking this, the sweats would come. Man, was anyone else boiling up like they were sitting in a oven?! Nope…just me. Fabulous.
Compared to now, I look back and can remember that feeling of absolute terror to go out and about with a young babe. What if had a meltdown, what if I have a meltdown. It was almost like anything out of my comfort zone would scary the bejesus out of me. I would literally have to push myself and be so uncomfortable..but would still do it. Complete fear of the unknown I suppose.
As time when on, and I told people to just let me do things in my own time..I was slowly getting my confidence back. I even got to the point where I flew with a toddler. Self high five!!! It may have taken me a wee bit longer than others but I am doing things and that filthy anxiety is losing it’s death grip on me. Ahhhhh, it has been a huge weight of my shoulders. Although it does creep in from time to time.
Thank heavens alive that things are much better. I can honestly say, that after going through this…I have SOO much respect for others who live with any type of depression and anxiety. Man alive, it certainly can be crippling.
It has given me a new perspective and outlook on life. I feel like I look at others differently am much more empathetic. You know what, you never know what someone is going through by looking at them.
I am beyond thankful for those people in my life that were patient and understanding. I just could not be pushed. I was so ashamed and embarrassed of how I would react to things. After all, the Jenny D that others knew was gone and this weirdo has replaced her!😑
I am learning to embrace my new self and try to go with the flow. On this Christmas eve, I wish everyone a safe and wonderful holiday. Hug and cherish the loved ones in your lives! Happy holidays and I hope Santa spoils you all.