Real Talk

So, I’m about to talk some real talk. I haven’t wanted to say these words because I didn’t want them to be true. But then I did say them and I actually felt better. And now I want to say them here.

I have definitely hinted at them, and possibly even employed the words themselves here and there, but I haven’t come out and simply said it.

I am currently suffering from clinical depression and anxiety.

It sucks to say that because it sucks for it to be true. But it’s also freeing in a way. Acknowledging my old foes takes some of their power away.

The truth is, I’ve been dealing with them for some time. I don’t think the waiting for labor/baby has caused their reappearance. Probably it’s the fact that I’ve been off my normal medications for over two years. They were bound to resurface when I didn’t have chemical help, especially during the stressful transition from one child to two. So I don’t think they are rearing their ugly heads in response to this baby not coming, but they are definitely exacerbating the issue. And depression and anxiety are making this wait way more excruciating than it would be otherwise.

I realized something really important today. My reactions to waiting for this baby are not rational. They just aren’t. It doesn’t make sense that I’m feeling so viscerally upset about the fact that this baby hasn’t arrived. Sure there is the anxiety about something bad happening, but it’s so much more than that. There are moments when I really, truly believe that this baby is not going to come, ever. I say that and people assume I’m employing hyperbole but honestly? There is a part of me that is panicked it might be true. And that is not a rational thought because even if things go horribly wrong, eventually I will not be pregnant anymore. That is the only thing I can know for certain.

There are also moments when I’m sure my body is broken, that something is fundamentally wrong with it that it seems half way to the finish line and can’t get started. Sometimes I convince myself that some mental block of mine is keeping things from starting. And there is a part of me that is terrified that my depression is stalling me out–if that is the case I’ll never be able to have this baby.

At least that is what I tell myself.

Again, these are not rational thoughts.

I am depressed. And anxious. What happens is I get really panicky and anxious about things (I definitely had one legitimate panic attack last week, it was not pretty) and then once I come down from that anxiety I feel hopelessly depressed. It’s like I’m sitting in the deepest hole ever dug and I can’t see the top and there is no light and no way out and it’s cold and damp and awful, and I don’t even have the energy to even explore the possibility of escape. So I just sit there. And I cry. I cry all the time.

But mostly I just want to sit somewhere and not get up, and all my obligations feel like incredible weights, crushing me. I just want to crawl into a cave somewhere and never come out.

And those are not rational thoughts.

This is hard. So, so hard. Somehow, I had forgotten how hard it is, how much it sucks. I forgot how exhausting it is just to get by, to manage the day to day when you feel this way. How every task seems to require a monumental amount of effort and it never seems worth it to expend the energy on the final result. How everything feels impossible, and you spend a lot of time trying to figure out how you can avoid all the things you absolutely need to do.

I forgot how it feels to wake up tired, to not want to get up, to have feel so overwhelmed by the day ahead. I forgot how it feels to count the seconds, the minutes, the hours until something else, anything else, only when that thing gets there, you’re just counting the minutes again, until the next thing.

I spent the better part of ten years dealing with depression. TEN FUCKING YEARS. It swallowed me whole and what it spit out barely resembled a life. I haven’t dealt with depression–clinical depression–in so long that I forgot how horrible it is. I forgot how soul-sucking it feels. I want to cry for the me that lived with this monster for so long. I can’t fathom how I survived.

I’m trying not to be angry at myself. I’m trying not to blame myself for waiting so long to recognize the symptoms and take action to combat this horrible disease. I trying to be gentle and kind. I’ve taken action. I’m on and I’ll keep taking after the baby is born. Sure I’m scared of PPD, especially since it will take 4-6 weeks for the meds to kick in, but I feel like I’m being as proactive as I can be and I’m hopeful that I won’t get buried under the weight of whatever comes next.

In the meantime I’ve pulled out my old cognitive behavior therapy books that focus on depression and anxiety and I’m relearning strategies I can use to combat this thing here and now.

Because this baby IS going to come, but it may not be tomorrow or the next day or the day after that. It may not even be next week. And I need to be ready for that. I need to be ready for how long it may take, so that I don’t go insane waiting. I want feel BETTER for this baby comes, not worse and I can’t change my thought patters on my own. So I’m pouring myself into some CBT and mindfulness exercises and hoping that things get better before they get worse. Heck, I’m hoping they only get better and never get worse.

I’m hoping this baby comes before I go crazy. And I’m hoping I don’t go crazy once this baby comes.

16 responses

  1. I’m so sorry! Depression is awful and insidious. I hope the Zoloft kicks in quickly so you can feel normal again. When I used to have panic attacks, I found rescue remedy to be helpful. And in fact, there are many different Bach flower remedies for different emotional upsets – you might find one that helps until the meds kick in. Sometimes it just helps to have something to DO when you’re in the midst of an attack.

  2. Depression runs deep in my family. My grandfather committed suicide and my mother was hospitalized when I was young (she has since been able to control it with medication) luckily I was missed however my younger sister suffers from severe depression and anxiety. She is currently undergoing a similar situation as she awaits the birth of her third child. While it is hard for me to understand exactly what she is feeling (since for me the wait was thrilling and exciting) I can sympathize with how difficult depression can be on your everyday life. I am happy you were able to seek treatment prior to the baby joining your family. I am sure it will make the transition easier and hopefully prevent post pardum depression. My sisters greatest fear. She even starts upping her medication (which is has never been off of since age 10) near her due date (per her doctors recommendation). So far that has seemed to help. She also sees a psychologist which is highly recommends to people undergoing depression.

  3. Good for you for writing about this and having the courage to face it head on. Thank you for sharing. Sounds like the CBT is already working as you challenge your thoughts! You will get through this, it will all get better. And I think, even if the zoloft doesnt kick all the way in, it will buffer any possible PPD. You have a miracle coming your way! Blessings are just around the corner.

  4. Ok, so I am a psychologist, but I’m just giving advice here as a friend, not in any professional capacity. I would say it’s totally normal to experience a resurgence in these feelings right now. Transition periods are the hardest times for everyone and tend to bring things back up. Also, treatment (therapy or meds) doesn’t take away the anxiety and depression, it just teaches us how to manage it. Managing is a life-long thing, just like managing our weight. Finally, I’m glad you are able to acknowledge the irrationality of your thoughts. That is the first step to managing them.

    Just curious…have you tried therapy before? Meds can treat the level of the symptoms, but of course I’m biased toward good therapy to get to the root and change the thoughts. Also, good for you with the CBT books! That’s what I would recommend 🙂

    • I’ve been in therapy for the better part of 15 years. In the past 2-3 years, as my depression/anxiety/ADD have been manageable, I’ve only been going 1-2 a month. Unfortunately my therapist has a baby last year and now only comes in 1-2 times a month for appointments. She also only does phone appointments a couple days a month (but I don’t really find phone appointments that helpful and hate spending money on them). I’m hoping to see her this weekend but I don’t know if she’ll have a spot open on such short notice (I thought I’d have a baby by this weekend so I didn’t make an appointment for the end of the month). I do have plans to see her in November (bringing the baby with me) and I’ll keep seeing her through next year. I can’t really afford more than 1-2 visits a month though: we truly DO NOT have the money for it right now. So I’m hoping I can manage well enough to only see her once a month. I do think therapy is VERY helpful and I wish I could go more but I know with a new baby (and our financial constraints) that just won’t be possible.

  5. I’m desperate to say something that will be helpful, that will make this better and easier for you. I am so, so glad you have started the Zoloft, and I pray it will start to turn things around. Praying for you, friend.

  6. Thank you for sharing and for being REAL. Hang in there. Look at all these wonderful people who’ve commented… you have so much love and support following you and we do it because you’re AMAZING!

  7. Holding you in my thoughts and sending a big hug. This must be so incredibly hard. Every half hour that goes by, that you make it through, is a win. And the accumulation of these means you are moving forward to a different place. I realize there are different fears each day and place, but you are doing this right.

  8. HUGS! Like you, I know that pregnancy does not equal a baby. I know the feeling of needing to know the baby is really okay very well.

    I am so glad that you’ve taken steps to be proactive — and that your caregiver(s) listened and acted. My anxiety during G’s pregnancy was swept under the rug by my OB saying, “You’re anxious because you had a loss. Relax.” Looking back, something should have been done. I should have been proactive, but I held off thinking I’d be okay once G was born (also, I didn’t want to admit there was a problem to others because I felt everyone thought I was crazy enough for not being as excited as they were for the baby who would more than likely be born and okay). I ended up with PPD and I often wonder if I had gotten help before his birth, would I have had such a hard time after he was born?

    I hope things will get better emotionally and mentally and your little one comes SOON!

    Also, thank you for sharing. I know this kind of thing isn’t always easy to share.

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