Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Post-Partum Anxiety: How I knew something was wrong

When I first mentioned that I suspected I was dealing with post-partum anxiety, a few of you commented or reached out to me and said that you were experiencing similar symptoms but didn't realize it could possibly be something more than just a "frazzled Mom" feeling. It took me a while to admit to myself that something was wrong, too. I'd like to share with you how I came to the conclusion that something wasn't right, and what led me to finally get help.

Shortly after Aurelia was born I was on edge...all the time. A few examples of thoughts/feelings I was having compared to the "old me":

Pre-anxiety Mama G: might have a brief scary vision of the car careening off of a bridge while driving over a bridge
Now: similar crazy "what-if" scenarios invade my consciousness and drive me to work out elaborate escape plans in my head. I will agonize over said intricate escape plans for long after we've already driven over the bridge and will revisit them days and even weeks later.

Pre-anxiety Mama G: would temporarily become stressed when there is a lot to do around the house
Now: the sink is loaded with dishes, the floors need to be swept, and there are a few boxes from our move that still haven't been unpacked. I'm probably not going to take care of any of those things right now, instead I'll sit here for a half an hour stressing about all of it. Then, when I finally get started I can't stop until Mike forces me to go to sleep at a few minutes 'til midnight.

Pre-anxiety Mama G: not really a worrier
Now: every time that Mike leaves the house I worry that something will happen to him to the point that I actually feel sick to my stomach. Then I think about what we would do {would we move in with my parents?} and how we would survive emotionally and financially.

After not being able to fall asleep one night because I was trying to work out what I would do if a serial killer made me choose which family member I would save from him {OMG WHAT AM I TURNING INTO?} I finally realized that this was beyond normal. I felt crazy and worried that people would judge me or think I wasn't fit to be a Mother.

Luckily I remembered that a blogger I follow -- Jill from Baby Rabies -- had posted about Post-Partum Anxiety over a year ago. I reread her post...and it was as if she was inside my head. Everything she said she was suffering from and struggling with were the very same things with which I was afflicted. In her post she links to Postpartum Progress's list of Postpartum Depression & Postpartum Anxiety symptoms. I went down the list with an {unenthusiastic} "check!" after "check!" Almost all of them. I instantly felt better knowing that this was a sickness and that I hadn't lost myself or gone crazy after all. I knew I needed to get help, but I kept on delaying...

The last straw was my first panic attack. Even before it happened I knew I needed to get help, but I had been putting it off. After the anxiety attack, I just couldn't ignore it. It was no longer only in my head...it was screaming right in front of Mike and both of the girls. I sent a message to my doctor and a nurse called me the next business day with an {almost} immediate appointment. They take this seriously.

If you suspect you might be dealing with post-partum anxiety, please seek out help. You don't have to suffer alone like I did for so long. Please feel free to comment or e-mail me growingupgeeky at gmail if you have any questions or would like to chat <3

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