While I am away from my blog, I am honored to showcase a group of talented writers who have stepped forward with their unique voices in support. Every guest writer who is featured here is one that I strongly suggest you follow. Today, I am pleased to share with you this guest post from Robin from Farewell, Stranger. I would greatly appreciate it if you would stop by her blog and leave some comment love.
I consider my recovery from postpartum depression to be really recent. As in within the last couple of months. And my son is three years old.
I know people say it’s only PPD until the baby is a year old, but that wasn’t a definition that worked for me. For one thing, what’s to say it’s PPD on day 364 and not day 365? Not to mention that my issues were so clearly related to the birth of my son that it was hard to label it anything else. And I didn’t want to re-label it and encourage it to stick around.
My main symptom was rage. It wasn’t irritability or crankiness. Even “anger” doesn’t really sum it up properly. It was all-out, adrenaline-fuelled rage. And that’s not a quality I want to carry with me past “postpartum” so I choose to define my struggle in a way that helps me heal.
This distinction is important to me because I battled against that rage for a long time. I hid it. I hated myself for succumbing to it. And I thought by denying its very existence I could wait it out.
For me this issue was biochemical, I have no doubt. I was very resistant to medication but it wasn’t until I got on the right antidepressant – and the right dose – that I was able to deal with my rage. And instead of raging against the rage, I had to accept it.
This is a very hard thing to do, I know. Since confessing to the depth of my rage I’ve talked to countless other mothers who deal with this as well. It’s scary, especially because it’s hard to control. But, conversely, I had to just let it be in order to get past it.
When our emotions are that hard to control, as can be the case with postpartum mood disorders, it’s hard to step back enough to see what’s going on. In the end I had to take a giant step back in order to get the rage under control. I took a leave of absence from work (for 4 ½ months, as it turned out) and removed myself from all aspects of caring for my child. I had to get my emotions under control, and in order to do that I had to remove the triggers for a bit.
Once I did that I was better able to see how those triggers affected me. If I felt my blood starting to boil, I could escape upstairs to our guest room and leave my husband in charge. Once there, I could address it. I talked to myself and tried to figure out what it was causing me such angst in certain situations. When I didn’t have to handle both a highly energetic almost-three-year-old in addition to my not-functioning self, I could better see that he was just doing what toddlers do. I didn’t have to like all of it, but I did have to figure out how to cope with it.
I never thought I’d have to let the rage in before I could let it out, but that’s what worked for me.
Robin Farr is a woman, a writer, a wife, a runner, a communications professional, a speaker and a mom – chronologically, at least. She got mixed up philosophically during her struggle with postpartum depression but wrote her way out of it on her blog, Farewell, Stranger. That experience, and a lifelong habit of finding inspiration in even the bad things that happen to her, led her to a new motto: “Live the life you’re meant to.” She’s now working on doing just that. You can also find Robin on Facebook and Twitter.