Raging Against Recovery

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.

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With Mama Robin

With Mama Robin

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.

Not so.

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.

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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.

17 thoughts on “Raging Against Recovery

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you Robin for sharing this. I was consumed with rage for around 5 years after my daughter’s birth. Yes, I too feel the rage was at least part biochemical. As it turned out I was going through both post natal depression and the last stages of peri-menopause (as well as grieving a number of losses). I had no medication as my doctors felt that I wasn’t depressed if I wasn’t physically harming my daughter! They kept telling me I just had allergies and was stuggling with ‘the natural strains of motherhood’ and getting older. Consequently, I had to find my own way through it.

    My daughter is six now and I am still astonished that during this last year I have managed to return to some part of who I was before. That said, in some ways I am transformed beyond recognition. I now think of that time as my “dark night of the soul” that somehow went way beyond one night!

    Again, thank you so much for this post – it makes my experience feel less like a personal failing. Thank you.

  2. Robby, there are few things as important to me as the happiness and health of my family and you can’t know how inspiring I find your words, your journey and your perspective which allows you to recognize that this has all been part of you. We can all learn a lot from you my sister.
    Endless love and friendship to you and I can’t wait to see the impact you continue to have on the world, one compassionate, honest word at a time xo

  3. Wow Robin, are you me?! We even have the same name. My first son is almost three and a half, and my second just turned one – and I just started taking meds only a few months ago. It was the rage that got to me too, and it was definitely bio-chemical. I feel like I tried every other method of healing before “resorting” to pills. I wish I had just taken the darned things in the first place. My healing has been a long, drawn-out process. Thank you for sharing this. I feel relieved to know there are others like me.

  4. Thank you for writing this. I tend to refer to my rage as the caged beast that lives inside, huddled and growling, waiting for the cage to be triggered open, and then unleashing its roaring venom on whoever is so unlucky to be in its (my) path. I am glad you have found a way out of your rage. Wishing you peace and joy.

  5. Oh my Robin, you know how much I love you and how proud of you I am. Thank you for this. You keep seeming to write what I need to hear.

    Zoie, you have a lovely blog. Thank you too!

  6. Robin, watching you heal via your blog and your words has been a tremendous experience for me. I hurt with you and for you on the days you struggled, I celebrated with you when the days were bright. Above all, I grew with you both as a writer and a mother, as we both navigate these choppy but beautiful waters of parenthood. It’s my honor to know you. Thank you for sharing your words here.

  7. Pingback: The Me I Am Today | | Farewell, StrangerFarewell, Stranger

  8. What I love most about you, Robin, is your honesty. The raw, true, gritty honesty. It’s hard to accept. And I’m so honored I’ve gotten to know you on your journey.

  9. Thank you Robin for sharing your darkest moments as well as your healing and progress with us. I love watching you grow.

    Thank you Zoie for featuring Robin and the other awesome guest writers, and for the work you do when you are here.

I love comments and try to reply to each one. I look forward to connecting with you. Namaste

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