Chalk it up to a loaded genetic gun, the shortening days, Jelly Bean’s self-weaning (she was my oxytocin dealer, yo) or an illness in the family – How about d) all of the above? – but I’ve dove headlong back into the dumpster of depression. (I have not, however, lost my powers of alliteration. It’s like the super power Wonder Woman would have if she wore glasses and had a slight overbite.)
Irritability. Over-sensitivity. Moodiness. Forgetfulness. Sleepiness. Despair-iness. My thoughts swirling like snowflakes through my brain, never settling, never coalescing except to form brief nightmarish pictures for me to obsess over. The bad thing about having prior depressive episodes is that I’m prone to having more of them but the good thing is that I’m really great at recognizing the signs of them. While all of the previous effects are very irritating – especially walking around feeling like my skin’s on wrong ways out – the one that has really hamstrung me this time, as in times past, is the anxiety.
And the worst part is this time I didn’t see it coming.
After each of my children have been born, I’ve had a bout with the post-partum “baby blues.” They are pretty textbook in their arrival, albeit a little worse than their name belies. They’ve gotten more severe after each kid. After my third son was born, I was so consumed by obsessive worries over his and his brothers’ safety that all I could do was pace back and forth carrying the baby while the other two trailed me like ducklings with PTSD.
But when Jelly Bean was born, we were prepared! My husband made sure that we had plans to go somewhere or that he was home every evening. When he couldn’t be with me, he enlisted one of my friends to – and I am not making this up – babysit me until he came home. As long as I was out being busy or with someone older than 10, I could keep the crazy thoughts at bay but leave me alone and… Y’all, I have sundowners. My anxiety, for whatever bizarre reason, peaks at sundown every day and becomes almost unbearable. I know. If I’m this bad at 32, by the time I land in the old folk’s home, I’m going to be running naked down the street screaming every evening.
I expected the depression and anxiety after my children were born. I did not expect it to hit again after Jelly Bean weaned. I’ve never had post-weaning depression before, nor even heard of it! So, other than fist-shaking (see? I am 80!) what can I do? I can feel myself slipping into full-on crazy so I’ve alerted the appropriate people: my doctor, my husband, my long-suffering sister, my mother, the gym buddies, all 300+ of my friends on Facebook. Oh and now all the thousands of you who read my blog. (I know, I know, if I could just open up, talk to people, stop keeping everything inside already…)
All joking aside, I hate feeling like this. I hate being powerless in the tidal wave of these emotions. I hate sitting for hours in the corner of my kitchen, literally vibrating with anxiety as I will myself to not obsess over not obsessing (how’s that for some tautological naval gazing!). I hate snapping at my children every time they make a loud noise (which would be 23 hours of the day). I hate feeling guilty for all my self pity in this world where so many have it much, much worse. I hate feeling like the angsty teen I once was and am so glad to have left behind. I hate knowing what I need to do to help mitigate this – prayer, meditation, walking outdoors, basking in front of my Happy S.A.D. light – and not having enough energy to do it. I hate sitting at the computer to write and having nothing come out. I hate this hate this hate this.
I am smarter than I used to be. I’ve learned: this is just a waiting game. Give it time. Let the hormones settle out. This will pass. It always does.
Do you ever struggle with depression? What do you do to help yourself? Anyone else’s depression manifest in anxiety? Anyone got a good joke for me??
PS> I am not opposed to medication. I’ve certainly done my time with the happy pills. But I am reticent to go on SSRI’s again because I’m very sensitive to medication and I find the side effects to be detrimental to my health and happiness. However, if you have a good meds story I’m willing to hear you out.