This is a topic that I never thought I would know so well. After having baby T in July 2015, my life was a whirlwind. My father in law was diagnosed with Alzheimers so we decided it would be best for him (and my mother in law by default) to live with us. Let me add – I do not get along with my in-laws AT ALL. The thought of living with them in a three bedroom house, and a newborn, and a big dog just scared the crap out of me. My husband made an executive decision that maybe we ought to move so we wouldn’t all be on top of each other. In just one month, we listed, sold, and packed up our home and moved into the new house. My husband had already used up a lot of his FMLA to care for his dad before baby T was even born so I was moving and setting up our house pretty much solo.
Once we were settled in the new house, things got even crazier. My mother in law was (and still is) in denial that her husband has Alzheimers so she did not care for him the way he needed to be. Thus, I would often come downstairs to strangers in my family room because he would let anyone who came to the door inside the house or some appliance in the kitchen on fire as a result of him trying to cook himself some food. Let me tell you, those were some of the scariest moments of my life. Just thinking about it as I am writing this gives me the shivers.
As time went on, I became more and more stressed by everything going on. Not only was I kicking strangers out of my house and putting out fires, I was also trying to take care of a newborn. As a first time parent, I had no idea what I was doing, what the different cries meant, what the baby needed and when. I started feeling myself becoming angry and having thoughts that weren’t normal but seemed like the only way out. I envisioned throwing my son out of our bedroom window and into the pool. I fantasized about driving into oncoming traffic when we would go to doctors appointments. There were times I would overdose on any pills I could find in the house just to be completely numb. One day, my husband made a completely innocent comment and that was it. I lost it. Yelling, throwing things and then finally, crying uncontrollably. It just so happened we were getting ready to go to the doctors office for a well baby check up. I cried the entire drive to the doctors office and continued even as we checked in and got set up in a room. Our family doctor knew right away that I was in need of help.
Since then, I have been to therapy and am on Zoloft. I decided my in laws could no longer live with us. Kicking out my husbands parents obviously caused some tension between hubby and I. There was a lot of resentment and arguing for months after which did not help my depression. Fast forward a couple of months, I get laid off from my job and fall further into depression. Fun times!
To say it’s been a rough year is an understatement. Postpartum depression is such a real and uncontrollable condition yet it blows my mind that there’s such a negative stigma attached to it. Coming from an East Indian background, most people in my family believe depression is a “mind over matter” thing. Instead of seeking help when I first felt off, I pushed my feelings down because I was embarrassed. I just had a healthy, beautiful baby…how could I be depressed?? Anytime visitors asked how I was doing, I would flash the biggest damn smile I could and say “I’m doing better than ever!” My vagina hurt, I had a flabby ass belly, family drama, but I sure as hell wasn’t about to let anyone know I was struggling.
To this day, I barely speak of my depression except to those who have seen me act out as a result of it. It is a challenge to get out of bed somedays. I lay there in disappointment that I didn’t die in my sleep. Other days, I wake up feeling grateful for my family, home and mostly, my son. Then there are the days where I hit both extremes within a matter of moments. I could be happy as a clam one hour and by the next hour, I am crying uncontrollably because all I want to do is drink excessively and mix it with some pain pills so I can just be done with all of this sadness.
I truly sympathize with those who have dealt with PPD or any other form of depression. It is exhausting to live with. Explaining your feelings to others can be so uncomfortable. The one thing I constantly have to remind myself of is to just take it one day at a time. Enjoy the good days however rare they are. Support groups can be a great way to talk about your feelings. If you have an understanding family, please let them know how you are doing. Having those people who you can be open with about your struggles is so important. I hope that one day I will feel normal again. Until then, I hope the love from my family and friends can continue to give me the strength to not give in to my dark thoughts.
Thanks for listening. XO