Thursday, July 14, 2011

why I love a little blue pill...

I debated on whether or not to post about this. It's quite personal and people I know in real life read this. Also, I feel somewhat embarassed and self conscious about my problem. I feel like people like me shouldn't have this kind of problem. But, I want to be honest in my blog and in my life. I don't want to hide what is really going on. So, here goes...

It all started two and a half weeks ago. Well, actually, it probably started at Piper's birth, but it came to a head two and a half weeks ago. You see, quite unexpectedly, I ended up being quite the nervous nelly about caring for Piper. I wasn't sure if I was doing it right, if I was spending enough time talking to her or playing with her each day and every time she cried I worried about how I would calm her down. These fears/worries are pretty typical of a first time mom, I would assume. It's overwhelming having a new baby; balancing a new role all the while trying to figure out a new person for whom you are responsible. But right around the time I got masti.tis (lots of fun...), these fears/anxieties escalated to an unhealthy level. I started panicking about how I would care for Piper in the coming months, if I would be able to play with/entertain her all day long. I started worrying about how I would handle having more children, panicking over caring for/entertaining more than one child. I worried about being able to handle the little kid years, I wasn't sure I could handle the stress of it. One day I essentially had a panic attack and called my counselor to see if I could get on the cancellation list and, thankfully, she ended up having an appointment open up for that evening. It was perfect timing because I was supposed to have my 6 week appointment the next day (actually at 5 weeks post partum).

My counselor is a specialist in post partum issues and so I knew I was going to someone who could really help give me insight on what was going on. I told her exactly how I was feeling and she told me exactly what I was hoping to hear, which was basically that my hormones were all out of whack and it was causing me to experience extreme anxiety. I don't have a history of anxiety or depression, so she was surprised I was dealing with post partum emotional problems, but she encouraged me to speak with my OB about getting on some meds. As someone with a counseling background, I'm not keen to jump right to medication, but I honestly felt like no amount of counseling would stop the panic attacks/anxiety. Sadly, I got a call early the next morning that my OB had to do an emergency c-section and my appointment needed to be rescheduled. So, I called my general doc and tried to get in to see her, but despite calling every few hours, she didn't have an open appointment until the next day. I ended up having a pretty significant panic attack that evening and called MBL and asked him to come home (it was already after 5pm, but he rarely leaves work right at 5:00 and I knew I needed him home). When he got home, I just sat there and cried. So sad that I couldn't just enjoy my baby and so scared about how I was feeling. I was pretty sure I would never feel normal again. I basically counted the minutes until my 3:15pm appointment with my doc.

After a 45 minute wait (a LONG time for someone with anxiety oozing out of their pores), my doctor came in and looked quite worried. She, too, was surprised that I was having such intense anxiety. The good thing was that she agreed with my psychologist that it was due to my post partum hormones and that it was unlikely I would feel like that forever. She suggested I start taking and ensured me that within the next two weeks I would start feeling better. She also wrote me a script for just in case I had any more panic attacks. Over the next week I ended up needing to take the xa.nax most days (but just once a day) as we were visiting family and I didn't want to lose my head around them.

Then, finally, this past Monday the had built up enough in my system to ease my anxieties. I woke up and felt better than the day before. I still felt anxious, but it didn't consume my every thought. I even got to the gym and was able to drop Piper off in their childcare area without flipping out. The next day I went to baby story time at the library and actually truly enjoyed myself. The last two days have been the best of all. On my worst days I seriously wasn't sure that I would ever feel like myself again and my raging anxiety kept me from enjoying my time with Piper. It was robbing me of cherishing these early days with her. And know that I don't spend every second worrying, I'm able to see how lucky I am to have the opportunity to be home with her. Instead of looking forward to the future, I'm relishing every moment of the present. And that is why I love a little blue pill, because without zol.oft I would still be walking around in a worry filled haze. Instead, now, I walk around so in love with my daughter and the time I spend with her each day. I cherish it when she falls asleep on me and I can just sit on the couch and hold her, knowing that she won't be this small for long. I am beyond thankful that the fog has lifted and that I am now able to truly love my new role as a mom.