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Depression | The Dark + Dirty

Depression | The Dark + Dirty

Depression is dark and dirty.
It’s really hard to see through when you’re in it and even harder to remember when you’re not.
It’s irrational and careless and really fucking scary.
It makes you believe that life is futile.
It makes you believe things are hopeless.
It makes you believe that you’re not worthy.

You are surrounded by people just like you who may be smiling and laughing in your presence but sobbing in the bathroom when you walk away.

Be the light.

Don’t be ashamed. Don’t be too proud to ask for help.

Find a light.

WE GET IT, YOU DON’T LIKE KIDS.

WE GET IT, YOU DON’T LIKE KIDS.

<rant> You don’t like kids. Listen, I get it.

You don’t love them noising up your restaurants or your airplanes or your public spaces in general. You didn’t choose them, so why should they affect your life so loudly? I completely understand.

The thing is, I’m not wild about snarky adults with their deliberate eye rolls, exasperated sighs, and inflated internet opinions, but holy shit, for some reason society allows YOU out in public.

The difference between you and my daughter is that she is a small human child who doesn’t know how to behave yet. I am trying to teach her to be courteous and careful and kind. I’m doing my best and it’s hard as shit. Experience is imperative while teaching so unfortunately for you, it doesn’t make sense to keep my toddler in hiding until she learns your rules.

Ya know, ‘cause that’s not how learning works.

Mind your manners, you assholes. </rant>

Happiness & How You Can Help

Happiness & How You Can Help

DISCLAIMER:  My husband is delightful and I love him and the life we have created.  Please remember that as I continue and hang on for the ride…

To begin, you should know that I’ve been on a lovely anti-depressant cocktail since accepting my PPD over two years ago; I find comfort in the full bottle of Xanax in my cupboard that’s there if I need it.  And I’m really okay with that right now.

So here we go:

“I’m sorry you’re so unhappy,” my husband says to me in what feels like a deliberate jab to my most vulnerable spot after a passing disagreement about housework or money or parenting or whatever. 

Want to get me riled up?  This is the sentence. 

Why? Because life is fucking hard sometimes, I’m doing the best I can, and if you don’t quit telling me that I’m just uniformly unhappy, I’M GONNA BE REALLY UNHAPPY.  Inside I quickly morph into into an irrational bot of angry, resentful ‘OH YOU THINK THAT’S HELPFUL? You wanna go?! LET’S GO.’  Eventually, I utter through hiccuping tears — “I’m exhausted and I need more help”

“But I am helping, I’m trying, I do whatever you ask me to”

*and then my eyes roll back into my head, never to be seen again.*

We go back and forth with this, it’s either:  Just tell me what needs doing and I’ll do it OR You’re always telling me what to do.

I don’t want to tell you what to do, I want you to just do the things that need to be done.  PERIOD.

Our last rouse climaxed with “You’re so mad you don’t even talk to me at the end of the day and I just think that it’s more important that we communicate than that the floors are clean.”

Okay.  Stop.  There it is.  That’s the problem.

It hadn’t occurred to me that this was how I was compensating for feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated but I was completely shutting off at the end of the day when I wasn’t getting enough support and I didn’t feel like picking the fight.  For the first time, I was able to compare his need for end of the day debriefing with my need for order and consistency and I was able to finally put it into words: If helping to keep the floors clean improves my happiness, can’t you just help me clean the floors more?!

Our brains work differently.  He is not intentionally not appreciating the things I’m doing in love to keep things moving smoothly, he’s just hoping that I will do the things that HE sees as showing love and support — they just happen to be two different things so we’re missing each other in the journey.

Me:

I can’t go to sleep at night with a sink full of dishes.

I can’t relax after dinner until the dishes are done.

I can’t enjoy my Friday afternoons off if I skipped Thursday chores.

I skip the step that leaves the towel on the floor and put it straight into the hamper.

I’m a little neurotic but nothing has changed

And I can’t tell you how important these things are to my mental health one more goddamn time.

Him:

I am more productive in the morning.

Let’s enjoy each other and worry about the dishes later.

I’ll do my work tomorrow, today I need a day to rest and recoup.

I want to stand naked under this fan for a second, I’ll pick up the towel when I’m done.

He’s a little scattered but nothing has changed.

And I’d guess my nagging isn’t helpful to his mental health and he’d rather not have to tell me one more goddamn time.

I am not unhappy with our life, I just need more recognition for keeping this madhouse from catching fire every day and sometimes I struggle to do it with a goddamn smile on my face.  There is no way for anyone to know that if I don’t use my words.

Moral of the Story:

You’re important but other people are too.  Don’t assume that everyone knows how to make you happy and how to help, tell them.  Don’t assume that you know how to make everyone happy and how to help, ask them.

 

Postpartum Preeclampsia

Postpartum Preeclampsia

‘Wholly unprepared,’ seems like an understatment when describing how I felt about the chaos of entering the postpartum world for the first time.  Sure, throughout my pregnancy I was worried about preeclampsia and gestational diabetes and toxemia and I’ve always struggled with anxiety and denial of depression but postpartum is supposed to be joyous.  IT IS, DAMMIT!  Postpartum quickly became a dirty word in my world.  The dirtiest word. Y’ALL, WHY DID NO ONE EVER TELL ME ABOUT POSTPARTUM PREECLAMPSIA?  I never stumbled over it in a blog post, none of my friends have ever shared their experience, my doctor didn’t mention it until she sent me to the emergency room 5 days after I came home with my bundle of sleepless nights joy.  Easily, I could have ignored the symptoms (and probably did for a little too long) because trying to keep a human alive with my bodily fluids is freaking hard as shit.  Easily, I could have died.  The internet is full of hyperbole.  That is not hyperbole.
THE FACTS
Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs only in pregnancy.  So postpartum preeclampsia is a nasty little oxymoron.  Who is at risk for preeclampsia?  Uh, everyone.
  • First time moms
  • Anyone with high blood pressure
  • Anyone with female family members who have had preeclampsia
  • Women younger than 20 and older than 40
  • Human women
Mild preeclampsia symptoms are basically pregnancy symptoms unless you’re a superhuman (I know, some of you are.  Get over yourselves)
  • High blood pressure
  • Water retention
  • Protein in your urine
Severe preeclampsia symptoms are insane and *sorry mom* fucking scary as shit.
  • Severe headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea and vomitting
  • Belly pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Seizure
  • Stroke
YEAH.  STROKE. So clearly, it’s something your doctor will keep a close eye on during your pregnancy and allegedly, if you have preeclampsia during your pregnancy it basically vanishes after you give birth.  THANK GOD FOR THAT.  So what if you develop these things AFTER your give birth?
The Elusive POSTPARTUM Preeclampsia
Only 600 women a year develop postpartum preeclampsia (lucky me) so I get it, chances were slim.  Also, postpartum preeclampsia usually occurs within the first 48-72 hours after giving birth and lucky for me, I took the easy way out and had a c-section (note: sarcasm, relax), sitting me in the hospital relaxing for 5 whole days (also, sarcasm, but you get it now, right?). Okay, but then what?  Who’s keeping an eye on you after you leave the hospital when your first doctor visit isn’t for SIX WEEKS? Your infant needs to be seen within the WEEK but why not the moms?
WHO IS TAKING CARE OF THE MOMS?
I thank my lucky stars that my OB-GYN is amazing.  I’ll recommend her to everyone until the day I die and may never leave New Orleans in my childbearing years because of her.  She responded to panicked texts and calls from me and my exhausted husband for hours with advice, suggestions, and a calm voice before realizing we were in trouble and sending us to the hospital.  What would have happened if hadn’t switched docs early in my pregnancy because my first was a complete asshole?  “Hi, answering service, I’m pretty sure I’m dying.  Call me, maybe?”  I can’t imagine what would have happened if my husband’s grandfather/doctor didn’t say ‘your feet shouldn’t be that size’.  I can’t imagine what would have happened if I didn’t trust my recently dissected gut that something was wrong. I just cannot imagine what would have happened.  It chills me straight to the bone *enter stage right: POST PARTUM DEPRESSION AND CRIPPLING ANXIETY* — we’ll get there.
SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
You know when you go to the emergency room and have to wait for hours?  That doesn’t happen with postpartum preeclampsia because you might die.  I’m not trying to scare you here.  No, yeah, I am.  Your vitals will be taken as quickly as possible and you’ll be ushered into a room where a nurse will immediately start pumping venom (magnesium) into your veins so you don’t have a seizure and subsequent stroke because your blood pressure is beyond dangerous.  Your husband who has never been alone with a newborn is tasked with keeping her alive and happy without any boobs or idea about how to make a bottle of formula (me neither, at this point, not a husband knock).  Now all alone, someone is trying to x-ray your chest to make sure your heart doesn’t fail and even if the picture turns out OK, your heart is broken and you know it.  The tears flow steadily as you pray to a god you don’t even believe in to save you from this failing body so you can kiss that sweet neck even one more time.  It sounds a little dramatic, but y’all this was the scariest day of my life. Postpartum preeclampsia landed me in the hospital for a full 48 hours, where I had the worst headache of my life, I couldn’t obsess over the tiny baby that I had been growing for 10 months, I ruined my breastfeeding flow which never recovered, my spirit broke because my body was broken, it kicked off months of postpartum depression because if my body was broken and now my mind was broken and how in the hell am I going to raise a human if I’m almost dead and basically crazy?!?! Babies are so important and it’s right that we take extra special care of them when they appear but y’all, mommas are important too.  Demand the care that you deserve.  Don’t swallow that gut feeling that something is wrong. Usually, everything is okay, but sometimes it’s not; someone has to take care of the mommas, even if that someone is ourselves.
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