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Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Road I've Been Down Before...

Literally. Today I was driving on a highway (and in North Carolina a highway consists of a 2-lane highway and no lights at night through the country which makes for a completely harrowing experience) and it reminded me of my postpartum anxiety. I remember a day approx. 18 months ago when I forced myself to get out of the house and drive down this road...with my 6 year old daughter no less, praying to the driving gods that I wasn't going to end up in a horrible roadside accident. I had my little girl in the car for god-sakes! Now I'm sure at this point you're wondering why I would have my little girl in the car when I was worried I might crash the car? Because no one, not even your husband, knows how bad you are suffering from postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. I had to take my little girl to a birthday party and my husband had to stay home to watch the baby. Now, if I asked he would have taken my girl to the party, but I thought if I didn't FORCE myself outta the house, I would die a slow, torturous, anxiety-ridden death. I knew it was supposed to be good for me if I went.

It was extremely difficult to stay focused on the road and driving. My mind was all over the place and I just couldn't focus. And every time I realized that, I gripped the steering wheel that much tighter and forged ahead. I made it safely to the party and home again, but driving on that same road again tonight brought it all back...I even had tiny anxiety attacks just driving on that road tonight. And the entire time I was at the birthday party 18 months ago the anxiety was rolling over me in waves. I ended up telling all the Moms I was familiar with about it. Thankfully, one of them told me her story of when she was so full of postpartum anxiety she took a toothbrush to her tile floors to clean them because she was trying to expend the energy from the anxiety from her system.

I was deep in the throes of this anxiety and so panicky at that party. I was desperate. I kept talking to 3 moms telling them how I was feeling and realizing at the same time how inappropriate it was for me to be discussing this at a 6 year old beauty spa birthday party.

The drive home, although would give me some relief, was just as anxiety-ridden as the drive there. I was so afraid of crashing.

I was so glad when I made it home...don't remember anything thereafter...

But that road and the memories...I can't believe I (literally) made it out alive and am here today to talk about it. If anyone out there is reading this, please, please just know you are NOT alone. We are out there everywhere, talk to us, don't be embarassed, ashamed, whatever, just talk to us. We can help. I was actually at the birthday party tonight of the Mom that did the toothbrush thing. She made me feel 18 months ago that I could get through this.

And I guess I had to go down that road back then, like I had to today to get where I am now. Am I happy? Hmmm...right now tough question due to extenuating circumstances...but I know that I no longer have postpartum anything, which to me, means the world right now.