I saw my counselor/life coach (we'll call her P going forward) for the first time last week and I'm so glad that I decided to go with her. We just.... clicked. She's a little left of center, but then so am I, so I think we'll work well together.
Her home office was so peaceful and safe. I sat in the living room of her chalet style home, curled up on her couch, covered in a thick blanket, in front of the fireplace. We talked for an hour and a half about my concerns, my background, my hobbies; a general getting to know you. She told me about herself, about what she has planned for my sessions, and we did some breathing work (which the yogi in me loves).
We didn't get into any of the nitty gritty quite yet, but she did assign me some "homework". The first thing she asked me to do was to start a gratitude journal, focusing on what I am grateful for about myself. Writing that I'm grateful for my daughter, my husband, my family, our health, my home? That would be easy. Finding what I'm grateful for about myself is HARD. She wants 5 a day, and I'm definitely reaching, but I can see the value in really searching for these things. Still though, it's difficult.
Secondly, I'm supposed to work on my breathing. The yogi in me is very happy about starting to focus on this again. It really helps me clear my head for a moment, and I really need to make the effort here. It's amazing how good it can feel to stop for a moment, close your eyes and just take a few deep breaths.
I'm also supposed to track my internet usage. We talked about all the things I do to keep my mind busy and off of the bad stuff, and internetting is one of those things. Unfortunately, it's become a bit of an obsession, and it takes me away from doing other things, so it's something I'll have to learn to moderate. She also told me to turn off the TV (which I don't watch, but usually have on for background noise) and switch to some calming music (I have Christmas carols on right now), and she suggested that I nap with Adelaide as much as possible since it's the thing that I look forward to most in the day. It's also one of the only times that I get a restful sleep, because through the night I toss and turn like crazy.
I'm just hoping that she will help me address my specific fears, and hopefully teach me some coping mechanisms, since the "problem" itself can't be solved. I'll know better how this will be handled over the next few sessions.
She's big on energy and calming the mind, which is perfect for me. We're also going to look at my diet and she'll help me to take a more holistic approach, which is GREAT because I've been wanting to do that anyway.
So, I'm still optimistic about it. I'll see her again this weekend (hooray for Sunday appointments), and we'll really get started. I do notice a difference just in knowing that I'm doing something to help myself. I'm definitely still battling some demons, but I'm finding more smiles through the day.
While I've been open and honest with my husband and parents that I'm struggling with some internal demons right now, I haven't been able to tell anyone exactly what's bothering me. I have a very specific fear that I can't seem to overcome, that there is no resolution to (I know that sounds dramatic, but it's true), and that I'm starting to think will hang over my head from now on.
The funny thing is, it's something that has always "freaked me out", and is/was the topic of a lot of nightmares, but for some reason it has morphed into this all consuming fear that hangs over me every single day, just sucking the joy out of almost everything.I can actually remember the exact date it suddenly became an almost obsessive thought.... and I now think of everything in terms of before and after that day. I thought (and hoped) at first that it was just a combination of PPD and my tendency for depression and OCD, but after over 4 weeks on medication (having it bumped to a double dose last week) I'm not sure that PPD has anything to do with it. I don't think anti-depressants are really the answer here.
Here's my problem. I don't want to talk to anyone about it because I don't want to give my fears a voice. Part of me feels that by bringing it up, I will somehow give it power. More specifically, I also fear that the anyone I talk to about it may inadvertently say something to make my fear worse, like "oh yeah, I think about that all the time and it really freaks me out too". While well meaning, it wouldn't make me feel any better. In fact, I know there's nothing anyone can say to ease my fears, because it's out of any one's control. It's not something that can really be faced, or solved. It just... is.
Even in those moments that I find laughter, there's a pit in my stomach because I am so afraid. This particular fear is everywhere. It's coming up in the news, was mentioned in 2 of the only television shows I watch, and was even part of a cartoon I had on in the background while I was cooking the other night. I can't escape it, solve it, face it, or control it in anyway, and I'm just tied up in knots. I panic whenever it's mentioned and have to close my eyes and tune everything out in order to avoid a full blown panic attack. It's all my power not to run to my bedroom and curl up in a ball. If I didn't have a sweet, sweet baby to look after, I would no doubt be exactly there 99% of the day.
I'm tired. I'm tired of trying to fight off the monsters in my head, and trying to avoid the monsters in real life. I just don't see a solution, and I'm so scared (and almost certain) that I'll have to live like this from now on. I want to start really enjoying life again... not just finding moments of joy among the anxiety.
I'm really reluctant to write this post, but I think I need to do it if for no other reason that the power of positive thinking. I think I'm turning a corner emotionally. I'm certainly not 100%, but I'm having more and more good moments... not finding it quite so hard to get out of bed every single day. I'm not feeling quite so hopeless.
I followed up with my doc this afternoon and she upped my dose of the antidepressant, and suggested that I speak with a professional (I'll be in contact with a Psychologist tomorrow). She wasn't quite satisfied that the medication was doing the job at the original dose, which was as low as it goes because I'm nursing.
I'm still being careful, trying not to expose myself to any triggers, but something is definitely changing. I just hope that this is the beginning of the end of this particular slump. I'm ready to start feeling better so I can enjoy the last 2 months of my maternity leave and go back to work in a positive frame of mind.
I started taking the anti-depressant about a week ago. I was informed that it would take at least 2 weeks to start feeling any improvement and 6-8 weeks to reach full effect, so I'm waiting.
Last week was bad. Really bad. Especially near the end of the week. I had this awful pit in my stomach and barely dragged myself out of bed. The fears I have right now are so irrational, I feel like a fool. Although irrational is perhaps the wrong word. In any case, they are completely, 100%, TOTALLY out of my control, or anyone else's at this point, and I wish I could let them go just for that reason. There's no use in living under their black cloud when I can't ever do anything about them, no matter how bad they might be. I just can't seem to move on. These thoughts are constantly in the back of my mind, hovering over me 24/7, like a bad dream that I can't wake up from. It's really wearing on me.
Fingers crossed that these pills do what they are supposed to. If I'm taking them, they better work. That's all I can say. I'm so ready to start feeling better, I'm just not having any luck on my own, not matter how hard I try.
I went to see my family doc this week about my depression and anxiety. She basically confirmed what I was suspecting in that it's likely postpartum depression. She prescribed a (nursing safe) anti-depressant, and wants me to come back and see her at the beginning of November to check up on the situation.
I haven't filled the script yet because I'm nervous about taking anything while I'm breastfeeding (I'm nervous about taking most things in normal situations anyway). While my doctor assures me that it's safe, I'm going to do some research of my own just to ease my mind.