Baby (0-1yo) Life My Journey Tangents

Reaching for a lifeboat

Yesterday I went back onto antidepressants. I was on them post pregnancy for a while, and then one day life felt manageable again and I stopped. It isn’t manageable anymore.

I can’t remember ever feeling this sad, this lonely, this self-loathing, this hopeless and helpless; I know I have felt this way, it’s why I was taking the pills the last time round, but right now it feels like I’ve never felt this bad.

Everybody has asked how I’ve managed to keep it together after almost 9 months of little to no sleep (waking every hour to 90 minutes throughout the night); well apparently I haven’t – or at least, it takes 8 months and 17 days before you need something more than love to get you out of bed in the morning, or 7 times during the night.

I adore my daughter; I am loving how she is developing at an unbelievable rate – in the past few weeks she has popped 3 teeth (sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning the top centre left has appeared), she’s learned to crawl, to get herself into a sitting position, to pull herself into a standing position on things that aren’t people. She is talking more and singing more and dancing more and clapping when she’s happy and excited.

And all of this means that she is processing a million things a minute and she is sleeping a lot less and is less smily and content and needs more. And it also means that I am sleeping less and worrying more and that I have very little left to give. And I have no time to recharge or find ways to fill me up.

This isn’t an acceptable place for me to be, so instead of wallowing or spiraling , I decided to do something. This is a big step. Any of you who have had any kind of depression, whether it’s long term or situational (sleep deprivation induced) or postpartum depression (which can kick in up to 12 months after baby is born) will know that doing is where the problem comes in; because as desperately as you feel the need to do or change something, the lethargy that swamps you and the “what’s the point” feelings generally win out. And it’s very very rarely something you can just shake off.

I want to be better for my baby girl; I don’t ever want her to feel that I don’t want to be where she is, because I do. I want to be able to smile and laugh and play with her without effort. I want her to feel happiness and love and contentment from me.

And there is NO reason she shouldn’t. We have an amazing life. We have our own home and good jobs and a beautiful daughter and each other. We have slipped a little in some areas, primarily the looking after ourselves area, but it is a small thing. We are healthy! None of us has had to be hospitalized or operated on, as far too many families I know have. We are able to spoil our child and our family and friends, with gifts and meals and stolen moments of time. We have family and friends to spoil. We are so blessed. And yet…

But no more. It won’t be an instant fix, but in a few days I’m hoping things will come back into focus and I’ll have a little bit of mobility to allow me to start “doing” again.

There is no shame for me in this and anyone who casts shame can bugger right off. I’m doing what I need to for my baby and my family and myself. If any of you are out there, feeling like you’re desperately treading water just to stay afloat and that you’re going under as often as not – don’t ignore the lifeboat floating right alongside you out of the misguided fear of looking bad or weak. It takes tremendous strength to reach for help, especially when you’ve used all of your energy trying to do it alone for so long.

I am very lucky in that I know this is something that will pass; I know the source of my feelings and I know the antidepressants I am on work for me. Not everybody is as lucky as me; there are those who face these feelings every single day not knowing any of that. My heart goes out to you and I hope you find your way out, because living in this space is not sustainable.     

9 replies on “Reaching for a lifeboat”

Hey Mandy, I just found you via South African Mom Blogs. I suffered from the most unreal PND and PPA after the birth of my second child. Went on antidepressant (Long journey of finding the right one of course) but i finally won and for over a year I felt so much like myself. When he turned 3 I was like, hey I feel well, it’s time to wean off. 2 months after I completely stopped, my anxiety and ocd came back… And so I ran back to the psych..Look, I’m proud of you for reaching out and knowing you need help. Like you I always say ‘I’m so greatful I know what works for me, and it wont always be like this’.. You are not alone.

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