Monday, February 20, 2012

I'm Just not the Type (The Truth- No One Ever Is)

I was anything but anxious or depressed growing up. I was always looking for a new adventure. I flew by myself and would join my dad on a business trips or visit my cousins in Washington. I lived by the belief that things always worked out and there was no need to be worried or uptight about anything. I was a serial procrastinator who must have gotten some sort of pleasure out of the rush that came with pulling off a miraculous effort on the eve of a project or assignment due. I worked well under the stress and urgency that followed putting things off until the last minute. This was unfortunately much to the distress of my poor mother.  I was the extremely good and improvising and making due and quite often it really all did work out. I was outgoing, happy and carefree. Maybe a little too much so.

Consequently, it took me far too long to realize that I actually was suffering from anxiety or depression after Genevieve was born. Surely I was not the type that was susceptible to postpartum anything. I was not the least inclined before, so why would that have changed? I reasoned every moment panicking and not being able to sleep the result of "new mother worries". Even when I began worrying constantly about everything from Russ dying in horrible ways, to my family dying, to the baby having SIDS, Russ losing his job, feelings that I was a terrible mother, I was still convinced this was a result of my lacking in self-control. I decided I just needed to figure out this mothering thing. I was extremely upset when I still wasn't finding a rhythm months after Genevieve was born. I had spent so much time plotting and planning how I was going to be the perfect mother. How could I not be succeeding? I had had majored in psychology for goodness sake. And I had always been able to work hard at school or a job and do really well. I wasn't used to feeling like I was constantly failing and that I was never going to get used to my new lot in life. Why wasn't this working? Why was I having such an unbelievably hard time and most pressing, why in the world did I not like it one bit? Not that I would ever admit to anyone else, or most of the time to myself, that horribly shameful admission. After all, this is what I had grown up dreaming about. I had been taught from my own cradle that this would be my greatest job and most fulfilling aspect of my life. It was my eternal destiny and the hope of every Mormon girl. Plus, all I had to do was look at everyone else out there with their babies and children, especially their blogs, to know that they loved motherhood and they had it down to a science.

Finally when Genevieve was about six months old, I had reached my limit. I was freaking out and stressing over every little stupid thing that happened to me, Russ or anyone else I knew. I knew my craziness was being hard on Russ. He was constantly my listening ear and reassured me about every tiny problem. I hated being a burden, especially because he was so wonderful about it all. I couldn't fall asleep and I couldn't stay asleep. I started to dread going to bed. Falling asleep had become a torturous battle that I frequently lost. Imagine the terrible irony when your baby is sleeping through the night, you are insanely tired, and can't get the sleep you so desperately need. I had decided Russ and I had suffered enough. I wasn't just worried, I was clinically anxious. As much as I hated to realize the truth that I needed help, I was going to swallow my pride and see my doctor.

*Tomorrow the magic of the right medicine. . .

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