Saturday, September 11, 2010

This week = yuck!

I seem to have one bad week out of the month...

This is that week...

Anxiety, a few scary thoughts and melancholy are at their peek.

I am SO close, yet the battle is still there. Oh just go away ppocd, leave me alone. My daughter is three. You hear me? I haven't had a baby in THREE years. You have LONG outstayed your welcome.

I want a break....a coffee break. Oooh, but noooo, I can't have coffee. The caffeine gives me even MORE anxiety, which in my current state is a definite no go. I also want a glass of wine, but yep, you've got it, that's also not in the cards.... But hey, on the bright side, I AM GETTING BETTER... :) This months bad week is just a little bit better than last months, so....YAY. :) Inch by inch friends.

PS. Sorry I have been missing in action. Life has been CRAZY!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This isn't the way it was supposed to be

I am frustrated tonight.

I don't even know why.

Actually, on second thought, I do.

I am grieving.

People who haven't dealt with PPOCD probably are wondering why the heck I would be grieving, HA, if you only knew. If you only knew all that has been lost in the last 3 years since my precious daughter birth. All the milestones that went unnoticed, all the smiles missed, all the tears shed, all the thoughts fought. It wasn't the way it was supposed to be.

"Stop right there."

That's what my counselor told me, as I sat crying my eyes out on his black leather couch. He leaned over on his squeaky brown computer chair and leveled his eyes at me. "what was it you just said"? He questioned.

Sniffing, I softly replied, "Ummm, you mean, about how I am grieving?"

"No no, after that, the last thing you said."

"That it wasn't the way it was supposed to be?"

"Yes, that's it. 'it wasn't the way it was supposed to be' let that sink in for a little while. Think on that though for a moment...."

As large tears rolled silently down my cheeks like two glistening trails, I thought on how much my life hasn't been what I thought it would be. How painful the journey has been, and all the dreams that died a slow painful death as reality swooped in and brought about my hopes hideous, murderous demise.

I fought for control as my shoulders shook with the weight of my grief. I was embarrassed to be showing my deep sorrow in front of this man that I hardly knew, but in that moment, he knew my secrets. My deep rooted disappointment and heartache over something that I couldn't control. It was all I could do not curl up in the fetal position on the floor crying out my loss.

As I let the tears fall, it became clear to me that a huge portion of my grief came with the thought of Gracies delivery. It had been such a traumatic event, it felt as though my child had been stolen from me. Not that I had birthed my sweet baby, but that she had been brutally taken out of my body against my will and withheld from me. The day she was born, they didn't let me see her for a good 15 minutes after she was born. I cried and cried to see my baby, but they kept shushing me. My husband actually came over and showed me a picture of her, before I actually got to see her. I got to quickly kiss her nose and then literally a minute later she and my husband left for the nursery. I didn't see either of them until several hours later. I cried so hard after they left that I threw up.
It wasn't the way it was supposed to be.

I have said those exact words over in my mind so many thousands of times, I couldn't even begin to give you an accurate count. I had an image in my head of what pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood would be like. It was all wrapped up in this neat little box with a pretty little bow displaying a card labeled: Leigh, your perfect life. It didn't matter that I knew the statistics, read all the books, knew that life throws you curve balls, that stuff was for other people. Not me. I wasn't going to have a c-section, I wasn't going to get PPOCD. That was not going to happen to me!

Oh, but it did. And it stole my perfect dream and gave me a nightmare to live through.
By no means do I mean my daughter, I am referring to the ppocd, just to clarify.

So I grieve. The death of what I wanted. The death of what could have been. But most of all I grieve simply because it hurts. And that is ok. Today I am going to let myself grieve. This is a day to day battle...I am going to allow myself to have a sad day.

But hopefully, you are having a happy one :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Life is like a mountain

We are home from vacation! It was amazing, and terrible and incredible all at the same time!
I managed to have two panic attacks while I was gone. One attack happened for no reason while we were shopping, but the other one happened because we attempted to drive to the top of Mt. Evans...I am afraid of heights. Deathly afraid. So, honestly, I felt that the last panic attack was was justified. But you see, no matter how justified it may have been, I didn't make it to the top. I chickened out and let this....
get the best of me and create this....
Me crying my eyes out begging to go home....which my hubby graciously agree to do...

I truly was afraid, and I had reason to be was scary stuff; there were no guard rails, the lanes hardly were big enough for one car, let alone two, and the fog thick...but slinking back didn't get me to the finish line. Instead it sent me back to the hotel room feeling completely taken out, filled with a sense of failure. I didn't face my fears, I had let my fears face me and back me down the mountain to run home in tears. 

That is when mama bear mode kicked in...when I realized what had been robbed from me. In slinking back from the scary hard stuff, I failed to reach the really beautiful things. The beauty had been robbed by the fear. What a metaphor for life. The moment I realized that, I made up my mind. I was going to get to the top of that mountain, or die trying....  
Suddenly it became something so much more than just seeing the view. It became a mission to conquer the fear and pain of the last three years, throw it in ppd's face that, "YOU CAN'T HAVE ME!" You hear that ocd? "YOU CAN'T HAVE ME! I am NOT YOURS! I was created for a purpose, and it wasn't to be your prisoner." We went back to the mountain, and you know what I did?
                       I climbed....oh did I climb....(actually we drove, but it's a metaphor people ;)

And you know? I made it. I actually made it...I conquered that mountain and lived to see the view!
We hiked to a place that was completely private and I picked out 5 rocks. Each rock represented a major issue in the last three years; anxiety, depression, ocd, anger and pain. I created a little pile of them and told God that I now was giving them all back to him. And then with everything in me, I threw each one of those rocks off the mountain!
It was a moment I will NEVER forget! Maybe the sentiment was just for me and others may not understand, but it felt amazing to use every ounce of my strength to throw those heavy rock burdens off the side of the mountain, naming them one by one and yelling "so long."

I realized while I was at the top of that mountain, that is represented another baby for me. I am terrified to have another child. But maybe, just maybe the fear of what could happen (ppdocd..), is robbing me of what could be.

That day my heart healed just a little bit more, and as I walked along side my family, I realized for the first time, that I really truly am going to make matter what mountains I have to climb :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Anxiety Attack


That was the overwhelming feeling that took over my being as I popped that little white pill.

Sheer disappointment that I am still fighting this battle. I had an anxiety attack today...on our vacation...right when we were suppose to be having the time of our lives. And for the life of me, I absolutely did not want to take an anti-anxiety pill. I fought it and fought it and fought it, hoping that the feelings/thoughts would pass. They did not. They escalated even more until I could hardly handle husband found me a quiet little bench amidst the busy tourist town, and we sat there as I forced myself to gag down my medication and wait for it to take effect. I honestly thought that I was going to die. My mind went to that place, I was sure that something was seriously wrong with me, "why the heck is my hubby not taking me to the hospital?! Can't he see I am dying? Oh God, I'm gonna die, please don't let me die....Gracie needs her mom...I need my mom. Where is my mom! I have cancer, it has to be cancer....." blah blah blah. Thankfully it was short lived, and the dreaded pill helped immensely.

I am not exactly sure why I hate those little pills so much. Maybe that isn't normal. Maybe I should love them and be so incredibly grateful that they are there for me when I need them.... But the thing is, I feel so excited when I realize that it has been x amount of days/weeks since I have needed an anti-anxiety pill, and then, when I really do need to take one, I feel so dejected and discouraged. Somehow it feels like I am not really getting better if I need to take the pills. I know that is stinkin' thinkin', and I am working on telling myself the truth, but maybe some of you can relate?

I'm a work in progress. I'm gettin' there, slowly, but little by little, ocd is losing its power. THANK YOU GOD! I'm taking this attack for what it was, just another step closer to the finish line of recovery. I absolutely will not let this ocd crap rule my life. Dang-it, I'm gonna enjoy my vacation, cause it's a dang good lover! ;)


A love affair

I have a confession....

I am having an affair with a vacation...and my husband is joining in on the fun.

We (vacation and I) are completely in love! We go way back, 20 some years or something...maybe even more. Truth be told, when I married my husband, I knew from the get-go that vacation and I would still be having our little flings. I can't help it, vacations just make me feel alive, full of energy and sheer joy. I feel like I can really be myself when vacation and I are together. There were times when vacation and I couldn't be together (because of money, ugh) and it was terrible, I was heart sick. We are just meant to be together....

I should move to the tropics....

Anyways....All that nonsense to say, we are on VACATION....Ye-haw, life is good :) Enjoy some pics of the bliss on me.... ;)

Monday, August 2, 2010

So how 'bout that weight gain!

Yep! I said it. Weight gain!

It's happening....Ooohhh is it ever happening! Seriously, it's like jello jigglers meets play-doh happening.

And ya know, it shouldn't matter, but it so really does!

The last thing I want to be worried about right now is my weight! But as a woman, I can't get it off my least when it's increasing. You see, I have never had trouble losing weight when I wanted to, that is, until I started on these dang antidepressants. Now, trying to lose a pound is like getting a two year old to do algebra...not gonna happen!
The whole thing creates this catch 22 in my mind; on one hand, I see the little yellow pill as my saving grace, a means to an end of this hell I have been living in for 3 years. But on the other hand, I look at the pill and hate it for making my stinkin' scale actually tell me the truth, revealing my increasing climb on the mountain of flab! Ugh!

It's not been extreme, I haven't gained tons, it's not even noticeable to most people, but it bugs me. Is that crazy? I know I shouldn't care, but it feels like just one more sacrifice in this (seemingly) never ending battle for health.

It is temporary.
This battle is temporary.
The weight gain is temporary.
The symptoms are temporary.
It is temporary.

That, my friends, is my mantra as of late!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Raw thoughts of a postpartum Mommy????

Alright friends, I need some feedback (from all three people who read my blog (he-he) ;) Be honest, (but not too honest ;) and if you feel the need to be spicy, please add some sugar to soften the blow....

I originally started this blog after my husband read parts of my journal and suggested that I should maybe share some of my thoughts and feelings with the world.

I thought that was a totally ridiculous idea and threw the journal in his face....

I'm just kidding.


OK, not funny.

I was however, so nervous about the idea of writing for the general public that once I got up the nerve to actually open a blog account, it took me well over a month to write my first post. Lame, I know. But putting myself out there is not one of my strong points. It makes me more nervous than a flock of chickens being chased by a 3 year old (I have video of that that I'm sure you'll want to see).

That's where your input comes in handy.

I am contemplating "putting myself out there" in a tremendous (and petrifying) way and want to know if ya'all would find it helpful. If not, I won't.

Soooo......drum roll please......

I have been thinking about sharing some of my most poignant journal entries dated back to when I was in the heart of my breakdown. They are strong, raw examples of the feelings and thoughts of desperation, anger, pain, hope and helplessness that so many women experience in this battle. It would be its own category and I would still share generalized posts. I don't even know how many of them I will share, but reading over them was so emotional for me, I just know that other women would be able to relate, and maybe, just maybe, really get that they are not alone in this battle. 

Yay, or nay?

Brilliant or ludicrous?

What are your thoughts?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Baby after postpartum depression

My brain is swimming with thoughts of having another baby. It seems like the hubby and I have permanently made our residence on a rubber (ha) floaty of dreams, lazily floating down the river of possibility. I have to admit, it is fun (and even exciting) to dream about a new little one, especially when 6 months ago I didn't think there would ever be a thought of another baby, yet my anxiety always seems to get the best of me when conversations (or thoughts) of another pregnancy arise.... the timing still feels off, but I desperately want to be ready now. I worry, because I still have symptoms. I still frequently will have foggy moments. I still have trouble even seeing a newborn baby without being terrified that the scary thoughts are going to come back, and usually, it is the anxiety or the fear of the thoughts, that triggers them to rear their ugly head. Granted, they are not even close to even being in the same realm as when I had my breakdown, but still.

Then my mind goes to that pesky place, what if I never feel ready? It's been THREE years. What if, I wait and wait, wanting to feel ready, and it just never happens, I never do feel ready? What then? I don't want to plan my whole life around this depression. That thought alone makes me depressed. I want to live, I want to continue on with my life and let the past be past. But it is SO hard. So very hard.

Having been battling with these significant feelings for the last couple of months, I was excited to see that my new pal over at Arms Wide Open has dedicated the past several weeks to the same topic. When do we know we are really truly ready for baby numero dos? She has some incredible guest posts that sheds some light on the issue. I urge you to go check it out. It is very insightful.

So, as of right now, we are waiting. That's the verdict. But I keep hoping that I will magically wake up and feel completely normal, and just know that the time is now, life will be great from here on out, the green light for baby making blinds us with it's certainty..... Wishful thinking, I know. But seriously, a girl can hope. :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Choice for Joy and Faith

Pheww, I finally have a few minutes to sit down and write. It has been pretty busy around here. And when I say "busy", I don't mean that in the "pleasantly occupied" sense of the word. I mean, life threw so many bazaar circumstances our way all at the same time, it felt like a giant seagull flew over us and crapped a big one on the last 4 days of our lives. Ugh. Again. BUT, God works in mysterious ways, and through the "crap", we have seen his provisions in a pretty remarkable way. So, Join me in reminiscing on this peculiar past week, won't you?

So I have already told you that we lost our health insurance. Totally out of the blue. No letter, no phone call, nothing. The only reason I found out was because I went to fill my prescription at target and they had a hard time getting me insurance to go through. They called the company and were told that we were dropped as of June 30th. I wanted to cry, right there in the target store. I had to pay $50 out of pocket for my measly little bottle of zoloft, that would have normally cost me around $6. Thankfully it wasn't something crazy expensive like Abilify- Did you know they charge $500+ for a bottle of that stuff without far as I am concerned, if you are going to buy something in a bottle that small, it had better be filled with liquid gold...or diamonds. So anyway, I canceled my psych appointment that I had been waiting to go to for weeks on end, since there was no way we could afford to pay out of pocket, and tried to keep myself calm and collected, literally refusing/willing myself to not have an all out panic attack because we had essentially just been royally screwed over big time.

Then, last Saturday, we were caught off guard by a storm of epic proportions. It was incredible. The rain came down in sheets and the hail was baseball sized. We watched as trees fell in our neighbors yard and narrowly missed our beloved SUV by a mere few feet. We really felt like we had lucked out, not noticing any real significant damage to our property right away. Ha! We shouldn't have been so hasty to proclaim our good fortune...the next day, we realized while trying to make eggs for breakfast, that our stove/oven had been shorted out by lightning. Ugh. We had a $500 deductible and our stove was ancient, so there was no way insurance would help us out. In other words, we were oh so out of luck.

In an attempt to distract us from our heavy stress load, we decided that a nice trip over to the in-laws (hi mama c) was necessary, since we had to bring our newly purchased camper up there anyways to store it. Upon hooking up the camper, we noticed a big hole in the roof where a tree branch must have punctured it. We looked inside the camper and were startled by what we saw. Water had seeped into the the camper, damaging the floor, the ceiling, the insulation, filling the light fixtures with several inches of water....REALLY? C'mon! Didn't we have enough on our plate???

Oh but wait. There's more......

Things apparently don't happen to us in threes; our magic number is 4. Lovely. Anyways, we decided that we would still go ahead and take the camper to the folks farm, which was a good idea because we had a great time and it was nice to just relax for a change. We parked the camper, assessed the damage some more and then went and helped them build a deck (really, truly, that was Alex's idea of relaxing). We finally left at around 10:30pm after being there for hours. Turning out of the driveway, we immediately started talking about what we were going to do about the camper, stove and insurance. We weren't but two blocks down the road when out of nowhere a  suicidal deer jumps out in front of as, clearly deciding that our beloved SUV was the best option to bring about his quick demise. 50mph folks. Didn't even brake. Thank god we are all ok! But alas, our truck was not. It narrowly missed being hit by a monstrosity of a tree 2 days before, so evidently, it's wreckage was inevitable. To add insult to injury, our poor 3 year old was absolutely terrified. She was convinced that the deer was trying to eat us.

Isn't life wonderful? ;)

Actually, it is.

To be completely cliche, I am a firm believer that one has to have the bad times to really appreciate the good times. And the last 3 years sure have not been fun. But I'll tell ya what. This past week has felt like a piece of cake in comparison to my breakdown. It really has put things in perspective. Life could be so much worse. It has been so much worse. At least now we are together, we are safe, we are healing. We are beginning to pick up the shards of our glass shattered life and are really truly seeing how blessed we are....despite the setbacks.

Frankly, this past week has felt like a test, one that I sincerely hope that I have passed. I am learning that my joy does not come from my life circumstances. I have to choose joy. I have to choose to have faith. Feelings frequently lie, I have learned that the hard way with ppd. I am now actively choosing to live in joy and faith, not just passively waiting for the feelings of them to come.

So, this week has stunk. BUT, this too shall pass, and I'm not gonna go through this stink and come away with nothing. Ooooh noooo, if I have to go through it, I sure as heck am going to take all I can get out of it and run!


Friday, July 16, 2010

No, I'm not gonna let it get me down.

The world has a way of kicking one when they are down. Ya know what I say to that? Eat it stinkers, jokes on you. Being knocked down only makes me stronger when I use my muscles to jump back up.

So for the inquiring minds, my insurance dropped us.

Yep, that's a kicker.

I am not going to let it get me down, though. I just won't. Nope, will not. Repeat it again, Leigh, "I will not let it get me down". I didn't get treatment for 2 years because I had no insurance, and I regret that with every fiber in my being. I'm going to continue with our plan of action and just pray the money in...These trials WILL make me stronger. Amen and amen.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Could Postpartum depression be hormone related???

I wish there was a magic pill that worked for all women out there who are dealing with postpartum depression. Yeah, yeah, I know, there are antidepressants, but even those don't work for everyone. Like me for example. I am on my 3rd type of med and I am still experiencing symptoms.


(I hate that word."Ugh." At least in this context. It doesn't even begin to cover how I feel about the situation, but the words I would use in its place to describe my angst aren't very Christian of me, so "ugh" will have to do.)

All the doctors I have been to tell me that my hormones have nothing to do with the problem. I am not convinced. I mean, hello, don't hormones play a rather significant role in my getting pregnant? Don't they play a rather teensy, tiny role in giving birth, and bonding, and breast feeding, and yada, yada, yada? You can't tell me that there is no correlation.

Just for my own curiosity I asked my doctor to test my hormone levels. He was VERY reluctant, but I am convincing and he finally relented. He made sure to tell me he had NO idea what to do with the results because hormone levels fluctuate so much naturally throughout the month. I didn't tell him that I had been doing my own research, doctors cringe when you tell them that.

Anyways, I took the test two days after I started my period. My progesterone level came out normal, but I was taken aback when I read that my estrogen level was a 15. FIFTEEN people. While on my period. It is suppose to be between 50-400. But alas, my doctor got mad at me when I addressed concern because "it may be that my body normally has a lower rate of estrogen."


So I went to a different doctor, and they told me the same thing. I am confused. My symptoms are definitely worse at certain times of the month.

Does anyone have the same issue, or am I the odd ball?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

OOOoooo you taste so good ;)

Mmmmm, mmmm, mmmmm...........

I love my man. I mean, look at him......

How could you not love a gorgeous face like that? I'm biased, but still. And he's a mans man. That's right ladies, no prissy boy here, this guy's made of braun. He's a fighter, a leader, a protector, a lover (heck yeah), a man that's not afraid to look death in the eye (and has, several times), he's a man that has more to be proud of then most men, and yet remains to this day, to be thee most humble man I have ever met. He loves his family more than life itself and doesn't go a day without telling me I'm beautiful. I have watched him grow into the man he is today and I love him with all my heart. And you know what the very best part is?

He's mine! :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The simple life of a happy man's wife

Alas, it is Friday evening and I haven't written anything for quite some days. It has been a crazy, hectic couple of weeks that kind of threw me into a chaos induced anxiety. I always get so discouraged even when the slightest symptoms begin to appear, and this time is no exception. Except for one little thing...I refuse to be controlled by the hideous ppd/ocd beast anymore. Ha to you, bucko. As far I am concerned, you, ppd/ocd were thrown out of the building and the doors locked behind you. No amount of banging is going to make me allow your ugly face back into this place. You hear me? You are NOT WELCOME. The party has started and you're not invited. Ever. I am going to love my life and you, ppd/ocd, are going to go into a dark corner and die a miserable, slow death while I sit back and sip my fresh lemonade and watch my darling daughter squeal in delight while running through the sprinkler.

I'm simply not going to tolerate this illness any longer. It has taken too much of my life already, and I won't let it take anymore. Even when I have symptoms, I am NOT going to allow those feelings to take me away from my precious reality. I am still going to LIVE. I am still going to LOVE. I am still going to ENJOY things. Despite the pain. This battle will end, I have assurance of that. It just takes time. So knowing that, I am going to make every effort to enjoy my life where I am at. Even if it is something so simple as a glass of lemonade. I am going to work at appreciating the little things. So on that note, I was feeling a little creative (gasp) and decided to snap a few pictures of some of the things that make me deliriously happy. Since I know that you are all just DYING to know what my little mind finds pleasurable, I decided to post a few. In fact, I believe I am going to make this a habit, every Friday I will post something that makes me happy. So I begin with my sweet baby girl....

My little peanut watching the parade

Clearly I am supplying salad to the entire world
Raspberry, mint lemonade made with mint from my garden and raspberries that we picked from the wood behind our house. Mmmmm
Meet Henrietta...I call her Henny. She is loved.

                  I actually have my own tomato plants. This brings my heart unmeasurable amounts of joy ;)

And last but not least, my nearly finished bathroom remodel...I just realize that a light is out, whoops.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chocolate mint and God

"I am not where I need to be, but THANK GOD I'm not where I was" - Meyers

Ain't that the truth of it?! I am not 100% better. Not by a long shot.The last 3 years has been a of the fiercest I have known. I am still recovering. I am still bleeding. I am still licking my wounds and waiting for all the pain to subside. But you know what? Healing is happening.  I know it is, because ever so slowly (slowly being the operative word), I am noticing that the color is coming back to my life. The joy is gradually creeping in for split moments and I realize that I really am living...not just existing.

Today I want to encourage you. Yeah, YOU. Life is hard. It hurts. The pain sometimes FAR outweighs the joy. I know this. First hand. But I want to share a few verses with you that I claimed with every fiber of my being in my darkest moments, even when I wasn't even sure if God really did exist, I clung to these two verses, because otherwise, there was no hope. There was no purpose to my pain. And if there is one thing I believe is true, it is that there is a purpose for all of this.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness. I will build you up again and you will be rebuilt, o Virgin Israel. Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful
                         Jeremiah 31:3b-4

But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord,
because you are called an outcast. Zion for whom no one cares. 
                        Jeremiah 30:17

One thing I want to stress is that being rebuilt takes time. Healing takes time. Restoration takes time. It will happen. You will get better. WE will get better. There is hope. :)

Now for the inspirational picture....I planted these today...and I love them!
That large leafy plant in the back? Yeah, chocolate mint. No lie. A plant made to taste like heaven, who knew!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My baby love

Today I long for another baby. My arms ache to hold a new precious bundle, to feel life inside of my body again and to have my husband experience the reality of me growing large with our child. It is a deep, intimate desire of my heart, a pain that something...someone is missing in our family. But we wait. Or rather, I demand we wait.

You see, I want another baby. So badly actually, that my longing for the pitter patter of little feet makes my heart hurt. But I am scared. Terrified actually. I am just now starting to get better after 3 years and what if it happens again? Oh LORD what if it happens again? I can't do it again. I can't live in that hell again. HELL people! I am not joking. This illness comes straight from the fiery depths of hell. Of that I can be certain. It was a living hell. In my head. And you can't get away from your head. So the question remains; can I do it again? Am I willing to take that chance?


Because Gracie was, is, and will always be worth everything I ever went through after her birth.

And any other future babies will be too.....and that's that.

.............BUT.....I think we'll wait just a little bit longer..........Ya know, cause it's fashionable to have your kids 298734 years apart ;)

La la la loooove summer time!

It really is the little things in life that give so much pleasure. We took a mini vacation this past week and spent our time roaming lake islands. It was amazing. For a few days, I got to forget everything that these past three years have been and just simply enjoye my baby. It was incredible, lovely, beautiful, precious and oh so past overdue. I relished every moment and locked it away in my heart to be cherished for ever. Here are a few pictures of this weekend. :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010



It's just been one of those days.

You know the kind.....

The kind where you find out that you used over $400 in overdraft protection, when it was SUPPOSED to come out of your savings...

Or hearing your daughter awake from her nap and walking into her room to find her pants-less, poop covered body gracefully (and proudly) smearing the horribly gooey brown organic matter all over her crib and walls....wonderful!

Or having a heart to heart with your hubby about your extreme anxiety level, and the re-occurring scary thoughts, and the horrible stress you feel in life and then having him completely disregard that and begin to crab about how upset he is that he won't be able to go camping (to his credit, I get the disappointment, but WRONG time to discuss it buddy)....

Or driving 25 minutes to a floral shop that is suppose to be open, only to find it is closed....

Or how bout this, the icing on the cake, walking out of the grocery story with a cart FULL of perishable groceries, only to discover that the keys are sitting there, ever so pleasantly, locked inside the car. Husband is working in another state, no one else answers their phones to come to my rescue and triple A said they could be there in an hour. Then it began to pour(no joke, it started raining in sheets)......we did have a casualty; the ice cream didn't make it!

Ha, life is funny. I guess these are the moments that help us build character. If I had to choose something to build, I think I would rather build a house right about now, cause the character stuff is getting old, but that's just not in the cards... So here's a toast (with my NA wine) to better days in the future, more joy in the mornings (seriously, mornings are hard in this house), and exciting adventures that keep us on our toes. With that I will say, goodnight! :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In it for the long haul part 2

I am sitting here contemplating what to write; trying to decide if I am ready to dive into the second half of my story, opening up the remaining can of worms, to dump em out in a giant pile of slimy goo and sort em. The thought is ever so appealing...ugh. But I promised, and well, healing comes with dealing (did I make that phrase up, or have I heard that somewhere?) so I appreciate your willingness to go on this journey with me.

I'm tired. I'm tired of this battle that has lasted 3 years. 3 years! Ugh. Typing that is hard. My daughter is 3. Not 2, not 1, not 6 months old, like it feels like she should be. No, she is a wild, adorable, beautiful, delightful, sometimes naughty 3 year old. Where has my life gone? In the blink of an eye, the baby months were lived, never to be experienced again. I wish the memories were sweeter.

I couldn't cry. If I let even one tear out, I knew they would never stop. So the dam of self preservation was built and fortified and protected and re-enforced again. I was tough, I was a soldier's wife, I could handle anything. I wanted people to look at me and see strength. I was proud....but you see, what I've learned is God has a way of breaking down our barriers, stripping us of our pride, and showing us what we're really made of. How weak we are, and how much we need him. I wouldn't have learned that without my 3+ years of pain.

After the doctor sent me home to "sleep it off," my parents made the decision to move in with me temporarily until Alex was able to come home. I didn't ever really tell them the details of what I was experiencing because I was afraid, but they knew I needed them, so they made themselves available to me. Looking back, I don't know what I would have done, had they not so selflessly put my needs above their own and held me up when I couldn't stand. No one else offered to help, but truthfully, for all outward appearances, my friends and family thought I was fine, and I was so afraid of what was happening to me, I wasn't about to tell them the truth. That's the problem with mood disorders, they're in your mind, people can't readily see them like they could a broken bone, or some other affliction. So for the most part, I suffered in silence, praying that "tomorrow" would be the day that things were back to normal...and with each rising of the sun, as I woke up and realized, that this wasn't going to be THE day, my heart bled just a little bit more.

Gracie was almost 5 months old when Alex came home for good, 14 LONG months after he had left. His homecoming was sweet, precious, forever etched in my mind as an amazing heart felt like it had come home. He was beautiful, handsome, ever so real and finally not just a memory. He was home to stay. So long ppd/ocd, my husbands home, he's a military man and  he is goin' to kick your arse right out of our lives... that was the plan anyways. Once he came, everything would just magically fall back to place, wouldn't it? Nope! The thoughts just continued to roll in. And the hard thing was, life was once again, totally upside down. Alex had left as a newly married man, not much responsibility. He came home a father, a homeowner, a veteran, he was completely overwhelmed with the life that was created for him while he was away. And I was totally unprepared for the realization that the boy who I had sent off to war, was not the man that came back home to me. We had lived two totally separate lives for over a year and now had to merge them in one fluid motion. It was beyond stressful. There were days when I wondered who this man was. He was certainly NOT the man I had married and I had certainly NOT bargained for this road that I now found myself walking. This was all aside from any ppd/ocd issues. I prefer to not discuss all that we dealt with when he came home, out of respect for my husband, but I will say that it was awful. Absolutely, emotionally awful. And when I didn't think my heart could break any more, another chunk seemed to be taken out. But I sure did know how to plaster a smile on my face and say everything was "a" ok.

To be continued....

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Not quite ready...

I'm having a hard time writing the posts about my story. I feel like I am opening up a massive, gigantic, slimy can of worms that I have held inside for so long...gross analogy, but you catch my drift. It's just that it's been a lot more emotional than I thought it would be to share all of this with you all.

So, I am going to be nice to myself tonight and finish the rest of my PPD/OCD story tomorrow. Right now I am going to write about whatever the heck I feel like... :)

So on that note, as I was looking at pictures of my friends on  facebook ,I thought about how blessed they are, and they don't even know it. How easy it is to take health and stability for granted without a moments thought. I had to work at not being resentful and jealous as I viewed the happy smiles on faces that I pray will never know the heartbreak of mental illness. The question "why me" has come up too many times to count, but I dare not really ask it. I know the answer-why not me. One thing I do know; I will never be the same. This experience has so incredibly shaped my entire being, I no longer fit the mold that I used to snuggle into so comfortably. But I guess that's ok. This is my story, my life. I am a warrior mom, I am making it.

Do any of you ever just want to run away? Just get away, go someplace, anyplace, doesn't really matter where, just as long as it is not home? I do. I have found that with this whole PPD/OCD thing, I just want to run away, start over, move someplace else, go on a vacation, anything to give me freedom from this life, from this pain...I feel so trapped in my situation. if I could just GO, then maybe, just maybe my problems, my thoughts, this FOG wouldn't follow me. It's a nice daydream...Then I wake up and realize that reality is cruel and won't leave me alone. A trip won't fix things, I can't run from this. It is not going to just go away. I have to face it, head on, and it sure is ugly to look at. One day at a time, one hour at a time, on minute at a time. That is how I fight this battle.

Well, I am off to bed for the night. I'll post again in the A.M. Goodnight all!

P.S. I want others to know that I have started this blog, but I have no idea how to get the word out, anyone have suggestions? Thanks!!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

In it for the long haul, part 1

Oooh boy, this is going to be a long one. Hang in there folks, I may have to make this a two part post, but for what it's worth, here's my story....

4 1/2 years ago, my life took a turn that veered me off a cliff and into an ocean of tumultuous, current filled waves...I got married. Let me preface by saying that I married my high-school sweetheart at 21 and fully expected life to be all sunshine and rainbows. Ooh boy, was I in for a treat ;) The first 9 months were amazing, I mean, really, really amazing...we were the couple that people gag just thinking about because we were that "in love." Marriage was everything I had dreamed it would be and so much more,that is, until we got the call. We were two days into a cross country road trip and had spent the night in our tent. We were woken up by the phone. I vividly remember how bright the sun shone through the canvas as my hubby grogilly said hello into the receiver. Call it woman's intuition, or whatever you want, but I just knew that the news wasn't going to be good. I watched as my husband grew tight lipped, his voice becoming more and more official, as it does when he is speaking to someone of higher rank and a pit began to form in my stomach. "Oh God, please don't let this be the call, please," then, as quickly as the day is long, my world came crashing to a grinding halt-my husband was being deployed.

It felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. We had just gotten married, he was in the guards for pete's sake, he wasn't supposed to leave me, this wasn't suppose to happen. But it did, and 2 months later I tearfully bid my husband good-bye...completely unaware that I was pregnant with our first child.
Two weeks later, I took a pregnancy test alone in my bathroom. It was positive. SURPRISE! I wish I could tell you how I felt in that moment, as the reality of what was happening sunk into my head, but it's so hard to put into words. The joy and the pain both equal parts of the equation as I realized everything that I was gaining, yet all that was being lost. My hubby never did feel the baby kick in my stomach. He never heard the heart beat or saw the precious face of our unborn child in an ultrasound. He never helped me pick out paint or decorate the nursery. He never got to whisper sweet nothings through my womb, he never had the joy of watching his wife grow full with his child. Much was sacrificed for the call of duty.

When Alex left, we lived in a 300sq ft. studio apartment...perfect for a newly married couple just settling in, not so perfect for a single mom bringing a baby home. Sooo, being the go getter that I am, I decided that it only made sense for me to go looking for a house to buy. When I was seven months pregnant, I purchased our first myself! At closing, the real estate agent that helped to find our house completely blew me out of the water by offering ME a job. Well, of course I HAD to say yes. It just seemed too crazy of an offer not to accept, so in the span of a week, I moved into our new house, painted and decorated the entire thing (vaulted ceilings everyone) and started a new months pregnant. Crazy? I think so. In my defense, they say that a woman's brain shrinks 6% while she is, really, I couldn't help it.

Side note, my husband was deployed to the exact location that TIME magazine had rated the #1 most dangerous place in the world, so you can imagine how frightened I was when I didn't hear from my hubby for the entire 7th month of my pregnancy. He didn't have access to a phone or computer, but since I hadn't heard from him, I didn't know that.  Needless to say, it was scary.

Anyways, when I was 38 weeks pregnant I felt little feet on my bladder constantly and ultrasound confirmed what I suspected, my baby was breech; footling breech to be exact. My doctor proceeded to scared the stinkin' poo out of me declaring that if I didn't have a c-section in the next 2 days, my baby could potentially fall into the birth canal, onto the cord, sever the blood flow and  have 2 minutes to be taken out before she was a vegetable. That was almost word for word what he told me. Comforting, huh? So, since I was a newby with this whole mom/pregnancy thing, and trusted every word my doc told me, a c-section was scheduled for the following week. I was absolutely crushed. I had been looking forward to giving birth the "old fashioned" way. Somehow having a c-section made me feel like less of a woman. I know that mentality is crazy, but deep down, I felt that I had been cheated out of a basic right of womanhood. I actually had someone tell me that I "took the easy way out." Ouch....

So, miracle of all miracles (seriously, it had to be a miracle, the way the ARMY works), my hubby made it home 17 hours before I gave birth! It was so amazing. The next morning, our lives forever changed as we welcomed our precious Gracie May into the world. It was one of the most traumatic and joyous events of my life. In the span of mere hours, my world had once again turned completely upside down.
Alex was home for 2 glorious weeks and then flew back to Iraq to complete his remaining 4 1/2 months of duty. For me, the next several months after he left were some of the most lonely times I have ever experienced. I used to line up pillows behind my back and pretend that he was sleeping right next to me, not 6000 miles away in some God forsaken sand pit. My heart ached for my husband. Truth be told, at times it was hard to remember what it was ever like with him actually being a part of my life. it didn't even feel like he was a part of the equation with my new little one. He wasn't there for any of it, so it felt like it was just Gracie and me, conquering the cruel, hard world.

3 1/2 months later, sleep deprived (Gracie wouldn't sleep soundly for more than 15 minutes at a time), overridden with stress and lonelier than all get out,  I found myself sitting in the bathtub with my peanut trying to relax. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I was  overcome with the fear that I could drown my baby. My mind went wild, my heart started beating faster, my body began to shake as my head taunted me with cruel thoughts of becoming the next Andrea Yates. I was terrified. I didn't want my baby near me. I wanted her somewhere safe, away from this tormented monster that just happened to be me. I imagine that the mom who goes through ppd/ocd, endures some of the worst torture a mother can worst fear was that something could happen to my baby, but to have the thoughts that I was the one that could inflict the harm, well, that is one of the most horrific nightmares I could have ever imagined. That night in the tub felt like a light switch of terror had been turned on in my head. PPD/OCD swooped in and gleefully threw me into a downward spiral of horror. I had NO IDEA what has happening to me. I had never heard of this happening to anyone before. I knew of the baby blues, but this certainly was NOT the baby blues. This felt dangerous, evil, terrifying. So afraid was I of myself, I demanded that someone be with me at all times to ensure the safety of my precious baby. Gradually I entered a fog. Others were taking care of my baby and life began to feel unreal, like I was living in a dream, not really my own reality. I longed for sleep to take away my existence, free me from my prison of fear and thoughts that I was helpless to tame. I needed help. The doctor I went to told me that every new mother has ups and downs and that I was sleep deprived, nothing more. Right. I was sent home without help to live out my hellish sentence.

To be continued....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Nice to meet you!

Hello and welcome! If you're new to this blog, good - so am I (ha). My name's Leigh (sort of), I come from the north land; Minnesota - yeah snow, and I have postpartum depression.

"Whaaat?!" you say? "You?!? You haven't had a baby in THREE years!" I KNOW! THREE horrible, incredible, hazy, crazy, wouldn't trade for the world, but wouldn't wish on my worst enemy years!

Now if you are like most people, you will make one or both of the following statements; 1) I had NO idea it could last that long! And/or 2) I never would have guessed YOU have postpartum depression. To both statement, yes it can, and yes I do!

So there you have it, my public declaration admitting to ppd and thus you understand (hopefully) my need to begin this blog. It's me spreading my arms, reaching out my hands and grabbing on to the support network of beautiful women who have, are and will go through this horrible illness. This blog is to announce, no, scream from the lips of a postpartum sufferer that "WE STILL HAVE A REASON TO SING," we WILL make it, we WILL get through this and we WILL be BETTER for having gone through this!

I will fight the good fight and I WILL finish this race with postpartum depression.

Please come back later and read about how my journey with postpartum began and why it has been THREE (yes, you read right) years since it all began and I am still dealing with this...