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...