Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Coming Out of a Fog

I can't promise I am back to blogging with any regularity (in fact, I can probably promise that I'm not), but I am climbing out of a year and a half funk of post partum depression and thyroid madness, and it feels good to feel like myself again. My pregnancy with Clare was pretty rough, as well, so the "me" I am finding was buried quite a ways down there! I suspected, after the fact, that I had some degree of post partum depression with Felicity, so I figured I knew what to look for after Clare was born. Except I guess I still didn't! After about 9 months of feeling like I was a terrible mother, couldn't parent these children of mine, kinda wishing for a different life, and sleeping a lot more than is normal for me (well.... a lot less than is normal due to a baby, but taking advantage of any opportunity to nap during the day with the house semi falling down around me), I finally went to the doctor. It took a bit to get my thyroid back in business, which was one piece of the puzzle. My doctor was impressed I was functioning as "well" as I was with a TSH of 12! But things still weren't quite right, so she recommended I try an over the counter supplement called 5HTP, which is a serotonin booster. I have to be careful how I take it due to interactions with my thyroid medicine, but I noticed an almost immediate improvement. After a couple months, I started feeling that feeling again, and upped the dose. I'm now at the highest dose, and feeling really great. (Side note: do not take without asking your doctor, especially if you are already on other medications.) The next step (because I can't take any higher of a dose) would be antidepressants of some sort, but I will cross that bridge if and when I need to.

It's nice to enjoy life again and not feel overwhelmed by every single thing that comes my way. One of my friends will see my reaction to something and joke, "wow, those are good meds!!". But it's true! I feel like a different person, or like I used to before, and I am able to appreciate my kids despite the trials of having two littles. When I began to talk to friends about how I was feeling, it was surprising how many people had been through or are currently going through a similar thing. As much as my 'village' helps in other ways, it was incredibly helpful to share resources, vent, and know I wasn't the only one going through this. I'm not totally sure what about our day and age makes PPD/PPA so common (though I have my theories), but it's been amazing to have people to push me to feel better, and to support me. If you aren't feeling like yourself, please, please talk to someone. It can sound scary, daunting, or just downright exhausting to make and attend an appointment (hand raised), but it is so worth it. I wish I had gone sooner, because I think in the back of my head I knew it was an issue, but I was just waiting for it to get better. Instead, I lost a lot of opportunities to bond with my kids or just enjoy the time with them. I am hoping a potential next time around, I'll deal with it sooner!

It also helps that I'm doing things for myself. I haven't done that great of a job of that in the past 3.5 years of being a mom, but I'm making it a priority now and Steven of course supports me 100%. My main desire is for alone time (introvert here!) where children are not needing me or touching me. My secondary desires are for relationships and faith strengthening. So twice a month, 3 friends and I get together for a Bible study. We are using the Blessed Is She series which are deep enough to be moving, but easy enough to not have homework :). We meet at a Panera for about 2.5 hours of food, chatting, and studying. It is SO refreshing!!! I'm also going to a season of plays at a local theater. They happen every other month and have multiple show times, so I should have no problem working around Steven's schedule. I went to the first one last weekend, Doublewide, Texas, and it was hilarious and so much fun! I was gone for about 3.5 hours and felt completely refreshed the next morning, despite being out late and getting less sleep. It is nice to invest in myself, and I know my family will benefit from it, too!