This is a blog where you can throw your thoughts, like pennies into the fountain. Some are pretty and gold. Some are old and rusty. Some may be worthy of adding to a collection. Some people think of the value when they throw their penny. For others, it’s simply the act of throwing something into the water. Either way, it lands somewhere.
All these wires in my brain are misfiring. Or, maybe they are burnt. I imagine them as fried, black and crumbling. I wonder if the ends even connect? It feels like the thoughts get lost at the end of one circuit and never make it to another. Some days, the circuits in my head are worse than others. There are times when the connections seem to be in a fog. There are days when it feels like my head is on fire. There are moments when I believe the whole thing is going to shut down. It’s as if the whole thing needs to be rewired.
Awake. Racing thoughts. Witching hour. Can’t sleep. Restless. The anxiety is calling me to wake up and worry. Relentless. I just want to sleep. Let me sleep. Let me rest. It’s like a ghost that haunts me in my sleep. Go away. I’m done with you. I fight you during the day and you should be tired by now. Just let me have my nights. Just let me sleep.
Circles of chaos are running through my head. All of the circles overlap. It’s impossible to separate them. The chaos is a jumbled up mess of self doubt, worries and traumatic thoughts. I try to push them away, but they come running back in. They are like a thunderstorm in my brain that just won’t pass. Lightening, thunder, rain and hail. I just want the sun to come out. I breathe through it and try to remember that it will pass. It always does. It’s hard to be patient when in the eye of the storm. I’m tired and the chaos wears a worried soul down to a shaky, unstable mess.
Postpartum depression plagues the mind of some women after childbirth. What is supposed to be the happiest, most enjoyable time of their life, turns into a battle. It’s a battle that feels hopeless. Postpartum depression is the condition that we hear the most about, but there are also other postpartum mental health conditions that are beginning to get more attention. Postpartum anxiety, OCD, and psychosis are also burdens to some women during this time in their life. Many people ask me how to help women suffering from these illnesses. Below are a list of tips to consider when trying to reach out and help.
1) Get them out of the house… even if it’s just a walk in the park. Try to avoid highly social places that may trigger anxiety.
2) Do not abandon. Many people shy away because they don’t know what to say or do. This is the worst thing one could do.
3) Rally any support persons that could help with any simple thing like providing meals, being available to talk to on the phone, helping with the baby etc.
4) Do not leave them alone, especially if you fear that they are a danger to themselves of their baby.
5) Find support in your area. If you don’t know where to start, Postpartum Support International is a great starting point to see what your region has to offer.
6) Acknowledge her fears, doubts, and insecurities.
7) Remind her that she is a good mother.
8) Remind her that she is not alone . Other women have been through the storm and became stronger from overcoming it.
9) Respect her routine. The routine is a safe place for some women going through this. Do not try to disrupt.
10) Avoid phrases such as:
“Just be strong”
“I don’t understand”
“Just be thankful your baby is ok”
“It will go away over time”
“Everyone deals with it”
I can feel you getting closer. I long for our time together. I long for that scheduled period of less stress, ease and freedom. I can’t wait to see you. I’ll finally be able to reset myself. I’ll be able to let everything go, even if only for a moment. I’ll be able to breathe a little easier. It will feel good to just relax… to let the routine just go for a moment. You will allow me time to refocus on my vision. It has become cloudy. I hope you wipe away all my tears and whisper “it’s gonna be ok”. I hope you restore my strength and resilience. People ask me, “so where are you going while you are on vacation?” I respond with one word… “away”. I’ll be counting down the days until I feel your presence.
It’s dark, quiet. It’s still. I can lay down. I can let my hair down. I can just listen… to the quiet. It sounds so good. I feel a calm euphoria take over me. I’m home. I’m in my place. I’m safe from all of the outside things. This moment never lasts long enough. I soak it all in until I can’t hold my eyes open any more. This is the period in the day of deepest relaxation. Everyone else is asleep and I don’t have to worry. Just for a minute, I breathe it in as deep as I can. I lay still in the moment and hear the sound of nothing. I love how it feels.
For 10 years, I have been a bedside nurse. I have ran to the OR in emergencies. I have called pharmacy, begging them to bring me the drug I needed for my patient so she wouldn’t seize from preeclampsia. I have watched fetal heart rate tracings with worry and dread. Today, it all circled around me. It was as if the world stopped and I saw myself going through the motions. I never wanted to be that nurse that just went through the motions. I have slowly gotten more and more burnt out by high stress, mandatory overtime, grief, PTSD, and all of the expectations. Now, its time to reflect on the last 10 years to determine what I want the next 10 years to be like. Instead of treating, medicating, and fixing, I want to be preventing, maintaining and growing. I’m in that stuck feeling of feeling like I need to move towards a different practice. I have more to give in other ways. I’m done with the acute.
Is it bad that I don’t want to be here with these people? In this congested, chaotic space… with all this noise and talking? Is it bad? I just want to be home in my space where it’s quiet and controlled. I just want to be where I can rest. I want to be where the stimulation isn’t. They can have it. I just want to be in my happy place where things are the way I like them. People say, “you’re a hermit”, “you should come out with us”, “don’t isolate yourself .” But, the truth is simply that people are overrated.
When he left you, I bet you died inside. I saw it today. You are only a shell of what once remained. When you woke up that morning and realized he was gone, you wished you were too. You couldn’t cope. You didn’t know how to move on. So you took the drugs to numb all of the feelings. You took the drugs to try to cover up your own grief. You left her, your little girl, just like he left you. She was left to grieve just like you. You don’t realize that you’re all she has left and she needs you more than ever before. Now, here you are… delivering a drug addicted baby. Who would have thought you would end up here? Unintended, unfortunate and unbearable. You’re saturated with cigarette smoked clothes, sores all over your body. Your face looks like its aged 10 years since that day he left. He left and so did you.
A lot of people like to act like they have the answer. They will give you their advice and tell you that their way is the best way. They will shame you for doing anything other than what they suggested. But, you know… this shit did not come with a text book. There are no protocols. What works for one may not even come close to working for another. So, fuck what everyone else has to say. Screw their opinions and advice. Do what works for you. And do it proudly. Figure it out as you go. If you get frustrated, start over and try again. There is no right answer. There is only YOUR answer. If they hate on you, let them go. Create your own textbook.