PPD


I waited sixteen days to see the doc.  We had a lovely talk about my problems.  He wasn’t the warm-and-fuzziest but who cares.  He explained the drugs to me

hahahahaha who knows how those things work?  selective uptake blah blah dopamine norephrinone, or is it Nora Ephronone?  Makes you feel like you’re in “When Harry Met Sally?” I’ll have what she’s having.

yeah anyway

We decided on a drug that I’ve never heard of but is apparently the cool younger brother of some other meds that we all know and love.  I drove directly to the pharmacy hoping to pick it up and start ASAP but I have to take it in the morning lest it give me too much energy for sleep.  Energy.  I think I remember what energy feels like.  I went and picked Daniel up from the go-to friend who was kind enough to watch him and went back to the drugstore to pick it up only to find out they have to order the drug and it will come in sometime after 9 am.   Um, thanks for the extra trip people, could you not tell me that upfront?

I’m up at 5:30 with the baby… no I’m actually up at 3:30 with the cat who is meowing loudly.  This is actually a good thing since that is her “I am having diarrhea all over the house” meow and now I know to watch where I step, and find the carpet cleaner.  Ha ha, that’s a joke.  I always know where the carpet cleaner is.   The baby wakes at 5:30 just because.

I wait and wait until after 9.  I feel almost bright and shiny, as if this is the first day of the rest of my life, only to find that the pharmacy can’t get it from their warehouse – not today and maybe not? ever.  But “we’ll call you when it comes in.”  Um, right.  I’m going to sit around for a few weeks waiting for your call before starting my antidepressant?  Are they kidding?  So I tell myself  it’s just Walgreen’s that sucks this much, but no.  My doctor has apparently prescribed something so fabulous that nobody has it.

The irony is that I have samples of this longed-for drug that I now sort of hate.  In my purse.  Three weeks’ worth.  But they are the next level, not the first week low dose I am supposed to start with.  This drug comes in irritating irregular dosage amounts like 172 and 348 and nobody carries the 172.  Or is it 178.   And I can’t just split the pills in half because the delivery of the medicine is crucial and the pill has to break down over time.  Unlike me; I am breaking down all at once.  And there is no fucking around with this medication or I could have a seizure.

Delightful.

I called the psychiatrist’s office and asked his assistant where I am supposed to get this stuff.  She is supposed to call me back and I have no doubt that the pharmacy that has it is on the far side of the moon.  But that’s okay.

Waiting.

I hurt my back a few weeks ago.  Actually I hurt my back three separate freaking times, all three caused by a certain baby whose name I won’t mention.  Said baby is 1) not getting any lighter and 2) hell-bent on diving off the changing table.  These back injuries are the worst most frustrating kind, because instead of just – ow! my back hurts! – I get nothing, until the next day when doing something innocuous like lifting a spoon from the dishwasher causes my back to go into spasm.  My back is like some nice lady who says “oh, no, I’m okay, I don’t mind” and then stabs me – yes – in the back.  Back!  Get some boundaries!  If I knew in the moment that you were straining, I’d go easier.

Except when the baby suddenly can crawl at the speed of light and is heading for the edge of the bed.

Anyway, I went to the doctor for drugs; I am not a fool.  But I also got a prescription for physical therapy, because I am not going to just put up with this, what with the baby who insists on growing bigger and heavier.  I don’t have a “bad back” – aside from its obvious passive/aggressive issues – I just need to be stronger.  So I went off to physical therapy and was assigned a therapist who has either done time or has a dishonorable discharge hidden away in his un-checked background.  At first I thought he would be great, because a little bit of …stern… is fine with me, and kind of motivating.

But as of yesterday, when I ran out of the physical therapy gym and paced the hall, sobbing, he is not fine with me.  I think he’s kind of a … dick, really.  In my several stints in physical therapy over the years, I have usually worked with shiny young PTs in their twenties who think of me as someone old-ish and fat, and they have treated me with kindness and low expectations.  But this therapist, we’ll call him Gunther, asked me to do the exercises I’ve been doing at home, and then peppered me with comments like “you’re weak in your core” “you should be able to hold that for 20 seconds” “why are you working out with a trainer when you’re weak in your core?  You’re wasting your time.”  Gunther is the kind of guy who makes sure to tell me that he’s been “doing this for 40 years” every time he sees me, and he seems to need me to progress at a certain rate so that he can be sure of himself and his “program.”

Here is where the depression makes everything complicated.  I go to the gym because it’s good for me, and I like it, and blah blah blah.  But I also go because I hate myself.  I could say, well, actually I hate my fat, and that is true, but the sad truth is that I also just hate ME, and I want to fix ME, and there is this obvious body with its flaws and injuries that presents me with plenty of things to fix.  So consequently I am somebody who always goes to the gym and always works really, really hard. I’ve been working out with a trainer since the baby was six weeks old, just to lift weights and do the things I hate to do, and even though I’m depressed and gaining weight every week, I have gotten a lot stronger and fitter.  She nags me to come to the gym and do the exercise things that I hate on the days that I’m not working with her, and I work harder because of her encouragement.

Then I often sit in my car and cry, because it’s so hard and I feel so exhausted and hopeless.  Then I go home and eat.

Sigh.  While Gunther is a dick, he had no idea that all of THAT was brewing when he unleashed his meanness.  And I am confused about how much of what happened – his, uh, motivational style vs. my emotional fragility – was depression-fueled.  I did push back, and told him he was in my face, and that if he overestimated me in the first session that was his problem, not mine.

I just hate not being sure of myself.  I can’t tell if I over-reacted.  I’m sure that he’s inappropriate, but I think bursting into tears – not just tears but the hiccuping deep sobs that you can’t stuff back down – was ? a bit much.  It doesn’t take a genius to note that this PT situation hits many nerves: older male authority figure, fitness / gym setting where I seek my redemption, physical pain, too many freaking MIRRORS do they have to have a MIRROR on every wall?

But, oy.  So much drama.  I feel like I carry around a bucket of deep sorrow and the slightest little jostle from anybody spills it all over the place.  I want to stay home so there isn’t so much spillage and mess, it’s less embarrassing.  But I’m not going to stay home.

And I’m going to stay with Gunther.  I don’t have much choice, he’s the only back / neck guy they have, and I’m a hostage to the daycare at this rehab center.  Besides, being able to hold the single leg bridge for 10 sets is the best way I know of to give Gunther the finger, so that’s what I’m going to do.

I was excited after I went to the fertility clinic.  A little too excited, actually.  Having another baby seemed like it would be so great!  I was really liking the idea.  It would give me… a reason ?  A purpose?  An excuse?  I don’t know.  I came home from the clinic and was all about the protocol (much easier than my last ones) and the timing (very soon) and my husband put the brakes on, fast.

And I did not like that.

But I knew he was right.  First of all, I am fat, and getting pregnant at this weight, when my joints already hurt and I seem to have a back strain or a swollen knee or some damn thing every week, would be a major strain.  A sick pregnancy, where I don’t gain a lot of weight, would be bad enough.  A normal pregnancy, where I might put on 30 MORE pounds… could be a disaster.

But I was so disappointed, and that was kinda weird.  I started to notice that I need something.  Another baby, a project, something.  It didn’t feel quite right, and I had to keep reminding myself that at the end of that pregnancy there would be another newborn and no sleep and the baby we already have isn’t exactly going anywhere.  THAT’s a project.

But I just kept thinking that I need it.

Not good.  I do need something.  I have been seeing a therapist for several months now.  I have been in therapy on and off for most of my adult life, because that is what it has taken to get me through the many many stages of recovery from childhood sexual abuse.  Since the really crazy ugly part of that recovery is well behind me, I’m always surprised that I’m not done yet.  But, I’m not.

So, yes, I need something.  I have now gained almost 40 pounds since my son was born, and while I’m all about not hating myself, and learning to have peace with food, et cetera, I am still overeating and finding it hard to stop.  I know I’d like to have a job, and I may not find one that fits my mothering schedule for a while.  I’d like to be writing again, and I’m not.  I seem to need to be busy all the time,  to be accomplishing or creating or fixing, to be okay.  But I’m not finding anything to do.  I could use more and better friends, but I seem to suck at picking up the phone.  All I do anymore is tell myself why someone isn’t a good fit for me, or why she doesn’t like me, or our kids aren’t the same age.  Or I just watch 4 “Grey’s Anatomy”s in a row until I’m too tired to remember to get a life.

I went to my therapist on Friday and we again approached the idea that I am okay, no matter what my weight, no matter what my accomplishments or lack thereof, and I again started to sob that I didn’t know how to be okay, and my therapist told me that she thinks I’m depressed.  I may have postpartum depression and I may also, based on my history, have always been depressed. She wants me to go and see a psychiatrist to be evaluated for antidepressants.

At first I thought “no way!” Because in my life I have been depressed, as in face-down, no color in the sky, can’t-hardly-move-my-mouth-to-speak depressed.  That is not how I have been feeling.  But I have cried a lot, I have felt worthless a lot, and lately I’ve been wondering why I am this unhappy person in the middle of my very fortunate circumstances.  It’s easy for me to say that I’m sad because I’m fat.  But, I’m starting to think, maybe I’m fat because I’m sad. Part of me is crying for help, maybe, but the rest of me just wants it to shut up and keep smiling.

It was hard to hear.  I’ve been depressed my whole life?  Oh.  Faaabulous.  Am I a lie?  But… I think she’s right.  I’ve been striving my whole life.  Striving to get through school, to get a decent job, to get a boyfriend (always the boyfriend), to lose weight.  I elevated striving to epic levels.  I wrote and performed and got married and got divorced and started my own business and ran marathons and took a manual labor job and went to graduate school and got married again.  Then of course came the infertility.  I’m now in a very solid wonderful marriage, with an extra cute baby and a good shot at having a second child, in an incredible house in a beautiful little town that I love.  I have every right to coast for the rest of my life, but  the idea of that – that I’m no longer under construction, that this me is “it” – that idea is so scary and empty and depressing that I know I have some serious work to do.

So I walked out of that therapy session with a phone number in my pocket, wearing a diagnosis, a different paradigm, like an unfamiliar haircut.  It seemed weird, and like some kind of cop-out, to just say, okay.  I’m depressed. But then again…life shouldn’t be this hard.  And especially the food thing.  It’s one thing to struggle with food, and all that, and I always have.  But to gain 40 pounds in 6 months?  That is kinda scary, don’t you think?  When I thought of that I started to feel a little bit relieved.  As in, maybe all of this isn’t my fault, or my personality, or my destiny.  Because it has been really crazy hard just to eat healthily and feel like a normal human who has a right to be here.

I’m pretty suggestible, so for a few days I felt around in my psyche to find the sore, depressed parts. Ow!  They’re there.  After a few days, I got right on board with the idea.  Psychiatrist, meds, sure, okay let’s go.  But then there was the getting in touch with the shrink and the words I dread when I call for an appointment: “His next available…” You could be dying and there will be somebody on the end of the phone telling you his “next available” is sometime next YEAR.

His next available is the week after next.  Sixteen days away.  Knowing how long it takes the meds to kick in, the possibility that I might have to try a few before I see any benefit, and how crappy I am realizing I feel… well, grrreat.  So I am trying to implement every old school depression lifter that I know of.  Fish oil.  Exercise.  Singing.  Sunshine (it’s supposed to rain cats and dogs here until SUNDAY, thank you God.  Yes, that was sarcasm; the Lord has heard it from me before).  Friends, support, expressing my feelings.  Salmon, chocolate, bunnies, whatever.  What choice do I have?

Sixteen days.