Postpartum Depression and Psychosis Check-in
It’s been two months now since reaching my breaking point, a place that led to a three day hospital stay and required me to change almost everything. I want to take some time to talk more about how I’m doing now and what I’ve done to fuel and foster my own healing over the last few months. It’s within our own healing as parents where we break generational cycles that are no longer serving us, severing chords that are only creating chaos in our lives and our children’s lives. Healing and doing the work to heal, sitting with our feelings and holding them, and showing up to walk through the hard things are all foundational pieces I want to teach Wilder. And the best way to teach, is by doing. This is what I’ve been doing that has been working the most over the last few months.
First, how I’m doing. The thing about taking medication and beginning the process of healing wounds, is that sometimes the things that work, don’t provide complete relief from pain and symptoms. I’m still noticing symptoms arise on a regular basis, such as hearing Wilder cry when they are not and smelling soiled diapers when they’re not. And think, on an obsessive level not just once or twice but to where I’m unable to get anything else done or focus elsewhere. This symptom has decreased dramatically and doesn’t last long when I do notice it.
After three solid days of sleep and anti-anxiety medication, the intrusive thoughts stopped almost immediately, but the shame stuck to the shadows of those thoughts have stayed close by. I’m no longer walking around in a fog of tears and panic all day and my to-do lists have quickly morphed into all-done lists. Eating has become a bit less hard and making meals for our home have become a part of my healing. I have personal and professional goals for the new year that fuel excitement instead of dread. I’m sleeping better then I had been with Wilder in bed with me and my anxiety is absolutely manageable at this point. To say that I feel like a totally different person would be well, accurate. Now, let’s talk more about what I’ve been doing to foster that.
A major part of the healing precess for me has been sitting with the discomfort of symptoms when they arise and creating awareness around them, rather then instantly trying to get them to go away or fix them. Saying, oh hey sadness. Or, hi again, grief. But then not moving to immediately fix the sadness or mask the grief. For me, doing this on a daily basis really helps keep me grounded in the present moment. Well, that and having a toddler. HA. It’s looked like therapy and meeting weekly with a life coach who I have worked with in the past.
I felt the biggest shift in my healing come when I started to get sleep on a regular basis. Wilder started sleeping in their own room for safety reasons and transitioned life a rockstar because really, they too were exhausted. Having a bedtime to look forward to and plan around has made life feel manageable in a way that it hasn’t for over two years. I wake up excited to parent and missing my child, rather then in tears because my skin is crawling and my exhaustion level only increased over night. Sleep has changed my life, really and is allowing me to show up in the ways that I want to as a parent. I absolutely hope to co-sleep with Wilder again one day, but for now, this is what is working for us.
The other biggest change I’ve made in my life is no longer living alone in isolation. Junebug moved in and is quickly taking on the sweetest role with Wilder, one that could easily become a co-parent role one day. When Wilder hears their door open, they shriek in excitement and their whole face lights up. I’m able to walk away and lock myself in my room while I meet with my life coach, or take a bath while Junebug takes Wilder on a walk, or can cook without also having to entertain or keep a tiny human safe. These small things are actually quite huge to a single parent who’s raised their baby in isolation and little help. I’m leaning into community and trusting Wilder to spend a night or two a month with their gramma Kiki, who loves them dearly. And while they are gone I get to focus on self-care.
I’m learning that self-care is what fuels integrity and the kind of person/parent I want to show up in the world as. But what I’m learning is an entire post itself and is soon to come.
Here’s to caring for ourselves today and this coming year as well as we care for our babies.
Danny (& Wilder)