1 year anniversary….

10 Mar

I feel the need to write about this. It is something very personal to me. But I believe that by sharing, it will be a healing experience for me.

I looked at the calender the other day and realized that April 15th is soon approaching. April 15th used to represent my mother’s birthday. Now, it also represents something else. It represents the day I began taking anti-depressant medication for post-partum depression. I remember this day last year very clearly. It was my mother’s birthday. I wanted to show an expression of my gratitude by taking her out for breakfast. She had helped me so much since my son had been born in October. She came over to help me everyday for the first few months. She was there to help me get through those difficult days, she was a shoulder to cry on. I wanted to thank her so we went out for breakfast, my mother, my son and myself. I had been seeing a psychologist for a few weeks by this point. My mother was aware of that. But what she didn’t know, and I wanted to hide from her, was that I had decided that the use of anti-depressant medication would be beneficial for me. So as I sat there, fake smile and all, I gracefully slipped that pill in mouth and downed a glass of water. I hoped she didn’t notice. I didn’t want to make up some lie about taking vitamins or something. I am such a horrible liar. She didn’t notice and my healing began.

I was amazed at how fast I began to notice a difference in my mood. Within a week my head no longer buzzed with background noise. Everything seemed quieter, I could hear my own thoughts once again. I continued to see my therapist, but where the magic was, was in my anti-depressant. I had a lot of internal dialogue to listen to and to correct. “I am a bad mother”, “I am a bad wife and daughter”, “I have no friends”, “I’d rather be at work than here with my son. This definitely means I am a bad mother”. Over time, those thoughts began to go away. I began to feel happy again, excited for a new day to begin. I still had difficulty sleeping though. I would awaken frequently in the night. Some nights, my son would not awaken to feed, but I still would wake up on my own. My feelings toward my son also began to change. I began to feel true love for him. I found him cute and funny. The times that he would awaken to feed or to be soothed, I wansn’t bothered. I wanted to be there to care for him.

The real healing was in my expectations and my perceptions of myself. As a young child and eventhrough my adulthood, I dreamed of being a mother. I loved children and I fantisized about being a stay-at-home mom, a homemaker. I would even judge those who didn’t want to or couldn’t stay at home with their children. I would say to myself, “what’s the point of having children!” There I was living my dream, and I hated it! I thought to myself that if I don’t enjoy the very thing I have been dreaming about my whole life, what do I enjoy? What kind of mother am I to hate being home with their son? After struggling with these thoughts, I began to realize that it is ok not to want to be a stay-at-home mom. I can find my own way to be a wonderful, working mother. I could give my son lots of love and attention and still be my own self, still have an identity other than being a mother. I gradually came to terms with my post-partum depression and with my own identity. I loved being a mother and I loved my son in my own way. Every mother has to do what is right for them and for their family. For us, I need to work. I love my son immensly, but that doesn’t change the fact that I need to have a career. Some women may already know this about themselves, but I didn’t. It took going through post-partum depression for me to see this.

I experienced a small set back when I returned to working. Prior to having my son I worked for a financial institution but was taking night courses in Early Childhood Education. When upon returning to work, I chose not to return to my old job, but to begin a new career in a daycare. Within meere weeks I became very unhappy. My depression was returning. This job was not for me! Luck came my way in a phone call from my team leader at the bank. She asked me once again if I’d wanted to return to work at the financial institution. The timing was perfect. By the second day I was back to work at the financial institution, I felt like myself again.

I began to explore my interests. In december, when things finally settled down for me, I began to read magazines again, search the internet, expand my knowledge a bit. It all began with my son disliking meat. I started looking into more vegatarian dishes. I also began reading info on cleansing your body, eating optimally for health and wellness. Everything seemed to be pointing in the same direction; discovered veganism and vegetarianism. So, I set myself a goal of become a vegetarian. I have experimented a bit with veganism as well.

Throughout this process, I also began taking another magical pill that helped me sleep. I sleep so wonderfully and deeply every night thanks to this medication. Most nights, I sleep anywhere between eight and nine hours. The problem is that I am now dependant on these medications. I want to stop taking the meds and feel better on my own. I want to sleep peacefully due to fatigue, not due to a pill. I want to feel that bone deep fatigue, that overall body feeling of tiredness. Another effect of the medication is sleepiness in the morning. In the morning, I have a lot of difficulty waking up. It often takes not only my alarm but my husband as well to get me out of bed. It’s not that I am still tired after 9 hours of sleep, it’s that the medications relax me so well!

I am visiting my doctor in a month, I plan to discuss with him the weaning of my meds. I think I am ready. I have done so much healing this past year, and now it’s time for me to be a big girl and move on.

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