Over five years ago, shortly after having my daughter, Olive, I was struck with postpartum depression.
Duuuuuudes. Hard. Stuff.
I wasn’t sure what was going on, because I wasn’t sitting around crying like I did the first few weeks after having my first child, which had been just a couple of years earlier.
No. This was different, and it was scary.
There were no tears.
Instead, there were irrational, obsessive thoughts; stacked, one, on top of the other, on top of the other.
They didn’t make sense and I knew that.
They were not rational and I knew that.
But they were persistent and heavy and scary.
And they felt very, very real.
For instance, when my baby cried I knew for sure, FOR SURE, she was dying. I would go weak in my knees.
I would have to sit down. Because I felt like I was going to faint from the (very real) thought of it….
Of course, if I tried to verbalize this, but I knew how ‘crazy’ it sounded.
It still felt so very, very real.
Amidst this madness, I would also get stuck in various ‘thought loops’ about things that had happened, and I couldn’t change, and I would obsess on them.
Truly, this was a mental hell.
This wasn’t my first dance with feeling totally and utterly crazy, unfortunately.
About five years before that, I was dealing with migraines. So many migraines!
My doctor at the time prescribed me a particular seizure medicine which was thought to help with migraines. Within a few short weeks, I was experiencing regular panic attacks.
It took me a while to put together that the new medicine was CAUSING the panic attacks… So I got to experience A LOT of them…
Now, if you’re not accustomed to panic attacks, it may just sound like a bad case of anxiety.
But if you’ve experienced one, you know they equate more accurately to heart attacks.
Seriously! Oodles of people go to the ER thinking they are having a heart attack, when it’s really their first dance with a panic attack.
While experiencing a panic attack, my body would ‘freeze up"
and my mind would go on overdrive, almost like in those cartoons where a machine goes out of whack, freaks out, sputters, and then let’s out a loud KABOOM. (And then it’s broken.)
That’s what it felt like, anyway.
There are more stories that have made mental wellness a VERY big priority of mine, and one that happened fairly recently…
(WhewWeeee…. that one was a doozy!), but this feels like enough vulnerability for now (gulp.)
What I REALLY want to say is… my BIG aha, was NOT just that I learned how to manage my mind, although that has been extremely useful.
Mindset is just one piece of the puzzle. A VERY important piece, but just A piece, nonetheless.
And that is why I am telling you this story.
Because I want to share my even bigger A-HA with you.
And if I can… alleviate some unnecessary suffering.
More to come…