I used to sing in the shower. Obnoxiously. Like, cow dying-from-labor-mixed-with-squealing-pig obnoxiously. Whether I was happy or sad. Whether I was angry or indifferent. Whether I had something to look forward to or it was just another Tuesday.
I stopped singing in the shower.
That was probably the first sign that I ignored when PPD took over my life. The first of many. I stopped writing. I lost myself. I lost my happiness. I lost the first year (plus some) of my child’s life. I lost my motivation. I lost my joy. I lost me.
I struggled to nurse. I struggled to sleep even when he would. I cried. All.The.Time. Over nothing. I went through the stages but I lived in denial. This was not happening to me again. And it definitely wasn’t WORSE than last time.
It started with the constant tears. Soon after, the feelings of inadequacy began. I felt like I wasn’t worthy of being a mother to these two beautiful little humans. I convinced myself that my family would be better off without me and often caught myself daydreaming about what would happen if I just ran my car into a ditch one day. I hated myself. I sank into this darkness that I just couldn’t escape. It took every ounce of willpower in my body to get out of the bed most days. Taking a shower became a chore. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. The anxiety kicked in and with it, rage. I felt like I could be standing directly beside someone, screaming at the top of my lungs but no one could hear my screams. And this infuriated me. I over analyzed every detail of every thing, and anxiety attacks became a part of my daily routine.
Yet, through feeling all of these things, I still felt completely numb.
I became such an angry person. I was angry with myself for sucking as a mom. I was angry at my friends and family for not seeing how I was so clearly inwardly screaming for help. I was pissed when I would open up only to have someone tell me to keep my feelings to myself, for fear of seeming “crazy.” I was furious when someone told me to just “be happy” like it was that easy. I saw nothing but red when someone would tell me to just get over it.
One day, the rage got the best of me and I essentially collapsed on the living room floor, bewildered by my own levels of anger. I finally asked for help.
To the mom who is still knee or even neck deep in this mess, it will come back. It being the joy, the giddiness, and the confidence in being you. It WILL come back. Happiness will seep back in, slowly, and with it pieces of what makes you, you.
You will get there. Soon you will feel human again. You’ll laugh without forcing it to hide the sadness. You’ll smile, not because you’re hiding the pain, but because you have joy. This season is just that, a season. And it is going to pass.
I still battle daily with my anxiety. I have to convince myself to leave the house with my kids. I have to pep talk myself into going to work. Anything beyond the basics? I still pass most of the time while I navigate my way through the rest of this phase. But tonight? Tonight, I sang in the shower. Joyfully, and obnoxiously.