Wednesday, November 11, 2015

PTSD & Postpartum Depression -- Hand in Hand

I headed down the three flights of stairs from my apartment to the exit door in a hurry. The coffee in my travel cup was sloshing up the sides and spraying onto my coat. I pushed the heavy door open and could see my breath in an instant. I panted heavily. Snow was falling all around me. I looked toward the sky and allowed the flakes to cleanse me on the outside. After a few moments, I headed to the car to start my day.

I suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of suffering from postpartum depression (PPD) in 2009.

My son is now six years old.

When he was a baby, I couldn't be without him. It stressed me to be away from him to the point of having visions of him dying in some way. Even when I was with him, I would hover so closely because the thought that someone would kidnap him was too much to think about. It was easier to just stay home.

Sometimes during bath time, I could see him drowning. Not by my own hand, but slipping beneath the water and not being able to save him.

The visions always have me running in slow motion to save my son from harm but I'm always too late. He always takes his final breath and I'm left holding his lifeless body in my arms, ready to go with him.

The worst was having to leave him to return to work when he was two months old. I cried every morning. Shoulder shaking, wretched sobs. I was put on medication immediately.

The problem I'm having today is that my son is sick. When he gets sick, my mind instantly shifts to thoughts that he isn't going to make it. He won't pull through and he will die.

It started with a fever and a sore throat, then moved into a cough. He started coughing up some chunks yesterday and we were told the virus is shifting out of his system when this happens. He's little and doesn't always know what to do so he swallows most of it. This leads to vomiting pure mucous, another way the body is ridding of the virus.

It scares me.

All of it.

He drank some water after another round of dry heaving this morning and went back to bed.

I can't be with him at home right now due to work obligations and that's okay. He's being cared for.

The visions won't stop and my mind is definitely at home. With him.

For piece of mind, I'll probably have him seen at the local Children's Hospital today.

Postpartum depression is still a huge part of my life. It will never fade away even though I have a new diagnosis due to never fully healing from PPD.

There are many symptoms of PPD and you shouldn't feel ashamed to get help. This is always easier said than done. It's important for you and your health and the health of your baby. While PPD seems to exist deep in your bones for the rest of your life due to things that may have occurred while you were suffering, knowing that you got the help you deserve in the end can help others by keeping them informed.

I know my little boy is going to be okay.

I'm going to be okay too.

1 comment:

  1. I think once you have those visions, you always will. Even if you've never had PPD, every mom has thoughts of the worst possible scenario.

    I was bad after Brandon. I always thought I'd look in the crib and he wouldn't be breathing. Especially after coming home from the hospital. In the hospital he was always hooked up to some type of monitor. There was a safety net in case something went wrong. The leads are annoying to change a diaper or hold your little one, but wen they are gone, you realize the comfort they actually did bring you. Now, they are gone, just like that and you are off with this fragile little being. Being in the NICU makes you witness to the very extreme form of prematurity.

    I'll never forget the little boy next to Brandon. He was a micro preemie and was in the hospital for, if I remember, almost 3 months at that point. As part of dicharge for all preemies, they must pass a series of exams. One of those is an ultrasound of the head to look for bleeds or absesses. They were set to go home just a day apart. However, the other boy didn't get to go home, he had a bleed in the left side of his brain. Instead of going home, he was headed to the children's hospital in Philly. It terrified me that after 3 weeks of waiting for him to come home, we would get side lined. It terrified me. I don't think I took a single breath the whole time he was being tested. But then they said he was okay, he was coming home. I was over joyed, but felt guilty because that other family was scared and I was happy.

    I had slight PPD and anxiety after Brandon and it came back with a vengence after Ryan and Dad.

    You're an amazing Mom.

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