What Photos Can't Tell You; My Ongoing Battle with PPA
From the outside looking in, on Instagram especially, I probably look like a fun, chill, adventurous Mom who makes the best of every outing. If these photos could talk they'd tell you this beautiful walk in the park, was actually filled with bickering, overreacting and trying to stop Jaxzen from exploring for fear of germs "duck itch", needles (it's a nice park there's no reason for this fear), kidnapping & heat stroke. If you were to spend a couple hours with me, you'd know that there is a lot that goes in to making it appear like I am "cool Mom".
To begin with, medication. Yup, I take medication every night to manage the parts of my brain that tell me everything is going to go wrong, more specifically: my child is going to get kidnapped or die. I "recovered" from Post Partum Anxiety, when Jaxzen was about 6 months old, after 3 months of medication, my anxiety finally became manageable and I was able to live without the impending doom cloud hovering over my logic, sanity and happiness.
I should take this opportunity to tell you what the medication does for me, because before starting my dose I was terrified it would numb me from the world. It does the complete opposite. It allows me to feel. It allows me to feel like I am deserving of this life. I am able to keep my child safe, without sheltering her. I am able to live in the moment. Best of all? It allows me to give myself grace, makes the air I breathe easier to inhale, be present and be happy.
I am learning that anxiety is an ongoing battle. If given the opportunity it sneakily starts to seep back into your life. Fast forward to March of this year, life drastically changed but it was exciting. A new province and a new home! For the first little while I thought my fears were due to the changes. I was unable to sleep when Jordan was away, and when he was home that's all I could do, sleep. When I knew Jax was safe because her dad was home, all my body could do was sleep. Then repeat. He'd go back to work and I'd lose countless hours of sleep. Jaxzen started sleeping through the night, what a dream, right? Not to me, it was a nightmare. I wasn't able to sleep longer than an hour at a time. I started checking on her, constantly. Then, after about two months of no sleep cue the intrusive thoughts. The images of my child being kidnapped in my sleep were so vivid. I started planning an escape route if someone were to enter our house. I was constantly looking over my shoulder when we were out. Her learning to walk is a blessing and a curse, she is so fast, it scared the hell out of me. Not only was I no longer sleeping, the panic attacks when I did fall asleep were so intense, I'd soak the bed in sweat & shake until I almost vomited. This happened a minimum of three times a night, by morning my adrenaline had completely exhausted me, my attention span lacked and patience had already run thin.
One night, I was sitting on the patio with Jordan. We were having a quiet moment together while Jaxzen slept, but I could not quiet my mind. I asked him "Do you think Jax would survive if I had to throw her off the patio?" He said "WHAT!?" And then I said "Like, if someone were to come into our house my plan is to wrap her in a blanket and 'lightly' toss her off the balcony." He just looked at me, and that's when I saw it: the same look he gave me when Jax was 3 months old. A look that spoke a thousand sentences filled with worry, sadness & concern. He said "First off, I think that she would be okay, maybe break a few bones, but what's more important here is, why you think you'd need to do that, babe. No one is coming in to our house. I promise" And, he asked me to book a doctor's appointment. I had to talk to someone & readjust my medication.
I saw my doctor about a month ago and I have noticed some changes, the panic attacks have nearly stopped. My thoughts are a lot more positive and my days aren't spent biting my nails, irritable and terrified, only slightly worried. I have started sleeping & only going into Jaxzen's room once a night to give her another kiss. I realize there are things beyond my control, but most are slight inconveniences, not life altering, heartbreaking events that are set out to ruin me.
I'll continue to share my journey with you, as there are many things I did not mention in this blog that I think are worth noting. Whatever you are going through, you are not alone. Reach out to someone, a happy healthy mom creates a happy healthy child. Take care of you & give yourself grace, too. You are the best mom for your baby.