Thursday, June 1, 2017

Written on June 01, 2017
Postpartum Anxiety

I've struggled with some intense postpartum anxiety, most severely during the first year after having my baby. In the beginning, I didn't know what was happening to me. I just knew that I was a professional test taker. I rated my emotions and doodled on little ovals during a three-minute, doctor's office quiz and successfully passed Depression.

I also knew that whatever was happening felt an awful lot like I'd gained this incredible super power that enabled me to do everything (anything!) all the time. But unfortunately, a side effect of this neat new power was a serious condition that would inevitably result in a grusome death.

I was lucky that the world was so gracious. It spit some of the most attractive of solutions at me. But sadly, my anxiety was not like all the other illnesses. It wasn't exactly a coat I could just take on and off at will, no matter how much I wanted to, no matter how hot or cold I got.


Clearly addressing the issue was going to require a lot more from me, a long list of changes I wasn't exactly excited about.

Doing all the things at the same time only meant more lists and tracking and obsessing. But I could try to do the one thing. Heels dug in, I made myself walk down the aisle and stare my Tiny Pill prescription in the face. Oh Tiny Pill was incredible at first! My anxiety was at an all-time low, so low that I was able to completely unlearn the feeling of guilt. But honeymoons are deception festivals. Tiny Pill had not yet revealed it's deepest, darkest secrets, its quirks and heaps of baggage.

Tiny Pill did something else to me besides hush the anxiety. Tiny Pill stripped me of most of my emotions, making it difficult for me to cry even when I desperately wanted to. Even when I had something legitimate to cry about! I'd lost my ability to be fully woman.

So I decided to get innovative. I would try and trick the anxiety into thinking that I sincerely wanted to be its friend.


I figured if I could just sort of accept what anxiety feels like, maybe it would leave me alone and move on to someone else. But when I began engaging with rage-filled outbursts and dabbling in manic mode, it was clear that my bright idea was backfiring. I had hacked Life. And Life did not want to be hacked.

Life can get quite hard. Usually there's a really easy way to fix the difficulty that is absolutely impossible to execute. And so, for a time, one may find herself befriending Tiny Pill. But she has not given up or given in. I guess she's just doing what she has to do, which is letting go of her pride, resting in her limitations, being well because she has to be. For her baby.

And maybe, for herself.

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