Friday, March 28, 2008

PPD Chronicles, Chapter One: The 800 lb. Gorilla

"So what is it with you the depression or the anxiety?" the woman said looking me in the eye.

Without thinking, quantifying or hesitating, I shakily responded, "Both."

With that, I joined in the Post Partum Depression support group and named the 800 lb. gorilla sitting on my psyche and kicking my soul for so many months (maybe years).

A true WASP, I held to the belief if you didn't talk about something it isn't real. As if by saying tough things aloud you anoint it with credulity and feed it's voracious destructive appetite.

"Do you have the blues?" my doctor asked. He didn't seem to notice my oily hair (when was the last time I had time or the energy to wash it?), formula and baby stained sweatsuit (the uniform of beleaguered mothers everywhere), and traveling trunks under my eyes (to call them bags is simply an understatement).

I whispered, "Yes," around the lump in my throat and ignored the gorilla pounding in my chest.

The blues? Come on. They are the blacks. The soul sucking blacks turning your bones to water and your brain to mush. The blacks so dark and scary and humiliating there simply aren't words, so you don't say anything.

DEPRESSION. The label on my doctor's report and the antidepressant prescription clutched in my sweaty hand, poked at the gorilla, calling him out into reality. He howled, as I walked up the steps to get bloodwork, "Now you did it! Now you are officially crazy! What kind of mother are you?????"

What kind of mother indeed. The kind who looks at herself in the mirror, ignoring the leering gorilla, and says, "You need help."

He's still here. Lurking at the edges, waiting to pounce. Pushed into corners by talk therapy and drugs and laughter and sleep and prayer and (surprisingly) blogging.

I've discovered he shrinks with every word, every nap, every self affirmation. He's about 200 lbs. now.

What is it with me? I'm just beginning to find out.

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