16 July 2011

There's such a thing as being overvigilant

Sometimes recently I question whether or not I might be struggling with PPD again or with Postpartum OCD. I look at the fact that I'm irritable sometimes, having trouble sleeping at night, get aggravated and frustrated, and ask myself "Could these be warning signs?". The other day at the mall I started to have a meltdown, like actually had tears coming out y eyes (just leaking a little, I pressed it back in) and started to think (Do I need to go to the ER?". I tell myself that yes it's all stuff that could be warning signs of a deeper problem, but that it could also be perfectly normal reactions to stress (of which I certainly have an abundance right now) and the fact that due to several outside factors, my sleep schedule is ALL out of whack. Then I start to question whether I might just be in denial and finding ways to rationalize that no, I couldn't possibly have PPD. It's a vicious cycle of never-ending questions that go in a big circle ad nauseum.

The thing I keep coming back to is that I don't have thoughts of harming myself or others, and the fact that I'm aware of the potential and keeping an eye on myself is a good sign, that at least I'm aware of what's going on. I have to talk to a therapist anyways since I've been on Zoloft as a prophylactic measure, so of course I'll discuss all of this with them and request that they recheck my thyroid levels, but it made me think of something.

I think that for those of us who have dealt with PPD, one of the big problems in subsequent pregnancies and postpartum periods can be a sort of hyper vigilance, being TOO aware and almost jumping at shadows. Yes, it's good to be aware of how you're feeling, but I have to keep reminding myself of what Jan, my midwife, told me at my 6 week postpartum checkup. She said, to paraphrase because I can't remember exactly how she worded it, "You have to bless and release the past and live in the future, moving forwards instead of staying in the past". I have to remember that if I concentrate all my time and energy, or even a significant portion, on whether every tiny little thing could be a symptom of PPD, I'm liable to talk myself into it. Life will be so much more enjoyable if I can remember to focus on the here and now and the future instead of what happened 2 years ago.

The moral of the story, I guess, is to reind myself and anyone reading this, to be aware but not so aware you forget to live.

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