Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

When my son was born, it was the happiest moment in my life. I’ve never loved anything or anyone as much as i did him. I would die for him, i would give him the world if i could. I couldn’t imagine my life without him in it, so i did everything possible to make sure he was a happy healthy boy. it all started when i was pregnant. i was so terrified of miscarrying that i bought myself a doppler so i could hear his heart beat everyday. When he was born the fear of and paranoia of SIDS scared me to death that I sacrificed my sleep for him. i would stay up all night watching him just to make sure he was breathing. When he was a month old, my boyfriend and I were watching a movie as he slept next to me. I will never forget the moment he opened his eyes and the look on his face as he struggled to gasp for air. I quickly grabbed him patted him on the back, but it didn’t work. i basically gave him mouth to mouth and he finally caught his breath. We weren’t taking any chances so we rushed him to Sick Kids Hospital, where he was thoroughly assessed and given a clean bill of health. Apparently this type of thing happened often and if i hadn’t of intervened the doctors said he would of eventually caught his breath. Fast forward 3 1/2 months later, the sleep deprivation caught up to me, but i wasn’t bothered by it so long as i knew my boy was ok. One day early in the morning around 6am (which was his usual wake up time) i began playing with him, singing to him and reading to him. i loved him so much! Later on in the afternoon, i went to change his diaper. He started to get really fussy and whiny and started to cry. That’s when this thought popped in my head saying “why don’t you fucking die already”. I immediately took a step back thinking to myself how the hell could I even think that. The guilt tore my heart apart, i mean how could anyone think of something so evil about their little baby. I quickly changed him and proceeded into the living room where i gave him to his father and told him i had to step outside for a cigarette. I couldn’t tell him why because i was so afraid that he would take my child and leave. I went on to have my smoke and that’s when the severe anxiety set in. I started panicking because i couldn’t get that stupid thought out of my head. I went inside and told my boyfriend that i was having anxiety and that i had to leave the house for a bit and he was so understanding. I took a drive up to my brother’s house where i was constantly reassured that this was normal because i was sleep deprived. They told me that i wasn’t crazy and sometimes mothers think the darnedest things. Well i couldn’t i live with that. I couldn’t accept that feeling this way or having these thoughts was normal towards my child. I went home that night scared to death to be around my son as all i kept thinking about was that thought. the next day the anxiety proceeded to get worse, and so did the intrusive thoughts about harming my son. it became uncontrollable. Once again I had to distance myself, I went to a walk in clinic that was miraculously opened on a Saturday evening in Markham. I met with this wonderful doctor and mother who was very understanding and nonjudgmental. She had told me that she had gone through something very similar, which actually made me feel a bit better. She prescribed me anti-depressant and an anti anxiety medication and had recommended I speak with someone. I filled out the prescription and went home feeling great because this doctor was so understanding. I decided to take my son for a walk. Well the walk was a success but the intrusive thoughts of hurting him kept getting worse and worse. I got him home immediately and started having an anxiety attack. This time it was so severe that my hands would stiffen and I was unable to move them. I took a lorazepam and it sent me through the roof. I couldn’t be inside my house, I couldn’t be around my baby, I was pacing back and forth on the front porch because the thoughts were getting more and more uncontrollable. It was like I was having a battle with my heart and my brain and my brain was winning. I couldn’t take it anymore. I called my brother out of fear of harming myself and told him that he had 20 minutes to get to my house or else I was going end up jumping in front of a car. I must of smoked a whole pack of cigarettes in the amount of time it took him to get there. I was hysterical, and balling my eyes out. Now if you know me I rarely let anything bother me enough to make me cry. However I was slowly dying inside. My brother quickly took me to Lakeridge Health Oshawa, where we sat for 5 hours without being seen. It was like everyone else was a bigger priority then me. The healthcare system failed me that night. I managed to calm myself down and left the hospital where I came home and went straight to bed. Everyday that went by I kept getting worse and worse. I kept telling my family that they had to commit me, because there was something truly wrong with me and that I was going crazy. 2 days after the Oshawa hospital ordeal, I drove to my brothers hysterical and so scared that he drove me to Markham Stouffville because their mental health department was apparently rated good. Ya ok what a joke that was. The doctor came in and said “you have anxiety you’re not gonna die from it, so get over it and prescribed me an anti-psychotic to help me sleep. What this idiot failed to understand was what was driving my anxiety, which was the constant intrusive thoughts of hurting my son and myself. By this time I was a couple weeks into this hell. It got to the point where I couldn’t see pictures of my son, I couldn’t hear his name, I couldn’t watch anything that had babies in it without have a severe anxiety attack. I went to stay with my sister, I figured maybe if I distanced myself that I might get better…boy was I wrong. The intrusive thoughts kept coming in and this time they were 24/7. I couldn’t think of anything else but hurting my son and myself. It was so bad that I didn’t eat for 2 weeks. One morning I woke up and went outside and the only thing that kept popping in my head was “go take your pills, go take all your pills and you wont fell this way anymore, go take your pills, GO TAKE YOUR PILLS”. I was so shaken up I went to my pills pulled one out that helped put me to sleep so I couldn’t think anymore. My thoughts were basically telling me to end my life. I didn’t give up that quickly. Once I woke up I sat my sister down and basically told her that if I didn’t get help immediately that I wouldn’t survive this. We got in the car and she immediately drove me to Mount Sinai hospital. My boyfriend met us there. I was so high strung with anxiety, I couldn’t catch my breath, my heart was pounding and I couldn’t stop pacing back and forth. It got to the point that I would look at my boyfriend and just seeing him would give me terrible anxiety which killed me. I didn’t want to feel this way towards him as I loved him very much and he was so supportive. He could of left me but he stood by me the whole way through this hell I was in. The Emergency doctor came in and sat down and said to me “You are suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety, its very treatable and you will get better, you came to the place” I’ll never forget looking him straight in the eyes and begging him to let me die, because I couldn’t stand feeling this way anymore. I scared the living shit out of him, he stepped out and came back with 2 security guards and put me on a form 1 (which basically means I was on suicide watch for 72 hours). I was escorted to CAMH emergency by these guards, which I can’t even begin to explain how traumatic that experience was. (Think of your worst nightmare and then throw yourself in it). Luckily the next day I was transferred back to Mount Sinai, where the journey of my treatment commenced. I met with a wonderful psychiatrist who specialized with postpartum depression and assured me that with help of talk therapy and the right dosage of medication that I would get back to being my normal self. She made me see the light at the end of the tunnel. She was my angel. I voluntarily stayed there for 3 weeks as I didn’t want to go home until I was 100% ready to be around my son again. I had my ups and downs but the nursing staff there was impeccable. I couldn’t begin to thank them enough for saving my life.

Most women suffer in silence and are too afraid to seek help for fear of people thinking they are crazy. Post Partum is a very real condition and is more common than you think. You don’t have to suffer alone. It’s nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. With the right help and support you can overcome it, just like I did. I can honestly say I have been to Hell and back, and I thank God everyday for bringing me back. So please if you know anyone or are currently experiencing any of the symptoms I experienced please feel free to contact me or join this group for support. I am here for you.

VENI, VIDI, VICI – I came, I saw, I conquered.

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Andrian Englezos