It’s been a while since my last post. Truthfully, I’ve been putting it off. I find that while I write these blogs I re-live them. Even though months have passed since it all went down, it pains me to dive into the abyss that I felt during that time.
‘Q’ is for quiet
I always felt that my home was a very loud place. As a child it was rare to have quiet, and now raising my own children I still find this to be true. The sounds of babies crying, kids laughing, washing machines running, dogs barking, siblings fighting, and music playing filled my home ever since I can remember and they still do. I don’t remember minding the volume growing up but I can admit as an adult after a long day, the noise can be quite overwhelming. We as parents can all understand this, I never realized how valuable quiet was until I had a family of my own. I feel like my home is louder than anyone I know, but after that first night that I officially lost myself I will never feel the same way about noise again. The noise in my mind was louder than any noise I’d ever experienced. It made my kids seem like crickets chirping compared to the blaring and confused static that was my mind.
‘R’ is for rest
The morning after my PPD’s coming out party, I had never in my life felt so tired. In fact, there were so many new sensations going through me that I’d never experienced. Anxiety had turned physical, my home had the same sounds as any other day but I cupped my hands over my ears because I couldn’t bear to hear it. In general, when I wake, my first prayer before I open my eyes is to hear the sounds of my children and then I thank G-d for keeping them safe through the night. That morning though, those same sounds struck my mind and heart like lighting. The sounds reminded me of all the people and tasks that I was failing to care for. The thoughts ran a marathon through my mind. ‘I can’t do this.. Why are they crying?… Make them stop…I need to get up and help… I can’t help them’. I laid there with my skin crawling, my mind racing and not a clue how to find peace. I felt nauseous and so tired. I just wanted to rest. Somehow, I reluctantly pulled myself out of bed. My husband was home and we had to get ourselves prepared to go to my folks for Rosh Hashanah. He gave me a loving hug, ‘Ruth, just take one thing at a time’. So I did. It was all so hazy but the fact that I was going to see my Dad and hopefully get some help and answers helped me push through each task that seemed impossible.
‘S’ is for Sanity
We arrived at my parents on Erev Rosh Hashanah which happens to fall on my Hebrew birthday (real fun, I know). I hugged my Mom and Dad and was so glad to be in their care. I felt as though I was losing my sanity and every fleeting moment that I stayed in this nightmare I wasn’t sure I’d find my way out. I was Alice falling down the rabbit hole. I couldn’t stop crying, Ian kept repeating ‘today is like every other day’ which was comforting but so confusing since it felt as though some kind of extreme tragedy had taken place and I was the only one who knew about it. Later that evening, my father explained that if I’m willing, that he recommends an antidepressant to help me fight my way out. As a psychiatrist and my father, his opinion is valued because I know he only wants the best for me. ‘It’s partially the meds, but mainly about you. You need to fight the urge to sleep and go about each task as usual. Reconnect your brain with your usual activities. Take a shower, go for a walk, eat your meal even if you aren’t hungry. YOU WILL GET OUT OF THIS. ‘ I believed him, and agreed. I wanted my life back. I was terrified, scared, so sad but not alone. So, I started that night with meds for the PPD and planned to fight the good fight.
‘T’ is for Time
The first two weeks after starting the medication were filled with so many tears I could fill a well. I knew it would take time but every day was a struggle. I prayed daily, and leaned on everyone I loved. The mornings were the hardest trying to find the strength to get through a full day. The nights were easier when all was quiet, when I was able to breathe and pray for a better next day.
‘U’ is for Umbrella
During my recovery I had my whole family and community helping with everything. Literally everything. They brought meals daily. They found and funded a wonderful, sweet cleaner to help with the house. They set up childcare with a wonderful group of ladies who donated their time caring for the twins. My mother held me while I wept, and even at almost the age of 70 held my household together. My siblings constantly checked in on me, my sister Nechama took off work for days to be by my side and help. They brought me to a homeopathic expert that started me on the vitamins to help heal my body and mind from the toll of the virus and depression. They took me to and from a wonderful acupuncturist. IMHO, the vitamins were as important as the meds were for my recovery. Also, extra TLC from everyone I know. It was as though they were my ‘umbrella’ shielding me from the rain. I will be forever grateful.
‘V’ is for Victorious
With every day that passed, I found it got a little easier. I became hopeful, I started to laugh again. And most importantly, I felt safer than I’d felt since the babies were born. I was able to achieve the everyday tasks without feeling exhausted and learned how to accept help, something I’ve always struggled with.
‘W’ is for Wondered
When this started I wondered if I’d ever feel ‘normal’ again. Don’t get me wrong, some days are still a little tough but that’s the point. It’s only some days, and that I can handle. We all have hard days, those days that seem to never end but without the downs we’d never be able to appreciate the beauty that life can be.
‘X’ is for… Who am I kidding?? I’m not finding a word for ‘X’ that is relevant. Please let this one slide.
‘Y’ is for Year
With the twins approaching their 1st birthday, I can’t even believe how much time has passed, how much I’ve learned, how much more I love ‘my people’, and how faith plays a huge roll in recovery.
‘Z’ is for Zoo
My life has returned to the zoo it once was. My home is loud, chaotic, sometimes messy, and full of drama. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because the worst is behind me G-d willing and I’m stronger now than ever before. I pray that sharing my story will help, and implore anyone who is suffering from PPD or any kind of depression to speak out, no matter how hard it may be. Accept help, and fight as hard as you can to have peace in your mind, body and soul. Thank you all for taking the time to read and G-d bless you all.