Wednesday, 22 May 2013

A PPD Update

I haven’t blogged in a while about my PPD.
If you weren’t aware, then yes, I am in a daily struggle with postpartum depression. You can check up on it at my PPD page.
I guess I haven’t been writing about it because, well, it’s just become a part of our daily lives. But I figured I’d let you guys peek in on our daily world a little bit!

It is far from gone out of my life. I still face it each morning the moment I open my eyes. Truthfully, it is a battle I begin before my eyes even open. The moment the alarm begins to sound, I can feel the emotions waging war against each other.

The “in control” side of me rationally says, ‘Shana, it is time to get up and get ready for work. You know you need to be up now because if not your morning is rushed.’
The PPD side of me tries to find any reason possible as to why I must stay in bed longer and push of the responsibilities of the day.
See that is what PPD does to me. It affects each of us slightly different, but for me….it causes me to retreat and hide. It makes me turn away from the world, because, well, the world just becomes too much for me to handle.
Really, it’s as if the world is happening around me but I’m just not a part of it.
So, PPD Shana tells me that it’s cold and that LJ wants to eat again or that I can push it for just 5 more minutes. All of this seems like normal reasons, I know it is more. It is simply me wanting any reason to not face the day.

From there, I get up. I have to. I have two kids, a husband, and a full time job. I must get up. Unfortunately, I’m still fighting this battle to a point where I am not getting up as early as I’d like, nor allowing myself to have time to workout in the mornings.

This brings up my next obstacle to overcome. I’m on my best game for the day if I can get a morning workout in. It’s like I sweat out my demons before the day begins and go in with a clean slate. This isn’t happening at the moment so I’m loosing out on my number one form of therapy!

From here, I need my day to go without relative bumps or change. I’m still taking the medication the doctor gave me three times a day. It is a relatively low dosage and I’m hoping through self coping systems I’ve learnt that I can keep it this way.

I plan my day. Yes, I realize that things do not go exactly to a T so rather I give myself an outline. I prioritize everything. I access the importance and value of each person and activity. I create lists. I form my to-do list, my tasks, my grocery items and my errands. I list phone calls that need to be made and emails to respond to. I do all of this because I can then see in writing what is next. I can make changes and I don’t have the pressure inside me to keep in all in line.

For some reason, seeing the things in writing make them more substantial. As if I can now physically handle them where before they were only in my mind.

My evenings must also flow smoothly. I feed LJ the moment I get home from work. I begin to cook dinner and play with Lil Mister. We eat as a family and then watch the news and then the boys’ bath. I need the routine….no matter how tired I am. I need to keep the routine so that there are not surprises.

Surprises (not like Hubby coming home with flowers…that is good! Although it will stress me out because now I need to squeeze in the time to cut the stems and treat the water and put them in the vase and find a home for them…this change to my evening routine stresses me out! My heart is racing thinking about it.) do not sit well with me at this moment. I’m blessed because Hubby understands this. He is giving me notice on just about everything. If a friend phones him wanting to braai or get together for dinner, he phones me immediately. If they ask after about 1pm, he usually automatically tells them no. When he asks me if I am willing, he makes sure to ask what I need him to do to accomplish our plans. He offers help and tries to stick to an easy routine with me. He just gets that I need this right now.

Does it mean if things go astray that the wheels come off the train??
Not necessarily. We have those days…we have kids…things happen. I just watch for triggers.
Too much caffeine is a big one and sugar. I’ve cut down on both of these for both my PPD and for healthy living choices. Along with this goes eating better. I need to eat regularly. When my blood sugar begins to drop, then my mood does to. If I allow this, then I’m lost before I know it.
I surround myself with daily messages. If I read a quote that touches me, I type it into my email tasks with an alarm or schedule an alarm on my phone calendar. Later in the week that quote will randomly pop up for me.
I’ve begun cutting from life negative things and people. Childish and immature old friends have been deleted from my social media. This is not to be mean but I need to clean up my social life to ensure I’m staying healthy. I need cleanliness for my mind.
The biggest trigger has been clutter, though. I seem to come apart at the seams when clutter comes into my life. In my house, at work, in my purse…it all needs organization. The old saying a place for everything and everything in its place seems to ring like therapy for me. When a day is just too much, I start to de-clutter and slowly everything seems to become a little easier.

By the end of the day, I’m exhausted again. I normally fall asleep right now along with the boys at bedtime. I would like to raise my energy levels and am working on this. The emotional toll of PPD seems to exhaust all my reserves. My mind works constantly throughout the day, refusing rest or release and therefore by the time we turn the bedroom lights out and sit with the boys for bedtime…I am spent. Each week I set myself an additional night time task as a goal to add to the previous one to work myself slowly into a new routine. This seems to be accomplishing a lot both for my self esteem and my energy levels.

In essence, I’m allowing the OCD part of me to take a little bit of center stage while changing life style habits to reflect a healthier and positive whole. Conquering PPD is not a simple answer of getting my head on straight. This is a battle in which is fought on many fronts. It is a combination of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

Taking time out for myself once a week whether a nice relaxing bath or a walk alone to a local café for coffee is essential to defragging my brain.
I’m also meeting weekly with a close friend for a Bible study in which I bring all of this to the Lord and ask Him for guidance into the next week.

It seems like a lot and quite confusing but essentially the key to success has been simplicity. Set a routine, write it down, get away a little, and pray a lot. Eat healthy and move my body!!

Other days….I write a rambling blog like this one ;-)

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Shana Danae..

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