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Fate Calling

January 20, 2011

When I started this blog almost three weeks ago, the idea was that I would be able to talk about what I’ve done to get past postpartum depression, both to reflect on that experience and to help others. I was feeling pretty good – had that new-year/new-attitude/new-motivation thing going on. I envisioned plastering something like this up here:

Postpartum Progress

Turns out my badge looks more like this:

Photobucket

I had a rough week last week. A little bit of a roller-coaster with some ups and some downs. It’s made me think a lot this week about where I am on this journey. No, not think. Wonder. If “wonder” can be read as “desperately looking for meaning in all this.”

One of my problems is that it feels as though what I call my coping skills, though I’m sure there’s a more clinical term, have disappeared through all this. I’m able to do some of the right things – exercise, eat well (mostly), try to get sleep when I need it, sometimes ask for help. I’m just not able to think the right things.

My mom has a piece about attitude on her fridge. I gave it to her 13 (14?) years ago. I thought it was insightful but, to her, it’s become almost like a compass, a way to ensure you’re going in the right direction. That same piece of paper has been on her fridge all this time, and she has frequently quoted it back to me when talking about situations where she thinks someone has lost that resource – their attitude. It came up the other day and a little part of my brain turned off the conversation and thought about my attitude. Realized I have chosen not to choose my attitude about this experience. That same part of my brain also, in a fit of spite, whispered, “I don’t care. I can’t do it.”

I’ve been waiting, for so long, for this problem to just go away.

This idea that I have to take control of my attitude, my perception, the language I use to describe my experience and my reactions to it has been darting in and out of my consciousness lately. It’s always there, but I haven’t been willing to acknowledge it.

“Go away,” I think. “I’m waiting for an easier solution.”

But it didn’t go away.

This morning I read Lauren’s post about giving thanks for things no one would normally be thankful for – accidents, addiction, postpartum depression, unemployment, grief. Her thankfulness is founded on faith – gratitude to God for what He has given her. That faith is not my particular foundation, but I can appreciate how powerful that is, and how genuine are the thanks that result. I totally get it.

I’m a fatalist by nature. Not in a we-have-no-control-everything-is-predestined kind of way, just in that I think everything happens for a reason.

I’ve lived a pretty blessed life. I’ve had a lot of stability and many wonderful opportunities. I have people to love, and who love me back. I really can’t complain. And yet, in some ways, that’s what makes this whole thing harder. I don’t understand why this happened. I don’t understand how I got here.

That whole “you’re not given what you can’t handle” thing never really rung true for me and it feels laughable to me now, because I can’t say I feel like I’ve handled the last 2 1/2 years very well.

What I do believe is that everything happens for a reason, and there’s a lesson in everything. My Type A personality doesn’t really like it when I can’t figure out the lesson (and trust me, there are times when I’ve analyzed something to death to figure out what I’m supposed to learn from it). I don’t know what the lesson in this experience is, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to specifically identify it.

Maybe it’s more of an opportunity than a lesson. A chance to discover I can get through it and am strong enough to be open to sharing my experience in order to help others. I’m already doing that, but to keep doing it – in a way that allows me to move forward instead of this becoming a woe-is-me blog – I have to be willing to spin it the right way in my own head. And while I can’t yet say “I survived” I’m coming around to the idea that it’s okay for this blog to be more about the here and now, and the ups and downs. For it to be about how I’m surviving.

I will survive. And you can too.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Elizabeth F permalink
    February 13, 2011 6:41 pm

    Thank you for shaaring about your experience. I had my second daughter 7 weeks ago and have been experiencing some ppd since then. It is really encouraging to hear your story and how you are processing/handling the challenges. Your point about attitude is a good one. I’ve started trying each day to list a few things I’m thankful for- my nature is to be critical and focus on how life falls short, so it’s been a good discipline for me. Most days there are things to be thankful for, even if they are small.

    Thank you again!
    Elizabeth

  2. January 22, 2011 10:11 am

    I often find myself saying “I was diagnosed with PPD” than “I have PPD.” I HAVE to believe that it will be over soon because if I didn’t have that hope I know I would want to end things.

    I’m starting to wonder if recovery is more about redefining who I am and what I expect than simply “getting better”. I’m also a very strong Type A personality – its all or nothing most of the time but I recently started a project (a kids Valentines Day party) which is allowing me to really be all Type A about one single thing. I’m really, really enjoying it but its also letting me get those “get things sorted NOW” feelings out in a proactive & positive way.

  3. January 21, 2011 8:10 am

    For months during my PPD, I wanted to use the past tense. Every good day I had, I thought I beat it–past tense. And every bad day? Then I thought, “it’s baaaack.” I gave birth 17 months ago, and I only recently realized it’s not in my best interest to reach for that set end date for PPD. That sometimes there isn’t a hard & fast end date, that it isn’t here one day and gone the next. And that it takes time, even past 12 months.

    Good luck with your journey. I’m looking forward to reading more about it.

  4. January 21, 2011 6:30 am

    YES! You will survive. I guarantee it!

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