What’s shaking? Did you miss me? Don’t get too excited, I’m just popping in for a moment. I’ve missed writing so I thought I would share with you all about what’s been going on in the last few months. After I stopped writing my plate was a little less full, but for some reason I stopped sleeping. I wasn’t getting more than 3-4 hours of sleep a night and they weren’t consistent hours. It wasn’t food, it wasn’t too much screen time, I just wasn’t sleeping. It would take me forever to fall asleep and then I would wake up after only a few hours and stay awake for a few more hours only to doze off just before my 5am alarm went off. I finally admitted to myself that I was miserable and couldn’t keep going the way I was. I prayed, again, for help. Thankfully, God has not yet given up on this stubborn and foolish woman. One afternoon and idea popped into my head. Postpartum Insomnia. I googled it and it turns out it is not only a thing, but it is often paired with Postpartum Depression. Guess what the symptoms of PPD are!
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Fear that you are not a good mother
- Reduced interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Diminished ability to think clearly
- Severe anxiety
- Fatigue and loss of energy
There are a few more to chose from, these are just the ones I was dealing with without realizing it. So that anxiety I was talking about in the spring? While still very real and present, it is also exacerbated by PPD. I guess I couldn’t see what the issue was until everything was lumped together in front of me. Many of these symptoms I wasn’t able to put my finger on until I saw them in the list. It took so much effort for me to think through issues and I thought it was just because I… I don’t know, wasn’t focusing hard enough, or I ate something I shouldn’t have. I waved off my fears of being a bad mom thinking everyone thinks they’re a bad parent 80% of the time (they don’t). And I was always irritable because of my anxiety, but told myself that when I got my act together and stopped being so lazy all the time and got my work done, I would stop being so irritable.
It’s funny to me that as time has gone on and I’ve finally started to step out of denial about what I am struggling with, it seems that things are getting worse rather than better. It’s not just anxiety, it’s full on PPD paired with insomnia. I think that in my pushing myself to BE BETTER I haven’t been allowing myself to get better. Also, if I am being completely honest, I think it’s stupid that I have this level of depression/anxiety without any trauma to justify it. I mean, yeah, I had a baby, but that isn’t enough to me. I shouldn’t be this mentally broken over having a baby. I know about hormones and all that, and how some women are prone to this sort of thing, and life circumstances can also influence it, blah blah blah. I get it. I still think it’s stupid and unjustified.
Anyway, this isn’t just a whine-fest. There have been improvements. To start with, I turned off my alarms. This was actually a bit of a point of pride for me. I love being able to say that I get up at 5am as much as I actually love getting up early. It’s amazing, but right now my body needs rest. So I bought some cold cereals and I am loosening my standards (temporarily). For a couple weeks I really stopped doing anything. Laundry, dishes, I let it all go. My body needed rest and once it realized I was letting it happen I truly felt how tired I was. For the first two weeks I was taking a lot of midday naps. I also started forcing myself to stay up until 10pm rather than go to bed early because I was tired. I don’t understand why, but that was the final piece I needed and now I am sleeping at least 6 hours a night. It feels pretty great. My husband has to make me get out of bed in the mornings and I feel no shame.
I have switched from taking 5HTP to St. Johns Wort. While the 5HTP was working as an upper, if I missed a day or two there would be a severe down. Also, I feel like treating the depression is the right way to go at the moment. A few sources said that if you treat the depression the insomnia will resolve itself. (I don’t even like typing that out – dEpReSsIoN. It feels so defeatist, like quitting.) Also, for the time being, I am not going to my morning classes at the gym in order to protect my sleep. I can’t get up that early right now, but maybe in a few months. In the meantime, I am doing at home workouts on a secondhand rowing machine.
As of right now my plan of action, if you want to call it that, is working. My next step is to get back into my everyday life without overdoing myself. I am not sure how to do that, clearly. But I will keep trying. Because I am not a defeatist.