Lisa says: Feeling better

After a long few years, Lisa's wondering if this is the end of her postpartum depression.

By Lisa van de Geyn
Lisa says: Feeling better

Lisa, on the day of Addy's birth.

Sometimes when I look at this picture, I can actually remember feeling like myself — before the mood swings (the really bad ones, I mean — hell, I'm still female), anxiety and the prenatal/postpartum depression that eventually hit. This picture is going on five years old and, although I've had moments of happiness in the past half-decade since (Peyton's birth, kids' birthdays, anniversaries, becoming an aunt, happy family news, watching the kids grow), I've mostly felt anxious, grumpy, impatient, sad, tired, irritated and blah.

Until two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago, and seemingly of out of nowhere, I physically and emotionally realized that I'm STARTING TO FEEL BETTER. 

(This is HUGE news, hence the caps, and I'm scared I'll jinx myself, but I've written so much about feeling like crap that I felt it was important to share this.)

Physically, I had this weird feeling in my tummy that I can only describe as a euphoric "I'm OK!" feeling; something I haven't felt in ages.  

Emotionally, I felt hopeful and happy for no reason. (Literally no reason — I was under a bunch of deadlines and had a ton of work to get done, my nose was stuffed, Peyps had been a monster all weekend, I was sore from sleeping on a mattress on my bedroom floor, and exhausted because I'd been up most of the night listening to Addy cough. Not a hell of a lot to be euphoric about.) But I felt good. Happy. Mellow.  

It took me a few days to get used to, and I quickly decided that my newest cocktail of medications (prescribed by Dr. G) was the reason behind the sudden change in my disposition. I was a week away from seeing her, but was so excited with "feeling better" that I almost called her to tell her my big news. When I did go see her, she was definitely surprised. 

"I don't think I've actually heard you say you're 'happy' in the almost three years I've been seeing you," she said, while flipping through my file. 

Now, I'm obviously not yet out out of the woods and back to "normal" — whatever that was. I've been tiptoeing around myself since I started feeling better, terrified that the happiness I'm feeling is just a short-lived side effect of the new drug kicking in, or that I'd get upset/mad/aggravated/have a bad day (you know — like any normal person) and take a turn for the worse, or that I imagined the whole thing altogether. (Apparently my anxiety still lingers in some form. Ha.) But so far, so good. I'm still noticing changes and trying to be positive.  

For example, last week I went to see Fleetwood Mac in concert with my dad. It hit me that I was really looking forward to it. When I was pregnant with Peyton, Bon Jovi came to town and I knew something was wrong with me because I didn't care and couldn't be bothered to get a ticket. (I never miss Bon Jovi, so that was quite telling.) 

And almost every time I've left the house to do something with friends over the past few years, it's taken Peter forcing me to go and a ridiculous amount of effort to put on my best "I'm Still Fun" face, before drowning my gloomy Gus in copious amounts of whatever alcohol we were drinking that evening. Meanwhile, I just started planning my best friend's shower/bachelorette, and I'm already looking forward to it (even though it means I'll need to spend a good week cleaning my house from top to bottom before the shindig).

Even though I'm really afraid that this feeling isn't going to last, like I said, I'm trying to stay positive. I don't want to revert back to being miserable. It's no fun — for anyone. In the meantime, I'll roll with it and keep my fingers crossed that I'm FINALLY coming out this awful haze that's taken up so much of my time, energy and brain for so long.

(One more thing: I'm hoping that the next time I write about feeling blue, you'll remind me of this post, and tell me I'm allowed to have crummy days like everyone else. And remind me that no matter what, I'm better off today than I was three years ago.)

This article was originally published on Apr 22, 2013

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