One year ago today, I was diagnosed with Postpartum Anxiety Disorder and mild Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It was my mother-in-law who was the one that convinced me to get help and better myself. I had never really dealt with a mental disorder before (except for mild Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from an abusive relationship in highschool) and thus was in the dark about seeking help. I was scared to tell my parents and my doctor, because of fear of the unknown. My family hasn't seen a lot of mental disorders in our life, so I didn't feel like they would know how to deal with it. I was having a hard time dealing with it myself. But there was no denying it.
(For those of you that don't know)
Postpartum Anxiety Disorder- A disorder characterized by constant, uncontrollable, moderate to severe anxiety and depression in a woman after she has given birth. Can happen soon after delivery or up to a year after. Similar to Postpartum Depression except that the woman experiences more anxiety and compulsions.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder- A disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and cumpulsive actions, such as cleaning, checking, counting, hoarding, or repeating. The OCD individual often will feel the extreme need to obey repeatitive thoughts or behaviors that are often distressing but completely unavoidable.
(these were my therapist's difinitions)
I had some very obvious compulsions. I always needed all the doors in my house closed and always needed to have my head covered up in order to sleep. I would repeat words over and over in my head while I was working or doing something, sometimes the words would even be made up. All of my media products (books, DVDs, CDs, etc.) were always perfectly stacked and all sequels (or similar styles) had to be in the same area, or else I would take the time to reorganize the whole thing. I felt the need to show progress in certain hygienic things (clipping nails, removing dead skin, plucking eyebrows) and would often overdue it without realizing just because I craved the little pile. I counted stairs in my head as I went up them. If I was typing or writing and I mistyped/miswrote, I would have to correct it completely and recheck everything before continuing. And the whole time all always felt a sense of impending doom to myself and my family. The. Whole. Time. Especially if I didn't listen to my compulsions and obey them.
I began to start fights with Lon and isolate myself from my family and friends. Somedays, if I couldn't handle it, I would curl up into a ball and sob. I had horrible panic attacks too. I was always stressed out and always depressed feeling. Being a SAHM, it wasn't like I had anything to prepare for each day so most days I wouldn't even get dressed. Lon and his mother finally convinced me to tell my OBGYN at my six week appointment and she immeadiately set me up with a Medication Therapist named Dianne. Dianne analyzed me and decided to prescribe me 50 mg of Zoloft. She also scheduled me with a therapist at Riverstone Health named Grace.
I went to therapy with Grace for almost six months, and we worked on a lot of things. After about the first six weeks, we upped my prescription to 100 mg because the original didn't seem like enough. But I didn't like the way it made me feel, so I vowed to get off the prescription as soon as possible. And Grace helped me rediscover myself and my clarity. Before Alan, I used to meditate every other day at least. After him with my PPAD and OCD, I never meditated or even looked at my Buddhist books. I claimed it was just because of Alan being a baby still (he was around three months old then) but knew that it was not the truth. It was my PPAD. With therapy, Grace forced me to question myself why I had given up my religion, in a sense.
I started meditating and I started reading the Dhammapadda and the Tao Te Ching again, and found myself in the darkness. I was able to go off Zoloft completely, and now I am a free person again! Of course I still stress, I mean that's life. But I feel like a completely different person, a completely free soul! I haven't gotten to that low point since and I don't plan on going there again anytime soon. Now everytime I feel lost or overly stressed, I meditate or look to my Buddhist writings. It is amazing to me how far I have come and in only a year! What a beautiful thing!