My hands are shaking and I feel like I could relive every bite of that McDonald’s I ate on the way to my Pilates class. The Pilates class that I just had a panic attack in…
As I lie on my yoga mat, practicing my deep breathing in this dimly lit room, all I can think about is, “on no, it’s about to happen.” I try and calm my thoughts and not focus on how dark it is in here. “Why does it always have to be so dark in these classes? I don’t need ambiance while I sweat.” It hits me. My breathing quickens and my palms start to sweat. We’ve been in here for a total of 5-minutes, but I excuse myself to the bathroom. I walk out knowing there is no way I can go back in there. I think of a plan so I don’t look too embarrassed. I go in and grab my stuff, “that wasn’t the plan Leah.”
I left feeling completely defeated by this stupid, ridiculous feeling of panic. What the heck is wrong with me?
Noelle was a month old when my postpartum anxiety began. I felt like I was completely losing all sanity. I had never experienced anything like it and I’m still feeling the residual effects. It’s like a faucet turned on that I cannot completely shut off and I struggle with the thought that I’ll never be able to turn it off. Now I find myself pregnant again and fearing the worst. How am I going to deal with this again? How do I prepare myself to feel completely out of control? I know I need to address this head on and not just pretend it won’t happen again. Heck, with my pilates meltdown, there were no pregnancy hormones raging, so I can’t even blame it on that.
The first time around seemed unbearably hard because I never expected the feelings to come. It wasn’t a thought that crossed my mind. I knew about postpartum depression and I understood how bad it could get. When my anxiety started, I was afraid that this meant that things would progress to wanting to hurt my baby. Needless to say, that increased my anxiety further. This time, I want to be proactive, do all I can to help ease the anxiety if or when it arrives. There’s no mistaking that my circumstances will be much different this time. I gave birth to Noelle while living at home in Orlando. Now my little family is thousands of miles away from all of our support and we have to wing it on our own.
I will have to arm myself with every tool at my disposal.
As we looked for a new apartment last month, I wanted to make sure the place had a lot of natural light because dark and dreary aren’t my friends. It had to be easily accessible to the outside and have places to take the kids when I need to get out of the house. I’ll find support groups ahead of time and plan to attend as often as I feel I need to. My husband and I will have multiple conversations about how we will tackle this together. My mother has already made plans to spend a couple weeks with us. I will find a professional to talk to soon, and it must be someone who shares my faith. Why would that be important to me you ask? Well because there’s nothing that helped me more than putting all my faith and trust in Christ. There was no coping without Him. Mantras and affirmations are great, but I know that I need someone to tell me how God is going to bring me through. Give me scriptures to read that will encourage me and words that remind me He is always near.
However you decide to get help, I recommend it. This could have swallowed me if I kept it to myself. Sometimes I forget about how bad it was and then I’ll have a panic attack out of nowhere and remember its crippling affect on me while at home with my newborn. I’ve heard I’ll be too busy to worry much about anxiety this time around, I hope that’s true.