I know I've mentioned before that I had a really terrible experience with post partum depression and anxiety after Jack was born. The depression wasn't anything new...I've been mega depressed before, so while it is not fun or pretty or easy, I can usually slog through it because I've been there before. But the anxiety was something altogether new. I had never had a panic attack before, never even knew what exactly they were, and was COMPLETELY unprepared for them. It took an embarrassing long amount of time for me to figure out what was going on (I was pretty much convinced I was dying.) and they really didn't start to abate until I got back on anti-depressants, this time with an extra dose of anti-anxiety meds thrown in for good measure.
I chose to get off of the anti-depressants again this pregnancy because I'm dumb. I really should have just stayed on them, but it's hard for me to go against what my doctor recommends even if that doctor is a total jerk face who lied to me and was clearly unconcerned about my well being. (I've since switched doctors and my current OB was, surprise!, totally okay with me getting back on anti-depressants if I needed it.)
So unsurprisingly, my anxiety level during this pregnancy has been kind of high. Things haven't been TOO bad (I haven't cried everyday! I voluntarily leave the house!) And I think it's been better because 1) we planned this pregnancy and 2) I am now aware that babies and toddlers can be fun and lovely and wonderful and not life-ruiners. But that's not to say this has been easy. Oh no, it's been a battle. I'm not completely even keel and have been on edge for most of the past 8 months. (Just ask my husband what a joy I've been!) The difference this time is that I knew to look for this and have been better able to fight it...with varying degrees of success.
Last night, I had a pretty sweet panic attack that came out of the blue. Definitely the worst one of this pregnancy. I'm not even certain what caused it and I think that's one reason why I had such a hard time with it. Usually I can feel the panic creeping in and am able to fight it off with prayer and deep breathing and positive thoughts and distractions and whatever else. But this hit me like a ton of bricks and I was panicking before I even really knew what was happening. I shouldn't be surprised since I've noticed my anxiety level rising as my due date draws closer. (I am DREADING having another C Section and the subsequent recovery. Not to mention the normal fears of having a new life for which you are responsible.) I wound up in our bedroom rocking and trying to focus and calm down and breathe, breathe, BREATHE while Alex and Jack were rough housing on our bed. Alex knew something was up and I was trying to calmly tell him what was going on without freaking out and scaring Jack. I didn't do a good enough job because Jack noticed something was wrong. He got a very serious look on his face and walked over me intently. Then he said, "Don't worry, Mama."
And oh man, you guys, it was the SWEETEST THING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD AND MY HEART EXPLODED IN A BAZILLION PIECES. I gave him a hug and he ran off to play and he was completely oblivious to me once again. At first I blew it off because what does he know? He's 2! But then I got to thinking that he's right. I shouldn't worry. Things are going to be okay. And maybe God was using him to speak to me. I felt this weird sense of comfort as I kept focusing on his little innocent face telling me not to worry. It still took a while for everything to settle back to normal, but I can definitely say that him telling me not worry was the turning point.
I have no good way to wrap up this story and there's really no point, unless you want to take away that the best way to stop a panic attack is to get an adorable 2 year old to tell you not to worry. But I've thought about it again and again today as I entered super-mega-OMG-we'rehavingababyin2weeks-wemustbuythingsandcleanthehouseNOW!!!!!!!!! mode.
And I thought you'd like to know. He thinks I'm going to be okay. I think so too.