Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A New (Old) Me

I am seriously surprised at how much things have changed and in such a short amount of time. I think talking about the problem with family and friends has definitely helped. And though I'm not always a proponent of Western medicines quick fix (pop a pill to rid you of your symptoms), in this case it was needed and desperately. Once our family finds our "new normal" (probably when the boys have a solid school routine and the girls have been with us a bit longer), I'm going to look into some natural alternatives to treat depression and discuss options with my doctor.

So how am I different since being on a medication? I sing spontaneously. I act silly with the kids. I snuggle more. I kiss more. I have 100% more patience. I have 100% less irritability. I don't feel like I'm dragging myself everywhere. I read books to the kids. I haven't cried. I'm significantly less frustrated. I smile.

The new me feels a lot like the old me. Which is good...

Before, I felt like we were barely surviving. Today, I feel like we are on the verge of thriving.

Again, I'm not a pill-pusher. But for me, a little pink pill was just what the patient ordered.

Click HERE for part 1.
Click HERE for part 2.

And a special shout out to the IAN mamas who live scattered all across the country but still managed to get several homemade meals to my family. It was an insanely generous and unexpected act of kindness. IAN families rock!

And another shout out to the Rancho mamas. I'm glad that school is back in session and I will have my daily dose of grown-up talk to help keep me sane.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A Little Pink Pill...

Thank you for all the comments and emails. It means so much to have people sympathize with my situation and some who even have shared experiences. I have started taking some medication and call it fast-acting or maybe even the placebo effect, but the very next day after taking the meds was a much better day. Oh, what a difference a little pink pill can make!

In doing some more research, I've been surprised to learn a few more things about PADS:
  • As many as 65% of adoptive parents experience PADS.
  • It can affect mothers or fathers.
  • It is more common in parents that have adopted internationally.
  • And it is more common for parents that have brought home a child older than an infant whom is not the first child.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, what I had been going through didn't look like what I thought depression looked like. So what did my depression look like (pre-meds)? Lots and lots of anger. Rage. Seething. (How can I be this mad at 4 of the most beautiful kids in the world?) Severe irritability. Heightened sensitivity to sound. Frustration. Sadness. Guilt. Reduced capacity for compassion. Lack of patience. Frequent headaches. Horrible back pain. Low energy level. Trouble making decisions. Extremely unrealistic expectations.

That was me for more than five weeks. Thank goodness that the medicine is diminishing all of the above symptoms.

I will say, that through it all, the one thing I have not felt is regret. I love all of my children. I love my husband. I love the decisions we've made. And even when life was dark, I knew that one day there would be light.

Click HERE to read part 1.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Ugly Truth

I've recently realized something. It's an embarrassing and guilt-ridden and shameful secret. But I'm going to post about it...in public...for all to read. I have Post Adoption Depression Syndrome (PADS).

In all of my adoption research, I had heard of PADS and though I know that I have been "going through something" for the past month I wouldn't have thought to call it "depression." What I'm experiencing doesn't look like what I thought depression looked like. However, after doing some online research I realize now that I definitely have PADS.

Looking back I can clearly see that I have had periods of depression several times in my adult life. And the way I've dealt with (or in some cases not dealt with) my depression has been very different pre- and post-children. Before becoming a mother I was able to lie low, distance myself from friends, stay in bed all day. When I was annoyed and irritated with everyone I could just retreat. This is simply not possible as a mama of young children.

So, when I've had bouts of depression since becoming a mother, I've alternated between sadness and anger. Jack and Logan have experienced my crying and shouting more times than I count. And that triggers the guilt. Now with Des and Bri at home, I can't help feeling like I've ruined six lives. Every day is insanely stressful and everyone is feeling frustrated. My patience and feelings of compassion are practically non-existent.

For me, the first step is knowing what I have and that I am not alone. The following articles/blog posts were very helpful in my self-diagnosis:
Post-Adoption Depression by Melissa Fay Greene
Post-adoption Panic by Melissa Fay Greene
My Lightbulb Moment by Julie Gumm

The second step is getting help for which I'm getting together a gameplan. In the meantime, I'm living by the motto "fake it 'til you make it." My Facebook updates and previous blog posts have all been an act. In public, I put on this big fake smile and just try to muddle through the days. Hopefully, I can get some help soon and find a real smile to brighten my children's days.