The cry for help.

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It had been building for months, but I swore up and down it wasn’t postpartum depression. I still do, to an extent. Everything about Hadassah Lee fills me with joy. I cherish everything about her, even down to her nighttime antics which give me little sleep and no rest. I swore up and down it wasn’t hormones, either. Nor was it winter. I can handle the cold and the dark.┬áBut still I was angry most days. All day. I cried a lot, at the drop of a hat. There was a lot of yelling, slamming, leaving the house. I figured out how to dump quickly and efficiently on my husband, and how to mask everything from the kids. My kids are perceptive. They ask me what’s wrong. They give hugs. In the loud places, I stonewalled. In the quiet places, I crumpled. I tried to think rationally through situations and describe my emotions, to take away their power. The only word I kept coming up with was rage. It was bright and blinding.

And then came the cry for help. The event that set off the alarms. A big blaring sign that read GET HELP, RACH.

It was a typical midweek morning. Chris was still unloading his gear and his thoughts from Sunday’s services while simultaneously preparing for the next one. I’d worked the previous day and stormed through the house, cleaning and fuming with what had become the usual fury. We were trying to get out of the house for some reason, but I can’t remember the plans now. I asked Chris to get the girls’ boots for them while I finished getting dressed. After a few minutes of searching, it was discovered that one pair of boots was missing. We looked in the usual spots, to no avail. Instead of just rolling with it and letting Chris grab another pair of shoes for the forlorn twin, I lost my junk. I refused to the leave the house until the missing boots were found, letting it take me to tears. Tears, over some missing boots. I made the kids sit on the couch while I stomped around, convinced that nobody else could find the missing boots as well as I. And besides, they’d just get in the way. I was on a mission. The muttering below my breath became loud and forceful, words and emotions flying as if this were truly the end of my world. I could feel myself, see myself acting absolutely crazy over something so small and yet… I couldn’t let it go. The boots were eventually found nearly an hour later and we loaded everyone up, late to our destination. Chris hadn’t said a word the entire time, but I could feel it. I had crossed the line. I had become fixated on the something trivial to the detriment of my mood, my day, and my family. And this wasn’t the first time. But I knew it needed to be the last.

22 thoughts on “The cry for help.”

  1. Woman. You just wrote my life. I know this rage, and I know this battle. Sending you love and hugs and peace. I hope help comes quickly and powerfully. And huge amount of bravo for speaking the words.

  2. So encouraged by your honesty. This is my life (minus four kids). Happy baby, bringing all the joy, typical 3 year old, so funny. Yet…anger. I kind of thought I was the only one! Praying for you and everyone else who is going through this.

  3. Bravo for speaking the truth! It’s hard to let people in on the ‘ugly’ and yet, it needs to be shared! I thought I was the only one who had that rage and unreasonableness. There’s no reasoning it, it just is. Lots of love to you and hugs via the interwebs.

  4. You are a brave woman. Thank you for your candidness. This is my LIFE. The only way to describe it is rage, and when it comes on there is no stopping it. Somedays I am so exhausted from just keeping it at bay that I feel like I want to collapse, which makes me angry. Sometimes I think it is this “fire” that also fuels me to be, well, ME. And I don’t want to lose that part of it. I just hope we all can find tools to make it more manageable…

    You will turn that fire into light for your loved ones soon again…

    xo

    1. Thank you for this encouragement! I love watching the progress, even daily. Glad to be able to share and learn from folks like you as well.

  5. This has come at just the right time for me too. My depression manifests in rage. I am angry, all the time. My kids are no longer cute, they are out to make me angry with every little thing they do. Booking in to see a counsellor and upping my antidepressants this week. Thank you for posting. x

  6. Yes, yes, this. Thank you (again) for your honesty. My moment of realization was a panic attack after I accidentally woke our baby up from a nap. There had been plenty of stomping, raging and controlling in days…months past. Thankful for a wonderful counselor, husband who loves, and God who gives more than we could ever ask or imagine.

  7. I had this moment a little over a year ago. My daughter was 7 months, my son grabbed an orange and bit it. Then I dropped my basket. I think it is very brave and important for you to talk about the anger side of postpartum depression. For me, it was a cycle overwhelming anxiety, erupting anger, wanting out of my life(yes this included not wanting to live)…a year later, things are much better thanks to therapy, Zoloft, Grace, and learning to treat myself gently too.
    Best wishes in your healing journey!

  8. Oh how I get this. Around this time last year and for the next several months I thought I was going crazy. I think I actually did go a bit crazy. Hurting and mad and mostly alone in it all. Praying for healing for you.

  9. Oh my. Rachael, you are in my head. Thank you for letting me know I am not alone. Depression, Postpartum, denial, whatever you want to call it, doesn’t always come in the form of sadness and moping. Sometimes it’s RAGE. Rage is scary. :o(

  10. My depression also came in the form of anger. I understand being able to see what it looks like from the outside, but the inner feelings are too consuming to snap out of it. I did talk therapy for awhile but found I was unable to pinpoint anything. A low dose of medication gave me myself back. Best of luck to you!

  11. I’m so happy you posted this. I’m not a mother yet. But I have struggled with anxiety since I was a child without knowing that it wasn’t normal. My mother struggled with depression and bi-polar disorder, and I had a turbulent childhood with her. She died when I was a teenager, from what I know would have never happened without her mental illness. So when my anxiety took over my mind and my body and my life a few years ago I was scared. I was scared that I was crazy, that I was turning into my mother, that if I didn’t make it go away on my own that I would lose my husband and maybe my life. Just like you experienced, I could see myself having these major panic attacks; and I could see the helplessness and worry in my husbands eyes as he tried to console me. But I couldn’t stop it. It was like knowing the TV is on the loudest setting and you’re trying but you can’t turn it down. Finally one day I decided to see a doctor, and I learned that what I had been feeling my whole life was GAD. She put me on the lowest dose of Effexor, because at that point I was willing to try anything. Within a few weeks, I felt like a completely new person. I’m not embarrassed about it anymore, and every time I take my medication I feel thankful for it giving me my life back. I feel like we should talk about these kinds of things more openly so people can get the help they need, whether it be medication, counseling, whatever, without feeling the stigma associated with it.

  12. The fact that our babies bring us joy and we love them has nothing to do with postpartum depression. I am surprised to read your excusing it away like that. You should read up on it. Postpartum strikes loving mothers with beautiful babies. It is about hormones and body chemistry.

    1. Of course it is! My point exactly. Did you read the entire post? I was referring to my “excusing it away” as just that… an excuse!

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