Things that go bump in the night…

I remember when I was a kid I was scared that there was a monster under my bed. I was terrified that this monster was going to grab me and pull me under the bed into the land of terrors. I had no idea what a real monster could do. I had no way of understanding that there were monsters in my everyday life. I hadn’t been introduced to alcohol, I hadn’t been told to take this pill or that pill to feel better.

Not yet at least.

 

Fast forward to July 2016. I had just brought home my second beautiful daughter, and life was pretty good. I remember my husband asking me if I wanted a drink or anything. I was so focused on the baby and making sure our eldest felt loved in the midst of all the changes in her life. I told him I was fine. I didn’t need a drink. I was oozing out happiness and bliss from every pore. I made sure I gave myself a big ‘ol pat on the back for turning down alcohol. At the time, I said to myself, ” See! You don’t have a problem. You can say no.”

That lasted for approximately two hours. The sun was setting, the house started to quiet down, and bedtime was approaching. I told my husband to sleep on the couch so I wouldn’t wake him when I was up with the baby. Around two am I started to feel like there were bugs crawling up my legs. I couldn’t sit still. I became terrified to close my eyes. My heart started to race, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I thought I was dying. I woke my husband up and told him he needed to bring me to the ER immediately. The feeling just got worse and worse. I realized I couldn’t go to the ER, because I would have to take the baby too and she was too little to be surrounded with all of the germs that lurk in an ER.

Instead, I ran out into the backyard hysterically crying. My husband had to hold me super tight, I was scared shitless. Eventually, the feeling left.

Twenty minutes later, round two started. Same crazy feelings, same terror. This time I decided I had to do something about it. If it kept happening I would be exhausted from being up all night panicking or feeding the baby. I had to sleep. I had to turn off my mind to make the panic go away.

Drinking seemed like the obvious solution.

I pounded two glasses of wine. That’s all I needed. My brain started to slow down. Well, if two glasses managed to help, two more wouldn’t be a big deal. I was trying to develop a healthy breastfeeding relationship with my newborn, but I had some formula stashed away. It didn’t matter. I fed her formula as I felt my boobs just straight up fill up with milk that I couldn’t even feed her.

 

As time went on, this nighttime panic bullshit got worse. I started these weird rituals when I could feel the anxiety creeping in. If everyone else in the house was asleep, I wasn’t allowed to sleep. Someone had to be up. I would look at my windows and try to see if any of my neighbors were still up. If they were, then I could go to sleep. If that failed, I would watch infomercials until 3 am when the news came on. If the news came on, I could sleep.

Constant racing thoughts, scared of dying in my sleep, feeling inadequate as a mom, hating my curvy body, worrying that I might trip on the stairs and drop the baby, and so many other intrusive thoughts just ran a marathon in my brain.

 

All of this crap became an excuse. I’m depressed! I have anxiety! I have OCD! Drinking will help. Look- see, I had some wine and now I’m totally functioning! I’m smiling! Alcohol was the solution to all my postpartum issues.

 

Cracking open a bottle of wine at 2 am started to seem more and more like normal behavior. I thought it was helping me sleep. It wasn’t helping me sleep. I was BLACKING out every night. Over and over and over and over. Reality started to become blurry.

“Are there other moms that do this? There has to be. I can’t be the only one. But, just to be safe, I’m not going to mention this to anyone.”

 

Hundreds and hundreds of dollars spent on my ” medicine”.

 

Happy moms drink! It makes us better moms! What a relief! I don’t have to feel anything at all, EVER. AMAZING!

 

It never occurred to me that those rituals that I made up in order to fall asleep weren’t exactly rituals at all. They were excuses that I created in order to feed my monster. The list got longer and longer. It got to the point that if someone even looked at me the wrong way, I would tell myself to go drink.

 

Sure, drinking would knock me out, but over time it made everything worse. My depression was all-consuming. My anxiety started to debilitate me. My OCD was getting worse and worse.

 

The harder it got, the more excuses I made. “It’s noon on a Tuesday and you have to fold laundry? Laundry is stressful! How about I Just start drinking…”

 

I would go in and out of different doctors, begging them to help me. I felt like my mental health was in bad shape. They’d prescribe this and that, never once asking me how much alcohol I drank. And if they did ask? I’d lie, obviously. Only a couple glasses a week!

(um try…four boxes a week…)

Then after a couple years of that shit, something happened. I woke up for a brief moment and looked at my family. I was turning this home into hell for everyone here. The guilt and shame over my selfish behavior pushed me into start thinking about getting sober.

It didn’t happen overnight. It happened after several months after more blackouts. I finally realized I had to kill the monster. This monster disguised it’s self as a friend.  I wasn’t sure how I could live without it.

 

Then this really crazy thing happened. Sobriety. 

The most sobriety I have, the more that extra crap fades away. Who would have thought that alcohol made all of my mental stuff worse? I thought it was helping. It wasn’t helping. It was killing me.

I’m not perfect. I can’t tell you what tomorrow will bring, but I know that I have faced my monster and I kicked its ass to the curb. It will try to creep back in over and over again, but I’m not weak anymore. I’m a fucking warrior and I will beat that asshole senseless before I let myself believe the lies it tries to tell me.

Nighttime isn’t scary anymore. If I can’t sleep I don’t freak out. The exhaustion that came with being a raging alcoholic is no longer there. If I don’t get those recommended 8 hours a night, I get a red bull and I deal. It’s ok to be tired sometimes. It won’t kill me, but drinking will.

I’m happy. I’m healthy. I’m spiritual. I’m all the things that I wanted to be for so long, but could only achieve through sobriety.

The monster doesn’t fool me anymore.

I wasn’t sure about doing this…

I’m trying to be an open book when it comes to mental health, particularly when it involves postpartum issues. I recently wrote a blog about my struggles with PPD/PPA. When I wrote that I was not ok. I thought if I wrote about it, it would make me feel better.

 

I started spiraling out of control. I started to feel hopeless again. I started having intrusive thoughts again. I pushed myself in to a dangerous, deceptive corner. I started to feel like I wasn’t the right mom for these three beautiful girls. I thought a lot of things.

 

I thought too much.

 

I decided to go get inpatient treatment, and it changed my life. I’m not ashamed about this, and I hope by writing this I can help another person struggling. My family (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, THEM), didn’t want me to blog about this. It was kind of like, ” You don’t need to air your dirty laundry.” I respect that very much, but I also know that by writing about this and hoping reaches others, that I will have done something good.

 

I started noticing OCD issues.

 

I discovered I had rituals. I discovered that this OCD was interupting my my life. It caused my brain to spin, spin, spin at night so I never could sleep. I started to feel scared leaving the house, because I was certain something would happen. Maybe we would get into a car crash? It just goes on and on and on.

 

I thought I had tackled my postpartum issues. But, if theres anything I can learn from this is that… you’re not alone, and this shit takes time. Some of us need extra help, outside of the home. I was terrified for everyone to know I was in a psych ward for eight days, but those eight days changed my life. I walked in terrified, and I left with such happiness and bliss.

My entire family gave me so much love and support, whethere it was driving from Illinois to help with the kids, or my step-dad who drove 10 hours by himself to make sure he was here if we needed anything. My mom came too and organized all of my closests like a champ. I came out of the facility feeling so grateful and so loved.

 

The I want to share this, not only because I think it’s important, but also to reach out to everyone who is struggling. Life is worth living.

Let me repeat that.

Life is worth living.

To my fellow mamas… Your life is worth living. You are cherished and loved. If you need a reminder of that, hit me up and I will remind you how awesome you are. There’s also no shame in admitting that you might have a postpartum thing going on. Everyone wants to keep it quiet, because they probably dont know the correct response to something like this eithe.

I have some much to be grateful for.

 

My family. My family in Chicago, my family on the east coast… they came all the way out here to make sure Ryan and the girs were ok. We had wonderful babysitters that helped too.

I never thought I would do what I did, but I also know that because this happened I am healthier, happier, and eternally grateful for my entire family that supported and continously supports me.

 

Postparm diseases take away love, hope, sensibility, and your sanity.

 

I’m a warrior. I’m not going to let those things bring me down ever again. I hope you know that you are a warrior as well.

 

We got this mamas, we got this.fullsizeoutput_1c83

I took a deep breath.

” I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart; I am I am I am” -Sylvia Plath

 

I am blissful. I am beautiful. I am bountiful. I am alive. I am a warrior. I am brave. I am strong. I am loyal. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a daughter.  I am a sister.

 

I am worthy of all the gifts the world has to offer. I am.IMG_2554*I got this tattoo for my 31st birthday to remind myself of all of these things*

 

I am. I am. I am.

 

Struggle.

When I started this blog, I thought I would fill it with funny stuff. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of that. As I continue finding my voice through writing, I find myself leaning towards wanting to share the beauty of motherhood. It’s not always beautiful. Sometimes, it’s scary, it’s ugly, it’s hurtful, it’s lonely, its desperate, it feels like it will break you. It’s also magic. It’s unbelievable. It brought my soul to life. (That’s some really sappy BS, but I’m serious.)

 

My three strong willed daughters test me to my limit every single day. Sometimes, they smack me. Sometimes they poop on me (or in that DAMN BACK PACK). Sometimes, they frustrate me. How freaking hard is it to put on shoes, a coat, and your backpack? It takes 75,000 million hours to try to get to preschool on time. We’re always late. Whatever. Sometimes, they take the entire box of goldfish crackers, dump them on the floor and stomp on them like they’re Lucy and Ethel stomping on those grapes in the wine barrel. Sometimes, they pull each others hair and throw punches. Sometimes, they run down the street half naked trying to follow their Dad’s car to work at 6 am on a Tuesday morning. Sometimes, scream so loud that I’m POSITIVE my neighbors think we are running an insane asylum. (Which, is pretty accurate.)

That’s kid shit though. That’s what they do.

 

My strong willed daughters also shower me with unconditional love. I spent my entire life needed that. Craving that. Searching for that. I know my parents love me. Sometimes, I think maybe my husband loves me. But, this is a different love. My favorite is when Fiona snuggles up with me and says, ” I know you told me, but I want to tell you too that I made you a mommy.”

 

… I melt into a pool of emotions when she says this.

 

When I’ve been out for a few hours talking to my Drs about my crazy ass PPD/PPA, my Maeve girl comes CHARGING through the house to hug me, as if I’ve been gone for a decade.

When Lucille wakes up in the morning the first thing she does is smile, reaches up for you to pick her up, and then nuzzles her sweet face into your neck and gives the BEST HUG EVER. I mean she’s almost nine months old and her hug game is STRONG.

 

All of these things are great, but what prompted me to write this is that the past couple days and weeks have been a little hard over here. Life stuff, you know? There’s always life stuff. But, this morning I felt Fiona crawl into bed with me, she put her arm around my chest, put her nose to my nose, and woke me up with nose kisses.

 

MY FOUR YEAR OLD WAKES ME UP WITH NOSE KISSES.

 

It is the absolute best way to wake up.

 

I”ve been doing a lot of yelling. I’m stressed. It has nothing to do with them and yet all I do is take it out on them. I’m struggling with the anxiety hard core right now. I hate it. It’s all consuming. But, my precious daughter wakes me up with nose kisses and that’s what keeps me going.

 

These kids are alright, you know? They’re worth every minute of it, the good and the bad.

 

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