The first time I felt it was a few weeks ago when I least expected it. I thought you only get your post-natal depression in the early days/weeks following the birth. It’s been two months. More than 8 weeks of (mostly) Shiny Happy Person (What hole in abdomen? What construction works? What leaking bathroom? What broken down washing machine? What annoying ex-driver?)
More than 8 weeks of blessed bereft-ness of an uncomfortable pregnancy in the best possible way, a wonderful new addition to the family. 8 weeks of watching my c section wounds heal, knowing they will. 8 joyous weeks of rediscovering coffee. Shiraz. Physical activity my pregnant body had rolled its eyes at, “You Are Not Heidi Klum, You Know.” (Uh, you… needn’t point out the fact, Jelly Roll… Speaking of which – I’m still 60kg. Very little workout because of the heat, bugs and the fact our regular “camp site” for the kids while I walk JD on those 5-6km trails is under renovation. I will need to lose a bit by the time it gets cooler because otherwise I have no warm clothes that fit. Because I don’t currently plan on getting pregnant a third time, I really don’t want to splurge.)
Anyway. 8 weeks of feeling my mood lift and soar, at getting my body back. I can loan it out 4 hours a day for breast milk production. And if I was ever tempted to whine about caring for baby, I remind myself to be thankful for arms and legs and various other body parts that heed my beck and call. Body parts that work and can take care of another, rather than be taken care of. 8 weeks, dancing in it, every time it rained.
What world hunger? Here was Cappuccino! A. Fully caffeinated. Cup. Of…. Happiness. I could get a cup of coffee. Not just half a shot, a whole cup. I live in a part of the world that sold a cup of coffee. (To be precise, I live in a part of the world that lets you buy a cup of coffee with an Octopus card. Still tickles me (sorry), they really call it Octopus and there are “Deed” ads and jokes in Canton comedies after the sound the card makes when you “zap” it on the reader.)… And one day my kids would be like all these middle and high-schoolers sitting at Starbucks. .
St.Arbucks. Amazing that something so easy to fulfill can make you so happy. Saint Arbucks. No wonder they boast shrines all over the country, devout supplicants reveling in the aroma of coffee beans in place of incense, under a green logo Rockstar has been able to recognize since he was two. Starbucks Fruit Salad used to be a real treat. (Nowadays it’s calamari, bright orange crab roe, and the mango cone from Nestle - only the mango, because we can’t find it very easily. I exploit its relative rarity because if that’s the only time he finishes an ice cream cone that’s like once every few weeks or a month. And he’s happy about it! What a win-win…). No wonder there are always so many strollers parked around “our” outlet. Little (mostly blonde) kids scooting across the polished floor, rolling Francesco Bernoulli and Tow Mater along.
I type, and my mood lifts. That is, until such time when it plummets again. “It” comes and goes every few days. But I don’t suppose what I’ve got is that bad, I hear of people who really cannot get out of bed, need medication, and so on. For me the depression manifests as a marked lack of confidence, of faith. One morning I wake up and the glass is no longer half full. It hasn’t been cleaned in awhile. Smudged and dirty and everything I see through it is dimmer. Or doesn’t work.
(My mum tells me to take a hit of chocolate or caffeine. And btw my mum has a higher metabolic rate than I do, she “needs” baked goods and full-fat milk or that insanely sweet 3-in-1 coffee, or else she thinks she gets “too skinny” in her old age. I do not take any of these things but did try the chocolate – doesn’t seem to improve my mood so I take it if I feel like something sweet (not often) but not because I think the world is rubbish.)
Those are the days I warn my other half, because I know anything he runs by me is going to seem even riskier, less likely to work. I value my objectivity. In general I’m the more “coldly logical” one, my other half has the emotion, the temper, the impetuousness….. and usually also the crazy vision. Like the Cliff Notes says about Hamlet, madness is a form of genius. Or sometimes it’s just madness, I guess )
It’s interesting, because nothing has changed, I know that, I know that! But perspective is everything. And unfortunately it’s how you view the world that is different. If you’ve ever watched The Eye horror movie, you get a creepy illustration – blind girl receives cornea transplant, sees herself in mirror for first time. First set of pictures she happily takes with her friends and – who is that in the pictures? That’s not the person looking back at her in the mirror.
I don’t see no dead girl in mirror, but sometimes I know I’m not the person looking back at me in the mirror either.
Time for an exorcism… One of my pastors once said when you least want to pray is probably when you really should. I haven’t been on the church website in awhile, and that day when I go back and randomly search out a sermon, I get God Always Answers Prayer (But Not Always The Way We Want.)
All those times, when I prayed, predominantly for situations at work… This one time, it was a total car wreck. In an attempt to restart the engine I smelled fumes. I didn’t sign the contract, I got out and ran. 5 days later the kit showed a second blue line. You might know him, he goes by the pseudo name Rockstar.
Just in case we ever thought He wasn’t watching. We pray not because God needs it – but because we really do.
That helps with the depression some. That, and recognizing your cup of coffee. (Whatever that may be, for you. For me it was the coffee.)
Hello, cuppa. He sent you, didn’t He?