Sunday, August 5, 2012

Claiming the Truth

The first year of Maggie's life was an amazing time for me, because SHE is amazing, but also miserable, because I was miserable. I had fought depression before without ever putting a name to it: my first year of college I attended a picturesque tiny liberal arts college, loved my classes, met some fabulous folks (one friend who became a best friend and my bridesmaid)... and also cried myself to sleep, wondering why I could not enjoy life like I wanted to.

The darkness in my heart came back full force postpartum: I experienced the telltale terrifying thoughts of wanting to harm my child, I was desperate and sad. I was also a BIG emotional oversharer, as a glance back to my old livejournal left me flabbergasted at how intense my "online journaling" was. Ayiyi.

I more or less coped but it was really less. My moods took crazy swings and the unstable relationship I was in with Matt only made it all worse. I felt out of control. I WAS out of control. On an upset and drunken night, I threw Matt's computer off a second floor balcony, took his car and drove to Kentucky... and we kept dating after that, somehow.

 Things came to a very scary turning point when I got so out of control that I ran off from the house I shared with Matt, threatening to take pills and end it all, then driving to Missouri. I was very obviously running from the darkness inside and very unable to say no to the terrifying impulses. My logic was working, my brain kept telling me that I was making horrible decisions even as I was making them, but I could not turn off the impulses when everything was spiraling downward.

I finally realized how dangerous the situation had gotten, how scared I was that something could happen to Maggie in my desperation. My parents finally realized that I had a legitimate problem that I was unable to deal with alone. I moved home and began seeing a psychiatrist and a counselor. I was diagnosed with a medical issue called Intermittent Explosive Disorder, a type of Impulse Control Disorder. Just getting diagnosed made me feel more in control and less scared. I had been so worried that it was all my fault for how I was feeling, that if I just tried hard enough I could overcome my impulses and make myself feel better - but this was a diagnosis that fit like a glove.

I got on medication that immediately made me feel like myself. I finally felt like I had control over my choices. I finally felt safe as a mother, to be able to make decisions to care for her well. I finally accepted what I had struggled with for years and found relief and help in medication and counseling. I was finally able to live without a dark cloud of fear hovering over me. It was amazing.

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