So yesterday was an interesting day. I did somehting I wasn't sure I could: I went to the parent-baby drop in at my local health unit. Considering the place is all of two blocks away, I couldn't use distance as an excuse not to go. But I get anxious at the thought of being in a room full of people I don't know. Now, first off, if you've been around, you'll know that that is very unusal for me, as I am generally a very open and outgoing person. But then again, depression alters my personailty so drastically at times that I scare even me. You may recall that I tried to go to the holiday social back in December, only to find out that it was cancelled due to the flu shot clinic. [insert sob here]
So, I woke Bean up from her nap (she had been down for only 30 minutes), packed her in the stroller and made another attempt at being social.
It was both wonderful and awful.
Let's discuss the awful part first. When I first got there, there was only one other mom there and the two nurses running the show. Then slowly more people arrived. It was fine at first. But the more people that showed up, the less space there was in the room and the harder it was to have a conversation with people I didn't know. Add to that, that about half the women knew each other from coming to the group before, and I felt so alone. Bean was pissed off about being woken from her nap so I had to hold her and soothe her back to sleep. I couldn't put her in the stroller without waking her, so I held her through her nap. I felt so alone in a room full of people.
[Enter massive anxiety attack.]
I got up, walked around the room with the baby, and did a hell of a lot of breathing. Thankfully, it never progressed into a panic attack, but I had to fight to keep myself together.
No one in the room knew. I think maybe I'm too good an actress sometimes.
I calmed down a bit and tried to keep from crying. Bean woke up and interacted with people for a bit before indicating that I best get a bottle ready before she erupted with displeasure.
Then the wonderful part happened. As I sat on the floor feeding her, the group came to an end and people began to disperse. One of the nurses was talking to people as they left. At one point I caught her eye and asked her if I could ask some questions. She sat next to me and I began to explain the whole PPD mess including that I was freaking out a bit over having to wait so long for my appointment. I told her about the anxiety attack I had just had.
We talked a bit. Then she left to go get some info for me. While she was gone, a mom whose baby is only a couple of weeks older than Bean came over to chat with me. We had talked a little earlier. It turned out that she lived just down the street from me. She gave me her phone numbers just as the nurse returned and suggested we get together sometime. She asked if I was coming next week and I said I was planning to. We would make plans then.
The nurse gave me a pamphlet for a non-profit PPD group who might be able to help me in the interim while I waited for March to come around. She expressed concern about my anxiety and wondered if the group might be too much for me. I wasn't sure, but I knew I should give it another try. She gave me her card and told me to call or come see her or the nurse who did my homevisit after Bean was born (love her!). And, she asked if they could call me to keep tabs on how I was doing. I said YES! She also said that if I didn't show up for group next week that she would be calling me.
Three cheers for nurses! Sometimes I swear they get things more than the doctors do (and I have had great doctors).
The other really important realization is that I DO have an anxiety issue, whereas before I tried to convince myself it was nothing. My mom even asked at one point if my tension and axiety over being alone with her all the time might be what makes her more difficult on certain days. Then, I said it didn't. Now, I'm not so sure. My bad days correlate pretty well with her bad days.
And that bothers me! I have a hard time dealing with the fact that what I'm going through if affecting her negatively. I hate that I could cause her distress. Could this have a long lasting impact on her? I don't know. It's a question I have to ask. I'm going to take her to her pediatrician for a four-month checkup next month. I have a feeling that there will be lots to discuss. Good thing I LOVE her pediatrician. He's one of those doctors you can actually have a conversation with. Amazing, isn't it?
After I got home from the group yesterday, I re-took the post-partum depression questionaire. The scale evaluates whether or not some has PPD and to what degree. Anything over 13 (I think) out of 30 is considered significant. 30 is suicidal. I scored 20 6 weeks ago. Yesterday, I scored 23. Not a dramatic change but a change in the wrong direction nonetheless. A good sign is that the last question concerns thoughts of harming yourself. I still score 0. Small mercies.
So, the next step is to call this PPD Society and see what they have to say. I suppose we can only go up from here, right?