Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I Do Not Have Time To Be Afraid

My cause is postpartum depression. I had it after Pippa was born and it took four months of anxiety, insomnia and dark suicidal thoughts to realize something was wrong. When my ob/gyn said I had postpartum depression, I did not believe her. When my psychiatrist said I had postpartum depression, I did not believe him. I assumed that all moms with postpartum depression stay in bed all day and cry and hate their babies. Since I did not have those symptoms, I could not have postpartum depression. Oh, how wrong I was.

I was hospitalized for four days in July 2013 and after my discharge, I wanted to join a support group. I had a psychiatrist and cognitive behavioral psychologist, so I did not want to attend formal group therapy.  I just wanted to meet and spend time with other moms who had experienced postpartum depression. There is an organized meeting for EVERYTHING. I just checked the Meetup listings for Pasadena, and there are hundreds of groups for hiking, dancing, reading, exploring the city, you name it, it probably exists. Peruse your local Meetup listings if you are looking for a fun way to procrastinate for five minutes. I could name some of the weirder Pasadena groups, but I don't want to make fun of anyone's hobby. (Unless it's stamp collecting. Can we all agree that stamp collecting is LAME?)

When I was discharged, I could not find any sort of postpartum depression peer-to-peer support group in the Pasadena area. I'm sure there are groups out there, but the only one I could find was in a state that starts with the letter I or O. (I'm pretty sure it was Indiana, but it could have been Iowa. Or Oklahoma. Give me a break, I was recovering from a serious mental illness.)

Last May, I started a group on Meetup for Pasadena moms with postpartum depression. I started the group, paid my dues, and hoped people would find me.

In November, I started daydreaming about ways to promote the group and increase awareness about postpartum depression. My group met in parks - I would find us a real location! I schemed about fundraising and establishing a place where moms can meet and recover together. I ordered business cards and wrote a list of places to leave them.

Then I became overwhelmed by these daydreams and freaked out. I managed my anxiety by doing nothing. I stopped hosting my park meetups. I invented excuses to make myself feel better - Pippa has a sore throat; Pippa could get a  sore throat; the weather could be bad. I hid the business cards in a closet.

But I'm sick of being afraid, I'm sick of excuses, and I'm sick of pretending PPD is not my problem anymore.  So fuck it, I'm going to ignore my fear and all the fake excuses for why I should take the easy road and I'm going to go forward with my Pasadena support group. I'm going to promote it and let myself dream. And if I get scared, I'm going to tell myself, "Fuck it, I don't have time to be scared."

Today I put my business cards in my purse, told a room of seventy women about my support group, and then gave my business cards to interested, caring women.

It has begun. I do not have time to be afraid.