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Thursday, March 12, 2009

On Visits & Strange Offers


*Photo from here.

While my daughter enjoys a little one-on-one time with Charlie & Lola, I thought I'd pop in here to have a quick catch-up. I know, it's a bit naughty, but she's happy and I'm getting some 'me' time. There was precious little of that last night as our little visitor gave me a mere 20 minutes of sleep before joining us in bed and wrestling her way all over me for the next 4 hours before I got up. Tired doesn't even begin to cover it.

Anyway, the real reason why I'm here, is to share with you the delightful news that the PND Fairy is visiting again. Well apparently, she never actually left. This revelation is however not as dark and woeful as it may sound. My visit to the naturopath yesterday was surprisingly helpful despite the rather depressing prognosis and I have been given at least a little useful information on ridding myself of my most unwelcome visitor. It's sort of ironic that I went along for some advice on dealing with some long standing health issues and to talk about preparing the way for another baby and ended up being diagnosed as still suffering from Post Natal Depression caused by the first little ankle-biters arrival. I wasn't diagnosed with PND until Lily was 16-months old and a lovely friend suggested, quite gently and with much love, that my struggles with motherhood might be due to me suffering from post-natal depression and recommended that I read 'The Masks of Motherhood' by Sarah Maushart. I did and I found it very helpful but I honestly believed that the worst was behind me and that I was out of the thick of it. How did I not pick up that something this obvious was wrong? And not just me, the maternal health nurses, the doctors, the people who were supposedly supporting me after childbirth? I guess there are such subtle degrees of it, it can be tricky to detect. I mean, I filled out all the forms that are supposed to detect PND sufferers. Are you crying uncontrollably - no; Are you overwhelmed and unable to cope - no; Are you having thoughts of harm to yourself or your child - definitely no. So why would I think that I had PND? I was coping. Yes, I was emotional and slightly overwhelmed, but so are a lot of new mothers and I had so much more support than many others. Of course, I also set the bar so high for my mothering that I could not help but fall short in my efforts, so that didn't help.

* My idea of the PND Fairy. Image from here.

So fast forward to now. I'm sitting in my naturopath's office talking about health issues and pregnancy and getting a bit emotional, as I do when someone gives me the opportunity to talk about stuff that I normally keep so well compressed in my psyche, when buggar me if she doesn't drop the PND bombshell on me again. She states, with a great deal of surety, that I have, in fact, been continuing to live with and trying to raise a child through, some more undiagnosed PND. Great. Just. Great.

Actually, it was rather great. You see, the diagnosis of PND means that I am not the entirely crap mother that I often feel myself to be. No. I am actually suffering from an acute form of anxiety which presents as hypervigilance and an over-reactive response to any form of stress. As she said, it should really be called Post Natal Anxiety because that's what it really is. And let me tell you, life with a toddler can be very stressful. Hence, the Shouty Banshee is in fact simply a mother coping with PND. I feel sort of vindicated. A bit. I mean as I've said before, it doesn't give me carte blanche to be a crap mother but it does at least enable me to see how some of the difficulties of the past two and half years could be attributed to this undiagnosed and therefore undealt with condition. I have been trudging under the weight of so much weariness, mental sluggishness and a real lack of enthusiasm for life and mothering. And it has been harder than I ever could have imagined despite the end result being so beautiful and radiant a spirit as my Beanie.

And so, I am now taking copious amounts of St John's Wort to help get my emotions under control, am on a new low GI diet to help keep my blood sugar stable and thus handle the endocrine system imbalance I suffer from and am under strict instruction to do 45 minutes of exercise daily in order to lose a few kilos. My naturopath also told me that if I didn't feel better in two weeks, to call her as she would be frankly shocked if I didn't feel much improved in that time. So - the baby-making is on hold temporarily - we don't want to go into all the hormonal upheaval of another pregnancy when I'm still hormonally upheaved from the last one! - and we are working towards a calmer, more emotionally stable Kitty. Bring it on, I say!

I also enjoyed a much more enjoyable visit yesterday and a welcome squidgy shoulder to cry on. The delicious sol-y-luna came a'callin' and we hatched up numerous plans for our newly formed (with gorgeous DocWitchy) Cackle Club. Much mischief and red wine guzzling will no doubt ensue. Lovely sol-y - what a great couple of days we had. We laughed our asses off during a spot of fat burning belly dancing with bollywood moves thrown in for good measure. We talked about things past, present and future and we shared a good few glasses of red. We even went outside and serenaded the beautiful Lady Luna, who was in full and beautious flight across the blackberry blue and star-studded night sky. It was dee-lightful. And the best part is, I get to do it all over again on Saturday with the added bonus of Doc. Yes, the first official meeting of the Cackle Club is happening this Saturday and, hold on to your hats, it includes a Pyjama Party. Whoo hooo! I cannot wait for a whole day and night with my girls. We are planning on visiting the wonderful Stitches & Craft Show at the Melbourne Show Grounds, during the day but apparently, Sol-y and Doc have some surprises up their sleeves for lil old me. Hopefully it doesn't involve me, naked in a classroom, without my homework. I'm sure it will be 'moste excellent' as Doc would say.

Talking of strange offers - I have, oddly enough, been approached by The State Library of Victoria because they are 'committed to preserving electronic publications of lasting cultural value' and they felt that my blog would offer a valuable addition to their collection. In particular they are interested in my blogs regarding the recent bush fires. I am frankly a bit stunned to have been chosen by anybody as a good example of anything (unless the 'Whinge and Waffle' Society is offering me their much coveted 'Whingeffler of the Year' Award) but I'm also obviously quite flatered that they think my blog worthy of preserving. I'm going to say yes, obviously, because its nice to think that something I have written may be of value to someone else, but also because its simply so lovely to be asked. Hopefully, this doesn't turn out to be some giant mistake/misunderstanding/punk'd experience. But because I'm kinda paranoid, I will just say here, in BIG LETTERS and for the absolute record that THE CONTENT OF THIS BLOG remains MY copywrited property and may not be used for defending the planet from Evil (or anything) without my WRITTEN CONSENT. Yes, my ego really is that fragile people.


Picture from here.

So - PND Fairy - Begone Foul Hag. Begone I say!

Until next time, may your caravan be peaceful and (evil) fairy free.

4 comments:

Mon said...

Finally getting a diagnosis is always a two-eded sword. But definitely better than Not Knowing.

Yes, you can deal with it now, tt it, work with it, know how to approach it, and of course, understand that there is bette days ahead. Because the PND fairy does leave.

Great news.

Cackle Club sounds fabulous. perhaps I'll join you all in spirit? *cackle*

docwitch said...

Well, I suppose now you have something to work with. I think we've seen the same naturopath - and she is so direct and spot-on - a pragmatist with fabulous intuition and who knows how to listen.

Personifying your diagnosis as the PND Fairy may be quite a useful psychological trick at this point to avoid internalising all that you're feeling. Because however overwhelming the emotions and the experience of those emotions is, it's not you, nor who you are on an intrinsic level. Therefore, the Bad Mummy stuff becomes quite redundant. I don't mean as some kind of excuse, but as a way to help you climb out of a hole that feels as though it's part of you rather than something you happen to be stuck in.
Also, in the past I've certainly been able to relate with that PND 'anxiety'. Totally.

That's fab news about your blog being preserved for posterity! Whacko! (Um. In the Australian vernacular sense).

I'm very much looking forward to a cackle with youse sheilas of the fabuloso Cackle Club! I promise I won't set homework. And nakedness is entirely optional, of course.

However. I may require an intervention at the Stitches and Craft show. If you and sol y can manage that. Ahem. A sign of imminent danger is when I start frothing at the mouth, stroking the fabric, and whispering 'The Precioussssss'.

Mon - wish you could join our Cackle Club. It would be wonderful to have you with us and add another Cackling Sister to our Wyrde Three.

mommymystic said...

Love the pictures. never diagnosed with PND, just 'normal' baby blues, but I have to say I recognize those fairies - they must have visited me in the night at some point. Good luck with your new program.

Griffin said...

Why do I hear the words 'MY precioussss' when you are talking about this blog?!!

The Cackle Club should help attack the PND Fairy too. If you are being giving a some good ol' pep and ginger by a pj party and wine that could help a lot.

I don't know if it's the same craft show, but if you see Ric Rac, check out the Selvedge Dress and the Auntie chair. Jodie Carleton is a fab lady with a 17 yr old daughter. Should be an inspiring day for you.

Oh and please try not to start chanting 'Bubble, Bubble, toil and trouble, cauldron burn and cauldron bubble!'in public as it is liable to lead to talk... and possibly the law!!

Hurrah for the Wyrd Sisters!