I didn't know I had postpartum anxiety until almost 10 months after the birth of our 2nd child, my son, Ethan.
I got through that stressful time pretty well despite the all that was happening. In fact, the entire year following his birth was pretty stressful. Preeclampsia that came back full force just a couple days after Ethan's birth in 6 November 2012, that was accompanied with a hospital stay. (I'll come back to that later) Followed by extended family Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays at my house, My Mother-in-law living with us for a little over a year, Volunteering in a community service project, planning an extended family vacation, my husband starting a business that didn't pan out, then decided last minute to apply and enter grad school and having to move our family to Provo, also to host family for my sister in laws wedding all at the same time we were beginning to move. Fun. stuff.
What caught the attention was when I had an anxiety attack at the beginning of last September, just a few days before my sister in laws wedding. The anxiety and stress had built up and I guess my adrenals and my body and mind had had an overload. For some reason I think the pressure of making new friends again and being involved in even more things (MBASA activities) was just the straw that broke the camels back...
I was at a MBASA (MBA Spouse Association) dinner and I started feeling nauseated and light headed. I had a weird feeling (that could be described as feeling dizzy, but not exactly the same as dizzy) in my head and a headache and I was also having heart palpitations. Of course the anxiety in me told me that... I was having a heart attack! I tried drinking water and eating the dessert to see if it would bring my blood sugar up (biggest mistake ever). But it didn't help. So, I left the dinner and started walking to my car.
I started feeling better in the 5 minute walk to my car, but the palpitations and sweating/shaking/lightheadedness started again once I got in the car. I breathed in and out for a minute, then started to drive home to Eagle Mountain. I got from BYU's campus to about halfway down University Pkwy. I felt light headed again and pulled over into J-Dawgs parking lot.
I called Connel, crying and breathing rapidly and telling him that I could not drive and I felt like I was having a heart attack, yet I knew that I wasn't, I knew it was something else. He told me to breathe in and out deeply and to go into J-Dawgs and get a drink of water. I think immediately he knew I was having an anxiety attack. I know now, and after that one, that I have had them before. I just didn't know that's what they were.
I was extremely embarrassed to have to call him, for 2 reasons. #1: It was his birthday. (Still, not sure why I left to go to an MBASA Social on his birthday??? I guess I was a little out of my mind.) #2: His uncle was visiting us at the time and I was overly concerned about being a good hostess. (yet, I had left to go to something else...you see? I was out of it.)
Anyway, to make a long story short, Connel and his uncle came to pick me up and drive me home. The next day, I went to the BYU Student Health Center to figure out what was my matter, and I came home with my first bottle of anxiety meds.
That is just the beginning of a little journey through anxiety and depression and postpartum OCD. Some of this may seem like overshare or TMI or just plain boring! But, it's journal therapy I tell you! :) So deal with it.