Monday, March 14, 2011

Coming Undone

This song, Coming Undone, by the band Korn, perfectly describes the postpartum anxiety I experienced after Zane came along. (It's sort of a heavy song, which is why I am posting lyrics instead of the video.)

Keep holding on
When my brain's ticking like a bomb
Guess the black thoughts
Have come again to get me

I was prepared for depression. That would have been easy for me.

I was prepared for posttraumatic stress, considering Zane and I both coded on the day he was born.

I was prepared for rampaging hormones.

I was not prepared for the unwavering voice in my head describing all the terrible things that could possibly happen to my child.

What if an airplane crashes into the house? What if there's a flood? What if I forget to turn off the stove and the house burns down?

I am an anxious person on a normal day, with lots of 'what ifs?' flowing in and out of my consciousness as I go through my day. While Zane was in the NICU, it wasn't so bad, because there were lots of people taking care of Zane, not just me. Once Zane came home, however, it was as if the floodgates opened, and every worry ever created, however impossible, poured through my head.

What if the cats attack? What if there's an radiation accident at the Air Force Base? What if a meteorite falls to earth and hits our house? What if we are crossing the street and there's a parade float from somewhere that breaks loose and runs us over? What if aliens attack, and they land on our street?

Wait, I'm coming undone
Unlaced, I'm coming undone
Too late, I'm coming undone
What looks so strong, is so delicate

Wait, I'm starting to suffocate
And soon I anticipate
I'm coming undone
What looks so strong, so delicate

It was awful. It felt like I was a horrible mother because I kept thinking of all these terrible things happening to us. What kind of mother thinks of these things, I thought. I tried to explain to my doctor what was going on, but what came out of my mouth sounded crazy.

"I keep thinking that an airplane is going to fall on us when we are in the back yard." Yep, that sounded really crazy. But I wasn't crazy, because I knew I sounded crazy. Right? Did I just say that out loud?

Choke, choke again
I find my demons were my friends
Getting me in the end
They're out to get me

My doctor looked at me more closely, which was good, since he's been my doctor since 1987. Then he wrote me a prescription for Prozac, because apparently he HAD heard this sort of thing before. Prozac helped me push the 'what ifs' to the back of my head, until the Doomsday voice finally receded into silence after about a year. When I heard this song on the radio, however, it definitely struck a chord. Because I did feel like I was coming undone. I felt exactly like that. Only the thought that I had to care for my son kept me together.

I don't think that the members of Korn had postpartum anxiety disorders in mind when they wrote this song. Maybe they were thinking of anxiety disorders in general, or depression. But they described it perfectly. If it describes what YOU are thinking, go talk to your doctor or a therapist. It does get better, but sometimes it takes a little help to get things going in the right direction.


1 comment:

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