These are My Skeletons
These scribbles have occupied a corner of my writing notebook for the over a month now.
They’re notes for a blog post about my struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety.
Why aren’t more people writing about how miserable this is?
What I posted on Facebook vs what I was actually feeling
This idealized life can be so, so, lonely
I’d felt such urgency and emotion when I jotted these words down at a stoplight during the morning commute. But I haven’t done anything with them since then. I told myself that I just needed more time.
The truth is: I’m afraid to go back there.
I’ve been feeling better lately. Why remind myself of how horrible the panic attacks can be? Why jinx it, and risk yet another recurrence? Especially now, when so much is at stake?
What it’s like
when you have a panic attack in
front of your three-year-old
& see the fear in his eyes.
I started this book project to investigate my family’s skeletons. But I’ve been struggling to find my voice. I kept returning to these pages, then rejecting them. Not relevant. Not ready. Not now.
Finally the truth hit me: If I want to investigate my family’s skeletons, I must also confront my own. I must embrace the parts of myself I wish I could hide from future generations.To do any less would be to succumb to the secrecy I’ve spent years fighting. It would go against the basic tenants of the book: Investigate the dark places. Ask questions. Be brave.
This is the present moment.
I've been having more good days than bad. Sometimes the anxiety still comes back. I start thinking about how my son hasn't eaten a vegetable in more than a week, and how that's not okay. Then he and the baby start screaming at the same time, and it becomes hard to breathe.
I leave the boys with my husband and sit in the car until my heart stops pounding. I remind myself that thinking about saying awful things to my family is not the same as saying awful things. I try to forgive myself for not being the mother I want to be.
I still crack jokes on Facebook. I still try to maintain a guise of perfection. I'm still coming to terms with The Awfulness of a few months ago, and how terrified I am that it might return.
My scribbles still haven’t found their final form. Maybe they do need more time. But setting them loose into the world feels like a good step. It takes sunlight, after all, to grow.