My official diagnosis was Postpartum Anxiety with some Depression and Obsessive Compulsive tendencies. Now that’s a mouthful.
When people hear about being anxious, they think it’s just being worried all the time. Although that is correct, it can be so much more. There were times that my anxiety would lead me to be on a constant rewind-replay of thoughts. This was why I couldn’t sleep at night. I was constantly worried about Narra, about myself. About getting to appointments with a crying baby without help. About getting to appointments WITH help. Thinking about how much milk I had or didn’t have. Was Narra getting enough food? Was I being a good mom? Why did she KEEP CRYING? Why couldn’t I soothe her? Am I a good mom? I’m not helping out in the house with chores or cooking as much anymore. Am I being a good wife? Is Eric upset with me? I was worried about everything and it was just EXHAUSTING.
Getting on my medication was EXTREMELY helpful. So much so, that when the medication finally did kick in, I wondered WHY I hadn’t taken that prescription to the pharmacy sooner. The obsessive compulsive thoughts stopped, the intrusive thinking calmed down quite a bit. I was able to sleep again (when Narra wasn’t on an all night nurse-a-thon) and I could finally leave the house without feeling like I was in danger. The anxiety didn’t totally stop though. I still had feelings of anxiousness, which I had been learning to sort through with my therapist. I had weekly phone sessions with her, as well as following up with the Pacific Postpartum Society and my psychiatrist. I had been collecting a nice set of tools for my anxiety toolkit. It was a nice set, a good set, but I was still having panic attacks several times a week. I was still having a hard time being happy and adjusting to my new life as a mom. I had no time for myself and I was TIRED and had no energy. I was surviving. But I was not thriving.
My transformation started with a Music Class. I had met a mom there who opened up to me about suffering from postpartum anxiety herself. She told me about this group she was holding and how exercising, changing her eating habits and something called a “Challenge” had changed her life and helped her manage her anxiety. I was working on my building my NESTs, as they refer to it in self care, for my anxiety management and I was missing two of the main components of self care: Nutrition and Exercise.
So I joined thinking, “Hey! I’ll try it for a month and if I don’t get anything out of it, at least I tried.” I bought the 21 Day Fix Challenge pack and away I went. Within the first week of doing my exercises and drinking my Vegan Chocolate Shakeology with a group of PUMPED up excited and SUPPORTIVE people, I WAS CHANGED. All of a sudden I had ENERGY. I was HAPPY again. I was ENJOYING life and for the first time in a long time, I was EXCITED and not scared about my future. I knew I had to keep going, so I did.
After a couple of months of joining my coach Amie’s Challenges, I decided to set out on my own and hold my own Challenge and Accountability group. Leading these groups have not only helped me stay accountable to my goals, but also be consistent with my daily exercises. Thanks to fitness, nutrition and SUPPORT, I am the strongest I have ever been in my life. I have diabetes and hypertension both of which are now controlled and in typical range with minimal medication and my lifestyle change.
Do I still have anxiety? Yes! But I have learned to channel it into projects for good. I have learned to transform my fears and anxiety into energy I use for my workouts. I have used my fear of another panic attack as a reminder to keep exercising. My anxiety helps me remember why I eat clean and healthy for most of the week: it makes me feel GOOD inside and out. My journey in fitness and nutrition, which started from a want to become a healthier ME, has transformed itself into an AMAZING community of friends and family who have decided to join me in making their lives healthier, too!
I have to admit, in the early days of my postpartum, there were times I wish I had never decided to start a family because then I wouldn’t have had postpartum anxiety and depression. But now I see how much GREATNESS it has brought me. I have the most amazing, funny, intelligent, strong and compassionate daughter, my strong relationship with my husband, Eric, has only proven to grow stronger and my life has just become so much more FULL because of everything I have gone through.
No more fear here. Just a woman ready for ANYTHING life throws in my way.
Including a chance to face my fear of heights. Me just before riding the Hellavator. ❤