Hello! I took a break recently to focus on myself. I have found recently that I have become so lethargic and unable to do things that I should want to do. My short window while the baby slept turned into me trying to cram as many TV shows as I could into one hour, rather than catching up on housework or doing something productive- which is fine to do, but not everyday and not when you’re not being fulfilled by watching that next bloody episode of Bridgeton. My days that did not revolve around seeing people or working consisted of Charlie and I spending the days inside playing with the same toys in the same place. I had become the mother I never wanted to be- lazy. I decided I would get off my anti anxiety medication to see if that was the reason I was feeling so lethargic as my anxiety was actually at bay and I had healthier means of managing it.
I’m not going to lie, the first two weeks really sucked (I did this with the guidance of my GP and weaned down over a few weeks. I also started taking iron tablets too because apparently my levels were low and that could also be why I’m was lethargic, but with iron pills, comes taking laxatives, because if you’ve had iron tablets before, you’ll know that trying to have a bowel movement becomes a chore and something to fear) I had periods of really severe anxiety and scattered thoughts, which is common for me, but not to this degree.
With coming off my medication, I have found that trying to accept myself has become harder. Old thoughts have crept their way back into my head and this want to lose my baby weight has been almost like a craving. I think I have been so engrossed in trying to build up myself, other women and mother’s to see that it isn’t all about appearance and losing weight, that I kind of just let myself go more as a way to stick it to diet culture and my previous eating disorders. I had the mentality of “if I can accept myself looking like this, then I can accept myself at any stage”. Which is fine and almost seems like a healthy mindset, but it still puts focus on my weight and appearance. I am just trying to back pedal and go back to the point of this blog, which is to just be neutral. It is okay if I want to wear makeup and wear a dress and eat salad one day and it is also okay if I want to spend the next day eating cheese in my underwear, with hairy armpits and a greasy ponytail. It is okay to spend one day with your child doing water activities in the morning, play dough in the afternoon and trip to the park and then the next day sit in the house and watch sesame street, have 7 tea parties and wave at each other for four hours. I had a very confronting moment at work about a month ago, where a work colleague did not recognise me and once they realised who I was asked where I had been. I said maternity leave and then they replied, “I was going to say maternity leave, but did not want to offend you”. I then said to a friend of mine “how awkward, this person did not recognise me and basically insinuated that it’s because I have gained weight” to which they replied “maybe because you’re just bigger from the back, you’re not THAT fat, but maybe do some self care and get your hair done”. A few days later my therapist said “you’re in your mid 30’s so…” (I am 28) so obviously the next week I spent thinking I was fat, old and needed a haircut.
It’s very confronting hearing people express to you what you fear in yourself. No one wants to be called fat, old or ugly and it is very confronting to have someone comment on your appearance when you haven’t asked for an opinion. Old me probably would have acted very dangerously and played with some toxic behaviours. I also wondered if these comments would have affected me as much if I were still on my medication? Probably not, but I feel better knowing I am authentically dealing with my shit.
Last week I had a day where everything was just too much. I spent the entire day trying to get Charlie to sleep. She woke for the day at 4am after waking three times through the night, so I thought I would put her down soon after to get her closer to a normal waking time, which happened to be 8am by the time she woke up. The plan was to start the day again, but this pushed her naps forward and she was already overtired by the time it would have been her normal nap, so I spent about 2 hours back and forth from her bedroom trying to feed her to sleep, rock her, sing to her, feed her food, give her water, lay next to the cot; I was about to throw her in the car, but when I had loaded the car up with the pram, she was asleep (of course she fucking was). It was 12pm by this point, so I had already spent 8 hours of my day revolved around putting her to bed and carrying the mental load of timing her naps and wondering what the rest of the day had in store for me and whether or not because I messed around with her sleep today, she would mess with my sleep again that night. I messaged my husband and just said “I hate her.” And then I just sobbed.
I have had many days like this. The earlier days after the fourth trimester, where they are waking up and the 4-month sleep regression hits and naps are non-existent. It’s almost as if you push past these moments and get through and feel triumphant and move on and forget and when you have a day that is similar, it is like PTSD and you feel like you have failed because your baby has gone back to thinking sleep is for the weak. I wonder if this day would have made me so upset if I had just stayed on my medication. I would like to note that I do NOT hate my daughter. In fact, I LOVE my daughter more than I have ever loved anything or anyone and as soon as I sent that message to my husband, I felt this immense amount of guilt for even sending that message and feeling so much rage towards her. In reality I was never mad at her, I was mad at the fact that she would not sleep, which is not her fault at all. I think she is getting her first set of molars, she is learning so many new skills and it was right after that damn “super full moon”. I would never have shared this, but i just feel it is so normal to feel this way and get angry, because we are only human and being a parent is fucking hard. The very next day my friend messaged me and called her baby a see you next Tuesday for the very same thing. I ended up calling my mum later that day and asked her if she would please cook me dinner and dote on me and Charlie so I had one less chore to worry about later, because my husband was coming home late that evening. I spent time with my brother, she completely missed her second nap, but my parents watched her, fed us both and we went home. When we got home she was refusing to sleep, so I ended up in the cot with her, which didn’t bother me in the end, because I had that support in the afternoon. It is amazing what happens to your frame of mind when you feel supported. I am so very grateful for the support I have.
SO, Have I become less lethargic since coming of my medication? Look, not really, but I feel much better knowing I am no longer on them and I have started to get behind some healthy habits like yoga, seeing a therapist, meditating, journaling and have found that I really like reading. My relationship with my daughter has gotten much better and I have found that I can actually cry again, which is bloody awesome, because the medication just made me a brick wall, which is the opposite of what I wanted to do or what I usually would do when faced with an issue, which was to punch a brick wall, while crying. Feeling things is actually awesome and so healthy. I feel that masking my feelings was just making me a shell of who I am usually, which is an emotional mess. Obviously some people need to be on medications, I did need to be on medication at the time I was prescribed them and I have no idea how I would have handled the first few months of motherhood without it, but now that I am more in the swing of things and can mentally manage my life, I no longer have the need for them. Some days I need that little bit of anxiety to get me going, you know? I don’t know where I would be some days without my endless brain lists of things to do and meticulous planning. I get mum guilt so much more now too, which is totally normal as I have found out and I could write an entire post about all the things I feel guilty about (might take myself up on this).My house may be a little messier and my brain clutter is less organised, but I seem to be functioning pretty efficiently… so far