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Monday, February 07, 2005

At Least I Have A Target For My Anger Now

This weekend was fraught with tantrums and tears, all mine.

Today I finally admitted to myself that my post partum depression was not getting better and perhaps it was time to call the doctor. It is hard for me to admit that I need help. The perfectionist in me likes to be, well, perfect.

So I called my obgyn and was put through to the nurse, otherwise known as the evil gatekeeper, who has my chart handy for reference.

Evil Gatekeeper: So, you think you might have post partum depression?

Me: Yes

Evil Gatekeeper: Why do you think that?

Me: Well, because I just had a baby and I feel, well, awful. And it seems to be getting worse, not better like I would expect.

Evil Gatekeeper: Do you have any trauma going on in your life? You know death or marital difficulties?

Me: (trying not to laugh because for some reason this question struck me as absurdly funny) No, but there might be if I don't get my act together.

We then establish that I am NOT going to kill myself or anyone else in my immediate family as well as the fact that Evil Gatekeeper has no sense of humor at all. And since Evil Gatekeeper is not related to me I still feel confident saying this.

Evil: Can you come in and see the doctor today?

Me: No, I can't.

Evil: What about tomorrow?

Me: I don't think so.

Evil: Well, when can you come into the office?

Me: I'm not really sure. I'd have to find someone to watch my children.

Evil: What about your husband? Can't he do something?

Me: Um, yes he could but he is in the city today and tomorrow and not available. (wondering why the hell this is any of her business)

Evil: Well, you need to tell him that he needs to help you more. You can't do everything yourself.

Me: He does help. He is helpful. ( he just has this pesky little thing called a JOB that he must do to, you know, clothe and feed us. I feel myself being put on the defensive and I don't like it. This woman knows nothing about me, my husband or my family and I find it incredibly rude that she is making assumptions.)

Evil: I'm really not sure how you want me to help you. Obviously you have a lot on your plate what with ALL THOSE CHILDREN. No wonder you are depressed and stressed out what with ALL THOSE CHILDREN. Who wouldn't be?

Me: I'll admit that I have a lot on my plate, most of which you know nothing about, but my depression and being stressed out has nothing to do with my children. I have always had a lot on my plate and I like it that way. I have never before felt the way that I do right now... ever.

Evil: Well, what did you expect when you called here today?

Me: I expected to actually talk to my doctor, not you. (as well as some compassion and empathy)

Evil: The doctor will want to see you. And since you don't know when you will be able to come in I can't really help you.

At this point I pretty much gave up. There was more talk from her about "getting away from ALL THOSE CHILDREN" who obviously are the source of my depression.

How do you explain that someone who doesn't get it. ALL THOSE CHILDREN are my life boat. *They* are what is keeping me afloat right now. Without them I would drown. I feel so awful when I snap and yell at them. I feel unworthy to be their mother.

But, I don't want to get away from them. And somehow I don't think that is the answer.


Blogger Jen said...

People who have never experienced ppd have no idea what it's like, and that it's NOT your kids but a chemical thing that requires attention! I hope that you are able to talk with your doctor soon, and get the help that you need and deserve. I had serious ppd and anxiety after my son was born and if someone had told me then what I know now, his first year would have been a lot happier because his mommy would have been happier. Best of luck to you.

7:08 PM  
Blogger w said...

Well. Here's what I think you should do, for whatever it is worth. Call the doctor again. Tell the receptionist that you need the doctor to call you back at his earliest convenience. When she tells you that you need to talk to his nurse, firmly tell her NO - that you must speak with YOUR doctor. If he needs to charge you for an office call, so be it.

I had to do that once after I had my second son. I was passing blood clots as big as oranges, and at the risk of tmi, it felt like something was hanging out of me. Two calls and the nurse ...blah blah blah...that is normal...etc. when I knew it wasn't. (And she kept calling me "hon.") Well, when the doctor called me back, he was not pleased with the fact that the nurse did not leave him a note, nor write anything in my chart - not to mention how she handled it. He then informed me that it was my right to talk to him whenever I wanted to - even if it did turn out to be nothing. (But it wasn't.) And, he told me that nurses get overzealous and sometimes try (inappropriately) to shield the doctor too much.

Ok then. I've went on. Mostly, I hope you feel better soon.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

PPD sucks. Not only does it affect you, but everyone in contact with you. Get to that doc's office asap. In the meantime, hang in there, we're all here for ya.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Janis Gore said...

Sounds to me like you're tired. Can you afford a little help? Maybe a housecleaner once a week?

8:21 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

I had PPD with my daughter and it was awful. My heart goes out to you. I totally understand that the kids are what is keeping you going. People offered to take my kids and give me a "break" when I had PPD and I always said no. People didn't understand that my kids were the only thing that made me happy.
I was very fortunate to have a PPD depression support group to go to. Is that something that may be in your area? I also found journaling very helpful. Helped to get it out all on paper (or on my computer screen). Meditation also helped me too.
Above all. Take care and be very easy on yourself.

9:41 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I took ALL THOSE CHILDREN! with me when no one would talk to me, half of them in pajamas. They couldn't get the crazy lady into a room fast enough. Do what it takes. If I was there I'd watch them for you.

9:45 PM  
Blogger thatgirl said...

Oh my. The insensitivity ... unacceptable. I agree with the commenter who suggested calling again and insisting on talking to the doctor at his earliest convenience. And telling the receptionist to fuck off. Wait, did I say that? ;) Good luck.

9:49 PM  
Blogger Jordana said...

I had PPD after my second child and am in the middle of it now. I didn't find too much help from my doctors. All they wanted to do was write me a Zoloft prescription, which worked as part of helping me get better, but it only helped me get to the point where I could stop being a mean, nasty, weepy person and get out of the house with my kids and enjoy them like I wanted to. The getting out and having fun is what really brought on the improvement for me.

I hope that you can get past the nurse -- how come they are almost all like that, by the way? The only ones I've ever enjoyed talking to are at the pediatrician's office. All the ones at my doctors' offices have been mean and insulting.

And like someone suggested, drag ALL THOSE CHILDREN out with you, if you must. Get in to see the doctor. It's hard enough admitting you feel rotten in the first place. She shouldn't have made it more difficult.


10:13 PM  
Blogger thicket dweller said...

I agree with Lisa. Take the kids with you. I don't know what the Evil Gatekeeper expected to do for you by talking to you and asking all of those questions. :-P

I'm very sorry that you're having such a hard time. Maybe you could get in touch with a naturopathic physician who would look at diet, minerals, vitamins, herbs, etc.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

I'm with Sandra.

Seriously, you really, really should tell your doctor what a pain in the ass that woman was. Who does she think she is? It's not in the dr's best interest to have someone like her as a gatekeeper.

There's a very w-i-d-e line between Gatekeeper and Phone Nazi.

Hang in there!

2:56 AM  
Blogger Gretchen said...

Holy Cow, Just what you need is for this dumb a** woman to make you feel worse. I remember how bad I felt after #3 was born, and it last through until #5 was born. That was a long time, and hard on everyone in the family, including everyone I called to complain to. I ended up seeing a counselor for over a year, and just talking it out until the hormones rebalanced themselves helped enormously. I did not end up needing to take any medications, though I would have if I had needed them.

As for the Evil Gatekeeper, give me the phone number to your doctor's office, and I will call her and tell her off! That is just unforgivable, she has no business diagnosing you over the phone, and someone should tell her so. And yes, she's an idiot too, if she thinks the problem is the kids. I know just what you mean, that they are the only reason for actually getting out of bed each day. Call back and make an appointment for a phone consultation with the doctor; you should be able to do that, insist on it.

I really hope you are able to get through and talk to him and work out a plan. You DO have a lot on your plate, and while it may not be the cause of your PPD, it does add to your lack of energy, which makes the PPD worse. Life will be so much better again when you have the energy to deal with it!

7:01 AM  
Blogger ma said...

Ugg! I'm a perfectionist too. When I finally let Reg call social services to take Kristy they had no idea how close I was to the end of my rope. I got all the crap of having "too many kids" and not knowing what a normal teen girl is like. It made the hide the body in the freezer idea sound so much more appealing!

Call back, bring the kids with you or insist on talking to the dr. Please get your help. I know it's hard.

Geez I was hoping you were doing better. I thought you must be for Rob to decide it a good time to quit smoking.

I hope you are back to your perfect self in no time. Meanwhile hang in there!

Catherine (Bread in the Oven)

9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...How funny... my depression is because my children are going away!

9:46 AM  
Blogger Jody said...

I am so sorry you are going through this and got not nothing positive from your docs office.

During the height of my PPD, during one of many pow-wows about it, Bill said that I needed to start acting more appropriately, that I was being 'mean'. I had to try and explain to him that I couldn't help it. It was not a voluntary thing. I felt very out of control and angry that I could not stop my angry, emotional behaviour. I finally got through to him, thank God.

One thing that helped me (mine was later onset and more PMDD than PPD) was this mix of vitamins: a B-complex vit, 1600mcg folic acid, 400IU vit E, 500mg magnesium, and a good calcium supplement.

As for the doctor, call them and insist to speak with the Dr.. Don't take no for an answer. By law, they have to allow you to talk directly with the doc, even if he has to call you back at the end of the day. Unfortunately, some nurses act as a firewall and inhibit access to the doctor when it is vital, and they do this without the docs knmowledge.

I understand not being able to drop home reponsibilities to get to an appointment. It's called real life, and many people don't get it. If I lived near you, I would watch your kids so you could go to the doc. And I would give you a shoulder to cry on.

I encourage you to try the vitamins while you are waiting for an appointment. It can't hurt, and may help. But be sure to follow up with your doc. Be firm and be a bitch when you call and I assure you, you will get past nurse Ratchett.

And no, it is not your kids that are causing this, it is your hormones. I got the "you-have-your hands-full-and-it-is-no-wonder-that-with-all-those-kids-you-must-be-going-mad" BS too.


3:21 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:21 PM  
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7:57 AM  

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