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The long road home.

Yesterday, while walking back from the "blue circle park", the double umbrella stroller we got from a friend fell apart. Totally. And me being me, I refused to leave it in the bushes or something, since that wouldn't exactly fall into place with my "don't litter, cause we aren't pigs" philosophy.

So I walked home with Vivian, Rosalyn, and this big stupid broken stroller. About half way home, while trying to keep Rosalyn out of the ditch, and out of traffic for about the 20th time, and trying to keep Vivian going in a forward motion, I lost it.

I totally, and utterly lost my freaking mind.

The scary thing was how similar this rage was to when I was in the midst of full PPD-it was blinding, painful and disturbing. I just wanted to throw one of them into traffic, I wanted to throw the stroller, or better yet, myself. I had one crawling almost on to the road in pursuit of something she picked up, one actively trying to run away, and this hulking stroller falling from my arms.

I saw white for the briefest of moments, and just wanted to sit down, and cry my bloody stupid eyes out.

It was a short moment, but it was frightening in it's intensity. And it was a flash back to a time when I was, well, freaking nuts.

I try not to admit to myself that I have these moments, times when all I want to do is scream at my children until my throat is raw and I cannot speak, and not because they are bad, because they aren't. But because I have this RAGE buried in my chest, rarely seen, well hidden, that is usually smothered in a smarmy layer of sadness. Yet some days, it yearns for release, just as I some days yearn to die.

I thought that after coming to terms with and dealing with my PPD, these moments would end. They didn't, since it turned out that I AM certifiably nuts, being diagnosed bipolar II. And again, I believed there would be a light at the end of the tunnel, that I would suddenly feel everything like normal, that it would be "sunshine and lollipops, and roses everyday."

It isn't. I don't want to kill my children anymore, but there are the usual days where I want to run and hide in the woods behind the house, or stick my thumb out on the highway and see how far I can get. Some days, I find myself calmly evaluating if today would be a good day to die, and how I might do it, sounding much like someone deciding what to eat for dinner. I catch myself staring at my wrists, wondering what keeps me from it.

I stood on the sidewalk screaming at my girls like a fishwife, and I immediately felt like shit over it. I remembered that feeling from when I screamed at my daughters as babies, their cries increasing in shrillness and fear. I felt on that sidewalk what I felt way back then "I can kill this, I want it gone."

But now, unlike then, it passes like a stray cloud against the sun, instead of lingering around my eyes for weeks. I can accept and move on from it, acknowledge my rage as a momentary lapse, and keep walking. I can remind my girls that I'm mad, but I love them, because it's not their fault that the stupid stroller doesn't work, or that my meds some days don't seem to do it for me, not completely, and I'm scared to try too many options, instead content with what seems like 90% of me.

The spectre of PPD will likely always haunt me, in quiet moments, in mad moments, when I'm alone and reading about the love others had for their babies. But it is, irrevocably, part of me, and always will be. And I tell myself, that despite this, I AM a good mother, that I love my children, and always will, even if the outset is a wee bit bumpy.

Sometimes life reminds me of my shortcomings, or my failures, and allows me to use them and stop and smell my roses, my girls. We took the long way home so Rosalyn could stop and touch nature, instead of the scary sidewalk on the busy road.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.

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I had some sort of trauma-induced PPD when my son was 15 months old. (tramua=divorce) And while I think it was more mild than yours, I can completely understand what you are saying. You certainly aren't alone. Some days I have to just lay on the bed and scream into a pillow.

I do my share of screaming too.

It passes.

I can really understand where you are coming from. Just after the birth of my second child, I hurtled into unrecognised depression - the low point being the night I woke screaming because I was convinced I had hurt one of the childre. I hadn't, but I lost it big time. It's frightening.

I would have screamed and trashed the stroller. Seriously. I get waves of white hot anger on occasion, and littering be damned, the stroller would have been left behind. I would have rationalized as "Maybe someone who really needs one will find it and fix it."

Yes, I know that;s just wrong. :)

I couldn't leave the stroller since I spent a LOT of time bitching and whining about the person who left their broken stroller in front of someone else's house a few weeks back. That freaking thing kept reappearing everywhere I went too. It was odd.

I'm sure getting angry is normal-I'm just not very accqainted with "normal" so I don't know what an average range of emotion is, and what's me just being messed up.

Things were fine after, but at that moment, I could have torn someone apart.

Oh I've felt melt downs exactly like you're describing. Anyone would understand your frustration.

I had PPD with my first son. It was very scary. I felt very immature and unprepared at the time. I had visions of dropping him off the balcony or down the apartment stairs. I was 26.

I firmly believe few people under the age of 30 are mature and stable enough to be parents without some sort of mental overload. And yet our culture tells us we shouldn't wait that long. Oh well.

I think if we're honest, we all feel that way sometimes, Dor.

That desperate need for escape. That sense that this is not my life; not what I signed up for. And the rage that comes with that feeling.

I know I do. And sometimes I scream. Sometimes I break things. Sometimes I scare the kids. But like Granny said, it passes. And holding on to it is just a recipe for martyrdom, and we are not those kinds of women.

I was never so relieved as the day I found out that the best mom I know has an escape plan. How to leave, where to go, what to do, everything all thought out. She'll never put it into practice, but she's got it. That fact made me realize that so long as we remain present for the majority of the moments, it's ok to have that escape plan in the back of our minds.

Missy, I think there is something to what you're saying, but in a different way.

I think our culture is very fucked up in terms of what we expect from "young adults"-I read once that 25 or 26 is the new 18, that people aren't considered "grown ups" until then.

I personally find something very wrong with that. We have, on one had, a culture that expects and demands maturity in terms of career, and yet seems to allow people to remain "kids" in terms of relationships.

I'm not a big fan of reproducing later in life because I have concerns in terms of the health of the mother and the child. BUT, most of us do not have oodles of siblings, and haven't been raised around children, so it does take time to gain the perspective needed for childrearing.

believe me. I'm the LAST person who 'should" have had kids. And yet somehow it worked out. Schools need parenting classes, and exposure for kids to REAL LIFE instead of more tests with no real relevance. Life experience baby.

Just wanted to add this as well.

I consider myself psychologically healthy, and still have the white hot moments with my boys several times a week.

In my opinion, the people who act like they're all smiles and soft spoken voices 24/7 with their children are the ones we should be worried about.

P.S.

I have an escape plan too. I wish more of us would admit this.

I hope a lot of people feel this way. It'll make me feel better for those same uncontrollable moments when I feel like everything's deliberately attacking me as I spiral out of control.

But the moments always pass.

We may not have control over our emotions, but we have control over our actions. That's where responsibility enters--and for some people having an escape plan is part of that. I respect that.

More on expectations: you know I've read that new brain research shows our brains do not fully mature until around the age of 25 or 26. While this may explain some individuals inablility to handle responsibility, and their emotional immaturity with regard to relationships, it doesn't really present any answers to the question of what you do with the person who has reached that age and acquired a shit load of responsibilities. As a society we're still going to demand that those people suck it up and do what they're supposed to do. You made your own bed, now sleep in it. I confess that this is my attitude.

But my advice to my own kids will be to wait. Educate yourself, get a career, find a partner. That's actually quite a lot of shit to get done in one decade. Then you will be ready to give your kids what they deserve.

(*grin*) Since when has anyone ever listened to my advice, anyway?

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