Pregnancy and Mental Illness
Trimester One- The Hormonal Menace.
I am entering my 17th week now, so I'd like to share the ups and downs of this pregnancy so far.
The one thing I could sense right away was nausea...and my boobs started to grow (which was nice).
I've been pregnant before but this nausea was, by far, the worst I've ever experienced. It kind of colored the world around me in awful shades of gray, gloom and disgust. Everything made me sick to my stomach if I thought about it enough. The yucky northwest winter weather, foods I used to like, everyday smells, activities I used to enjoy; all made me sick to my stomach. I would just end up laying in bed a lot but even that eventually made me feel like a slob. Luckily, I mostly craved affection from my boyfriend, Kevin, to help soothe my tormented body and mind. Before the pregnancy, I had become accustomed to enjoying nights out seeing live shows with Kevin. Supporting him and even joining on stage.
As the weeks went by this sudden change to my body chemistry affected my mental health. I would pick fights, go from zero to raging mad in seconds and then back down to sobbing so intensely, I'd hyperventilate and throw up. I had gotten so hyper-sensitive, its like a superpower I did not want. It's not to say I completely had no reason to stress or fret. There is plenty in my life I am trying to maintain in some form of balance. Normally, non-pregnant me could handle it all, even though I was exhausted and spreading myself out thin: ptsd recovery, cleaning, going back to work full-time to be the major breadwinner, budgeting, so many bills (most leftover from my former marriage), wrapping up divorce, scheduling appointments, trying to go back to school, learning to coexist in a new relationship, etc. All this while taking on pregnancy just kind of broke me.
I have pushed some people away and I'm sorry for that. It's not me, its mostly my hormones. Some people don't understand mental health issues. My rollercoaster of emotions is really hard to explain to people so I'd just avoid them. There were wonderful moments where I experienced almost extreme euphoria and I tried to hold on to that as much as I could. Sex feels more intense, too. So, that helps sometimes. If it wasn't for Kevin being my rock and working with me to try and help where he could, I'd be much worse off. Our life isn't perfect but we are committed to making this work. And his positive outlook is contagious.
The weather had a big effect on me. Nothing made me happy for a long scary stretch of weeks. I thought myself, "is this shitty existence my life now?" However, there was one single solitary dream I held onto. It was about laying on the hot Miami beach sand soaking up precious sunlight to nourish my starved skin of vitamin D. I tried taking extra vitamin D but I eventually couldn't hold those pills down. Thank goodness the weather has started to get better.
As this first trimester has ended I have noticed a shift in my mood and the nausea is 95% gone. I still have mood swings and I think I just have to be patient with myself.
Example: this week, every night, I have had minimal sleep because I need to talk relationship things out. So, I wake poor Kevin up and I talk 'til I cry, then he reassures me and I go back to sleep. Last night, however, in the dark, stillness and silence, so much emotion welled up in me at the thought of how much I love Kevin. He was pretty passed out and I wished he could've experienced this feeling with me. Holding him didn't feel like it was enough so I had the urge to grab and kiss his feet. Its a very sensitive part of the body that I felt very connected to at that moment. I started sobbing and he woke up and grabbed my feet in a cutesy half asleep sort of way and gave them a few little kisses. I didn't want to bug him so I told him to go back to sleep. I went to eat some Cheerios and calmed down enough to get some more rest.
My whole world has felt like it flipped upside down. Like I took some kind of drug that is tripping me out, sometimes. When things get dark, it can seem like upside down world from stranger things; a stagnant and hopeless life. And when things are more cheerful, I feel like I am experiencing things for the first time. Almost like I can see new colors and understand a new depth and meaning to life and each individual thing in it; and it makes it so beautiful. I wish people could experience that.
So as I embark trimester 2- I am trying to take it easy as much as possible and trying to surround myself with good things and people who can be supportive and understanding. Writing this has been therapeutic and shows progress. Thanks for reading.
Mother of 1, Baby on the Way