Most of the time I think I have my anxiety problems left over from the accident completely handled. I’m not on any medications any more, for my mental or physical state. I weaned myself off all of them while I was pregnant with Little Grunt. It took a lot of supplementary therapy (we are talking about therapy twice a week for an hour for the better part of a season), and a period of adjustment to deal with the manageable daily pain. But my hard work was rewarded with a child born with minimal exposure to the NSAIDs and narcotics I was taking. And for the most part, the therapies seemed to have worked.
I am stiff in the joints, but getting back into my swimming this fall will help with that. I don’t have any issues with traffic anymore, and very few left while in a vehicle. I have completely beaten my depression with the odd exceptional bad day that pops up now and again. The PTSD is also mostly gone into recession, my only problems now generally related to the unpredictability of crowds and sudden change. But every so often, panic sets in out of the blue, and it all revolves around my precious baby boy.
I am not saying that it’s his fault – far from it, as he’s actually the reason I am doing so well – and the panic that does well up is always irrational and completely out of context. It hits hardest just after I’ve put him back to sleep in the middle of the night, when I’m lying in bed in the dark loneliness and I can’t stop the thoughts. Thoughts of falling down the stairs while carrying him, thoughts of mishaps in the pool when he starts swimming lessons next month, even thoughts of him just not waking up again. They are terrible, awful thoughts and I would not wish them on anyone. But they come, whether I like it or not.
It’s nearly midnight. I just had to go check on him, lay a hand on his belly and listen to him breathe. He’s sound asleep in his crib next door, wrapped safely in his swaddle. And I stood over his crib for a moment so I could share some of his peace. I know I won’t sleep well now tonight, my dreams filled with confusing and painful images.
But I won’t go back on the medications. Not yet. I can do this by myself. It’s a little rocky sometimes, and it’s tiring, but it’s worth it. He is worth every clean moment of it. If I need them, if it gets bad enough that I feel like I need help, then I will seek it. I’m not shy about asking for it, or admitting I could use it. I was warned that there would be an increased risk of me developing postpartum depression because of my issues before, and I make sure to take stock of my well being to check for signs that I may be slipping that way.
In fact, I would be worried about these panic attacks except that they have been happening since long before Grunt was even born. They are the last lingering icy cold fingers of anxiety that grip me from the accident. They are simply taking a new turn with the arrival of my boy, which comforts me somewhat as I lie here staring at the ceiling in the dark. I have bested the ghosts of bulletproof vans and traumatic pain on nights like these not too long ago, and I know that by employing some of my coping tactics I can best this too.