I’ve said before that I need to be honest if I’m really going to commit to this so that’s what this post is all about. I want to tell you about my dreams of becoming a psychologist. For you to really understand why I want to do this I feel you need to know where I’m coming from.
Not only will me telling you where I’m coming help you understand why I want to become a psychologist, it is also a big step in starting this vision I have.
So, let’s start in the present;
As of right now I am going to Diablo Valley College and getting my generals done. I have a total of 21 credits after 2 semesters with a 4.0 GPA; I am proud of what I’ve done so far. I am hoping to transfer to the University of California, Berkley in the fall of 2018, possibly sooner. My dream is to get my doctorate and become a psychologist.
It’s a big and scary dream. It’s a lot of work. It’s a lot of time, school, stress, and money. But at the end of the day my reasoning behind my drive is so strong I can’t quit. My drive to help women with postpartum depression and anxiety is what will keep me going when I am so sick of school I just want to quit or when it gets hard.
I want to help women who struggle with postpartum issues. I want to take these issues from being taboo to being something that every pregnant woman, and her spouse, knows about. I want postpartum issues to be common knowledge. I want all mental illness to be accepted and normal, but my main drive is behind postpartum women.
I want every single pregnant woman to have an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist soon after she has her baby. And by soon I mean within two or three weeks. I know it’s a hectic time and everything is a blur, but I think this appointment is so important.
Here comes the ‘Truthful Tuesday’ part of this post. Let’s go back in time;
Had I gone to an appointment with a psychologist or psychiatrist after the birth of Cash I might have saved myself from a lot of hurt and self-damage. I didn’t know what postpartum was because my doctor never told me about it. I read pregnancy and baby books because it was my first child, I was young, and I was scared. I knew it was normal to have the ‘baby blues’, that was briefly discussed in said baby books. I didn’t know it was normal to feel so low. To feel so scared. To feel like it would be better to disappear.
With my first son, I justified how I was feeling with the fact that his biological father was in jail part of the time I was pregnant.
I justified how I was feeling with the fact that his biological dad’s ex and their son were extremely difficult for me to deal with. Hard to the point of being called a cunt when I went to pick up their son with him. As time has passed I’ve realized how much pain she must have been in trying to deal with said ex. I get it now. I feel terrible for pushing her so hard. I can’t imagine how hard it was for her to see me pregnant with his child when he wasn’t even trying with hers. 😦 I would soon learn how he really was as a parent and an ex I wish I could apologize to her but I feel it is probably pointless now. However, if she ever comes across this blog I hope she knows how sorry I am for any pain I caused her.
I justified how I was feeling with the fact that we were broke and living paycheck to paycheck.
I justified how I was feeling with the fact that he was a borderline alcoholic.
And the list goes on. I blamed the way I was feeling on my situation.
I never knew postpartum depression and anxiety were actual issues. It took me months to realize I needed to get help. When I finally got the help I needed I had pushed important people away, shut myself out from a handful of friendships, and lied to myself for months. It took me a long time to feel like myself again. It took me a long time to feel truly connected to Cash like I do now. And even after I got help I couldn’t talk about it. I didn’t tell people about the struggles I went through until I was pregnant with my second child. I never even told Cash’s biological dad what was wrong with me.
All he knows is that I lost my god damn mind and hated everything about him after I had Cash. I hated him. I had no patience with him or his other son. I had no patience with his family. I didn’t have patience for my family. God, I was just a miserable person to be around. Honestly, I probably drove him to drink more than he already did.
With my second son, I was scared of this happening again. I was downright terrified. I talked to my OBGYN about my concerns and she brushed them off. She told me “Well, that was with your other pregnancy. You don’t know if this pregnancy is going to be the same. Why don’t we wait until you have the baby to figure that out.” This came across as ‘I don’t care about you and how scared you are of these issues. We need to wait and see if you actually have a problem.’
I was so upset. I was downright angry. I remember telling Tyson how I hope we have the baby in the middle of the night and she isn’t on call because I would rather have a random OB than her. I remember telling my stepmom how upset I was about what she said. How upset I was that she wasn’t being supportive of me and my concerns.
Maybe I wouldn’t have an issue and I would have worried for nothing. But maybe I would have an issue and I would wait months again to get help. She had no idea what was going to happen and I felt like she just didn’t care.
Unfortunately, I struggled with my second son as well.
I struggled more this time, even though I knew what was happening.
I was miserable.
I hated myself.
I hated everyone around me.
I am ashamed to say this, but I didn’t want to be around my kids.
The rational side of me loved Tate. The rational side of me wanted to care for him and protect him. But the postpartum side of me wanted to drive the car off the side of an overpass.
I hated having to drive on the freeway because I was scared of what I might do. It’s so hard to write that and admit it to anyone. It was terrifying to admit it to myself.
I hated being alone.
But I hated being around my kids and husband.
And I hated being around our friends.
My husband didn’t understand, and that was my fault. I didn’t let him in. When I did let him in it was an outpouring of emotion. It came out as sadness, hopelessness, loneliness, and despair; feelings he just didn’t understand. It was also anger and frustration at his misunderstanding. Needless to say, it was not a pleasant time in our lives. We both struggled with my depression. We all suffered from my depression. I wasn’t the only one suffering. My husband suffered. He was neglected. He was attacked. He was punished. My kids suffered. It’s embarrassing how low I got, but this is why I want to change the way people look at postpartum issues.
This dark time pushed me to want to help other women, and men. I want women to know that these struggles are okay. These struggles are normal. These struggles are nothing to be ashamed of.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to talk to someone and get help. I want to be that person. I want to be that person women, and men, can turn to and get help. I want to be able to explain to spouses what their wives are going through without the emotion and confrontation so they can learn how to help and understand. I want to help women overcome this low point in their lives and get on with celebrating the birth of their child/children.
My dream is to become a psychologist, but ultimately my dream is for every single woman to receive postpartum care as part of her prenatal care. I want it to just be an extension of her OBGYN visits.
My first step to achieving these dreams was to seek professional help myself. Then start school. And now I am talking about it.
I hope this is eventually part of mainstream conversation.
I want everyone to know that it’s okay to struggle and there is help if you need it.
I want to be the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.