One evening, I waited impatiently for my husband to come home from work. It was another one of “those” postpartum depression days and I needed to be rescued. Not that my son was being a pain, it was because I was sinking in my own shoes.
When he walked in he kissed me lightly on the forehead and asked me how my day was. I rolled my eyes at him as if he should have automatically known how crappy it was.
The following conversation took place:
Husband: Sounds like you need a drink. Do you want me to make you one?
Me: I don’t care.
Husband: Well do you want me to make you one or not?
Me: I guess.
Husband: I’ll just make you one. What do you want?
Me: I don’t know.
Husband: I can make you a martini. A beer?
Me: I don’t know. Whatever is easiest for you.
Husband: Well what do you feel like? I’ll make you whatever you want.
Me: Ugh. I don’t know babe…
Then he just went and made me a drink. (Please note: I do realize that drinking alcohol can act as a depressant.)
What I’m trying to get at here is that postpartum depression and anxiety can make a person extremely indecisive. It’s not that we’re trying to be difficult. It’s just that we really don’t know what we want.
We. Don’t. Know. Period.
Making decisions as simple as what to drink can be extremely daunting for us. Sometimes these decisions can spur anxiety and frustration and, when interacting with our loved ones, can ignite arguments.This is why I think it’s important for our caregivers/spouses/significant others to understand this aspect of our illness. Here are some tips on how you can help (from my husband’s and my perspective):
- Know that we are nottrying to be difficult
- Know that making simple decisionscan be hard for us. Our minds are firing at 100 thoughts per second (or, for others, our minds aren’t firing at all). It is hard to filter through all of those thoughts to come up with a decision.
- If you find that we are getting flustered by making a choice,be patient with us.
- Don’t demand an answer.
- Ifwe cannot come up with a solution, it is more than ok togive us one. Don’t be afraid to just say “Ok, we’re going toXYZ for dinner”.The majority of the time (for me, anyway) we are worried about the kind of impact our decision will have on you and others. By choosing for us, we feel less pressured … and in my case totally relieved.
- Give us simple choices. Don’t ask things like “What colour should we paint this room?” because you will end up with a room painted orange.
I know that these may seem silly to you, but to those with PPD, the littlest things can create gigantic turmoil within us and between us. The small steps you take for us, the larger steps we can take towards our recovery. You, the Dad/caregiver/spouse/significant other are an integral part of our success in this. Remember that.
Even though we may not say it, we thank you so much and love you even more.
So what helps you when you’re indecisive?