Monday, April 20, 2009

diagnose me, please

I need your opinion.

For a while now, maybe a month or so, I've been feeling a bit off. I don't know quite how to describe it, but I feel unfocused. I can't seem to concentrate on seemingly simple tasks like packing or picking up the house. It was particularly evident while I was trying to pack, first to leave Boston, then to leave California, then to leave Florida. I know what I need to do, but as I'm packing I feel like I can't wrap my head around the whole process. I feel convinced that I'm forgetting something or that I'll pack too much unnecessary stuff.

The whole lack of concentration makes me feel almost detached on some things. Maybe detached isn't the right word, but it's almost like I see what I need to do from a distance, but I can't seem to pay enough attention or bring myself into the process enough to get it done. Is this making any sense? I've been trying to figure out why I feel this way, and particularly asking myself whether this could be postpartum depression.

The thing is, I don't feel sad. Really, not at all. I do sometimes feel overwhelmed with life, but it is mostly when the house is ridiculously messy, or when both kids are screaming, or when my little engineering buddy asked me to paraphrase 4 pages of his introduction for him, and I was on vacation and needing to get everyone packed and I was alone with my mother in law and feeling anxious about keeping her house super picked up.

I am also really, amazingly, remarkably sleep deprived. I'm exhausted. Josie's sleep schedule has been something of a nightmare while we were on vacation, and on those nights when she did sleep, Gabe would wake up because his diapers had soaked through his pajamas and his whole bed was wet. When I'm at home, Josh always takes both babies on weekend mornings and lets me have a couple of hours of uninterrupted sleep, but with my inlaws I didn't have that luxury and I didn't feel comfortable asking for it. In the afternoons while we were away, I would often collapse for a nap out of sheer exhaustion, but then I'd end up not being able to fall asleep at bedtime. A vicious cycle, that one.

Anyway, my question is this: what does this sound like to you? I'm not a person predisposed to depression, in fact, I've never even questioned whether I was depressed before. I asked Josh if I seem depressed to him, and he said absolutely not. I really do feel happy the vast vast vast majority of the time. Is this just exhaustion and life with 2 kids 23 months apart? I'm inclined to give myself a couple of weeks wherein I try to go to bed early, try to eat decent meals and snacks, maybe get a little bit of exercise, and stay on some semblance of a schedule now that we're home, and then see how I feel. I don't want to discount the fact that I've been in California for a week and a half, then Orlando for 4 days, then Sarasota for 5 days, and then home for 2 days. That would be unsettling for anyone, I think. Even poor Gabe woke up this morning and said, "Mommy, I'm home!" in an ecstatic tone of voice.

What do you think? Am I deluding myself or just being paranoid? Maybe a little of both?


Meika said...

I think your questions are totally normal, and I've had the very same ones myself. I'd chalk it up more to exhaustion than PPD, but who knows?

Isn't sleep a magical and elusive beast? :)

Alison said...

yes, your official diagnosis: two children, significant lack of restorative sleep.

seriously. I'd tell you if I thought it was something else.

Summer said...

I think your plan makes sense. Give yourself a few weeks of taking care of yourself and see how you feel. The one thing I'd add to your list of to-dos is to spend some time outdoors every day. I'm a big fan of sunshine, what can I say?

You're very wise to keep an eye on yourself for signs of PPD, but it does sound like simple exhaustion. I remember being an absolute zombie during the Sleep Deprivation Era. There's a very good reason that sleep deprivation is used as a torture!

OneTiredEma said...

I think that your month of traveling alone with 2 kids (really 1 kid and 1 infant) is heroic.

Honestly, I decided not to go to Israel with my two (who are older and more self sufficient...or CAN be more self sufficient, if they want to be) because it was going to be 12 hour international flights sandwiching 3 weeks of solo parenting with my husband's family (his parents, his brother and SIL). So, OMFG do you need to recover!

I'd definitely give yourself as much sleep as you can. Plus a spa day (if you're into that), coffee out with other adults while Josie is in the loving arms of another adult, getting Gabe back into his routine, etc. And ITA with summer about the importance of outdoor time for everyone, weather permitting.

If you're still not feeling right in a couple of months, then reassess. But, really, what you did was SO SO HARD and you need time to recover.

Beth said...

I agree - it's all about exhaustion and (I don't believe) anything else. You have had a massive month, once everything gets back into a routine you can reassess and see how you feel. I know that whenever I have *thought* I was depressed it was when I was out of control and not on top of things. That sounds like it to a healthy dose of sleep deprivation which will make anyone feel a little detached. Welcome Home - enjoy that spring!

Knit and Purl Mama said...

I would say also that it sounds like exhaution - heck you have 2 kids 23 months apart - I hear you on that - with 2 kids 17.5 months apart with the oldest being the exact same age as your oldest (TO THE DATE!)

I'd keep an eye out for PPD, but it doesnt sound like that.

I also have a hard time focusing on things, probably cuz I've got my mind on the kids (what are they doing, are they sleeping, is that one doing this, and having to keep my eye on Mack all the time now when he's not sleeping because he's crawling and it's very dangerous if he gets out of sight...!)

Get to bed early! :)

Swistle said...

I think it sounds like shock (I always feel stunned for awhile after a birth) and exhaustion and possible post-travel stuff. I always feel weird for awhile when I come back home.

ccw said...

I'm with everyone else, it sounds like exhaustion. Lack of sleep or a screwy sleep schedule can create a great deal of problems mentally and physically.

If you truly are concerned it something beyond exhaustion talk to your doctor.

bessie.viola said...

(here from Swistle... quite happy to have found you!)

I think that you're right on in your self-diagnosis. Give yourself some time to settle back in, and schedule some blocks of time where you give the kids to your husband and you can just sleep.

I had some issues with PPD, and it sounds like you're quite levelheaded and right where you need to be - watchful and conscious, but not jumping to conclusions. Definitely get outside a bit and get moving - that helped me a lot on tough days.

Hang in there! Hope that sleep visits soon.

Lisanne said...

Our children are 19 months apart, and I seem to be going through what you're going through right now lately. I'm getting things mixed up; I'm asking stupid questions; I see tons of stuff that needs to be done but I just feel lazy and don't have much motivation. Today was very restorative, though ~ a friend watched both our kids for the entire day! It felt great. I bet sleep has a TON to do with it. I've been sleeping OK, but I think my cause is just SO much on my mind and SO much to think about ... SO much I want to do/get done.

Chamiza said...

Nat, I think you are just tired. Also, shifts in hormones, even from just the pill (and definately from pregnancy) can sometimes cause memory loss and slight mood changes. But the exhaustion accounts for memory loss and general foggyness. Maybe you should nap when they nap--at least for part of the time