The last few days, with the exception of most of the day yesterday, and so far this morning (I’ve only been awake for an hour) have been a bit rough in the rocky sea of postpartum OCD. My brain felt like it was taking a landslide back into the pit and panic that arises when I allow OCD to cause fear.
It’s hard for me to post in the midst of that; and outwardly all appears fine. We all wear masks, some more disguising than others. Behind my mask were moments of a quickly arising panic that if left unchecked would have gone into a full blown panic attack.
I thought about what I had been doing differently, to see if any “triggers” were making my OCD “louder”. I realized after going through a few checklists that I:
1. Have not been eating enough.
2. Have not been drinking enough fluids.
3. Have not been getting enough sleep.
If my basic physical needs are not being met consistently, my mental health is going to suffer. Chronic dehydration has been shown to contribute to anxiety. Lack of sleep is a major contributor to elevating postpartum illness.
I also had not been waking up as consistently to read the Word and pray. The last week or so I had been averaging about 6 hours of sleep a night. For me, that is just not enough. I was going to bed later to take care of “Christmas stuff” (really what is there to “take care of”?) So, the last two nights I have been putting myself to bed early and attempting to get up before the kids to have my time in solitude with Jesus. Thankfully, this morning I was able to do that.
My appetite is suppressed early to mid day due to some of the medication I take, so the nutrition I needed is not there. My fluid intake was well below the recommended amount (I just learned that you are supposed to take your body weight and divide by half, and that is the number of ounces that your body needs to consume on a daily basis!).
We are complex beings, with multiple aspects of our bodies intertwined. The state of wellness that we seek to achieve cannot be found if there isn’t a balance of physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. I cannot achieve that balance without the help of Jesus; and boy if there isn’t a balance things get rough. I might be able to go a day or two on full speed but after that everything crashes.
God has used “glitches” in my mental health (the term I use when OCD threatens to consume me again) to point me back to him.
I feel like these are elementary thoughts. If you find yourself feeling uncertain, out of sorts, fatigued, or a “spike” in your postpartum illness, consider the above and see where you are and do what you can to make the necessary changes to enhance your wellness.
Whether it’s a postpartum illness you are battling, or some other equally unnerving battle, take heart. God’s word says,