What the hell is happening to me? Where is the sweet Kaveri who sits calmly in meditation, who offers a healing attention to those in need, who writes soulful, reflective pieces about suffering and joy? Who kidnapped her? Who is this imposter Kaveri who can’t get a hold of her unbridled emotions like stallions running wild in unknown pastures? Is it PMS? Have I been here before?
Nine years ago when my daughter was born, I experienced a complete invasion of body, mind, and spirit. Delivering her left space in the uterus for something else to grow, to inhabit my being with full force, without permission. Postpartum depression and anxiety were like parasites sucking the life force out of me. I couldn’t predict when someone or something would trigger a deluge of unwanted thoughts and feelings to tear me away from my comfort zone.
I pursued mindfulness meditation, compassion practices, and writing to heal the PPD and anxiety. But everything has a shadow side. I was also trying to build a better me, to have something else to add to my life’s resume after Giving Birth and Failing as a New Mom. My resume now has a full list of mindfulness, compassion, and writing activities in addition to my work as a family physician. But who am I? Is there space for PPD and anxiety, the unwanted thoughts and emotions? Is one version of me better than another?
A portal to the past arises sometimes when I experience PMS and old wounds are triggered, when rocks are thrown into my pond.
rocks thrown into my pond
angry at them for the disturbance
blaming myself for intolerance
sitting with the ripples
till the pond is still
till I can see us clearly again
Though I have been using meditation and writing as a self-improvement project, I am also grateful for the peace and clarity they provide. PPD, PMS, and anxiety or not, we all have rocks thrown into our ponds by family, friends, coworkers, clients, etc. We may welcome or feel angry at the disturbance. We may blame ourselves for not being able to handle things more skillfully or greet the unfolding experience with compassionate understanding.
Sitting with the ripples of yesterday, the last nine years and beyond, I know now I would not go back and change a thing. Through meditation, honest reflection and writing, my pond can be still so I can see myself clearly. When I see myself clearly, I can see others clearly.
Isn’t this how we heal the world?