It has now been over a month since I realized what I was going through was not normal, and a lot has happened since then. I am feeling much more back to 'normal' now, probably back to 90%! I wanted to make sure I shared this with everyone because my biggest fear when this started was that is was going to progressively get worse. This is NOT the case.
I'll do a quick recap on what I experienced:
I'm 29, my wife is 30, we had our first child on May 18th, 2009.
First three weeks, I was fine. My wife had major problems breastfeeding though. Looking back on it, this caused a LOT of stress for me. Hungry baby=screaming baby=crying mommy=stressed daddy.
We had one big fight about two weeks after the birth because I went away for the day to a cousin's bachelor party. No strippers or anything sex related, just paintball. My wife was pissed that 'I wanted to get away from them' for a day. I was mad because I wasn't trying to get away, I was just trying to support my cousin. What this turned into was I felt guilty for ever leaving the house.
During the fourth week, I went on an antibiotic(avelox) to treat a sinus infection that wouldn't go away. On the 4th night of the antibiotics, I had some intrusive thoughts where I kept having terrible images of doing harm to my baby and wife. These thoughts scared the shiat out of me. I did not want them and I could not make them go away. Finally, on day 6 of the antibiotics, I was listening to the radio on the way to work and the DJ's were talking about a guy in Arizona who killed his wife and kids out of the blue. Hearing this sent me into anxiety overload because I was afraid I was going down this same path. I made thru work until early afternoon and I finally had to leave because I couldn't control myself. I came home, went to see a doctor, and started doing research on the internet.
Two things happened that night: 1. I found out that Avelox causes anxiety and panic attacks. Needless to say, I stopped taking it. 2. I found this site(and some others), and found out that PPD can affect more than just mothers, dad can get it too. This was an eye opener. In all the reading I did leading up to the birth, there was NOTHING that I can remember that said dads get PPD.
The next day I still had some serious anxiety problems going, but it wasn't as bad as the previous day. Every day got better, though there were still some times (and still are) where the anxiety kicks in out of nowhere.
So, what has calmed me down?
Intrusive thoughts are normal. The fact that they bother me is a good indicator that I am not undergoing Postpartum Psychosis, which is what I was afraid was happening to me. I will not be the next Andrea Yates. (I have a new found sorrow for her.)
No more Avelox. I think this combined with all of the new stress and intrusive thoughts to push me over the edge. There are other physical side effects(like ligaments imploding) that make me think this is a bad, bad drug. Do your research of you are prescribed this medicine. I will never take it again.
Go hang with the guys. I'm an extrovert by nature. Being cooped up in the house for 30+ days and getting yelled at on the one day I did leave did NOT work with my psyche. I went golfiing and drinking one Saturday with a bunch of buddies after the anxiety started and I found that it made me feel 'normal' again.
Do stuff with other couples who have younger kids. Just being around our other friends who are new parents was a huge relief. We are not the only ones that are stressed out!
I also started seeing a therapist once every two weeks. Its nice, but honestly the best therapy I've found is to post on this site and hear from you other guys who are experiencing the same thing.
So, as I write this, know that it will get better! There will be swings, but know and believe that everything is going to pass! When you hit a low, post something out here and someone will reassure you and support you through this.
My little guy is doing great! He got his first vaccinations on Wednesday and he is growing like a weed!
Remember, it WILL get better! Thank you to everyone who has provided support to me and everyone else on this board!