Friday, June 19, 2015

16 Ways I Ignored Postpartum Depression

1. Postpartum depression isn’t even real. It's something other moms make up who can't handle their kids.

2. I just need to suck it up. Life’s hard sometimes.

3. My time’s too valuable to spend at the doctor’s office for something I don’t even believe exists. (Besides, if I'm getting 2 hours off without kids, I'm going to the salon, not the doctor.)

4. I’m just having a tough few weeks. Things will get better. (Say this over and over again, for months.)

5. It’s just my hormones. I’m sure they’ll balance out again soon. (Say this over and over again, for months.)

6. It’s just my work schedule. I’ll settle into a routine again soon. (Say this over and over again, for months.)

7. I’m still functional and interactive. It can’t be that bad.

8. Women have worked hard and raised kids for thousands of years without anti-depressants.

9. A few moody months won’t kill anybody. It’s not affecting my family too much.

10. People will think I have bad coping skills.

11. None of my friends take anti-depressants. (Yeah right – just like none of my friends have fed their kids Cheerios for three meals in one day.)

12. I just have a lot going on. It's normal to feel tired, unmotivated, and anxious. I'll be back to my old self again soon.

13. Antidepressants will prevent my body from regulating its own happiness in the future, and I'll never be happy again without medication.

14. Plenty of women in third world countries are raising kids without washing machines, dishwashers, and antidepressants.

15. I'm going to make having kids look bad. People already think moms with young kids are crazy!

16. I just need to cut out coffee, eat less sugar, read this advice book, join a moms group, dab these three essential oils behind my ears seven times a day, demand more "me" time, re-allocate grocery money to those magic green-or-pink smoothies, start a new personal hobby, wake up early to enjoy nature, exercise 30 minutes every evening, and eat three square meals a day with two healthy snacks, no carbs, no dairy, no processed foods…

When I finally called my obgyn to talk about post-partum depression, I cried on the phone with the receptionist. When I finally met with my doctor, it was very simple and straightforward.

She spent 20 minutes listening to my concerns, asking follow-up questions, and reassuring me that it wasn’t normal to feel this way; my symptoms indicated postpartum depression.

I left with recommendations for good counselors, if desired, and a prescription for Zoloft (Sertraline is the generic. It’s $10 for a 30-day supply at Walmart pharmacies.)

My doctor said I probably wouldn't feel improvement from the Zoloft for at least a week. But it made an immediate difference: the world slowed down, normal interactions lost their intensity, and I could make calmer, more deliberate decisions.

For me, depression isn't sadness or a cloudy day. It's a sunny day, so bright, with rays so intense and piercing that I can't escape.

Every woman experiences pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum life differently. These are not easy seasons!

If you're experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, a simple doctor’s visit could bring much-needed relief.

1 comment:

  1. Charlene, this was perfect, and so awesome and brave, and humble for you to write!!!! Not enough women feel they can talk about it. I suffer from terrible OCD and it is terrible, really at its worst post-partum. I have been on an anti-depressant for my OCD for 20 years now. I tried to quit after Lucy was born and that was a no go. I am not ashamed, and I do not feel less of a mother because of it. I do know it is a heavy cross for my family and I, but we deal, I deal. And that is all I can ask of myself. Thank you for helping other women to see they are not alone. Motherhood is hard!!!!!----Brandi Lyons