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Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

Alright moms, lets talk about a not so fun subject. Let me start by saying I am in no way a healthcare professional. I am simply a mom that has suffered with postpartum depression and I am still suffering with anxiety. If you are having thoughts of suicide please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Don’t let suicide take you away from your family. Everything is temporary, suicide is permanent.

Now let me start with this. My life is perfect! I have a caring husband that loves me even though I’ve gained 40 pounds since giving birth to our beautiful babies, my babies are healthy, we have a brand new home, money in the bank and a huge family that all lives in basically the same neighborhood.

1. How are You Depressed and Anxious Then?

Depression and anxiety doesn’t care who you are! It’s a chemical imbalance that can only be cured with the help of a trained medical professional. Pregnancy and child birth is very tolling on your body! The first time I realized I had postpartum depression was when my one month old wouldn’t stop crying. I wanted to toss either myself or her out of the window. (I’ve never hurt my child, so don’t worry) I’m just saying, this was the thought I was having at the time. I placed her at the end of the bed and just sat and cried. How can I be feeling this way? We wanted her. We planned for her. We were newly married and my husband had just returned from a year tour in Korea. I had my family! Now what?

2. Get Professional Medical Help!

I talked to my doctor. He had me take a depression screener and I passed with flying colors. Not that it was a good thing that I passed with depression but at least I knew what the problem was. The doctor already had a pre-made worksheet so that means, I’m not the only one!

I was breast feeding my daughter and I didn’t want to take medicine for my depression. My doctor explained to me my baby needs her mother. I can’t be the best mother I could be if I’m having crying spells and thoughts of suicide. He informed me about this book they used called, “Mothers Milk”. It’s a book which rates all sorts of medicines and if it’s okay to take while breastfeeding. We landed on taking Zoloft and let me tell you, it helped!

3. After the Magical Pill

Okay, there’s no magical pill. The pill cured the imbalance but I still had my mind to get right. I started talking to a councilor once a week. She was so sweet and listened to my concerns. She would give me mental exercises to try at home and slowly it started to become better.

It wasn’t an overnight fix though folks. I had to see my doctor a couple more times to get the dosage right. At first it made me feel a little dizzy so I started taking it before bed. When I felt like I still wasn’t 100% he would up my dose. Everyone is different so you and your doctor have to work to see what medication and was dosage works best for you.

4. Now Here Comes Anxiety…

I kicked my depression in the bud when my daughter was about six months old. I felt more confident as a mother, I had returned to work so having a routine was nice and my husband supported me all the way through. Now this other thing creeped up on me, anxiety.

Anxiety and depression are not the same thing. With my anxiety I don’t have any thoughts of suicide and I love my life and everything in it. Anxiety makes my skin crawl and my chest tight. The smallest things will make it flare. It can be anything like the house being a mess, my husband asking, “what” for the second time, my daughter wanting a new cup of milk, or knowing that I have to be somewhere later in the day.

5. Anxiety Makes Me Angry!

No, not angry at anxiety, angry with rage. If something flares my anxiety I will yell! When I yell it makes me feel bad for my family. My two year old didn’t mean to spill her milk. She’s just two, why did I yell? Anxiety is the A word, an A-hole!

Well great, I have anxiety, now what? I went back to my doctor. Since the Zoloft worked so well in the past, I was prescribed it again. Like I said before though, it’s not a magical pill. I have to decide to not let anxiety get the best of me. Some days it still does. I still get angry and I still yell. I have to calm myself with a few exercises.

6. How I Exercise the Demons

Anxiety creeps up on me about once a day. Some days I’ll go without having anxiety and my husband will ask me, “why are you so happy?” Umm, this is the real Rachael. The Rachael you married without anxiety. When I find my anxiety creeping up I’ll start to take deep breaths. Sometimes it just helps to breathe. Another thing that helps is good old fashion sunshine! If I take the kids out for a walk or to the park the fresh air and sunshine really helps. Granted, when you’re anxious the last thing you want to do is go for a walk. Trust me, it helps.

7. What Not to Do

I found myself guilty of this and I had to nip it in the bud. Drinking! I would look forward to the evening when the kids would go to sleep and have myself some, what people call, Mommy Juice. Guys, we need to stop calling it something cute like Mommy Juice. It can become a real problem if you run to alcohol for your anxiety or any problem.

When I realized I was doing this, EVERY DAY, I made the decision to stop. I’m not sure if you’re religious or not but I came across the verse of Jesus going 40 days and 40 nights without food and the Devil tempting him with every temptation out there. You do not need to be religious to do this exercise but what I did was just stopped. I stopped cold turkey with the promise to myself to not drink for 40 days.

Guys, I stumbled. I’m not going to lie and say there weren’t a few times where I reached for some wine. I didn’t give up though. If you have a flat tire, would you slash the other three and say forget it! No! You would change the flat tire and be on your way. Just a little speed bump towards your goal.

I do enjoy some wine or beer still but after my exercise I nipped THE NEED for it. I drink it because I simply enjoy a glass here and there.

Like I said before, if you’re suffering with depression or anxiety please seek medical help. My post is to let you know that you’re not the only one and it’s okay for you to be having these feelings. If you have any questions please leave me a comment.

If you like what you see, please follow me on Instagram @MessyBunMombie

 

 

Eugene, OR

2 Comments

  • Sonja

    Thank you for your honesty. I didn’t figure out that I had postpartum anxiety until my second baby was born and it very obviously kicked back in full force. Zoloft is my friend. I think more women need to be aware of postpartum anxiety, because I sure didn’t know about it when I first had it. Telling our stories helps others become aware of what the symptoms are.

  • Mallory

    This post is great, I appreciate your honesty. I’m sorry that you have been dealing with PostPartum anxiety and depression.

    I myself deal with the anxiety of it, the rage that comes with anxiety was the surprise for me, I became so angry that I would throw things at my boyfriend (don’t get me wrong, I still don’t think he was COMPLETELY undeserving of my rage.. )

    I too tried the ‘wine’ technique and that didn’t work for me either, I’ve never been a drinker. When I do drink my anxiety the next day becomes unbearable. I wake up in a panic about just about everything and I can’t settle for the day,

    I also didn’t know the real toll an anxiety attack can take on a person, they are scary. I’m exhausted for the entire day and sometimes the next, for a mom thats mostly single its almost impossible to deal with. I’m glad that I also went and got a therapist to help deal with it.

    I was raised and Italian Catholic so therapy wasn’t something we did. It was hard to get over and even harder to get started with. Its really benefitted me as well as my children. I want them to know its ok to ask for help.

    I now teach kids yoga, and I find that I use the breathing techniques I learned in that training to get my mind back on track…. and thats what it really seems to be about, getting your mind back on track!

    Namaste and greetings! Looking forward to more posts!

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