(This picture was taken at the beginning of October 2010, just one month before I was hospitalized for Postpartum OCD and bi-polar depression. “Sometimes the people that look like they have it all together are the ones the least put together inside”-Glennon Melton Doyle)
When I started this blog nearly four years ago (holy smokes time flies!), my main purpose was to share my story, my experiences mainly with depression. All of it. At my lowest point, the thing I craved most was not to read what doctors had written or to talk to a therapist. I was desperate to find a voice, a blog, talk to somebody, a REAL mom that knew what I was going through. Not how to fix it, just that she understood. How incredibly healing! That is why I offered and still do offer my voice. As a means of comforting those that feel like they are the “only one”.
Since then,thankfully, I have found some pretty incredible voices. Last year my therapist recommended that I look up Postpartum Progress, IT IS A GOLD MINE! How I wish I would have found it sooner! It has helped me IMMENSELY since.
Check out: http://postpartumprogress.org/meet-the-warrior-moms-2/-and read more stories of Mom’s that are dealing or have dealt with Postpartum perinatal or postnatal mood disorders.
Learn About PPD & More: (CLICK ON THIS LINK TO BE TAKEN DIRECTLY TO THE PAGE: http://postpartumprogress.org/learn-about-ppd-more/ )
Postpartum depression, or PPD, is just one in a group of illnesses than can affect women either during pregnancy or after birth. Together these illnesses are called perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. That’s a big phrase to swallow, but what it means is that your brain isn’t working the way it normally does, and it’s probably making you miserable.
If you are thinking that you just don’t feel like yourself anymore, or that you never should have gotten pregnant or had a baby, or that you are a terrible mother, or that something feels seriously wrong, you are not alone. One in every seven women gets a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder like PPD. You have done nothing wrong. You are not weak, or selfish, or a bad mom. You just have an illness that many women get, and you can get better with help from a healthcare professional.
Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders can show up any time during pregnancy or in the first 12 months after birth. And if you don’t get treated, the symptoms can last even longer. If someone tells you that you can only get postpartum depression in the first few weeks or months after birth, he or she is wrong. Also, you can get these illnesses with any child — it doesn’t matter if it’s your first baby or your fifth or somewhere in between.
If you are surprised that you’ve never even heard of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, don’t feel bad. Most women haven’t, which is why Postpartum Progress is working so hard to raise awareness. Here is a list of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders we think everyone should know about:
Postpartum Depression – If you have had a baby in the last year and are having eating or sleeping problems, a hard time concentrating or making decisions, problems bonding with your baby or enjoying motherhood, periods of anger or rage, sadness and crying, the constant feeling of being overwhelmed, or possible thoughts of harming yourself or running away and escaping, you might have postpartum depression. You don’t have to have all of these symptoms to have PPD, by the way. To learn more, click here.
Pregnancy Depression – If you have symptoms like the ones listed above for PPD but you are pregnant, you could have antenatal depression, also called pregnancy depression. This is just as common as PPD. Please know that you can be treated for depression during pregnancy, so don’t avoid calling your doctor out of fear that he or she can’t do anything to help you.
Postpartum Anxiety – Maybe you’re not feeling depressed, but instead very anxious. Postpartum anxiety symptoms include constant worries and fears. Maybe you can’t sleep or eat. Maybe you are worried all the time that something terrible is going to happen to you or someone you love. You could have postpartum anxiety. To learn more about these symptoms, click here.
Postpartum OCD – Postpartum obsessive compulsive disorder, or postpartum OCD, is a form of postpartum anxiety that has a symptom that is pretty hard to ignore: intrusive thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are scary “what if” thoughts that come into your head. You don’t want to have them, but they keep coming anyway. They may involve you harming someone you love, including your baby. You might also have compulsions, which means you feel the need to do things like clean, organize, check and recheck, or count. If you have postpartum OCD, you are not a danger to your child. This is a common illness, and you can get help for it. To learn more about these symptoms, click here.
Postpartum Panic Disorder – This is another form of postpartum anxiety that involves having panic attacks, which can include shortness of breath, chest pain, heart palpitations and numbness or tingling in your arms or legs. Some women having panic attacks often worry that they are having a heart attack or have come down with a serious disease.
Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder — Moms with postpartum PTSD have often had a traumatic pregnancy or childbirth experience. Maybe you had hyperemesis or were put on bedrest. Perhaps you had an emergency c-section, or your baby had problems after birth or went to the NICU. These are all risk factors for postpartum PTSD. Symptoms can include nightmares and flashbacks.
Postpartum Psychosis – Women with postpartum psychosis, the most serious of all perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, may have delusions, hallucinations, paranoia or mania. What does that mean? You might be hearing or seeing things that no one else can see. You might be afraid that everyone is out to harm you or get rid of you. You might also have a much greater amount of energy than normal and feel like you don’t need sleep and can take on the world. These are just some of the symptoms of postpartum psychosis — to learn more, click here. It’s very important that you get help right away if you have these symptoms. You can call 911, visit your nearest emergency room, or arrange to see your doctor immediately. Here’s why: postpartum psychosis can lead you to do things, including dangerous or reckless things, that you would never do otherwise. It is important for you to start treatment right away to help you get stable and prevent you or your loved ones from harm.
No matter which of these illnesses or symptoms you might be having, they are temporary and treatable with professional help. You do not have to live this way. You might not believe it, but you can and will get back to the old you with help. The most important thing is to get that help now. Don’t wait hoping that some day these symptoms will just go away on their own. The longer you wait, your symptoms may become more severe, and it may take you longer to recover. It can also affect the health of your family, so the greatest gift you can give to them all is to get the help you need and deserve. We’re here to help.
To find answers to the most commonly asked questions about these illnesses, please click here.
NOW, what to do with all of this information? Where to start? Which doctor to go see first? As always, I am more than happy to share my experiences. Please e-mail or Facebook me specific questions if you’d like, I’m an open book! Please take good care of yourself!