Depression. It can be a scary word for some. When I hear the word depression I picture a woman laying in a dark bedroom, blinds closed, weeping and surrounded by tissues. So, when I was diagnosed with postpartum depression myself, I had a really hard time accepting it because that’s not me. I’m not the woman laying in bed crying, but I am struggling. I kind of battled back and forth with sharing this but I figured that since my view of depression and lack of knowledge was so far off, maybe someone else’s could be as-well, and maybe my post can help someone else.
So, I’m not sure if you read my Selfish resolutions post but I’m really trying to make this year about me. I’ve been in a funk for a few months now and I couldn’t avoid it any longer. I was feeling both psychical and emotional side effects of depression but the fact that I could be depressed never actually crossed my mind. Honestly, I felt like I was pregnant or going through early menopause (whatever that may feel like) but that’s how I described it to my doctor. I felt like my hormones were so out of whack and I couldn’t control myself, but I wasn’t necessarily sad, so I never thought I was depressed.
First, ill run through a list of psychical symptoms I was experiencing. The most prevalent ones being night sweats, weight gain, break outs, and exhaustion. The nights sweats though, ugh! They started in November and some nights I would wake up so wet that I had to change my shirt. Every. Single. Night. I would lose sleep from waking up wet and covered in sweat, but I was shivering cold.
Breakouts were another red flag for me. Not to sound cocky or conceited but I’ve always had nice skin. I get the occasional breakout around my period but that’s about it. However, for a few months now my face has been full of pimples.
Weight gain. What can I say, I gained 10 pounds in 2 months and it freaking sucks.
Now that I’ve shared my psychical symptoms I’m going to share the emotional ones I was experiencing. Lack of motivation and just an overall “blah” feeling. By an overall “blah” feeling, I just mean I didn’t really feel too much. I didn’t feel happy, I didn’t feel sad, it was like I felt nothing. I’ve heard the expression ” I feel nothing” and I could never understand what someone meant by that until now. The lack of motivation was tough too. I experienced this mostly in just house work and leaving the house in general. For the most part, I like to keep an organized home. It’s not perfectly clean ( I’m not vacuuming and scrubbing floors and windows everyday) but its tidy. I found myself getting backed up and no matter how many cups of coffee I had, or how many motivational pep talks I gave myself, I just couldn’t muster up the energy to do simple house work. I was ALWAYS tired.
I was weepy. The kind of weepy you experience shortly after having a baby. When you find yourself crying but aren’t really sure why. This happened multiple times a day. For example, the kids would be down napping, I would be relaxing and watching a tv show and all of a sudden I would be crying and not know why.
I felt a disconnect from myself and my daughter. I realized this was a serious problem one random afternoon when my daughter was crying. I heard her, but instead of my motherly intuition kicking in to help her, I wanted to run away. The next thing I know I hear my sweet 2-year-old son talking to her “It’s ok Lydia, here’s your binky” and then he proceeded to sing “twinkle twinkle little star”. That moment broke my heart, and right then and there I realized something was wrong and I didn’t have control of it. The fact that my 2-year-old son handled a situation better than I did broke me. I won’t lie I’m embarrassed to share this part, but it’s what made me realize that I needed help.
After that day I decided to make an appointment with my family doctor. I 100% thought I was going to go in there and have him tell me there was something off with my thyroid gland. When the words “depression” came out of his mouth, I started crying, a full-blown ugly and uncontrollable cry. He wanted to prescribe me medication but I declined and told him I wanted to try to help myself without medication. He agreed to that and told me that he doesn’t think I’m severe and gave me a list of things to do to try to get better. He also sent me for blood-work, which all came back normal.
When I got into my car I called my husband right away. I won’t lie, at first I was angry. I remember telling my husband that the doctor is “just trying to push pills on me, and trying to make money off me”. I was so angry with the doctor for just doing his job and diagnosing me. The truth was I was in denial that I was depressed.
Once I got home and I saw my son, I instantly started crying… again. I felt overwhelmed with feelings of guilt. I have beautiful healthy children, a loving and supportive husband, parents, in-laws and family that support me. I can go on and on about how lucky I am but depression isn’t biased and it chose me.
It took 3 days after that appointment to accept the news. Those 3 days were dark. I was sad, incredibly sad and dealing with overwhelming feelings of guilt. I’ve been through so much in my life and nothing has broken me down like motherhood. However, I’m going to be ok and I’ll do whatever it takes to be healthy again. So, I started working on myself…really working on myself. I spent a few days researching depression and how to manage it without medications. I don’t know much about depression because people don’t talk about it. It’s so common but so taboo. I’ve also implemented all the advice and tips my doctor gave me.
I’ve started working out everyday. The doctor highly recommended this because it lifts your serotonin levels and those play a big part in depression. I’ve also started going out with friends, which I haven’t done in almost 2 years. Speaking of friends, I met up with my friend Lauren one night after I put the kids down to bed. I was telling her about what was going on and at one point she told me she was proud of me. I can’t tell you how much this meant to me. When you feel like you’re messing it all up, its nice to have someone say “I’m proud of you.”
And that’s basically where I’m at right now. Its been 3 weeks since I was diagnosed and I have a follow-up appointment in 3 weeks. I’m feeling a little better but still have days where I struggle. I’m going to try everything in my power to avoid going on medication but if I ever get to point where I feel its needed, I will.
I want to acknowledge every mother who has ever struggled with this. We’re the real hero’s. In my humble opinion all moms are hero’s, but for the ones who struggle, you’re the MVP’s and I see you. My heart hurts more for the one’s who struggle with PPD and don’t get the help they need. There’s only a few things that scare me and not having control over the way I feel has to be one of the most terrifying ( and I have a mild case of PPD).
I hope this post doesn’t come off as me not being thankful or grateful for my children. I’m not a freak and my children are my life, maybe a little too much. In order for me to be a happy and healthy mom I need to make myself a priority. I realize this, and I’m starting to work on it.
More moms need to start talking about real motherhood and that includes the ugly side. Less social media perfection and more real talk. Less judging and more supporting. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. If you’re struggling with PPD you will be ok if you choose to get help.