Thursday, December 31, 2015

Breaking the Silence

I have Postpartum Depression (PPD). I'm currently trying to control it with medication and therapy. One of the things my therapist suggested was blogging about my journey. Here goes.

When I went back for my postpartum checkup I knew something wasn't 'right'. I'd felt drained and frustrated for weeks, beyond the typical new mom sleep deprivation. I talked to my doctor and he offered to put me on medication or let me talk to their therapist first. I chose therapy. After talking with her, she suggested a low dose of medicine to take the edge off. Within a week of taking it I saw improvement. My moods changed, I was able to get things done around the house, and I was bonding well with Faith. We talked about coping skills, things that I could do to help take some of the pressure off. At my last meeting, I set goals to accomplish in the next few years.

Everything was going great, but in mid-December something snapped. It felt like no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't control the thoughts and emotions anymore. I think it's because Christmas is such a hard time for me anyway, and we had added stressors of my step-dad being in the hospital. I couldn't get in the Christmas spirit, and I just felt more and more alone and depressed. My go to coping skills are no longer working, so I'm trying the ones I don't use often. Today I'm blogging. Tomorrow I'm going to set aside time to paint and Bible journal. I'm praying this is truly just a side effect of the holidays, but if things don't improve by the 14th I'm going to call my counselor again.

Everyone thinks depression is just a deep sadness. Many people feel you should just 'get over it'. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. I have moments of total joy. Looking at my laughing daughters, joking with them, spending time with them or Shaun all bring about feelings of happiness and contentment. For me, depression means I don't WANT to do ANYTHING. Go to the store? Maybe tomorrow. Fold the laundry (my favorite chore)? Probably never. Play with the baby? I just don't want to. I don't want to do any of the things I love to do. I was reading 8-10 books to Faith every day. When the depression hit hard I didn't want to read one. There were weeks where we only read 4-5 books. I didn't even want to read MY books. I can't tell you how many books I've set aside because my depression was keeping me from enjoying them. Reading is one of my coping skills, so when that was no longer effective I knew something was wrong.

My word for 2015 was JOY. I knew if I got pregnant, I would have to work to remain joyful. I knew if I didn't get pregnant, I wanted to choose joy without a baby. My word for 2016 is Focus. I need to focus on whatever I'm doing at the moment. I need to put aside Facebook and focus on my relationships; my relationship with God, my relationships in my family, and my relationships with friends. I've pushed most of my friends away since Faith was born, and for that I'm truly sorry. As I write this, I'm feeling led to take a Facebook Fast. I've done it before for short times, and I think it's time to do it again. I'm going to remove the app and messenger from my phone tonight. I don't know how long I'll break from it. So, I hope you and yours have a Happy New Year. May your 2016 be filled with unexpected blessings!