How Does Postpartum Depression Feel? Part 1
Approximately 15% of all women who experience pregnancy also report experiencing Postpartum Depression.
15%. 15 out of every 100 women.
And those are just the ones who tell their doctor about it.
We're spending our week sharing personal stories about PPD. Because we need to talk about it more.
And because faces like this don't look like depression.
My battle with mental illness started at birth.
I was a curious child and very smart, but always anxious. I was diagnosed and medicated for generalized anxiety at 4. I was diagnosed with clinical depression by 8. I was a pill pushing zombie for most of my childhood, in and out of therapies. My parents tried it all. The stress of it all drove me to a control based eating disorder by 16. By 19, I had learned to control my depression and anxiety with a rescue medication, marijuana, yoga, and acupuncture.
I was doing great until I had my son at 21.
I had to stop my medication and, even though my doctors encouraged it, I didn't like smoking unless I had to. I met with a social working during my pregnancy as I knew I was at a huge risk of PPD but just felt like I could get through it alone as I had learned to control my symptoms so many times.
My son was diagnosed as failing to thrive after a car accident damaged my breasts so I couldn't produce enough. He refused formula so we used donor milk to supplement. But I was working, going to school, and trying to get this stubborn kid to gain weight. I was wasting away and didn't have control on anything.
At 8 months postpartum, I finally had enough and told my boss.
She helped me organize my thoughts enough to reach back out to my doctors. I didn't go back on medicine, but I did need months of therapy to help me figure out my place as a mom, wife, and human being.
My main point is that it can affect anyone and it is a special kind of hell that is relentless and it feels shameful...
But no one has to suffer alone.
There is help and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
For more information on Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Support International is an excellent resource.