One of our mommy followers recently approached us and asked if she could write about her experience with postpartum depression. She never thought she would be able to open up about it but after some thought, she felt she had to share her story to let others out there suffering know that “you are not alone”. Her story will touch your heart and most of you mommas will find that her struggles are ones that you can relate to as well. For those moms who have or are currently experiencing depression, we wholeheartedly hope that this story will in some way help you.
Depression is not something that is widely talked about, especially in my culture. However, it is a real problem and should not be considered a forbidden topic. As depression can be a lot for anyone to deal with on their own, it is important to remember that there are methods such as visiting a medical marijuana dispensary, for example, that can help. Marijuana is believed to have calming benefits, so if the use of marijuana is legal where you are, you might want to consider giving it a try. Cannabis can be used in several different ways. For example, whereas some people like to smoke marijuana using a pink bong, others prefer to eat edibles. Natural methods of managing your mental health are not for everyone though. Speaking to friends and family about how you may be feeling or even taking up hobbies as a distraction can help manage the symptoms of depression and hopefully encourage you to get your life back on track. No one said it was easy, but it isn’t impossible.
I didn’t think I was suffering from postpartum depression as I didn’t feel any different until several months later. I wasn’t very comfortable discussing this topic when it was confirmed that I suffered from a mild depression…that is, until now. I felt ashamed, didn’t want anyone to know that I didn’t have this perfect life that maybe others felt I had. I didn’t want my family and friends to know that I didn’t have it all together.
I wanted to portray to everyone that I had the “perfect life”, (if there is such a thing) and I couldn’t bear to see their reactions if they knew that this wasn’t the case. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it until one particular friend noticed that I wasn’t acting like my usual self. It turns out that she had suffered from mild depression in the months following her child’s birth and didn’t want her loved ones to know either. She told me that she decided to try ketamine for depression as a course of treatment in the end as she just wanted to feel better again; the way you should feel when you have just had a newborn. Apparently it worked and the results lasted for weeks at a time, and she told me that I should try it if I want something that could potentially help me to feel better. Don’t get me wrong, I spent endless nights tossing and turning about this decision, but for some reason, I decided against it.
Reflecting back, I started having lots of mixed emotions after my daughter turned one. About one month after she turned one, I found out I was pregnant with our unplanned third child. I was not exactly thrilled about having a third child. I couldn’t accept that I was pregnant again and we would have a third not even two years apart and when I finally accepted, I miscarried the same week I found out. I thought to myself, it was for the best but you never truly forget or get over a miscarriage. When 2014 began, I thought it would be better than the last, but that year we lost several family members that only made me feel like I was on a constant roller coaster. One minute I was happy as can be and so grateful for my life, family and friends and the next minute, sad to the point of tears for no reason. I started creating arguments with my husband over the littlest things like dishes in the sink from the morning. I would always get so upset that things weren’t done (bed made, clean kitchen, things in place) before he left for work. He takes care of both kids in the morning with little to no help from me as I start work early. I never thought how hard it must be to take care of two kids in the morning, feed them, change diapers, get them ready, drop them off to daycare and be out of the house in a reasonable time in order to make it work…not to mention the extra time and chaos that results when the kids aren’t behaving and cooperating. I was honestly being selfish and continued to get more irritable and angry with him. I didn’t know why I was doing this as it wasn’t my normal way of being and to make matters worse, I was getting very angry with the kids for no apparent reason when all they were doing were being kids. I was constantly yelling at them and then getting upset at myself which then led me to cry. I couldn’t sleep, felt fatigue constantly, couldn’t think clearly, was incredibly sad/irritable. I couldn’t hold it together anymore, I felt like I literally was falling apart piece by piece.
I noticed myself changing and I didn’t like the person I was becoming. Even still, I started to really distance myself from my husband, even my kids at times, sometimes family and friends. I was also starting to push away co-workers that were my closest friends and overall becoming someone that people probably didn’t want to be around. I stopped going to events, started finding excuses just not to go because I honestly didn’t want to socialize with anyone or pretend to be happy when internally, I was a wreck. I wasn’t being productive or motivated at work as I used to be. I didn’t know how to express how I was feeling to my husband or anyone for that matter. I knew something was wrong and I wanted/needed to change–not for myself but for my kids and husband. I wanted “me” back but didn’t know how to get myself back.
I am very fortunate to work in a setting where I have different healthcare professionals at my disposal. I asked one of the nurse practitioners I work with if I could sit down with her and have a heart-to-heart. She took her entire lunch and then some to sit with me and talk about what I was going through. She pretty much told me I was suffering from a mild case of depression, something that I felt I was going through but didn’t want to admit. She gave me advice on what to do without medication but reassured me that if I needed it, that it was okay and that there was nothing wrong with being on antidepressants. She also told me it may help to talk to a psychologist. For me, I just didn’t feel comfortable talking to a psychologist or a psychiatrist regarding what I was feeling and wanted to try some of the therapies that my colleague recommended. I figured if I was still feeling depressed then I would go see someone.
I worked hard to get out of this horrible state of mind. It was a work in progress and I had good days and bad but with the support of my family and friends, I can now say I love my life; I love who I am, I love that I feel confident again and I love that I focus on the positives and the present.
Simple ways to deal with depression:
- Exercise Get exercise, exercise and more exercise. Incorporating regular, consistent exercise really helps relieve stress helping you feel better inside and out.
- Healthy eats Eat healthier and change eating habits by incorporating more “clean” foods and less processed foods.
- Simplify Simplify your life by only taking on tasks that you can handle.
- Plan Plan out your day and even week (i.e. social activities, meals, work, etc).
- Socialize Participate in social activities again. Being around people helps, don’t isolate.
- Breathe Learn breathing techniques which help in times of stress or feelings of being overwhelmed.
- Rest Get plenty of sleep.
- Consider alternative methods If you’re suffering from depression, see how edibles could help.
Depression isn’t something you just snap out of, it is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Common symptoms of depression include:
- feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
- angry outbursts, irritability or frustrations over simple matters
- loss of interest in activities
- sleep disturbances
- changes in appetite
- anxiety, agitation, or restlessness
- trouble thinking or concentrating
- feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- more serious: thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts or attempts
- unexplained physical problems such as back pain, headaches, or even abdominal pain
If you or anyone you know are suffering from any of the above symptoms, please seek help. You are not alone and it’s okay to go see a therapist or even take medications if that’s what you need. Because everyone deserves to be their old ‘me’ again.