Postpartum depression, well really depression in general, can leave someone feeling tired, disengaged, inexplicably sad for no apparent reason, and even think about or attempt suicide. Postpartum anxiety is the opposite; symptoms often include rapid pulse and heart palpitations, anger, paranoia, restlessness, headaches, and other symptoms associated with generalized anxiety disorder. It took me a while to admit it (try two years), but I have postpartum anxiety and have since my kids were born. I’ve just never talked about it, until now.
I guess I’ve always been an anxious person, but nothing like what I experienced after I had Aaron and Jill. Everything was starting to make me panic. The thought of just going on a playdate somewhere I hadn’t been before would make it hard for me to breathe. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I stopped going places, and would make excuses on why I couldn’t go somewhere. I simply thought I was overwhelmed and needed to pull it together.
Then, Scott lost his company. Talk about a sh*t storm. He was the only income since I was a stay at home mom, and we weren’t exactly planning on his company falling through. My anxiety escalated at this point and I have to admit I was probably the last person anyone would want to live with, let alone be married to. Scott and I would fight over everything, and I mean everything. I was certain our marriage over at one point and all it did was cause me to panic even more. What was I going to do with the kids? Where was I going to work? Where would I live?
The fact that our marriage was rapidly crumbling under the pressure was how I met my therapist. Scott and I both started meeting with her weekly to go through everything that was going in our lives, this is when I learned about my anxiety. I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I am so glad our marriage hit that rough patch, otherwise I may have never known about my anxiety. Thankfully we’re over the bump in the road and doing better.
As far as treatment goes, my therapist does not medicate unless absolutely necessary, and even if she did I don’t know if I would have taken them. Instead we took a different approach that includes journaling, diet, exercise and overall lifestyle changes. I’m not saying this is the right approach for everyone, but for me it works. I still have moments of anxiety, but they are less frequent and I know when they’re coming and better yet, how to handle them.
Sometimes I wish I would have tuned into myself a little more and gotten help sooner, but sometimes you have to hit the bottom to appreciate what you have.
Here is a must read article for anyone with or someone who knows anyone with postpartum depression or anxiety: 25 Things You Should Never Say…