I tend to keep things mostly superficial on the blog here, but it’s my blog so I do what I want. I want to write a little bit about depression, postpartum depression specifically. It’s not something that I thought would ever affect me, but it has.
Briana of The Life Beats Project (if you don’t listen, please do! So many great episodes) asked me if I would talk about my experience with postpartum depression on her podcast. I gladly accepted. As I was prepping for the podcast, I realized that I’ve never really shared my experience in a public forum like this. I tend to keep it quiet for the most part; I’m not afraid to open up to expectant or new moms. I’m not one to push advice onto other parents (plenty of people did that to me as a first-time mom, I became resentful of it), but this is something I’m incredibly passionate about. If my advice helps a mother, I’m happy to pay for the social cost of bringing up something so “taboo”.
I feel like many approach talking about depression like a pre-teen says the word, “sex”: in hushed, embarrassed tones. We need to change that.
I GET DEPRESSED. I’ve had struggles with postpartum depression (and depression beyond the baby). I’M ON DRUGS FOR IT.
There. I said it. It’s out! I’m not afraid to admit I’m on anti-depressants. I’ve been on and off them since I was pregnant with Felix. And it’s been an up and down thing. Some days, my mental health is the equivalent of a couch potato trying to run a marathon without training. I’m a hot mess. Some days I don’t want to get out of bed; but the world keeps spinning, work keeps piling up and the babies still need attention. You’ll hear more about it on the podcast.
So I thought I would write some notes of my own as a companion to the podcast episode. If you or someone you love has or may have depression, I hope you give it a listen.
RESOURCES AND THOUGHTS:
If you’re in the Utah area, Intermountain Healthcare has a free seminar on understanding mental illness this June 15 at 6pm at Alta View Hospital.
If you’re a person of faith, you may be familiar with encouragement that “praying harder” or “having more faith” is the best way to cure depression. Eye roll, right? This talk given by LDS Apostle, Jeffrey R. Holland is perfection and addresses that issue beautifully. It goes beyond just “Mormonism”. I encourage you to give it a read.
Don’t get overwhelmed by the thought of talking to a doctor. Just recently, I found that my depression was coming back. I started withdrawing on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. I went back to the last professional that I had seen (my nurse midwife from June’s pregnancy) and talked to her. I felt safe because I had seen her before. She was caring and respectful. Now I’m back on track with my emotions and thoughts under control. If it’s been so long since an appointment you still don’t know who to schedule an appointment with, try a primary care physician first for your annual appointment.
Jenny Springer’s interview on The Life Beats Project is fabulous. She talks more about long-term depression and how she self-medicated for years before getting help. I love how she talks about “feeding the right wolf”. Working your way out of depression isn’t just talking to a specialist and taking a pill daily. You have to do the things you need to in order to FEED your happiness. It’s a beautiful episode.
Sometimes you may find it easier to confide in a friend rather than a close family member. It’s totally okay. It’s hard to share those feelings. Starting that conversation can be one of the hardest, most awkward things to do. You can do it. Find someone who you can be accountable to.
I hope that this is helpful to someone. If you have questions, I’m happy to answer them in the comments. Let’s take back the stigma that depression is something to be ashamed about.