Tag Archives: anxiety

My Journey with Postpartum Depression & Anxiety

I had dealt with depressionpostpartum depression anxiety off and on throughout my life, but never like I have during this postpartum time.

Once I found out I was pregnant in August of 2014, I went off the antidepressant I was taking on the advice of my obgyn. We then found out we were having twins at our 12 week ultrasound! I had a few times where I felt down during my pregnancy, but felt it was best to just deal with it and I didn’t feel it was severe enough to go back on medication.

I had a healthy twin pregnancy and was induced at 38 weeks (which is considered full-term for twins) giving birth to two healthy baby boys. Little did I know how hormones and sleep deprivation were going to affect me in the months to come.

After stopping pumping/breastfeeding at the 6 month mark, I started feeling a TON of anxiety. Constant, niggling anxiety which just ballooned and made it hard to function. I felt depressed too, but the postpartum anxiety covered up my depression because it was so overwhelming. On the outside it showed up as anxiety (of course), irritability, lots of crying, physically being fidgety and tense and constantly telling those close to me how inadequate I felt.

If anyone knew the war that was being waged in my brain, they would have been amazed, because what was going on there was a million times worse than what was being shown on the outside. I felt like I was barely holding things together, and that any moment I was going to crack or explode and everything would just fall apart.

At the same time I was staying home mostly full-time with my twins and I continued to feel worse and worse. I was back on an anti-depressant, but it didn’t seem to be helping like it had in the past.

Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. At about 11 months postpartum,postpartum depression anxiety I saw a psychiatrist who was able to pinpoint what was going on. We started dealing with the anxiety first, and then uncovered the depression that had been going on all along. In my case they walked hand in hand and aggravated each other. The anxiety and depression I have dealt with since then has been so much worse than anything I have dealt with in the past.

15 months (today!) after delivering my twins I finally feel like I am on the slow road towards resolving some of my issues. I am so glad I am working with the physician I am, because it has been invaluable to find someone knowledgeable and caring, who gives me hope that I will feel ‘better’ one day.

I do feel like I fell through the cracks a bit… My OB’s office and my sons’ pediatrician’s office had me fill out surveys on PPD for the first six months, but not after that. Since I stopped pumping/breastfeeding after that point and my hormones REALLY started changing then, my more severe issues didn’t start until that point. I never felt like hurting my children or some of the other symptoms of PPD, but I did feel severely depressed and anxious. And just the other day I was reading that postpartum anxiety might be more prevalent than depression…. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/postpartum-anxiety-might-be-even-more-common-than-ppd_us_57742e48e4b0cc0fa13661c0?

If I could say something to postpartum women experiencing any depression or anxiety: if you are feeling depressed or anxious, you don’t HAVE to feel this way. There are people who are willing to help you, and you are not alone. It is not ‘normal’ and you can be happy again. It may take a little bit to get things going, so don’t wait as long as I did to get help. Reach out to your primary care physician, your ob, or a psychiatrist. Don’t be afraid to tell that person how you are really feeling. Hormones and chemicals in your body do crazy things. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You will enjoy your baby. You will enjoy your life. You can be happy.

You will smile again.

On Depression & Anxiety

depressed

You may ask where I have been the past few months.

Newly married and having a pretty darn good life, you’d think I would be happy and content.

Not so much.

Along with about 19 million other Americans, I suffer with the big “D”: Depression and a good dose of Anxiety.

Other than my husband, I don’t know that many people in my life realized how bad the past few months had been for me.  I was really just sad 95% of the time.  But what was worst for me was the anxious thoughts I felt constantly. Those thoughts kept me from sleeping and left me worrying about everything under the sun when I was awake.

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I started going to counseling, and it didn’t always seem to help. Some days it just seemed to intensify my sad feelings and anxiety by causing me to think MORE about ALLTHETHINGS.

I have been on Wellbutrin, an antidepressant, for about 5 years. Between my therapist and me, we though maybe it wasn’t working as well anymore. I may be a normal worry-wart, but even for me, this situation was becoming dire.

I talked with my PCP and she suggested another antidepressant, Lexapro.  Already taking plenty of other medications due to lupus, I really did not want to add another pill to the mix, but I knew something needed to change.

I had to give it a while to see if it would work.  I had some bad days in there, but I just kept telling myself to give it a little time.

About a week and a half in, it was like a lightbulb turned on in my bleak little brain.  Hope.  A little bit of peace.  Calm.  Hallelujah!

I don’t feel sad as soon as my eyes open in the morning.  I can actually look forward to my day ahead.  I don’t dread even the good activities and events in my life (which was really a sad way to feel).

It really just shows how much of a chemical problem this was.  Literally, nothing has changed in my life. I still have the same problems and issues: Lupus, work, a long commute, a new marriage, bills etc.  But now I’m able to deal with it with a clear head.

Looking back on the past few months, it makes me a little sad for Depressed Erin.  I literally would go into counseling and cry for a solid hour.  It would take me FOREVER to fall asleep at night with thoughts whirling through my brain.  I didn’t feel any excitement for anything, and my husband would remark, “Are you okay? You just look so… sad.” I feel bad for him. I know it isn’t any fun to live with a depressed person.

So.  There IS hope.  I am going to continue counseling to work on some thought patterns and to just talk through THINGS (lupus, relationships, events in my past etc) and continue taking Lexapro. I’m sleeping better and am feeling motivated to do healthy things.  My mind feels clearer and I calmer.  I’m starting to feel a little normal again.

You do not have to be sad.  You can have hope and a positive outlook for your future.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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