Thursday, May 16, 2013


PPD is also known as Postpartum Depression. It is something I'm becoming all too familiar with, unfortunately. This post has taken me a long time to write. It has taken me a long time to get the courage to write, and a long time to figure out how to put into words this silent affliction. I hate this post. And all too often I find I hate myself.

Did you know anger is a symptom of depression? I didn't until about five months ago. I didn't even think about that, even though I had been so angry for months.  It wasn't until after I thought "Man wouldn't it be nice if the world really did end at the end of 2012!?! Then I wouldn't have to deal with everything anymore" that I thought maybe I was depressed.  That thought passed through my mind as I sat in my rocker feeding Maizy. That was the first time I really let myself think that I might have PPD.  I think I knew long before that, but for some reason I was in denial.  After all, three different health care professionals had already asked me if I thought I had PPD.  Every time I said no, I'm just tired, or stressed.  But I the back of my mind I though, yeah probably.  Why in the far reaches of my mind I thought yes, but no followed by an excuse came out of my mouth is beyond me.  I wish I'd said yes the very first time someone asked me, when Maizy was only 6 weeks old.  Instead I suffered, and my family suffered for four more months.

Even after I thought about how everything would be easier if everything ended I still did not fully admit to myself that I was depressed.  It took a week of that thought itching in my mind for me to consult good old Dr. Google.  As I typed in the search bar "is anger a symptom of..." it guess bipolar disorder.  My heart about stopped.  My Dad is bipolar.  I was terrified.  Part of me wanted to click on that, but I was too scared and I continued typing depression.  I was amazed to find out that anger IS a symptom of depression.  I thought about my childhood with a father who has a mental disorder.  I thought about my children.  I called my OBGYN and made an appointment for the next day. 

After a few days I worked up the courage to Google bipolar disorder.  The relief was palpable as only symptom of bipolar I seemed to have was anger.  I do know mental disorder is no more my fault then the fact I had gestational diabetes, or  how others have heart problems.  And in that sense there is no difference between bipolar and depression.  But I do think managing bipolar would be more difficult then depression.  It is also more of a life long battle where as  depression can be worked through and over come.  It made me thankful to "just have" depression.

I've experienced depression before, at 18 after I moved out, escaped the abuse.  I sought help with a councilor and my bishop.  The atonement is real and healed my broken heart and spirit.  After I weaned Croix I had a bit of depression.  Exercise, eating right and doing good things for myself kicked it pretty efficiently.  Neither of those times had I been angry.  The intensity of my anger scared me. I am not exaggerating when I say everything Brent did or did not do made me angry.  I was angry with the kids all the time.  How and why I was angry with my newborn, my infant is beyond me but I was.  There were moments I just wanted to throw her across the room.  And my sweet Croix I literally pictured beating him.  And then I hated myself.  I prayed he would not remember when I turned into a monster.  I prayed and still do pray that those six months of unmediated depression have not scared him for life.  Have not put a scratch in his trust for me.  I felt nothing but anger all the time.  I was angry with everyone, especially myself.

As I was thinking about my upcoming Doctors appointment I wanted to talk to someone who had experienced PPD and gotten on medication for it.  I could only think of one person I knew for sure had.  Another friend I though probably had and felt comfortable enough asking her.  She had.  Two people that's it.  I was grateful I was not completely alone but of all my friends in the world I could only think of two people who had been on antidepressants.  Not that I'm saying the whole world should be on anti depressants but I wondered if there really were only that few people that I knew.

As I sat and told the  doctor about my depression, got a prescription and left I did not feel hopeful.  I did not feel relief.  I thought I would have, but I did not. 

Christmas Eve I took my first little blue pill.  I laughed that it really was a little blue pill.  It took a while, a couple weeks before I felt like I started to notice a difference.  About six weeks before I started to feel a little  more like myself.
I felt, and at times still feel so alone.  When I was depressed after Croix I turned to Brent, and found the love and support I needed.  It's hard to turn to someone for love and support when you are constantly mad at them.  I felt ashamed of my feelings of anger which makes it hard to turn to friends.  The shame led to more self hate.  It's very easy for me to have negative, self defeating self talk.  That's what I grew up with inside my head so it's familiar and easy to go there again.  I worked very hard years ago to overcome those thought cycles and successfully built a good sense of self esteem and self worth.  I gradually came to love myself as an invaluable daughter of Heavenly Parents.  I became a confidant, happy, outgoing woman.  Depression has taken those attributes away from me.  I no longer feel like the person I was.  I miss the person I was.  I miss the mother I was, the wife, the friend.  I miss me.  After talking to a good friend with depression I have come to realize that is a blessing.  At least I know what it's like to be happy, and normal.  Some people don't have that to remember who they are, not who the disease is, the depression.

I'm so thankful for my Wellness Challenge.  There are days I feel like it's the only thing helping me keep my head above water.  Being "forced" to do things that are good for me and helpful in fighting depressing is just what I needed.  Reading my scriptures, exercising, eating right, doing things for myself. 

I don't think my depression is circumstantial, meaning I don't think if Brent were nicer, my kids were better behaved, my house was bigger, we had more money, if something in my life were different I wouldn't be depressed.  My life is wonderful!  I love my life.  I really feel it is entirely caused by hormonal and chemical imbalances.  After being on antidepressants four months and still not feeling like myself I decided that although my depression is not circumstantial perhaps I would do what the doctor suggested and talk to a councilor as well.  I'm hopeful that will help.  Although I do not feel this over whelming anger any more I still find myself unjustifiably angry.  I still feel completely overwhelmed.  I still have days I hate myself and feel like a failure.  I still feel sad.  I'm not one to sit around and wallow in my misery.  I'm a doer, I'm proactive.  I'll do whatever it takes to find myself again.  I think at this point the hard part is going to be being patient with myself knowing that depressing, hormonal, chemical depression is not always something you can just fix.  I just have to wait for my body to find homeostasis again.  It will.  I will feel like myself again.  It just the in between time that's going to be hard.  Thankfully I'm not alone, I have Brent, and my Savior, and some good friends.


Erin L said...

I haven't ever had PPD, but I know a lot of people who have. I do, however, get seasonal depression, and living in Vermont it is especially bad. Dave gave me a book for Christmas called "Mind over Mood" and it has really helped. It is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - the most effective type of therapy for treating depression. I am glad you are seeing a Counselor. I think it is a shame that counseling has such a negative stigma to it. Studies show that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps prevent a relapse in depression better than medication alone. Good luck overcoming this obstacle.

Artsy Aut said...

Thanks for sharing. I know it can't be easy. I hope your next steps will lead you closer to where you want to be!

Kendra said...

This is definitely a touchy subject. I found out maybe a few years ago that my cousin's wife had it really bad. She has a blog and is now trying to help others coping with it. She has some great resources on there (she lives in AZ too so some are for there) if you need/want more help. You could probably try to contact her, maybe leave a comment on her blog?, if you have questions. The mom of the kids I watch suffered through it too and I think she got in contact with my cousin to ask her about some things. I wish you the best and hope that you're able to find happiness all the time again! Here's her blog.

Hulse Family said...

Terina, after reading your post I realize I may have had PPD for a while after Wesley and Garrett were born. I remember feeling angry ALL THE TIME! It never occurred to me before that's what it might have been. Thank you for sharing. You are amazing!