Postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is extremely common, yet it's not so commonly talked about. 10 to 15% of women will suffer from PPD. If you have had a history of depression or anxiety, if depression or anxiety run in your family, or stressful events during or after pregnancy you are at a higher risk for PPD. Some other things that also affect risk factor are age and social support.
With that being said I was high risk for PPD. I have suffered from anxiety and depression in the past, depression and anxiety run in my family, and cancer is a pretty stressful event.
So at my first postpartum visit I got a prescription for Zoloft. I started taking one pill a day and I was going to move up to two. Well, if you have ever had a newborn then you know how easy it is to forget stuff like taking a pill at the same time every night, or at all. I have always been bad with remembering to take medicine. So I kept forgetting to take it, and finally I felt like it would be better to just not take it then to keep forgetting it for a couple days then take one and repeat that process over and over.
A couple days went by and things slowly started to go downhill. I am not sure if the Zoloft was making a difference yet (I was taking a pretty low dose) or my depression was just starting. Whatever it was it was bad. I felt really angry, resentful, irritable, hopeless, worthless, overwhelmed. I would cry all the time, yell. I was just so ANGRY. Angry at the world, angry at myself, angry at my husband. There's no reason for it, and you can't make it stop and go away. It's just there.
So after a bad few days I finally went to go see a therapist and I started taking the Zoloft again. I scored extremely high on both the depression and anxiety checklists (of course I did. I am a textbook case of PPD right here!). The therapist put things into perspective for me. I would say something to her and she would tell me that it was the depression talking. Things started to make sense. I am not me all the time.
I felt fine this entire past week, then I upped my Zoloft dosage to two. I don't know if it was the change in my medication, or just how PPD works, but it started to affect me again. I guess it's normal to come in waves.
I am glad that I am not suffering from the disconnected symptoms. I have not had any trouble bonding with Elijah. The only person I want to consistently be around seems to be him.
I am not on the other side of this illness, so I have no idea how hard it is. What I do know is how important a support system is when you are suffering with PPD. If your significant other is going through this you need to be supportive. I can't stress enough that when a person is going though a depressive episode they are not themselves, don't take it personally and just be there for them. Getting angry and yelling back at someone who's going through an episode is only going to make things worse. I know it might be hard for some people to not react or take it personally, but this is an illness.
If you start to have any signs of PPD I urge you to seek out help immediately. It will eat you from the inside out. No one should have to suffer alone or without help. Just know that you are NOT alone too. There are so many women out there who are going through the same things that you are. It doesn't make you a bad mother, partner, wife or girlfriend. It's an illness and there is a way to overcome it. It won't get better overnight but with a good support system and professional help it will get better over time.

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