I was just asked a really good question: how can you tell when your PPD is gone? The mom who asked this question is feeling better, her PPD symptoms have disappeared, and yet .... there is still this persistent fear that PPD might sneak back around and bite her. I can so relate to this, as can probably any woman who has recovered from PPD, because it's so frightening and can be so incredibly devastating. I know when I got pregnant my last time, I was ready to do anything and I mean anything to avoid suffering through PPD again.
When it comes to knowing for sure when you're well past the nightmare days of PPD, I think it just takes time. I remember when I was still in the throes of PPD and had started on an anti-depressant while going to a psychologist, I honestly couldn't even see an end to it. I couldn't imagine ever being well and functioning the way I used to. But gradually, as my PPD symptoms started to disappear and I regained a sense of my old familiar self, my confidence and self esteem started to build. The more time went by, the more activities I started doing with my kids, and the more confident I became. I saw my psychologist for one year before she told me that she felt I was doing great and that I no longer needed talk therapy. This was a huge milestone for me and I think that with her doing that, it kind of gave me permission to tell myself that my PPD was gone forever. That horrible, stomach-churning fear that my symptoms would come back unannounced just disappeared. I was finally well. But, I honestly think that this realization of being well could have happened much sooner than one year out. I just didn't have the confidence yet. Fortunately, my psychologist nudged me in the right direction.
So, I guess long story short, it's important to take each day as it comes, whether you're in the midst of PPD or in recovery from it. The more "good" days you have under your belt, the more confident you'll get and at some point you'll come to the realization that you're well and can put PPD behind you. The realization may come in an ah-ha moment or it may come gradually. But it will happen and you'll go forward knowing that you can do anything.
I completely agree with Kristen. It takes time to get over PPD -- unfortunately no one can tell you how long it'll take for YOU to get over it. Another big thing for me was to ignore anyone telling me it was in my head. Seriously people? That was so hard for me to hear from people I cared about. Oh well! I did what I knew would be best for my recovery, and part of that included actively working on getting well. I didn't want to be on anti-depressants for a long time. I didn't want to rely on them to make me happy. I wanted my children to bring me happiness, my favorite hobbies/activities to bring me happiness. Those thoughts helped me get back to my "normal" happy self again.
It is really for this very reason, that I have regular check ups with my therapist. Even if I'm feeling well, just knowing that I have that check-up planned, helps to keep me even-keal. Does that make sense?
Sometimes the fear of the depression hitting again creates so much anxiety that I am certain to get immobalized or depressed because of it! What an aweful cycle. I am just so pleased to have someone who I trust, that can tell me: "Of course you feel that way! That's perfectly normal given your circumstances!"
This is a great question. I think what's important here is knowing the symptoms and that there is support for those times when depression kicks in for any of us.
Each of us is different and many of us who have a history of depression are aware of the fact that we're at greater risk for experiencing PPD and yet, there is no guarantee that depression can ever truly "go away."
If you're a mother who has experienced PPD, I recommend that you take B12 pills (or a multi-vitamin that contains this) and surround yourself with other moms who have experienced the same thing.
If you're able to enlist a support group and a babysitting club (for times when you need to get away) you'll be more prepared for the ups and downs that can occur.
PPD is different for each woman. I also encourage you to share with your loved ones what they can do to help you out. Exercise, eating healthy and laughing often are recommended for anyone who has a history of depression.
i gave birth to a beautiful baby boy 2 weeks ago, but am now suffering through what i believe is a severe case of postpartum depression. At times i feel as though i am unable to function at all...my world feels so hopeless right now
I began taking prozac 8 days ago but i haven't noticed much of any difference. I know that antidepressant take time, but i just dont know how much more of this i can take
Please....if anyone has any positive words or advice....i think it would help to to hear from someone who has been through it before
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