5 Ways To Deal With Postpartum Depression When It Rears Its Ugly Head

 

ppd depression

I wish I could say that I had no idea what postpartum depression felt like– that I didn’t know what it felt like to have a wave of hopelessness and disparity fall upon you that felt unbreakable and all-consuming– but I do. I wish I could say I have no idea what it feels like to be in the happiest time of your life but feel the urge to cry uncontrollably for no reason, but I do. I wish I could say I have no idea how lonely it feels when everyone around you is scratching their heads in disbelief at why or how you could be sad at such a time in your life, but I do.

      My Personal Struggle with Postpartum Depression

I am no stranger to depression, so when I found out I was expecting I knew it was quite possible that I would struggle with postpartum depression at some point. So it was a pleasant surprise that despite my rough labor and delivery ( emergency c-section), I seemed to be doing really great! Yes, of course there were times I felt overwhelmed and had some emotional ups and downs, mainly due to issues with breast feeding, but overall I was just so overjoyed to be living out what I had always felt destined to do, motherhood.

So, as you can imagine I felt relieved and thought I was safe from postpartum depression and all of the ugliness that follows. Unfortunately, I was wrong and it snuck up on me when I least expected it. I can’t pin points exactly when it began, but I remember it was in the spring when Silas was about 5 to 6 months old.  I can remember our vacation that we took for Masters Week, the first week in April. I spent the week in Hilton Head with my parents and my husband came for the beginning of the week and the end of the week (needed to work during the week). Something you probably don’t know about my husband and I is that we have always been inseparable, basically since the day we met. See we have  been together for 4 years now and married for 3 years and have never spent more than a day apart, until this trip. So, I was a little emotional about being away from him in addition to the beginning of postpartum depression rearing its ugly head in preparation for taking over my little world. I remember sitting there on vacation–a time that is supposed to be restful, relaxing, a time of enjoyment and escape from your troubles– and crying alone in the room we were staying in. I remember being at a point where I didn’t want to hold my sweet son, I didn’t want to do anything or be around anyone. There was one specific moment I remember very clearly from that vacation. It was just me, Silas and my parents and we were waiting for our meal when I felt this overwhelming urge to cry. So much so that I had to excuse myself to the restroom to cry in the bathroom stall alone….I was so confused and felt so utterly helpless and hopeless in my emotions. I knew something needed to happen. I could NOT GO ON living this way. I needed these feelings to change, I needed to be restored and in 5 slow steps I finally found peace and overcame the ugly beast that is postpartum depression.

1. Speak to someone

This step was not too hard for me because I am someone who wears there emotions on their sleeve and I have always been someone who has to talk out there feelings and so speaking to my husband about it was easy, not to mention the oh so easy conversation starter when he would find me in a puddle of my own tears. I feel like it is important to have someone who is aware of how you are feeling and can keep an eye on you and help. My husband was aware of my need for help and urged me to seek further help by seeing my doctor. Which brings me to my second point.

2. Speak to your doctor

So, as soon as I was able to, I went to see my doctor and told her about all of my emotions and how I had been feeling and that I felt I needed something to help me through this and so she put me on an antidepressant. Now, if you are someone who is more into natural ways of healing and are against taking medicine I would still urge you to speak to your doctor, even just to keep him or her up to speed. For me though, it was what I really needed and although it was a process of figuring out which medicine I needed and what dose, we eventually got it right and slowly but surely I was feeling a little better. However, I want to be clear that it was only one part of the process and was not a fix all.

3. Pray, pray, and then pray some more

In the beginning prayer did not come easily to me, honestly I wasn’t even considering the healing power of prayer and I was just sitting in my helplessness and accepting my feelings of hopelessness. I had given up and was not fighting for myself. I can’t say for sure what really changed but I finally started to pray and I would try to pray about the good things that were in my life and I tried to pray the bad away in a sense. When I was just wallowing in despair I tried to pray for Him to take it away and to help me think on the good things. It was so hard at first, but then once I started to pray I think God slowly worked in me on finding peace and rest in Him. I think the Lord was able to bless me in this season and allowed me to grow in Him. I don’t wish to return to this season in my life, however I am thankful for the work He did in my life in this season and for drawing me closer to Him right when I needed.

 4. Get In The Word

During this time in my life I found myself clinging to Psalms and I tried to look to the word for encouragement and reassurance that I was not alone. Take heart in Psalms 143:7-11 which says,

“Come quickly, lord , and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die. Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. Rescue me from my enemies, lord ; I run to you to hide me. Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing. For the glory of your name, O lord , preserve my life. Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.”
Find rest in His Word and promises, they will not leave you empty but renewed.

5. Seek out a friend who has struggles with this or find a support group

When I was going through my struggles I stumbled upon a woman who attended the same church who just so happened to have posted on her Facebook about her struggle and finally starting to overcome it. I decided to reach out to her and she became a mentor and my go to person in my struggles. The best part was how she always led me back to the Word and prayed over and for me. She came at such a pivotal time and she really helped me grow Spiritually and reassured me I was not alone.

These are the 5 steps that helped me overcome my postpartum depression and I so pray that God might use this post to help someone who has gone through this or is in the midst of this struggle. Although I believe I have overcome I am also always vigilant and prepared to combat depression when and if it should raise its ugly head again.

I would love to speak with you if you need someone to help you or just listen. Feel free to contact me by commenting, emailing me at cleonard292@gmail.com, or finding me on Facebook at

http://www.Facebook.com/Chelsea.dent.89

May God give you peace and rest in all things and seasons of life.

Your sister,

Chelsea

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9 comments

  1. Number 5 was the most important for me. I had to be sure to be around other people that understood or I just felt worse.
    Goofball Mommy
    http://www.goofballmommy.com

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  2. My SIL struggled with PPD really bad. It is sad and scary. Support is key to dealing with it, for sure.

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  3. It sounds like even though you’ve dealt with PPD you know the ways to beat that ugly monster. I hope that you continue to work on your mental health through the tips you’ve listed and it’s great that you are open to helping so many others.

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  4. Thanks for sharing your story! It can be so hard to ask for help, especially women, and especially in the situation of having a new baby. Having resources is the key!

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  5. mybigfathappylife · · Reply

    Thank you for sharing! Being surrounded by supportive individuals is so important.

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  6. This is beautifully powerful, Chelsea. Thank you for sharing your story and your advice that is so needed for many moms who struggle with this horrible struggle!! I will share, in hopes to reach out to more people with your encouragement.

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  7. Thanks for sharing something so personal. I am happy that you beat depression, and I commend you for helping others.

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    1. Thank you. I think there has been an even greater stigma on postpartum depression then regular depression, but perhaps that’s for another post entirely. I just want to help point others toward the Cross and give them hope and encouragement as well as knowing they aren’t alone.

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  8. This is such a great post. I commend you for writing it. Great advice for sure.

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