Dealing With Depression

Postpartum depression and depression in general can be a touchy topic. However, it is finding its way into the spotlight with more and more people seeking help. Each person’s experience with the awful beast of depression is unique. However, I’m living proof there is hope!

San-Diego-Moms-Blog-Depression-Beloved-Atmosphere

photo credit: Natalie Chiles Photography

Here are a few resources I have found helpful in identifying symptoms and combatting my own depression:

Postpartum Progress by Katherine Stone

Screening Quiz by About.com Pediatrics

Facts about Depression by Medical News Today

Definitions, Symptoms, Treatment Options and more by The Mayo Clinic

Baby Center’s page on Postpartum Depression by BabyCenter.com

Since the birth of our first daughter, I have battled postpartum depression. In fact, my fear of having to face depression almost dissuaded us from having our third child. At first, I did not recognize the feelings I was having as symptoms of depression. I simply attributed my feelings of guilt and hopelessness to sleep deprivation and adjusting to parenthood. Now that I am aware of the symptoms I experience with my depression, I proactively seek treatment and eek my way out of the sink hole before it sucks me down.

Some feelings I personally experience with postpartum depression include:

  • Guilt – for wanting to catch up on my sleep rather than take my baby out in public.
  • Hopelessness – facing another day of unending sadness and frustration leaves me feeling hopeless and I must fight just to get out of bed.
  • Anxiety – stirred up, stressed out, worried feelings of “I can’t do anything right!” about almost anything I attempt to do. Everything from caring for our newborn to juggling cooking, cleaning, handling household duties and caring for our older children give me anxiety.
  • Atypical Mood Swings, Anger and Irritability – When I am depressed, I have an unusually short fuse and a supremely low level of patience. Every itty bitty thing irritates the heck out of me! Little pet peeves blow up into reasons to end a relationship or lead me to avoid people altogether. It sucks.

But none of these things are the True Me. A Special Thank You to my patient, devoted, loving husband. He stands by me through all depression has brought into our lives! He is a Saint, and I love him dearly.

Solutions

So what do I do to combat depression and keep this heinous monster at bay? I develop a treatment plan with my therapist and go through trial and error until my depressive symptoms resolve. It’s a multi-step process.

First, I take a step back, where my counselor and I identify my triggers. Things like stress from overcommitting to too many tasks, poor diet, not enough exercise, lack of sleep, or not taking enough “me” time always top the list.

Second, I attend therapy once per week until I feel comfortable in applying my coping mechanisms and things begin looking rosier.

Third, my counselor and I develop a customized treatment plan to pull me out of the darkness and back in to the light of my beautiful, Blessed life.

My treatment plan includes the following:

  • taking a low dose anti-depressant on a daily basis
  • exercise – 30-60 minutes per day of yoga, walking, jogging, soccer, or anything aerobic
  • 30-60 minutes per day of good old-fashioned sunlight. I often combine my exercise and daily sunlight treatment. Win-Win! :)
  • therapy sessions – weekly at first, then every 2 weeks for maintenance once I begin feeling relief from the depressive symptoms.

It bears mentioning that an effective therapist is a trained professional who listens to you with an objective ear and guides you in identifying any issues you have and developing useful strategies to help you remedy the issues at hand. Any worthwhile therapist will tell you (particularly in cases of depression), it is critical to attend therapy every 1-2 weeks (and no less frequently) in order for the strategies you identify in therapy to be most effective.

When you or someone you know is experiences depression, what helps alleviate it? What keeps the dragon of depression at bay?

Disclosure: The information and material contained in this post are presented for educational purposes and are informational in nature only. Statements and opinions expressed in this post are those of Amy Askin only and should not be considered facts. While the information and materials presented are believed to be accurate, they are not intended to replace or substitute professional medical advice or care, and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health care problem or disease or for prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your baby’s or your physical or mental health, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

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About Amy

Amy is a devoted wife, dedicated mommy to the Three Little Mermaids, a savvy traveller, and a darn good vegetarian cook. When she’s not busy dining out at local hot spots or whisking her kiddos off to fun, healthy activities in and around San Diego, Amy writes for Beloved Atmosphere, her blog that focuses on Travel with Kids, Parenting, Education, Crafting, Cooking and other Topics du Jour. Amy also manages Sunset Vacation Rental, her family’s vacation rental business for their House at the Beach. With whatever spare time she finds, Amy loves reading, sewing, cooking, tweeting (@beloved_atmo), posting cool finds on her Facebook Page, or Pinning.

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2 Responses to Dealing With Depression

  1. Tara October 21, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    Thank you for sharing and your plan seems logical.

    I just don’t get why it’s a touchy subject though? How can this stigma be erased? As a lot of women deal with baby blues, overwhelming feelings and hormone imbalances post pregnancy.

  2. Amy {BelovedAtmosphere.com} October 22, 2013 at 3:22 am #

    I agree, Tara! I went through PPD at the exact same time as Brooke Shields did. In a strange twist of fate, I was on the same anti-depressant and experienced similar symptoms to her as well.

    I am SO glad Tom Cruise spoke out and made an ass of himself during Brooke Shields’ crisis. My reasons are two-fold:
    1. his celebrity status brought the issue to the spotlight, which in turn gave it credence,
    and
    2. experts had the opportunity to properly explain the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of depression, which diminished the stigma attached to the illness.

    We now realize our mental health is just as important as (if not more so than!) our physical health. It seems depression or PPD are not as touchy a subject as they were a mere 10 years ago.

    I’m so very thankful for that! :)