This Holiday Season

If you are currently suffering from a postpartum mood disorder, I know it’s very difficult if not impossible to feel like you are ever going to reach the end of that dismally dark and dreadful tunnel you’ve been stuck in.  But you will.  YOU WILL BE WELL AGAIN.  Though I can’t say what it’s like to suffer from postpartum depression (PPD) through the holidays because I personally didn’t experience that, just know that there are many moms–like me for one–who have suffered from and survived PPD.  YOU WILL TOO AND DON’T YOU EVER FORGET IT.  

My daughter was born on December 10th and I didn’t get out of the hospital until December 16th.  I was fortunate that my bout with PPD didn’t begin until 6 weeks postpartum.  Though I was still a bit weak from all the blood loss from the emergency hysterectomy that was performed on me, I was able to send out Christmas cards and birth announcements.  I was able to decorate the house and Christmas tree and have my family over for Christmas.  But it’s all but a blur, a faint memory.   I wasn’t really in the right shape physically, mentally or emotionally to celebrate Christmas.  I was just happy to be alive and to have my beautiful, healthy baby girl.

This may be one holiday season that you are not yourself.  But this is just one point in time.  Once you’ve recovered, there will be many, many more holiday seasons to spend with your family.  Now is the time to focus on what’s REALLY important, which is taking care of yourself and your baby.  Are you being treated by a medical or mental health care practitioner?  If not, make an appointment ASAP.  Are you getting the emotional and practical help you need?  If not, arrange to get both kinds of help ASAP!  

Not sure how to get non-judgmental emotional support from someone trained/experienced to do so?  Give the Postpartum Support International warmline a call at (800) 944-4PPD.

So, my friend, I’d like to leave you with this message:  You will get through this.  Soon, your PPD days will be behind you.  NEVER LOSE HOPE!!!

Wishing you all the best this holiday season and in 2010!   

— Ivy

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8 thoughts on “This Holiday Season

  1. Oh the insomnia was horrible. I couldn’t sleep for anything. I felt wired at all times and I remember cleaning the house at 2am because I just couldn’t stop!! I was initially put on trazadone and ativan to help with sleep. Then I was put on a combination of effexor, trazadone, remeron and ativan. A lot eh?

    How long were you on medications for? If you don’t mind me asking. How long did it take you to recover? I know that everyone is different but I just find it so disappointing that I am 16 months postpartum and I am still feeling like this. Oh, so frustrating.

    I know that I’ll get there someday…but I want it now!! **Stomping my feet in protest** Patience is a virture that I do not have!!!!

    I am so glad to have came across your blog and met you! I will admit though that when I was initally diagnosed with PPD, I “stalked” your blog and found it super helpful!! You have helped me out more than you know!!!

    Kimberly

    • Kimberly,
      So, you were on a combo of SNRI’s, benzo’s and atypical antidepressant. Yes, that’s a lot of medication and you’ve been through so much. The thing about the SSRIs (which I don’t believe you’ve been prescribed) and SNRIs is that it takes time to reach a therapeutic level. Sometimes it can take a couple months. I don’t blame you for wanting to be well again today! Moms all deserve to be able to enjoy their babies and motherhood the way we want to enjoy them. That’s why I’m so upset that there’s not enough public (or health practitioner) awareness!

      I was on Ambien at first. Then, when the panic attacks began, I was put on Xanax and Paxil. I was on Xanax for less than a month and in that same month, I was able to sleep again without the Ambien. I stayed on Paxil for about a year (that includes several months of weaning off). I think the key was that as soon as my panic attacks began, I went to see my then doctor who immediately put me on Xanax and Paxil.

      I’m glad you found my blog and it has helped you!
      Take care,
      Ivy

  2. Ivy you’ve done so much for me already and I really appreciate it!
    I started having symptoms of PPD a few days after I delivered my son. I wasn’t officially diagnosed until I was 6 weeks postpartum. My OB started me on zoloft but after 4 weeks on it, it didn’t get any better. My anxiety was so severe that I would experience bouts of derealization, where the world around me looked fake and it would make me feel like none of “this” was happening. It was very scary. I became very paranoid and afraid to leave my house.
    Because I live in a small town, we have a limited amount of psyhciatrists and I was put on his waiting list.
    My OB felt that I needed to be seen right away so he sent me to the ER which was one of the most scariest experiences of my life. I was so paranoid that I thought that they were plotting to steal my son. I attempted to run away many times and at one time my husband had to take away my set of car keys. I’m so glad that I stayed though because my psychiatrist has been a big help.
    I have tried a variety of medications. One combination of medications sent me into hypomania. Trial and error I guess.
    I saw my doctor last night and he might switch up my meds again in the new year. I’ve kind of plateaued and am stuck with anxiety still. I am better but not completely. I’m scared to death about it. I just want to be better and like myself again. I just hate taking so many medications.

    Well, I could talk your ear off. I apologize for rambling. Thanks for listening to me. I appreciate it so much

    Kimberly

    • Kimberly,
      Thank you for sharing your experience here and on your blog. Your blog is wonderful, by the way.

      Did you by any chance ever have insomnia? I’m surprised with your high level of anxiety you weren’t prescribed a benzodiazapene. Yes, these meds sometimes do take a bit of trial and error because everyone and their symptoms are so different. This is one of the reasons why it’s taken so long to make progress in accurately detecting, diagnosing and treating perinatal mood disorders! So sorry to hear all that you’ve had to go through. What are you taking now, if you don’t mind my asking? At one point, I was on 3 different meds at once…a combo of very powerful drugs…and the fact that I was doing that terrified me.

      I didn’t think I’d ever be well again, but I did recover….and so will you! The fact that you are better means that you are recovering. Ask those close to you to tell you in what ways they have seen you improve over the past few months. Have them keep on doing that in the next months all the way until you recover. In most cases, you may not notice any improvements but others close to you will notice.

      Oh, and don’t ever apologize for reaching out to me. Reach out all you want/need.
      Take care,
      Ivy

  3. Ivy,

    Thank you so much for helping out a stranger. It’s been a difficult time for me. Like really really difficult. I’m trying so hard to stay positive and to not let things bug me…but it is so hard. I have an appointment with my psychiatrist tonight.

    Also, thank you for adding me to your blogroll. I am very honoured. If you wouldn’t mind, may I add you to mine as well?

    I hope that you and your family have a wonderful and safe Christmas too.

    Kimberly

    • Kimberly,
      My goal is to help others become educated about PPD (and minimize/prevent the kind of suffering I went through) and provide support/encouragement so moms suffering from PPD will feel less alone. I am happy to be of help to any moms who need help. I think it’s wonderful you started blogging during your recovery. I didn’t even start to blog until well over 4 yrs after my bout w/PPD! I would be honored if you included me on your blogroll!

      I am glad you are seeing your psychiatrist tonight. When did your PPD first start? And when did you start treatment? May I ask if you are on any medication? I wish I could do more for you. I really do hope you can enjoy this holiday season with your family.

      All the best,
      Ivy

  4. Thank you so much for posting this Ivy. I’m having a difficult time right now. Super overwhelmed. I just really want to be able to enjoy Christmas this year because last year, I was in the thick of PPD and I felt like I had ruined our first holiday as a family. I’m taking it one day at a time.

    • Kimberly,
      Never think that you are the cause of ruining your family’s holiday. A holiday is just a holiday. The most important gift anyone can ever hope to have is health. I truly hope you will be able to enjoy this holiday with your family. Take care of yourself.
      All the best,
      Ivy

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