Another good day….

16 04 2009

I was reading an article titled “Parenting Through Depression”  and this excerpt tugged at me:

Depression affects approximately nineteen million Americans, or 9.5% of the population in any given one-year period. It’s twice as common in women as it is in men. While awareness and understanding of postpartum depression has increased in recent years, there’s little public discussion about ongoing clinical depression in mothers, and the repercussions it can have on their families.

This is probably due to the fact that depression still carries a significant stigma. Lots of people still believe it’s not a “real” illness but a weakness or a personality flaw — something that sufferers should be able to talk, exercise or vitamin-supplement their way out of (right, Mr. Cruise?). Even women like me, who know that their depression is a very real, biological condition, can internalize that stigma and feel guilty as a result.

I can’t begin to tell you how relieved I was to come across this article.  I believe God put that article in front of me to say “See – you are not alone!”

I’ve had to battle depression since the age of 18 and medication has lent it’s blessed hand to me for 15 years.  Of those 15 I was on the same medication and was instructed by my OB to take myself off of the medication when I was in my second trimester with my son.  Since I had been taking that particular medication, I hadn’t experienced too many depressive episodes, so I assumed I would be ok until my son was born and then I would go back on the same medication and all would be well with the world.  Boy was I wrong. 

A week after giving birth to my son via a very unplanned c-section, I experienced what would be the darkest hours of my life.  And it would last for a long, long time.   I was back on the medication, but it wasn’t helping.  Depression held it’s dark grip on me and it wasn’t letting go.  I didn’t want to move.  I didn’t want to breath.  I didn’t feel like what I thought a mother should feel like.  I never thought about intentionally hurting my child.  I loved my son.  However, I couldn’t connect with him.  He was a foreign object to me.  I was jealous of him and the love he was getting from my husband.  I was upset because he had turned my life upside down.  Sound ridiculous?  I thought I was ridiculous too.  I wanted to know why I couldn’t snap out of it.  Why I couldn’t wake up from the fog.  I kept thinking, ” this isn’t fair.  I know I shouldn’t feel this way.  I know I should be happy.  What is wrong with me?!!”

In March 2008, after enduring 3 months of this, I finally contacted my doctor and was referred to a psychiatrist and therapist.  We tried different medications, finally settling on a good combination in the fall of 2008.  Since then, I haven’t had a major episode, but it’s been a slow uphill battle for my husband and I.  Luckily I am blessed with a saint of a husband, who has been nothing but supportive through hell and high water. 

I now feel somewhat “normal” and I have many, many more good days than bad.  I attribute this to being proactive with my depression.  I have to take my medication, or I fear what the next few days would bring.  I have to remind myself that my depression does not control me, and that because I experience it doesn’t make me a bad person or a bad mother. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing depression, please talk to someone about it.  And know that you are not alone.  Everyone deserves to have good days.

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3 responses

17 04 2009
Katherine Stone

Thank you for sharing your story! No doubt it will help other women going through this.
Katherine Stone, Postpartum Progress, http://postpartumprogress.typepad.com

17 04 2009
Katherine Stone

Thank you for sharing this!

21 04 2009
Amanda H. Avery

I stumbled across your blog. . .and what you write is very true. I went through a very similar experience after my first child was born. It’s good to know there are other mommies who deal with the same things.

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