How I Deal With Postpartum Depression/Negativity

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To all my faithful followers and readers, thank you for sticking with me. It’s been an interesting time. I haven’t posted (other than a few book reviews) in almost two months. I apologize for the lapse.

Part of the reason why I haven’t posted is the above title. Another part is the time and courage it took for me to actually sit down and write this post.

Inspiration for this post comes from the amazing courage and strength it took for CJ Redwine to speak out about her opposition to censorship and the fact that she is a rape survivor. Read her heart-wrenching but soul inspiring post here.

The subject of this post isn’t anything quite so devastating and life-altering. But it has been a big deal for me. So as hard as this is for me to admit, here goes:

About 5 months after my son was born I realized I had postpartum depression. It took a comment from someone else to help me come to terms with what was happening to me. I’d watched 17 seasons of tv in a single month. It scared me and humbled me to know that I wasn’t myself. I hadn’t yet got to the point of extreme regret and bad feelings towards my child, but I was so worried it could go that way. In consultation with my doctor I tried to work through it with the help of my husband, friends and family. After a month the decision was made for me to be on anti-depressants. I was on them for four months. Once I found out I had postpartum depression it was so enlightening for me to see just how many other women have dealt with this themselves or know someone who has. In learning more about postpartum depression I found out that those who have previously been diagnosed with depression are more susceptible. Two years previously I’d been on anti-depressants for about 5 months.

I don’t conduct myself as though I am on expert on this subject. I’m sure there is a lot I don’t know about depression and postpartum depression. I do however know what it has been like for me and how it’s affected my life. At times it has been completely debilitating. Other times it is simply tiresome and I want to smack myself upside the head and say “Smarten up, you’re better than this.” But it still happens and I still have to deal with it. I don’t know why this is a trial in my life. I do know though that I can conquer it each time it happens to me, especially if I rely upon my Saviour, and my loving husband, son and family.

Since that time I have had three more bouts of what I call a ‘Negativity Funk’. Times when I haven’t been in full on depression, but periods of my life where I can feel myself headed that way. Watching a a fair bit more of tv than I should, not doing laundry for much too long, neglecting my writing, not bathing myself or my son as often as I should. It all adds up.

I have however been able to get myself out of those ‘Funks’. And the whole point of this post is to help others who might be dealing with the same thing.

A note: This post took a few weeks to write, because I got into another little funk while in the middle of writing it. But as is obvious by the fact that this post is finished and done, I got myself out of it.

So here’s what and how I go about pulling myself up by my bootstraps.

5 Things That I Do To Get Back Into A Positive Frame of Mind

1. Read good books & listen to good music
– this is such a great enabler for positivity. Instead of always listening to the radio I play my own positive music — whether that’s a CD or songs from my iPod, doesn’t matter. Two of my favourite books that have helped me are: Sunny Side Up by Lucile Johnson & Body Clutter by Marla Cilley and Leanne Ely

2. Get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs
– a good friend knew I was struggling with postpartum depression and she asked me if I was getting enough Vitamin B & D. When her daughters were having trouble that was always the first thing she did — made sure they had enough Vitamin B & D. My solution? A Dr Oz episode spoke about how your body can absorb more vitamins and minerals if you split up when you take them. Therefore I take two supplements in the morning. A Vitamin B complex (so I get all the B’s) and a Vitamin D 1000 IU. And I also take a generic multi-vitamin supplement at night. It wasn’t until I’d been consistently doing this for two weeks that I started to feel different, but it really did help me to feel better and have a more positive and upbeat outlook.
UPDATE: This also mean getting enough water to drink everyday – drink at least six 8oz glasses of water a day. Eight glasses would be optimal. It really is a game changer when your body gets enough water. See this post about the blogging schedule and my favourite water bottle.

3. Exercise (even if it’s just walking)
– I still struggle with this, but when I do make time for exercise it always helps my positivity. Most especially if I get outside and walk in addition to some good cardio or weight-training. Some of my favourite exercise things to do? Workout videos (tae-bo & pilates most often) and Zumba. 😀

4. Get support from family and friends
– I cannot emphasize this enough. Be up front and honest with those who are close to you. They care about you and want to help. Give them specifics on how they can help you. Even if it’s just a text message each day asking how you’re doing. Talk to those who love you. Hearing about other people’s successes and joys allows me to be more positive.

5. Pray and keep praying
– I don’t think I can fully express exactly how much this helps me. Nor do I think I ever will be able to do so. Having a loving Saviour in my life who knows me and my trials is something I truly cherish. Going on each day and being able to express all of my trials and successes in prayer is something that, when done consistently, aids me in all I do.

As hard as this post was for me to do, if what I have said helps even one person who is dealing with depression, postpartum depression or negativity, then it has been a success. Stay strong, know that others understand what you are going through, and be positive.

Cheers!

~Danielle

UPDATE: One of the best videos I’ve ever seen that helps to voice and explain depression is this: