When talking to others about postpartum depression the question always comes down to, “What helped you get through PPD?” “How long did it take you to get better?”
First, everybody is so different and what works for some will not work for others.
Second, there are different types of postpartum depressions and different severities whichmay need a different approach.
I am going to talk about a couple things I did to help me in my darkest times. I am not saying that these are going to work for you and some of them might sound down right crazy, but when I would struggle these things helped ME cope and feel better.
One-Long hot showers: I would go into the bathroom and crank the radio and take a nice long hot shower. I would sit in there and sing to the music to take my mind off all of the things going through my head. Sometimes I would come out of the shower and feel like a different woman:)
Two– Exercise: I didn’t exercise often, but when I did, I noticed it helped a lot. I used to run competitively in college and ran all the time, but for the past two years my exercising has been at a minimum. When I finally got cleared to exercise after Kenna was born, I didn’t want too. I couldn’t drag myself out of the house to go on a run. When I would run though, it released a lot of stress and anxiety.
Three– Read a good book: When Kenna was napping (since I couldn’t sleep) I would try to get lost in a good book. A book that I didn’t have to think a lot about. I started to read a lot of new adult contemporary romance novels. I found some that I really liked. For example Beautiful Disaster, The Edge of Never, Hopeless, and The Island. All of these books were easy reads for me that I could just sit down and get lost in for a short time.
Four– Dance party with Kenna: Probably one of the weirdest things I did to take my mind of things would be to dance around the living room with Kenna. I would crank some country music and I would sing to Kenna and dance around the room with her. Kenna obviously (a tiny baby) couldn’t dance, but she stayed in my arms and we would sway around the room and she would be content. I think the music helped me get my mind off of things. It also helped to get up and move around. I also found that if I sat around too much my mind would wander and I would drive myself crazy.
Five– Medication: I never wanted to go on anti- depressants. I hate taking medication. I never took ibuprofen, Tylenol, or even Advil, so I didn’t like the idea of going on anti-depressants. My doctor highly recommend me going on a low dose of anti-depressants to help with my anxiety and paranoia. I talked to her about any other options and for my case she said this would be the best place to start. I was still breastfeeding at the time and was worried about Kenna. The doctor informed me that the medicine I took would have no effects on Kenna. In addition, I was worried about side effects. I ended up not having any side effects from the medicine, which I was very grateful for. My medication did end up helping a lot. It was not an instant cure and I needed to change my dosage, but after time it helped me level out my emotions, thoughts, anxiety, and paranoia.
Six– Prayer: I would pray all the time. Any time thoughts would come into my mind I would pray that God would take away those thoughts and would fill my mind with thoughts of love. At times I would feel instant relief, other times I would pray over and over and over again until I felt better or at night until I fell asleep.
Something that I didn’t try, that I think would of been very helpful was therapy. My doctor recommended that I attend a support group in Stillwater, MN (where my doctor is located). I was still on maternity leave, but I never wanted to go to support group. I was worried that if I heard people talk about depression that it would make me think about those thoughts more. I was also worried that I might be the craziest person there. Again, at the time I had no idea people went through this type of depression.
Those are some things that helped me when I was going through some really hard times. Does anyone else want to share things that helped them when they were struggling? What worked for you when you?