My resolution for 2015 was to be more present. When I decided upon that goal, I didn’t realize that I was struggling with Postpartum Depression and that it was only going to get worse before getting better. It’s really hard to be present in your life when you feel like life is spiraling out of control and feeling darker by the day. Sometimes all you want to do is hide.
At my baby’s two-month doctor visit her doctor suggested I see my doctor about getting treated for postpartum depression. I knew that I felt off, didn’t feel like myself, cried quite a bit and whatnot, but I didn’t feel like I was depressed. I just thought it was afterbirth hormonal stuff that would sort itself out. My doctor suggested I start an antidepressant, a low dose since I was (and still am) breastfeeding.
Truthfully, I think my depression started while I was still pregnant and only worsened after delivery, but there I was. It took awhile to start feeling the medication working, but it still didn’t seem like enough. Between the depression and anxiety and feeling overwhelmed at life, I was a mess. I didn’t want to get out to even go to the grocery store. It seemed like a hassle. I snapped at my kids, snapped at my boyfriend, and generally felt pretty lousy about myself most of the time.
A little more than a month ago I decided things had to change. I hadn’t really been engaging in life. I had been shutting myself up and I liked it that way. I would be actively involved with my kids every now and then, I was still keeping them (mostly) clean and alive, but I wasn’t really there. I was numb. I knew I was loved, but I wasn’t feeling it. I was feeling more like a failure than anything.
So I started finding bible devotions on depression and anxiety on YouVersion. I started reading articles on postpartum depression. I started reading blogs and forums by other women who had been through it or were going through it. This made me feel more normal when I felt very abnormal. I started researching different things I can do to improve my mood in order to improve my general well-being so I can be more present in my life, instead of just feeling like a floater or a bystander just watching it all happen.
This doesn’t come close to explaining how I’ve been feeling, and I’m still struggling with depression and anxiety. An increase in my medication a couple weeks ago is helping, as my doctor said I’ve not improved and it may have even worsened since February. I have good days, more accurately, I have good moments and bad moments. There are definitely triggers that bring out the ugly, but here are a few things I’ve been doing that have been helping me. If you’re struggling with depression, maybe you’ll find them helpful too.
1. Being Thankful
I read that a grateful person is a happy person. With this in mind, I have an alarm on my phone that is set to go off at 9:30pm to remind me to be thankful. I then get out my Journal of Positivity and I write down 3 things I’m thankful for that day. I make them very specific. Rather than generally saying “I’m thankful for my kids”, I write something specific that happened that day that made me thankful for them. Writing them down gives me something to look at as a reminder for days (moments) when I’m feeling down.