This is a sponsored post by me on behalf of Lifescript.com.
I recently heard about a great online resource, Lifescript.com, which provides medical information, tips and advice that are all written by professional health writers, experts and physicians….including resources that someone who is feeling depressed would benefit from including articles about depression causes and therapies.
I’ve suffered from symptoms related to stress and anxiety throughout my life. Even as a child, especially after my parent’s divorce when I was seven, I had a lot of worry and anxiety. During my first job out of college I coordinated national activities for children with cancer and I started to have trouble with panic attacks and depression. I would travel for work and suffer from extreme headaches that wouldn’t go away and panic attacks where I thought I was going to die. I managed it, but it was difficult.
I had my first baby, my sweet son Jackson, when I was 30 years old. At the time I was a director at a prestigious children’s hospital. A difficult pregnancy in which Jackson was diagnosed in-utero with a kidney problem and problematic delivery caused me to spiral into Post-Partum Depression (PPD).
The first several months after his birth was one of the most challenging times of my life. I had the most beautiful child whom I loved dearly but for reasons I didn’t understand, I couldn’t stop crying. It started as soon as I delivered him via emergency c-section after being in labor for 12 hours and unable to deliver naturally. After his birth in the middle of the night (he was immediately put on antibiotics for his kidney condition), I had to wait several hours to hold him when I immediately tried, without success to breast feed him.
It broke my heart. My first attempts at being a mother and I was already failing miserably.
I remember being in my hospital room in the early hours of the morning by myself and sobbing. A doctor visited me and asked me if I thought I was going to hurt myself or my baby. I knew from working in a hospital that this question was standard operating procedure, but it felt like an insult to injury. How could the doctor ask if I wanted to hurt him, I just wanted to take care of my baby and I felt so bad that I couldn’t even deliver him or feed him naturally and he already had a medical problem to contend with.
The next several months at home were a fog. I spent the first weeks still trying desperately to breast-feed him. I hired a lactation consultant (who told me if I gave up I would be making a huge mistake for my baby), rented a scale that would accurately capture Jackson’s weight before and after feeding him and pumped around the clock…all to no avail. I remember being so deflated when I read the outside of the baby formula can that said a mother’s milk is best for your baby. Tears streaming down my face I told my husband, “they are trying to market this stuff and even they agree that I’m not giving him what he needs!” I irrationally worried that my baby would hold these failures against me and wouldn’t love me.
With help from medical professionals through depression therapies including medication and Psychological counseling as well as a return to my faith, I was able to overcome PPD. But it was a long road and I really felt robbed of those first several months with my precious child. There were moments of joy, but I was overcome with fear and sadness that I just couldn’t explain to anyone. Some family and friends distanced themselves from me, I suppose because they didn’t know what to do or couldn’t understand what I was going through.
I remember going through the motions and walking Jackson in his stroller around the block even though I was crying. If a neighbor was outside I panicked. I didn’t want anyone to see me in the state I was in. I was so ashamed of what I was going through… the stigma associated with depression is so unfair.
According to Tom Cruise, I should have just been able to exercise and take vitamins and I would be fine. (Which is completely untrue and so irresponsible for him to say. Exercise and a healthy diet is helpful for sure, but is not a cure all for PPD.)
My experience caused me to wait a lot longer than my husband and I had planned to have a second child. In an effort to avoid feeling depressed again, I took proactive steps to make my delivery and first hours with Annie more successful. I didn’t even try to breastfeed or deliver naturally. Instead I had a doula who I visited several times while pregnant and then she came to the hospital after I delivered to give me massages. I also had a lot of skin-on-skin contact with Annie, especially when I fed her.
Depression pops up from time-time and I deal with it the best I can. When in the middle of a depressive episode, I feel so alone. But one thing I learned form Lifescript.com is that one of every 10 U.S. adults suffer from it. It helps that I know from past experience that I can get to the other side, so I don’t feel as desperate when it happens. Better health and exercise has helped me as well and I’m on medication for my thyroid, one of the things that contributed to my depression.
I wish that I had Lifescript.com 12 years ago when first dealing with PPD. Information on the website about managing depression and anxiety and getting support is very helpful. With my recent substantial weight loss and integrating exercise into my daily routine, I also found the section about health and nutrition very informative and can’t wait to try out some of the Six Mood Boosting recipes they suggest as well as a Buffalo Chicken Wrap that looks delicious and is very healthy. I also want to start using flaxseed which has a variety of health benefits including help with symptoms of menopause (like depression); which isn’t too terribly far down the road for me!
Do you want to find more posts relating to depression? Check out these articles related on Lifescript.
- Is it New-Mom Blues or Postpartum Depression?
- Living with Depression: Nutrition and Exercise
Are you suffering from PPD/Depression and/or anxiety? Please know that you have nothing to be ashamed of. Don’t feel like you are alone or that you have to get well by yourself. Confide in a friend and/or family member and seek help from a professional. I understand. I’ve been there. Know this…things will get better.
Lifescript’s Depression Health Center features tips, quizzes, recipes and articles – all by professional health writers, experts and physicians – covering postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, bipolar disorder, how to boost your mood with exercise and more. Please visit the Lifescript Health Center on depression for more information.
This is a sponsored post by me on behalf of Lifescript.com. All thoughts and opinions are my own.