Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Finally, Postpartum Depressions Has Lifted

Today, I realized that the postpartum depression seems to be completely gone! And I'm happy to say that I got through it without increasing my medication. I decided that since I was starting to feel better when I talked to my doctor that we would try to get through this without increasing my Lamictal.

So, I did the following things which I think helped:
1. Increased the amount of Omega-3. While pregnant I was taking 8 500mg capsules of OmegaBrite. At some point after the pregnancy I went down to 4 pills. So I went back up. I take it two times a day.

2. Increased the amount of exercise. Whenever I start feeling bad, stressed, busy I cut back on exercise, which only makes me feel worse. So I am now recomitted to weight training a minimum of twice a week and cardio 4-5 days a week.

3. Better food choices. When I'm not feeling well I start not eating as well. I start skipping meals and start eating more prepared foods. I'm not sure why this happens since I strongly believe you put junk in your mouth you begin to feel like junk. I think it is becuase when I'm depressed I'm tired and the last thing I am looking forward to is spending time in the kitchen at the end of the day. So I'm now back to cooking every meal at home pretty much from scratch.

4. I reached out and started talking about it. I have been amazed at how many women I know have been through postpartum depression and many have no history of prior depressions. Talking about it has helped me feel less alone and less like a failure as a mother (which I was feeling like since to me motherhood is supposed to be joyful so the unhappy feelings I had made me feel very guilty).

5. I accepted that this is what it is. And that it's okay to be depressed - it is something that I cannot control. I can certainly try to change the duration and depth -- however having bipolar disorder means I am not ever going to be 100% in control. Oddly enough there was a huge feeling of release from the acceptance.

6. I got out of the house. Sometimes I don't leave the house for days. Not because I'm depressed just becuase I don't need to. I work from home as an IT consultant so the majority of my contact with clients is by phone and email. I visit clients in person maybe once a month. So some days the only people I saw all day were my baby and husband and my babysitter. I have decided this is not healthy. I need more interaction. So now I have to get out of the house at least 6 days a week - even if it is just going to the park with my daughter or going to the store.

I joined a local moms group and am now taking Leila to one to two playdates a week - some are at the park, some are at other mom's houses. I am finally getting to know other moms who live near by which is wonderful. Almost all of my friends currently live on the east coast of florida where I used to live. So they are two hours away - which isn't so convenient for a visit especially now that I have a baby.

Looking back now that I realize I had started to underestimate just how bad I was feeling. There were times when I didn't want to be around my baby in the evening - mainly because I didn't want to have her see me upset or cry. Luckily she is only 9 months old so she probably wouldn't know what was wrong - but babies do know when mommy or daddy doesn't feel well.
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