Sunday, June 6, 2010

I'm a little stalker...

So I'm a huge fan of Aunt Becky and her blog: Mommy Wants Vodka ( and as such I of course feel the need to comment regularly (and amazingly she hasn't blocked me yet... go figure). So there was a "Go Ask Aunt Becky" on there today from a fellow Prankster who by the sound of things has some BAD post partum depression and she was asking if she should go to the doctor. 
Aunt Becky is thankfully wonderful and sane and highly recommended going to the doctor but I thought I'd add my two cents in as well in the comments.
Hey I'm a psych major and a wanna be therapist. I can't help myself. So just b/c I want to remember how I worded this later here's what I wrote:

Run, don't walk, RUN to the doctor! What you're feeling is 100% real and it is 100% fixable.  

Your brain is an organ. People for some reason forget that. People think that if their liver has a problem you should definitely go see a doctor and take some pills to fix it. But for some strange reason if your brain is having a problem then you should just get over it.  

You just had a baby. Your whole fricking body just got turned upside down and inside out and sometimes things don't always get reset back to normal like they should. Sometimes a lever gets stuck in the on position and instead of being in charge of how you feel its like you're stuck on a roller coaster and you can't get off. You're in the back seat of a car with no driver and you have no control.  

When you have depression its like your emotions aren't yours anymore. You want to be happy but you can't. Because normally you say "I want to be happy". You think of something happy and all these happy chemicals go firing away in your brain. Well when you're depressed, this neuron does not fire into that receptor like its supposed to. It either doesn't do it at all, or just randomly when it feels like it.  

Going to the doctor and getting a pill doesn't change who you are and it doesn't mean you are weak. What it means is the lever got stuck. So they give you a pill that flips it back on again so that YOU are in control. You decide when you want to be happy and when you want to be sad. You take it for 6 months to a year and odds are you taper off of it and the lever stays right where its supposed to be.  

Its kinda like you broke your arm, you have to set it, put a cast on it, it heals and then you take the cast off and you're fine. Would your arm heal with out the cast? Probably. Would it heal right? Maybe. Would it take longer to heal? Definitely. 

Depression is the same way - will you get better on your own? Maybe. But a normal course of depression is 6 months PLUS. With meds you can chop that down to feeling better inside of 6 weeks or less.  

6 weeks of misery vs 26+ weeks of misery.... I'm not a fan of suffering. Life is too short and you want to enjoy that baby.

I didn't include this next part in my original post but I do think its also good to know when you're thinking of PPD. 

PPD is a particularly scary form of depression because it can vary so widely in severity and the onset can be so sudden and left untreated can get SCARY bad. In range we're talking anything from very mild baby blues that can be hard to separate from the sleep deprivation all the way up to Andrea Yeates.

If you don't know who I'm talking about its because you didn't live in Houston a few years ago. Andrea had bad post partum depression. She also had like 6 kids under the age of 8 and home schooled ALL OF THEM. Her husband was apparently not the nicest of men and basically told her she needed to get over it and suck it up etc. Her post partum depression didn't get better. It got worse. She developed post partum psychosis and did what the voices told her to. She drown every last one of her children in the bath tub to "save them" and then laid them on the bed, covered them with a sheet and called her husband and the police.

The media followed that horrible, sad, twisted story for weeks. And that plus my Mom's career as a nurse/educator/lactation consultant specializing in Labor and Delivery, Post Partum and Lactation provided more than enough examples to convince me that PPD is very, very real and NOT something to mess around with.

Honestly the two things that scared me more than anything else having my first baby were SIDS and PPD b/c you can do everything right and they'll still find you. And if you're not very careful they're both life alteringly bad....

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