November 1, 2007

Does Postpartum Depression ever go away?

I was just asked a really good question: how can you tell when your PPD is gone? The mom who asked this question is feeling better, her PPD symptoms have disappeared, and yet .... there is still this persistent fear that PPD might sneak back around and bite her. I can so relate to this, as can probably any woman who has recovered from PPD, because it's so frightening and can be so incredibly devastating. I know when I got pregnant my last time, I was ready to do anything and I mean anything to avoid suffering through PPD again.

When it comes to knowing for sure when you're well past the nightmare days of PPD, I think it just takes time. I remember when I was still in the throes of PPD and had started on an anti-depressant while going to a psychologist, I honestly couldn't even see an end to it. I couldn't imagine ever being well and functioning the way I used to. But gradually, as my PPD symptoms started to disappear and I regained a sense of my old familiar self, my confidence and self esteem started to build. The more time went by, the more activities I started doing with my kids, and the more confident I became. I saw my psychologist for one year before she told me that she felt I was doing great and that I no longer needed talk therapy. This was a huge milestone for me and I think that with her doing that, it kind of gave me permission to tell myself that my PPD was gone forever. That horrible, stomach-churning fear that my symptoms would come back unannounced just disappeared. I was finally well. But, I honestly think that this realization of being well could have happened much sooner than one year out. I just didn't have the confidence yet. Fortunately, my psychologist nudged me in the right direction.

So, I guess long story short, it's important to take each day as it comes, whether you're in the midst of PPD or in recovery from it. The more "good" days you have under your belt, the more confident you'll get and at some point you'll come to the realization that you're well and can put PPD behind you. The realization may come in an ah-ha moment or it may come gradually. But it will happen and you'll go forward knowing that you can do anything.


Carter-Ann said...

This is such an important part of PPD: seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It's almost worse than the actual depression itself, the fear of never knowing if you will be yourself again.

Kristin said...

That's so true. I'll never forget that feeling of utter dread that came along with forgetting who I was before the depression started. It's so debilitating.

Thanks so much for commenting on my blog!!

Warm regards,

Amanda said...

This is so important! I've been lucky enough to befriend and amazing woman who had a brush with PPD. She is now using her platform, a poised to explode business called SaraBear Baskets, to partner with PSI to create hangtags that will be featured on her diaper caddies to help accomplish their mission of eliminating the igonorance of and suffering from PostPartum Depression.

I have been so gratified by the collective effort in the blogosphere to spread the word. Hopefully we can achieve a level of awareness that will keep moms safe and supported!

Ashley Barcliff said...

Hello. My name is Ashley and I am currently a senior in high school, enrolled in a senior Bioethics course. I was wondering if it was possible for you take part in a interview with me for my Final Term Research Project. My teacher has recently given us a final term assignment in which we are to choose a topic,research it, then present our research to the class. Part of the requirement for the project is to find somebody with knowledge of our topic, and interview them. I have chosen Postpartum Depression for I feel it is a disorder that people generally tend to overlook or have misconceptions of.
The interview would consist of eight to ten questions, any questions that you may not feel comfortable answering can be changed, and any personal information you would not like to be shared with the class would be omitted. I guarantee that the information shared will be taken seriously. The interview itself can be held be me sending you the questions through email, or through a chat or im session.
In regards to who will be seeing the interview, a mature class composed of about ten seniors and four juniors, as well as my teacher will be viewing the interview. If you do not wish for my classmates to see the interview, only my teacher and I will see the interview. If you choose to participate in the interview, I will send you the final project in its entirety once it is completed so you can see that I have complied with these expectations.
I hope that you take my request in consideration, for I feel that your interview will help provide my class and I with valuable insight on what Postpartum Depression is, especially since you are a survivor of Postpartum Depression. By hearing from someone who has had Postpartum Depression, I am sure that my classmates and I will be able to understand the reality seriousness of the disorder more than if they just read facts about Postpartum Depression from some lengthy powerpoint. I hope you take my request in consideration and I thank you for your time.
~Ashley B.

Kristin said...

Hi, Ashley!
I'm thrilled and honored that you would consider me for your interview. I would be more than happy to participate. Anything I can do to help spread awareness of PPD is so welcomed.
Thanks for tackling this important issue!!

Kristen said...

Hi Kristin,

I am happy to find your blog. I am currently dealing with ppd. I am starting to see the light but i still have some really hard days. I am definitely going to search some of the resources you have on your blog. Thank you for speaking out. I am such a blogger and I have wanted to write about it but it is so personal and I don't want anyones judgement.
Kristen h.

P.S. Love your name!

junation said...

I don't think people realize what a dangerous illness depression is. Thanks for spreading the awareness.

Kristin said...

Many thanks to you for visiting my blog!! I really appreciate your comment.

Warm regards,

Anonymous said...

Hi I am 26 years old i got ppd with my baby girl who is only 5 months right now. I just wanted to know how long was you depression? There are times i feel ok then days that i don't and i fear that it would never go way. I am so glad that i came upon your give me hope that my depression would go away eventually.

Kristin said...

Hi there! I'm so sorry that you've had some bad days. That's so fun, especially when you've got a little one to take care of. The one thing I can tell you for sure is that when you have postpartum depression, it absolutely can go away - there is hope! And it's different for everyone, but there are many ways to tackle it. From the basics like making sure you're eating healthy foods and getting plenty of sleep (I know that's a challenge with a 5-month old!), and exercising as regularly as you can.

And if you need more than that to start feeling better, there are other things that could help such as anti-depressant medication, talk therapy, and more. I think you might want to consider talking to your OB or primary care doctor about how you're feeling and see what ideas they have for you to bring you some relief. You should be able to really enjoy your baby and not worry about the challenge of depression.

Please let me know how you're doing! I'm glad you found my blog helpful.

Best wishes to you and your baby,

Anonymous said...

I gave birth to my daughter when I was 18 years old. The light of my life, she was the only true thing I felt ever to truly, and unconditionally love me. I went from an OCD like routine of strict regimen, to absolutely nothing.

I was never treated during the PPD. I didn't even know what it was. My family would visit to complain about my house being dirty, and my 'vacant' look, or the fact I wasn't taking care of my daughter properly, but it was never suggested I had PPD, or that I was in need of treatment. There is a period of a year + where I have no real recollection. I would sit up all night -- sometimes for two or three days, then sleep for two days. I did not bath, I did not change my clothing, or even brush my hair. I would routinely shave my face, and my ex-husband would consistently sexually assault me during these periods. I believe, untreated -- that PPD is a catalyst for nervous breakdowns, etc. I remember trying to write my name, and I had forgotten my name, how to write, and my hand would never stay long enough inorder to write properly. I had a computer, and I believe without the 'escapism' the internet provided, I would have most likely have taken my life; as I felt absolutely nothing inside, at all. I don't think I've ever quite recovered fully, although I have since graduated from college, and remarried. My love for life and sense of 'self' has pretty much returned though, but I do warn women on being untreated. It can be fatal. Heck, it can be fatal with doctor the dangers are there. This is the darker side of PPD. I'm sorry if this is a morbid account, but I felt as if I needed to emphasis the seriousness of this.

Dana Kroeker said...

Hi,I AM 31 years old suffering from PPD with my 3rd child who is 11 weeks old. Its the most Horrible and scariest think i have ever been through. I have been on an antidepressent for 4 weeks now...feeling better but have felt a dip in the progress over the last three days. Very discouraging to say the least. I am so tired of feeling depressed and some days i just want to give up because i feel there is no end in sight and i wil never be myself again. I used to be such a fun and outgoing i just feel like a body full of emtiness.


Kelly said...

No matter how unbelieveable it may seem now, with medication and therapy, you'll be back to yourself in no time. This never lasts forever.
I went through a horrible period of ppd after my son was born. For me, the worst of it lasted a couple months( but it felt like years) I remember the feeling of hopelessness and thinking i'd never feel like myself again. But as soon as i gave the anti depressants a chance to work, and with the support of my family and friends, i made a complete turn around.

What's important for you to know is that this IS temporary. Make sure you are taking your medication properly and DO NOT go off it once you start feeling better. You're children need you and they need you at your healthiest so don't hesitate to do whatever it takes to make you better.
Keep your head up!


Please feel free to contact me if you need to talk.

Kristin said...

Kelly, you are awesome to share your experience here to help others. You are so right - that it's only temporary, even though at the time it feels like PPD will last forever and like you'll never get yourself back. Thanks for your comment and your encouragement!!!

Yesenia said...

This blog has really helped me and I am glad I came across it. I am a mother to a 10 month old girl and I love her more than anything. Suffering from PPD ; I have been in a very confused state of mind. I have been so afraid to take the anti-depressant Celexa prescribd to me bc of the side-effects and possibility of depression worsening. But ii also have been taking .25mg Xanax once a day for my panic attacks. Some days ii have my anxiety under control and some days I just dont want to leave the house. I was very sick during pregnancy and my husband was in a fatal accident and almost lost his life while I was 2months pregnant. I fear that I will never be the outgoing and fun person I used to be. Now its like Ive found comfort in just being home and never have the energy to go out.

Just a question If someone could please help me out...How long does it usually last and are meds always needed to recover? Can it just go away?

Thank You all again...this really helps to know that I'm not only one. As its hard for those around me to really understand.