09 October 2012

Suggestions for battling PostPartum Depression

Today, I read a comment on my Strong Start blog post, asking for suggestions on how to overcome the Postpartum Depression. At first, I was just going to respond in the comments but then I thought that maybe this would be blog post material.

I feel that it's important to keep in mind that there is no one single right method for beating PPD. Not everyone responds the same way to the same things so not every suggestion or method will work for everyone. However, I'm more than happy to share some suggestions that work for me or that have helped other people I know. Please note that these are not in any particular order of preference or recommendation.

  1. Therapy - Therapy was immensely helpful for me, both group and individual. It was good to be able to voice my thoughts and feelings to people I wasn't worried about offending or hurting, and to get the feedback and perspectives of people outside of my situation. And of course, the therapists often had good input and suggestions for coping mechanisms.
  2. Medication - When I was admitted to the hospital the first time (after the night I wanted to kill myself), the doctor was willing to try a course of only talk therapy before putting me on medication, in hopes of being able to continue breastfeeding. In my situation, talk therapy alone wasn't enough and the medication I needed that time required that I stop breastfeeding so I wouldn't pass the medication to my daughter through my breastmilk. The medication got me leveled out. Bear in mind though, taking medication for PPD does not automatically mean you need to stop nursing. There are medications the doctor can prescribe that will still allow you to continue breastfeeding your baby, they just weren't what I needed in that specific situation.
  3. Yoga - Several friends of mine have found yoga to be helpful to them in battling PPD. I haven't ever tried it but if I can make it work with my schedule, I hope to give it a go once my doctor gives me the all clear at my 6 week postpartum checkup.
  4. Exercise - This one was tricky for me because it was hard to find the motivation or energy to get out and exercise. There were no shortage of excuses for why I couldn't get out and do it. However, when I actually did get off my butt and work out, it helped me feel so much better, it helped me have MORE energy, and of course, helped me lose my baby weight which helped me to feel better about myself and how I looked.
  5. Music - I had to be careful of what kind of music I listened to because sad stuff would just perpetuate my mood and prolong it. However, listening to calm music of the variety you hear at a spa helped me center myself and regain a sense of peace. If I had no energy, listening to upbeat music could help me find a spark.
  6. Massage - Who doesn't love a good massage? A massage helped me to feel better physically, which lifted my spirits. It also helped me focus on relaxing and taking care of myself.
  7. Me Time - It's always hard to make time for myself but it is such a necessary thing. By Me Time, I don't mean going to the grocery store by myself to do the shopping, but doing something away from the house by myself that makes me feel better. If grocery shopping is your hobby then by all means, go at it, but I personally don't consider it quite the same thing. For me, it would be something more along the lines of going to the beach, going for a drive along the coast (except for right now when the gas prices alone are enough to induce stress and anxiety), going to the salon for a pedicure, or even just going to Ulta and wandering around drooling over the nail polish selection (have you SEEN the collections OPI is coming out with this year?!? GORGEOUS!!!).
  8. Hobbies - I had to put some thought into this one since hobbies aren't something I have a lot of time for right now... haha. But seriously, engaging in a hobby is a big one for me.
  9. Scripture study/church - For me, as a Christian, making sure to take the time to read the scriptures, listen to some worship music/hymns, and go to church were very helpful. Prayer isn't the only solution and it does irritate me when people say things like "Just have more faith" or "Just pray more", but that doesn't change the fact that for me, prayer does help.
  10. Writing - Go figure. A blogger who likes to write. Seriously though, writing about PPD has been a fantastic outlet for me and I've heard many other people say that it helps them too. For me, it helps me to regain control and take back the power because *I* am the one deciding what I say, rather than letting the PPD and negative emotions decide that. Even before I felt comfortable being open about my experiences, writing in a journal was still something that was a huge help. Journaling has always been a catharsis for me, regardless of whether or not I plan on ever letting anyone read what I write. 
There you have it. This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are as many different ways to combat PPD as there are people in the world and different things will (or won't) work differently for different people. However, these are some of the things that I found helpful or know that others have benefited from.

What outlets or methods have you or your loved one had success with? Let's exchange ideas!

1 comment:

  1. A creative outlet can be helpful when battling depression of any sort, so it makes sense it would help with PPD. So whether that is writing, music, dance, macrame, or beating swords into plowshares (or vice versa) to decorate the home, if you have a creative bent at all, go for it.