Another piece

Last night I laid in bed for over an hour before I finally fell asleep.  Jack was sleeping soundly next to me and yet my mind wouldn’t shut off and give in to slumber.  Instead I lay there with negative and paranoid thoughts until I started to question why it was happening.  Then I examined the past few weeks of what I have been calling “perpetual PMS” – the lack of energy, short temper, headaches, and feelings of disconnection, and I realized that I have started down the depression road again.  It’s interesting how long it takes me to figure it out, even after living with this affliction for (officially) 13 years now.  Luckily I have recognized it before things have gone too far, and I can put a plan into place to take better care of myself.

Last night I also became aware of how breastfeeding has made an impact on my life over the past 18 months.   Following the miscarriage of my first pregnancy, I struggled with severe post partum depression.  It was beyond anything I had experienced prior to that (or since); the grief of that loss was expected, but the hormonal landslide that occured ripped the floor from beneath me.  When I look back on that time, I don’t recognize myself at all.

After that period, which involved lots of medication and therapy, I worried that I would experience severe depression again even after a successful pregnancy.  This made the decision to breastfeed that much smarter in my case, as I had read that breastfeeding can help a new mother avoid depression.  It has certainly seemed to work for me; the level of depression I felt after Jack was born was mild and managed with relative ease.  As I lay in bed last night, I realized that the more serious symptoms of depression I’ve been experiencing have increased as I have decreased breastfeeding and pumping sessions.  There are other factors, of course, but for now, I have one more piece to add to the depression puzzle in my life.  I also have work to do to get myself back in shape!

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Comments

  1. Do you know what you’re going to do to replace breastfeeding as part of your mental health plan?

    I’m glad you actually take some time to figure out what’s going on with you. So many choose just to call the doc for more pills. Your approach (as always) is so much healthier and actually focuses on long-term well-being.

  2. Just curious: Have you ever tried acupuncture to help address the hormonal imabalances that contribute to your depression issues?

    Also, I know what you mean about it sometimes taking you awhile to realize that you’re starting down the depression road again.

  3. Zen Mama – getting a few hours out of the house by myself every week, getting in better contact with my friends, talking with my husband more, and exercise are all part of my plan. Plus, it just helps knowing what’s going on because then I can make conscious decisions to do the things that I don’t feel like doing. And if all of that fails, I’ll go to therapy!

    Zgirl – I have not tried acupuncture but I have always wanted to. I will have to look into it, as the bay area is full of acupuncturists!

  4. You are winning because you recognize the depression and confront it! As the child of someone who suffered greatly from depression for years, and would never admit to it, I can appreciate your courage in doing so. If only my mother would have admtted her depression and would have agreed to treatment….what a difference it would have made to our entire family. But no, even after she was diagnosed, she refused to come to terms with it. She took her meds but absolutely refused therapy. It is not easy…I applaud your courage in confronting it.

  5. One of the lactation consultants that worked with us to get this bf thing going said that she saw most cases of PPD when a mom STOPPED bf. So it’s not surprising that you’re feeling this way. It’s good that you’ve recognized it, and are able to do something about it.

  6. Hi, I’m de-lurking…

    I’ve also suffered with depression (since junior high), been on and off meds, and in and out of counseling. It’s been a long journey. I find that when I see the warning signs, it’s easier to reverse that downward spiral. I agree with Grandmere that you are winning because you recognize the signs.

    I’m a WAHM, and I find that routine helps me deal with the isolation. Certain days of the week are “get out of the house” days, and I can look forward to getting out with the baby. Otherwise, I might spend all day every day in my jammies with no make up! That’s enough to scare anyone INTO a depression! 😉

    Anyway, just wanted to say hello and add my 2c.

  7. Hugs.
    As Grandmere (my mom) said, Depression is no stranger in our family. And so I know that Hugs can help.

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