This Isn’t What I Expected – Overcoming Postpartum Depression (3)

The third chapter is titled “I Just Want This to Go Away”:  Putting Feelings First and Accepting Postpartum Depression.  The key points in the book are ones that I wish I would have read or heard or seen while I was going through PPD myself.  Here are the highlights:

–  “Some women know they are beginning to accept that they have PPD when they are able to tell someone else about it.”
–  “It is never easy to decide whether or not to tell someone what you are going through.  It can be a tough judgment call, and you may need to make some careful choices about with whom to share your feelings.  We feel it is very important to share how you are feeling with someone you trust.  You must go at your own pace and decide for yourself when is the right time and who is the right person.  You will know when you are ready.”  This does not only apply to PPD, this is good advice for many things in life.
–  “Physical Symptoms Associated with PPD:  headaches, difficulty breathing, palpitations, fatigue, hot flashes/chills, panic attacks, nausea/upset stomach, extreme agitation, insomnia, excessive sleeping, shakiness, loss of appetite, sugar and/or starch cravings, overeating, lack of energy, poor concentration, nightmares.”
–  “Emotional Symptoms Associated with PPD:  inadequacy, sadness, guild, isolation, anger, resentment, shame, loss of control, lack of confidence, thoughts of hurting yourself, thoughts of hurting your baby, scary fantasies, feeling “I’m not myself”, being overwhelmed, depletion, poor concentration, excessive crying, loneliness, helplessness, anxiety, fear, hopelessness, worthlessness, irritability, low self-esteem, oversensitivity, confusion, extreme agitation, inability to laugh.”
–  “If you are having any thoughts of hurting yourself or are feeling so desperate that you want this sadness to go away at any cost, you must find a professional who can help.  Talking about these feelings can help you feel more understood and less alone.  Suicidal feelings that are due to PPD are treatable and will resolve with appropriate intervention.”
–  “Some women with PPD experience pain that is so intense and so pervasive that they don’t want to live.  It is critical that you not surrender to these feelings.  Reaching out to those who can help you is the single most important thing you can do for yourself right now.  Let others know you are feeling this way and let them take care of you for a change.  These thoughts are an indication of a serious depression that can be treated; don’t try to deal with them alone.”
–  “Anger at your husband or at your baby is one of the most disturbing feelings that women with PPD experience.  Most new mothers, including those who do not have PPD, will get angry at their babies from time to time.  It is hard to imagine someone not losing her temper after six virtually sleepless nights in a row, or after hearing the baby crying inconsolably for an hour.  But it is not easy to express this anger.  We live in a culture that doesn’t tolerate a mother’s rage toward her child even for a moment.  Therefore, it is understandable that women would deny or block those feelings of anger, almost by instinct.”
–  “Since anger is so uncomfortable, it is often disguised by more “acceptable” feelings, such as extreme impatience, frustration, or irritability.  If you are yelling at your family excessively, exploding in unpredictable outbursts, feeling like every little thing is getting on your nerves, or lashing out in inappropriate situations, consider the possibility that you are misdirecting some anger.”
–  “It is difficult to think clearly when you are angry, so we have some suggestions to help you at the moment you feel anger toward your baby:
     –  Isolate yourself from your baby.
     –  Put your baby in the crib or playpen and let her cry – it is better to let your baby cry than to hit her.
     –  Go outside if you have to so you can’t hear the screams.
     –  Take a slow, deep breath.  Do this five times.
     –  Splash your face with cold water.
     –  If you cannot calm yourself down, call for someone to help you.”
– “Owning Your Feelings –
     –  Accept that these feelings are a very real part of who you are right now.
     –  Respect your feelings even though they cause such pain.
     –  Don’t fight these feelings.
     –  Don’t be afraid of these feelings.”

~ by cmb0414 on May 10, 2010.

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