Listener Kristen wanted to share her story about coming out on the other side of postpartum depression. This could be way helpful if you or someone you know is suffering from it.
I think the most important part for me was getting with a therapist that understood post-partum complications. So I'm working with Amy Rose White, who specializes in this population.
Originally I was flagged by Jade's pediatrician, because my "mommy depression" survey kept coming back as worse and worse. My OBGYN was clueless. After that I started getting on the internet and thought I had Post-Partum Psychosis- very very scary things on the internet... If anything that made everything worse. I got an appointment with a Family doctor, and they wanted to prescribe me a slew of anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and anti-anxiety medications. I was absolutely terrified. Luckily I said no, because it didn't feel right. Matt took the lead at that point, and researched and called therapist after therapist until he found one that specialized in Post-Partum women. I called her and she returned my call the same day, got me in the same week, and we had a plan for the next year. The key was, she knew within a couple questions that I had post-partum OCD, an anxiety based complication of pregnancy. It's at the opposite end of the spectrum from psychosis. The relief I felt after that first phone call changed my life for the better. Because I had such a bad experience at the doctors office, I asked Amy if I could get better without medications. She said it would be a longer road, but definitely possible. She also said that she respected how I felt and that she'd like to help however possible. So here are the basics for someone who needs to reduce anxiety (my base issue) that was brought about by pregnancy- also all of this combined with the right medication would be even better.Sleep: 6-8 hrsDiet: Anti-Oxidant rich diet, low carb, low sugar. Goal is to reduce as much inflammation as possible as it has been linked with mental health disordersTime: a minimum of 1 hr a day of downtime- no "tasks" for that hour. Only rejuvenating options- sitting out in nature, reading a good book, meditation, staring at clouds, etc....Exercise: low intensity exercise- yoga, light circuit training, walking, hiking. Nothing intense- hoping to help heal the adrenal system and keep the body moving.Sunlight: Get outside for an hour a day when it's sunnyVitamins: There are a lot of options for vitamins, common ones for anti-inflammatory are- Pre-Natal Vitamin, Omega 3, and Vitamin D. For neurological support- B-vitamin Complex (especially methylated B Vitamins), SAMI or 5HTP (natural seratonin).Journal: Keeping a journal to get the scary or weird feeling out was instrumental for both me and Matt. Post-partum OCD is an un-observable disease, so he only knew that something was wrong, but he couldn't see the intrusive thoughts I was having. So after I wrote some down and he was able to read my journal, his understanding grew. We were then able to tackle this as a family, it helped me feel supported.Therapy: Get with a therapist and understand what is going on. My diagnosis has a different type of therapy than someone with post-partum depression, which is also different from psychosis. Finding a professional is so important.Testing: I'm in the process of getting my progesterone levels checked- could be a biological reason why I had a complication with pregnancy. Other common testing- thyroid level (4 different tests), diabetes (glucose test, HBA1c), Vitamin D levels, and Vitamin B2-12. Any/all could contribute to a biological basis for why someone is feeling down or anxious.I've learned a lot the past 2 years about mental health. Below are a few resources that have helped-
http://www.arwslctherapist.com/ - Amy Rose White's website, she has a lot information on there to help.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MBcKI1_N_w - OCD3: Dr. Phillipson Talks Science, Symptoms & Treatment of OCD- youtube video on OCD and intrusive thoughts- helped my family understand my experiences. Great for anyone to watch.Am happy to help in any way possible.
So far, its been my experience, that as I open up and talk about my issues with pregnancy that the people around me have been very supportive. From my boss and colleagues to my friends and family.
Thank you again for keeping the topic going on the radio :)