What It’s Not

So in honor of Mental Health Awareness day (which was yesterday, but give me a break, I’ve been battling piles, remember?), I decided to describe a little more about what Postpartum Depression (PPD) is not.

I promise Sluiter Nation hasn’t become JUST about PPD, but my diagnosis is new to me, and I have been learning so much about it, that it helps me to “blog it out”.  I’ve gotten an overwhelming amount of support, but there have been some questions and confusion, so this is my attempt to clear that up…at least from my own experience.  So here goes…

For me, PPD is NOT…
  • A Bad Day.  PPD is not about having a crumby day and then feeling bad about it.  I know what a bad day feels like–I’ve had those too.  This is different.  There are things DURING my day that can feel worse because of the PPD, but it doesn’t necessarily get better with “a new day”.  Sometimes the feelings of being overwhelmed or being angry don’t just dissipate with the hope of better things tomorrow.
  • A Mood Swing.  First let me say that women don’t appreciate their crabbiness–ANY crabbiness–being blown off as just a “mood swing” because of hormones or “that time of the month”.  Unless WE say that is what it is, it might not be true.  And with PPD it’s more than that.  I can control myself during a mood swing; I can keep that to myself.  When my PPD gets bad, I can’t control the emotions–in my case it manifests itself as anger and hopelessness.  Telling me “cheer up” really only make it worse.
  • Me Missing My Son.  Yes, I miss Eddie when I am away.  What parent doesn’t?  We all know that even when we are pulling our hair out to get away from them, the minute we drive off, we sort of miss the those ones.  PPD is more about the guilt of not being around–of missing things–of putting other things before my son.  For instance, when I feel like I’ve done a great job as a teacher, spent a lot of time working on a lesson plan, did a great job executing it, and then got it all assessed, but came home late, I am PLAGUED with guilt.  Not just “awe, I missed seeing him throw balls down the stairs!” but “what kind of mom am I to put other kids before my own?  I will never get that time back!  what have I DONE?!?” sort of guilt.  It cripples me to the point that I can’t focus.  I can’t be “good” at anything when this kind of guilt takes me over.
  • Depression. PPD is it’s own kind of depression.  I never felt overly sad or down.  When people say they are “depressed” about something, they are usually using it as a synonym for sad.  I wasn’t sad–I’m NOT sad.  PPD made me irrationally paranoid and angry–not “depressed”.
  • Like the commercials on TV. I am not a little mento-like creature ho-humming around my life.  I’m not a wind-up lady falling off a picnic table.  I am not a grandma with achy-hands.  Sad music isn’t playing as my soundtrack.  This is what people think of because this is what the media tells us is DEPRESSION–but it’s a blanket statement.  Yes, there are thousands of people with this kind of depression, but that is not PPD.  PPD suffers look like ME not like a mento.

I am on meds now, but there are still bad days.  Someday I hope to put the “I’m a PPD SURVIVOR” badge on my blog, but for now, “I’m a PPD FIGHTER”.  Every day.

But it’s worth fighting against because I have the boys of Sluiter Nation cheering me on.  And all of you!

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About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a high school English teacher, college adjunct instructor, freelance writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.

Comments

  1. Katherine at Postpartum Progress says:

    Great list!

  2. missy widener says:

    eddie needs to stop growing. right now. what a little man!!! and really? you are not a mento-like creature??!! I'm sorry, that image just cracked me up. you are right. you are just plain awesome.

  3. Trisha V. says:

    My fav was "I don't have sad music playing as my soundtrack" haha.. good one!

  4. Lynette says:

    Those meds take a while to start working fully (in my experience, which is completely my own) and you will get past it and life will feel normal again. One day you'll wake up and just know that your OK! And OK is a great place to be!

  5. Kimberly says:

    Yeah! Great post!!

  6. litanyofbritt says:

    DUDE. I had it bad after my second daughter, (and during both my pregnancies), but my second child drove me straight to the pharmacy. literally every one i knew told me to go to the doctors and get some meds. i was a mess. it made me feel violent. my son would cry and instead of wanting to nurture him, i wanted to smother him a little so i could get some peace and quiet. wanna talk about guilty feelings? it was HELL. so yeah, i feel your pain.

  7. karma-dee says:

    YES! The part about the TV commercials is so true. My depression never looked like that, which actually really confused me and made me doubt it was really "PPD". It's a mood disorder and just calling it "depression" doesn't tell the whole story. In regards to missing your baby, I think of it as a trigger. Yes, most parents would miss their child, but for me, it triggers a different set of issues that for someone without a mood disorder.

    I'm glad you shared this, I wish you all the best in your battle.

  8. Miranda says:

    Love it! It's all so true!

  9. The Muser (aka Beautiful Mama) says:

    Thanks for this! I'm featuring it in my weekly round-up of blogs dealing with PMDs. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I batteled PPD as well, and am now unbelievably happy with my little one, but I know it's a long long hard battle. My thoughts and prayers are with you.