Our Climb Out of the Darkness: Team Green Bay #climbout

Climb Out of the Darkness Team Green Bay #climbout

Team Green Bay! That’s right – it was just our family of four this year (Hubster was taking the picture above) representing Team Green Bay for the Climb Out of the Darkness for Postpartum Progress. Was I disappointed about that? Yes, I admit to being a bit bummed out that no one wanted to join us. But I don’t want that to take away from the personal significance of this year’s climb.

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I’m Back! Climb Out of the Darkness with Postpartum Progress.

Something big happened yesterday. David Gray performed his song, “Back In The World,” on the Today Show. Mr. Gray has graciously allowed Postpartum Progress to use his beautiful, and perfectly appropriate song, as its official song for Climb Out of the Darkness 2014. Postpartum Progress released this official video yesterday. Every time I watch it, I’m moved to tears.

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It’s possible to overcome PPD twice!

Letting the light in - beating PPD twice

Two children. Two rounds of postpartum mood disorders. PPD, PPA, PPOCD and antepartum depression (during pregnancy) with Baby Jo. My mental health during and after pregnancy is kind of a crapshoot.

Baby Jo is turning one next week. I have been completely off of Zoloft for over a month and have been doing well. I knew that the PPDemons were behind me, so I didn’t think that my final appointment with my psychiatrist was going to be emotional for me. It must have been the finality of it all. Closure. I walked out of his office feeling on top of the world. I went through the depths of depression twice. I conquered what sometimes had felt insurmountable. I came out the other side not unscathed, but different. Better, stronger, wiser. More in tune to my own body, my own needs, my own strengths and limitations.

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Climb Out of the Darkness for Postpartum Progress with Team Green Bay!

TEAMGREENBAY14

Each year, 1 in 7 women face maternal mental illness. That is a staggering statistic. In my personal experience, I’ve learned that once you face maternal mental illness once, you’re more likely to experience it again. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression nearly eight months after C was born. I fell through the cracks the first time. My OBGYN only asked me if I was “feeling depressed” at my 6-week appointment. There is so much more to depression than feeling depressed.

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Down to Zero: Round Two

Here we go, here we go! Down to zero!

After working with my psychiatrist to taper off of my antidepressant, I finally went down to zero again last week. I anticipated the withdrawal and am relieved to report that it has been much easier than last time, when I came off of Effexor. That doesn’t mean it has been easy.

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The Time I Left My Psychiatrist’s Office More Depressed Than When I Went In

I finally, finally had an appointment with my psychiatrist today. The office kept scheduling me for days he had off. I was originally supposed to see him in October. Ha! Anyway, I’ve been wanting to get off of Zoloft. Baby Jo is nearly 10 months old and I’m feeling like I’d be perfectly stable without the meds I started when I was 34 weeks pregnant with her. It’s also been making me gain weight like none other and I am DONE with that business.

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Weight Gain From Antidepressants and Adjusting to the Body Image Consequences

I make no secret of the fact that I took antidepressants for PPD/PPA/PPOCD when C was a baby, and I chose to start them again at the end of my pregnancy with Baby Jo. There’s a dark side to my experience with them that I haven’t shared before, because it’s caused me much frustration and embarrassment. This second time around, one of my side effects has been weight gain.

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Thank God for the SSRI

I know that some people don’t believe in psychotropic medication, and some may believe stigma about the people that take them. I really hate stigma and that’s why I’m an open book about my mental health. Quite frankly, I would be lost right now without antidepressants.

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Feeling Flat

I’m not talking about my chest. Though, my baby did steal my breasts. But that’s a story for a different day…

When you’re really stressed, do you ever feel the need to just have a good, cathartic cry? The occasional good cry has always been a stress release for me. I’d really like to have one of those right about now with all that is going on with C. There’s only one problem: I can’t.

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My Climb Out of the Darkness (Postpartum Progress’ 2013 Climb)

Postpartum Progress held its inaugural Climb Out of the Darkness walk on June 21. I wasn’t able to walk that day, but it’s better late than never, right?

That’s kind of how my road to healing from my postpartum mood disorder went. C was born in April 2011 and I wasn’t diagnosed until December. But, asking for help? Better late than never.

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Climb Out of the Darkness for Postpartum Progress!

Once upon a time (or, not long ago at all), I was diagnosed with a postpartum mood disorder. I was scared, suffering and lost. I thought I would never find myself again. I didn’t know anyone who had been through what I was experiencing, and that was terrifying because no one understood.

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Down the Rabbit Hole

Note: Loved ones, know that I am safe. My intrusive thoughts do not equate to actions.

Here I go again. Down, down, down the rabbit hole. I wonder how deep it is this time. Probably not as deep as last time, because I know enough to ask for help. But this time I’m plummeting faster. Deeper.

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The Return of the Intrusive Thoughts

I’m going to be honest with you all.  I’m nervous.

I battled intrusive thoughts in the postpartum period with C, and I didn’t even know what they were for a long time.  I didn’t know that intrusive thoughts didn’t mean that I was going crazy until some of them were so bad that I could no longer cook with knives and was afraid to be behind the wheel of my car.

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Hubster’s Stay at the Hospital

On Monday, I quickly mentioned that Hubster was in the hospital.  It kind of turned into a long, emotionally exhausting week.  I wanted to share it with you all, since I didn’t post this morning like I normally do.  Also, because I’ve been through the ringer this week emotionally and I survived – and I’m so proud to say that I have.

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An Unwelcome Return

This past month, I’ve noticed the return of intrusive thoughts that plagued me during my battle with PPA and PPD.  These “what-if” thoughts can be truly terrifying.  I’m happy that I recognize them for what they are this time – just thoughts.  Intrusions in my mind that have no logic, rationality or bearing on reality.

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How I Cope With Tragedies and Triggers After PPD and PPA

The elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, is simply horrific.  There really are no words to describe such a senseless act of violence.  I know that it has affected many people in tremendous ways, particularly those who suffer from depression and anxiety (or have in the past).

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I Didn’t Run Away From the Pastor!

I took a huge step yesterday, y’all.  This was no baby step, that’s for sure.  Yesterday, Hubster was on duty and couldn’t leave campus for church, but C and I went to church.  Yes, I took C by myself to church.  But – wait! – there’s more.

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On Medical Professionals, Antidepressants and Bad Advice

I’m on 150mg of Effexor.  That’s a little hard for me to say, because it seems like a lot.  On the other hand, research has shown me that Effexor has one of the least potent ingredients on the market.

When I called my OBGYN’s office in November complaining of symptoms of PPA and PPD, my doctor was booked for the week and couldn’t squeeze me in.  They had me see the APNP (advance practice nurse practitioner), who diagnosed my PPD and started me on Effexor immediately.  I didn’t think to question her judgement of drug choice at the time, because to be honest, I needed help to keep waking up every morning and I needed it fast.

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I Never Used To Care Much About Music by Charity Cole {Guest Post}

I’m happy to introduce you to Charity, a wonderful, strong woman I’ve had the opportunity to meet through #ppdchat on Twitter.  She puts her soul into her writing, and it’s beautiful.  Thank you for being here today, Charity!

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Thank you Kristin for having me today.  I write about faith, family and mental health over at Giggles and Grimaces.  I share about life with three little girls, ages 5,4, 1.  Sometimes my writing, like this one, is on the serious side, other times it is about the funsies we have doing projects together!  Come check us out!

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What a Day

The last 24 hours have been pretty rough…

Last night, Hubster left for class at about 4:45pm.  I started to feel significant anxiety as soon as the door closed behind him.  The thought that I had to take care of C by myself until his 7:00 bedtime was overwhelming.  I didn’t know how I was going to entertain him for 2 hours and 15 minutes.  The anxiety confused me, considering I’m with C all day every day…why was 2 hours and 15 minutes so completely overwhelming?

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Keep on Fighting

**A quick disclaimer for my loved ones: When I mention “giving up” below, I’m talking about succumbing to the thoughts that PPD will consume my life forever.  I have never experienced thoughts of harming myself.  Just wanted to make that clear.  Love you all!

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My Postpartum Depression Confession

This post is difficult for me to write.  It’s terrifying to reveal my deepest, darkest secrets to the world; but I’ve done it before and I’m going to do it again.  Last week, I recognized my postpartum depression (PPD) symptoms by reading about someone else’s journey to diagnosis.  I’m willing to publicize my secrets in the hope that another woman might recognize her symptoms in my story.

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