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{How I Manage My Postpartum Depression}

Managing Postpartum Depression | www.TheMcBaileys.com

Since sharing my story of Postpartum Depression (PPD), many people ask me what it’s like living with the disease. I wish there was an easy answer to this question. Dealing with this disease is a part of my daily life. It’s not something quietly disappears or is all of the sudden better. Most days I wake up ready to take on the world {after coffee of course}. Nothing can get me down. I’m energetic, fun, enthusiastic, and all around cheerful. Some might say {my husband and co-workers for instance} I’m downright annoyingly happy. But other days, I have no interest in even getting out of bed. I hate the thought of myself, the tasks that lie ahead {including taking care of my daughter}, and am drained for energy before I even put one foot on the ground. The great part though is that my “most days” significantly outnumber my “other days”. I think I’ve gone almost three weeks without having an “other day.” You may have just scoffed and thought “Oh, but that isn’t very long is it?” For me, that’s pretty good considering where I once was.

I’ve been lucky; I’ve found ways to manage the disease without allowing it to spread through my life uninvited. So how is it exactly I manage the disease? Well, first and foremost I’ll tackle the question you are all most likely asking: Yes, I sought the medicinal route to assist me in managing my PPD. But please know that this route isn’t for everyone, and I am by no means stating that it’s the only way or the right way. How each individual deals with PPD is a very personal choice. Incorporating medication into my daily routine was the avenue I chose. Now, that doesn’t mean that the meds solved all my problems. This runs much deeper than meds could ever magically wipe away {wouldn’t that be awesome though?}. It pains me that I even had to list this as my first way of coping. However, I know that without the medication I would be a mess. It has helped balance me, which was one of my largest issues. It helps me stay cool during times/situations I would have previously exploded. It has also helped level my moods. I don’t have the swings I once experienced, from sad to REALLY sad, which is a blessing.

The second way in which I keep the monster at bay is awareness. Not only do the meds help keep me level, I keep me level. It has taken a few months, but I’m starting to get the hang of realizing everything in my life has a priority. What was once extremely important just has to take back seat now. I have to be aware that I can’t be everything to everyone. I have to pick the things which matter most. That means that I might not return a text/phone call immediately upon receipt. My house isn’t going to be spotless all of the time {currently there are socks lying on the floor *gasp*}. Dinner probably isn’t going to be cooked every single night. And guess what, that’s okay. I’m an overachiever by nature, so this has been a huge struggle for me. I think it is probably one that most mothers {new and experienced} struggle with as well. I’m here to tell you, it is okay. No one expects you to have a spotless house, fix gourmet meals, workout five days a week, and sport perfect hair/makeup. It just isn’t real. If it appears that others do, in fact, have all of the above under wraps, something else in their life is lacking or they are receiving help that you may not have available to you…which is my third way to keep my sanity: asking for help.

In my time prior to being a mother I NEVER asked for help. Never. I’m not kidding. So naturally when I became a mother I didn’t know that I should really ask for help when people offered. That folks actually expected me to really ask for help. I just assumed I could do it all, like I did before. Boy was I wrong. Asking for help from my husband, my friends, my in-laws, my parents, my job, etc. {truly I could go on} has been a life saver. I’m not saying that I ask for help ALL of the time and for mundane tasks, I just make sure I’m not going at this alone. Other women, men, families, have been there, they understand. They want to help! Took me a few months {like five} to figure it out, but I’m getting more comfortable asking for assistance.

The last way I strategically deal with my PPD is by doing things that make me happy. As mothers, we often forget that we should come first. We put others in front us – our children, husbands, significant others, jobs, friends. When in reality, we should be putting ourselves first. I’ve found that if I do even small things that make me feel good inside, like going for a quick run {exercise creates endorphins, which trick your body into thinking you are happy!}, taking a long shower {with no interruptions}, browsing Pinterest for 15 minutes, staying up an extra 10 minutes to read a book, sipping a glass of wine out on the front porch in my rocking chair – those things can change my entire day, my outlook, my mood, they change me. So while it may not be feasible to do ALL of the things I once loved before I became a mother and wife, I can slip a few things in there to keep my sanity. Lucky for me, everyone involved has realized this and encourages me to take moments out for myself. So I’m encouraging you to do the same if you find yourself in a similar situation. Put away the guilt, you deserve a few moments to yourself. I promise.

What are some ways you keep your mind in the right state?

Hugs and Love from TheMcBaileys.com

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