On Depression

I’ve been reading a lot on postpartum depression, in forums and websites and books. One thing they all mention is how reluctant most women are to get help or take medication. I just can’t relate to that.

I was first diagnosed with depression in 1999, when I was 20. That was also the year that I got into online journaling and it seemed like a vast majority of the other girls around my age had depression. (Maybe all the happy, healthy people were out having actual lives instead of spending all their time online writing about their lives.) So I didn’t view depression as something to be ashamed of, rather as a badge of honor. Look at me, I’m depressed too!

I’ve been on and off various antidepressants in the years since. As soon as I realized that something was really wrong with me emotionally after giving birth (this was about 5 days after birth), I got help. I started back on Prozac. I saw a psychiatrist. I went to postpartum depression support groups every week. One of the women there said she was impressed that I was there so early in my treatment. She had waited months before going to her first one. But I felt awful mentally and was going to do everything I could to make it stop feeling so bad.

Someone are afraid that having postpartum depression meant they were a “bad mom”. I knew I was a “bad mom” since I couldn’t bear to be within 5 feet of my son in the first weeks of his life. I’m slowly getting better about that. And they and me were not bad moms at all, we just had postpartum depression and we couldn’t help that.

  • See, I’m one of those people who struggle with getting on medication. My doctor actually prescribed me Effexor because I told her I’m having issues with anxiety and depression, and I’m pretty scared to get it because I’ve heard bad things about it.

    I DO keep an eye on my mental health, though, and as soon as I saw things were getting not great for me, I found myself a therapist. I just am very, very wary to go on medication because I’d rather fix things by talking to someone over taking medication for it.

    I’m glad you knew what would help you when you started feeling really bad. I hope you are starting to feel even a little better.

  • I was scared too when one of my doctors told me to take Effexor. I took it one night and never again. I don’t know if what I felt was actually a result of the pill or my anxiety about it. I’m sure I heard the same things as you about it.

    I think it’s great that you also know what to look out for and get help.

Comments are closed.