*I was compensated by Med-IQ through a grant from Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. and Lundbeck to write about depression awareness. All my opinions are my own.
When I first realized I might be suffering from depression, my second daughter was merely 4 weeks old. What was supposed to be a time of recovery, bonding and baby bliss turned out to be the most isolating and confusing time of my life. At the time, the term “depression” held little meaning in my naive mind and “postpartum depression” sounded even worse, like a disorder that affects a small group of unfit mothers. It certainly couldn’t have been me. Or could it?
Today I’m a lot more knowledgeable about the true nature of depression. And as a mom who has suffered from depression, I’m passionate about raising awareness and sharing my story for those who may find it valuable. Therefore, I’m delighted to partner with Med-IQ to help generate awareness around this topic. Med-IQ is an accredited medical educational company that provides an exceptional educational experience for physicians, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.
By the end of this article, you will have a better idea of what causes depression, what depression looks like, and what you can do to seek help.
At the end of the post, you will also have an opportunity to participate in a survey for a chance to win 1 of 10 $100 VISA gift cards.
What is depression?
1) Depression is common
Depression is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. It is a serious medical condition characterized by feelings of sadness and loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can negatively influence the way you think, feel and act. Depression affects about 1 in 15 adults each year, and 1 out of every 6 people experience depression at some point in their life.
2) Depression is a brain disorder, not a personal failing
Depression is a brain disorder, not a personal failing of any sort. It is a biological brain disorder, a medical condition like diabetes or high pressure. Depression can impact anyone and it does not discriminate based on gender, race, social class, etc.
People who have depression do not always have an obvious reason to feel sad. Although negative life circumstances and stressors may play a role, researchers have identified a number of other risk factors, including brain chemistry, environment, genetics, personality and drug or alcohol abuse.
3) Depression is more common in women than men
Both men and women can suffer from depression but women tend to have higher rates of depression than men. As many as 1 out of 3 women experience depression in their lifetime.
Those with PTSD experience higher rates of anxiety, are more irritable and have more difficulty sleeping. PTSD often occurs together with depression.
4) There are treatment options for depression
Fortunately, depression is a treatable condition. If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, you can first seek your primary care physician for guidance. Do not be afraid to speak up and reach out to your community for help. By openly talking about depression and treating it as a medical condition, we can help dispel the stigma around this disease.
What does postpartum depression look like?
As noted earlier, depression affects everyone differently. However there are common symptoms that indicate postpartum depression such as:
- Depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
- Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
- Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Intense irritability and anger
- Fear that you’re not a good mother
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
(From Mayo Clinic)
Postpartum depression can be even more disorienting in that it complicates what’s supposed to be the most joyous and blissful time of a woman’s life. As a society, we always talk about the joys of bringing a new baby into the world but rarely discuss the complications, trauma and problems during and after childbirth. Looking back, I was hit hard with postpartum depression due to lack of knowledge, guidance and communication with my loved ones. I also experienced hormonal imbalance, which greatly impacted my thought process and well-being at the time.
As a society, we always talk about the joys of bringing a new baby into the world but rarely discuss the complications, trauma and problems during and after childbirth.
I foolishly believed that asking for help is a sign of weakness, and instead of actively seeking help, retreated further into my corner in shame, regret and guilt. I pretended like I had everything under control when I felt like my world was falling apart. By the time I sought help, I was already deep in its grip and required months of treatment that included talk therapy, meditation and medication.
You can read more about my personal experience here.
Years later I was able to give birth to another beautiful baby and avoid postpartum depression by practicing self-care and self-awareness. Today I know that seeking help for depression is not a sign of weakness. Rather it is a sign of strength to reclaim your life and the joy that you deserve to feel.
Seeking help for depression is not a sign of weakness. Rather it is a sign of strength to reclaim your life and the joy that you deserve to feel.
What do you think? Did you find the above tips and story helpful?
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