Thursday, November 11, 2010

"6 Stages of Post-Partnum Depression"

This is a repost of a blog from Postpartum Progress (Thank you Katherine Stone for commenting on my blog which is how I found your site). I have added my own comments in parenthesis after each one.

The Six Stages of Postpartum Depression:
  1. Denial: This must be what new motherhood is like. I'll be alright. It can't be postpartum depression, because I'm not mentally ill. I'm sure it will wear off soon. I just need more sleep. (I feel really tired and depressed. I don't know why I am so fatigued. I think I just need to sleep more and I will be okay. It cannot possibly be the adoption. I think it's jet lag. I am supposed to be happy about this and finally getting a child. )
  2. Anger: Nobody understands what I'm going through. Why me?! This is supposed to be a time of joy. I don't deserve this. I don't want to have to take medication. I don't want to go to therapy. I shouldn't have to call a doctor. This is not fair. (This really sucks. I hate this. I should never have started this and agreed to it. It's not my fault. And it's not fair. This is such a huge intrusion into my life. I never signed up for all the problems or medical issues. I didn't know how he would look. Or that I wouldn't be able to understand him. He is defective and what have I done? If someone had told me... WHY didn't they tell me?)
  3. Bargaining: If I just exercise more and eat better I'll be fine. If I could just get to the point where the baby sleeps through the night, I'll be okay. If I get closer to God and pray more, this will surely go away. (I need to work more. I need to just immerse myself into my work. And it will all go away. I can just work late and Carrie can take care of JJ until I get home and he is will be asleep and I don't have to deal with it until I am used to this new thing.)
  4. Depression: I should just leave my family. I'm bringing everyone down. They all would be better off without me. My poor baby doesn't deserve a mother like this. I'll never get better so there's no point in going on. (I should just leave. I can leave anytime I want. Maybe I will. Joseph will probably leave me anyway because I am such a lousy human being. And JJ would be better off without me. What can I offer him?)
  5. Acceptance: What's happening to me isn't normal and I can't ignore it anymore. It's not my fault. It is okay for me to talk to a doctor. It's okay for me to ask for help. I can take medication or go to therapy or do whatever is necessary for my health and that of my family. (I am depressed. I think I have something - not sure. But I am angry and I need help. I have run Joseph's patience out. I am going to damage my son if I don't do something fast. I need to talk to someone, just like Joseph has been trying to tell me to do for the last 6 months. )
This has been the most cathartic experience I have ever been through. Never again will I judge any parent for whatever actions they may or may not take. It is hard to walk in their shoes because every expereince is different. And in almost every case, what seems to be is not what really is. That has been the most humbling lesson for me, especially when people point out some of the ills and wrong doings I committed during this dark and terrible period and all I want to say is, "yes, but..." And I know full well for those who have made up their minds, there is no excuse for the actions that come out of a depressive episode.

The most impact that this has had on me is the sense of fear and shame. Fear of everything. Shame for how I felt. And then denial because I judged myself to be unworthy and less than human. And that led to more shame. And more fear. And now I live in shame for what I lived through. And fear that when people find out, they will judge me, and I will become nothing more than the essence of the shame and fear.

Now, I am actually talking to people. Not a lot of people. Just a few close, trusted friends. And each one has told me that what happens in Post Partum depression is something so sacred, so "out of body" that it can't be held against me. It is not who I truly am. And that it is not my fault. This has last been the most difficult concept for me to deal with and rationalize. And I am still working on accepting this.

I am so humbled and awed by the people who have come out of the woodwork to support me. My boss. My HR person. Both recounting personal stories and personalizing my experience. I wept. And my friends, who I knew were always there but was too ashamed to speak with. I found out that between friends, there is no shame and no fear. There is nothing but love, acceptance, understanding, and guidance during recovery. To all of them, I am indebted. And I will owe them the rest of my life for being with me at my darkest and deepest point, for loving me when I was the ugliest human being on earth.

The road is long. I can't see the end of it yet.
And every step I take is scary and I am afraid of falling.
But I am doing it for myself, my son, my family, my friends.
And I will succeed.



Blogger Zee said...

You're a remarkable woman, Julia... Depression sucks no matter what form it takes and until you realize you're in it you can't really do anything to get out of it. I've been there so many times (for different reasons, obviously :) so I totally get the shame and fear and frustration.

I've been following your blog from afar and sending prayers your way. I'll keep doing so. :)

9:54 PM  
Blogger J said...

Thanks, Zee. I really appreciate it. I do. It has been amazing the number of people I have met who say they have been through this. And I could be them and they could be me. Amazing. I also found out that it has a medical code. For real. Who knew. I certainly didn't.

9:15 PM  

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