Friday, January 10, 2014

Finding Help For a Better Life

Jan 10, 2014

I am on Zoloft*. I started it a couple months ago. I had become a person I didn't know anymore. Irritable, angry, unpredictable, a screamer, and incredibly anxious. I could hardly handle being a parent anymore. I reacted to normal behavior in my children with feelings of anger. I knew logically the feelings were out of place and uncalled for. I knew seeing myself from an outsiders perspective that my behavior and emotions were pretty crazy. Yet, I couldn't switch off the nastiness in my brain. I couldn't change the feelings and even trying to change the mean behavior (yelling at my kids, snapping at my husband, speaking rudely to people) was feeling impossible.

As I've mentioned before, I'm in a wonderful online birth group with about 150 women. We all were due around August 2013 with our babies. We've experienced a heck of a lot of life together and it's an incredibly supportive and kind group. A couple moms mentioned how they were feeling a month or so after we'd all had our babies and I read their symptoms thinking, "wow, that's how I feel." The problem I was trying to sort out, and many others were as well, is "how is it post partum depression if I don't feel depressed?"

How is a mom supposed to know to get help or that she even needs help when her feelings don't fit the questionnaires?
*Do you feel sad?
*Have you lost interest in normal things?
*Do you cry often?
*Have you considered hurting yourself or your baby?

Hmmm.....not really. I tested fine with all post partum questions that screen for PPD.

How about:
*Do you feel pissed off a lot?
*When you feel angry, can you refrain from screaming?
*How do you feel about other people, even family members holding your children (anxious?)?
*Is your internal filter of nice vs mean broken?

Those would've maybe found some telling answers. I honestly had no clue that anger and anxiousness could be symptoms of depression. Because of the support of my birth group, I called my Ob's office and got a prescription. Within a day I felt calm and like I could filter my thoughts again. Entire days were now passing without me yelling. As I have become healthy again, I've realized I probably should've been on something a long time ago. I think some of this is current brain chemistry, some of this is life, some of this is genetic.

I am able to feel intense feelings of love for Solomon and the rest of my family and I realize now I haven't been feeling that for a long time. That makes me sad....thinking what I've missed. But, how do you know you need help when you don't know the issue exists?

Ideally when someone is in this situation, a family member will speak up, with love. I think my family was too afraid of me to help me. I wish that wasn't the case and I'm thankful God allowed me to be in a group of supportive women so that I could get help. 

I am really enjoying Solomon, even him needing to be held all of the time and the fact that he still only sleeps on me (day and night). I can shrug things off easier and I'm much nicer to my children. I don't feel anxious in busy, crowded places or when other people hold my baby. I can respond nicely, most of the time, to my children. I'm not negative and mean. I am able to feel in love with my husband and my children. That is huge!

It takes a lot of guts for a mom to call her doctor and admit things aren't going well. I think we tend to justify our behavior that it's not that bad or we feel so ashamed of our actions and thoughts. We think maybe we're just mean moms. That is a heartbreaking place to be in and we end up loaded with guilt. A mother also might fear judgement from her doctor, spouse, friends, and family. There's often a sense of, "if I can just BE better, TRY harder...."

I am sharing my experience because I know others are in this position and just hanging on by a thread. I pray you find the strength to call your doctor today or tomorrow morning. Don't wait any longer. You are not a bad mom or wife. You need help and it's not your fault. 

For more information about Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders, see:

*Zoloft (generic Sertraline) is considered the preferred medication for a breastfeeding mother by Dr. Hale. It is a once a day medication with minimal side effects after the first month or so. The degree of your initial symptoms (headache, lethargy) will vary and does go away. Often a mother will start on 25 or 50mg and increase to 75, 100mg, etc as needed.

The generic is very inexpensive. With no insurance, a 90 day supply of 75mg costs me less than $10.

Local mamas have an incredible resource in Crystal Gurney and Kitsap Hope Circle. If you are in or near Kitsap County, please visit this website

Thank you for sharing this blog with anyone that has a baby under a year. This might be just the help they need. ~


  1. I'm glad you wrote about this. I saw Stacey's Post on FB today as well on ppd, and I'm so glad it's getting attention it needs. I had this with Maddy, and I needed help far sooner than I sought it. Much love.

    1. Thank you, Rachel 💕
      The transparency of your blog encourages me and maybe helped me push the 'publish' button this morning.