Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Coping With Depression and Postpartum Depression

I talked a little about this yesterday for my Love Yourself Fit post but I wanted to go even further. Sometimes as moms we hide behind our smiles, or our kids, and just push our feelings deep down inside of us so that it seems that everything is ok, when really we are struggling to keep the house running efficiently, or just keeping things looking like everything is ok.

It wasn't until I had my miscarriage in 2015 that I started to see a counselor to help me with my depression. But I have had depression for years. I just never talked about it. Never told others around me, and certainly didn't see a therapist for that. I didn't think it was necessary. I thought it was taboo. But you guys, mental health is just as important as physical health. And I have learned so much from my counselor. Learning my breaking points, or those points where I need to back off, before I get to a breaking point so that I don't have a "ginger snap." as we call them in our house.

Example: I learned that I can't handle certain situations that I have little control over. Like the general sacrament or mass meeting with our church. It is so difficult for me knowing that my kids are not going to listen, that I am going to be chasing Collin up the isle as he runs away from me, and knowing that we just end up in the foyer because someone always gets put in time out.

Example: I haven't been able to run since the miscarriage. I still get very anxious. I still get very nervous. I still want to cry just thinking about training. I almost can't move when I try to think about making plans on just going out for a run. Even writing about it...makes me anxious...so time to move on.

Even kids. For years we tried to have kids. It took us 9 years to be blessed with Mason. Now with 3 young kids, and the stress and strains that they bring, the tugging and being pulled and called out to in 3 directions and especially the crying from all 3 at once is enough to make me have to put Elyse in a safe place and leave the room for a beat to get my mental strength back. And this is a HUGE reason why I am so protective of my daily mommy quiet time. I need my space from the kids to be a better mom. I need my exercise to get those endorphins flowing to be a more attentive mom. I need to work on me every day to be the best mom that I can be for my amazing children!
Being a mom is hard! Being a woman is HARD! If you have multiple times in your day or week that you just feel ugh. And you just feel more sad, depressed, or especially thinking or wanting to cause harm to yourself or those around you. I highly encourage you to seek out a counselor or therapist. It is not negative. It is not taboo. You are not messed up or crazy for seeing them. It is helpful to talk things through with someone. It is helpful to learn different coping techniques to deal with stresses in your life. It is helpful to just be heard sometimes. Just remember no one is perfect. PPD is actually way more common than we know, mostly because it isn't talked about and women are suffering in silence. We all have stuff we deal with internally. Don't think that you have to handle it all on your own. Get help, talk to your doctor first. They might prescribe medication for you, they might not. They more than likely will suggest you to see out a therapists or counselor or even a support group. Attend these even for a little while so that you can get help. So that you can learn to cope, because there is no cure for PPD or depression. It is just learning to cope.

8 TIPS TO HELP COPE WITH DEPRESSION: 

1. Reach out to people- As much as you don't want to...talk to someone daily. Call your best friend on the phone. Talk to your husband. Talk to family. Get support from those around you.

2. Do things that make you feel good- even when you don't feel like it. Exercise is my go to. I have said it before and I will say it again, it is my daily therapy. I need it to work on me to be healthier. But I also compose music, or practice songs, read books and I love cooking.

3. Move around more during the day- Don't sit for more than an hour. Be up on the go. Don't plant yourself in front of the tv all day long. As easy as it is to "escape" into the tv or even video games (The Sims 4 for me!) Get up and walk around. Move around. Don't be stuck.

4. Get Some Sun Light- Get out and get some sun light. I know it is hard in the winter time or if you live in an area that doesn't get much sun, but even just being outdoors is healing to the soul.

5. Get Grounded- One of my favorite things I like to do is actually go outside barefoot and just stand in my grass, close my eyes and just feel grounded. Take in some deep breaths and imagine you are planted into the ground. This can also be achieved by just digging your hands in some soil, if you have some inside the house because it is too cold or hot out.

6. Challenging negative thoughts- Anytime you have a negative thought pop into your mind, turn it around and make it a positive. "I can't handle all the crying..." can turn into, "my baby wants and needs me. She loves me and this is how she shows me."

7. For moms with PPD: Mommy Free Time- Take some time each day where you don't have the stress of the kids, household chores, and just take some time for you. That can be reading a book, taking a bath, watching your favorite show (catching up on your favorite show), exercise, even just getting someone you trust to watch the kids and getting out of the house. And if you can get out of the house with your partner sans kids, even better! The two of you will need some time alone too.

8: Make time for your spouse- One of the hardest things about dealing with depression is our inner fuse is run very low and often times we snap at those we love. It is so easy to do, but can be so hurtful to your partner because they might not fully understand what you are going through. Make sure you spend some quality time with your spouse, talking, or reconnecting and remembering why you fell in love in the first place. Even if you have to schedule it in. Just make time for them.

And TALK ABOUT IT publicly! The negative stigma behind mental health needs to STOP. In a way if you are seeking help you are better than most around you because you are growing, learning, and working on you to better yourself. You are not being stagnant. You are moving forward in a healthy manner. So good for you! Tell people how much your sessions are helping you. Tell people how you have changed for the better. Share it because, it is not negative. It is another way that you are reaching your goals to a happier, healthier lifestyle, both inside and out.

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