For many reasons, people all over the world are hesitant to talk about depression. It is a very real illness, yet commonly misunderstood. Those who suffer from this disorder often keep it secret, feeling embarrassed or scared. But it does not have to be this way. If you have depression, in any form, you do not have to suffer alone. In fact, there are many things you can do to get started on the path to a recovery.
There are many causes for depression, including stress, genetics, the death of a friend or loved one, abuse, medications, trauma, and much more. With postpartum depression, the cause is generally thought to be from the sudden hormonal changes experienced after childbirth, miscarriage, or stillbirth.
Postpartum depression is experienced by an estimated 10-20% of women who give birth each year. These women need help, but some never seek it. Many women worry about being declared an unfit mother, or that the medications given to help them will affect their newborn.
If you are suffering from postpartum depression, be assured that the symptoms of depression are treatable. Medications will not harm your baby, even while you are nursing. Getting help will bring relief and recovery. But you are the only one who can take the first step.
In theory, the path to recovery is simple. In reality, it will be hard, but it will be worth it. Depression can sap your motivation and energy, so you must work diligently in order to move forward.
Ways to combat postpartum depression
You can start by following these steps:
Talk about how you feel
The first step is to open up about your feelings. This can be hard, but it is necessary to make a recovery. Find someone you can trust; your spouse, a family member, or a friend. Tell them everything, and you’ll feel better by releasing those secret feelings
One thing you can do to feel better is to eat healthier. Some people with depression tend to eat more than they should, and some tend to eat less. The best thing you can do for your body is to give it the right amount of vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and everything else that comes from healthy food choices. A healthy diet can help anyone to feel better, even if they don’t suffer from depression.
Another way to feel better is by exercising. It doesn’t have to be a rigorous, muscle-shredding workout. Taking a walk or going for a run will be enough. Exercise releases chemicals in your brain called endorphins. Endorphins reduce your perception of pain, and they also make you feel happier. Just a little bit of exercise each day will help you feel more accomplished and refreshed. In the fight against depression, these are valuable weapons
Get enough sleep
As a new mother, you are likely sleeping less. A newborn has many needs, and taking care of a young life can be exhausting. But for a mother suffering from postpartum depression, sleep is a necessity to feeling better. Much like food and exercise, sleep is something your body needs in order to function correctly. Taking a good nap as a family member or friend watches over your child can make a huge difference.
Talk to a doctor
Finally, you can always talk to a doctor. Your doctor can recommend further advice and assistance. Most women with postpartum depression make a recovery from a combination of medication and counseling. A prescription does not need to be an addictive substance, and some women do not need medication to feel better.
It is always important to remember that a mood disorder does not mean you are worth any less. It does not mean that you are weak, broken or damaged. Depression is an illness, and many people have it, in one form or another. There should be no shame in talking about a struggle with postpartum depression, or any other mental illness. Instead of being your own critic, you should be your biggest supporter.