Postpartum Depression OCD
I’ve struggled with depression all my life, but that being said I can say I truly
was unprepared for the issues I’ve been dealing with after giving birth to our twins. I’m 18 months postpartum and still dealing with OCD and Depression. If you’re new to the postpartum world, postpartum depression OCD and anxiety is over 40% more likely to effect those who are already predisposed to depression and anxiety in their life. If I would have known that then maybe I could’ve been prepared for this postpartum battle. I would have lined up a good psychiatrist, researched treatments and medications. I wasn’t diagnosed until 4 months postpartum. At that point I was pretty low. I knew something was wrong, but it wasn’t until I decided to commit suicide that I knew I was is real trouble.
⚠️ ****TRIGGER WARNING**** ⚠️
I’ll never forget that day. I had been battling intrusive thoughts and honestly thought that the babies would be better off without me. What kind of horrible mother has these thoughts? How could I go from being pregnant and so excited to be a mother to someone who was afraid of being around her children? I decided I would leave the car on, close the garage door, plug the tail pipe and let nature take it’s course. God must have been looking out for me, because my anxiety clicked into overdrive and I was so worried that the fumes would somehow reach the kids upstairs in their cribs that I couldn’t go through with it.
This is my new life:
That’s it. I had finally accepted this was my new life. It got to a point that I was afraid to even be awake. I should mention that I was battling a c-section infection on top of all of this. I was having to go to the doctor almost daily to have my incision reopened and drained which was excruciatingly painful. I finally broke down and called my OB. I was so afraid they would throw me in the psych ward and take our children away. After all, I’m an unfit mother for Christ’s sake! He was understanding and got me into to see a specialist literally a couple hours after my call.
The therapist was so knowledgeable. She made me feel sane and put some backing behind these crazy thoughts I was having. I was so afraid that I would spiral into psychosis, but she assured me that wasn’t the way it works. You see, my postpartum induced OCD was fueling these intrusive thoughts. I remember being SO obsessed with hitting the babies’ heads on the railing when going up or down stairs. I would seriously have a panic attack thinking about it. Thoughts of them being stabbed, drowned, dropped down the stairs. I mean the most disturbing thoughts. She said that I was so afraid of those things happening and that’s why these intrusive thoughts were so frequent and that the difference between PPD OCD intrusive thoughts and psychosis was that these thoughts mortified me. If it was psychosis then I wouldn’t believe these thoughts were bad. It would be more like I had to do these things because that is what God wanted. More of a Devine right kind of thing. I also wouldn’t have sought help.
I seriously remember days of just yelling ”STOP!!!” out loud. I just wanted the thoughts to stop.
The therapist started me on Zoloft right away and I was required to check in with my OB on my progress. I stopped breastfeeding and focused on healing mentally and physically. I also started group therapy and attended local free mommy support groups.
I wish I could say the medicine was magical and made the thoughts stop, but that would be a lie. What I can say is it help mute the thoughts so that they weren’t so loud. I ended up switching to Prozac which I feel is working better. I can also say that Behavioral therapy really helps.
Whenever you’re having an intrusive thought I want you to give this a try:
Close your eyes
Imagine a beautiful creek or babbling brook. You can see the stream travels pretty far away until you lose sight around a bend.
Imagine your thoughts and feelings are a colorful ball. Imagine them sitting on a leaf and drifting down stream.
Watch them float away allllll the way down the creek and around the bend until they are completely gone and out of sight.
Remember to breathe during this exercise.
Repeat this over and over until you feel relief.
Also, don‘t fight the thoughts. Acknowledge they are there, accept them and let them pass. The more you try to avoid these intrusive thoughts the more it fuels them.
I know this is a little bit of a darker post, but it is important. If you’re struggling with depression and/or anxiety of any kind please know there is help available. Talk to a friend, a pastor, a doctor, a group coordinator at a local support group. Please know that you are important. You matter! And that this is fixable. I’m so glad I reached out. I’m always here if you need someone to talk to.
If you need help please click this link: