Just Talkin’ Tuesday 08.04.09: Seeking Help – How did you do it?


Base photo: "Call" by barejon @ flickr

Base photo: "Call" by barejon @ flickr

Any mom who has made the phone call to her doctor’s office or timidly admitted to another person that things are not all glowy like the Johnson & Johnson commercial’s make them out to be will tell you that it’s a very hard thing to do.

It took me three months to seek help after the birth of my first daughter. 10 days after the birth of my second (but hers included NICU and major surgery so things were sped up a bit in that situation) and when I was ultimately hospitalized it took me 4 days of calling and hanging up before I would admit things had taken a turn for the worse.

That phone call was the hardest phone call I’ve ever made in my entire life. I mean, c’mon – I just had a baby. She was healthy, she was home from the NICU, doing well – why the hell weren’t things getting better? I thank GOD every day I had the courage to make the call. It completely changed my life for the better. Looking back I see how all of it fit together now. It makes sense. At the time though, I felt adrift, like a random puzzle piece left out in a horrific rain storm.

So today I’d like to ask you to share your story of how you first asked for help. What led you to do so? What were some of the difficulties you experienced when you did ask for help? Share with us! Let’s get to Just Talkin!

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7 thoughts on “Just Talkin’ Tuesday 08.04.09: Seeking Help – How did you do it?

  1. I convinced myself for 6 long months that I was feeling ‘off’ for other reasons. Finally, I started reading stories. I read blogs. I googled ‘PPD stories’ until I found several that sounded very similar to how I was feeling, and then it took a few days for me to have the guts to make the call. When I did, I had to wait a month to see my doctor. I could have gotten in to see another, but I trust my doctor implicitly and don’t trust all of the others at our medical facility. I expected that I’d have to convince HIM that something was wrong with me. Instead he listened to what I was feeling, asked some questions about my history, and spent the rest of the time patiently explaining that this WAS depression, and that I could get help.

    I was screened several times, but… I’m a great test-taker. I knew what answers I was supposed to put down. So I put those. I wasn’t even necessarily trying to be dishonest. I was just rationalizing a lot. I also had more of a ‘numb’ depression and less of a ‘crying all the time’ depression, so since I wasn’t showing those signs I rationalized that I wasn’t really depressed. When I finally got treatment, it was like the lights came on and I went, “This is what everyone else feels like! This is incredible!”

  2. I asked my husband what a nervous breakdown felt like. I knew the signs of PPD according to all the books, but I didn’t know what they FELT like, so I needed someone else to either normalize my almost 2mth experience as a new mother, or tell me it was something else (at that point PPD didn’t come to mind.) I then went immediately to a walk-in clinic (with a caring and non-judgemental sibling) and after 2hrs of waiting and crying and anxiety, was told I had PPD.

    I hesitate to say that I didn’t have any difficulties getting help then, or the continuous help I needed through talk therapy, workshops through a mood disorder clinic, or support from family and friends…well, because some don’t have it so lucky. As if PPD (or PMD) isn’t bad enough, but to have to fight to be heard, understood and supported by those around you, that could send anyone further into a depressive tailspin.

    I hope that helps.

    WRO

    • @WRO – It does help quite a bit, actually!

      It is so difficult to recognize your own symptoms when you’re in the midst of depression let alone find good help for it. And may God have mercy on you if your family is not on board either. These reasons are precisely why education and awareness around Postpartum Mood Disorders are so very important. Yes, having a child is difficult and many of the symptoms of PPD are similar to that of a new mother but with PPD they go much deeper and last much longer. You are SO right when you say that lack of help and/or support can lead to an even deeper tailspin – it most certainly can – All aspects of support are key to recovery. Social, medical, and personal (immediate family).

      Thanks for commenting!

      Warmest,
      Lauren

  3. I would have never asked for help if it wasn’t for the EC teacher that came to my home to work with my special needs son. She is a PPD survivor herself and noticed something was off and kept talking to me. She would not leave until I called my doctor and made an appointment. It is really a shame she was not there after I had my 1st child because I really needed treatment then, but never realized it or would have known where to go or how to ask.

    • @Peggy – thank you for sharing.

      Your story shows just why it is SO important as survivors for us to open ourselves up to new moms.

      I am glad that survivor was in your life!

      Warmest,
      Lauren

  4. I actually talked to my OB/GYN at my 6 week check up when she prescribed Zoloft.

    However my first call was actually to my insurance company, we have to deal with them before anything else with “mental health”. That’s when I was connected with a screener, and after that a counsler.

    It was a strange calling specifically to tell them something I didn’t even want to admit to myself.

    Great topic Lauren!

  5. I was screened. I am so thankful it was caught. I never would have told anyone…so afraid. But somehow I was able to be more honest on a screening. It makes me sad that more OB’s and Peds don’t screen.

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