Just Talkin’ Tuesday 05.25.10: How long does recovery take anyway?

Lately, I’ve had this question thrown my way by more than just a few of you.

It’s a tough question to answer.

There is no defined recovery time we can hand out. It’s not like going to a deli, pulling a number, having your number called and then walking out the door into the wild blue yonder with your neatly wrapped item. Ok, so maybe it’s kind of like that. If it’s a busy deli and the wait is long. And then they’re out of the meat you need. And then you have to start the process all over again somewhere else or settle for something like ham when you really wanted corned beef pastrami.

Bottom line though – recovery is not something your local deli guy will wrap up neatly in butcher paper and tie off with a pretty bow.

Recovery is messy. It can take a long time. It can go quickly. It can involve lots of starts, stops, and side trips.

And in the end, you may be recovered but there will always be the organic memory of the experience of your Postpartum Mood Disorder to jump out at you and mess with you.

So how the heck do I know if I can consider myself recovered from my PMD?

Here are my three humble signs of recovery (always check with your caregiver/therapist and don’t every stop treatment cold turkey!)

1) You have more good days than bad days.

2) You are able to laugh at things.

3) Your world has returned to vibrant colors instead of the dimmed down twilight you’ve been living in for the last several nights.

I remember the day I saw that brighter world. I was on my way home from my therapy appointment. It had rained that morning so everything had been rinsed clean. The sun shone down and the trees burst forth with new growth as they strained for freedom at the birth of spring. As I breathed in the clean scent of rain and honeysuckle, my heart soared. The trees were greener, the sky was bluer, everything sparkled. And not just because of the rain.

Just a few weeks later I discovered I was indeed pregnant with our third child. Scared to death, I worried all my progress would be all for naught. But it was not. I continued to move forward. Not because I had to but because it was what I wanted. Once I got past the shock of our unexpected pregnancy, I focused all my energy on preparing for postpartum support instead of getting ready for baby. It was time well-spent. I educated those around me, created a postpartum plan, and thankfully I thrived. Not all mothers are this fortunate though.

Every mother has  a different story, different doctors, and different reasons for struggling.

What helped you recover and if you’re fully recovered, how long did it take you to recover? What advice would you give to a still struggling mother?

One of my favorite songs when I was struggling was “Breathe” by Anna Nalick.My favorite lines?

There’s a light at each end of this tunnel, you shout
But you’re just as far in as you’ll ever be out.

To me, it means keep on going forward. Because it’s FORWARD motion that’s so very healing.

Let’s get to just talkin’!


9 thoughts on “Just Talkin’ Tuesday 05.25.10: How long does recovery take anyway?

  1. I’m still waiting for that miracle, but I keep making baby steps every single day. The waiting is the most frustring part of PPD – and trying to remain positive when the rollercoaster decides that it needs to take the downward spiral. The hope I cling to is reading about moms who have really and truly come through this (all of you wonderful ladies who have created this community of support – please pat yourselves on the back now). I keep saying (or typing I guess I should say) that someday I will be in that place too! Here is to hoping, praying, and just making it through one more day that much stronger…

    • Nothing quite as frustrating as that whoosh when the rollercoaster decides to head downhill, is there? I hated that.

      Someday you will be here. You’ve truly come so far already and know that every day you really are that much closer to being on the other side. ((hugs))

      • Thank you, Lauren! You are always so wonderful and positive! Hugs back! I started new meds on Monday and I’m really hopeful that with a little bit of Zoloft and a lot of prayer we may finally have this figured out (plus I have a doctor who actually called me back and said “my point is to make you comfortable through this horrible experience and we will make changes to accomplish that”).

        • Oh that’s awesome! I’m so happy to hear you have a doctor like that! Wooohooo. It’s amazing how much difference the right doctor can make. As always, keeping you in my prayers.

  2. I wonder about this question all the time. PPD is new to me–well in diagnosis form anyway, i’ve had it since the little guy was born 11 months ago. Sometimes I think the meds are a miracle and that I am better. Other days I am a mess, but I don’t know if it’s anxiety, PPD, or just work stress. Sometimes I wonder if I am having “real” feelings people without PPD would have, or if I am having PPD backslide. I do have more good moments than bad, but days? I don’t know if I can call a whole day good–not very often anyway.

    Thanks for the post. I love reading your blog!

    • I had to take it minute by minute when I was first diagnosed. I stopped looking at the clock – I found it torturous to see how little time had passed or how much time I had until the end of the day. SO frustrating. I’d count a day as good if the good moments outnumbered the bad. Because everyone has bad moments! I know it’s hard right now but eventually it gets easier. It sneaks up on you!

  3. Great topic. There truly isn’t a set time frame to recover which makes this journey so much more frustrating. I know that I am getting better by how good life is feeling and how excited I am to live it again. Oh and the bad days are not so bad anymore!
    I wrote more of it on my blog
    thanks for the great question!

    • You are SO right that there’s not a time frame. It’s not like breaking your leg and knowing the cast comes off in 6 months and then rehab and you’ll be back to your good old self once that’s out of the way. It kinda sucks that it doesn’t work that way. A lot.

  4. Pingback: PTSD=WTF? « All Work & No Play Make Mommy Go Something Something

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