Scared Out Of Your Wits With Postpartum Depression? Here’s What To Do

postpartum depression supportMy job here at Postpartum Progress, the job I happily take up every single day, istell you it’s going to be okay, and to show you that what you are going through is not unlike what lots of other moms with PPD and PPA and PPOCD are going through.

You. Are. Going. To. Be. Okay.

In the past few days I’ve had several wonderful phone conversations with moms who are suffering. (So happy to talk with you ladies!) I would never, of course, betray their confidence by talking about who they were or exactly what they said. What I can say, though, is that they and so many of you have the same questions:

Is this normal?

Do other moms with PPD/PPA/PPOCD/APD have the same experiences?

Am I one of the ones who will never get better?

The answer is yes, the other moms are having the same experiences, and no, you are not a lost cause.

I can’t express to you how much I understand why you are worried. I understand how you feel. Iknow you are scared out of your wits. I know you are concerned that this isyour new reality. I understand why you have these questions, because I had them too. I deeply understand and acknowledge your feelings.

I also understand that you are desperate to talk to someone who gets it. Fact is, most people don’t get it. Not your friends, or your family members or your partners. How could they? Even the oneswho are really trying? Would you have gotten it before you had postpartum depression? Would any of this have made sense to you?It certainly wouldn’t have to me.

It is difficult if notimpossible to communicate to someonehow you can feel a way that you don’t want to, or aren’t choosing to.To this day, I have NEVER been able to satisfactorily explain to those who love me and believe in me how I could have an intrusive thought. No onecan comprehend the idea of having a thought inyour brain that you didn’t put there. Nor can I explain why someone with so many blessings in her life would be so completely unable to enjoy any of them. It happens, though. I’m proof. You are too.

So listen up: Don’t fight against the fact that others may not understand. Don’t be mad at them because they don’t get it. Don’t assume that no one will ever get it, that no one can help you or that no one cares. Instead, share your worries and fears and disappointment with us. Talk. Cry. Shout. Bitch. Tell us how much this TOTALLY SUCKS. That’s why we’re here.

Talk to me.  Go to a PPD support group.  Get Daily Hope.  Chat with the Warrior Moms on our Facebook page.  Read the mamas on my postpartum depression blogroll.  You don’t have to keep this inside, or be ashamed. We went before you and we know the path out. We DO get it, and we KNOW without any doubt that you will get better. You are NOT alone.

About Katherine Stone

is the creator of this blog, and the founder and executive director of Postpartum Progress. She has been named a WebMD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the 15 most influential patient advocates to follow. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

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  1. I finally sat down with two other moms who had PPD, including some scary symptoms like intrusive thoughts and thoughts of adoption, etc. I couldn't believe how incredibly amazing it felt to have someone else say with her own mouth the thoughts that were in my own head. It was wonderful to feel so understood, even if we were discussing some pretty horrible stuff.

  2. This made me cry. You are so right…I've been so mad at everyone, my husband especially, for not being more sympathetic and not getting how it feels to be me right now. But how could they understand? I've tried to reach out to postpartum depression support organizations, but they have voicemail machines instead of people here in New York, and I never end up leaving a message. By the time they call back maybe I'll be fine again? Maybe my daughter will be napping and I won't want to take the call and, consequently (she's a very, VERY light sleeper), wake her up. So I just hang up. I found one group but it's far away, and meets in the evenings (I feel bad carting my daughter around so late at night). Other groups I found that were closer were either limited to people whose babies are younger (mine is nearly a year old), or there was one, ideal time-wise and location-wise, but I called the contact person and she said it wasn't happening anymore. It's been so discouraging! I was seeing a wonderful therapist for a while, but we had to pay out of pocket to see her and we can't afford it anymore. (Apparently, the only therapists who really understand PPD don't accept insurance? That's what I was told, anyway.) I am obsessively reading about PPD online all the time, but I never think to reach out to others here. Thank you for the suggestion…I've been feeling desperate to feel less alone in this. Maybe I just need to find more support online.

  3. I am pretty much recovered after an 8 month battle with PPD/A.. but what really makes me the angriest is my confidence. As a women, mother, sister, daughter and wife, I feel I have lost a lot of my confidence. Things that used to be so easy are now hard to do.. I look at things closer and observe more because I feel weak thinking anything could knock me down again…For example– taking our children to disney world next year– That is fun fun fun, but now after all that has happened to me I am more reserved and cautious. I feel like some of my spontaneity is gone..

  4. What about skype? A bunch of moms could get together and do this and be able to help eachother and you would not have to leave your home… I would be willing to..

  5. Heather,
    If your therapist did not accept insurance you should be able to get her to write you a simple claim form that you can submit to your insurance company to get reimbursed. Have you tried this? Not sure what insurance you have but you should be able to do this. You seemed to have connected well to her and it would be a shame to completely lose this support.
    Thinking of you,
    Meghan

  6. Love this post!

  7. Heather, I know how you feel in a lot of ways…none of the women in my group of friends had PPD, or at least they didn't know how to verbalize it if they did. I took it out on my husband all the time, and for a long time was unable to forgive him for not understanding that I was suffering so much. But I've moved past that (even though I still have depression right now, I am medicated and getting better every day), and I'm focusing on reaching out to others. Please come visit me at my blog, email me any time, or friend me on Facebook if you ever need anything. I'm available whenever you might need me.

  8. Trying to explain to others what depression is like is nigh unto impossible. I hate saying that because then other people are like, "Well, what's the point of trying to understand, then?", but at the same time, I have to agree with you that maybe it won't always be that way. My best friend asked me the other day, "So, I've heard what you have to say about what PPD isn't. Can you explain to me what it IS?" And I literally stuttered for about a full minute before I could start talking. It's never going to get easier to describe. But I'll keep trying.
    Thanks so much for this post, I really loved it.

  9. I am a nurse and I've learned about PPD from the science/care/treatment point of view but never fully understood the pain, the terror, the deep sadness, the hopelessness that a person could feel. Absolutely no one…NO ONE will fully understand it unless they have experienced it themselves.
    In this fight against PPD, I have learned so much from the women who have been through the same and recieved so much help and hope from their stories. I clung to them with all my power especially on days when I wanted to give up. They were a testament to survival. They made me feel like I could do it too.
    You can do it too.
    Katherine's site has helped me out more than she knows as well as Amber at Beyond Postpartum, Lauren at My Postpartum Voice and Ivy at Ivy's PPD Blog. These strong inspirational women have reached through their computer screens and said to me "Kim, I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL. I UNDERSTAND. YOU WILL MAKE IT"
    Please don't be afraid to get the help that you deserve.

  10. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    Thanks for sharing this perspective Kimberly!

  11. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    You will get it back Janna — both your confidence and your spontaneity. It takes a while to build them back up, but build them back up you will.

  12. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    I'm looking into creating a virtual face-to-face support group. Will let you know the details.

  13. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    We're here for you Heather.

  14. I would absolutely help with this. Happy to support now that I am healthy. Let us know what we can do.

  15. Thank you for being here…I wish I had found you earlier when I was in the depths of the PPD experience. But better late than never is so true. Reading posts and comments here brings up so many feelings and I've had my first experiences of feeling understood without having to say a word.

  16. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    Glad you found us! We get it.

  17. Michelle Derryberry says:

    It is so frusterating that family members & even your spouse does not understand the magnitude of the PPOCD illness. My family tells me at times to stop my medication & I explain to them that I can't do that, that my physiatrist is the one that will guide me through the correct steps to take with the medication. It is so hard at times & one wishes that they understood.

  18. Katherine Stone/Post says:

    I know Michelle. It's just awful when family members and friends think they know more about these illnesses than trained professionals. It makes it so much harder on you. I wish I had a magic answer on how to make that better.