The Rage of Postpartum Depression

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postpartum depressionLast night I was itching for a fight. My husband wasn’t doing a SINGLE thing the way I wanted him to. In fact, I felt he wasn’t doing what I wanted him to do on purpose. So I got mad. Scary mad. I felt like he never did anything I wanted him to do, and didn’t care.This, despite the fact that he had gone on a father/son outing with our boy (and my dad) during the day to a Braves game, then went to the grocery store and then cooked dinner, which was waiting for me when I got home with our daughter.

So what. He was still a jerk, I thought. And we had one hell of a fight.

This morning I had to make that call. You know the one.

I’m sorry. It was my fault. I was crazy.

And I was. Temporarily. Most of the time I’m pretty even-tempered. I’m a nice person. I know my husband is a good guy even though he annoys me some times, just like I’m sure I annoy him. I’m not a rage-aholic by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t like yelling. At anyone.

It so happens, though,that I have my … guess what?… period. Usually, for about 2 days in the whole period process I get a short-temper. I feel more controlling. Sometimes I lose it, like last night. (Could this have been a predictive sign that I was going to get a postpartum mood disorder? I think so!)

My behavior last nightreminds me of the symptoms of anger and irritability that many moms with postpartum depression and antenatal depression get. Many of you say you have been surprised by the rage you feel with PPD. I have to admit I really wanted to punch my husband right in the face. That’s pretty surprising.

I’m glad I don’t feel like that much anymore, except on the very rare occasion, like last night. It’s scary. I don’t like it one bit. How about you?


Photo: Fotolia - © Jason Stitt

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  1. Girrrrrl, I could have written this to the letter (well, except I have all girls) … but yeah. It is scary and I hate it and I do struggle with these feelings of anger & irritability on a monthly basis (some months worse than others) which is why I'm on a low-dose of antidepressants. I wholly believe this is residual from postpartum depression or maybe it's the other way around as you say. In any case, mood disorders: the gift that keeps on giving!
    Thank you for posting this.

  2. One time in the middle of the night while frantically trying to get our son back to sleep and for some reason (?) having a fight about it, I threw a bunch of pillows at him and told him I hated him.
    I should have seen having hateful thoughts about this man, that I adore and would never dream of hurting physically or emotionally, much sooner than I did.

  3. That was one of my biggest symptoms aside from crippling anxiety. At Easter (Good Friday) I put my foot through a wicker chair because my husband wasn't home in time for the fish fry at a local legion. Like my foot went through it. I punched a hole in our pantry. I kicked my bathroom wall. And when the anger was so intense, I resorted to cutting my arms to release the pain. It's awful and I was very frightened that o wouldn't control it. But I guess that's how PPD makes you feel…out of control.

  4. Ohhhh I just love that description of feeling like your hubby never does things the way you want him to – even though he just has! It is soooo how I feel premenstrually.
    I know I've had pms days(prior to ppmd)where I could imagine nuking a small nation if I had a button to activate nuclear arms. It's tough. Hope you are feeling more mellow today.
    My hubby says it feels like crap to be on the receiving end of pms, but hey, it's no fun being on our side either.
    Virtual Big Hug to you (it always makes me feel better:)

  5. Oh my gosh, the anger…I think that might have been one of the worst parts of PPD for me. It was insane, all-consuming, white-hot anger that was so frightening to behold. I've thrown a cell phone through a wall. Like, completely through it. I've gotten violent with my husband, which I'm so ashamed to say. When I was pregnant with my first son, my mood swings were so bad that I told my husband that I felt like there was a different person in my body. I literally could not control the words coming out of my mouth, no matter how hard I tried. It was so, so awful.

  6. Katherine-
    It's interesting that you bring this up! When I have my period (or am just about to get it), I feel like my Zolft is not anywhere near me!! It's as if I have never been on a medication at all. Scary!! I wonder if there have been any research studies on this?

  7. This is a great blog, interesting posts. I guess I felt the need to suggest what most people are told, but maybe in everyday life, don't fully put into practice, that medication helps, but does not fully manage symptoms of depression and anxiety. There are many modalities of talk therapy and types of self-help that feed into the the mix to treat symptom management. Two modalities that come to mind are DBT, which is a structured, research-based, skill-based way to manage emotions and also Gottman Couples Therapy, which is a structured, research-based, skill-based method which helps people manage emotions surrounding relationships. Sometimes these skills are useful in managing symptoms in addition to medication.
    Hi @Elizabeth There is a book called Women's Moods, which describes the fluctuations of medication present in a woman's bloodstream and how this is affected by hormonal changes (ie monthly menses). A great read.
    take care, Kathy

  8. I am so relieved to hear others describe their rages. It truly feels like I CANNOT control what comes out of my mouth on these occasions. Glad others understand — it helps me feel a little bit more normal

  9. I think that was my first clue that something was really going on with me. I have an 18 yr history of depression, but I have NEVER had the rage Ive felt with PPD. I get that feeling of fire in my chest and I thing Im literally going to explode.
    Glad to know Im not the only one out there experiencing it!

  10. I can totally relate, not to you but to your husband. It's just like last week when my wife was so irritable at me. I didn't even do anything. Or maybe, that's why. 'Cause everytime she gets irritated when she has her menstrual period, I just keep quiet. I don't want to add up on the "reasons" of her irritability. She's been taking some natural remedy for anxiety for years now since she gave birth to our first child. The doctor said her depressions are due to loss of libido. I'm glad to find out that I'm not the only one with a wife suffering from PPD. I'm telling you on behalf of your husband, it's driving us nuts too. Have a nice day!

  11. I'm grateful to have found this- I had my baby girl 14 weeks ago, and for about the past 5 weeks the anger and anxiety has been through the roof. I actually TEACH conflict resolution (anger management) and an usually pretty even tempered, but for the past few weeks my anger can come so suddenly and so intensely I shake and rage (through things, scream at the top of my lungs, kick things) until I am physically exhausted. and over silly things- the cats fighting, there being a single dish in the sink, the tv remote batteries dying, you name it. I always keep a tidy house, but that has gotten nuts too- if one thing is out of place my anxiety kicks in and I have to clean everything in sight or it seems like I will lose my mind. I called my NP today and made an appt for next week. I havent cried so much in my life- hopefully its over soon.

  12. Anger is sometimes the only thing that kept me going. I got some good advice from someone: anger is just an emotion, what you do with it is what matters. If you have a wonderful husband and a schedule that allows please look into a (albeit weird and diametrically opposed ) balance of yoga and KICKBOXING. There is nothing better than taking out all that pent up aggression/frustration/anxiety/sadness/overwhelming-ness/new mommy freak out whatever on a well worn boxing bag. Plus, that's the bag's job-to let you pound away (and i used to yell at it too)! Not your husband's job, not your kid's and frankly not even your therapist or your best friend– just you and the bag! And there's the added bonus of feeling kinda like a bad ass when you put on your gloves ;-) THe yoga can help with the anxiety and that achy gross feeling you get when you're bummed and gives you a moment to reflect on how awesome you and the people in your life are. I WISH i had found this blog when i was in the throes of PPD–but that is another story. :-) .

  13. I know its been awhile and i'm sure your are good – but i thought i would send you some good vibes and say it does pass.

  14. I feel the exact same way. I’ve thrown dishes, lamps, knocked pictures off the wall, etc. Busted my husbands lip open bc I think he’s hiding photos from me on his phone. Then the ‘real’ me snaps back into reality…& I apologize profusely for what I’ve done, & the damage that has occurred. All of this directed to my spouse, not baby I might add. Every thing he does pisses me off. I go to the doctor Tuesday for the 3rd time to try to get on the right combo of meds for ppd. My behavior was never like this before. I pray they can help, bc I feel like I’m in my own personal hell of that I can’t escape.

  15. Today I threw and broke the vacuum cleaner and rice cooker. My 3 year old was throwing a fit. I talked myself through trying to handle him in a calm good mommy way then I snapped, smacked his butt and sent to his room. I feel horrible. I also feel extreme rage driving. Like I’m looking for a fight. So not me! I am 2 weeks pp and have had PPD after 2 other pregnancies, but never this soon.

    • Gina, I’d definitely reach out to your doctor, especially considering you have a history of PPD, and get started on some form of treatment if you aren’t getting treated already. Rage is such a common and yet awful symptom of PPD. I’m really sorry you’re going through this right now. Please know that I hear from a lot of moms who are dealing with the same thing.

  16. The anger/rage has been one of my biggest challenges. I got diagnosed PPD/PPA at 6 mo post partum. It was pretty miserable but things are a little better now that I have some medication & finally night weaned my daughter. I don’t like that mean stuff one bit & am trying to deal with it. It’s been really hard so far.

    Thank you for this website, it helps

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  18. I am 5 months post partum, and the one thing I am constantly battling is rage. The second thing is guilt. I am a yeller and it feels like an out of body experience. I slam doors, throw things, and leave the house angry. My husband has been so supportive of me and loving. However, he is the source of my anger – there are days he can’t even shit straight in my mind. I can see it is wearing on him and my apologies are beginning to lose their meaning. This is our first child, that we have prayed for a long time with a tough journey to parenthood. We both work, and have no direct support with immediate family due to distance, and in the past 5 months my husband has been dealing with chronic pain in his back and foot resulting in surgeries – all of this on top of being a new mom is making me feeling crazy. Is this post partum depression or just a result of my crazy life??

    • Beth, I would definitely talk to your doctor about this. The kind of anger you are talking about can definitely be a symptom of postpartum depression. If you do in fact have PPD, there are treatments that will help you get better. If it isn’t PPD and is caused by stress, therapy can be a big help in giving you better tools to handle that stress. So no matter what, you can get help that can make this easier on you.

      • Thank You Katherine… After reading the various stories on your blog, I decided to consult with my OB who from the beginning had given me guidance on what to look for and provided an open door policy to consult. She has since diagnosed me with post partum mood disorder. After much thought I realized these feelings have surfaced before while pregnant and before menstrual cycles – except more intense now. I am now starting antidepressant and joining a support group for PPD in my area. Thank you again for supporting and educating women all over about the various shades of PPD.

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  20. So thankfyl to find this site. I am 5 mnths pp..really struggling the past month..lack of sleep so hard for mr..feel like I am bad mom..feel angry at my partner..he doesnt get how I feel…going to psych in a few days..i am now open to medication…wish I could find a support group in my area.

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  22. Omg I have been experiencing the exact same anger. I pick fights over nothing and turn them into huge blow outs. I have always had a tumultuous relationship with anger but have always controlled it to some degree. Well my daughter is now 10 months old and the lunatic antics are still raging I hope this doesn’t last much longer.

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  24. Same here. Its not that I think I don’t have the right to be angry…good lord, if my husband strolled through the door one hour late for an annual dinner saying he forgot I would be furious! But I probably would have left without him after 15 minutes anyways… but it is my inability to control my temper that scares me. I scream at my child at times and now I know I need help. I am not going to stop being angry at my husband who thinks its ok for me to live out of a suitcase and follow him up and down the highways of France to keep his split lifestyle…but I hope with proper drugs to level out my hormones I can deal with my anger appropriately and not upset my child. ps – yes I wanted to push him down the stairs last night for leaving the house AGAIN at bath and bedtime – yes, I tried to run over a woman on the sidewalk who smacked our car with her ski poles because I couldnt stop mid ice skid for her princess butt to cross the road – yes I want to knife my MiL who does not listen to me when I tell her about how to deal with my screamng 2 year old. All these things hack me off anyways – but hopefully if things get better I can deal with them in a more grown up fashion!