Hello my name is Jessica and I have postpartum depression and anxiety (PPD/PPA). Phew, sometimes that is hard to admit. I kind of had a feeling this would be something that I face at some point. I have prior history with depression/anxiety and live with PTSD. I was medicated during college due to extreme stress with performance and the doctor thought it would help with my ADHD (it didn’t). After college I was able to get off medication by working out and eating healthy. Since I’m technically still recovering I haven’t been able to get back into working out like I used to. Although, I just got semi-cleared to add more movements back into my routine (yaaay!). My husband and I had a very open and honest discussion while I was pregnant about postpartum depression. I told him my worries and that I was nervous about how I would feel. He assured me that we would get through it and he would be there to support me. I remember reaching out to my mom friends (3 of us were pregnant at the same time) and telling them I think I had some anxiety starting to set in. I would be sitting quietly minding my own business and then BOOM! A wild off the wall thought would pop into my head. Ex: what if I trip while I’m holding my baby and we both hit the ground and I break my legs. Some of them were so surreal that I could picture it happening. I like to think I have a logical brain and thought process. I would get so mad at myself for allowing those images and thoughts to pop into my head. It’s wild what the “what ifs” will do to you. I’m lucky that my little one, dogs, family, and work keep my busy so I don’t have too much time to sit and make up scenarios. I started to notice my fuse was rather short (explosively short) around 3 months postpartum. I would lose my shit when the dogs would bark or get irritated when loved ones tried to help too much. I tried to keep it in check and kept denying that it was an issue. There were times I would literally have to walk away and count to 10 (or whatever number I needed) so that I wouldn’t lash out at those closest to me. The craziest part is, Jackson never worked my nerves. Somehow I am able to stay cool, calm, and collected with him. Even as he is protesting getting dressed after bath time I just let him wiggle and “tell me all about it”. Most of the time I feel anxious when he is loud because I don’t want to upset those around us. Whether it’s his grandparents, people on the phones or even strangers in the grocery store. If he starts fussing I’m on level 100 inside because I don’t want to him to disrupt other people. But here’s what I’ve learned. Babies cry, the fuss, and sometimes they scream for no reason. As long as they are not hurting then it can be solved. Bottle, back pats, and sometimes a car ride are necessary to calm little man. I distinctly remember the day that the hubby and I had “the talk”. We were sitting in the backyard playing ball with the pups while Jackson napped. He asked me if I felt depressed. That’s such a loaded question. I just kind of shrugged my shoulders (I’ve never been good at talking about feelings). For some reason I felt sort of defeated admitting it. Like I had failed. He knew the answer was yes and so did I. He in a very gentle way asked that I make an appointment so I could have help dealing with this. I procrastinated in making the appointment but finally went a few weeks later. I sat in a cold doctors office filling out check boxes of: do you feel xyz, so on and so forth. The doc finally came in and read over the sheets with me. Based on what she read and what I told her she said I definitely had some anxiety and depression going on (uh, yeah). Mine would surface as anger and rage because I bottle it all up until I just bust. Like a coke bottle that’s been shaken ready to spew. She prescribed me a low dose antidepressant and told me to follow up if that didn’t help. She said it would take time for the medication to help level everything out so give it time. So now I have one more thing to add to my daily routine and hope that it doesn’t get skipped like everything else. I think it had been about a month since my appointment when my husband pointed out that I seemed happier. That is when I realized that maybe it was a bit more obvious than I thought. It’s so hard to pinpoint it, when depression starts and stops. It’s not like you wake up one day and magically feel better. It kind of seeps in over a few days, acts like a black rain cloud for a time period and then one day you look around and the sun is shining. You never know how long the sunshine will last so you make the most of it. I’ve now been on medication for 3 months and am finally starting to feel semi normal. Although, I do notice that by the evening it starts to wear off (I take it in the AM) so I’m a little more snappy. I’m hoping now that I’m able to be more active that I can work off some steam on my “off days”. A good sweaty workout is always good for the body and brain! I thank my lucky stars to have such a supportive husband and family. This journey has made us talk about uncomfortable topics but topics that needed to be discussed. Mental health is a topic that is usually talked about in whispers. Why? It doesn’t make you a “bad” person if you live with mental health ups and downs. It makes you human. And talking about it is good for you. Holding it in is just as bad as holding in a fart. Let that shit out. My husband knows that when I’m venting that I don’t want solutions. I just want to get it all out so I don’t have to hold onto it. I have many tattoos but one of them has a deeper meaning than it seems. It reads “let it go”. No I didn’t get it because of Frozen (it was actually well before the movie came out). It’s a reminder to “let that shit go” as my dad always says. Regardless of what “it” is, if it’s causing you mental harm then let it go. Now I know that’s so much easier said than done, hence the permanent reminder. I have no idea how long it will take me to feel “normal” again, or if I will at all. But I think I’m okay with that. I am a good mom for Jackson and a good wife for my husband, and that is all that matters. There will be bumps along the way but I wouldn’t want to do life with anyone else.